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Linux Gets Ported to Apple's M1-Based Devices

When Apple introduces its lineup of devices based on the custom Apple Silicon, many people have thought that it represents the end for any further device customization and that Apple is effectively locking-up the ecosystem even more. That is not the case we have today. Usually, developers working on Macs are always in need of another operating system to test their software and try it out. It means that they have to run some virtualization software like virtual machines to test another OS like Linux and possibly Windows. However, it would be a lot easier if they could just boot that OS directly on the device and that is exactly why we are here today.

Researchers from Corellium, a startup company based in Florida, working on ARM device virtualization, have pulled off an incredible feat. They have managed to get Linux running on Apple's M1 custom silicon based devices. The CTO of Corellium, Mr. Chris Wade, has announced that Linux is now fully usable on M1 silicon. The port can take full advantage of the CPU, however, there is no GPU acceleration for now, and graphics are set to the software rendering mode. Corellium also promises to take the changes it made upstream to the Linux kernel itself, meaning open-source and permissive license model. Below you can find an image of Apple M1 Mac Mini running the latest Ubuntu OS build.

Linus Torvalds Calls Out Intel for ECC Memory Market Stagnation

Linus Torvalds, the inventor of the Linux kernel and version-control system called git, has posted another one of his famous rants, addressing his views about the lack of ECC memory in consumer devices. Mr. Torvalds has posted his views on the Linux kernel mailing list, where he usually comments about the development of the kernel. The ECC or Error Correcting Code memory is a special kind of DRAM that fixes the problems that occur inside the memory itself, where a bit can get corrupted and change the data stored, thus offering false results. ECC aims to fix those mistakes by implementing a system that fixes these small errors and avoids bigger problems. According to Mr. Torvalds, it is a technology that we need to be implemented everywhere, not just server space like Intel imagines.
Linus Torvalds
Intel has been instrumental in killing the whole ECC industry with it's horribly bad market segmentation... Intel has been detrimental to the whole industry and to users because of their bad and misguided policies wrt ECC. Seriously...The arguments against ECC were always complete and utter garbage... Now even the memory manufacturers are starting do do ECC internally because they finally owned up to the fact that they absolutely have to. And the memory manufacturers claim it's because of economics and lower power. And they are lying bastards - let me once again point to row-hammer about how those problems have existed for several generations already, but these f***** happily sold broken hardware to consumers and claimed it was an "attack", when it always was "we're cutting corners".

Tachyum Prodigy Software Emulation Systems Now Available for Pre-Order

Tachyum Inc. today announced that it is signing early adopter customers for the software emulation system for its Prodigy Universal Processor, customers may begin the process of native software development (i.e. using Prodigy Instruction Set Architecture) and porting applications to run on Prodigy. Prodigy software emulation systems will be available at the end of January 2021.

Customers and partners can use Prodigy's software emulation for evaluation, development and debug, and with it, they can begin to transition existing applications that demand high performance and low power to run optimally on Prodigy processors. Pre-built systems include a Prodigy emulator, native Linux, toolchains, compilers, user mode applications, x86, ARM and RISC-V emulators. Software updates will be issued as needed.

RISC-V Comes to PC: SiFive Introduces HiFive Unmatched Development Board

RISC-V architecture is a relatively new Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) developed at the University of California Berkeley. Starting as a "short, three-month project" the RISC-V ISA is a fifth generation of the Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) ideology. A company working on this technology and helping to grow the ecosystem is SiFive. Today, they announced a big step forward for the ecosystem that will enable developers to make and optimize even more software for this architecture and platform. Called the HiFive Unmatched, the development board represents the first entry of RISC-V ISA to the world of personal computing, with its Mini-ITX form factor and PC-like connectors of power supply and I/O.

The board is home to SiFive's FU740 SoC, a five-core heterogeneous, coherent processor with four SiFive U74 cores, and one SiFive S7 core. This SoC is capable of smooth Linux OS operation, giving the developers a good platform to do their optimizations for. There is 8 GB of onboard DDR4 RAM (unknown frequencies and timing), a MicroSD card slot, and one PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot for system storage. To connect the board to the outside world, you get one Gigabit Ethernet port. For user I/O there are four USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports (1 Charging port) and one MicroUSB Console port. To power the board, you need a proper power supply with a 24-pin power connector. If you plan to build a PC based on the Unmatched board, you would need a standard ITX case, as it comes in the standard Mini-ITX (170x170 mm) form factor. For more information, please check out SiFive's website.

AMD Seemingly Working on Cryptocurrency-focused Navi 10 GPU

New Linux patches seem to point towards a cryptocurrency-focused graphics card from AMD. First spotted by Phoronix, the patches add descriptions for a "navi10 blockchain SKU" - it's a pretty self-describing, well, description. The device ID is reported as 0x731E, and Phoronix says that the major difference between this graphics card and the other Navi 10 offerings in the market (namely RX 5700XT and RX 5700) is the absence of Display Core Next (DCN) and Video Core Next (VCN) engines. Whether these are absent from the silicon, or simply disabled by other means is currently unclear. Their absence, however points towards cards with no graphical outputs, a lapalissian practicality for cryptocurrency-focused graphics mining products.

Phoronix estimates a release of no sooner than early 2021, considering the timing of the patch information on Linux. While the market for GPU-accelerated cryptocurrency mining isn't what it used to be (luckily), there is still a market opportunity to be taken advantage of here - while ASICs have become more commonplace, there are still many GPU-mining alternatives within the realm of crypto. A crypto-focused product might steer users away from gaming-oriented consumer products, thus easing strain on supply for AMD's upcoming RX 6000 series - especially if this Navi 10-based GPU (or should we call it a CHU - Cryptocurrency Hashing Unit?) features some voltage and power adjustments to increase power efficiency on these workloads.

Basemark Launches GPUScore Relic of Life RayTracing Benchmark

Basemark is pioneer in GPU benchmarking. Our current product Basemark GPU has been improving the 3D graphics industry since 2016. After releasing GPU 1.2 in March Basemark development team has been really busy developing brand new benchmark - GPUScore. GPUScore benchmark will introduce hyper realistic, true gaming type of content in three different workloads: Relic of Life, Sacret Path and Expedition.

GPUScore Relic of Life is targeted to benchmark high end graphics cards. It is completely new benchmark with many new features. The key new feature is real-time ray traced reflections and reflections of reflections. The benchmark will not only support Windows & DirectX 12, but also Linux & Vulkan raytracing.

Marvell Launches Industry's First Native NVMe RAID Accelerator

Marvell (NASDAQ: MRVL) today introduced the industry's first native NVMe RAID 1 accelerator, a state-of-the-art technology for virtualized, multi-tenant cloud and enterprise data center environments which demand optimized reliability, efficiency, and performance. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is the first of Marvell's partners to support the new accelerator in the HPE NS204i-p NVMe OS Boot Device offered on select HPE ProLiant servers and HPE Apollo systems.

As the industry transitions from legacy SAS and SATA to NVMe SSDs, Marvell's offering helps data centers fast-track the move to higher performance flash storage. The innovative accelerator lowers data center total cost of ownership (TCO) by offloading RAID 1 processing from costly and precious server CPU resources, maximizing application processing performance. IT organizations can now deploy a "plug-and-play," NVMe-based OS boot solution, like the HPE NS204i-p NVMe OS Boot Device, that protects the integrity of flash data storage while delivering an optimized, application-level user experience.

Intel Starts Hardware Enablement of Meteor Lake 7 nm Architecture

In a report by Phoronix, we have the latest information about Intel's efforts to prepare the next generation of hardware for launch sometime in the future. In the latest Linux kernel patches prepared to go mainline soon, Intel has been adding support for its "Meteor Lake" processor architecture manufactured on Intel's most advanced 7 nm node. While there are no official patches in the mainline kernel yet, the first signs of Meteor Lake are expected to show up in the version 5.10, where we will be seeing the mentions of it. This way Intel is ensuring that the Meteor Lake platform will see the best software support, even though it is a few years away from the launch.

Meteor Lake is expected to debut in late 2022 or 2023, which will replace the Alder Lake platform coming soon. In a similar way to Alder Lake, Meteor Lake will use a hybrid core technology where it will combine small and big cores. The Meteor Lake platform will use the new big "Ocean Cove" design paired with small "Gracemont" cores that will be powering the CPU. This processor is going to be manufactured on Intel's 7 nm node that will be the first 7 nm design from Intel. With all the delays to the node, we are in for an interesting period to see how the company copes with it and how the design IPs turn out.

NVIDIA Introduces New Family of BlueField DPUs to Bring Breakthrough Networking, Storage and Security Performance to Every Data Center

NVIDIA today announced a new kind of processor—DPUs, or data processing units—supported by DOCA, a novel data-center-infrastructure-on-a-chip architecture that enables breakthrough networking, storage and security performance.

NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang revealed the company's three-year DPU roadmap in today's GPU Technology Conference keynote. It features the new NVIDIA BlueField -2 family of DPUs and NVIDIA DOCA software development kit for building applications on DPU-accelerated data center infrastructure services.

Lenovo Announces the Lightest ThinkPad Ever - ThinkPad X1 Nano

Lenovo is very excited to unveil the latest addition to our premium X1 portfolio, ThinkPad X1 Nano. The lightest ThinkPad ever at just 1.99 pounds (907 g) breaks new ground for performance and functionality in an incredibly featherweight package. Lenovo's first ThinkPad based on Intel Evo platform and powered by 11th Gen Intel Core processors, the X1 Nano delivers supreme speed and intelligence while maintaining outstanding battery life. Stunning visuals are delivered through a narrow bezel 13-inch 2K display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, and four speakers and four 360-degree microphones enhance the audio-visual capabilities. For a truly immersive user experience, the X1 Nano supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. State of the art connectivity is provided by WiFi 65 and optional 5G will deliver higher bandwidth capability and drive new levels of always on always connected efficiency and collaboration in a new hybrid working world.

Lenovo today is also delighted to announce that the world's first foldable PC, ThinkPad X1 Fold, is available to order and will ship in a few weeks. A pinnacle of engineering innovation, the X1 Fold offers a revolutionary mix of portability and versatility that defines a new computing category enabled by Intel Core processors with Intel Hybrid Technology and made possible by Intel's Project Athena innovation program. Blending familiar functionality that we all know from smartphones, tablets and laptops into a single foldable PC device that will forever reshape the way you work, play, create and connect. With optional 5G, you can trust that your connection speed is more secure and optimized where available and that you are better protected with ThinkShield security features. Find out more how ThinkPad X1 Fold is pioneering a new category: A Game Changing Category

SiFive To Introduce New RISC-V Processor Architecture and RISC-V PC at Linley Fall Virtual Processor Conference

SiFive, Inc., the leading provider of commercial RISC-V processor IP and silicon solutions, today announced that Dr. Yunsup Lee, CTO of SiFive, and Dr. Krste Asanovic, Chief Architect of SiFive, will present at the technology industry's premier processor conference, the Linley Fall Virtual Processor Conference. The conference will be held on October 20th - 22nd and 27th - 29th, 2020 and will feature high-quality technical content from leading semiconductor companies worldwide.

"Industry demand for AI performance has skyrocketed over the last few years driven by rapid adoption from the data center to the edge. This year's Linley Fall Processor Conference will feature our biggest program yet and will introduce a host of new technology disclosures and product announcements of innovative processor architectures and IP technologies," said Linley Gwennap, principal analyst and conference chairperson. "In spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic, development of these technologies continues to accelerate and we're excited to be sharing these presentations with a global audience via our live-streamed format."

Arm Announces Cortex-R82: The First 64-bit Real Time Processor to Power the Future of Computational Storage

There is expected to be more than 79 zettabytes of IoT data in 2025, but the real value of this data is found in the insights it generates. The closer to the data source we can produce these insights the better, because of the improved security, latency and energy efficiency enabled. Computational storage is emerging as a critical piece of the data storage puzzle because it puts processing power directly on the storage device, giving companies secure, quick and easy access to vital information.

Our expertise and legacy in storage puts Arm in a strong position to address the changing needs of this market - with around 85% of hard disk drive controllers and solid-state drive controllers based on Arm, we are already a trusted partner for billions of storage devices. Today, we're announcing Arm Cortex-R82, our first 64-bit, Linux-capable Cortex-R processor designed to accelerate the development and deployment of next-generation enterprise and computational storage solutions.

Intel Releases mOS - Custom Operating System for HPC

Intel has been focusing its resources on data center and high-performance computing lately and the company has made some interesting products. Today, Intel has released its latest creation - mOS operating system. Created as a research project, Intel has made an OS made for some extreme-scale HPC systems, meaning that the OS is created for hyper scalers and ones alike. The goal of mOS is to deliver a high-performance environment for software with low-noise, scalability, and the concept of lightweight kernels (LWK) that manage the system.. Being based on the Linux kernel, the OS is essentially another distribution, however, it has been modified so it fits the HPC ecosystem the best way. The mOS is a product in the pre-alpha phase, however, it can already be used in supercomputers like ASCI Red, IBM Blue Gene, and others. Intel is aiming to develop a stable release by the time the Aurora exascale system is ready so it can deploy mOS there.

Synaptics to Acquire DisplayLink, Extending Video Interface Market Leadership

Synaptics Incorporated today announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire DisplayLink Corp., a leader in high-performance video compression technology, for $305 million in an all-cash transaction. The deal is expected to close in Synaptics' first quarter of fiscal year 2021, subject to customary closing conditions, and be financed from existing cash on hand. Synaptics expects the transaction to add approximately $94 million in annualized sales and be immediately accretive to non-GAAP gross margins, non-GAAP operating margins, and non-GAAP earnings post-close.

DisplayLink's high performance software compression technology enables universal docking and casting of high bandwidth video from any device to any display using any transport medium such as USB, Ethernet or Wi-Fi. For the Enterprise IT market, the solution supports multi-OS environments including Windows, MacOS, ChromeOS and Ubuntu Linux enabling a myriad of devices to seamlessly dock to multiple high resolution (4K, 8K) displays.

Linux Performance of AMD Rome vs Intel Cascade Lake, 1 Year On

Michael Larabel over at Phoronix posted an extremely comprehensive analysis on the performance differential between AMD's Rome-based EPYC and Intel's Cascade Lake Xeons one-year after release. The battery of tests, comprising more than 116 benchmark results, pits a Xeon Platinum 8280 2P system against an EPYC 7742 2P one. The tests were conducted pitting performance of both systems while running benchmarks under the Ubuntu 19.04 release, which was chosen as the "one year ago" baseline, against the newer Linux software stack (Ubuntu 20.10 daily + GCC 10 + Linux 5.8).

The benchmark conclusions are interesting. For one, Intel gained more ground than AMD over the course of the year, with the Xeon platform gaining 6% performance across releases, while AMD's EPYC gained just 4% over the same period of time. This means that AMD's system is still an average of 14% faster across all tests than the Intel platform, however, which speaks to AMD's silicon superiority. Check some benchmark results below, but follow the source link for the full rundown.

Intel Ice Lake Xeons Feature Slower Frequency Ramp Up

As we approach the launch of the Intel's Ice Lake-SP Xeon processors, which will be the company's first 10 nm product for servers, we find more details on the ways CPU operates and today's discovery is an interesting one. In the latest patch submitted to Linux kernel by Intel's engineers, we find out that Intel Ice Lake Xeons have a slower frequency ramp up, meaning that there could be some latency added. However, the engineers have patched this and it should perform as expected. The patch is described as the following: "On ICX platform, the CPU frequency will slowly ramp up when woken up from C-states deeper than/equals to C1E. Although this feature does save energy in many cases this might also cause unexpected result. For example, workload might get unstable performance due to the uncertainty of CPU frequency. Besides, the CPU frequency might not be locked to specific level when the CPU utilization is low."
Intel Ice Lake

Axiomtek Announces NA346 Ultra Compact Fanless Network Appliance Designed for IIoT Security Applications

Axiomtek - a world-renowned leader relentlessly devoted in the research, development and manufacture of series of innovative and reliable industrial computer products of high efficiency - is proud to introduce the NA346, a 4-LAN fanless network appliance platform designed in a small form factor. This ultra-small desktop network appliance is powered by the Intel Celeron processor N3350 (code name: Apollo Lake) featuring the lowest Thermal Design Power (TDP) of 6 W to meet the specific configurations of low-power requirement. The reliable NA346 is positioned as an entry-level SD-WAN, VPN and security gateway for industrial IoT security applications.

"The 5G network is foreseeable to transfer data with greater bandwidth, higher speed and boost the edge computing and AIoT application. The cutting-edge NA346 offers two mini-PCIe slots and SIM socket supporting 3G/4G/LTE communications and connectors to 5G modules," said Kiwi Lee, a product manager of Product PM Division at Axiomtek. "Space limitation is one of the constraints in today's industrial environment. Axiomtek's ultra-small NA346 can be easily installed in narrow spaces. Featuring fanless operation, this network security appliance is perfect to be used in noise-sensitive environments."

Linus Torvalds Finds AVX-512 an Intel Gimmick to Invent and Win at Benchmarks

"I hope AVX512 dies a painful death, and that Intel starts fixing real problems instead of trying to create magic instructions to then create benchmarks that they can look good on." These were the words of Linux and Git creator Linus Torvalds in a mailing list, expressing his displeasure over "Alder Lake" lacking AVX-512. Torvalds also cautioned against placing too much weightage on floating-point performance benchmarks, particularly those that take advantage of exotic new instruction sets that have a fragmented and varied implementation across product lines.

"I've said this before, and I'll say it again: in the heyday of x86, when Intel was laughing all the way to the bank and killing all their competition, absolutely everybody else did better than Intel on FP loads. Intel's FP performance sucked (relatively speaking), and it matter not one iota. Because absolutely nobody cares outside of benchmarks." Torvalds believes AVX2 is "more than enough" thanks to its proliferation, but advocated that processor manufacturers design better FPUs for their core designs so they don't have to rely on instruction set-level optimization to eke out performance.

Huawei Desktop PC with Kunpeng 920 Processor Teased and Tested

Huawei has been readying the entire new breed of desktop PCs with a custom motherboard, custom processor, and even a custom operating system. Being that Huawei plans to supply Chinese government institutions with these PCs, it is logical to break away from US-made technology due to security reasons. And now, thanks to the YouTube channel called "二斤自制" we have the first look at the new PC system. Powered by Huawei D920S10 desktop motherboard equipped with Kunpeng 920 7 nm Arm v8 processor with 8 cores, the PC was running the 64-bit UOS operating system, which is a Chinese modification of Linux. In the test, the PC was assembled by a third-party provider and it featured 16 GB of 2666 MHz DDR4 memory and 256 GB SSD.

The YouTube channel put it to test and in the Blender BMW render test, it has finished in 11 minutes and 47 seconds, which is quite slow. The system reportedly managed to stream 4K content well but has struggled with local playback thanks to poor encoding. Being that it runs a custom OS with a custom processor, app selection is quite narrow. The app store for the PC is accessible only if you pay an extra 800 Yuan (~$115), while the mentioned system will set you back 7,500 Yuan (~$1,060). At the heart of this system is eight-core, eight threaded Kunpeng 920 2249K processor. It features a clock speed of 2.6 GHz, has 128K of L1 cache (64K instruction cache and 64K data cache), 512K of L2, and 32 MB of L3 cache.

TerraMaster Invites Developers To Create Their Own App

TerraMaster, a professional brand that specializes in providing innovative storage products including network attached storage (NAS) devices, introduces the TerraMaster TOS APP Development Guide which allows independent developers to create apps that can run on the TerraMaster TOS. The TerraMaster TOS APP Development Guide provide developers a complete suite of tools and a suitable app development environment for creating applications. With this, TerraMaster can work hand-in-hand with developers that will help grow the TerraMaster TOS into a more robust and feature-packed storage ecosystem that will benefit all TerraMaster NAS users.

Developers are given the liberty to develop any application that will fit their needs. Developers can list the developed app on the TerraMaster TOS for other end users to use. Likewise, developers can also charge users for their apps. TerraMaster outlines a simple process for the app development below.

Basemark GPU will be the first benchmark for Apple Silicon based Macs

On Monday 22nd of June Apple announced Mac transition to Apple Silicon. Even though this transition was quite expected, the industry got very excited upon the announcement. Apple released quite a lot of information about their plans, but one key question remained unanswered: how fast are Apple's new ARM based Mac chips?

Apple said people should expect pure performance in one category in particular - graphical performance. What is the performance difference over the Intel integrated graphics that ship in a new MacBook Air? There is no public information available about it.
Basemark Benchmark Apple Silion

Microsoft Defender ATP is now Available for Linux

It is known that Microsoft has been working on bringing its Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) on non-Windows platforms, and it finally has happened. Today, Microsoft is enabling users of popular Linux distributions to use its Defender ATP locally. This is an important announcement as Microsoft is bringing even more software to the Linux ecosystem. With this, Microsoft is making Defender ATP the software tool to manage and monitor security on all enterprise platforms available - Windows, Windows Server, macOS, and now even Linux. Supported distributions include RHEL 7.2 or higher, CentOS Linux 7.2 or higher, Ubuntu 16 LTS or higher LTS, SLES 12 or higher, Debian 9 or higher, and Oracle Linux 7.2.
Microsoft Defender ATP for Linux

Mozilla Starts Offering VPN Service called Firefox Private Network

Mozilla, the maker of popular web-browser Firefox, has announced that it is now offering virtual private network (VPN) services. Available for right now as a beta product, the company is promising that it will soon release the software as a fully-fledged application. Firefox Private Network's Mozilla VPN is designed to help users gain more control and safety over their internet traffic while offering protection for a whole device. if you wish to try it out, you would need to join a waitlist. There you can get the VPN app while it is still in beta for iOS, Android, Windows, and Chromebook devices. Support for macOS and Linux is coming soon. The service costs $4.99 a month, while if you own a Firefox browser, you can get it free of charge as an extension.

Intel Ice Lake CPUs Have a System Crashing Bug

Intel CPUs have been rather notorious for system bugs recently. Starting from 2018's Spectre and Meltdown which used speculative execution to exploit systems, the string of new vulnerabilities just continued to this day. Recently we had CrossTalk exploit which represents a threat to cloud providers, where one user could compromise another just by using the same CPU from which the virtual instances are powered. These types of exploits are even more dangerous than ones that require local access, as that is already dangerous by itself. A lot of these issues are said to be ironed out by Intel's new microarchitecture designs like Ice Lake, Tiger Lake, and future revisions.

However, it seems like Intel is encountering some problems with even the latest Ice Lake CPUs when it comes to system bugs. JetBrains, a Czech provider of software development tools has a Java programming language development environment called IntelliJ integrated development environment. It was recently reported that on MacBook Air 2020 and Microsoft Surface Pro models equipped with 10th generation Intel Ice Lake CPUs, IntelliJ IDE causes system restart or a complete OS crash. In the report, the CPU ran in a Linux VM that isolates itself from MacOS so the macOS XNU kernel is not to blame. In the report thread, another user running Windows on Microsoft Surface Pro experienced the crash as well.
Intel Ice Lake CPU

Lenovo Brings Linux Certification to ThinkPad and ThinkStation Workstation Portfolio

More than 250 million computers are sold each year and NetMarketShare reports that 2.87 percent - roughly 7.2 million users - are using those computers to run Linux. Once thought of as a niche IT crowd, this user base of data scientists, developers, application engineers, scientists and more is growing - stepping into sought-after roles across multiple industries and becoming essential within their companies. Now, I'm excited to share Lenovo is moving to certify the full workstation portfolio for top Linux distributions from Ubuntu and Red Hat - every model, every configuration.

While many users prefer to customize their own machines - either on hardware without an OS or by wiping an existing client OS, then configuring and installing Linux - this can raise uncertainty with system stability, restricted performance, compatibility, end-user productivity and even IT support for devices. Now that these users are making their way out of the proverbial shadows and onto the enterprise floor, the demand is high for an out-of-the-box solution that removes the barrier for deployment of enterprise-grade hardware within a Linux software ecosystem.
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