Linux in The News 1-17-22

Last Updated on January 17, 2022 by KC7NYR

HandBrake 1.5 Open-Source Video Transcoder Released with Better Flatpak Support

Coming six months after HandBrake 1.4, the HandBrake 1.5 update is here to further improve support for the Flatpak universal binary format by updating the dependencies to the Freedesktop Platform 21.08 and GNOME 41 stack, updating the Intel QSV Flatpak plugin to use Intel MediaSDK 21.3.5, and fixing several potential race conditions in the Flatpak build process.

This means that the next time you’re updating or installing HandBrake as a Flatpak on your GNU/Linux distribution, you’ll notice more stability and better compatibility with recent GNU/Linux technologies.

OHandBrake 1.5 is also here to update Intel Quick Sync support to use the Intel oneAPI Video Processing Library (oneVPL), update the video engine to remember chroma sample location information, update many of the internal libraries (FFmpeg 4.4.1, FreeType 2.11.1, HarfBuzz 3.1.2, libdav1d 0.9.2, Fribidi 1.0.11, libass 0.15.2, libjpeg-turbo 2.1.2, libogg 1.3.5, libvpx 1.11.0, zimg 3.0.3, Jansson 2.14), and add Corsican (Corsu) translation.

Several bugs were squashed in this release to improve the FFmpeg AAC audio encoder’s quality mode scale range, MP2 audio sources not utilizing the fallback encoder when pass through is disabled, as well as captions pass through durations.

It also fixes a filter settings issue leading to incorrect filters being added to jobs and an issue affecting machines powered by older Intel CPUs that caused the command-line interface to fail to initialize.

Last but not least, several language translations have been updated, including Dutch, French, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, and Swedish. Various other smaller bugs were fixed as well.

You can download HandBrake 1.5 right now from the official website as a Flatpak package that you can install either from Flathub or manually using the commands below, as well as a source tarball that you’ll have to compile on your GNU/Linux distributions.

flatpak install fr.handbrake.ghb flatpak --user install HandBrake-1.5.0-x86_64.flatpak

You Can Now Pre-Order the PinePhone Pro Explorer Edition Linux Smartphone 1-11-22

Unveiled in mid-October 2021, the PinePhone Pro features a custom-made RK3399S Rockchip Hexa-Core processor that runs at at 1.5GHz, an ARM Mali T860 GPU, a gorgeous in-cell 1440×720 IPS display with 18:9 aspect ratio and Corning Gorilla Glass 4, 4GB of dual-channel 800MHz LPDDR4 RAM, and 128GB of internal eMMC flash storage.

The Linux phone also features a high-fidelity 13MP rear camera, and a 5MP front-facing camera for video calls and selfies, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, accelerator, gyroscope, proximity, compass, and ambient light sensors, status LED, vibration motor, Micro SD slot, pogo-pins, USB-C port for charging, and DP alt-mode video out.

The PinePhone Pro is a tiny bit thicker than the original PinePhone, but its chassis is quite similar to keep the device compatible with all existing peripherals, including the PinePhone keyboard, PineDio LoRa, fingerprint reader, and wireless charging cases.

“The PinePhone Pro Explorer Edition is aimed at Linux developers with an extensive knowledge of embedded systems and/or experience with mobile Linux,” said PINE64.

The device also features hardware kill switches for the cameras, microphone, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, a 3.5mm headphone jack with UART output, an LTE modem (including GPS), as well as a removable Samsung J7 form-factor 3000mAh battery.

Software-wise, the PinePhone Pro is powered by the Manjaro Linux ARM distribution featuring the KDE Plasma desktop environment for mobile devices, a.k.a. Plasma Mobile (pre-Beta build).

“We learned a lot from working on the original PinePhone. Over the past two years we painstakingly collected and analyzed end-user feedback and explored all avenues for hardware improvements. The PinePhone Pro is the end result of this journey,” said PINE64.

According to PINE64, the device offers performance levels similar to those of recent mid-range Android smartphones, supporting native Linux games like SuperTuxKart and popular retro game emulators like PPSSPP or MAME. Moreover, PinePhone Pro supports external peripherals like monitor, keyboard and mouse for a convergent experience.

The PinePhone Pro Linux smartphone costs $399 USD and it’s available for pre-order starting today (shipping in December 2021) only for partner-project developers and established contributors. A PinePhone Pro Explorer Edition will be available for pre-order in November (shipping in early 2022) for everyone else who wants a Linux-only smartphone as their daily driver if they accept the current software limitations.

If you want to know if the PinePhone Pro is for you, check out the official website’s FAQ section and PINE64’s October Community Update. Also, check out the promo video and image gallery below to see the Linux-powered smartphone in action! And don’t worry, the PinePhone will still be around to buy if you want a less expensive Linux phone.