For anyone that extensively uses Skype on Linux, you will probably want to head on over to the Linux Skype Developer page to fetch the latest beta. Skype has just rolled out the first 2.1 beta (22.214.171.124 Beta) of the Linux Skype client, which adds several new features and also brings a number of fixes and other improvements.
On the same day as the release of the Mac OS X 10.6 operating system, which contains many printing improvements among its new feature set, the Apple-owned CUPS project has come out with version 1.4.0. CUPS 1.4 offers improvements to its web interface (including a brand new look), CUPS DDK tools, Bonjour printing support, many scheduler improvements, and over 67 other changes.
As we mentioned earlier this week, we will be providing Mac OS X 10.6 benchmarks on launch day (well, potentially the morning after, depending upon timing). This week has been very busy in preparations for this article along with last minute work on the Phoronix Test Suite to add in a few more Mac-compatible test profiles and other work for Snow Leopard.
Earlier this month we shared that we would be doing a big operating system benchmark comparison consisting of Linux (perhaps a few different distributions), OpenSolaris, some BSDs, and Mac OS X. With the news today from Apple that Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" will be shipping this Friday, the 28th of August, we are now one step closer to carrying out this large OS comparison. This large OS benchmarking extravaganza will not take place until September, but later this week we will go ahead and put out some performance numbers for Mac OS X 10.6.0.
The Pidgin instant messaging program has been losing some ground recently to GNOME's Empathy program as more Linux distributions switch to using this newer instant messaging application. Pidgin 2.5 was released just under one year ago, but arriving today is Pidgin 2.6, which may help in winning over more users. Most notably, Pidgin 2.6 finally introduces support for voice and video communication.
The developers behind the popular GIMP graphics application have announced the first development release in the road towards GIMP 2.8.0. GIMP 2.7.0 is this first development release and it brings a horde of changes and improvements. GIMP 2.8 is set to introduce many user-interface improvements, new plug-ins, the projection code ported to GEGL, and many other new features.
Zack Rusin, the well-known X.Org and KDE hacker, has written a new blog post concerning the Qt tool-kit and the different options that are available when it comes to rendering graphics. Qt currently can target a pure CPU raster engine, using X11 with the X Render extension for providing some GPU-assisted acceleration, or using an OpenGL engine. The renderer that is used by Qt depends upon the platform, what portions of the Qt API are being used by a given program, and whether the graphics system was overrode when starting the program.
Remember the Tux3 file-system? The Tux3 file-system was shown off at the Southern California Linux Expo earlier this year and showed real promise with its features and slated performance. The developers behind Tux3 had a host of items on their to-do list, including atomic commit support, which to them was a requirement for getting this general purpose file-system into the Linux kernel.
This week there were several interesting stories at Phoronix, if you happened to miss any of them. We started off by sharing that proper multi-seat support for Linux / X.Org is on the way with the new VGA arbitration code coming about. With this new implementation, multiple X Servers can be run side-by-side without needing to use Xephyr or any ugly hacks.
We knew it was coming, but this morning Intel has announced the release of Clutter 1.0.0. This toolkit provides a library/API for creating rich user interfaces in a relatively easy to use way that conceals much of the challenges of programming your application to directly use OpenGL or OpenGL ES. Clutter is already being used within Moblin V2 and its user interface is very impressive (the best that we have seen for netbooks) and it is also gaining speed within the GNOME development community for GNOME Games and other areas.
Clutter, the free software tool-kit that makes it easier to develop compelling user-interfaces that use OpenGL / OpenGL ES, is now nearing its version 1.0 release. Emmanuele Bassi with the Intel Open-Source Technology Center has announced the release of Clutter 1.0 Release Candidate 3.
For those of you that use VLC as your media player of choice or those looking for a new media player, head on over to VideoLAN.org as version 1.0.0 of this growingly popular free software application has been released. VLC 1.0.0 has support for live recording, new HD codecs (including Blu-ray and AES3), new formats, new encoders, and many other new features. The (short) announcement officially announcing VLC 1.0.0 can be read on the project's news page.
For those of you not out celebrating the Independence Day / 4th of July in America, there is a new release candidate for the Linux 2.6.31 kernel that is now ready for testing. In this second release candidate there is a new DRM pull bringing various fixes and improvements, including Intel DisplayPort support for hardware with such new connectors.
Fluendo, the company that's largely behind G-Streamer and produces legal audio/video codecs for Linux, has now launched its own DVD player solution for Linux. Fluendo's new DVD player software is, of course, built upon the G-Streamer framework. This Fluendo DVD player software costs about $28 USD and is fully certified and is considered a legal piece of software free of any audio/video patent issues in the US. This software also supports DVD menus, multiple angles, CSS encryption, subtitles, etc.
For those of you using PHP in the development of web-sites or even on the desktop (like what we do with the Phoronix Test Suite), PHP 5.3.0 has finally been released! This major update to PHP5 brings support for namespaces, late static bindings, closures, new PHP extensions, plenty of bug fixes, and much more.
For managing network and Internet connections from the Linux desktop, used by most distribution vendors is NetworkManager, which is a well rounded network connection manager from Red Hat for controlling wired, wireless, and mobile broadband devices. The ModemManager project was even spun off recently for furthering the mobile broadband support on Linux. However, rather than going with NetworkManager in Moblin, Intel created its own software: ConnMan. The ConnMan software is designed to enhance the process of managing Internet connections from Linux-based devices, such as those in the mobile space.
Clutter, the open-source toolkit designed to develop rich user interfaces with OpenGL and OpenGL ES but without the complexity of programming to such APIs, is nearing version 1.0. This toolkit, which was used to create the very impressive Moblin V2 interface, is backed by Intel and continues to gain steam. Version 0.9.4 was released just this morning, which is serving as the Clutter 1.0.0 Release Candidate 1 build.
Gustavo Sverzut Barbieri, a member of the E17 development team, has written in to share that a new development snapshot of this lightweight desktop environment is now available. Gustavo also shares that they hope to have E17 released by the end of this year. Available from the Enlightenment blog is a 2009-06-14 snapshot of E17 along with a new (stable) Eet library.
Mohamed-Ikbel Boulabiar has written in to report that he and his team at the Interactive Computing Lab in ENAC, Toulouse have been successful in bringing native multi-touch support to Linux. While there is Multi-Pointer X in the mainlinue X.Org server (to be released with X.Org 7.5 / X Server 1.7), there is now multi-touch support to be able to handle gestures and other actions.
While Enlightenment E17 is still undergoing development, the Enlightenment E16 window manager has finally reached version 1.0.0. As Kim Woelders points out in the 1.0.0 release announcement, there are not any fundamental changes since version 0.16.8.15, but it just felt like it was time this X window manager reached the 1.0 status.
A new release of Blender, the immensely popular open-source 3D modeling software, is now available. This is not the much-anticipated Blender 2.5 release, but instead version 2.49, which brings forth several prominent changes and improvements while the developers continue work on the next major release. As part of the 2.49 release, the Blender Game Engine (BGE) has also received improvements too.
A relatively new product to hit the hardware scene is Pogoplug, which is a little device that can connect to a USB 2.0 hard drive and an Ethernet connection, and then instantly makes the drive an Internet-accessible storage device.
Back in March we witnessed the release of Qt 4.5 which was also met by an announcement that Qt Extended was to be discontinued and that was just weeks after the announcement came down that Qt Jambi would be discontinued. There have certainly been many changes since Nokia bought out Trolltech and then renamed it to Qt Software. Nokia also allowed these Norwegian programmers to license Qt under the LGPL. Today there are more changes coming out of Qt Software.
With NetworkManager 0.7, which can be found in most modern Linux distributions already, there is "out of the box" support for many mobile broadband / cellular cards in this excellent network management utility. Most SM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HDSPA, HSUPA, and EVDO devices can then provide an Internet connection to a Linux host usually with the click of a menu item from the NetworkManager plug-in. However, not all mobile broadband devices play well with Linux right now.
A year ago Nokia had bought out Trolltech, the company behind the popular Qt tool-kit, and since then we have seen a few major changes. In September, Trolltech was renamed to Qt Software and then Nokia then decided to license Qt 4.5+ under the LGPL while still offering versions under the GNU GPLv3 and their commercial license. The latest announcement to come out of Nokia / Qt Software is that they will be discontinuing development of Qt Jambi.
NetworkManager, the exceptional free software utility for managing wired and wireless (including mobile broadband / cellular connections), is about to reach its next major milestone since the release of NetworkManager 0.7.0 in the second half of 2008. Red Hat's Dan Williams and his fellow NetworkManager engineers are preparing to release NetworkManager 0.7.1.
Last January when KDE 4 was released it was shared by Trolltech that Qt would be relicensed under the GNU GPLv3. Less than two weeks after that announcement, Nokia acquired Trolltech, the company behind the Qt tool-kit. In September, Trolltech was renamed to Qt Software. Almost a year to the day after Trolltech announced Qt would be put under the GPLv3, Qt Software has announced Qt 4.5 will be relicensed.
The Btrfs file-system was merged into the mainline Linux kernel prior to the release of Linux 2.6.29-rc1, but now a new release of Btrfs is available.
Pidgin 2.5.3 was released yesterday afternoon with 58 changes worth mentioning in its change-log. Some of the changes in this instant messaging client update include a massive code clean-up in the MSN support, improvements to MySpace IM, quite a few new patches, IM images for Gadu-Gadu, and many other changes in Pidgin and its related packages (libpurple, Finch, and the protocols).
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