Linux Kernel Patch Hints At At 32-Core Support For AMD Zen Chips 121

New submitter Iamthecheese points to an article which says that a patch published on the Linux Kernel Mailing List indicates that AMD's forthcoming Zen processors will have as many as 32 cores per socket, but notes that while the article's headline says "Confirms," "the article text doesn't bear that out." Still, he writes, There are hints of such from last year. A leaked patch for the 14 nanometer AMD Zeppelin (Family 17h, Model 00h) reveals support for up to 32 cores. Another blog says pretty much the same thing. We recently discussed an announced 4+8 core AMD chip, but nothing like this.
Operating Systems

GNU Hurd Begins Supporting Sound, Still Working On 64-bit & USB Support ( 312

An anonymous reader writes: GNU developer Samuel Thibault presented at this weekend's FOSDEM conference about the current state of GNU Hurd. He shared that over the past year they've started working on experimental sound support as their big new feature. They also have x86 64-bit support to the point that the kernel can boot, but not much beyond that stage yet. USB and other functionality remains a work-in-progress. Those curious about this GNU kernel project can find more details via the presentation media.
Hardware Hacking

Atom-Based JaguarBoard To Take On Raspberry Pi ( 120

MojoKid writes: The tiny single-board PC movement that's leading the Internet of Things (IoT) market is largely dominated by ARM-based processors, and for good reason — they're cheap, low power and capable. However, what if you prefer to work with the x86 architecture? JaguarBoard looks strikingly similar to Raspberry Pi, which is arguably the most popular single-board mini PC. But unlike Raspberry Pi, JaguarBoard allows users to develop for x86, courtesy of its Intel Atom Z3735G (Bay Trail) foundation. The chip is a quad-core part clocked at 1.33GHz to 1.83GHz with 2MB of L2 cache, offering a fair amount of horsepower for IoT applications. In addition to an Atom processor, JaguarBoard also boasts 1GB of DDR3L memory, 16GB of eMMC storage, three USB 2.0 ports, 10/100M LAN port, HDMI 1.4 output, SDIO 3.0 socket, two COM ports, four GPIO pins, and audio ports. It's an interesting device that you could use strictly as a mini PC for general purpose computing, as an embedded system, a learning or research tool, or for whatever DIY projects you can conjure up. It's not the only hobbyist-appropriate x86 board, but those specs are pretty good for $45.

Benefits of a Homebrew Router ( 247

An anonymous reader writes: Jim Salter has posted an article explaining why it can be a good idea to build your own router, and how he put his together. Quoting: "In the consumer world, routers mostly have itty-bitty little MIPS CPUs under the hood without a whole lot of RAM (to put it mildly). These routers largely differentiate themselves from one another based on the interface: How shiny is it? ... I wanted to go a different route. A lot of interesting and reasonably inexpensive little x86-64 fanless machines have started showing up on the market lately. The trick for building a router is finding one with multiple NICs." Once assembled, the homebrew router blows away even high-end SOHO routers for throughput and performance. "Given that nobody's offering any Internet connections over 200mbps in my area yet, that makes my inner crypto nerd dance with glee. I could literally encrypt every single byte of my Internet traffic, in either direction, without a performance penalty." Of course, it won't do wireless, but you can get separate wireless access points to handle that.
GNU is Not Unix

Remix OS in Violation of GPL and Apache Licenses ( 180

An anonymous reader writes: You may have heard recently of the Remix OS, a fork of Android that targets desktop computing. The operating system, which was created by former Google employees and features a traditional desktop layout in addition to the ability to run Android apps, was previewed on Ars Technica a few weeks ago, but it was not actually released for end-users to download until earlier this week. Now that Remix OS has been released, The Linux Homefront Project is reporting that the Android-based operating system, for which source code is not readily available, violates both the GPL and the Apache License. The RemixOS installer includes a "Remix OS USB Tool" that is really a re-branded copy of popular disk imaging tool UNetbootin, which falls under the GPL. Additionally, browsing through the install image files reveals that the operating system is based on the Apache Licensed Android-x86 project. From the article: "Output is absolutely clear – no differences! No authors, no changed files, no trademarks, just copy-paste development." Is this a blatant disregard for the GPL and Apache licenses by an optimistic startup, or were the authors too eager to release that they forgot to provide access to the repo?

AMD Unveils 64-Bit ARM-Based Opteron A1100 System On Chip With Integrated 10GbE ( 98

MojoKid writes: AMD is adding a new family of Opterons to its enterprise processor line-up today called the Opteron A1100 series. Unlike AMD's previous enterprise offerings, however, these new additions are packing ARM-based processor cores, not the X86 cores AMD has been producing for years. The Opteron A1100 series is designed for a variety of use cases and applications, including networking, storage, dense and power-efficient web serving, and 64-bit ARM software development. The new family was formerly codenamed "Seattle" and it represents the first 64-bit ARM Cortex-A57-based platform from AMD. AMD Opteron A1100 Series chips will pack up to eight 64-bit ARM Cortex-A57 cores with up to 4MB of shared Level 2 and 8MB of shared Level 3 cache. They offer two 64-bit DDR3/DDR4 memory channels supporting speeds up to 1866 MHz with ECC and capacities up to 128GB, dual integrated 10Gb Ethernet network connections, 8-lanes of PCI-Express Gen 3 connectivity, and 14 SATA III ports. AMD is shipping to a number of software and hardware partners now with development systems already available.

Intel's Clear Linux Distribution Offers Fast Out-Of-The-Box Performance ( 137

An anonymous reader writes: In a 10-way Linux distribution battle including OpenSUSE, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, and others, one of the fastest out-of-the-box performers was a surprising contender: Intel's Clear Linux Project that's still in its infancy. Clear Linux ships in an optimized form for delivering best performance on x86 hardware with enabling many compiler optimizations by default, highly-tuned software bundles, function multi-versioning for the most performant code functions based upon CPU, AutoFDO for automated feedback-direct optimizations and other performance-driven features. Clear Linux is a rolling-release-inspired distribution that issues new versions a few times a day and is up to version 5700.

64 Hacker Friendly Single Board Computers ( 86

An anonymous reader writes: This year, we've seen some incredible price/performance breakthroughs in low-cost single board computers. LinuxGizmos has put together a compilation of 64 low-cost, hacker friendly SBCs that are all available in models that cost less than $200, with many well below $100, including Shenzhen Xunlong's $15 quad-core Orange Pi PC, Next Thing's $9 to $24 Chip, and the $5-and-up Raspberry Pi Zero. Processors range from low-end 32-bit single core ARM chips, to 64-bit ARM, x86, and MIPS parts, and with clock rates from 300MHz to 2GHz. This year even saw the arrival of low-cost SBCs based on octa-core processors, such as the $88 Banana Pi M3.

Juniper's Backdoor Password Disclosed, Likely Added In Late 2013 ( 107

itwbennett writes: In a blog post on Rapid7's community portal Sunday, HD Moore posted some notes on the Juniper ScreenOS incident, notably that his team discovered the backdoor password that enables the Telnet and SSH bypass. Quoting: "Although most folks are more familiar with x86 than ARM, the ARM binaries are significantly easier to compare due to minimal changes in the compiler output. ... Once the binary is loaded, it helps to identify and tag common functions. Searching for the text "strcmp" finds a static string that is referenced in the sub_ED7D94 function. Looking at the strings output, we can see some interesting string references, including auth_admin_ssh_special and auth_admin_internal. ... The argument to the strcmp call is <<< %s(un='%s') = %u, which is the backdoor password, and was presumably chosen so that it would be mistaken for one of the many other debug format strings in the code. This password allows an attacker to bypass authentication through SSH and Telnet, as long as they know a valid username. If you want to test this issue by hand, telnet or ssh to a Netscreen device, specify a valid username, and the backdoor password. If the device is vulnerable, you should receive an interactive shell with the highest privileges."

NVIDIA Jetson TX1 Performance Shines For GPU Computing ( 22

An anonymous reader writes: Following last week's announcement of the Jetson TX1 development board, NVIDIA is now allowing independent reports of performance for their $599 USD 64-bit ARM development board. Linux results published by Phoronix show very strong performance for the Jetson TX1 when looking at the Cortex-A57 speed relative to the Tegra K1 and older Tegra SoCs along with other ARM hardware like Calxeda and Raspberry Pi. The Jetson TX1 was generally multiple times faster than ARM hardware a few years old. The graphics performance was twice as fast as the year-old Jetson TK1 thanks to the Maxwell GPU. Compared to x86 hardware, in CPU-bound tasks the performance is comparable to an AMD Sempron/Phenom except when utilizing GPGPU computing where it's then faster than Intel Skylake and Xeon processors. The Jetson TX1 had a peak power consumption of 16 Watts and an average power use of under 10 Watts.
First Person Shooters (Games)

Open-Source Doom 3 Advances With EAX Audio, 64-bit ARM/x86 Support ( 37

An anonymous reader writes: Dhewm3, one of the leading implementations of the Doom 3 engine built off the open-source id Tech 4 engine, has released a new version of the GPL-licensed engine that takes Doom 3 far beyond where it was left off by id Software. The newest code has full SDL support, OpenAL + OpenAL EFX for audio, 64-bit x86/ARM support, better support for widescreen resolutions, and CMake build system support on Linux/Windows/OSX/FreeBSD. This new open-source code can be downloaded from Dhewm3 on GitHub but continues to depend upon the retail Doom 3 game assets.

CodeWeavers To Release CrossOver For Android To Run Windows Programs 66

An anonymous reader writes: For the better part of three years there has been talk about running Wine on Android to bring Windows x86 programs to Android phones/tablets, and it's going to become a reality. CodeWeavers is planning to release CrossOver For Android before the end of the year. This will allow native Windows binaries to run on Android, but will be limited to Android-x86 due to struggles in emulating x86 Windows code on ARM. The tech preview will be free and once published the open-source patches will be published for Wine.

iPad Mini-Style Specs, On the Cheap, In Android-Based ASUS ZenPad S 8.0 87

MojoKid writes: The ASUS ZenPad S 8.0 is a well-designed Android tablet based on an Intel X86 platform that boasts better specs than the iPad mini 3 in many areas and is also less expensive. As configured, the ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA has an MSRP of $299, which is $99 less than the 16GB iPad mini 3, and $199 less than 64GB model. However, it's based on a quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, and modern amenities like 802.11ac Wi-Fi, a USB Type-C port and a 2048X1536 IPS display. A 2GB RAM and 32GB variant can be found for $199 as well. In the benchmarks, the ZenPad S 8.0 handles pretty well, offering middle-of-the-pack performance in both standard CPU tests as well as gaming, in addition to running the latest version of Android Lollipop.
Open Source

Linux Kernel 4.2 Released 142

An anonymous reader writes: The Linux 4.2 kernel is now available. This kernel is one of the biggest kernel releases in recent times and introduces rewrites of some of the kernel's Intel Assembly x86 code, new ARM board support, Jitter RNG improvements, queue spinlocks, the new AMDGPU kernel driver, NCQ TRIM handling, F2FS per-file encryption, and many other changes to benefit most Linux users.

Researcher Exploits 18-Year-Old Design Flaw To Compromise X86 Chips 128

jfruh writes: Security researcher Christopher Domas has demonstrated a method of installing a rootkit in a PC's firmware that exploits a feature built into every x86 chip manufactured since 1997. The rootkit infects the processor's System Management Mode, and could be used to wipe the UEFI or even to re-infect the OS after a clean install. Protection features like Secure Boot wouldnt help, because they too rely on the SMM to be secure.

AMD Catalyst Linux Driver Performs Wildly Different Based On Program's Name 114

An anonymous reader writes: In past years the AMD Catalyst Linux driver has yielded better performance if naming the executable "doom3.x86" or "compiz" (among other choices), but these days this application profile concept is made more absurd with more games coming to Linux but AMD not maintaining well their Linux application profile database. The latest example is by getting ~40% better performance by renaming Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on Linux. If renaming the "csgo_linux" binary to "hl2_linux" for Half-Life 2 within Steam, the frame-rates suddenly increase across the board, this is with the latest Catalyst 15.7 Linux driver while CS:GO has been on Linux for nearly one year. Should driver developers re-evaluate their optimization practices for Linux?

Xilinx and AMD: an Inevitable Match? 108

itwbennett writes: Steve Casselman at Seeking Alpha was among the first to suggest that Xilinx should buy AMD because, among other reasons, it 'would let Xilinx get in on the x86 + FPGA fabric tsunami.' The trouble with this, however, is that 'AMD's server position is minuscule.... While x86 has 73% of the server market, Intel owns virtually all of it,' writes Andy Patrizio. At the same time, 'once Intel is in possession of the Altera product line, it will be able to cheaply produce the chip and drop the price, drastically undercutting Xilinx,' says Patrizio. And, he adds, buying AMD wouldn't give Xilinx the same sort of advantage 'since AMD is fabless.'

How Today's Low-Power X86 & ARM CPUs Compare To Intel's Old NetBurst CPUs 77

An anonymous reader writes: In trying to offer a unique look at how Intel x86 CPU performance has evolved since their start, Phoronix celebrated their 11th birthday by comparing modern CPUs to old Socket 478 CPUs with the NetBurst Celeron and Pentium 4C on an Intel 875P+ICH5R motherboard. These old NetBurst processors were compared to modern Core and Atom processors from Haswell, Broadwell, Bay Trail and other generations. There were also some AMD CPUs and the NVIDIA Tegra K1 ARM processor. Surprisingly, in a few Linux tests the NetBurst CPUs performed better than AMD E-Series APUs and an Atom Bay Trail. However, for most workloads, the 45+ other CPUs tested ended up being multiple times faster; for the systems where the power consumption was monitored, the power efficiency was obviously multiple times better.
Emulation (Games)

Emulator Now Runs x86 Apps On All Raspberry Pi Models 82

DeviceGuru writes: Russia-based Eltechs announced its ExaGear Desktop virtual machine last August, enabling Linux/ARMv7 SBCs and mini-PCs to run x86 software. That meant that users of the quad-core, Cortex-A7-based Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, could use it as well, although the software was not yet optimized for it. Now Eltechs has extended extended ExaGear to support earlier ARMv6 versions of the Raspberry Pi. The company also optimized the emulator for the Pi 2 allowing, for example, Pi 2 users to use automatically forwarding startup scripts.

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