LWDW 147: Linux In 2019

NVIDIA open sources PhysX! Blender 2.8 Beta opens for testing, project Sputnik turns six and a rooted Tesla Model 3 running Ubuntu.


Linux Weekly Daily Wednesday
Linux Weekly Daily Wednesday
LinuxGameCast LLP

A weekly dose of all thing Linux and open source with a slice of Pi for good measure.



Colour key – Venn Jill Pedro

Linux in 2019

  • 2019 is the year that AI will go mainstream, and Linux is not only driving the cloud infrastructure for AI, but the super computers that run them.
  • Linux conventions are not only growing in attendance, but more conferences with a greater diversity of topics are slated for 2019!
  • Yeah, machine learning is the hot new thing and everyone wants to push for dominance on what only recently became a market segment all of its own.
  • Linux, as Jill mentions, is king of the server and supercomputer.
  • If you’re going to run massive workloads on beefy processors and GPUs, you are most likely going to want to penguin it up.
  • People using Linux without ever knowing it does not = people using Linux.
  • Would have said people running Linux.
  • Datalakes, AI, supercomputing Kernel 5.0 and conferences.


Open physics

  • License is 3-clause BSD.
  • It’s compatible with GPL and approved by FSF and OSI.
  • Something something drivers grumble grumble.
  • Guessing it’s now considered a dead tech by NVIDIA.
    • Dead tech with quite a few games using it over the past few years…
  • Good on you NVidia!
  • If this is your way to get some positive press after the 2080ti artifacting kerfuffle, you got it.
  • PhysX 4.0 will be faster and more stable and improve functionality in the Unity and Unreal game engines.
  • Nvidia clearly understands that AI and big data all run on open source engines and Linux and they want to be a part of that.
  • PhysX is being open sourced.  
  • Now Steam Play and Wine Windows games on Linux might launch faster!
  • Thank you Scott Michaud in shat for the great article at PC Perspective.
  • It’s important to remember that PhysX is not dependant on NVIDIA hardware.
  • It can be run by a CPU as well.
  • Could see adoption in AI for synthetic data creation and possibly games?
  • Only 60 or so games have used it since 2006.


Blending 2.8

  • It works.
  • I have no idea what I’m doing here but running the BMW render worked just fine on the X230.
  • This is a major update that us animators have been looking forward to for a very long time!  Here are just a few of the major important upgrades:
    • First off, the user interface has major changes which keep Blender inline with the workflow of propriety animation software.
      • Left click to select, interactive object gizmos and separate workspaces for modeling, animating, sculpting, texture painting etc.
    • EEVEE is a new physically based real time renderer. It works both as a renderer for final frames, and as the engine driving Blender’s realtime viewport for creating assets.
    • The 2D Animation Grease Pencil has now been fully integrated with the 3D workflow, and this puts Blender way ahead of any proprietary software in the industry.
    • Raytracing render engine Cycles now renders 30% faster and lets you combine GPU and CPU rendering!  This is a first in the industry!
  • The UI reminds me a lot of the original 3D Studio for DOS and Lightwave in my early years of animating.
  • The video editing portion is still as non intuitive as ever.


Multimedia guides

  • If the rest of the course is as well explained and as in depth as this article, it certainly is worth the price if you want to have a copy for yourself.
  • This is a great tutorial, and animated masking is a one of the techniques I teach my beginning animation students, and is required knowledge to work in the field.
  • Because of the beauty and complexity of graphics programs there are several ways to accomplish this technique with Kdenlive.  
  • You can also use the Gimp or Inkscape to create a mask animation.
  • And as Paul Brown points out you can even use FFmpeg to create an animated mask.
  • This is also known as creating an animated alpha channel, and I have been using this in animation and editing since the early 90’s.
  • Using Kdenlive and ImageMagick to create animation masks falls squarely in a category I call, technically possible.
  • It’s a good learning experiment and will give you an idea of how things work.


Audio pretty

  • If you’re compiling on Ubuntu 19.04 beta, it looks for the default files in /etc/xdg/xdg-ubuntu/glava
  • I don’t think I need to point out why that is wrong.
  • That said, after you fix that bit of code to say just /etc/xdg it works:
  • We can use more OpenGL audio spectrum visualizers on Linux!
  • I still enjoy using visualizers in VLC and Audacious, which used to be XMMS.


Six years of Sputnik

  • Dell was the first major computer hardware vendor to see the potential of Linux on the desktop for frontend software engineers and developers and not just as a backend for servers and IT.
  • Linux on Dell servers and workstations is a huge money maker, so it was worth it for them to try selling Linux on consumer desktops.
  • Founder and lead of project Sputnik, Barton George, and his team are huge advocates of Linux and open source.
  • On November 29, 2012 the Dell XPS 13 developer edition was born.
  • The XPS 13 is now in its 7th generation, comes with Ubuntu 18.04.


More Linux phones

  • Availability is still TBA
  • I’ve mentioned before I’m willing to buy a second hand Nexus 5 or 4 to try Ubuntu Touch, if they’re willing to send me one to review… I can’t promise I won’t point every single thing that’s wrong with it.
  • But I do promise I’ll give it a fair shake.
  • Necuno is less ambitious than the Purism phone and may have a good chance of success in the Libre phone market.


This ends well

  • Both terrifying and exciting.
  • Tesla with probably nerf this with a quickness.
  • I am sure Elon’s inner uber nerd would approve, but knows it is not safe for the average motorist.
  • Yes, you can run Doom!



  • Because of Google Drives open API, there are a lot of third party GDrive backup and sync apps for the desktop and CLI.
  • I have been using Tux Drive on the console for quite some time.
  • I also love Rclone because it can backup to most of the popular cloud services, including Google Drive, Amazon S3, OneDrive, Dropbox, Mega, Box, etc.
  • As Jill points out, Rclone does a very good job of rsync’ing whichever folder you tell it to all the services without having to use their gimped clients!


RIP paywall blocker

  • To be fair this is in essence exploiting the cookie checker to see if you’re subscribed or not
  • I can see how this could be a bad precedent to allow and thus open the door to lawyers looking to cash in.
  • Cory Doctorow points out that there are 2 other Bypass Paywall extensions still available in the Mozilla Add-Ons Store.
  • Bypass Paywalls is still available in the Chrome’s add-on store.
  • Release and Beta versions of Firefox do not allow unsigned extensions to be installed.
  • Unpopular opinion: If you are using a site to the point of triggering their paywall consider giving them a few shekels because let’s face, you are already running an ad blocker.


Crossing the streams

  • A little plug for the original data bits used to create our solution.
  • Did I mention we’re streaming on Twitch?
  • NGINX server for the win!
  • We’re using Nginx server with RTMP to stream to Twitch and the Youtube.
  • Could also ass other services like Bookface and hitbox if we wanted.
  • Heck we could spool up our own player if need be.
  • Moral of the story is this is something that can be done on a $10 instance.
  • Or a Raspberry Pi if you have the bandwidth.  

Slice of Pi


  • The miniNodes Raspberry Pi 3 CoM Carrier Board can accommodate up to 5 Raspberry Pi Computer on Modules (CoM) in a small, easy to use platform.
  • There is an integrated gigabit switch for networking.
  • It can be used for AI, containers, IoT and other industries that require remote computing, or as a great way to learn computer clustering.
  • It’s nice to see another awesome application for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module.
  • Hmm . . .  I use to dream of the day of having my own Beowulf cluster!  Oh wait, that is what my animation render farm is . . .


Pi cubed

  • When I read the URL, I was expecting some manner of novelty case for the RasPi.
  • But no, this person went full metal serial over memory card.




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