3D Printing, Web Compression, and A Linux Gaming Milestone in This Week’s Wrap Up

Open Source Wrap Up: September 19-25, 2015

Autodesk releases 3D Printer Electronics and Firmware as Open Source

Ember is a 3D SLS printer that is being developed by Autodesk. The company released the resin and mechanical designs for the printer under a CC-BY-SA license back in May, and now they’ve given the same treatment to  the electronics and firmware that run the printer. The electronic components are based on the BeagleBone Black, but include a USB hub to support a WiFi adapter, double the flash memory (8GB), and improved power management. It also includes an AVR-based motor controller and a satellite board for the OLED display and ring of LEDs on the front panel.

The design files, schematics and PCBs, and bill of materials are all available under a CC-BY-SA license, and the firmware has been released under a GNU GPL license. Their goal with these releases is to get more people involved in the development and improvement of this technology, which in turn, can be used to strengthen the market for the company’s software tools.

Google Launches Brotli: Open Source Compression for the Web.

Google has released Brotli: a new open source compression algorithm designed for the web. This expands on the success of Zopfli, a compression algorithm that was released by Google more than 2 years ago, but it is an entirely new data format that provides 20-26% higher compression ratios. According to the GitHub page, Brotli is “a generic-purpose lossless compression algorithm that compresses data using a combination of a modern variant of the LZ77 algorithm, Huffman coding and 2nd order context modeling, with a compression ratio comparable to the best currently available general-purpose compression methods.” The result of this is better compression in roughly the same amount of time as Zopfli. The source code can be downloaded from GitHub, and the Google Open Source Blog has more information about this release.

Wayland 1.9 is Released

Wayland is a display server that is intended to replace X. Our own Bryce Harrington has announced the official release of Wayland 1.9. This version includes some changes to the licensing in addition to various build system improvements and fixes. Subsequently, development for Wayland 1.10 has begun with an expected release timeline of mid February 2016. If you want to learn more about the current state of Wayland, check out Bryce’s recent post on this blog about the subject.

1,500 Linux Games now Available on Steam

It’s been just over 2 years since Gabe Newell, CEO of Valve, gave his keynote speech at LinuxCon about the future of gaming on Linux where Steam for Linux was officially launched. Since then, the popular video game distribution platform has seen a steady growth of titles that are supported on Linux; this number surpassed a total of 1,500 titles in the last week. While this number is still small when compared to Windows and OSX (they support 6,464 and 2,323 titles respectively) it is still a significant milestone, especially considering that many of the games supported on Linux are some of the most popular titles on Steam. Gaming on Linux is important because it can bring in more developers to work out problems with things like graphics drivers, and distribution compatibility, as well as a substantial new user base. This milestone precedes the upcoming release of Steam Machine gaming computers from multiple hardware providers on November 10, 2015.

Author: Ben Lloyd Pearson

Ben is an open source technologist experienced in a wide array of modern IT tools. He's done a bit of everything, from web development, to systems administration, web publishing, and beyond.