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Librem 5 general development report

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Gadgets
  • Librem 5 general development report — October 15th, 2018

    Hi everyone! Phew, it has been a busy and exciting time these last several weeks. Here is a fairly detailed summary of the progress that has been made on the various pieces of the Librem 5 project.

    [...]

    In phosh, there have been many bugs fixed and the code has been cleaned up. Also an effort has gone towards translations, updating the German and French translations as well as standardizing the po headers to hopefully make it less confusing for new translators.

  • Purism Shares The Latest Librem 5 Smartphone Progress - Dev Kits Going Out Soon

    Purism has shared the latest details on their efforts to deliver the open-source Linux Librem 5 smartphone to market in 2019.

Ubuntu Touch OTA-5

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Ubuntu
Gadgets
  • Ubuntu Touch OTA-5

    Right on the heels of UBport's OTA-4 release comes the official 16.04 version of Ubuntu Touch for mobile devices. This will be the fifth Over The Air update (OTA-5), and it will also be the first of many updates that now adhere to a regular release roadmap.

    While many have already joined the community on 16.04 with OTA-4, in addition to the long-term support of upstream Ubuntu development, OTA-5 will include a more stable experience, new tweaks, and new features to show off this next stage of Ubuntu Touch development.

  • Ubuntu Touch OTA-5 Is Being Prepped With New Browser, Qt Auto Scaling

    The UBports community that continues to maintain Ubuntu Touch for a range of mobile devices will soon be rolling out Ubuntu Touch OTA-5.

    Ubuntu Touch OTA-5 is bringing its new "Morph" web-browser powered by Qt WebEngine to replace the old Oxide-based browser application, support for Qt automatic scaling, Kirigami 2 support, and new community artwork.

  • Ubuntu Touch OTA-5 Is Out for Ubuntu Phones with New Morph Browser, Improvements

    The UBports community announced today that they begin work on the next OTA (Over-the-Air) update for the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system for Ubuntu Phone devices.

    With the Ubuntu Touch OTA-4 finally rebasing the mobile OS on the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system series, the UBports team can now concentrate their efforts on bringing more new features and improvements, which will land in the upcoming Ubuntu Touch OTA-5 release.

    "While many have already joined the community on 16.04 with OTA-4, in addition to the long-term support of upstream Ubuntu development, OTA-5 will include a more stable experience, new tweaks, and new features to show off this next stage of Ubuntu Touch," reads today's announcement.

Linux users want (and deserve) shiny things too

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Linux
Gadgets

Nokia’s adventures and misadventures in Linux land inspired and gave birth to a few similar attempts, both from commercial for-profit companies and from open source communities. Just as the Nokia N800 was making rounds in tech circles, the Openmoko project was already trying to rally the open source community around the ideals of open source software as well as open source hardware. While it did generate a lot more interest within the community, it didn’t have the coffers that allowed Nokia to throw money at the Maemo platform, at least for a while.

And then the Nokia that we knew was no more. Out of its ashes rose Finnish startup Jolla, who picked up the pieces that Nokia left, like Mer, the abandoned lovechild of Nokia’s Maemo and Intel’s MeeGo. It almost seemed like Jolla and its Sailfish OS would be able to carry on that legacy. Unfortunately, Jolla’s good fortune didn’t last that long.

From Maemo to Openmoko to Mer, many of the Linux-based mobile platform built their GUIs around the GTK+ toolkit and, to some extent, the GNOME desktop environment libraries. The version of Maemo in the Nokia N9 as well as Sailfish OS would use the competing Qt toolkit, which Nokia received when it acquired Trolltech and eventually lost when it itself got bought by Microsoft. Partly inspired by these trends, the KDE community started their own mobile efforts through the Plasma Active project. But while its ill-fated Vivaldi tablet never saw the light of day, Plasma Active would eventually mature into Plasma Mobile and strike its own path, independent of a specific, self-designed device.

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Sailfish 3 is at your doorstep

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Gadgets

Rolling out Sailfish 3 this autumn has been our biggest objective this year and we’re happy to report the latest status. It’s time for an update and awaited schedule news.

As we mentioned already in our original Sailfish 3 announcement in Mobile World Congress back in February, Sailfish 3 is a result of rigorous development work done together with Jolla’s licensing partners and the Sailfish community over the course of 2017-2018 – thanks to all of you for the cooperation and contributions! The third generation of our operating system will have clear new benefits for all of its users, be it corporate licensing customers, our developer community members, or daily Sailfish users.

Jolla has always embraced the methodology of continuous development and continuous releases, and Sailfish 3 is no exception. Sailfish 3 is rolled out in phases, and in fact, our latest software update Nurmonjoki already included a few of the new features. Albeit perhaps more relevant for the corporate customers, those still have belonged to our Sailfish 3 list all the time. These items included e.g. VPN improvements and MDM (Mobile Device Management) functionalities.

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Sailfish OS "Nurmonjoki" Released and Eelo Beta

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OS
Gadgets
  • Sailfish OS Nurmonjoki is now available

    After a very warm summer here in Northern Europe, many well deserved holidays are taken and many sailors are now rested after a year of full-on work. Sailors that were on duty during the summer have however worked on the latest iteration of Sailfish OS updates for our beloved community! After much developing and testing, we are now ready to release Sailfish OS 2.2.1. Sailfish OS 2.2.1 is named after the river Nurmonjoki which is located 300km north of Helsinki, on south western part of Finland.

  • Sailfish OS "Nurmonjoki" Released For GDPR Compliance, App Updates

    While Jolla's Linux-based Sailfish OS mobile operating system hasn't turned out to be as great as many anticipated, today the Finnish company released Sailfish OS 2.2.1 under the Nurmonjoki codename.

  • /e/ first beta soon to be released

    Next week, on Tuesday or Wednesday, we will release the first beta of /e/ mobile OS.

    I will then describe choices that have been done, what’s in, what’s not in, what remains to do, what to test and how. And probably a challenge for testers.

    [...]

    Of course we cannot support the 17K+ known Android devices. As the /e/ ROM itself is forked from LineageOS we can build for all LOS 14.1 (Android Nougat) supported devices, and not yet for LOS 15 (Android Oreo) supported devices (work in progress).

ZeroPhone Is “Coming Soon”: A Raspberry Pi-Based, Linux-Powered Phone For Just $50

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Linux
Gadgets

With data security and privacy becoming an alarming issue while dealing with the data-hungry companies, ZeroPhone seems like a sigh of relief.

ZeroPhone is a Raspberry Pi-based, open-source, Linux-powered handset that has been launched as a project on Crowd Supply; we’ve already told you about the phone in the past. The device promises no carrier locks, no pre-loaded apps and good riddance from harvesting of data without users’ knowledge.

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Devices Leftovers

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Android
Gadgets
  • Rugged, in-vehicle touch-panel PCs support camera and wireless expansion

    The VMC touch-panel PCs are designed for in-vehicle use in warehouses, ports, and other logistic and material applications. The systems support -30 to 60°C temperatures with ambient air flow and offer 10% to 90% (non-condensing) humidity tolerance. Vibration resistance is rated at MIL-STD-810G, 514.6 Procedure 1, Category 4, and shock resistance complies with MIL-STD-810G, Method 516.6, Procedure I and V (crash hazard), says Nexcom.

  • Let’s get Chatty!

    Today we provide a technical update and demonstration of SMS and end-to-end encrypted XMPP messages on the chat application we’re developing, Chatty. But first, a bit of historical context…

  • Purism Developing "Chatty" For SMS Support On The Librem 5

    Purism shared today about the work they are engaged in on supporting SMS messaging with their in-development Librem 5 smartphone.

    For handling SMS messaging, Purism is developing an application they -- at least for now -- are calling Chatty. This Chatty code will effectively serve as a plug-in for libpurple (of Pidgin instant messaging fame) that interfaces with ModemManager. Libpurple of course supports many different messaging platforms/protocols and is most often associated with Pidgin but could be adapted by other clients.

  • Skagen Falster 2 fitness smartwatch announced – Runs Wear OS

    The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which usually takes places in Las Vegas, is a place that many tech companies showcase their upcoming consumer electronics technologies. Tech breakthroughs have been experienced there since June 1967 (wow). This year at CES 2018, Skagen announced their first smartwatch – called the Falster. It was an admirable watch but did have some drawbacks, such as the poor battery life and some missing features. Now, several months later, the company is in the process of already releasing the Falster 2 and it starts shipping on September 12th. You can expect it soon.

    [...]

    Although this all may sound great, the Falster 2 is still powered by the quite old Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip and will become outdated pretty soon. If you’re still interested in buying the watch regardless, you can buy it at Skagen’s very own site. The silicone and leather band types cost $275 while the steel-mesh ones cost that little more at $295.

  • Xiaomi Poco F1 Launcher Arrives On Google Play Store

Devices: Tizen, OpenZWave, and Ibase

Filed under
Hardware
Gadgets
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch, Running Tizen, is Launched

    Today, as expected, Samsung have launched a new smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch, yes, the name change is real (previously it has been known as the Gear S4). At the Samsung Unpacked event, we were given the Note 9 and the Galaxy Watch. The big headline for us is the watch will not be running Wear OS, as speculated once upon a time, but the Galaxy Watch will be running Tizen 4.0.

    We will have two models to choose from: 46mm available in silver and a 42mm black and rose gold versions. Samsung have realised that “one size does not fit all” and some might find a smaller watch face appealing.

  • Building a better thermostat with Home Assistant

    Next, I needed to look at software to use my hardware acquisitions as a thermostat. While all my devices were Z-Wave, and OpenZWave provides both C++ and Python interfaces I could use to access and control my devices, it was a bit too low-level for my taste.

    Instead, I decided to use the Home Assistant project, for a few reasons. First, I know a bunch of people who use it, hack on it, or both. Second, while all my current devices are Z-Wave, Home Assistant will let me branch out to use other kinds of devices if I want. Home Assistant supports a ton of different devices and services—you can look at the component list to see them all. For Z-Wave support, it leverages OpenZWave and provides a higher level interface that is a bit easier to deal with. Home Assistant is written in Python 3, which is very convenient for me since I do most of my programming in Python. It also has an active community that has been responsive and helpful.

    I installed Home Assistant on one of my servers and proceeded to configure its interface with my devices. There is a lot of detailed information available on setting up Home Assistant—you can refer to the official documentation for a starting point. For specific Z-Wave instructions, see the Z-Wave section in the Home Assistant docs.

    After setting up Home Assistant, I had a single web interface and API for controlling my new power switches and displaying data from the MultiSensor. But, I still didn't have a thermostat—just a pretty interface (that I could use remotely) for manually turning the AC on or off.

  • IP65 protected panel PCs feature Apollo Lake or Core-U chips

    Ibase announced three open-frame panel PCs with Linux support. The 15-inch, 1024 x 768 OFP-151-PC and 21-inch, 1920 x 1080 OFP-2100-PC run on the Pentium N4200 while the 21-inch OFP-2101-PC offers a choice of 7th Gen Core-U CPUs.

    Ibase, which last year launched an SE-102-N signage player, has now returned with a pair of fanless, open-frame touch-panel PCs that similarly run Linux 4.x or Windows 10 on an Intel Apollo Lake SoC. The 15-inch, 1024 x 768 OFP-151-PC and 21-inch, 1920 x 1080 OFP-2100-PC ship with a quad-core, 1.1/2.5GHz Pentium N4200 with 6W TDP.

ZX Spectrum Vega+ blows a FUSE: It runs open-source emulator

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Hardware
Gadgets

The ZX Spectrum Vega+ is running open-source Spectrum emulator software FUSE, The Register has confirmed while carrying out a hands-on review of the handheld console.

As regular readers know, the Vega+ is the flagship product of Retro Computers Ltd, the company which took £513,000 in crowdfunded cash from members of the public to produce handheld ZX Spectrum-themed gaming consoles. It failed to deliver any for two years and then belatedly emitted what appear to be several dozen of the devices last week.

With public interest at an all-time high in what the company has actually produced during the ongoing scandal, El Reg acquired one from an RCL customer for review purposes.

No instructions were supplied with the console. In time-honoured retro gaming fashion, The Register’s crack review team resorted to button-mashing to figure out what did what.

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Galaxy Watch will run Tizen 4.0

Filed under
Linux
Gadgets

In May, Samsung trademarked the “Galaxy Watch” and “Galaxy Fit” monikers at the USPTO, suggesting its plan to bring its wearables under the Galaxy branding. Now two months later, SamMobile confirms that Samsung’s next smartwatch, the successor to the Gear S3, will indeed be called the Galaxy Watch, and not Gear S4. Furthermore, they add that the upcoming Galaxy Watch will run Tizen 4.0 out of the box.

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Servers and Databases: PASE Versus ILE, Cassandra and More

  • PASE Versus ILE: Which Is Best For Open Source?
    Open source has emerged as a driver of innovation in the past 20 years, and has greatly accelerated technological innovation. The proprietary IBM i platform has also benefited from this trend, thanks in large part to the capability to run Linux applications in the PASE runtime. But some members of the IBM i community are concerned that the fruits of the open source innovation have not tasted quite as sweet as they do on other platforms. Linux was the original breakout star in open source software, and so it should be no surprise that the vast majority of software developed with the open source method is designed to run on the Linux operating system and associated open source componentry, including the Apache Web Server, MySQL database, and PHP, the so-called LAMP stack (although you can substitute other pieces, like the Postgres and MariaDB databases and languages like Perl, Python, and Node.js to create other clever acronyms). The IBM i operating system can run Linux applications through PASE, the AIX runtime that IBM brought to OS/400 so many years ago. Getting Linux applications to run on PASE requires that they’re first ported to AIX, which is often not too much work, since Linux is a variant of Unix, just like AIX.
  • How Instagram is scaling its infrastructure across the ocean
    To prevent quorum requests from going across the ocean, we're thinking about partitioning our dataset into two parts: Cassandra_EU and Cassandra_US. If European users' data stores are in the Cassandra_EU partition, and U.S. users' data stores are in the Cassandra_US partition, users' requests won't need to travel long distances to fetch data. For example, imagine there are five data centers in the United States and three data centers in the European Union. If we deploy Cassandra in Europe by duplicating the current clusters, the replication factor will be eight and quorum requests must talk to five out of eight replicas. If, however, we can find a way to partition the data into two sets, we will have a Cassandra_US partition with a replication factor of five and a Cassandra_EU partition with a replication factor of three—and each can operate independently without affecting the others. In the meantime, a quorum request for each partition will be able to stay in the same continent, solving the round-trip latency issue.
  • Two software companies, fed up with Amazon, Alibaba and other big cloud players, have a controversial new plan to fight back
    Every year, large cloud companies like Amazon rake in billions of dollars— but some of their most popular cloud services comes from repackaging software projects created by other, smaller companies. Amazon is repackaging what's known as "open source" software, which is software that is given away for free, meaning Amazon has every legal right to use it in this way. For instance, since 2013, Amazon had been offering the open-source database Redis as part of a popular cloud service called ElastiCache.
  • Running Your Own Database-as-a-Service with the Crunchy PostgreSQL Operator
    One reason why enterprises adopt open source software is to help free themselves from vendor lock-in. Cloud providers can offer open source “as-a-service” solutions that allow organizations to take advantage of open source solutions, but this in turn has can create a new type of trap: infrastructure lock-in. Many organizations have adopted Kubernetes to give themselves flexibility in where they can deploy their services in the cloud, without being locked into one provider. Some people express concerns that this instead creates “Kubernetes lock-in,” but because Kubernetes is open source and has both widespread support and active development, it should be no different than adopting Linux as your operating system.

Latest About GNU/Linux Software on Chromebooks

  • Linux Apps Coming To MediaTek-Powered Chromebooks Like The Acer R13
    Google made no mention of Linux apps on Chrome OS at last week’s hardware event in New York. I was a little surprised considering the fact that the Pixel Slate and Chrome OS saw nearly as much stage time as the Pixel phone that brought most of the media to Manhattan. [...] Unfortunately, the Chromebook R13 was quickly overshadowed by new flagships from Samsung and ASUS that featured more powerful processors and various features that made them more appealing to consumers. It was a sad happenstance for the Acer Chromebook because honestly, it is still a great device two years later. Seeing Google bring Linux apps to this device could breath much-needed new life into this model.
  • Linux app support coming to MediaTek-based Chromebooks
    Linux apps have arrived in the Chrome OS stable channel, but not all Chromebooks have access to them. The Linux container requires some kernel features that won't be backported to several models, but now Google is bringing the feature to a handful of MediaTek-based Chromebooks. Chrome Unboxed discovered a commit that enables Linux app support for the "oak" platform, which a number of Chromebooks were based on.
  • Linux apps on Chrome OS: An easy-to-follow guide
    The software that started out as a strictly web-centric entity — with everything revolving around the Chrome browser and apps that could operate inside it — is now one of modern computing's most versatile operating systems. Contemporary Chromebooks still run all the standard web-based stuff, of course, but they're also capable of connecting to Google's entire Play Store and running almost any Android app imaginable. And if that isn't enough, many models have recently gained the ability to run Linux apps as well.

Latest Lime SDR board builds on Raspberry Pi CM3

The open spec, 125 x 65mm LimeNET Micro is Lime’s first fully embedded SDR board, featuring the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, MAX 10 FPGA, u-blox GNSS, RF transceiver, Ethernet with PoE, and optional enclosures. UK-based Lime Microsystems has returned to Crowd Supply to launch its first fully autonomous, embedded software defined radio (SDR) platform, and the first to include integrated PoE and GNSS. The successfully funded LimeNET Micro is available through Dec. 6, starting at $269, including the integrated Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, with shipments due Feb. 25, 2019. Other packages add enclosures and omni-directional antennas. Read more

Kernel: Hwmon and OOMD

  • Hwmon Updates Sent To The Kernel Finally Complete AMD Excavator Temperature Readings
    Following this morning's Linux 4.19 release announcement, one of the first pull requests sent in of feature updates for the next 4.20~5.0 feature cycle is the hardware monitoring "hwmon" updates. The hwmon subsystem updates as usual include the various monitoring driver improvements. Most notable though is including the patch we talked about back in September for finally reporting CPU temperatures for all AMD Excavator CPU cores. That patch didn't end up getting sent in as a "fix" during Linux 4.19 development but is now sent in for this next kernel cycle.
  • Facebook Developing "OOMD" For Out-of-Memory User-Space Linux Daemon
    While the Linux kernel has its own out-of-memory (OOM) killer when system memory becomes over-committed, Facebook developers have been developing their own user-space based solution for handling this situation. [...] Facebook's Daniel Xu will be talking about OOMD at the Open-Source Summit Europe tomorrow in Edinburgh. But if you can't make it there are the slides (PDF) already available. The OOMD project is hosted on GitHub under the GPLv2 license.