Last week Dell started shipping Ubuntu 8.04 PCs and even with a Dell option for ATI graphics. Today a few more details surrounding Dell's adoption of Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron" have been shared.
Yesterday we shared that Dell has started shipping Ubuntu 8.04 PCs. Initially there are only three "Dellbuntu" PCs (two notebooks and one desktop) with this Long-Term Support (LTS) release of Ubuntu, but additional models will begin appearing as soon as next month. While it wasn't covered by the Direct2Dell blog, we've discovered another interesting bit of news: Dell has made an ATI option available for these Linux PCs.
Ubuntu 8.04 LTS had shipped back in April, but up until now owners of Dell PCs would have had to install this "Hardy Heron" update manually if they were interested in benefiting from the Linux 2.6.24 kernel, GNOME 2.22, and the other improvements within this desktop Linux distribution. Today, however, Dell has announced that they have begun shipping select desktops and notebooks with Ubuntu 8.04 LTS.
Back before ATI had acquired Macrosynergy from XGI, XGI Technology had a semi-hopeful future of producing low-to-mid-range graphics cards and presenting consumers with an additional choice. Their binary Linux drivers had sucked, and that's putting it in nice words. XGI's Linux driver for earlier AGP-based Volari GPUs was limited to Linux 2.4 kernel support, was late in supporting versions of X.Org, and it was just a complete mess. However, as we had exclusively shared, XGI was considering an open-source driver (this was back in 2005, long before ATI started their open-source strategy and prior to Intel providing GPU documentation).
Over the past month we've seen three release candidates for ALSA 1.0.17, but arriving today is the final stable build. There are hundreds of changes between ALSA 1.0.16 and 1.0.17. The Oxygen driver used by some high-end audio processors such as those found on the Razer and ASUS sound cards has received a number of improvements as well as a long list of HDA Codec and HDA Intel improvements. Many new APUs are also supported by ALSA 1.0.17 through the various drivers. To much dismay, however, the Creative X-Fi series still isn't supported by the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture. The Open Sound System added X-Fi support and we were hopeful that ALSA support was coming, but sadly it has not. More information and download links are available at ALSA-Project.org.
This morning ASUS has announced the expansion of their Eee PC family with the introduction of three new models. These three new models use Intel's Atom processor, which makes them the first Netbooks. In addition to sporting an Atom processor, the 901 and 1000 use Solid-State Disks (SSDs), 1GB of DDR2 memory (or up to 2GB with the 1000/1000H models), and a battery life of nearly eight hours. The ASUS Eee PC 1000 / 1000H have a 10" screen while the 901 is sized at 8.9" and they all weigh 2~3 lbs. All three models do have GNU/Linux operating system availability. The ASUS Eee PC 901 is available today (with a price tag of $600 USD) while the two other models will be released later this month.
Alienware, the PC manufacturer known for their high-end gaming notebooks and desktops, has been evaluating the business opportunity in providing a Linux OS option for some of their products. Phoronix reader Ahmad Yasser had contacted us to remind the Linux community that Alienware is running a Linux-based system survey to "gauge the level of interest consumers like you have in buying a new computer that features a Linux-based operating system." This survey isn't brand new but had first appeared a few months back. The questions consist of whether you're a current Alienware customer, whether your interest is in notebooks or desktops, would Alienware be appealing with a Linux-based OS, reasons for choosing Linux over Microsoft Windows, the likelihood of purchasing a Linux-loaded Alienware PC, and related questions.
If you haven't yet made the move to LM_Sensors 3, you may be interested to know that LM_Sensors 2.10.7 has been released. This update to the legacy branch of LM_Sensors has a number of fixes, removes some dead code, fixes some functionality, adds Intel ICH10 support, has minor code cleanups, and solves a Linux 2.6.26 kernel compatibility issue. While the added Intel ICH10 support caught our attention, also now supported by the LM_Sensors 2.10 branch is support for VIA's C7 CPU as well as the lm90, adm1032, lm99, lm86, max6657, adt7461. The sensors-detect program can now also detect the SMSC SCH5127, National Semiconductor LM64, and ASUS F8000, Dallas DS1631. Detection and support for a number of ASICs have also been fixed in this release. The complete change-log can be found at the LM_Sensors website. If you're not using your distribution's package management system, downloads can be found on this page.
It's been a little more than a week since ALSA 1.0.17-rc2 was released, and today the third release candidate has replaced that earlier copy. However, version 1.0.17-rc3 just consists of ALSA driver updates and no changes are to be found with the libraries, utilities, tools, firmware, or plug-ins. There are quite a few changes amongst the various sound cards supported by ALSA. In ALSA 1.0.17-rc3, among the drivers with changes is EMU10K1/EMU10K2 for Creative Labs Sound Blaster cards and CMI8788 Oxygen for the Razer Barracuda AC-1 and other high-end APUs. A new driver has appeared in this ALSA testing release and that is the AK4535 which will work with some APUs common in PDAs and low-profile and low-power devices. The ALSA 1.0.17-rc3 change-log is available from the ALSA Project Wiki.
A little more than a week has passed since ALSA 1.0.17-rc1 was released, but today the second release candidate has arrived. A number of the ALSA drivers have been updated as well as the libraries and other components. There's quite a few changes so for the complete change-log visit the ALSA Project Wiki.
Four months after ALSA 1.0.16 was released, the wizards of modern-day Linux sound have released ALSA 1.0.17-rc1. This release has a plethora of new work -- in excess of 500 changes. Among the changes are x86_64 support for Linux 2.6.25+ kernels, a new kconfig parser, and a wide assortment of driver changes.
VIA has been on a rampage this week with new release announcements from the OpenBook reference design to the Nano processor. Their latest announcement is coming out of S3 Graphics, which is a VIA Technologies company. S3 Graphics has announced the release of the Chrome 440 GTX, which is a PCI Express 2.0 graphics card.
Earlier this month the major announcement came down that ASUS would be massively expanding its SplashTop motherboard selection to the point of producing in excess of one million motherboards per month with this embedded Linux technology. This morning another major ASUS and DeviceVM hook-up has been announced that SplashTop will now be shipping on a few of their notebook computers.
LM_Sensors 3.0 was originally released last year with the 3.0.1 release then coming out in late January, but succeeding that release is now LM_Sensors 3.0.2. This new Linux sensors release brings support to libsensors for virtual hardware monitoring devices (including the generic thermal zones to be introduced with the Linux 2.6.26 kernel), support for power and energy sensors, and sensors-detect has been made safer through eliminating reads of 1-register-only devices and preferring byte reads over word reads. This latest LM_Sensors 3.0.2 release can be downloaded from their project website.
ASUS has announced today that they have expanded their selection of SplashTop-enabled motherboards by four with the introduction of the ASUS P5Q motherboard family. In addition, it has been announced by ASUS that they plan to roll-out SplashTop on their "entire motherboard product portfolio, starting with over one million motherboards per month." Congratulations to the DeviceVM folks and the Linux community with this being a major win. The announcement came down today in the form of a press release. Last October, Phoronix was the first website to talk thoroughly about SplashTop, which is an embedded instant-on Linux desktop environment. In addition, we continue to talk about SplashTop and forthcoming features in other articles.
With open-source solutions like Amarok, Rhythmbox, and mplayer, RealNetwork's RealPlayer (or its open-source Helix base) aren't the most popular media-playback solution on Linux. However, RealNetworks has announced the release of both Helix Player 11 and RealPlayer 11 for Linux. RealPlayer 11 now supports playing back Windows Media content (on Linux), an integrated play-list editor, and support for Perfect Play (Superbuffer). In addition, ALSA and surround sound playback are finally supported by this media player. The announcement and download links can be found from the Helix Community Website.
Back in October we introduced the world to DeviceVM's SplashTop, with Phoronix delivering the first full in-depth review of this technology that can be embedded into motherboards (and soon enough, desktops and notebooks) for allowing an instant-on desktop environment. Within seconds of turning on the PC you can be in this lightweight Linux desktop environment that comes with web applications such as Skype and Firefox. As we shared during CES 2008, they also have Pidgin, a DVD player (LinDVD), music player (with MP3 support), and a photo viewer on forthcoming versions. SplashTop is so great that we named it one of the greatest Linux innovations of 2007.
Earlier this month at CeBIT, OCZ Technology had announced its Neural Impulse Actuator (NIA) entered mass production (press release). OCZ's Neural Impulse Actuator is the first Brain Computer Interface (BCI) designed for gamers on the consumer market. The NIA band is worn around the head and is able to convert electroencephalograph signals into keystrokes/mouse clicks and connects via USB 2.0. The Neural Impulse Actuator was first covered on Phoronix during Computex Taipei 2007. While the NIA is solely marketed for gamers, it's been reported that with some training this "neural-controlled mouse" can be used for basic desktop usage as well.
Back during CES 2008, Shuttle, the PC maker known for their SFF (Small Form Factor) PCs announced a $199 (USD) Linux PC known as the KPC. The Shuttle KPC was just one of the Linux PCs announced in January, and like the gOS-backed Everex budget PCs, is really designed for web surfing and basic desktop tasks. The hardware on the Shuttle KPC consists of a Celeron processor, Intel integrated graphics, and up to an 80GB hard drive. What was announced yesterday, however, was their Linux distribution of choice for the KPC. Shuttle will not be shipping Ubuntu, gOS, Xandros, or any of the other desktop distributions that other vendors are using, but they are going with Foresight Linux.
This year already Dell has made several Ubuntu Linux announcements, such as shipping Ubuntu 7.10 on the Dell XPS M1330 and Inspiron 1525, but today another announcement comes off the Direct2 Dell blog. Dell is now offering Ubuntu 7.10 Linux (with DVD playback support) on its Inspiron 530 PC in China. China joins the half-dozen other countries where Dell PCs with Ubuntu pre-loaded are available and Canonical providing the technical support. Will Dellbuntu start to strike away at some of the 80%+ market-share that Red Flag Linux has in China? Two years ago Dell (and HP) were shipping Red Flag Linux Desktop in China.
Last month Dell announced it would ship Ubuntu 7.10 on the XPS M1330 laptop and now Dell is furthering their Dellbuntu product selection with the Inspiron 1525. This Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop will ship with Ubuntu 7.10 and the recently added DVD playback support. In addition to shipping in the United States, Linux on the Inspiron 1525 will also be available in the UK, France, Germany, and Spain. More information can be found on the Direct2Dell blog.
It's official, Creative Labs is joining the open specification/code bandwagon for the X-Fi series. Earlier this week we shared that through the Open Sound System there is now open-source support for the Sound Blaster X-Fi. The OSS sbxfi driver had contained three files that were copyrighted by Creative Labs and were labeled confidential. Inside of these files were code for the X-Fi PCI registers as well as functions for initializing these sound cards and other hardware-related tasks. We now know that 4Front Technologies hadn't acquired this X-Fi code illegally or through some back-room maneuvering, but that Creative Labs is interacting with both the OSS and ALSA projects.
In what equated to being a shorter development cycle than normal and with only two release candidates under its belt, ALSA 1.0.16 final has been released. ALSA 1.0.16-rc1 was released just two weeks ago followed by ALSA 1.0.16-rc2 last week and now this week is the final build. Since this last RC build has been a few minor changes to the CMI8788 Oxygen driver, just under a changes to HDA Codec (mostly adding in new product support), and miscellaneous changes to the other audio drivers. The change-log is available (along with download links) from the ALSA Project Wiki. Hopefully in the ALSA 1.0.17 release we'll find Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi support.
LM_Sensors 3.0.1 has been released this week as a minor update against LM_Sensors 3.0.0, which was released this past November. The main change coming with LM_Sensors 3.0.1 is that libsensors no longer depends libsysfs, which according to the LM_Sensors team has greatly sped up the library initialization time. New ASICs detected in this release include the SMSC SCH5514D-NS, Fintek F71858DG, Fintek F81216D, and Intel 82801AA (ICH). The complete list of changes for LM_Sensors 3.0.1 is available from the SVN viewer while download links and other information can be found on the project homepage.
One week after the first ALSA 1.0.16 RC, the second release candidate for v1.0.16 of the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture is now available. ALSA 1.0.16-rc2 has a few sound core fixes, a dozen changes to the C-Media CMI8788 Oxygen driver, quite a few HDA codec changes, and various work on alsa-lib and alsa-python. The changes between -rc1 and -rc2 are available from the ALSA Project Wiki.
It was just last month that Dell announced it would ship Ubuntu 7.10 on their Linux-loaded notebooks and laptops, and in addition they would be shipping LinDVD to provide legal DVD playback support. The newest announcement coming out of Dell now is that they will be shipping Ubuntu on a Dell XPS notebook and that they have extended their "Dellbuntu" models to Spain. This newest Ubuntu-loaded notebook is the XPS M1330, which is much beefier than the Inspiron 6400 notebook currently deployed with Gutsy Gibbon. The XPS M1330 has an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 13.3" WXGA display, 1GB to 4GB of DDR2 RAM, up to a 320GB SATA hard drive or 64GB solid state disk, and an option of Intel GMA X3100 graphics or having a NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS 128MB graphics processor. This new Ubuntu 7.10 notebook is already available in Europe and will begin shipping in the United States next week. The announcement came from the Direct2Dell blog.
In the first development release for the new year and the ALSA 1.0.16 branch, version 1.0.16-rc1 of the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) is now available. This is the first new ALSA release in over three months, but it arrives with a lengthy change-log for this Linux kernel sound component. Among the many changes that had interested us with ALSA 1.0.16-rc1 were build fixes for the Linux 2.6.24 kernel, two dozen changes to the ALSA core, the rewritten C-Media CMI8788 Oxygen driver, emu10k1 clean-up, and just under 80 changes to the HDA Codec (and more changes to the HDA drivers). Of course, there are also many changes to other ALSA drivers, ALSA library, and other sound components.
DeviceVM and ASUS are today announcing that they have expanded their selection of motherboards that ship with SplashTop (a.k.a. "Express Gate") technology. We've been enthralled by SplashTop, an embedded instant-on Linux desktop environment, since we had first looked at this technology on the ASUS P5E3 Deluxe motherboard. DeviceVM's SplashTop is so interesting that it had even earned the title of being one of the greatest Linux innovations of 2007.
Yesterday afternoon on the Direct2Dell blog it was announced that Dell is now shipping Ubuntu 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon" on their pre-installed notebook/desktop Linux systems. Ubuntu 7.10 is available on the "Dellbuntu" notebooks and desktops today, while parts of Europe will see Gutsy Gibbon on the Inspiron 530 later this week. In addition, these Dell Ubuntu PCs have gained DVD playback support out of the box through the use of LinDVD (along with all of the other features found in Ubuntu 7.10).
Dave Jones of Red Hat has pushed out an update to the x86info utility, which for the uninformed is used for identifying various bits of information on x86 processors. This new release, x86info v1.21, contains support for updated CPUs, various clean-ups, and support for new operating systems. The added OS support is for FreeBSD and Solaris/OpenSolaris. An AMD engineer has also spent some time improving the AMD CPU functionality in this open-source CPU utility. There is also added identification support for new Intel Core 2 and Xeon processors. The last x86info release (v1.20) was over a year ago, but Dave Jones hopes to provide more timely releases. The new x86info release can be downloaded from its project web-page.
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