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Linux 5.6 Is The Most Exciting Kernel In Years With So Many New Features

The Linux 5.6 merge window is anticipated to be ending today followed by the Linux 5.6-rc1 test release. This kernel is simply huge: there is so many new and improved features with this particular release that it’s mind-boggling. I’m having difficulty remembering such a time a kernel release was so large.

The quick summary of Linux 5.6 changes include: WireGuard, USB4, open-source NVIDIA RTX 2000 series support, AMD Pollock enablement, lots of new hardware support, a lot of file-system / storage work, multi-path TCP bits are finally going mainline, Year 2038 work beginning to wrap-up for 32-bit systems, the new AMD TEE driver for tapping the Secure Processor, the first signs of AMD Zen 3, better AMD Zen/Zen2 thermal and power reporting under Linux, at long last having an in-kernel SATA drive temperature for HWMON, and a lot of other kernel infrastructure improvements.

[Source: Phoronix]

Open source takes on managing and securing the electrical grid

The first you may know about the next cyberwar might be when your power goes out. Just ask the citizens of Kiev, Ukraine — whose power was cut off for an hour by an attack from Russian hackers. Indeed, you probably don’t know it, but the first shots have already been fired in the US. In March 2019 a Denial of Service (DoS) attack hit power grid control systems in Utah, Wyoming, and California. Energy companies know it, which is one reason LF Energy, a Linux Foundation project, announced its latest project: Grid eXchange Fabric (GXF).

Dutch distribution system operator Alliander created it as an Open Smart Grid Platform (OSGP). GXF is a scalable and technology-agnostic Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform. It enables grid operators to securely collect data and monitor, control, and manage smart devices on the grid.

[Source: ZDNet]

How fast are your disks? Find out the open source way, with fio

Storage benchmarking—much like Wi-Fi benchmarking—is a widely misunderstood black art. Admins and enthusiasts have for decades been tempted to just “get the big number” by reading or writing a large amount of data to a disk, getting a figure in MB/sec, and calling it a day. Unfortunately, the actual workload of a typical disk doesn’t look like that—and that “simple speed test” doesn’t reproduce a lot of the bottlenecks that slow down disk access in real-world systems.

The most realistic way to test and benchmark disks is, of course, to just use them and see what happens. Unfortunately, that’s neither very repeatable, nor is it simple to analyze. So we do want an artificial benchmarking tool—but we want one that we can use intelligently to test storage systems across realistic scenarios that model our day-to-day usage well. Fortunately, we don’t have to invent such a tool—there’s already a free and open source software tool called fio, and it’s even cross-platform!

[Source: Ars Technica]

Where top VCs are investing in open source and dev tools

The once-polarizing world of open-source software has recently become one of the hotter destinations for VCs. As the popularity of open source increases among organizations and developers, startups in the space have reached new heights and monstrous valuations.

Over the past several years, we’ve seen surging open-source companies like Databricks reach unicorn status, as well as VCs who cashed out behind a serious number of exits involving open-source and dev tool companies, deals like IBM’s Red Hat acquisition or Elastic’s late-2018 IPO. Last year, the exit spree continued with transactions like F5 Networks’ acquisition of NGINX and a number of high-profile acquisitions from mainstays like Microsoft and GitHub.

[Source: TechCrunch]

Intel’s Linux Distro Beats Windows 10 And Ubuntu — On AMD Hardware

Looking for a Linux distribution that’s performance-optimized for your AMD processor? It may already exist, and it’s called Clear Linux. That’s right, Intel’s Clear Linux. In a recent battery of benchmarks performed on a $199 laptop from Walmart, Ubuntu proved 15-percent faster than the default Windows 10 installation, but then Clear Linux blew both Ubuntu and Fedora out of the water.

Phoronix ran a comprehensive benchmark suite on the US retailer’s dirt-cheap Motile M141 laptop which retails for $199. The laptop is powered by a modest AMD Ryzen 3200U processor with built-in Vega 3 graphics and 4GB of RAM.

[Source: Forbes]

Major Japanese hardware vendor joins Open Invention Network

The Open Invention Network (OIN) is the largest patent non-aggression community in history. It’s chief job has been to protect Linux and open-source friendly companies from patent attacks. Now, Japanese hardware power Taiyo Yuden has joined the OIN as a community member.

What does a global leader in the development of advanced capacitors, inductors, functional modules, and bulk acoustic wave (BAW) filters have to do with Linux or open source? True, its components are used in mobile devices, personal electronics and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which are dominated by Linux and open-source software. But it doesn’t create products which use either. That’s the job of companies further up the supply chain.

[Source: ZDNet]

Aiven raises $40M to democratize access to open-source projects through managed cloud services

The growing ubiquity of open-source software has been a big theme in the evolution of enterprise IT. But behind that facade of popularity lies another kind of truth: Companies may be interested in using more open-source technology, but because there is a learning curve with taking on an open-source project, not all of them have the time, money and expertise to adopt it. Today, a startup out of Finland that has built a platform specifically to target that group of users is announcing a big round of funding, underscoring not just demand for its products, but its growth to date.

Aiven — which provides managed, cloud-based services designed to make it easier for businesses to build services on top of open-source projects — is today announcing that it has raised $40 million in funding, a Series B being led by IVP (itself a major player in enterprise software, backing an illustrious list that includes Slack, Dropbox, Datadog, GitHub and HashiCorp).

[Source: TechCrunch]

The Linux Kernel Will Be Able To Detect Split-Locks To Then Warn Or Kill Offending Apps

Not yet mainlined in the Linux kernel but currently queued as part of the x86/cpu changes for next round is the ability for the kernel to detect split locks and either warn the offending applications or kill the processes.

Split locks are when an atomic instruction operates on data spanning multiple cache lines. Due to the atomic nature, a global bus lock is needed when working on two cache lines and that in turn causes a big performance hit for the overall system performance. This Linux kernel support for detecting split locks is contingent upon x86_64 CPUs supporting the capability for generating alignment check exceptions (#AC) on encountering a split lock. For now the necessary MSR appears to be only supported on Intel CPUs.

[Source: Phoronix]

Dell’s 2019 XPS 13 DE: As close as we currently get to Linux-computing nirvana

Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Edition, the company’s flagship “just works” Ubuntu-based machine, was recently refreshed. These days Dell’s XPS line is not the cheapest Linux option, nor is it the most configurable or user-upgradable. And if any of those factors are a big part of your criteria, this is likely not the laptop for you.

On top of that, many Linux users still have a strong DIY streak and will turn up their noses at the XPS 13. After all, in a day and age when just about every laptop I test seems to run Linux fairly well right out of the box, do you need official support? If you know what you’re doing and don’t mind troubleshooting your own problems, the answer is probably not.

[Source: Ars Technica]

Best Open Source eCommerce Platforms to Build Online Shopping Websites

Do you want to build your own online shopping websites? Thankfully, we have some good open source eCommerce solutions that you can deploy on your own Linux server.

These eCommerce software are tailored for the sole purpose of giving you a shopping website. So they have essential features like inventory management, product listings, cart, checkout, wishlisting and option to integrate a payment solution. There are many open source eCommerce software available. We have listed the ones which are actively maintained so that your shopping website doesn’t suffer because of obsolete or maintained software stack.

[Source: It’s FOSS]