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Colin King: a final few more features in stress-ng

Planet Ubuntu - Sun, 2014-07-13 16:47
While hoping to get a feature complete stress-ng sooner than later, I found a few more ways to fiendishly stress a system.

Stress-ng 0.01.22 will be landing soon in Ubuntu 14.10 with three more stress mechanisms:
  • CPU affinity stressing; this rapidly changes CPU affinity of the stress processes just to keep the scheduling busy wasting effort.
  • Timer stressing using the real-time clock; this allows one to generate a large amount of timer interrupts, so it is a useful interrupt saturation test.
  • Directory entry thrashing; this creates and deletes a selectable number of zero length files and hence populates and destroys directory entries.
I have also removed the need to use rand() for random number generation for some of the stress tests and re-used a the faster MWC "random" number generator to add in some well known and very simple math operations for CPU stressing.

Stress-ng now has 15 different simple stress mechanisms that exercise CPU, cache, memory, file system, I/O and CPU schedulers.  I could add more tests, but I think this is a large enough set to allow one to thrash a machine and see how well it performs under pressure.

Lubuntu Blog: PCManFM 1.2.1

Planet Ubuntu - Sat, 2014-07-12 15:34
Another update of our file manager PCManFM, tones of bug fixes and new implementations: fixed dragging and dropping icons behavior fixed icons positioning fixed resetting cursor in location bar corrected folder popup update on loading reordered ‘View’ menu item implemented drawing icons of dragged items etc. Also a huge update and bug fixing in libfm libraries (1.2.1) too. You can use

Darcy Casselman: New Motherboard: ASUS Z97-A (and Ubuntu)

Planet Ubuntu - Sat, 2014-07-12 05:31

My old desktop was seeing random drive errors on multiple drives, including a drive I only got a few months ago. And since my motherboard was about 5 years old, I decided it was time to replace it.

I asked the KWLUG mailing list if they had any advice on picking motherboards. The consensus seems to be pretty much “it’s still a crapshoot.” But I bit the bullet and reported back:

I bought a motherboard! An ASUS Z97-A

Mostly because I wanted Intel integrated graphics and I’ve got 3 monitors it needs to drive. And I was hoping the mSATA SSD card I got to replace the one in my Dell Mini 9 (that didn’t work) would fit in the m.2 slot. It doesn’t. Oh well.

I wanted to get it all set up while I was off for Canada Day. Except Canada Computers didn’t have any of my preferred CPU options. So I’ll be waiting for that to come in via NewEgg.

I gave myself a budget of about $500 for mobo, CPU and RAM and I’ll end up going over a little bit (mostly tax and shipping), and tried to build the best machine I could for that.

One of the things I did this time that I hadn’t done before was spec out a desktop machine at System76 and used that as a starting point. System76 is more explicit about things like chipsets for desktops than Zareason is. Which would be great, except they’re using the older H87 chipsets.

…Like the latest Ars System Guide Hot Rod But that’s over 6 months old now. And >they’re balancing their budget against having to buy a graphics card, which I don’t want to do.

I still have some unanswered questions about the Z97 chipset. It’s only been out for about a month. So who knows?

My laptop has mostly been my desktop for the last few years. But I want to knock that off because I’ve been developing back and neck problems. My desktop layout is okay ergonomically, at least better than anything I have for the laptop (including and especially my easy chair with a lapdesk, which is comfy, but kind of horrible on the neck). One of the things that’s holding me back is my desktop is 5 years old and was built cheap because I was mostly using it as a server by that point. I really want to make it something I want to use over the laptop (which is a very nice laptop). Which is why I ended up going somewhat upper-mid range.

That’s one of the nice things about building from parts, despite the lack of useful information: This is the 3rd motherboard I’ve put in this case. I replaced the PSU once a couple years ago so it’s quite sufficient to handle the new stuff. I’m keeping my old harddrives. I could keep the graphics card. I’ll need to buy an adapter for the DVD burner (and I’ve yet to decide if I’m going to do that, or buy a new SATA one or just go without). And I can keep my (frankly pretty awesome) monitors. So $500 gets me a kick-ass whole new machine.

Anyway, long story short, I still have a lot of questions about whether this was the best purchase, but I’m hopeful it’s a good one.

Aside: is Canada Computers really the only store in town that keeps desktop CPUs in stock anymore? I couldn’t get into the UW Tech Shop, but since they’re mostly iPads and crap now, I’m not optimistic. Computer XS doesn’t (at least the Waterloo one). Future Shop and Best Buy don’t. I even went into Neutron for the first time in over 15 years. Nope. Nobody.

It… didn’t go as well as I’d hoped:

So, anyway, I got the motherboard, CPU and put it all in my old case.

I booted up and all three monitors came up without any fuss, which has never happened for me. Awesome! This is great!

Then I tried to play game.

Apparently the current snd_intel_hda ALSA drivers don’t like H97 and Z97 chipsets. The sound was staticky, crackly and distorted.

I’ve spent more than a few hours over the last week hunting around for a fix. I installed Windows on a spare harddrive to make sure it wasn’t a hardware problem (for which I needed to spend the $20 to get a new SATA DVD drive so I could run the Windows driver disk to actually get actual video, networking and sound support :P). And I found this thing on the Arch WIki which, while not fixing the problem, did actually make it worse, leading me to conclude there was some sort of sound driver/pulseaudio problem.

Top tip: when trying to sort out sound driver problems for specific hardware the best thing to do is search for the hardware product id (in my case “8ca0″). That’s how I found this:

Hurray! The workaround works great and now I’m back in business!

So I got burned by going with the bleeding edge, and I should know better. But, even though the information isn’t widely diseminated yet, there is a fix. And a workaround. I’m sure Ubuntu 14.10 will have no problem with it. It’s not as bad as the bleeding edge was years ago. If the fix was easier to find (and I’m going to work on that), it was easier getting going with Ubuntu than it was with Windows.

Paul Tagliamonte: Satuday's the new Sunday

Planet Ubuntu - Sat, 2014-07-12 00:41

Hello, World!

For those of you who enforce my Sundays on me (keep doing that, thank you!), I’ll be changing my Saturdays with my Sundays.

That’s right! In this new brave world, I’ll be taking Saturdays off, not Sundays. Feel free to pester me all day on Sunday, now!

This means, as a logical result, I will not be around tomorrow, Saturday.

Much love.

Dan Chapman: One week in and Dekko has 41 users

Planet Ubuntu - Fri, 2014-07-11 12:47

For those of you who haven’t seen Dekko in the software store, it’s a native IMAP email client for Ubuntu Touch. Dekko is essentially my development/ideas branch of my work on Trojita, which in the end is intended to replace Dekko in the store.

The reasoning behind publishing Dekko is for a few reasons really, firstly Trojita prides itself on being standards compliant, already has a desktop client that uses QtWidgets, supports both Qt4 & Qt5 and also has a technical preview Harmattan qml front-end, which was great as most of the initial work for the IMAP parts was in place, so we didn’t need to “re-invent the wheel” (for the most-part anyway), but we soon hit a point where we had surpassed what had previously been done and now was the job of unwinding the intertwined style that QtWidget UI’s naturally ensue. So that we can share the same business logic between all front-ends without losing standards compliance, support both Qt4 & Qt5 and maintain Trojita’s robust quality standards.

I am still relatively new to C++ so this is like one of those “in at the deep end” scenario’s, resulting in the ietf rfc specifications and Qt’s documentation having become the majority of my daily reading.  Dekko was born out of the need to understand the separation (call it a learning project) and to devise a way to create common components that can be shared between all front-ends. This “learning project” resulted in a functional but limited capability email client, so I decided to publish it with the hope of getting as much feedback, bug reports or design ideas as possible, and use this to ensure Trojita becomes a rock solid native email client for Ubuntu.

A quick list of current features in Dekko,

  • Support for viewing of plain text messages. We cannot show html messages, due to not being able to block network requests with QtWebKits custom url scheme functionality (If you are an Oxide dev who happens to be reading this “wink wink”  ). But is great for viewing all your launchpad mail.
  • Navigating the mailbox hierarchy, it’s not entirely obvious at first (Open to new ideas here) If you see a progression arrow on a mailbox, tapping the arrow displays the nested mailbox’s. Otherwise tapping elsewhere shows the messages within that mailbox.
  • Composing and replying to messages, this utilizes the bottom edge so pulling up on an opened message will set up a reply to the opened message. One thing to note with replying to messages, at the moment it basically does a “reply all” action so you need to delete or add recipients to the message manually until support for mailing lists and other reply modes are implemented.
  • Supports defining a single sender identity for mail submission.
  • Mark message as deleted, expunge mailbox and auto-expunge on marked for deletion options.
  • Mark all messages as read.
  • Offline, Online and Bandwidth saving mode, perfect for mobile data connections

There is a known bug with the message list view sometimes not updating properly, but can usually be resolved by closing and reopening that mailbox.

So if you haven’t already please give it a try, and if you have any design/implementation ideas, issues, bugs or anything else you wish to say, please report them to the dekko project on launchpad

Note: Please don’t file bugs against upstream Trojita, unless you are using a build of Trojita and not a Dekko build. 

And finally a few snaps to wet the appetite


Ronnie Tucker: PHP Fixes OpenSSL Flaws in New Releases

Planet Ubuntu - Fri, 2014-07-11 07:00

The PHP Group has released new versions of the popular scripting language that fix a number of bugs, including two in OpenSSL. The flaws fixed in OpenSSL don’t rise to the level of the major bugs such as Heartbleed that have popped up in the last few months. But PHP 5.5.14 and 5.4.30 both contain fixes for the two vulnerabilities, one of which is related to the way that OpenSSL handles timestamps on some certificates, and the other of which also involves timestamps, but in a different way.


Submitted by: Dennis Fisher


Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S07E15 – The One with the Thumb

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-07-10 20:02

Alan Pope, Mark Johnson, Tony Whitmore, and Laura Cowen are in Studio L for Season Seven, Episode Fifteen of the Ubuntu Podcast!

 Download OGG Play in Popup  Download MP3 Play in Popup

In this week’s show:-

We’ll be back next week, when we’ll be interviewing David Hermann about his MiracleCast project, and we’ll go through your feedback.

Please send your comments and suggestions to:
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