This news is coming a few days late, but the ALSA project has quietly released ALSA 1.0.18a as a minor update to its collection of sound drivers for Linux. This isn't a major update but a collection of updates on top of ALSA 1.0.18 final. Among the changes are build fixes against the Linux 2.6.28 kernel, support for new ASICs, Intel HDMI audio support, and new ASICs being supported by various drivers/codecs. This ALSA release does not incorporate Creative's open-source X-Fi driver or any other Sound Blaster X-Fi sound card support.
It's been almost two months since ALSA 1.0.18 RC3 was released and about four months since ALSA 1.0.17 made it out the door, but today the final version of ALSA 1.0.18 is now available. This update to the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) contains a number of significant updates and even quite a few changes since the third release candidate.
Lenovo has announced this morning that they will begin shipping SplashTop-enabled netbooks. Next month Lenovo will be shipping "QuickStart" (just their re-branded version of SplashTop) on their new Atom-powered IdeaPad S10e. The press release can be read on the Market Wire.
On the first of October we talked about a new LM_Sensors patch that supports new AMD CPUs and it had arrived almost immediately after the release of LM_Sensors 3.0.3. With almost a month having by since we last talked about this open-source hardware sensor monitoring project, there are a number of new patches that have come about to support new hardware.
Back in August we were the first web-site to share how SplashTop Linux could be hacked and the following month we shared about a SplashTop security problem where the contents of any attached hard drives are exposed freely to the network, if you're not running a hardware firewall. This issue was discovered by Kano, a Phoronix Forums member and the developer behind the Kanotix distribution. DeviceVM had been notified of this blatant security issue, but it still appears the problem has gone unresolved.
If you've been looking for a very affordable USB WiFi adapter that works with Linux, you may be interested in the Encore ENUWI-G2. This 802.11g WiFi adapter has a USB 2.0 interface and supports 64/128-Bit WEP, WPA, and WPA2. What makes this USB WiFi adapter to some though is its price-tag, which is less than $15 USD at many online retailers. Does this cheap WiFi adapter work with Linux though? Yep, you can use ndiswrapper if you want to use the Windows driver or you can use the rtl8187 Linux driver.
Back in February, AMD's John Bridgman had expressed hope in providing LM_Sensors support for monitoring the GPU temperature and fan speed on ATI graphics cards. He was hoping to get the needed documentation to the LM_Sensors project in March, but that hadn't happened and currently AMD's focus is on open-source R600/700 series 3D support. However, interest in LM_Sensors support for ATI graphics cards has been rejuvenated on the sensor project's mailing list.
Just a few hours after publishing A Year Later, X-Fi Drivers Still Horrific for Linux, believe it or not but we have a new Creative X-Fi driver. ALSA, the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture, now has an experimental Creative X-Fi driver. Takashi Iwai, a developer at Novell/SuSE, has ported the open-source X-Fi driver (named sbxfi) found in the Open Sound System (OSS) over to ALSA.
After Creative Labs Duped Linux For Vista, it was just a year ago that they had released their X-Fi Linux driver. That initial driver in 2007 had only supported 64-bit Linux, wasn't targeted at newer versions of GCC, and had a whole host of other problems. This past April they then tried again at X-Fi Linux drivers and this time managed to deliver 32-bit and GCC 4.x support. Since then though no new binary drivers have appeared and a year later we remain with only a half-functioning beta driver.
The group of developers behind PulseAudio, the Linux sound server that's quickly becoming the de facto standard, has today put out their 0.9.13 milestone release. For a large part this release just incorporates bug-fixes that have been addressed in the past month since 0.9.12, but there is one interesting new feature. PulseAudio 0.9.13 introduces support for Bluetooth audio devices, including the dynamic detection. This Bluetooth audio support was done by a student programmer as part of Google's Summer of Code project this year. The Bluetooth support is currently considered experimental but it is enabled by default. For the complete change-log with PulseAudio 0.9.13, check out the their milestone page.
LM_Sensors, the leading open-source project for providing hardware monitoring support on Linux (such as with component temperatures, voltages, fan speeds, etc), had its last official release in May with version 3.0.2. While the changes aren't as substantial as the LM_Sensors 3.0 release last year, Jean Delvare has today announced the release of LM_Sensors 3.0.3.
Last year the MadWiFi project abandoned their proprietary HAL in favor of using OpenHAL. OpenHAL is a open-source HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) that was developed by OpenBSD for their Atheros WiFi driver. They also seized work on the earlier MadWiFi driver to focus on the new ath5k driver. This summer Atheros had then released the ath9k driver for 802.11n ASICs on Linux after hiring two of the MadWiFi developers.
There hasn't been a new LM_Sensors release since May when version 3.0.2 was released. Since then there has been quite a bit of new work going on within this free software project that provides system sensor monitoring on Linux. Intel Core i7 monitoring support was added back in August to LM_Sensors, for example. Today a set of five patches for Apple hardware has appeared on the LM_Sensors mailing list. In the last patch, LM_Sensors support for the Apple MacBook Air was added. This allows the accelerometer, back-light, and thermal sensor to be used on systems with the latest LM_Sensors code. This small MacBook Air patch can be found here.
Version 1.0.18 RC1 of ALSA was just released a month ago and it was quickly followed by a second release candidate for this Linux sound system. However, it's taken nearly a month for the third 1.0.18 release candidate to come together.
ALSA 1.0.17 was released a month ago, but being released today by the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture camp is a small update in the 1.0.17 series and the first release candidate for ALSA 1.0.18.
Last September we reported that MadWiFi was abandoning their proprietary HAL and really the driver itself for that matter. The developers behind the popular MadWiFi Linux driver were ceasing work on it in favor of starting up a new driver called ath5k using OpenHAL. Two of the key developers were also hired by Atheros, the wireless chipset company itself. Through these recent improvements, Atheros has went from a company being criticized for their lack of Linux support to one with impecable possibilities.
Receiving publicity on SlashDot today is word that Foxconn refuses to support Linux. Foxconn is a large OEM motherboard manufacturer, but according to a thread on the Ubuntu Forums, they refuse to support Linux. There is a bug in one of their DSDT tables for their BIOS that's causing installation issues with Linux. The DSDT for Windows is correct, but Foxconn isn't interested in issuing a (simple) update to fix the Linux support. However, this isn't surprising to us. We've known that Foxconn does not wish to support Linux at all. Going back to 2006, Foxconn has told us at Phoronix that they aren't interested in Linux on their motherboards and they have no desire to support it. For more on motherboards under Linux, check out our motherboard reviews.
Last week Dell started shipping Ubuntu 8.04 PCs and even with a Dell option for ATI graphics. Today a few more details surrounding Dell's adoption of Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron" have been shared.
Yesterday we shared that Dell has started shipping Ubuntu 8.04 PCs. Initially there are only three "Dellbuntu" PCs (two notebooks and one desktop) with this Long-Term Support (LTS) release of Ubuntu, but additional models will begin appearing as soon as next month. While it wasn't covered by the Direct2Dell blog, we've discovered another interesting bit of news: Dell has made an ATI option available for these Linux PCs.
Ubuntu 8.04 LTS had shipped back in April, but up until now owners of Dell PCs would have had to install this "Hardy Heron" update manually if they were interested in benefiting from the Linux 2.6.24 kernel, GNOME 2.22, and the other improvements within this desktop Linux distribution. Today, however, Dell has announced that they have begun shipping select desktops and notebooks with Ubuntu 8.04 LTS.
Back before ATI had acquired Macrosynergy from XGI, XGI Technology had a semi-hopeful future of producing low-to-mid-range graphics cards and presenting consumers with an additional choice. Their binary Linux drivers had sucked, and that's putting it in nice words. XGI's Linux driver for earlier AGP-based Volari GPUs was limited to Linux 2.4 kernel support, was late in supporting versions of X.Org, and it was just a complete mess. However, as we had exclusively shared, XGI was considering an open-source driver (this was back in 2005, long before ATI started their open-source strategy and prior to Intel providing GPU documentation).
Over the past month we've seen three release candidates for ALSA 1.0.17, but arriving today is the final stable build. There are hundreds of changes between ALSA 1.0.16 and 1.0.17. The Oxygen driver used by some high-end audio processors such as those found on the Razer and ASUS sound cards has received a number of improvements as well as a long list of HDA Codec and HDA Intel improvements. Many new APUs are also supported by ALSA 1.0.17 through the various drivers. To much dismay, however, the Creative X-Fi series still isn't supported by the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture. The Open Sound System added X-Fi support and we were hopeful that ALSA support was coming, but sadly it has not. More information and download links are available at ALSA-Project.org.
This morning ASUS has announced the expansion of their Eee PC family with the introduction of three new models. These three new models use Intel's Atom processor, which makes them the first Netbooks. In addition to sporting an Atom processor, the 901 and 1000 use Solid-State Disks (SSDs), 1GB of DDR2 memory (or up to 2GB with the 1000/1000H models), and a battery life of nearly eight hours. The ASUS Eee PC 1000 / 1000H have a 10" screen while the 901 is sized at 8.9" and they all weigh 2~3 lbs. All three models do have GNU/Linux operating system availability. The ASUS Eee PC 901 is available today (with a price tag of $600 USD) while the two other models will be released later this month.
Alienware, the PC manufacturer known for their high-end gaming notebooks and desktops, has been evaluating the business opportunity in providing a Linux OS option for some of their products. Phoronix reader Ahmad Yasser had contacted us to remind the Linux community that Alienware is running a Linux-based system survey to "gauge the level of interest consumers like you have in buying a new computer that features a Linux-based operating system." This survey isn't brand new but had first appeared a few months back. The questions consist of whether you're a current Alienware customer, whether your interest is in notebooks or desktops, would Alienware be appealing with a Linux-based OS, reasons for choosing Linux over Microsoft Windows, the likelihood of purchasing a Linux-loaded Alienware PC, and related questions.
If you haven't yet made the move to LM_Sensors 3, you may be interested to know that LM_Sensors 2.10.7 has been released. This update to the legacy branch of LM_Sensors has a number of fixes, removes some dead code, fixes some functionality, adds Intel ICH10 support, has minor code cleanups, and solves a Linux 2.6.26 kernel compatibility issue. While the added Intel ICH10 support caught our attention, also now supported by the LM_Sensors 2.10 branch is support for VIA's C7 CPU as well as the lm90, adm1032, lm99, lm86, max6657, adt7461. The sensors-detect program can now also detect the SMSC SCH5127, National Semiconductor LM64, and ASUS F8000, Dallas DS1631. Detection and support for a number of ASICs have also been fixed in this release. The complete change-log can be found at the LM_Sensors website. If you're not using your distribution's package management system, downloads can be found on this page.
It's been a little more than a week since ALSA 1.0.17-rc2 was released, and today the third release candidate has replaced that earlier copy. However, version 1.0.17-rc3 just consists of ALSA driver updates and no changes are to be found with the libraries, utilities, tools, firmware, or plug-ins. There are quite a few changes amongst the various sound cards supported by ALSA. In ALSA 1.0.17-rc3, among the drivers with changes is EMU10K1/EMU10K2 for Creative Labs Sound Blaster cards and CMI8788 Oxygen for the Razer Barracuda AC-1 and other high-end APUs. A new driver has appeared in this ALSA testing release and that is the AK4535 which will work with some APUs common in PDAs and low-profile and low-power devices. The ALSA 1.0.17-rc3 change-log is available from the ALSA Project Wiki.
A little more than a week has passed since ALSA 1.0.17-rc1 was released, but today the second release candidate has arrived. A number of the ALSA drivers have been updated as well as the libraries and other components. There's quite a few changes so for the complete change-log visit the ALSA Project Wiki.
Four months after ALSA 1.0.16 was released, the wizards of modern-day Linux sound have released ALSA 1.0.17-rc1. This release has a plethora of new work -- in excess of 500 changes. Among the changes are x86_64 support for Linux 2.6.25+ kernels, a new kconfig parser, and a wide assortment of driver changes.
VIA has been on a rampage this week with new release announcements from the OpenBook reference design to the Nano processor. Their latest announcement is coming out of S3 Graphics, which is a VIA Technologies company. S3 Graphics has announced the release of the Chrome 440 GTX, which is a PCI Express 2.0 graphics card.
Earlier this month the major announcement came down that ASUS would be massively expanding its SplashTop motherboard selection to the point of producing in excess of one million motherboards per month with this embedded Linux technology. This morning another major ASUS and DeviceVM hook-up has been announced that SplashTop will now be shipping on a few of their notebook computers.
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