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2019 Year in Review: PureOS

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gadgets

Our new stable release is called Amber and is designed to provide the security of coreboot with the stability of a well tested distro. This new version of PureOS retains its status as a Free Software Foundation “free distro” and we’ve added a sibling called Byzantium which is a rolling release.

We’ve improved our release cadence so that we can do in-depth testing with some regularity. Byzantium is now being updated directly from the mothership, Debian testing, for those who want the latest and greatest. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the adoption of the two distros and I am looking forward to announce the availability of Byzantium ISO images early in the New Year. Some of you might have noticed that while it is possible to upgrade Amber to Byzantium (details in our forum) it’s a big change with lots of new packages. If you’re not feeling adventurous, no need to worry, we’re going to continue to update Amber throughout 2020 with Amber updates and security fixes.

Our new rolling release was made possible by the flexibility of the Laniakea tool which we’ve invested significant resources in. Purism proudly sponsors the project and is also contributing to its broader adoption in the community as a way of building out the ecosystem of Free Software itself. Laniakea holds the logic to create new images as well as update packages which has allowed us to implement continuous delivery. Lanikea has allowed us to use Debian binary packages without having to rebuild each one by hand. Without Laniakea there simply would be too much work for the team. To top it off Matthias Klumpp created a tool that clones the entire Debian build process and let’s you maintain a large Debian derivative with relatively little effort. It is currently powering the Librem 5 and x86 builds distributions.

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Also: Librem 5 – The risks of crowdfunding open hardware

Sailfish OS Nuuksio now available

Filed under
OS
Gadgets

First of all we wish all our customers, business associates and friends, old and new, a very merry Christmas! We are excited to have you with us on the ride to create a world with more security and digital trust.

The Nuuksio National Park location, being in such close proximity to the capital of Finland, Helsinki, is uncommon within Europe. Nuuksio has typical Finnish scenery, with lovely lakes, green forests and rugged crags. Nuuksio has one of the densest flying squirrel populations in Finland.

Sailfish OS 3.2.1 Nuuksio

We’ve included many reliability improvements in Nuuksio especially targeting Email, Calendar synchronisation and VPN settings. In addition to reliability improvements, the Email app now has enhanced support for handling HTML formatted messages. Audio routing for Android apps has been improved on Android app support 8.1, fixing issues with applications such as WhatsApp calls and Youtube. The operating system now supports hardware MPEG2, VP9 and h.265/HEVC video decoding (the exact support depends on the device).

For Sailfish OS 3.2.1 Nuuksio we’ve continued improving the Phone and Messages apps and the UI in general. The message bubbles gained a new visual style with related messages now forming visual groups to enhance readability. The address handling in the email and messages apps has also been improved, so you can now see recipient addresses, as well as having the option to easily remove unwanted recipients.

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Hardware and Gadgets: Librem 5, USB4, WattUp and Raspberry Pi Airdrum

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware
Gadgets
  • Librem 5 – My Thoughts

    While I agree that all of the above is true, I do not agree that the Librem 5 is any different. Over a 3 year period the Librem’s paltry 32GB of internal storage will fill up. Their 3,500 mAh battery will begin to fail and their hardware will become more outdated.

    As far as I can see, there is nothing that gives the Librem 5 a longer life than any other smartphone.

  • MCCI Sells a $795 USB4 Switch for USB4 Product Development

    The USB4 specification was officially released last September with the new standard promising speeds of up to 40 Gbps and up to 100 Watts power delivery over USB-C connectors.

  • Energous Launches WattUp Smart Glasses Developer Kit for Customer Product Designs

    Near-field wireless charging technology has the potential to disrupt the consumer electronics industry, but its adoption has been limited.

  • Hands-free Raspberry Pi Airdrum | The MagPi 89

    We’re always going to beat the drum for projects that seek to improve the lives of people with disabilities. That’s why we fell in love with the Airdrum, which was created to allow anyone, in particular people with disabilities, to play a musical instrument.

Surveillance Openwash: Zigbee Alliance

Filed under
Google
Gadgets
  • Tech heavyweights join Zigbee in launching open source smart home consortium

    Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance have formed a “Connected Home over IP” group to develop an open source smart home connectivity standard. Meanwhile Silicon Labs plans to relaunch its Z-Wave spec as a “ratified, multi-source wireless standard” open to all silicon and stack vendors for development.

    Three of the leading smart home device vendors have joined up with the Zigbee Alliance to launch a royalty-free, IP-based home automation connectivity standard. The Project Connected Home over IP working group will develop open source reference implementations for the standard posted on GitHub, followed by a device certification program.

  • Amazon, Apple, Google and Zigbee join forces for an open smart home standard

    The biggest names in the connected home category are reaching across the aisle to create an open-source standard. Marquee names Amazon, Apple, Google and the Zigbee Alliance are leading the charge here.

  • Apple, Amazon, and Google team up with Zigbee to create an open smart home standard in a bid to get rid of proprietary standards
  • Apple, Google, And Amazon Join Forces To Create CHIP

    Apple, Google, Amazon, and the Zigbee Alliance have all teamed up to work on an open-source network standard. The new working group has already gone live under the name of “Project Connected Home over IP” or CHIP.

    According to the new website, the project is aimed at simplifying development for manufacturers and increase compatibility for consumers. By building upon Internet Protocol (IP), the project aims to enable communication across smart home devices, mobile apps, and cloud services and to define a specific set of IP-based networking technologies for device certification.

X11 on iOS 13 spotted, getting Linux for iPhone/iPad not Herculean task anymore

Filed under
OS
GNU
Linux
Gadgets

Do you think you can replace the whole user interface with Linux or any other platform? I hate to bust your bubble! But, the secondary OS stays inside an app and you get to stream it locally over VNC. The developer says nothing will stop someone from changing that.

Moreover, for those who look forward to getting GNOME, it hasn’t been achieved yet. Despite trying, the person behind all these is facing a troubling bug in fontconfig and/or freetype. And, we will update this story if he comes up with a new progress in this affair.

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New postmarketOS build infrastructure is powered by sourcehut builds

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OS
Android
Gadgets

Development effort from our end went into build.postmarketos.org (in short BPO). This is the name of both the website seen in the second screenshot, as well as the source code for the program that generates the website. Besides that, it manages the jobs that run on sourcehut builds.

BPO has 91% test coverage. A rather unusual design decision is that the website is generated as static HTML page whenever there is a change. It is not generated on demand when requested via HTTP. This seems highly appropriate though, as the content at most changes a few times per second.

We have come a long way from initially having no binary repository and expecting all developers to build everything from source at the project's public launch in May of 2017. During the following months we had an inofficial repository of binary packages for Plasma Mobile packages on postmarketOS at one point. Until we got the first official binary repository at the end of 2017. But that one had to be manually triggered and the build logs where not available online.

Now it's completely automated and transparent, and multiple developers of the core team are able to fix things if they go south. Therefore we allow more people to merge incoming patches, and it is already apparent that this has resulted in increased productivity.

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Librem 5 Longevity: Solving The Problem of Disposable Technology

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gadgets

I’ve been using GNU/Linux (“Linux”) as my desktop OS for over twenty years now. Throughout all of that time, one thing that I’ve loved about Linux on the desktop is how it can take a so-called “slow” and “old” computer and can breathe new life into it. Back when Installfests were a thing (events where people would bring computers to Linux Users’ Groups and get help installing Linux on them) often people would bring in second-hand computers, sometimes found in the trash or given away by companies after they were deemed too slow to run Windows. After Linux was installed they performed like they were new and the user now had a computer they could use for years to come. There were even programs that would refurbish second-hand computers, put Linux on them and provide them to schools who wouldn’t have computers otherwise. However bloated some people might think Linux is today compared to the “good old days” this effect still holds true–take a machine that’s too slow to run something else, and put Linux on it, and it’s like a new computer.

Linux’s low resource needs compared to everything else not only meant resurrecting computers that would otherwise end up in a landfill, it also meant if you were fortunate enough that you could afford a new computer, you could expect many more years of service out of the hardware, with OS updates that either improved performance (as hardware support improved) or at least maintained the existing performance. Many large companies assume their computers will last around 2-3 years before they need to be replaced but in my experience I get at least twice that longevity with Linux on the desktop.

My personal laptop is a first generation Librem 13 I bought in 2015 (I participated in the original crowdfunding campaign long before I worked here). I run Qubes on it and even after four years I don’t feel any need for a new laptop yet–it still works as well as it did when I bought it. Before that I had a Thinkpad X200s I bought brand new and had used for about six years before it started to show its age. Even now my wife uses that X200s as a secondary computer for writing.

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PineTime: A Linux Friendly Smartwatch

Filed under
Linux
Gadgets

After releasing their successful rounds of notebook computers, laptops, single-board PCs and Linux smartphones, Pine64 is back with another incredible launch. The company is set to bring a smartwatch based on the Linux operating system that focuses solely on the needs of developers.

Pine64: History

Mainly known as Pine Microsystems, Inc., the US origin company sells and manufactures computer hardware and software. After the company’s 1st product, the Pine A64, a single-board computer in 2015, the company went on with the same name after that. Later, it released successors of the Pine family that included notebooks and smartphones for the public.

PineTime Smartwatch

The PineTime project came under attention in September 2019 when the company on their official Twitter account announced it. The news came right after Pine64 made the existence of its PinePhone public. In the coming year, with the success of the Librem 5 smartphone and PinePhone soon to hit the markets, it is a perfect time to introduce a companion device that goes along with other Linux devices.

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Nordic Semi nRF52832 Powered PineTime Dev Kit is Now Available for $24.99

Filed under
Development
GNU
Linux
Gadgets

PineTime was announced as a $25 smartwatch & companion for PinePhone Linux smartphone which itself sells for $150.

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Librem Boot Freedom and Purism Closes $2.5m Note Series

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Gadgets
  • coreboot 4.11: Leaving No Librem Behind

    One of Purism’s core beliefs is to ensure that to the best of our ability, all new features, fixes, and improvements will be applied to all products, past and present.

  • Purism Closes $2.5m Note Series

    Purism as a Social Purpose Company (SPC) ensures the rights of humanity by creating products that fully respect people, and that mission has garnered a lot of attention and growth. One of the reasons Purism registered as an SPC was so that we could accept inbound investment without the risk that a toxic investor could force us to violate our values for profit (a common problem in C corporations). As a social purpose company Purism enshrines in its articles of incorporation that we must do what is good for society, therefore avoiding any and all toxic funding by virtue of the strictness of those articles.

    Funding growth—in addition to the triple-digit (yes that is over doubling) shipped revenue growth year-over-year since 2014 that Purism has been fortunate to see—can come in many forms, be that inventory financing, lines of credit, investment, and equity financing, to name a few.

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