Tabs, Not Spaces

September 30th, 2020
New dev laptops from Dell and Lenovo, and a milestone for the Linux Vendor Firmware Service. Intel aims to unify accelerated computing development, and VMware snaps up Salt. Plus Cloudflare boosts its serverless offering, a new Fedora beta, and more.

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Dell has announced the latest round of upgrades for its XPS 13 laptop range, including the Ubuntu-powered Developer Edition. The refresh will bring Intel’s 11th gen Tiger Lake processors, Thunderbolt 4 ports, and slightly faster memory to the model — with the laptops also expected to offer fast charging, and up to 19 hours of battery life to their users. Meanwhile, Lenovo has thrown its own hat into the developer ring, by announcing the ThinkPad X1 Nano. The new laptop will be available in Q4 for upwards of fourteen-hundred dollars, and come preinstalled with either Windows or Ubuntu. The X1 Nano will be thinner and lighter than the XPS 13 while providing a very similar specification, and is likely to appeal to the same mobile developer marketspace that Dell has largely made its own to date.
Tiger Lake is coming in Dell XPS 13, XPS 13 DE, and XPS 13 2-in-1
Featherweight X1 Nano is Lightest ThinkPad Ever
Lenovo swings for the fences with unusual Tiger Lake laptop designs

Richard Hughes has revealed that the Linux Vendor Firmware Service has now served over twenty million firmware updates to its users. The milestone comes just five years after Hughes released the first version of his firmware update daemon, since when the project has been embraced by many of the world's largest hardware vendors. And in a blogpost reflecting on the success of the service, Hughes also revealed that the Linux Foundation will soon be taking over the day-to-day running of the web infrastructure behind it, providing a better uptime guarantee for its many users.
20 Million Downloads from the LVFS

In other Linux Foundation news, the organization has announced that Google Cloud has become the latest Platinum member of its Networking foundation. While membership of LF Networking's highest tier is mainly drawn from global telcos and hardware vendors, Google Cloud will now join the likes of IBM, Red Hat, and VMware in helping the organization shape networking industry development going forward.
Google Cloud Joins Linux Foundation Networking at Platinum Level

The beta of Fedora 33 has been released. While the current development cycle sees the project's IoT version promoted to become an official edition, most eyes will be on Fedora Workstation — with many curious to see how the switch to Btrfs as its default filesystem pans out with widespread deployment.
Announcing the release of Fedora 33 Beta

The KDE Project has announced the availability of the latest update to its Plasma 5.18 LTS branch, bringing a number of bug fixes and display improvements. And while a welcome update, it's probably worth mentioning again the surprising results of KDE's recent telemetry analysis, which revealed that the vast majority of Plasma users actually run the latest stable version — and that a mere 5% opt to stick with a long-term support release.
Plasma 5.18.6 LTS
What we can learn from Plasma telemetry

Intel has unveiled the first complete version of its oneAPI specification. The initiative aims to provide an open platform for accelerated computing, and allow developers to write code that will run on multiple hardware architectures without change. It does this by providing a set of common library APIs for different platforms, which can be accessed from the Data Parallel C++ language used by the project. While Intel is keen to see oneAPI broadly adopted across the industry, executives from competing hardware vendors have previously expressed doubts that it will turn out to be the magic bullet that it aspires to be — with NVIDIA's Jensen Huang stating last year that, quote, "programming isn’t as simple as a PowerPoint slide".
Intel oneAPI 1.0 Officially Released
[Video] oneAPI: A Unified, Cross-Architecture Performance Programming Model for CPUs and Accelerators
[Old] Nvidia CEO Slams Intel’s OneAPI, Says "Programming Isn’t As Simple"

Few things fill me with less enthusiasm than the prospect of reporting on The Great Raspberry Pi Case Wars of 2020, but since I flagged up the DeskPi Pro on the last show, I feel duty-bound to mention that the maker of the Argon One case now has a new offering all of its own. The case shares the same 1980's aesthetic as its older sibling, but offers two full-sized HDMI ports for dual display output, and more importantly now permits the addition of an M.2 SATA SSD card to your Raspberry Pi setup.
Argon One M.2 Case for Raspberry Pi 4 Adds SATA Support, Full-Sized HDMI Ports

Cloudflare has made a couple of significant changes to its serverless computing platform. Developers will now be able to schedule code execution rather than simply relying on incoming web requests to trigger Workers into life, using a configuration setup that will be very familiar to Linux cron users. The company is also introducing a beta program that adds persistent object storage to the platform, which will allow it to be used for a far wider variety of application tasks than was previously the case. The new cron functionality is available now for all users at no extra cost, while access to the Durable Objects beta program is by invitation only — with Cloudflare looking for interesting use cases to trial the technology.
Introducing Cron Triggers for Cloudflare Workers
Workers Durable Objects Beta: A New Approach to Stateful Serverless

Today's show has majored on corporate stories, but that's simply where most of the action has been over the last few days. And as if to make that point for me, let's end with the news that VMware has announced its intention to acquire SaltStack. While financial details about the deal haven't been released so far, VMware has explained that it plans to rub Salt into its vRealize Automation solution — giving it a reach beyond infrastructure provisioning, and right into the heart of its clients' virtual machines and containers, whether in the cloud or on-premises.
Advancing VMware’s Cloud Automation Capabilities with Intent to Acquire SaltStack
SaltStack to Join the VMware Family to Power the Next Phase of Intelligent Automation

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