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.
LM_Sensors, the package used to facilitate hardware monitoring within Linux for a variety of different ASICs, has finally reached version 3.0. LM_Sensors 3.0.0 represents the next-generation, chip-independent hardware monitoring tools package. We shared a number of details when previously reporting on LM_Sensors 3.0, but some of the important changes include LM_Sensors turning to a user-space-only package with no more kernel modules and the i2c software has been moved to i2c-tools. The libsensors package has been completely rewritten, and at version 4.0.0 it has a brand new API. More information is available in the LM_Sensors mailing list announcement.
Dell started off shipping Ubuntu on their notebooks and desktops earlier this year (Dell Loves Ubuntu, It's Official) and now they have found a new mate for their PowerEdge servers. Dell will be making Solaris 10 and Solaris support services available on these select servers. Of course, this all comes after IBM announced this past August that they would be offering Sun's Solaris on some of their x86 servers. Read more in the Sun press release.
Back in September we were finally able to test the Razer Barracuda AC-1 under Linux. This sound card, which employs the C-Media Oxygen HD CMI8788 audio processor, took quite a while to be supported by ALSA but the CMI8788 driver found in ALSA 1.0.15 was very problematic. This is the same APU found on other high-end sound cards such as the Auzentech X-Meridian, Bluegears B-inspirer, and ASUS Xonar, but with this driver it had worked worse than most cheaper alternatives.
After talking about NVIDIA's ESA standard yesterday and whether it would appear for Linux users, we noticed that the LM_Sensors team is making very good progress towards LM_Sensors 3.0. The first LM_Sensors 3 release candidate came out towards the end of September. Distinguishing LM_Sensors 3 from the current stable LM_Sensors 2.10 series it is now only a user-space-only package with no kernel components needed. The i2c components for LM_sensors have also been split into i2c-tools. The sensor library, libsensors, also received a brand new API for LM_Sensors 3. Released in early October was then LM_Sensors 3.0.0-rc2, which contained a number of fixes. Most recently, however, last week marked the release of LM_Sensors 3.0.0-rc3. This most recent testing release introduced better handling of the default configuration file path.
The developers behind ALSA (the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture), are out this morning with the v1.0.15 release. This new ALSA release includes updated ALSA drivers, libraries, plug-ins, and utilities. In total there are 98 drivers with changes, and this release does even include support for C-Media's Oxygen HD CMI8788. The CMI8788 APU is used on such sound cards as the Razer Barracuda AC-1, which up to this point was only supported by the Open Sound System. ALSA 1.0.15 has a number of changes especially for the CMIPCI, HDA, and USB audio drivers. The complete list of changes between ALSA 1.0.14 and 1.0.15 can be found on the ALSA Project Wiki.
After the release of LM_Sensors 2.10.4, a new release of XSensors is finally available. XSensors 0.60 introduces new support for the following chips: Fintek F71805F/FG, SMSC LPC47M192, k8temp, and w83627ehf. Also fixed in this XSensors release is a potential segmentation fault as well as some sanity checking on sensors. The complete XSensors change-log is available here with additional details and download links at LinuxHardware.org.
Following our ASUS Motherboard Ships With Embedded Linux, Web Browser article, ASUS has released a series of slides to Phoronix containing additional information about their "Express Gate" functionality.
Hitting the web is now the third release candidate for ALSA 1.0.15. As we shared in an earlier article, ALSA 1.0.15 delivers the first C-Media Oxygen HD CMI8788 driver for supporting the Razer Barracuda AC-1 and other high-end sound cards. Of course, there's a lot of other work and fixes going into ALSA 1.0.15 as well. Between ALSA 1.0.15-rc2 and 1.0.15-rc3 is fixes and work going on with a number of the ALSA drivers as well as updates to the Sound Core. All of the details are available from the ALSA Project Wiki.
This week at a Power Architecture conference, IBM showed off a new Power-based system codenamed "Bimini." Bimini is a 4-way PowerPC 970MP that ships with an XGI XP10 PCI Express x16 graphics card. Ian Romanick has been working on the XGI X.Org driver (1.5.0 XGI driver) for the past couple of months all for this new IBM creation. The XGI driver is still a work in progress and needs a lot of work still, but Ian seems to be dedicated towards improving the driver for this once hopeful Taiwan company. You can read about Ian's work on the XGI driver on his FreeDesktop.org blog.
Creative Labs' X-Fi Linux driver is now available for download. We talked about the beta driver yesterday, and this morning the official announcement is coming out of Creative Labs. This closed-source X-Fi driver is ALSA compatible on the Linux 2.6 kernel and includes an installation script to automate the process. Not only is this just a closed-source beta driver that's over two years late, but right now it only supports x86_64 Linux. Users running 32-bit Linux or other architectures are still out of luck until Creative Labs supports them or support comes through the Advanced Linux Architecture or the Open Sound System.
The news is a bit late, but ALSA (the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) is out with its first release candidate in the 1.0.15 series. Since the release of ALSA 1.0.14, this new sound driver release introduces a great deal of changes. There are some alsa-lib, alsa-plugins, alsa-utils, and alsa-firmware changes in this release, but most of the work (as would be expected) is done to the ALSA core drivers. In fact, there is quite a number of driver changes in ALSA 1.0.15-rc1. One of the interesting improvements in ALSA is support for the C-Media Oxygen HD CMI8788, which is a high-end audio processor used by such sound cards as the Razer Barracuda AC-1. The various HDA (High Definition Audio) drivers have also received updates and bug fixes. Find out more on the ALSA 1.0.15-rc1 change-log.
It was less than a week ago when we last updated you on the status of the $150 Medison Celebrity laptop. At that time the insanely cheap laptop was still no where to be found. However, it seems as if the final confirmation is there that this 1.5GHz Celeron processor, 256MB of RAM, Linux-loaded, 14" wide-screen laptop is indeed a scam. Over the weekend the Medison Celebrity website was shutdown and now just advertises the hosting company that Medison had used. Though for those of you who had placed an order thinking that this laptop was real, 2CheckOut (the merchant account processor) has stated that Medison is now on a deadline to produce a laptop otherwise all standing orders will be canceled and their balances refunded. It looks like the story of the Medison Celebrity is now coming to a close...
Remember the Medison Celebrity Laptop that was advertised as a $150 USD laptop loaded with Fedora Linux? It's still missing in action. It's well over a month now since the Medison Celebrity first appeared on the Internet and led many to wonder if it was really a mordacious scam. This laptop that advertises a 1.5GHz Celeron processor, 256MB of RAM, 802.11g WiFi, and 14" wide-screen still isn't to be found. It was claimed it would be a few weeks before the Medison Celebrity would be shipping, but a month later we haven't yet heard anything back from the Medison Celebrity company or 2Checkout that handles the billing side. Their website hasn't been updated aside from changing the pictures. The support phone lines for Medison Celebrity are also still "temporarly closed" a month later. The Medison Celebrity folks still must be learning how to spell "temporarily" or how to setup their phone lines... At least the ASUS Eee PC laptop will be available soon.
As was pointed out in the Phoronix Forums, there is now an open-source utility to configure your Razer DeathAdder mouse under Linux. This DeathAdder Linux program can control the LEDs as well as altering the scanning resolution, frequency, and profiles. While this program is aimed for the DeathAdder mouse on Linux, it also supports changing the scan resolution for the Razer Krait mouse.
Within the last few days the official website for the ALSA project (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) website received an overhaul. The ALSA project website is now Wiki-based with a brand new appearance. The supported sound card matrix is also now on the Wiki and is still laid out by manufacturer but with a new format. The latest version of the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture remains at 1.0.14, but the ALSA 1.0.15 release candidates will hopefully begin soon.
Making news on the Internet in the past 24 hours has been the "Medison Celebrity Laptop", which claims to be a $150 USD laptop that ships with an Intel Celeron 1.5GHz processor, a 14" LCD screen, 802.11g wireless, and uses Fedora Linux. For such a low price this looks like an incredible deal, but its validity can be questioned. Medison says that its phone lines are "temporarily closed", specific information on the Medison Celebrity laptop is limited, and there is a rather long turn-around time. Beyond these points that have already been brought up in the electronic world, there is a equal if not greater number of questions surrounding Valdi Ivancic, Medison's CEO and president, and his past business activities.
Dell knows it won't happen overnight, but along side wanting to ship audio/video codecs, Intel Wireless 80.211N support for Linux, Broadcom Wireless for Linux, and being able to ship notebooks and desktops with Compiz Fusion enabled, Dell would like to see improved ATI Linux drivers. At Ubuntu Live 2007, Amit Bhutani had a session on Ubuntu Linux for Dell Consumer Systems, where he had shared a slide with Dell's "area of investigation", which Amit had said is essentially their Linux road-map. Amit had also stated that the NVIDIA 2D and 3D video drivers were "challenges in platform enablement". Dell wants to offer ATI Linux systems, but first the driver must be improved for the Linux platform (not necessarily open-source, but improved). Dell currently ships desktop Linux systems with Intel using their open-source drivers as well as NVIDIA graphics processors under Linux. Amit had went on to add that new Dell product offerings and availability in other countries will come later this summer.
LM_Sensors 2.10.4 has been released, which adds Linux 2.4 kernel support for the Winbond W83627EHG, user-space support for the SMSC DME1737, and support for a variety of other ASICs. The complete set of changes for 2.10.4 can be read from their change log and you can download this latest hardware monitoring package from the LM_Sensors Wiki.
Many Linux users are after lobbying hardware manufacturers for open-source graphics drivers or specifications for complex pieces of hardware, but an effort is underway to get hardware specifications for something very simple, a remote control. The Logitech Harmony 880 is a universal remote that contains a color LCD display and has proved to be a very popular peripheral and can interface with everything from a TiVO to a computer and other home appliances. For the past few months Phil Dibowitz has been working on writing a Linux driver for this $250 USD remote control.
An announcement has been made on the LM_Sensors home-page that version 2.10.4 of this hardware monitoring program will be available in mid-July. This maintenance release will add support for a few new chips and fix some outstanding bugs. The specific changes that will be found in LM_Sensors 2.10.4 can be found in the trunk CHANGES. The final release is currently planned for July 16.
Dell had started shipping two desktops and one notebook last month that was loaded with Ubuntu 7.04 "Feisty Fawn", but based upon the sales and success so far with these Linux-loaded PCs in the United States, they are in the process of expanding their Ubuntu selection. Now being offered at Dell is Ubuntu on the Inspiron 1420N notebook with a number of customization options. Expect more Dell Ubuntu desktops and notebooks in the near future. Hewlett-Packard may also be joining the US Linux consumer PC party as well.
Announced on the OpenSolaris forums by 4Front Technologies is that they will be open-sourcing the Open Sound System (OSS) on June 14th. 4Front's Open Sound will be licensed under the CDDL for Solaris and GPLv2 for Linux, BSD, and other platforms. This is great news and you can share your thoughts on it in the Phoronix Foruns. Additional information will come a week from today, June 14, when the announcement is officially made.
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