Linux 4.18 Release – Main Changes, Arm and MIPS Architecture

Linux Changelog 4.18

Linus Torvalds has just announced the release of Linux 4.18: One week late(r) and here we are – 4.18 is out there. It was a very calm week, and arguably I could just have released on schedule last week, but we did have some minor updates. Mostly networking, but some vfs race fixes (mentioned in the rc8 announment as “pending”) and a couple of driver fixes (scsi, networking, i2c). Some other minor random things (arm crypto fix, parisc memory ordering fix). Shortlog appended for the (few) details. Some of these I was almost ready to just delay to until the next merge window, but they were marked for stable anyway, so it would just have caused more backporting. The vfs fixes are for old races that  are really hard to hit (which is obviously why they are old and weren’t noticed earlier). Some of them _have_ been seen in real life, some of them probably need explicit help to ever …

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Arm Releases Android / Linux Vulkan User Space Drivers for Mali GPUs (HiKey 960, Firefly-RK3288 Boards)

A little while ago, I wrote about Imagination’s PowerVR CLDNN Neural Network SDK and Image for Acer Chromebook R13, and some people looks into the Arch Linux Arm image and were pleasantly surprised to find Vulkan drivers, as it was the first Arm platform support Vulkan in Linux. It looks like there are now more Arm hardware supporting Vulkan drivers in Linux, as Arm has released binary user-space components for GNU/Linux and Android for development platforms featuring the Arm Mali Midgard GPU family, and – provided the GPU can handle it – supporting the following APIs: OpenGL ES 1.1 / 2.0 / 3.0 / 3.1 / 3.2, OpenCL 1.1 / 1.2 / 2.0, Vulkan 1.0, and RenderScript. Mali-G71 GPU is supported by Android 8.0 and Linux (fbdev) ARM64 drivers for Hikey 960 board, and Mali-T760 should be supported by Linux drivers (fbdev / wayland / X11) for Firefly-RK3288 board. Hikey 960 and Firefly-RK3288 drivers don’t have specific files about Vulkan, …

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WCH CH341 USB to Serial Chip Gets Linux Drivers to Control GPIOs over USB

USB to serial chips are often used as a debug interface either directly on the target board, or via a dedicated debug board. But some models have extra pins exposed, and one of those is WCH CH341, which also includes I2C & SPI interfaces and up to 8 GPIOs. But software support for those extra pins is not currently built-in into the drivers found in Linux mainline, and you’d also have to find a board that breakout the relevant pins. It turns out there are few of things including “CH341A ALL IN 1 USB to SPI/I2C/IIC/UART/TTL/ISP serial adapter” board going for $10 shipped on Aliexpress, and which Zoobab successfully used to control 6 (out of 8) GPIOs over USB. The board comes with a USB board to connect to your computer, several header for I2C, UART, SPI, some LEDs, and jumper to select I2C/SPI or UART mode and voltage (5V/3.3V). The board is recognized differently whether you use I2C/SPI or …

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Linux 4.15 Release – Main Changes, Arm and MIPS Architectures

Linus Torvald has released Linux 4.15 last Sunday: After a release cycle that was unusual in so many (bad) ways, this last week was really pleasant. Quiet and small, and no last-minute panics, just small fixes for various issues. I never got a feeling that I’d need to extend things by yet another week, and 4.15 looks fine to me. Half the changes in the last week were misc driver stuff (gpu, input, networking) with the other half being a mix of networking, core kernel and arch updates (mainly x86). But all of it is tiny. So at least we had one good week. This obviously was not a pleasant release cycle, with the whole meltdown/spectre thing coming in in the middle of the cycle and not really gelling with our normal release cycle. The extra two weeks were obviously mainly due to that whole timing issue. Also, it is worth pointing out that it’s not like we’re “done” with …

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Allwinner SoCs with Mali GPU Get Mainline Linux OpenGL ES Support

OpenGL ES support in Linux for ARM SoC is usually pretty hard to get because of closed source binary blobs coupled with the manufacturers focus on Android. Workarounds include open driver projects such as Freedreno for Qualcomm Adreno GPU, Nouveau for Tegra, or Etnaviv for Vivante GPUs, as well as libhybris library that converts Linux calls into Android calls in order to leverage existing Android GPU binary blobs. Allwinner processors relies on either PoverVR or ARM Mali GPU, and the former does not have any open source project, while some work is still being going for the latter with Lima project, but it’s not ready yet. That means so far, you’re only option was to use libhybris for either GPU family. The good news is that Free Electrons engineers have been working on OpenGL ES support for ARM Mali GPU for Allwinner processor, and have been allowed to release the userspace binary blobs. Not quite as exciting as an actual …

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A Look at Some USB 3.0 WiFi 802.11ac Adapters with Multiple High Gain Antennas

When last week I reviewed Rock64 board I noticed they sold a “USB 3.0 Dual Band 1200Mbps WIFI 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (RTL8812AU) adapter” for $19.99. So far I had only seen USB dongles with internal antennas or a single external antenna, but in the case of development boards, which may be used as routers or gateways, it makes perfect sense to get such adapter for higher performance and longer range. The only problem is that it “ships together with ROCK64 fulfillment”, meaning you can’t purchase it separately if you already have some other board to use, so I went to look for alternatives. One of the first I’ve come across was COMFAST CF-926AC with the following specifications: Chipset – Mediatek MT7612U Interface –  USB 3.0 rotatable port WiFi – Dual band 2T2R WiFi 802.11ac, 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n up to “1200” Mbps (867 Mbps @ 5.8 GHz + 300 Mbps @ 2.4 GHz) Antenna – 2x external high gain (3dBi) antennas (270° …

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Linux 4.12 Release – Main Changes, ARM & MIPS Architectures

Linus Torvalds has just released Linux 4.12: Things were quite calm this week, so I really didn’t have any real reason to delay the 4.12 release. As mentioned over the various rc announcements, 4.12 is one of the bigger releases historically, and I think only 4.9 ends up having had more commits. And 4.9 was big at least partly because Greg announced it was an LTS kernel. But 4.12 is just plain big. There’s also nothing particularly odd going on in the tree – it’s all just normal development, just more of it that usual. The shortlog below is obviously just the minor changes since rc7 – the whole 4.12 shortlog is much too large to post. In the diff department, 4.12 is also very big, although the reason there isn’t just that there’s a lot of development, we have the added bulk of a lot of new  header files for the AMD Vega support. That’s almost exactly half the …

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Open Source Code Released for Hisilicon Kirin 960 Based Huawei Mate 9 and Huawei P10 Smartphones

Manufacturers of products using open source software are normally required to release the source code with their modifications to follow licenses such as the GPL, but not all comply with the license. Huawei has now released the source code with Linux and other open source libraries and programs for their Huawei Mate 9 / Mate 9 Pro and Huawei P10 / P10 Plus models powered by Hisilicon Kirin 960 processor. With the release of Hikey 960 development board most of the source code for Kirin 960 should already be available, but it’s possible some drivers/modules specific to Huawei phones may be found instead of in the Huawei release.  You’ll find the download in Huawei’s open source page for: Huawei Mate 9 (MHA) / Mate 9 Pro (LON) –  Link to downloads Huawei P10 (Victoria) / P10 Plus (Vicky) – Link to downloads I picked up the LON-NG_EMUI5.0_opensource.tar.gz tarball for Mate 9 Pro (442 MB), and it comes with three directories: …

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