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GNU is Not Unix

Linux 4.6 Brings NVIDIA GTX 900 Support, OrangeFS, Better Power Management (phoronix.com) 129

An anonymous reader writes: The Linux 4.6-rc1 kernel has been released. New to the Linux 4.6 kernel are a significant number of new features including NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 open-source 3D support when using the closed-source firmware files, Dell XPS 13 Skylake laptop support, a fix for laptops that were limiting their own performance due to incorrectly thinking they were overheating, AHCI runtime power management support, Intel graphics power management features enabled by default, a new file-system (OrangeFS), and a range of other improvements.
Displays

You'll Soon Be Able To 'Holoport' Anywhere In the World With Microsoft VR Tech (thenextweb.com) 54

An anonymous reader cites an article on The Next Web: Microsoft research manager Shahram Izadi is showing off the company's latest innovation using HoloLens: 'holoportation,' enabling him to appear as if he's there in real-time, anywhere in the world. His image is captured in 3D by cameras placed around the room. This is then stitched together, compressed and transmitted so someone else can see, hear and interact with him as though he's right there with them. You can even playback previous interactions, as though "walking into a living memory," and miniaturize the content to make it easier to consume. "Imagine being able to virtually teleport from one place to another," he says. Well, if you're the owner of a HoloLens, you soon could do. Microsoft's HoloLens is arguably the front-runner in the nascent, but fast-evolving, augmented reality space. The company's technology has previously been seen used by astronauts and scientists to "walk on the Mars surface" without stepping out of their office on Earth. It's fascinating to see how Microsoft continues to further innovate in this field.
AMD

AMD Releases Open-Source Driver Support For Next-Gen Polaris GPUs (phoronix.com) 38

An anonymous reader writes: For the first time ever, AMD has provided open-source support for next-generation discrete GPUs ahead of the product's launch. AMD developers published initial open-source Linux driver support for Polaris GPUs with the addition adding over sixty-seven thousand lines of code to the Linux kernel. AMD Polaris graphics cards are expected this summer while AMD released the open-source driver support in advance for preparing their new Linux hybrid driver that relies upon the open-source AMDGPU kernel driver.
Graphics

US Army Creates Virtual Reality Dome To Assess Soldier Thinking During Combat 35

HughPickens.com writes: Bryant Jordan reports at Defense Tech that the Cognitive Science and Applications Team at the US Army's Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center is creating a computer-generated reality "dome" to immerse warfighters in a virtual environment that not only tests their skills, but allows Army researchers to assess soldier cognitive abilities and study the impact of real-world operational situations on decision-making, spatial memory and wayfinding. The dome is a concave virtual-reality system that provides a full 180-degree horizontal field, using high-density, front-projection to create a high-resolution, visual world where the simulations will be modeled on real-world locations. "The integration of multiple input modalities, along with multisensory feedback, increases the realism, immersion and engagement on behalf of users subjected to prolonged, workload-intensive activities," says Dr. Caroline Mahoney. "These novel integrations provide unprecedented opportunities to monitor and optimize human behavior during real-world task execution, and to evaluate and predict the impact of innovative human-systems technologies on operational performance." In the virtual dome, users can interact and alter the environment through hand-held and weapon-based devices, which control movement, orientation and weapon aiming. Future additions to the dome will include whole-body motion tracking, low-frequency vibration and directional wind. Vibro-tactile collision feedback — which combines vibration and touch to help give participants a physical sense of constraints in a virtual environment — will also be included.
Sony

PlayStation VR Pre-Orders Sell Out In Minutes At Amazon (roadtovr.com) 92

An anonymous reader writes: Once seen as the underdog, Sony's PlayStation VR headset continues to hold its own against PC-based competitors Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The company announced last week that they won't ship the PSVR headset until October, but they also announced an attractive $399 price compared to the Rift at $599 and Vive at $799. And it appears the company's existing addressable market of 36 million PS4 owners are ready to get on board; Amazon U.S. opened pre-orders for the PSVR Launch Bundle this morning and sold out of its stock allocation in less than 10 minutes. Walmart befell the same fate quickly thereafter, though several other retailers in the U.S. are still showing pre-order stock.
Emulation (Games)

Wine Makes It Possible To Run Vulkan Windows Programs On Linux (phoronix.com) 52

The cool Wine-related news of the week isn't just for Android Remix; an anonymous reader writes with some news applicable to a wider set of users: While no Windows-only Vulkan games have yet to be released, Wine developers are ready and have worked out experimental support for wrapping Vulkan Windows programs on Linux. Assuming you have a Vulkan Linux driver, the latest Wine-Staging build allows for Vulkan Windows programs/games to be dynanically translated and run on Linux 32-bit and 64-bit. Wine's Vulkan wrapper is passing all Khronos conformance tests, but hopefully the ever-expanding Linux game catalog will make this 10k+ lines of code not necessary moving into the future.
Graphics

NVIDIA's Proprietary Linux Driver Adds Support For Wayland, Mir (phoronix.com) 83

An anonymous reader writes: After being desired by NVIDIA Linux users for years, the proprietary GeForce graphics driver natively supports Wayland and Mir as an alternative to an X.Org Server. It's been a long time coming for the proprietary GPU driver stacks to support Wayland/Mir, but with today's 364.12 beta driver there is now the necessary DRM KMS kernel support and EGL extensions for being able to handle these next-generation display solutions. The new NVIDIA Linux driver also provides integrated Vulkan support, PRIME rendering support, and other additions.
Graphics

Studio Ghibli Animation Software Going "Open Source"; Details Pending (toonzpremium.com) 102

Michael Tiemann writes: Digital Video, the makers of TOONZ, and DWANGO, a Japanese publisher, announced today they have signed an agreement for the acquisition by Dwango of Toonz, an animation software which was independently developed by Digital Video (Rome, Italy). Digital Video and Dwango have agreed to close the deal under the condition Dwango will publish and develop an Open Source platform based on Toonz (OpenToonz). Effective Saturday March 26, the TOONZ Studio Ghibli Version will be made available to the animation community as a free download. Not yet clear is which existing open source license will be used for the software, if any. If it is properly licensed as open source software, then we should all celebrate this event by drawing unicorns and rainbows. If not, many will be dis-spirited away. Animation World Network also reports this news, and adds a few more details, but is similarly vague about the license terms. I hope the terms are such that we'll soon see Toonz in media-centric Linux distros, and in widespread classroom use.
Graphics

Cinema-Quality Unity Engine 'Adam' Demo Claims To Run Real-Time On GeForce GTX 980 (hothardware.com) 59

MojoKid writes: This week at GDC 2016 the team at Unity revealed their stable release of the Unity 5.3.4 game engine along with a beta of Unity 5.4. There are a number of upgrades included with Unity 5.4 including in-editor artist workflow improvements, VR rendering pipeline optimizations, improved multithreaded rendering, customizable particles which can use Light Probe Proxy Volumes (LPPV) to add more realistic lighting models and the ability to drop in textures from tools like Quixel DDo Painter. But for a jaw-dropping look at what's possible with the Unity 5.4 engine, check out the short film "Adam" that Unity has developed to demo it. The film showcases all of Unity Engine 5.4's effects and gives a great look at what to expect from Unity-based games coming in 2016. Unity will showcase the full film at Unite Europe 2016 in Amsterdam. But what's most impressive about Adam perhaps is that Unity says that this is all being run in real-time at 1440p resolution on just an upper-midrange GeForce GTX 980 card.
Graphics

AMD Publishes Preview Linux Hybrid Driver With Vulkan, OpenGL 4.5 Support (phoronix.com) 51

An anonymous reader writes: AMD has finally published the previously talked about closed-source Radeon Vulkan driver for Linux. Announced by AMD via the Phoronix Forums is the new hybrid driver dubbed "AMD GPU-PRO Beta Driver – Linux." This closed-source user-space driver provides the first AMD Vulkan support on Linux along with OpenGL 4.5, OpenCL 2.0, and VDPAU video acceleration capabilities. But in using the open-source AMDGPU kernel driver, only the very latest AMD GPUs are currently supported (GCN 1.2+). Update: 03/19 03:22 GMT by T : Sorry for the borked link; now fixed.
Graphics

Intel Teases Skull Canyon Gaming NUC: Core i7, Iris Pro Graphics, Thunderbolt 3 (hothardware.com) 92

MojoKid writes: Intel first hinted at their upcoming Skull Canyon NUC small form factor PC at CES 2016 in January, but the company is now ready to give this slightly bigger, badder NUC its official debut. Skull Canyon manages to cram high-end Intel silicon within an enclosure that measures just 8.5" x 4.6" x 0.9" and has a volume of just 0.69 liters. Inside, there is a sixth generation Intel Core i7-6770HQ processor with 45W TDP and integrated Iris Pro Graphics 580 with on-board eDRAM. On the memory front, up to 32GB of 2133MHz DDR4 is supported, while storage duties are covered by two M.2 slots that support the latest NVMe PCIe SSDs. Also on-board is Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, and GbE and even a consumer infrared sensor if you want to use Skull Canyon as a media box. For external ports you'll find a full-size HDMI 2.0 port, Mini DisplayPort 1.2, four USB 3.0 ports, an SD slot which can accommodate up to 512GB, and support for Thunderbolt 3 (40GBps) and USB 3.1 using a USB Type-C connector. Intel says that a barebones Skull Canyon NUC (NUC6i7KYK) has an estimated street price of $650. Preorders for the NUC6i7KYK SKU will begin next month and shipments will commence in May.
Graphics

Reports: NVIDIA Launching a Distro of Its Own (phoronix.com) 149

An anonymous reader writes: There are unconfirmed reports that NVIDIA is working on its own Linux distribution dubbed "NLINUX." This NLINUX is supposedly a Linux platform optimized for gamers and similar to SteamOS, but NVIDIA has yet to confirm these reports and the sole evidence appears to be a circulating screenshot of an NLINUX install screen. Would you be interested in a Linux distribution created by an IHV? Somewhat similar is Intel's own Linux distribution, Clear Linux, that offers high performance Linux on Intel x86_64 hardware.
AMD

AMD Announces 16 TFLOP Radeon Pro Duo (hothardware.com) 42

MojoKid writes: Remember that Radeon R9 Fury X2 graphics card that AMD CEO Lisa Su showed off months ago? We were previously lead to believe that the dual-GPU graphics card would deliver performance of around 12 TFLOPs. However, the card will actually deliver in excess of 16 TFLOPs. AMD says that this is more than enough to allow developers to "Develop content more rapidly for tomorrow's killer VR experiences while at work, and playing the latest DirectX 12 experiences at maximum fidelity while off work." And the Radeon R9 Fury X2 name? That's dead and buried — the card is now known as the Radeon Pro Duo. Not much is known about the new card at this point but the Radeon Pro Duo will apparently be available during the second quarter with an estimated street price of $1,499.
Data Storage

Facebook Preps Its Infrastructure For a Virtual Reality Future (datacenterfrontier.com) 53

1sockchuck writes: Facebook is building a new generation of open hardware, part of its vision for powerful data centers that will use artificial intelligence and virtual reality to deliver experiences over the Internet. At the Open Compute Summit, Facebook shared details of its work to integrate more SSDs, GPUs, NVM and a "Just a Bunch of Flash" storage sled to accelerate its infrastructure. The company's infrastructure ambitions are also powered by CEO Mark Zuckerberg's embrace of virtual reality, reflected in the $2 billion acquisition of VR pioneer Oculus. "Over the next decade, we're going to build experiences that rely more on technology like artificial intelligence and virtual reality," said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "These will require a lot more computing power."
Graphics

Valve Is Bringing Steam's Game Library Into VR With Desktop Theater Mode (roadtovr.com) 26

An anonymous reader writes: From characters sprinting around levels at inhuman speeds to the player's view being forcibly moved when a game takes control of the camera during a cutscene, it isn't as easy as you might think to make a game work in VR if it wasn't designed for it in the first place. So Valve is striking a compromise that lets players make use of their existing Steam games in VR. SteamVR Desktop Theater Mode, which Valve says is in early beta and will be shown at GDC next week, puts player's games on a huge screen in a virtual home theater setting. Future possibilities for gamers playing together on the same virtual couch are enticing.

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