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Phones: Purism, "Jolla Users", De-Googling Android Phones

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Gadgets
  • Last Call for Librem 5 Dev Kit: order yours before June 1st 2018

    Purism has finalized the specifications for the Librem 5 development kit and will be placing all the component parts order and fabrication run the first week of June 2018. If you want to have early access to the hardware that will serve as the platform for the Librem 5 phone, you must place your dev kit order before June 1st, 2018. The price for the development kit is now $399, up from the early-bird pricing that was in effect during the campaign and until today. The dev kit is a small batch, “limited edition” product. After this batch, we are not planning for a second run (as the production of the phone itself will replace the dev kit in 2019).

  • Top 3 mobile phones

    When purchasing a new mobile phone, there are hundreds of models to choose from and, there are dozens of “excellent” or top-rated brands to consider. Therefore, it can be difficult to know what you are getting. Buying the phone upfront, on contract or buying a smartphone on finance are all options that need to be considered too. If you are ready to invest in a new smartphone consider these three models.

    Galaxy S9 Plus. This phone by Samsung is sleek, elegant, has a vibrant screen, resolution and excellent fingerprint scanner. The curved edges give it a distinct look and style. It is the Plus model, so has a huge touchscreen which is extremely intuitive. Quality speakers, outdoor body/casing and internal functionality make it a top-choice for a new smartphone.

  • De-Googling my phone, reloaded

    In this area the situation is now much happier than my first post indicated. As promised I used trainline.eu for booking some tickets (both for Deutsche Bahn and also on Thalys), and indeed this does a fine job. Same price, European rebate cards like BahnCard 50 are supported, and being able to book with a lot of European train services with just one provider is really neat. However, I’m missing a lot of DB navigator’s great features: realtime information and alternatives, seat selection, car position indicator, regional tariffs, or things like “Länderticket”.

    Fortunately it turns out that DB Navigator works just great with a trick: Disable the “Karte anzeigen” option in the menu, and it will immediately stop complaining about missing Play Services after each action. Also, logging in with your DB account never finishes, but after terminating and restarting the app you are logged in and everything works fine. That might be a “regular” bug or just a side effect without Play Services.

Gadgets With Linux or Modding

Filed under
Hardware
Gadgets
  • Open-source WearOS alternative “AsteroidOS” now available for several smartwatches
  • AsteroidOS 1.0 released: Open source smartwatch operating system (for Wear OS devices)
  • AsteroidOS 1.0, an open source smartwatch OS, released for certain Android Wear watches
  • Building a DIY amp kit that's great for vinyl records

    About a week after I wrapped up my last article where I talked about needing another stage of amplification to take advantage of my new 0.4mV phono cartridge, all the remaining bits and pieces I had ordered online to build the Muffsy phono head amplifier kit arrived. I had the amplifier kit, the power supply kit, the back-panel kit (all from Muffsy), the case (from a very efficient supplier in China), the temperature-controlled soldering station, and the wall wart (from a very efficient supplier in California).

    I watched the entertaining "how to solder" videos linked on Muffsy's site and realized I needed a few more things—like the thin solder mentioned on those videos and some solder wick. So, on an unusually bright and sunny Saturday morning, I visited a local electronics supply store, picked up the last items, and started building.

    [...]

    I contacted "the person behind Muffsy," Håvard Skrodahl, with some questions. He responded very quickly, and we ended up having a most delightful conversation. Moreover, it turns out Håvard is a system administrator and does this "kit thing" as a side gig. We discussed (or maybe lamented) that "back in the good old days" it was possible to buy all sorts of electronics kits, from Heathkit, Dynaco, David Hafler, and others. Today, there are still audio kits available, but it seems to be of lesser interest. Too bad! I am very grateful to Håvard for open sourcing so much of his materials.

  • UP Core SBC begins shipments

    Aaeon has begun shipping its community-backed “UP Core” SBC starting at $99, featuring a quad-core Atom x5-Z8350, up to 4GB RAM and 64GB eMMC, plus WiFi, BT, HDMI, USB 3.0, and RPi HAT compatibility.

    Aaeon has achieved volume production for its UP Core SBC, a smaller (66 x 56.5mm) version of the UP board. The UP Core supports the same OSes as the UP — Android 6.0, Ubuntu, Ubilinux, and Yocto based Linux, as well as Windows 10 and Windows IoT Core — running on the same quad-core, up to 1.84GHz Intel Atom x5-Z8350 from the Cherry Trail family.

Nearly 15 million Nintendo Switches are now hackable (other NVIDIA Tegra X1 devices too)

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GNU
Linux
Security
Gaming
Gadgets

Earlier this year hackers started to show evidence of an exploit that allowed you to load custom software on a Nintendo Switch game console. Theoretically that opens the door for homebrew applications, modified games, or even running an alternate operating system such as a GNU/Linux distribution on Nintendo’s latest game system. It could also make it possible to run pirated games, which is why console makers usually don’t encourage this sort of thing.

But now a team of hackers called ReSwitched have described a bootrom vulnerability called Fusée Gelée that makes it possible for anyone to hack a Nintendo Switch… assuming you’re willing to do a little hardware hacking too.

Read more

Unofficial LineageOS 14.1 now available for the Gemini PDA

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Android
Hardware
Gadgets

It’s not often that we see successful crowd-funding campaigns for smartphones. Planet Computers’ Gemini PDA is one example of a successful Indiegogo campaign, although it’s technically not a smartphone but rather a clamshell mobile device with a fully integrated hardware keyboard. The device has garnered a lot of attention from enthusiasts because it aims to revive the PDA concept but with the ability to dual boot modern operating systems such as Android and a GNU/Linux distribution. We have already seen an unofficial TWRP port for the device, and now an unofficial port of LineageOS 14.1 is now available.

This unofficial build was made by XDA Recognized Contributor deadman96385 and it is based on Android 7.1 Nougat. Most hardware is functional except for the GPS, FM radio, and cellular radio. The built-in camera doesn’t work, but the developer reports that any third party camera app should work just fine.

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Devices: Purism Phones, Taicenn for Cars, Linux for Devices, and Samsung TVs

Filed under
Linux
Gadgets
  • Purism to Bring Hardware Encryption to Its Librem 5 Privacy-Focused Linux Phone

    Purism announced today that it partnered with leading cryptography pioneer Werner Koch to integrate hardware encryption into its upcoming Librem 5 Linux phone and future laptops products.

    Purism is a computer manufacturer known for its security-focused and privacy-oriented laptops powered by the PureOS Open Source Linux-based operating system based on Debian GNU/Linux. The company recently announced that it now has the most secure Linux laptops thanks to the implementation of Heads integrated TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chips in the coreboot firmware in its Librem 13 and Librem 15 laptops.

    Now, the company says that it wants to push the industry forward and set unparalleled protection for end-user devices by planning to include hardware cryptography by default in its forthcoming Librem 5 Linux smartphone and all future revisions of the Librem 13 and Librem 15 laptops, as well as the yet-to-be-announced Librem 11 model. Purism will be able to achieve this goal by manufacturing hardware with its own software and services.

  • In-vehicle panel PC has up to 10.4-inch touchscreen

    Taicenn's Linux-ready, IP65 protected “TPC-DCXXXC1E” in-vehicle panel PC runs on a Bay Trail Celeron J1900, and has an 8- to 10.4-inch capacitive touchscreen, 2x GbE ports, SATA, mSATA, and wide-range power.

  • The Shift to Linux Operating Systems for IoT

    As IoT devices become more full-featured, the Operating System that drives them is shifting from Real Time Operating Systems (RTOS) to Linux.

    [...]

    By this time (circa 2005), Linux was widely used in certain computing environments such as servers and was enjoying a steadily increasing footprint for some embedded environments such as TVs. It was quickly seen as a good building block for smartphones, as it brought out of the box a modern full-featured Operating System with very good device driver support, and that was considered both scalable for the new generation of devices and had the added benefit of being royalty free.

  • Samsung announces its 2018 Tizen TV lineup

    Samsung is hitting us with its best shot as the tech company unveils its 2018 Smart TV lineup. The line up which was unveiled at an event in New York has Samsung offering us details of its new QLED model which includes the Q9F, Q8F, Q7C and Q6F. The new QLED line with enhanced picture quality, design element and also integrated with Bixby. Samsung also gave details of its expanded lineup of Ultra HD certified, Premium UHD and Super Big Screen TVs.

Samsung Galaxy capabilities expanded with Linux with the DeX Pad

Filed under
Linux
Gadgets

Samsung Dex is a platform that is designed to make your Android smartphone perform like a mobile computer – you just plug in a monitor and keyboard in and your away. The original Samsung Dex station was launched with the Galaxy S8 and S8+, and is said to be now compatible with other Samsung devices such as the Galaxy Note 8, and the recently launched Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+.

Now, Samsung have launched a new version of the DeX, named Samsung DeX Pad, that supports the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, and also older devices such as the Samsung S8, S8+, and Note 8. Once you have plugged in the required peripherals you are presented with a desktop user interface that you can use your existing Android Apps on your smartphone. But is that enough? Well, not for some of us, including Developers there is something more that we would like to do with.

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AsteroidOS Is an Open-Source and Privacy-Focused OS for Android Smartwatches

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OS
Gadgets

We'd like to introduce you today to AsteroidOS, an open-source and privacy-focused operating system for Android-powered smartwatches, designed as an alternative to Google's Android Wear.

Developed by Florent Revest, AsteroidOS was first introduced three years ago as an embedded Linux distribution built using the OpenEmbedded build automation framework and cross-compile environment on top of the Linux kernel and the systemd init system.

The operating system is using various mobile Linux middleware technologies like machine check exception (MCE) and lipstick, which were originally developed for Nemo Mobile or Mer. Its graphical user interface is entirely written with the Qt5 application framework.

Apps are written in QML using the cross-platform Qt Creator IDE and the current release of AsteroidOS comes with a set of default apps including an agenda, an alarm clock, a timer, a stopwatch, a calculator, a music controller, a weather forecast app, as well as a settings app.

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See ‘Full Linux’ Running on a Samsung Galaxy Phone [Video]

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Ubuntu
Gadgets

Itching to see more of Samsung’s promising ‘Linux on Galaxy’ initiative? Then you have to watch the following video.

The smartphone giant has uploaded a short clip to YouTube in which it demos ‘Linux on Galaxy’ to a group of Android developers.

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Also: The Samsung Galaxy S9 Official Wallpapers are Perfect for Ubuntu

You Can Now Turn Your Old Moto G2 "Titan" Phone Into an Ubuntu Phone, Here's How

Filed under
Ubuntu
Gadgets

Walid Hammami managed to port UBports' Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system on the Moto G2 2014 smartphone, which features a Qualcomm MSM8226 Snapdragon 400 chip, 1GB RAM, and 8GB internal storage.

As such, Moto G2 has been accepted by the UBports project as the first community supported device, and it's a well-done port with everything working just fine, including Wi-Fi, GSM, 3G, GPS, Bluetooth, SMS, Camera, Ubuntu Store, etc.

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Sailfish X – what’s next?

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Gadgets

Sailfish OS reached a major milestone last year as we launched for the first time a downloadable, fully supported Sailfish OS – Sailfish X for the Sony Xperia™ X device.

Sailfish X has been a fun program for us and we can see that our customers are feeling the same way. We have received a lot of positive feedback and seen the OS spread far and wide. The amount of downloads has been a positive surprise for us and we’ve seen downloads in many places we didn’t expect. All in all, 2017 was a great start for Sailfish X. This year we want to continue on this exciting path and want Sailfish X to reach even more people.

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More in Tux Machines

Graphics: Vulkan and Vega M

  • Vulkan Virgl Has Kicked Off For Supporting This Graphics/Compute API Within VMs
    Of the hundreds of projects for this year's Google Summer of Code, there are many interesting GSoC 2018 projects but one of those that I am most excited for is Vulkan-Virgl for getting this modern API supported with hardware acceleration by guest virtual machines. As implied by the name, this effort is based upon the Virgl project started by David Airlie and originally tasked with getting OpenGL acceleration to guest VMs using a fully open-source Linux driver stack. Virgl has been in good shape for a while now with OpenGL, while this summer the hope is to get the Vulkan API support going for opening up VMs to using this high-performance graphics and compute API.
  • AMDVLK Driver Lands Half-Float Additions, Many Other Improvements
    There's been another weekly-ish public code push to the AMDVLK open-source AMD Vulkan Linux driver stack and this time around it's heavy on feature work. There has been a fair amount of changes pertaining to half-float (FP16) support including support for the AMD_gpu_shader_half_float extension, prepping for VK_AMD_gpu_shader_half_float_fetch, FP16 interpolation intrinsics and register settings, and more.
  • Vega M Graphics On Intel Kabylake G CPUs Are Beginning To Work Under Linux
    We have been covering the Linux driver upbringing of "Vega M" for the Vega/Polaris graphics found in select newer Intel "Kabylake G" processors. The code is still in flight before it will work in all released versions of the Linux driver components, but for those willing to build the code or rely upon third party repositories, Vega M is now working on Linux. As I have covered in various past articles, the open-source driver support for Radeon Vega M is queued into DRM-Next for the upcoming Linux 4.18 kernel cycle, Mesa 18.1 albeit with new hardware I always recommend using the latest Git (current Mesa 18.2), and there are also binary GPU microcode files needed too.

Plasma 5.13 – Amazing Tux, How Sweet Plasma

Plasma 5.13 is (going to be) a very nice release. It builds on the solid foundation that is the LTS edition, and adds cool, smart touches. The emphasis is on seamless integration of elements, which is what separates professionals from amateurs. It’s all around how the WHOLE desktop behaves, and not individual programs in isolation. And Plasma is making great strides, offering a polished version of an already mature and handsome product, with extra focus on fonts, media and browser connectivity and good performance. There are some rough patches. Apart from the obvious beta issues, those goes without saying, KDE Connect ought to be a true multi-phone product, the network stack really needs to be spotless, and that means full Microsoft Windows inter-operability, Spectacle should allow for configurable shadows and alpha channel, and I want to see if the decorative backend has been cleaned up, i.e. can you search and install new themes and icons without encountering useless errors and inconsistencies. But all in all, I’m quite impressed. The changes are big and noticeable, and above all, meaningful. You don’t just get features for the sake of it, you get things that improve the quality and consistency of the desktop, that maximize fun and productivity, and there’s deep thought in orchestrating it all together. It ain’t just a random bunch of options that happen to work. I like seeing patterns in things, and I’m happy when there’s functional harmony. This spring season of distro testing hasn’t been fun, and Plasma 5.13 is balm for my weary wrists, so hurting from all that angry typing. More than worth a spin, and highly recommended. Full steam on, Tuxers. Read more Also: This week in Usability & Productivity, part 20

Sad News! Development Stopped for Korora and BackSlash Linux

It seems more and more small distributions are facing a had time. Recently we saw the crisis at Void Linux. Now we have two more small Linux distributions calling it quit, albeit temporarily. Read more

Android Leftovers