Valve killing Steam Support for some Ubuntu users

A few years ago the announcement that Steam would begin supporting Linux was a big deal: it meant that anyone who preferred to rock an open-source operating system over Mac OS or Windows 10 would have instant buy-it-and-play-it access to a large catalog of game titles that would have otherwise taken a whole lot of tweaking to get up and running or wouldn't have worked for them at all. For some, at least, the party may be coming to an end.

From Engadget:

If you're a Linux gamer who prefers Ubuntu, you might want to look for another distribution in the near future. Valve is dropping official support for Ubuntu in Steam as of the operating system's upcoming 19.10 release, which will cut 32-bit x86 components. The Steam crew aims to "minimize breakage" for existing Ubuntu users, according to Valve's Pierre-Loup Griffais, but it'll shift its attention to another distribution in the future.

So, in short: no 32-bit support means no Steam support. Given that the many of the games available on Steam can only be had by buying a license, this news sucks in so many ways. That said, as noted by Engadget, at some point in the future, it could be possible to switch to a different distribution that'll allow you to undertake some, glitch-free fragging. However, for the time being, Canonical and Valve haven't made any announcements of which distribution will best serve gamers, moving forward. When that announcement will come down the pike is anyone's guess. Read the rest

Why was a BogoMip bogus?

I woke up this morning wondering something I hadn't in years. Why was Linux' BogoMip bogus?

I first installed Slackware Linux from a huge stack of 3.5" floppy disks. My life was changed. This was in the 1.0.X kernel days.

I stopped dicking around with Linux as my desktop OS when OS X bridged the gap. I have not made zlilo in over 2 decades, but this morning I woke up wondering about BogoMips!?

BogoMips were the computing speed measurement of note at my first internet start-up, an ISP and datacenter, and every new Intel or Intel-compatible CPU was curiously investigated by our tech team. When we'd boot a Linux kernel, we would watch carefully to see "the number of million times per second a processor can do absolutely nothing".

This morning I had to know! What the hell was so bogus about a BogoMip?

Linux Journal's Wim van Dorst answered that question 23 years ago!

Some device drivers in the Linux kernel need timing delays. Either they need a very short delay, or the delay must be very accurately determined. A simple non-busy loop cannot do this. Therefore, Linus Torvalds added a calibration in the boot procedure to predetermine how often a specific busy-loop algorithm can be calculated in one second. This predetermined value, called loops_per_second, is used in the device drivers to delay for precisely measured times.

For fun, Linus also added a print statement presenting this predetermined value (divided by 500,000) as BogoMips. Linus apparently loves it when millions of Linux users are gazing at their computer, baffled by these bogus MIPS.

Read the rest

Relive the sublime perfection of Windows 95 in your Linux desktop environment

There are many rudimentary Microsoft-style themes for Linux, but Chicago95 fastidiously recreates the ineffable beauty of Windows '95 right down to the finest details. It's a perfect melding of the historical Windows and modern Linux experiences. Creator Grassmunk (who also made a less-precise but still-beautiful MacOS Classic theme) writes:

I was unhappy with the various XFCE/GTK2/GTK3 Windows 95 based themes and decided to make one that was more consistent across the board for theming.

Included in this theme:

New icons to complete the icon theme started with Classic95 Edited Redmond XFWM theme to more accurately reflect Windows 95 Edited Xfce-Redmond by dbbolton to be more accurate and include XFCE panels Created GTK-3.0 theme from scratch (based on Win 10 and Mate themes) Plymouth theme created from scratch An MS-DOS inspired theme for oh-my-zsh

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Linux programmer developing tools for new open source Code of Conduct

Coraline Ehmke is a leading figure in the push to make Linux programming more welcoming and inclusiv, supplementing the project's famed Code of Conflict with an enforceable Code of Conduct project called CoC Beacon. Read the rest

Linux for Makers, by Aaron Newcomb

I've had very little experience with Linux but now that I'm using Raspberry Pis (a cheap single board computer that runs Linux) I need to know how to use Linux. Online how-tos are good, but Linux for Makers, by Aaron Newcomb, is better. In fact, this book is pure gold. It assumes zero prior knowledge of Linux. Everything is clearly explained. I learned how to install Raspbian Linux on an SD Card (Raspberry Pis use SD cards as their hard drive), log the output of a script, schedule jobs with cron, use lots of different commands, write scripts, use PI with IFTTT, and lots more.

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Forthcoming Ataribox renamed "Atari VCS"

The Ataribox, announced after Nintendo scored surprise hits with its popular NES and SNES classic consoles, is going to be called "Atari VCS" instead -- the same name as Atari's original, way back in 1977.

The company is showing off the Atari VCS, Classic Joystick, and Modern Controller prototypes to the press this week at GDC. And it is working with game developers, content creators, and other partners to finalize details. In April, Atari will announce a preorder date for the Atari VCS. Earlier, Atari canceled a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo because its development hit a snag.

If you suspected this was an empty nostalgia-marketing ploy, this might not allay your fears: someone's already made it so the Wikipedia page for "Atari VCS" is an ad for the new machine. But the concept is essentially Pi-like hackable hardware in a pretty box with well-made controllers, so what could go wrong?

Update: as noted by nungesser, the potential wrong is the price: $300. Better be a great GPU in there for all that cabbage. Read the rest

Cool linux handheld computers coming in 2018

Giant Pockets rounds up the options for owning an ultraportable, ultra-light computer that run an easily-accessible distribution: The World of Linux Handhelds in 2018. Thanks for Android, this is more niche than it ever was, but there's a surprisingly large number of options either already out or coming soon. Freedom is fun! So are games...

I have somewhat mixed feelings about where these devices go. First, I am really glad to see a lot more activity and official support of Linux on more and more hardware, because more choice means more competition and likely better options altogether for several types of users. However, I am quite concerned with the overall trend to make such devices more and more premium, price-wise.

The Gemini is very my cup of tea, and should ship imminently. Read the rest

PocketCHIP handheld Linux computer

Donald Bell of the Maker Project Lab checks out the PocketCHIP handheld Linux computer. It cost $69 and has a keyboard and color display. It's mainly for creating and playing games. Looks pretty cool! Read the rest

Every Android device potentially vulnerable to "most serious" Linux escalation attack, ever

The Dirty Cow vulnerability dates back to code included in the Linux kernel in 2007, and it can be trivially weaponized into an easy-to-run exploit that allows user-space programs to execute as root, meaning that attackers can take over the entire device by getting their targets to run apps without administrator privileges. Read the rest

HP Chromebook 11

Sold! I love it. A breath of fresh air in a sea of MacBook clones, from the company responsible for half of them. How about a Windows model in similar vein, HP?

Meet the new HP Chromebook11 – an ultra-portable Chromebook made in close collaboration with Google. Inspired by the Pixel’s iconic design at an affordable $279.99(estimated street price), it’s made for everyone. The HP Chromebook11 is the first affordable Chromebook with a brilliant IPS display and first Chromebook ever to use USB charging. The 11.6-inch diagonal IPS screen provides clear images and a wide 176-degree viewing angle, making it easy to share your screen. With USB charging, you can use the same charger to charge your Android phone or tablet.

HP Chromebook11: Made with Google [HP] Read the rest

Thinkpad Chromebook

The X100 series failed, in my view, as $500 "high end" netbooks: hot-running, clunky, and generally not up to Thinkpad snuff. Replacing Windows with Chrome OS and tailoring the system to its needs could be just the thing: the Lenovo X131e has a solid state drive, USB 3 and an ARM CPU. $430 for a machine with only 16GB of storage, though, is really pushing it.

Lenovo Thinkpad X131e Chromebook [google] Read the rest