• chevron_right

    Yes, you can play Starfield on Steam Deck, but really, you shouldn’t / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 6 September - 20:09

Character in Starfield addressing the player head-on

Enlarge / Playing Starfield on the Steam Deck does not feel like reveling in mankind's great capacity for wonder and discovery. (credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

Starfield , Bethesda's epic planet-hopping first-person RPG , is now widely available, and that includes on handheld gaming PCs. Both Valve's Steam Deck and the Asus ROG Ally picked up recent system updates that made it possible to play the game without crashes.

I can confirm the game runs on both systems, having experienced early access crashes and now a bit of normal gameplay today. But I don't think there's much point to playing locally on either system. Streaming remotely with Game Pass, or locally with Moonlight or Xbox Remote Play , is a better option, presuming you can do so without much input lag.

If you do try to force Starfield to load on your handheld, the graphics and frame rates will range from muddy to just acceptable, the battery life will be quite bad, and your experience with perhaps the best part of Bethesda RPGs—the sense of wonder and discovery in wide-open spaces—will be severely limited.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    Getting AAA games working in Linux sometimes requires concealing your GPU / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 9 August - 17:57 · 1 minute

Hogwarts Legacy screenshot

Enlarge / There are some energies you should not tap for sorcery, something both Hogwarts students and Hogwarts Legacy installs running under Linux should know. (credit: Warner Bros. Games)

Linux gaming's march toward being a real, actual thing has taken serious strides lately , due in large part to Valve's Proton-powered Steam Play efforts . Being Linux, there are still some quirks to figure out. One of them involves games trying to make use of Intel's upscaling tools.

Intel's ARC series GPUs are interesting , in many senses of the word. They offer the best implementation of Intel's image reconstruction system, XeSS, similar to Nvidia's DLSS and AMD's FSR. XeSS, like its counterparts, utilizes machine learning to fill in the pixel gaps on anti-aliased objects and scenes. The results are sometimes clear, sometimes a bit fuzzy if you pay close attention. In our review of Intel's A770 and A750 GPUs in late 2022, we noted that cross-compatibility between all three systems could be in the works.

That kind of easy-swap function is not the case when a game is running on a customized version of the WINE Windows-on-Linux, translating Direct3D graphics calls to Vulkan and prodding to see whether it, too, can make use of Intel's graphics boost. As noted by Phoronix , Intel developers contributing to the open source Mesa graphics project added the ability to hide an Intel GPU from the Vulkan Linux driver.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    Rest in peace Bram Moolenaar, author of Vim and hero of many developers / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 8 August - 13:18 · 1 minute

Moolenaar in 2007.

Enlarge / Moolenaar in 2007. (credit: Sebastian Bergmann via Creative Commons )

Computing as we know it today was built in no small part by individuals who have written open source software—often for little to no personal financial gain—as well as by developers who use those tools. Few tools like that are as legendary and impactful as the Vim open source code editor, the first version of which was written and released by Dutch engineer Bram Moolenaar in 1991.

According to a note published by his family to Google Groups this week, Moolenaar passed away on August 3 at the age of 62. The post did not share his cause of death, stating only that he had been suffering from a medical condition for a few weeks. They wrote :

It is with a heavy heart that we have to inform you that Bram Moolenaar passed away on 3 August 2023.
Bram was suffering from a medical condition that progressed quickly over the last few weeks.

Bram dedicated a large part of his life to VIM and he was very proud of the VIM community that you are all part of.

The note goes on to say that they are arranging a Dutch-language funeral service in the Netherlands for Moolenaar, but that a date has not yet been set.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    AlmaLinux says Red Hat source changes won’t kill its RHEL-compatible distro / ArsTechnica · Monday, 24 July - 19:38

AlmaLinux's live media, offering a quick spin or installation.

Enlarge / AlmaLinux lets you build applications that work with Red Hat Enterprise Linux but can't promise the exact same bug environment. That's different from how they started, but it's also a chance to pick a new path forward. (credit: AlmaLinux OS)

I asked benny Vasquez, chair of the AlmaLinux OS Foundation, how she would explain the recent Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code controversy to somebody at a family barbecue—somebody who, in other words, might not have followed the latest tech news quite so closely.

"Most of my family barbecues are going to be explaining that Linux is an operating system," Vasquez said. "Then explaining what an operating system is."

It is indeed tricky to explain all the pieces—Red Hat, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, CentOS Stream, Fedora, RHEL, Alma, Rocky, upstreams, downstreams, source code, and the GPL—to anyone who isn't familiar with Red Hat's quirky history , and how it progressed to the wide but disparate ecosystem it has today. And, yes, Linux in general. But Vasquez was game to play out my thought experiment.

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    Linux could be 3% of global desktops. What happened to Windows? / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 12 July - 21:47

Linux on the desktop, only going up

How can you argue against these numbers? (credit: 20th Century Fox / Aurich Lawson)

According to one measurement by one firm, Linux reached 3.07 percent market share of global desktop operating systems in June 2023. It's a notable first for the more than 30-year-old operating system, though other numbers in Statcounter's chart open it up to many more interpretations. It's either the year of the Linux desktop or a notable asterisk—your call.

As Statcounter explains , its numbers come from tracking code installed on more than 1.5 million websites across the globe, capturing roughly 5 billion page views per month. Statcounter says it does not collate, weigh, or otherwise adjust its data aside from correcting for bots and Google Chrome's prerendering. Laptops are included in "desktop" because there is no easy way to separate them. And they're subject to revision for up to 45 days after publication.

Five years ago , Linux made up 1.69 percent of Statcounter's June numbers. In the year between June 2022 and 2023, Linux unsteadily crept up from 2.42 to 3.07 percent, jumping past 3 percent for the first time between May and June. If you regard Chrome OS as a Linux system, you could add that 4.13 percent and get to 7.2 percent.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    Two core Unix-like utilities, sudo and su, are getting rewrites in Rust / ArsTechnica · Monday, 1 May, 2023 - 17:05

Two of the most fundamental tools of the modern Unix-like command line, sudo and su, are being rewritten in the modern language Rust as part of a wider effort to get critical but aging infrastructure pieces replaced by memory-safe counterparts.

As detailed at Prossimo , a joint team from Ferrous Systems and Tweede Golf , with support from Amazon Web Services, is reimplementing sudo and su. These utilities allow a user to perform actions with the privileges of another user (typically a higher-level superuser) without having to learn and enter that other user's password. Given their age and wide usage, the Prossimo team believes it's time for a rework.

"Sudo was first developed in the 1980s. Over the decades, it has become an essential tool for performing changes while minimizing risk to an operating system," writes Josh Aas. "But because it's written in C, sudo has experienced many vulnerabilities related to memory safety issues."

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • Sc chevron_right

    Linux Improves Its Random Number Generator / Schneier · Wednesday, 23 March, 2022 - 15:41

In kernel version 5.17, both /dev/random and /dev/urandom have been replaced with a new — identical — algorithm based on the BLAKE2 hash function, which is an excellent security improvement.