October 16th, 2016

Talos’s $18K Linux Workstation, KDE 1 on Modern Metal & More…

Also included: Red Hat opens Ansible Galaxy, Yakkety Yak ready for downloads, and KDE and GNOME both get minor point releases.

FOSS Week in Review

Like practically everybody else who resides in the U.S., I’ve just about had it up to here (I’m holding my hand high above the top of my head) with this election. At this point, I just want the whole mess to be over. After the winner has been decided and the dust has settled, I’ll decide whether I want to become an expat on another planet in another solar system. What kind of visa will I need for that, I wonder.

Meanwhile, I keep my mind occupied by following FOSS news…

Talos Secure Workstation: Larabel at Phoronix calls this a workstation, “free down to the firmware,” and it’s currently trying to raise $3.7 million to get off the ground. The trouble is, they’re going to be a wee bit on the expensive side. How does $18,000 sound for a complete workstation, including a 12-core POWER8 CPU, 256GB of DDR3 ECC RAM, AMD FirePro or NVIDIA Tesla graphics, SAS disks for storage, and a pre-installed copy of Debian or CentOS?

Of course, you could save some money by buying just the motherboard and building the computer yourself. But hang-on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen, the motherboard will set you back $4,100, and you’ll still need to buy a CPU. And since the motherboard is designed for the IBM POWER8 architecture, the CPU is going to set you back at least $1,135.

Why POWER8 instead of x86? The projects funding page on Crowd Supply points to some serious security concerns built into “all modern Intel processors…essentially a backdoor with full access to the entire computer — a security disaster waiting to happen.”

In other words, “Intel inside” isn’t necessary keeping your data inside.

Red Hat makes Ansible Galaxy open source: As always, the folks at Red Hat have been busy expanding the horizons for open source technology. It’s now open sourced Galaxy, the community hub for Ansible, which it bought last year. This includes Ansbile Roles, content directories structured to enable simple reuse, refactoring and sharing of commonly used processes in ways that are highly portable.

As the author of this article says, life just got easier for some DevOps folks.

KDE reissues KDE 1 for modern hardware: Now you can turn your latest and greatest PC or laptop into its own “way back machine” by fixing it up with KDE 1, the release that started everything “K.” It seems that the folks at KDE wanted to come up with a special gift for their supporters to celebrate the project’s 20th birthday, which was October 14, so they went to work fixing KDE 1 so it’ll run on modern metal. It might be a little work getting it up and operating properly on your machine, but I’m sure that some will find it worth it for such a retro experience. Read all about it, complete with screenshots, on the Helio Castro website.

Another day, another distro: Well, it’s officially official. Ubuntu 16.10 “Yakkety Yak” is now a reality and ready to play on a computer near you. Several of the baby ‘buntus are already on board, of course, with the rest to follow in the next few days. Read all about the new features, as well as download the ISO, on the Ubuntu 16.10 Release Notes page.

Quick takes: GNOME 3.22 just got it’s first point release with version 3.22.1. The best way to get updated packages is to just wait for them to show up in your distro’s repository, but for the impatient who aren’t afraid to do some compiling, go here…. For KDE users who aren’t ready to go all the way back to version 1, KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS also got its first point release, with version 5.8.1. Don’t be in too big a rush to download and install, however, since 5.8.2 is due to be released on Tuesday.

Parting shot: With the release of Ubuntu’s Yakkety Yak, I could resist sharing this blast from my grade school daze:

That does it. Until next time, may the FOSS be with you…and don’t talk back!

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Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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1 comment to Talos’s $18K Linux Workstation, KDE 1 on Modern Metal & More…

  • Mike

    I really want the Talos to be a success and plan on donating even if I can’t afford a full system.

    Intel systems are an ABSOLUTE DISASTER when it comes to freedom and security. AMD is no better and ARM is problematic. Finally, Purism’s claims of a free system using Intel (the Librem laptops) are completely bogus.

    If it succeeds, the Talos would be the ONLY real solution in existence offering a system free from backdoors. That’s worth some sacrifice.