Tabs, Not Spaces

September 26th, 2020
AMD and Arm unveil new CPU options, and Lenovo broadens its Ubuntu consumer range. PostgreSQL and calibre land new updates, while Fedora plans to harden a future release. Plus more on GNOME's usability testing, and a snazzy new enclosure for the Pi.

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Lenovo has announced a big expansion in its support for pre-installing Ubuntu on hardware available through its consumer sales channel. More than twenty devices from Lenovo's ThinkPad and ThinkStation ranges will now be offered with Ubuntu 20.04, while the distro's previous LTS is a pre-installation option for two of Lenovo's ThinkPad L series models. The company is phasing in the global retail availability of these Ubuntu-certified devices through a gradual rollout that's due to complete by next year.
Lenovo Launches Linux-Ready ThinkPad and ThinkStation PCs Preinstalled with Ubuntu
Lenovo begins selling OEM Ubuntu PCs to the general public

Version 13 of the PostgreSQL relational database system has been released. The update brings a host of performance gains for users with large databases, and introduces parallelized index vacuuming and new incremental sorting functionality. The release also adds the concept of trusted extensions, which allows database users to install extensions that a superuser has previously flagged as being trustworthy — and some built-in extensions are now marked as trusted by default. One popular PostgreSQL extension for users working with time-series data is the TimescaleDB product. And like many other companies working in the same sort of space, Timescale has struggled with the dilemma of how to keep its source code open, while preventing the major cloud players from extracting all of the value from its development efforts. The company previously introduced its own bespoke license to limit cloud deployments of its database system, but has clearly been listening to community feedback — and now intends to revise its license along with the release of its next major software update, which is scheduled to land next month. The blogpost announcing the change is well worth reading by anyone concerned about the difficult line that companies working in this space need to tread, as they attempt to maintain their own financial viability in the face of potential exploitation by the hyperscale cloud providers.
PostgreSQL 13 Released!
How we are building a self-sustaining open-source business in the cloud era (version 2)
Hacker News: An update to the Timescale license

AMD has announced an update to its range of Athlon processors for Chromebooks, and for the first time has introduced a Ryzen-series CPU for the platform. The company claims that its new mobile processor will offer improved general performance compared with older AMD-powered Chromebooks, and provide more than twice the throughput for graphics processing tasks. But it's worth noting that the Ryzen CPU is based on AMD's older Zen architecture, so you shouldn't expect the blistering speedups that its more recent desktop CPUs have been providing. Meanwhile, Arm has unveiled two new CPU designs firmly aimed at the datacenter market. Its new Neoverse V1 platform supports Scalable Vector Extensions, and can offer an increase in single-threaded performance of up to 50% over the company's existing N1 platform. And for situations where the ability to scale-out is a key factor, Arm has introduced a new N2 platform which can be configured with up to 192 cores, and also supports the latest High Bandwidth Memory specification.
AMD Launches First “Zen”-based Chromebook mobile processors for faster web browsing, improved office productivity and better multitasking
AMD announces new processors for Chromebooks (kind of)
Accelerating the next generation cloud-to-edge infrastructure
Arm Says New Neoverse V1, N2 Server CPUs Faster Than Intel, AMD

Another two open source coding environments are becoming available for Windows users. Google has announced an alpha release of Flutter for the platform, while the Swift project has now started providing an officially sanctioned download of its latest toolchain for use on Windows. The project has also announced the open sourcing of its library that provides idiomatic interfaces to system calls, and confirmed that it's adding support for Linux to it.
Announcing Flutter Windows Alpha
Introducing Swift on Windows
Swift System is Now Open Source

Allan Day has provided an update on the continued usability testing that the GNOME project has been undertaking. Among other findings, the team behind the research discovered that while app launching through type-to-search has proved to be a popular feature, user interaction with the app grid occurs far less frequently. While noting that a better onboarding process could assist users, the team is also gearing up to present some proposed design changes to GNOME Shell that their research suggests might aid in its usability.
GNOME Shell user research goings on

The Fedora project is planning to remove the option for users to disable SELinux at runtime, starting with version 34 of the distro. The move would allow the project to bring in additional hardening by implementing read-only protection on the LSM hooks, and users would still have the option of disabling SELinux at boot time using the kernel command line. A writeup about the proposal on LWN also touches on the issue of silent denials by SELinux, and it'll be interesting to see if any policy changes fall out of the discussions prompted by Fedora's planned change.
Changes/Remove Support For SELinux Runtime Disable
Removing run-time disabling for SELinux in Fedora

Version 5 of the calibre ebook reader has been released. The update will be a significant one if you're moving from version 4, but many of the new features have been rolled out in the incremental point releases since then. Possibly the largest change is that the application has been ported over to Python 3, and while many extensions have also made the same move, a handful are still not compatible with the latest release. The update also brings new dark mode support, along with the ability to highlight text and add annotations that are easily browsable, and can be shared with other users.
New in calibre 5.0

A new case for the Raspberry Pi 4 has been generating a lot of buzz in the community. But describing the aluminum alloy enclosure as just a case is probably not doing the DeskPi Pro justice, as it comes outfitted with a cooling system, and additional circuitry to reroute the ports from the Pi to full-size sockets on the front and rear. The case also features a front-mounted physical power switch, and a built-in USB-to-SATA connector allows a standard two-and-a-half inch hard drive or SSD to be mounted inside of it. While the DeskPi Pro is available to pre-order for around $25 more than the popular Argon One case, the two aren't totally comparable in terms of features or aesthetics. So it's likely that the Argon One with its easy access to the Pi's GPIO pins will continue to appeal to tinkerers, while the more attractive and expandable DeskPi Pro will find a home in many living rooms, and be used as a media center set-top box or a retro-gaming console.
DeskPi Pro Raspberry Pi 4 Case Comes with 2.5-inch HDD/SSD Bay, Full-sized HDMI Ports, PWM Fansink

And finally, thanks to the Linux Lads for giving a shout-out to this show on their latest podcast. It was much appreciated fellas, and good luck with your new season!
Season 5 - Episode 1: A BRAND new season

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