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This Week in AOSC OS Development

Second to last weekend of February and onto the 29th. As usual, we push weekly updates to the Stable branch, including security, bug-fix, patch-level version updates (e.g. 2.3.1 => 2.3.2), and major updates included as Exceptions.

Here below is a breakdown of what we've done this week.

Stable Branch Updates

Multiple security updates have now been made available for Stable branch users (AMD64-only for now, we are working to sync other architectures):

  • Django (django) v3.0 => v3.0.3.
  • Pale Moon (palemoon) v28.8.2.1 => v28.8.3.

AOSC OS Core has received two patch releases, containing updates to the core runtime and toolchains on which AOSC OS is built upon. With these updates, AOSC OS Core is updated from v7.0.4 to v7.0.5:

  • GCC (gcc-runtime, gcc) v9.2.1-2 => v9.2.1-3.
    • Contains maintenance fixes from the releases/gcc-9 branch.
  • Glibc (glibc) v1:2.30-2 => v1:2.30-3.
    • Contains maintenance fixes from the release/2.30 branch.
  • Linux API Headers (linux+api) v2:5.4.19 => v2:5.4.21.
  • Ncurses (ncurses) v6.1+20200118 => v6.1+20200118-1.
    • Drops the /usr/share/terminfo/f/fbterm to fix a file collision with Fbterm (fbterm).

Desktop Enviroments and Components have also received updates, most notably:

  • GNOME Desktop v3.34.3 => v3.34.4.
  • KDE Applications v19.12.0 => v19.12.2.

Other notable updates:

  • Brave Browser (brave-browser) v1.3.115 => v1.3.118.
  • Chromium and Google Chrome (chromium, google-chrome) v80.0.3987.87 => v80.0.3987.116.
  • Linux Kernels...
    • Mainline (linux+kernel) v5.5.4 => v5.5.5.
    • Long-Term Support (linux+kernel+lts) v5.4.19 => v5.4.21.
  • Telegram Desktop (telegram-desktop) v1.9.13 => v1.9.14.
  • Vivaldi Browser (vivaldi) v2.11.1811.33 => v2.11.1811.38.
  • YouTube-DL (youtube-dl) v2020.01.24 => v2020.02.16.
  • ZFS Kernel Module and Tools (zfs) v0.8.2 => v0.8.3.
    • With this update, as ZFS is not compatible with our current mainline Kernel (5.5.*). As a result, we have now marked this package as incompatible ("Broken" in DPKG speech) with our Mainline Kernels.

Mesa Update and New Allwinner A64 Images

Included with this week's Stable branch updates is Mesa 19.3.4. Icenowy Zheng, our resident ARM guru and Allwinner/Pine64 device support maintainer have backported a set of patches to bring enhanced features and stability fixes to the Lima graphics driver.

Lima is an open source graphics driver for Mali-400/450-based GPUs, for our scope of support, this driver is used by Pine64's, PineBooks, PinePhones, and PineTabs. Thanks to all the great work from the Lima developers, these devices can run (relatively) graphically intensive desktop environments like the GNOME and Plasma desktops at acceptable performance (according to Icenowy in our recent conversation, she mentioned that there is certainly room for optimisation, but as to how much, she couldn't say).

That said, expect new device images for the Lima-enabled devices, and we will keep you updated with a news post.

Linux Kernel 5.6

Five days ago, Linux Kernel 5.6-rc2 was tagged, and we have promptly packaged this update and uploaded it to the rckernel repository. According to Phoronix, this release has overall been "quite a calm test release."

"More than half of the Linux 5.6-rc2 changes amount to documentation updates and of the rest a good portion is of tooling updates around the perf subsystem. When it comes to updates of actual kernel code, there are Intel ICE E800 series updates, various graphics/DRM fixes, and other fixes flowing in following the closure last week of the Linux 5.6 merge window."

And in case you've missed it, we opened a new repository called rckernel for those who want to get in the testing game. To obtain our 5.6 RC Kernels, or any future Kernel release candidates, please invoke the following command:

# apt-gen-list b rckernel

If you are using the Testing or Testing-Proposed branch, please run the following command:

# apt-gen-list b testing

or...

# apt-gen-list b testing-proposed

And rckernel will be enabled automatically. Simply update your system after the above command is run:

# apt update && apt full-upgrade

And you should receive Kernel 5.6-rc1 as a system update.

Looking Ahead

On the Testing-Proposed front, this week has been mostly quiet, as most of our efforts have been dedicated to bringing in more Stable updates. That said, with GNOME 3.36 on the horizon (due to release on March 11th) and Python 3.8 high on our priority, you can expect the next few months to be quite Testing-Proposed-heavy.

We also expect to push for Core 7.1 in the weeks leading up to our freezing deadline on March 31st. We are expecting updates to GMP (v6.1.2 => v6.2), GNU Make (v4.2.1 => 4.3), and Binutils (v2.33.1 => v2.34) to make it into the 7.1.0 release.

This will conclude our development update for the week of February 10th.


— Mingcong Bai