GalliumOS 3.0 to be Released

 GalliumOS is a Linux distribution for devices shipped with ChromeOS
02 July 2019   460

Presented the release of the distribution GalliumOS 3.0, designed to be installed on Chromebooks and Chromebox devices full-fledged Linux-environment instead of the standard operating system ChromeOS. The distribution is based on the Xubuntu 18.04 package base and supports installation on most of the devices originally shipped with ChromeOS. Installation distributives are separately prepared for devices based on Intel Haswell, Broadwell, Bay Trail, Braswell Sandy / Ivy Bridge and Sky / Apollo / Kaby Lake chips, and are specially optimized for them. The size of the installation image of 1.2 GB, for installation requires 3 GB of free space on the drive.

It supports booting from an SD card and Flash, as well as organizing of a dual boot, in which GalliumOS coexists with ChromeOS. The battery life when using GalliumOS is comparable to ChromeOS, but on some laptops it can differ by 10-15% in one direction or another. Of the changes regarding Xubuntu, performance optimization has been noted to improve the responsiveness of the interface: the kernel includes the BFS and BFQ schedulers, Zram is used, the extra kernel subsystems are disabled, the Compton composite manager is used for rendering. To extend battery life, the pstate driver and the pooling mode in drm are disabled, the GPU frequency is lowered. To reduce load time, many optional system services are disabled.

The distribution also provides improved support for touchpads with settings that are close to the behavior of ChromeOS. The composition includes various fixes to fix problems with ChromeOS devices that are not part of the usual Linux distributions. For example, issues with power management, HDMI and multimedia buttons have been fixed, patches have been added to improve support for the hardware components of the Chromebook and Chromebox.

Get more info at official Wiki.

Linux 5.3 Kernel to be Released

Huge amount of updates, improvements, changes and new features awaits all Linux users
17 September 2019   258

After two months of development, Linus Torvalds introduced the Linux 5.3 kernel release. Among the most notable changes: support for AMD Navi GPUs, Zhaoxi processors, and Intel Speed ​​Select power management technology, the ability to use umwait instructions to wait without using loops, increasing the interactivity utilization clamping mode for asymmetric CPUs, the pidfd_open system call, the ability to use IPv4 addresses from the subnet, the possibility of hardware acceleration of nftables, support for HDR in the DRM subsystem, integration of the ACRN hypervisor.

In the announcement of the new release, Linus reminded all developers of the main rule of kernel development - maintaining the invariance of behavior for user space components. Changes in the kernel should in no way violate already running applications and lead to user-level regressions. At the same time, a violation of behavior can cause not only a change in the ABI, removal of outdated code or errors, but also an indirect effect of correctly working useful improvements. As a good example, the useful optimization in Ext4 code was discarded, which reduces the number of accesses to the drive by disabling the read-ahead inode table for small I / O requests.

Optimization has led to the fact that, due to a decrease in disk activity, the entropy for the random number generator getrandom () began to accumulate more slowly and in some configurations, under certain circumstances, there could be hangs during loading until the entropy pool is full. Since the optimization is really useful, a discussion arose among the developers, in which it was proposed to eliminate the problem by disabling the default blocking mode of the getrandom () call with the addition of an optional flag to wait for entropy, but such a change will affect the quality of random numbers at the initial stage of loading. In the change rollback commit, Linus noted that he plans to bring the optimization back as soon as the problem with getrandom () is resolved.

The new version adopted 15794 patches from 1974 developers, the patch size is 92 MB (the changes affected 13986 files, 258419 lines of code were added, 599137 lines were deleted). About 39% of all the changes presented in 5.3 are related to device drivers, about 12% of changes are related to updating the code specific to hardware architectures, 11% are connected to the network stack, 3% to file systems and 3% to internal kernel subsystems.

Get more information about the new features and from the mailing.