How to benchmark your Linux system

In the world of consumer electronics, benchmarks are everything. More than specs, or anecdotal accounts, and certainly more than marketing materials, benchmarks give you meaningful information about the capabilities of a given piece of hardware, be it a single subsystem—like a PC’s GPU—or several subsystems in concert.

Unfortunately, many common benchmarks (especially those built into games) only run in Windows. Cinebench, PCMark, 3DMark, and CrystalDiskMark are popular Windows tests, but have no Linux equivalent.

If you go out looking for PC benchmark results, there’s a very strong chance the tests won’t perfectly translate to performance under Linux, since they were likely run in Windows. This is particularly true if certain hardware has limited support in the Linux kernel. However, there are still plenty of tests you can run in Linux, and the vast majority of them are free.

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Mozilla is stopping all commercial development on Firefox OS

Mozilla ended development of Firefox OS phones in 2015, but there was still hope for the operating system. Mozilla wanted Firefox OS to power smart TVs, tablets, routers, all-in-one PCs, and all kinds of other devices. But that’s no longer in the cards. Mozilla just announced it’s now ending all commercial development of Firefox OS.

Firefox OS powered smart TVs, and had bigger plans

If all you saw was the big news about Mozilla giving up on Firefox OS for phones, you might be surprised to hear that the commercial project was still active. But it was. In fact, Panasonic released a line of smart TVs that ran Mozilla’s operating system.

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Chromebooks get stable Android apps as Andromeda rumors swirl

Andromeda may be the future, but Android and Chrome OS are already merging. Google just made Android apps available on the stable version of Chrome OS for the first time, and organizations can now centrally manage Android apps on their Chromebooks.

Stable Chromebooks get Android apps

Yes, certain Chromebooks got Android apps and the Google Play Store a little while back. But that was only in the unstable developer versions of Chrome OS. As of Chrome OS version 53.0.2785.129, the Google Play Store and Android apps are now available on the stable version of Chrome OS.

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If Linux won't install on your laptop, blame Intel not Microsoft

Why won’t Linux install on modern Lenovo laptops? The discovery of this problem set off a recent firestorm. But contrary to initial speculation, it’s not that Microsoft is forcing Lenovo to block the installation of Linux on its laptops. It’s that Intel isn’t making modern hardware compatible with Linux.

Intel needs to provide better Linux support

The reason Linux won’t install on Lenovo’s laptops is a technical one. As Lenovo explained: “To improve system performance, Lenovo is leading an industry trend of adopting RAID on the SSDs in certain product configurations... Unsupported models will rely on Linux operating system vendors releasing new kernel and drivers to support features such as RAID on SSD.”

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Chrome 53 gets Web Bluetooth as Google phases out Chrome apps

Google is getting rid of Chrome apps, and that means the browser is becoming more powerful. Experimental support for Web Bluetooth is available in Chrome 53 today, allowing websites to connect directly to nearby Bluetooth devices without any apps required.

Experimental Web Bluetooth is already here

“It is prime time for Web Bluetooth,” writes Google Developer Expert Uri Shaked on Medium. The recently released Chrome 53 contains an “origin trial” for Web Bluetooth. Website developers can register their sites with Google in order to use this experimental feature today.

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Chromebooks are getting pressure-sensitive touchscreens

iPhone and some modern Android phones have pressure-sensitive touchscreens, and Chromebooks are soon to join them. Recent changes to Chrome OS’s source code show Google is working on support for pressure-sensitive touchscreens, or what’s known as “3D Touch” on Apple’s iPhone.

Android is getting this feature soon, too

This change was first spotted by Chrome Unboxed. It noticed that Chrome OS’s developers have been adding support for touchscreens made by Melfas, a Korean company. More interestingly, the source code for the Melfas touchscreen driver includes references to two types of touch: “Touch only” and “Touch + Force(Pressure).”

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Reports of OpenOffice's death have been greatly exaggerated

Don’t believe everything you read in the press. Despite OpenOffice developers recently debating a shutdown of the open source productivity suite, the Apache Software Foundation is not ready to retire the project yet.

OpenOffice is not a ‘healthy project’

The Apache OpenOffice project isn’t done yet. On the mailing list, contributors are actively discussing what could be done to improve the project.

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