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Void Linux: Built From Scratch for Full Independence

2 weeks 4 days ago
Void Linux is a bit out of the ordinary. It offers an unusually interesting alternative to many of the traditional Linux distros affiliated with a larger Linux family such as Debian or Ubuntu or Arch. Void Linux is an independently developed, rolling-release, general-purpose operating system. That means that its software is either homegrown or plain-vanilla compiled.
Jack M. Germain

Ubuntu Touch OTA-6 Call for Testing, openSUSE T-Shirt and Poster Design Contest, RISC-V Foundation Joins The Linux Foundation, Location Tracking in Android Violates GDPR and FSF Announces 18 GNU Releases

2 weeks 4 days ago

News briefs for November 29, 2018.

UBports announces a call for testing for Ubuntu Touch OTA-6. They are asking the community for feedback and have prepared a GitHub project for OTA-6 quality assurance. See the UBports blog for more info on how you can help with the testing and also to see what's new in the OTA-6 release, which is scheduled for December 7th.

openSUSE is having a t-shirt and poster design contest for the openSUSE Conference 2019, which is being held in Nuremberg, Germany. The contest begins December 1, 2018, and the deadline for entry is January 15, 2019.

The RISC-V Foundation, a non-profit that works to encourage adoption of the RISC-V architecture for chip design, has joined the Linux Foundation to help RISC-V grow its open-source ecosystem. FossBytes reports that to start, the two foundations are "aiming at preparing helpful guides to help Linux and Zephyr users get started with RISC-V. The initial guides are expected to be unveiled at the RISC-V Summit in Santa Clara on Dec. 3."

Seven European consumer organizations have filed a complaint that Google location tracking in Android "lacks a valid legal basis in the European Union". According to The Register, "At the heart of the complaint is that the user control of location tracking falls far short of what's required by the union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)—the consent controls are both deceptive and ineffective."

The Free Software Foundation announces 18 GNU releases for the month (as of November 27th). Subscribe to the GNU mailing list for new GNU release announcements, and download GNU software from the GNU mirrors.

News Ubuntu Touch Mobile openSUSE RISC-V The Linux Foundation Google Android GDPR EU FSF GNU Linux
Jill Franklin

Linux and Supercomputers

2 weeks 4 days ago
by Bryan Lunduke

As we sit here, in the year Two Thousand and Eighteen (better known as "the future, where the robots live"), our beloved Linux is the undisputed king of supercomputing. Of the top 500 supercomputers in the world, approximately zero of them don't run Linux (give or take...zero).

The most complicated, powerful computers in the world—performing the most intense processing tasks ever devised by man—all rely on Linux. This is an amazing feat for the little Free Software Kernel That Could, and one heck of a great bragging point for Linux enthusiasts and developers across the globe.

But it wasn't always this way.

In fact, Linux wasn't even a blip on the supercomputing radar until the late 1990s. And, it took another decade for Linux to gain the dominant position in the fabled "Top 500" list of most powerful computers on the planet.

A Long, Strange Road

To understand how we got to this mind-blowingly amazing place in computing history, we need to go back to the beginning of "big, powerful computers"—or at least, much closer to it: the early 1950s.

Tony Bennett and Perry Como ruled the airwaves, The Day The Earth Stood Still was in theaters, I Love Lucy made its television debut, and holy moly, does that feel like a long time ago.

In this time, which we've established was a long, long time ago, a gentleman named Seymour Cray—whom I assume commuted to work on his penny-farthing and rather enjoyed a rousing game of hoop and stick—designed a machine for the Armed Forces Security Agency, which, only a few years before (in 1949), was created to handle cryptographic and electronic intelligence activities for the United States military. This new agency needed a more powerful machine, and Cray was just the man (hoop and stick or not) to build it.

Figure 1. Seymour Cray, Father of the Supercomputer (from http://www.startribune.com/minnesota-history-seymour-cray-s-mind-worked-at-super-computer-speed/289683511

This resulted in a machine known as the Atlas II.

Weighing a svelte 19 tons, the Atlas II was a groundbreaking powerhouse—one of the first computers to use Random Access Memory (aka "RAM") in the form of 36 Williams Tubes (Cathode Ray Tubes, like the ones in old CRT TVs and monitors, capable of storing 1024 bits of data each).

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Bryan Lunduke