The Swedes from Gothenberg that run Craft Animations have announced the first-ever Linux release of their Craft Director Studio software. Craft Director Studio, which is an advanced real-time 3D animations tool, is now officially supported under Fedora Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. While proprietary, this tool is used for pre-visualization, game development, architectural visualization, and even accident reconstruction and forensics. Licenses for these tools cost up to $1200 USD.
Back in August we covered the Skype 2.1 beta that was released and brought new features like SILK audio codec support, PulseAudio compatibility, SMS sending support, chat messaging editing/removing capabilities, contact groups support, typing notification in chat, chat picture support, and mood messages. Skype 2.1 Beta 2 has finally been released and it brings even more features. To be found in beta 2 is Linux screen-sharing support, report abuse, support for UI styles, support for quoting a message, and localized time formats.
Roderick Colenbrander, or better known by his Internet name of Thunderbird (not to be confused with the Mozilla mail client), will soon be announcing a new software project that is supposed to be rather interesting, according to him. Roderick is known for starting the NVClock project years prior to the existence of CoolBits support for Linux to enable NVIDIA graphics card overclocking (and other tweaking) with Linux. Roderick has also been involved with the Nouveau project for a brief while and also with Wine to improve its graphics support. He has also been a contributor to our forums.
For those that prefer wicd to NetworkManager or other programs for managing network connections under Linux, a new release of the Wireless Interface Connection Daemon is now available. Wicd 1.7.0 is arriving just about six months after the release of wicd 1.6.0, but this 2010 release does bring some new features.
Work on version 1.2 of the Clutter Toolkit has been underway for a few months now and today there is finally a new development snapshot available. Clutter 1.1.4 is this new snapshot and it brings improved support for the Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X builds, the OpenGL version requirement has been dropped to just OpenGL 1.2, documentation updates, and improvements to the toolkit functionality itself.
Besides my sabbatical announcement for the Phoronix Test Suite's benefit, there is some other Windows-Linux news this afternoon. The developers behind the Unix/Linux-like environment for Microsoft Windows have announced the release of version 1.7.
As Alan Coopersmith pointed out after mentioning the X.Org plans to move away from HAL, the DeviceKit-disks project has renamed itself. DeviceKit-disks is now to be known as udisks. Coming next week, the DeviceKit-power project is also going to rename itself to upower. The dropping of the DeviceKit name is being done to reflect that no daemon is being used in the current implementation but that its reliant upon libudev and libgudev.
The developers behind the Xine multimedia player have announced the release of xine-lib 1.1.17. This isn't the major Xine 1.2 library update that is expected to offer significantly better Blu-ray disc support along with support for NVIDIA's VDPAU interface, but the 1.1.17 release does carry some interesting features.
For those interested in 3D modeling and graphics, you will want to check out the first alpha release of Blender 2.5. Blender 2.5 is bringing major changes to this free software 3D graphics application. With Blender 2.5, the user-interface is being redesigned and bringing rewritten components like a new file browser, customizable tool shelf, support for multiple windows, and customizable keyboard shortcuts.
In early September we featured an article on Jolicloud Linux, which sought to provide innovations atop Ubuntu Netbook Remix by enriching the experience for cloud computing and through their Jolicloud service to have easy access to various web-based applications. At that time we were seeded with an early alpha build of Jolicloud, but this morning (just a day after we published the first Chrome OS benchmarks), their CEO has provided us with a pre-beta copy of Jolicloud (codenamed "Robby").
It has been over seven months since NetworkManager 0.7.1 saw the light of day, but now NetworkManager 0.7.2 has been released. No release announcement or change-log has yet to emerge on this latest Red Hat project release, but the FreeDesktop.org Git log shows a variety of bug-fixes going into the NetworkManager 0.7 release since 0.7.1 was made available in April. There are the addition of new device IDs for various network devices, bug-fixes, documentation updates, translation updates, and other work to improve this easy-to-use networking utility for the Linux desktop.
It was less than two weeks ago that PulseAudio 0.9.20 was released as a bug-fix release, but PulseAudio 0.9.21 was pushed out today to offer up more bug-fixes. Besides carrying eight bug fixes to this software package that is loved by some and hated by others, PulseAudio 0.9.21 also integrates the device-manager module.
Back in June Enlightenment E16 reached version 1.0.0 and then a few weeks later there was an E17 development snapshot released, but there hasn't been a whole lot of news out of the Enlightenment camp over the past year. In fact, most new Linux users have likely never even heard of the Enlightenment. For the uninformed, Enlightenment is a window manager that has been around since 1997 but doesn't receive too much mainstream love. Fortunately though it now has the backing of a major electronics manufacturer who is sponsoring its development.
The Reiser4 file-system has been around since 2004 but has not reached a point of being close to be included in the mainline Linux kernel, especially after the lead developer, Hans Reiser, was convicted of murdering his wife. Development of Reiser4 has continued on, albeit with a very limited number of developers, and not nearly at the brisk pace of Btrfs or with great interest by corporate parties. The last TODO list update on the Reiser4 file-system was posted back in April with just five items un-addressed. In late July it was then shared by Edward Shishkin, a former employee of Hans Reiser's Namesys who has since effectively taken over work on Reiser4, that in the Autumn they would begin exploring the opportunity of getting this file-system in the mainline Linux kernel.
The news just keeps rolling in today... Besides VIA trying again to submit their kernel DRM, learning about KDE 4.4 features, announcing AMD's UVD2-based XvBA finally does something on Linux, the release of the Linux 2.6.32-rc6 kernel, and GNOME 3.0 likely being delayed to next September, we also have news this evening from the well-known Linux game porter Ryan Gordon (a.k.a. Icculus).
The very popular Skype VoIP service has provided a Linux client for some years now, but it's not nearly as full-featured as its Windows counterpart, and right now it's a binary-only application. However, things may be partially changing at this company that's in the process of being spun off from eBay. There's a new blog post on Skype.com entitled Skype open source. It's officially confirmed that "an open source version of [the] Linux client [is] being developed." This open-source client is part of some larger offering that supposedly will be coming down the pipe at Skype. These efforts will also help them get Skype adopted within Linux distributions and seeing Skype on other new platforms.
There hasn't been much to report on with the OpenMoko project lately, but today a new OpenMoko product was launched: the WikiReader. The WikiReader is a small, mobile device without any form of an Internet connection that has archived over three million pages of Wikipedia. This device, which is set to retail for $99 USD, runs OpenMoko Linux while having just a small monochrome screen and three buttons for controls.
Theora, the open and royalty-free format that comes from the same folks that work on the Ogg Vorbis audio formmat, has officially reached version 1.1. Theora 1.1 (codenamed "Thusnelda") is much-improved over version 1.0, which was reached last November.
The Norwegians at Opera Software have announced the final release of the Opera 10.0 web-browser. This closed-source web-browser that is available for Linux brings three key changes with the 10.0 release: Opera Turbo, a new user-interface, and better tabs support. The Opera Turbo charge feature is a new compression technology that will compress web-pages and is designed to speed up the loading process on slow Internet connections by as much as eight times. Opera 10 also presents "a streamlined and elegant new interface." Opera Software has also revised their tabs support by providing thumbnails of all open tabs and other tweaks.
For anyone that extensively uses Skype on Linux, you will probably want to head on over to the Linux Skype Developer page to fetch the latest beta. Skype has just rolled out the first 2.1 beta (22.214.171.124 Beta) of the Linux Skype client, which adds several new features and also brings a number of fixes and other improvements.
On the same day as the release of the Mac OS X 10.6 operating system, which contains many printing improvements among its new feature set, the Apple-owned CUPS project has come out with version 1.4.0. CUPS 1.4 offers improvements to its web interface (including a brand new look), CUPS DDK tools, Bonjour printing support, many scheduler improvements, and over 67 other changes.
As we mentioned earlier this week, we will be providing Mac OS X 10.6 benchmarks on launch day (well, potentially the morning after, depending upon timing). This week has been very busy in preparations for this article along with last minute work on the Phoronix Test Suite to add in a few more Mac-compatible test profiles and other work for Snow Leopard.
Earlier this month we shared that we would be doing a big operating system benchmark comparison consisting of Linux (perhaps a few different distributions), OpenSolaris, some BSDs, and Mac OS X. With the news today from Apple that Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" will be shipping this Friday, the 28th of August, we are now one step closer to carrying out this large OS comparison. This large OS benchmarking extravaganza will not take place until September, but later this week we will go ahead and put out some performance numbers for Mac OS X 10.6.0.
The Pidgin instant messaging program has been losing some ground recently to GNOME's Empathy program as more Linux distributions switch to using this newer instant messaging application. Pidgin 2.5 was released just under one year ago, but arriving today is Pidgin 2.6, which may help in winning over more users. Most notably, Pidgin 2.6 finally introduces support for voice and video communication.
The developers behind the popular GIMP graphics application have announced the first development release in the road towards GIMP 2.8.0. GIMP 2.7.0 is this first development release and it brings a horde of changes and improvements. GIMP 2.8 is set to introduce many user-interface improvements, new plug-ins, the projection code ported to GEGL, and many other new features.
Zack Rusin, the well-known X.Org and KDE hacker, has written a new blog post concerning the Qt tool-kit and the different options that are available when it comes to rendering graphics. Qt currently can target a pure CPU raster engine, using X11 with the X Render extension for providing some GPU-assisted acceleration, or using an OpenGL engine. The renderer that is used by Qt depends upon the platform, what portions of the Qt API are being used by a given program, and whether the graphics system was overrode when starting the program.
Remember the Tux3 file-system? The Tux3 file-system was shown off at the Southern California Linux Expo earlier this year and showed real promise with its features and slated performance. The developers behind Tux3 had a host of items on their to-do list, including atomic commit support, which to them was a requirement for getting this general purpose file-system into the Linux kernel.
This week there were several interesting stories at Phoronix, if you happened to miss any of them. We started off by sharing that proper multi-seat support for Linux / X.Org is on the way with the new VGA arbitration code coming about. With this new implementation, multiple X Servers can be run side-by-side without needing to use Xephyr or any ugly hacks.
We knew it was coming, but this morning Intel has announced the release of Clutter 1.0.0. This toolkit provides a library/API for creating rich user interfaces in a relatively easy to use way that conceals much of the challenges of programming your application to directly use OpenGL or OpenGL ES. Clutter is already being used within Moblin V2 and its user interface is very impressive (the best that we have seen for netbooks) and it is also gaining speed within the GNOME development community for GNOME Games and other areas.
Clutter, the free software tool-kit that makes it easier to develop compelling user-interfaces that use OpenGL / OpenGL ES, is now nearing its version 1.0 release. Emmanuele Bassi with the Intel Open-Source Technology Center has announced the release of Clutter 1.0 Release Candidate 3.
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