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Meet the New Linux Desktop Champion: System76 Thelio

The American dream has driven millions upon millions of people to come to a country filled with possibility and opportunity. Sometimes, you get caught up in the gears of enterprise and learn that the machinations of big business tend to run counter to that dream. But, sometimes, you start a company on an ideal and cling to that initial spark no matter what. That’s what Carl Richell did when he created System76. That was more than a decade ago, when the company’s goal was to sell computer hardware running open source operating systems. System76 has been a bastion of hope for Linux and open source fans, as they’ve proved, year after year, that the dream can be fulfilled, that Linux can be sold on the desktop and laptop space. Read more

Raspberry Pi HAT serves up robotics control smorgasbord

The “Adafruit Crickit HAT” is a Python-oriented RPi HAT add-on for robotics that includes servos, motor control, drive outputs, touch inputs, NeoPixel driver, 3W amp, and more. Adafruit has released a $35 robotics HAT add-on for any 40-pin Raspberry Pi board. The Adafruit Crickit (Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit) HAT is designed for controlling motors, servos, or solenoids using Python 3. The board is limiting to powering 5V devices and requires a 5V power supply. Read more

MIPS ISA to be available under royalty-free license

Wave Computing will follow in RISC-V’s path by offering its MIPS ISA as “open source” code without royalties or proprietary licensing. The MIPS Open initiative will focus on the development of SoCs for emerging IoT edge applications. The RISC-V Foundation, which promotes the development of processors built on a standardized, open source instruction set architecture (ISA) is widely seen as a potential threat to Arm’s proprietary RISC ISA juggernaut. Yet, it’s also affecting other computer architectures, from Intel’s x86 to fading, legacy platforms such as Power and MIPS. This week, Wave Computing, which acquired the MIPS chip business from Imagination Technologies in June, announced a MIPS Open Initiative to reinvigorate MIPS development by offering access to the most recent 32- and 64-bit MIPS ISA versions free of charge with no licensing or royalty fees. Read more

Working with tarballs on Linux

The word “tarball” is often used to describe the type of file used to back up a select group of files and join them into a single file. The name comes from the .tar file extension and the tar command that is used to group together the files into a single file that is then sometimes compressed to make it smaller for its move to another system. Tarballs are often used to back up personal or system files in place to create an archive, especially prior to making changes that might have to be reversed. Linux sysadmins, for example, will often create a tarball containing a series of configuration files before making changes to an application just in case they have to reverse those changes. Extracting the files from a tarball that’s sitting in place will generally be faster than having to retrieve the files from backups. Read more