Linux kernel 4.11 released

Also in today’s open source roundup: DistroWatch reviews TrueOS 2017-02-22, and how to install Linux on your Chromebook

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Linux kernel 4.11 has been released

Linus Torvalds has been busy working on the latest version of the Linux kernel, and now it’s finally here. Linux kernel 4.11 has been released, and it offers a range of fixes and new features. You can get a full list of what's new in Linux 4.11 from the Kernel Newbies site.

Simon Sharwood reports for The Register:

So what do we get this time around? Among other things, Linux is now better at hot-swapping solid state disks and can now do journaling on RAID 4/5/6 volumes. While we're talking storage, there's also support for the OPAL self-encrypting disk drive standard.

The kernel has also gained support for the Shared Memory Communications over RDMA (SMC-R) (SMC-R) spec, an IBM invention that allows virtual machines to share memory and therefore speeds up communications between the machines, helps with load balancing and doesn't hurt when clustering Linux boxen.

Enterprise users and gamers will both be happy that the kernel adds improved support for Intel's Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0, technology that lets a CPU figure out which of its cores is fastest and then increase its clock speed in response to a critical workload's needs.

Among the more interesting smaller changes, the kernel's Infiniband implementation has plenty of added nuances, Wacom tablets are now supported and the Realtek ALC299/ALC1220 codecs get overdue support, meaning some Kaby Lake motherboards can now make noise when running Linux.

More at The Register

DistroWatch reviews TrueOS 2017-02-22

TrueOS used to be called PC-BSD and it is an operating system based on FreeBSD. The latest version is TrueOS 2017-02-22 and a writer at DistroWatch has a full review.

Jesse Smith reports for DistroWatch:

What I took away from my time with TrueOS is that the project is different in a lot of ways from PC-BSD. Much more than just the name has changed. The system is now more focused on cutting edge software and features in FreeBSD's development branch. The install process has been streamlined and the user begins with a set of default software rather than selecting desired packages during the initial setup. The configuration tools, particularly the Control Panel and AppCafe, have changed a lot in the past year. The designs have a more flat, minimal look. It used to be that PC-BSD did not have a default desktop exactly, but there tended to be a focus on KDE. With TrueOS the project's in-house desktop, Lumina, serves as the default environment and I think it holds up fairly well.

One new service I found interesting, but did not get a chance to play with this week was SysAdm, a remote administration tool for managing multiple systems. SysAdm is installed on TrueOS by default and should make running multiple TrueOS (or FreeBSD) systems easier for administrators.

The desktop experience TrueOS offers is a bit mixed. On the one hand I enjoyed the configuration tools, the relatively light memory footprint and the great ZFS features, like snapshots. I also think that SysAdm looks promising as a way to remotely manage computers through a point-n-click interface. On the other hand, I ran into a few problems with TrueOS. The lack of security updates in the Stable repository worried me a bit and I think the Unstable branch might move faster than most people would like. Hardware proved a bit of an issue with both my desktop computer and printer, providing serious hurdles to working with TrueOS. The operating system worked well in a virtual machine though, so my issues may have been hardware specific.

In all, I think TrueOS offers a convenient way to experiment with new FreeBSD technologies and ZFS. I also think people who want to run FreeBSD on a desktop computer may want to look at TrueOS as it sets up a graphical environment automatically. However, people who want a stable desktop platform with lots of applications available out of the box may not find what they want with this project.

More at DistroWatch

How to install Linux on your Chromebook

Chromebooks have long been red hot sellers on Amazon, with many people opting to dump their macOS or Windows laptop and replace it with a Chromebook. But some users might find that Chrome OS isn’t enough for them. Not to worry, a writer at PCWorld has instructions that show you how to install Linux on your Chromebook.

Ian Paul reports for PCWorld:

Chromebooks are capable web-focused PCs, and a great choice for anyone who needs a laptop for travel or working outside the office. Thanks to a wide variety of fully featured web apps—some of which work offline—a Chromebook can cover many of the same use cases as a regular PC.

Of course, there are times when nothing less than the flexibility of a full PC desktop environment will do. A Chromebook can still prove useful in those moments if you set it up to run a traditional Linux desktop operating system. Originally designed with developers in mind, Chromebooks can run a full Linux desktop in either dual-boot mode or as a “chroot.”

Chroot stands for “change root.” It’s a system utility in Unix and Linux environments that separates one set of running processes from another—in this case two different operating systems. You can alternate between the two on-the-fly—no reboot necessary.

More at PCWorld

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