Linux in The News – October 11, 2021
Linux in The News – October 11, 2021

Linux in The News – October 11, 2021

Firefox 93 Is Now Available for Download, Finally Enables AVIF Support by Default

Finally, after numerous delays, support for the next-generation AV1 Image File Format (AVIF) image format, which is based on the modern and royalty free AV1 video codec, is now enabled by default. It was supposed to land in Firefox 86 first, but it’s finally here in the Firefox 93 release.

AVIF support in Firefox was in development for more than four years. The new feature landed since Firefox 86, but it wasn’t enabled by default until now due to various bugs and regressions. Firefox 93 is the first release of the popular web browser to enable it by default to help you save even more bandwidth.

“It offers significant bandwidth savings for sites compared to existing image formats. It also supports transparency and other advanced features,” said Mozilla.

Among other changes, the Firefox 93 release introduces an updated Firefox PDF viewer that now supports filling of additional more forms, such as XFA-based forms used by several banks and governments, as well as support for the official Snap package on the AArch64 (ARM64) and ARMhf architectures.

Furthermore, Firefox now protects users against insecure downloads by automatically blocking downloads that rely on insecure connections, download panel has been revamped to follow Firefox’s visual styles, and TLS cipher suites using 3DES have been disabled by default (they can be enabled on systems where deprecated versions of TLS exist).

It also introduces SmartBlock 3.0 to improve web compatibility for privacy protections, introduces a new referrer tracking protection in Private Browsing and Strict Tracking Protection, and improves both the VoiceOver and Orca screen readers to work correctly with Firefox. For more details, check out the release notes.

Without further ado, you can download Firefox 93 right now from Mozilla’s download server here. You’ll find there 64-bit (x86_64) and 32-bit (i686) binaries for all supported languages, as well as the source tarball. Mozilla will officially unveil the Firefox 93 release tomorrow, October 5th, 2021.

Linux Can Now Run on Apple’s M1 Chipset

Oct 11, 2021

Linux users looking to take advantage of Apple Silicon are about to get their wish with the M1 chipset.

It seemed only yesterday that a small group of developers began work on porting Linux to the new Apple M1 chipset. The journey was a struggle from day one, given how much proprietary hardware Apple uses. But the work has paid off and Asahi Linux, a community-based project centered around porting a distribution to the Apple M1 chipset, has finally succeeded in getting a usable Linux desktop on the hardware.

The engineers have merged various drivers and bindings for the 5.16 Linux kernel and even managed to work out the pinctrl driver, I2C driver, device power management, NVMe+SART, and DCP. Thanks to those new drivers, M1 Macs are now a viable option for the Linux operating system.

Before you jump on this, understand it’s not perfect. Apple uses a proprietary PowerVR-based GPU, so the Linux desktop will come without GPU acceleration. It’s also important to know that a proper installer has yet to materialize. That means users outside of the Asahi project are still not able to experience the Linux desktop on the M1 hardware. To that, Hector Martin, the head of the project, says, “Once we have a stable kernel foundation, we will start publishing an ‘official’ installer that we expect will see more wide usage among the adventurous.”

Developers interested in trying out Asahi Linux on M1 hardware can head over to the project’s IRC channel (#asahi-dev) to get help getting started.

To find out more about the progress of the Asahi Linux project, check out their official Progress Report.

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