Monthly Archives: October 2019

Dell Now Offering More Ubuntu Developer Edition Options For Their Comet Lake XPS


Dell has been offering the Dell XPS 7390 in “Developer Edition” form with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS for this newest XPS generation using 10th Gen Comet Lake CPUs while now they have added more hardware configuration options.

The latest-generation Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition is now available in 18 different configurations from Core i5/i7 CPU options, varying RAM and storage capacities, and different FHD/UHD (and touch-screen) display options. These 18 different options is the most they have ever offered for their “Developer Edition” Ubuntu-loadd laptop options.

Sadly, however, all of the options are for using either the Core i7-10710U or i5-10210U 14nm “Comet Lake” processors. There isn’t any Dell XPS Developer Edition offering with the new Intel Ice Lake 10nm processors… For those you still just need to buy the Windows version and load Linux yourself. That’s what I have been doing to great success and for most users going for the Ice Lake models will be better off than Comet Lake, especially with the Gen11 graphics. See my Intel Core i7-1065G7 Ice Lake Linux Performance tests, the Ubuntu 19.10 experience on the Ice Lake Dell XPS, and the other tests so far with more on the way.

Besides being limited to Comet Lake CPUs, the expanded Dell Developer Edition offering also is still limited to just the current Ubuntu LTS release, Ubuntu 18.04.

The various configurations now offered for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on the Dell XPS 7390 can be found via the Dell configuration page.

Fedora 31 Performance Is Still Sliding In The Wrong Direction – Benchmarks Against Ubuntu 19.10 + Clear Linux

The performance of Fedora 30 on multiple systems has generally been coming up short compared to the likes of Ubuntu, Clear Linux, and openSUSE Tumbleweed. With this week’s release of Fedora 31 I was hopeful that the performance would be more competitive to other prominent Linux distributions, but sadly that doesn’t appear to be the case. Here are some initial benchmarks of Fedora Workstation 31 compared to Fedora Workstation 30, Clear Linux 31450, and Ubuntu 19.10.

The performance of Fedora on recent releases has frankly not been too impressive. While Red Hat has been doing a lot to add more features to the Linux desktop and other new functionality throughout the stack, performance has seemingly not been a major focus for them in recent times. On many different AMD and Intel systems, the performance of Fedora has generally lagged behind the likes of Ubuntu, openSUSE Tumbleweed, and Debian Buster. Of course, also behind Intel’s Clear Linux that tends to be the gold standard for x86_64 Linux performance.

While Fedora 31 has lots of new/improved features, performance doesn’t seem to be one of them. I’m still running Fedora 31 tests on more systems, but so far the performance across dozens of workloads is either on-par to Fedora Workstation 30 or regressed. Fedora 30 itself has seen some slowdowns with stable release updates as shown by these tests today having both stock Fedora 30 and then Fedora 30 with all of their liberal updates taking it to newer kernel versions, etc.

For this initial benchmarking of Fedora 31, tests were done on an Intel Core i9 7980XE with ASUS PRIME X299-A motherboard, 4 x 4GB DDR4 memory, Samsung 970 EVO NVMe SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X graphics.

All of the Linux distributions were freshly installed on the same system and tested with their out-of-the-box settings. All of the benchmarks facilitated in a fully-automated and reproducible manner using the Phoronix Test Suite.

GitHub: All open-source developers anywhere are welcome

At Open Source Summit Europe in France, GitHub COO Erica Brescia said: “99% of software projects are built on open source.” With 96-million open-source projects from across the world living on the service, GitHub should know.

Brescia added:

“In these increasingly difficult geopolitical times. . . [many] companies have decided to geo-block access to their products for Iran, Syria, and Crimea, but GitHub has taken a different approach. We have left all of our open-source repositories available to developers in those countries.”

Source: ZDNet

Previous articleFedora 31 Now Generally Available

Swapnil Bhartiya has decades of experience covering emerging technologies and enterprise open source. His stories have appeared in a multitude of leading publications including CIO, InfoWorld, Network World, The New Stack, Linux Pro Magazine, ADMIN Magazine, HPE Insights, Raspberry Pi Geek Magazine, SweetCode, Linux For You, Electronics For You and more. He is also a science fiction writer and founder of

Fedora 31 Released » Linux Magazine

The Red-Hat-sponsored Fedora community has announced the release of Fedora 31, the latest version of Red Hat’s community distribution.

Fedora comes in many different editions – each targeting a different workload.  Fedora Workstation and Fedora Server are aimed at developers using Fedora for development and then testing their apps on server. Other editions include Fedora CoreOS, Fedora IoT and Fedora Silverblue.

Fedora Workstation is among the most popular distributions and is reportedly the preferred distro of Linus Torvalds. Fedora 31 Workstation comes with Gnome 3.34 and many tools and features for general users as well as developers. GNOME 3.34 brings significant performance enhancements, which will be especially noticeable on lower-powered hardware.

Fedora 31 Workstation also expands the default uses of the Wayland graphics system, including allowing Firefox to run natively on Wayland under Gnome instead of the XWayland backend.

According to Matthew Miller, the Fedora Project Leader, “The Fedora Project aims to bring leading-edge innovation to our users, and Fedora 31 delivers on that by bringing some of the latest advancements in open source technology to the operating system.”

One of the reasons Torvalds and many other developers use Fedora is the fact that it is often one of the earliest distributions to introduce new libraries and packages, which developers can test against their own projects.

Fedora 31 comes with updated compilers and languages, including NodeJS 12, Perl 5.30, and Golang 1.13. Additionally the “python” command will now refer to Python 3.

It also comes with support for Cgroupsv2, bringing kernel-level support for the latest features and functionality around cgroups in the base packages of Fedora 31.

Fedora 31 also adds support for RPM 4.15, the latest version of the RPM Package Manager for enhanced performance and stability across all versions of Fedora.

All editions of Fedora are available for free of cost. You can download them here.

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Linux Inside Azure Sphere on the Horizon | Software

By Jack M. Germain

Oct 30, 2019 12:16 PM PT

Azure Sphere will be generally available in Feb 2020, Microsoft announced at the IoT Solutions World Congress on Monday. Its scheduled arrival highlights Microsoft’s readiness to fulfill its promise for better Internet of Things device security at scale, company officials said.

Microsoft first introduced Azure Sphere in 2018, opting to use its own version of a Linux operating system instead of Windows 10 to drive its new Azure Sphere OS to securely connect Internet of Things devices.

Security is one of the leading barriers to IoT adoption. Microsoft hopes to lock down IoT device security with its cloud-based delivery solution.

The number of connected devices is expected to reach 20 billion in 2020.

Microsoft expects IoT adoption to accelerate to provide connectivity to hundreds of billions of devices. Such massive growth would increase the stakes for unsecured devices.

Enterprise customers would buy at least 70 percent more IoT devices if their
concerns about cybersecurity were addressed, suggests research from Bain & Company.

Microsoft sees its mission as empowering organizations to create and connect secure, trustworthy IoT devices in order to encourage innovation.

Azure Sphere is a platform connecting microcontroller units embedded within IoT devices connected to the cloud. The platform operates a new MCU crossover class that combines both real-time and application processors with built-in Microsoft security technology and connectivity. Each chip includes custom silicon security technology Microsoft developed.

“The Azure Sphere system leverages IoT security by embedding hardened chips with a Linux OS, building in security to the devices’ manufacturing rather than making it an afterthought,” noted Gabe Turner, director of content at
Security Baron.

The chip is an extension of the i.Mx8 applications processor series optimized for power and performance, specifically for artificial intelligence graphics and an improved user interface experience overall, he told LinuxInsider.

The new Azure Sphere-certified chips are based on Microsoft’s 15 years of experience with Xbox, to secure this new class of MCUs and the devices they power.

High Impact for IoT Security

In essence, with Azure Sphere Microsoft is productizing security for IoT-enabled or connected devices, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

Since the platform includes a custom microcontroller, a high-level operating system, and a services platform, manufacturers can use Azure Sphere to enable and support IoT functions in a wide variety of products, from smart speakers to major appliances to factory equipment, he noted.

“That should improve the value, safety and security of those products and make them more attractive to consumers and businesses,” King told LinuxInsider.

Given Microsoft’s size and market footprint, Azure Sphere may help bring some order to an IoT market that is complex and somewhat fractious, especially when it comes to security products and protocols, he suggested. Over time, manufacturers and developers may come to see Azure Sphere as a safe choice for securely enabling IoT.

Linux Leverage

Azure Sphere leverages a custom Linux-based kernel. The kernel runs in supervisor mode, along with a boot loader, and is tuned for the flash and RAM capabilities of the Azure Sphere MCU.

The kernel provides a surface for preemptable process execution, and the driver model exposes MCU peripherals to OS services and applications. Its relative lightness and ability to support targeted processes make Linux a great choice for Azure Sphere, King pointed out.

Silicon Delivers

Microsoft plans to deliver on its Azure Sphere mission through several strategic investments and partnerships. Partnering with silicon leaders is a key part of that plan.

The company has forged three key partnerships to lock down IoT security:

  • MediaTek’s MT3620, the first Azure Sphere certified chip produced, is designed to meet the needs of the more traditional MCU space, including in WiFi-enabled scenarios.
  • NXP Semiconductors delivered a new Azure Sphere certified chip as an extension of its i.MX 8 high-performance applications processor series optimized for performance and power, to bring greater compute capabilities that support advanced workloads from artificial intelligence and graphics.
  • Qualcomm delivered the first cellular-enabled Azure Sphere chip With ultra-low-power capabilities for greater freedom to securely connect anytime, anywhere.

Hardware Connectivity

A diverse hardware ecosystem will simplify the process of connecting enterprise equipment, noted Microsoft. Guardian modules will make it easier to bring existing hardware online without risking and jeopardizing mission-critical equipment. Guardian modules plug into existing physical interfaces on equipment and can be deployed with common technical skill sets that require no device redesign.

The deployment is fast, does not require equipment to be replaced before its end of life, and quickly pays for itself, according to Microsoft. The first guardian modules are available from
Avnet and

Using the right developer tools for better apps helps solve IoT connectivity issues. Microsoft began that effort last month when it released its SDK preview for Visual Studio. Microsoft soon will have an SDK for Linux and support for Visual Studio Code.

The company has made it quicker and simpler to develop, deploy and debug Azure Sphere apps since then. A set of samples and solutions on GitHub provide easy building blocks for developers to get started.

Microsoft is working on ways to help manufacturers secure and service their connected devices by leverage existing code running on a Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS) or bare-metal. One approach is to enable the M4 core processors embedded in the MediaTek MT3620 chip.

This makes it easy to enhance MCU code to send and receive data via the protection of a partner app running on the Azure Sphere OS. It can be updated seamlessly in the field to add features or to address issues.

Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open source technologies. He has written numerous reviews of Linux distros and other open source software.
Email Jack.

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