The Linux 6.6 modules infrastructure is changing to better protect against the illicit behavior of NVIDIA's proprietary kernel driver.
Michael Larabel is the founder and principal author of Phoronix, having founded the site on 5 June 2004. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org. Michael has authored thousands of articles on open-source software, the state of Linux hardware and other topics.
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Hours after posting a large patch series for enabling the Nouveau kernel driver to use NVIDIA's GSP for improving the support for RTX 20/30 series hardware and finally enabling accelerated graphics support on RTX 40 "Ada Lovelace" GPUs, the Red Hat maintainer has resigned from his duties.
One nugget of information in the LibreOffice 7.6 release announcement for those who missed it and deserves calling out specifically... Succeeding LibreOffice 7.6 will not be v7.7 or v8.0 but rather v24.2.
While Linux 6.5 is expected for release tomorrow, the flow of last minute fixes isn't over.
With the in-development Linux 6.6 kernel adding support for more upcoming Radeon graphics processors, that means more auto-generated header files for the new IP blocks... I was curious to see the overall size now of the AMDGPU kernel driver along with its associated code like the AMDKFD compute driver. It's now above 5 million lines for the kernel driver portion.
Following discussions among compiler developers and other stakeholders, the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) is preparing to add a "-fhardened" compiler option that will enable various hardening features aimed at increasing the security/robustness of the generated binaries.
The new nvidia-drm-kmod is a FreeBSD port of Linux's nvidia-drm.ko open-source kernel module.
Back in 2021 Samsung engineers posted KSMBD as an in-kernel SMB3 server alternative to the likes of the user-space Samba server. KSMBD merged into Linux 5.15 as an experimental SMB server while after two years of fixes and other improvements has now dropped its "experimental" marking.
As part of updates to the older file-system drivers for Linux 6.6, the ReiserFS file-system is no longer marked as "Supported" but is officially treated as "Obsolete" within the Linux kernel.
New (Windows) tools have been released that break the NVIDIA BIOS Signature Lock, the "security" functionality in use since the GeForce GTX 900 days around signed firmware/BIOS handling. This authentication mechanism is what in turn has led to the GeForce GTX 700 series still being the best supported series by the open-source Nouveau driver while the GTX 900 series and later have been crippled to their low boot clock speeds due to PMU/re-clocking restrictions. While Nouveau developers have been working on the GPU System Processor (GSP) approach for RTX 20 "Turing" GPUs and newer to workaround this limitation as NVIDIA's blessed path forward, the NVIDIA BIOS Signature Lock has now been broken by Windows modders.
A few days ago Bcachefs was proposed for inclusion to Linux 6.6 after it failed to be pulled for the prior Linux 6.5 kernel cycle. Since then we've been waiting to see what action Linus Torvalds would take with including Bcachefs... He's finally commented on it today but remains to be seen if it will land for this kernel release.
Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) has been part of the mainline kernel for two decades to provide a security module implementing access control security policies and is now widely-used for enhancing the security of production Linux servers and other systems. Those that haven't been involved with Linux for a long time may be unaware that SELinux originates from the US National Security Agency (NSA). But now with Linux 6.6 the NSA references are being removed.
While Bcachefs was not merged for the Linux 6.6 cycle with one of the concerns raised by Linus Torvalds being that it hadn't been vetted via the "linux-next" staging area, that process has now begun to raise hopes of potentially seeing the new file-system driver introduced for Linux 6.7.
Among the many changes to land during this first week of the Linux 6.6 cycle were the x86 CPU microcode loader updates that now unconditionally makes that support part of the x86/x86_64 kernel builds.
It turns out that Ubuntu Linux installations of Ubuntu 23.04, 22.04.3 LTS, and installs done since April 2023 that accepted the Snap version update haven't been following Ubuntu's own recommended security best practices for their security pocket configuration for packages. A new Subiquity release was issued today to fix this problem while those on affected Ubuntu installs are recommended to manually edit their /etc/apt/sources.list file.
In time for the weekend gamers, SteamOS 3.5 has just rolled out into Valve's preview channel for the Steam Deck. Those switching over to the "Preview" mode from the System Update Channel setting can begin to enjoy this huge feature update for the Arch Linux based SteamOS.
As part of the effort for enabling UEFI support with ReactOS, an open-source operating system re-implementing binary compatibility with Microsoft Windows, a development build of ReactOS is up and running on Valve's Steam Deck handheld game console.
Oliver Smith at Canonical who serves as the Product Manager for Ubuntu Desktop published a post on "charting a course for the future" of the Ubuntu desktop.
In addition to all the open-source kernel graphics/display driver updates for Linux 6.6, merged this afternoon ahead of the Linux 6.6-rc1 tagging is merging of the DRM continuous integration (CI) code to hopefully lead to better testing of DRM subsystem/driver changes.
While AMD has acquired a number of hardware companies in the past several years, software company acquisitions by AMD has been much more rare. This morning AMD announced the acquisition of Mipsology as an AI software company.
With the EXT4 file-system updates for Linux 6.6 there is mostly some code clean-ups and other bug fixing. But one change in particular stands out for its performance impact.
Intel announced this morning on the second day of their Innovation 2023 conference that they are collaborating with software vendors such as Red Hat, Canonical, and SUSE for providing Intel-optimized Linux distributions.
In addition to the EEVDF scheduler replacing the CFS code in Linux 6.6, another fundamental and interesting change with Linux 6.6 is on the workqueue (WQ) side with a rework that can benefit systems with multiple L3 caches like modern AMD chiplet-based systems.
Xfce 4.18 released last December with some strides on the Wayland front for this lightweight GTK-based desktop environment, but more work remains before Xfce will be fully compatible with Wayland and its own robust compositor. The Xfce Wayland road-map was recently updated to reflect the latest work on this major undertaking.
In addition to GNOME's Sysprof integrating CPU scheduler data this week for GNOME 45, this system-wide profiling tool has also added support for FlameGraphs.