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Gadgets

How to access Samsung DeX mode on Linux and Chrome OS

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Ubuntu
Gadgets

Google has yet to offer a full-fledged desktop interface in Android, but you can access the hidden barebones version of it on some devices running Android 10. A handful of OEMs, on the other hand, offer their own implementations of the desktop mode, and Samsung’s DeX is inarguably the most polished and feature-rich option among them. The latest version of Samsung DeX can even seamlessly integrate itself with Macs and Windows PCs.

While Samsung did backport DeX for PC support to older flagships, they still don’t provide an official Linux (and Chrome OS) companion app corresponding to this handy feature. From the perspective of a regular Samsung user who uses Linux, it means that you could only access the DeX mode if you had an external display. There is no OS level limitation per se, so XDA Senior Member KMyers has decided to create a proof-of-concept technique that ultimately works as a Linux client for Samsung DeX.

[...]

Typical features like clipboard sharing and drag-and-drop installation of APK files are working without issue in this method, but sound routing is a bit messy. You might have to compile scrcpy from source, though, because the available build on the default package repository of Debian based operating systems (e.g., Ubuntu and the Crostini environment on Chrome OS) is usually outdated. This step can be particularly problematic on ARM-powered Chrome OS devices, so opt for cross-compiling instead.

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PinePhone: Community Edition (CE) Review

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Reviews
Gadgets

Following hot on the heels of my Pinebook Pro review come my impressions of the PinePhone: Community Edition (CE); a phone made by the same company, Pine64. This particular edition of the PinePhone is an updated version of their 1.1 Braveheart Edition phone, while still carrying the same $150 price tag.

Why did I decide to buy this even though I’ve already got one? Well, this new CE PinePhone has some enhancements to the printed circuit board (PCB). I wanted to see if, after buying this, I can use it as my day-to-day driver.

I ordered both the PBP and the PinePhone on the same day. Both devices suffered from delivery delay due to the COVID-19 crisis, so I upgraded my PinePhone shipping from Ascendia to DHL. I then got the phone in the mail a week after my PBP (the PBP already had DHL shipping). In all the shipping costed $30…a bit uglier than I expected, but if anything it’s probably because of the pandemic we’re in.

Before I go on ahead with my review, you may want to first skim through my original Braveheart Edition review from four months ago, as I will be skipping some of the details of the unit I’m reviewing here, since it is almost exactly the same, at least in terms of hardware.

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BQ Aquaris X2 & Aquaris X2 Pro Android 10 update rolls out

Filed under
OS
Android
Ubuntu
Gadgets

For those who do not know, BQ is a Spanish consumer electronics and software company, which claims to have developed the world’s first Ubuntu OS powered smartphone, the BQ Aquaris E4.5.

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Mobian OS For PinePhone Aims To Bring Debian Linux To Mobile Devices

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OS
Debian
Gadgets

Debian GNU/Linux is one of the oldest Linux-based operating systems known for its rock-solid stability and large community support. The most popular Linux distros like Ubuntu or Tails are based on Debian Linux.

However, you cannot install pure Debian directly on your smartphones or tablets. You need hardware-specific customizations to run it smoothly on different devices.

Surprisingly, Debian exists for smartphones either as PureOS or Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system. Now here comes another Debian-based mobile operating system, Mobian, which aims to bring the full power of Debian to mobile devices.

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Home Assistant, the Python IoT Hub

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OSS
Gadgets

The Internet of Things (IoT) push continues to expand as tens of thousands of different internet-enabled devices from light bulbs to dishwashers reach consumers' homes. Home Assistant is an open-source project to make the most of all of those devices, potentially with no data being shared with third parties.

Generally speaking, IoT devices are most useful when operating in coordination with each other. While decentralized systems are possible, keeping all of these devices coordinated in the effort to make a "smart house" generally uses a centralized server (or "smart hub") — a reality not lost on Apple, Amazon, and Google among others, who all provide various solutions to the problem.

For the privacy and security minded however, those solutions are problematic because they send private data to centralized servers for processing simply to turn on your lights. That these solutions are also closed-source black boxes does not help matters. Home Assistant is an Apache-licensed project to address this problem, started by Paulus Schoutsen, to provide a private centralized hub for automation and communication between a home's various IoT devices. Schoutsen is also founder of Nabu Casa, Inc., which provides commercial backing for the project. The platform is popular and active, approaching its 600th release from nearly 2,000 contributors to its core on GitHub. Integrations between various IoT platforms and Home Assistant are provided by its 1,600 available components written by the various contributors.

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Looking for an Android Phone with Long Term Support? Fairphone 2 Gets Android 9 Five Years After Launch

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Android
Gadgets

When you use a laptop or computer with Windows or Linux, you’re pretty much assured to get regular security updates. That’s partially why I prefer to do things like online banking on my computer rather than a phone, despite banks pushing for mobile apps.

Why? Because most mobile phones get limited support. I selected an Android One phone, namely Xiaomi Mi A2, because I would get updates for at least 18 months. When you think about it it’s quite pathetic, but that’s about the best Android has to offer. It’s quite better on Apple side with updates for 4 to 5 years for iPhones, while Google Pixel phones are said to get updates for about 3+ years. How you deliver updates also matter, as I recently heard Samsung users complain about frequent updates, while they had somehow no such complaint about their iPhone.

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Nostalgia struck! Aquaris E4.5 & Ubuntu Touch again

Filed under
Ubuntu
Gadgets

I'm happy with my little experiment, even if it serves no higher purpose. Now, on my M10 tablet, I won't repeat the exercise. It's a fairly capable device, and there, Android 6 does a pretty good job - a marked improvement over Android 5 that was on Aquaris E4.5. Indeed, Android has significantly improved over time. But on the phone, OTA-12 works quite well, and offers a fast if limited experience. But for novelty sake, I'm going to take this as far as it goes, either the UBports project or the lifespan of the device.

The community-supported continuation of the Ubuntu Phone effort - UBports Ubuntu Touch - is a commendable project. Given its resources, it manages to deliver a fairly robust and fun product, with OTA-12 as its latest incarnation. Solid, usable - to an extent, but also secure, updated and with solid privacy. If you need a basic smartphone, this is a solution that offers a reasonable compromise. I've never really expected to be using Ubuntu Touch again, but now I'm glad I did this, if only to see how far one's passion can stretch. But on a serious, emotionless note, really, if you don't need much, if you're not hooked into social media, and if your hardware supports the OTA-12 image, you might want to give this a try. If anything, it's more mature than it ever was, and in the privacy-focused world, it makes perfect sense.

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Three years of postmarketOS

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Gadgets

We have over 200 booting devices now. Yes, booting is the operative word, with most of these ports you get more of a Raspberry Pi alternative than a functional phone experience with postmarketOS. Therefore, we started to categorize the devices. All existing device ports have been moved to the testing category, and can be moved to community or main depending on which features are working and how well maintained a port is. Only community and main devices will be cherry-picked to the stable branch.

Currently the only device in the main category is the QEMU virtual device. It doesn't have any special hardware like a modem or GPS, so it was easy to make it comply with the requirements for main. Once some minor changes are done to the PinePhone port, it can be moved from community to main as well.

There are also some devices pending to be moved into community from testing, like the Nokia N900, Xiaomi Redmi 4X, Motorola Moto G4 Play, Samsung Galaxy A3, Samsung Galaxy A5, Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini Value Edition and Wileyfox Swift. This is mostly possible, because they run a mainline Linux kernel already, or in case of the MSM8916, are currently being mainlined. The MSM8974 devices are also candidates, such as the Nexus 5, Fairphone 2, OnePlus One and the Samsung Galaxy S5.

Earlier concepts of a channel-agnostic pmdevices repository were scrapped. This would allow using the same device packages with both the edge and stable channels, but at the price of making the device packages more complicated. Instead of doing that, we will treat the device specific packages like other packages and cherry-pick only the rather risk-free patches to the stable branch.

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4 Most Affordable Drawing Tablets for Linux Users

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Gadgets

The drawing tablets on this list should work out of the box on Linux in most cases. However, if you find that you need to install drivers to get your device working, do check out DIGImend. They do a good job providing Linux drivers and instructions for a wide variety of drawing tablets.

In this list, we covered 4 excellent budget drawing tablets that have good Linux support, though there are plenty more great drawing tablets that work on the Linux platform. What drawing tablet do you use on your Linux system? Sound off in the comment section!

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Open source project to build RPi powered smart delivery boxes to avoid Covid-19 contact

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Gadgets

Techbase has launched a #CoronaIoT project that plans to build a wireless-enabled, open source Smart Delivery Box for contactless package delivery based on the Raspberry Pi and ESP32.

Embedded Linux has already begun to play a role in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in products such as open source ventilators and fever-ID equipment. Even beyond products aimed at coronavirus-related applications, the embedded tech product pipeline has continued apace, although a looming global recession will likely have an impact. Meanwhile, as explored in this recent Wind River Covid-19 survey, tech vendors and their customers are evaluating different strategies for adapting to the times, including taking advantage of this transitional period to accelerate digital transformation.

A new #CoronaIoT project recently launched by Techbase envisions one such transformation. The Polish embedded firm aims to use open source embedded hardware and software to address various Covid-19 related Internet-of-Things applications. The initial project is a Smart Delivery Box that would reduce the need for contact between package delivery personnel and customers. Techbase is seeking ideas and participation from the open source and industrial communities.

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Also: Swissbit Secure Boot for Raspberry Pi Relies on MicroSD Card and optional USB Stick

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More in Tux Machines

Games: Discover, Overland and DOSBox on Chromebooks

     
  • Another Discord voice chat overlay for Linux appears with 'Discover'

    Since the official Discord client doesn't currently support the Overlay on Linux, it's up to the community and another has been released named Discover. Not to be confused with the KDE application store, which is also named Discover. The Discover overlay for Discord was created by the same people as the last one we wrote about. This time, it's a little different. They're not relying on Discord's StreamKit and it instead interacts with the Discord client directly. This means it could expand to support other chat applications too in future perhaps, plus they said it should also be "lighter on system resources and less hack-and-slash included than discord-overlay".

  • Post-apocalyptic road-trip strategy Overland has a big 1.2 update with an all-dogs mode

    Possibly one of the most stylish turn-based strategy games around and one that's also rather difficult, Overland just had a big 1.2 update released with some funny new additions. A post-apocalyptic road-trip game all about making tough decisions. You thought XCOM 2 was difficult? Overland can be quite on the brutal side. Small maps that don't give you a lot of wiggle room, with one misstep it might all be over. Every noise you make only brings weird creatures closer and you've got to get moving across the United States. [...] Finding another dog and inviting them into my crew might be the sweetest thing I've seen in a turn-based strategy game, as they both give a little "woof" and wag their tails and suddenly I've got a two-dog crew driving across the USA during the end of the world. It's weirdly wholesome, until one of them dies that is — so sad.

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  • Revisit childhood games with DOSBox on your Chromebook

    I’m back at it! I spent the better part of yesterday morning tinkering with virtual machines and the Linux container on my Chromebook to see was sort of shenanigans I could get myself into. Somewhere along the way, I decided to fiddle with MS-DOS. More on that later. Along the way, I discovered a nifty little app that I had never heard of until this week. Just to be clear, this application is not new. In fact, it’s been around for nearly two decades and its sole purpose is to emulate DOS in an x86 environment. [...] There you go. You’re all set. You can now launch DOSBox from the terminal by just typing or you can open it with the app icon that is now in your app launcher. I’m sure you’re now wondering what you can actually do with DOSBox. Don’t worry. We’ll get to that next. As I mentioned above, DOSBox has been reworked to bring countless older video games directly to the web by allowing users to play in the browser. Chances are decent that, if you are looking for one of your favorite childhood games, it’s available in a browser-based version. Sites such as playclassic.games use this very technology to run games like Oregon Trail, DOOM, and Civilization I&II. Anyway, you can use DOSBox to do the very same thing locally on your Chromebook. Here’s how to get your favorite MS-DOS games on Chrome OS using DOSBox. First, we will need a game to play. For many DOS games, you can download the .exe file and run the game directly from that file. Other games, like the example we’re using, has an installation file. That file will create the .exe file that will launch the game. In honor of all the Intel Gemini Lake Chromebooks out there, we will be installing the cult classic Commander Keen. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, most Chromebook code names and baseboards are named after video game or animated characters. The original Google Cr-48 is code-named Mario. More recent devices powered by Intel’s Gemini Lake processors are named after characters from ID Software’s Commander Keen series of video games.

Python Programming

  • Ternary Search Algorithm: Explained with example.
  • Robot Framework with Selenium and Python: All You Need to Know

    With 5000+ stars and 1500+ forks on GitHub, Robot framework has been a go-to-option for many organizations who are aiming for Agile and Test Driven Development (TDD) where developers should write functional code only when there is a test that has failed. Robot framework allows acceptance testing, behaviour driven testing, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and Acceptance test-driven development (ATDD). It offers an extensible keyword driven approach to perform automation testing. The learning curve is simple as you don’t need to have a programming experience to get started with the Robot framework. Robot framework is written in Python, however, it is not restricted to that. You can implement keywords in Robot framework using Python, Java, JavaScript, Perl, .Net and PHP.

  • How and why I built a menu planning application: What's on the Menu?

    The application that I build can, of course, be used for searching recipes. Additionally, a list of persons could be maintained with their list of allergies, favourite ingredients and when the user decides to plan a meal or cook for them, then appropriate recipes would be suggested which fulfils the needs of the people being planned for. It also learns to suggest recipes based on previous selections.

  • PyCharm: Webinar Recording: “From The Docs: PyCharm Skills, Beginner to Advanced” with Alla Redko

    PyCharm has broad, useful, up-to-date documentation. How does it get made? Who works on it? What are some hidden gems? Last week we had a webinar covering this with Alla Redko, technical writer for PyCharm, and the recording is now available.

  • Mixing text and chemistry toolkits

    This is part of a series of essays about using chemfp to work with SD files at the record and simple text level. Chemfp has a text toolkit to read and write SDF and SMILES files as records, rather than molecules. It also has a chemistry toolkit I/O API to have a consistent way to handle structure input and output when working with the OEChem, RDKit, and Open Babel toolkits. In this essay I'll combine the two, so chemfp reads records from an SD file, which are then passed to a chemistry toolkit for further parsing, then chemfp adds a data item back to the original record instead of converting the toolkits molecule into a new SDF record.

  • Colin Watson: Porting Launchpad to Python 3: progress report

    Launchpad still requires Python 2, which in 2020 is a bit of a problem. Unlike a lot of the rest of 2020, though, there’s good reason to be optimistic about progress. I’ve been porting Python 2 code to Python 3 on and off for a long time, from back when I was on the Ubuntu Foundations team and maintaining things like the Ubiquity installer. When I moved to Launchpad in 2015 it was certainly on my mind that this was a large body of code still stuck on Python 2. One option would have been to just accept that and leave it as it is, maybe doing more backporting work over time as support for Python 2 fades away. I’ve long been of the opinion that this would doom Launchpad to being unmaintainable in the long run, and since I genuinely love working on Launchpad - I find it an incredibly rewarding project - this wasn’t something I was willing to accept. We’re already seeing some of our important dependencies dropping support for Python 2, which is perfectly reasonable on their terms but which is starting to become a genuine obstacle to delivering important features when we need new features from newer versions of those dependencies. It also looks as though it may be difficult for us to run on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (we’re currently on 16.04, with an upgrade to 18.04 in progress) as long as we still require Python 2, since we have some system dependencies that 20.04 no longer provides. And then there are exciting new features like type hints and async/await that we’d like to be able to use.

Screencasts/Audiocasts/Shows: elementary OS, Zorin OS, Emacs, Vim and Artificial intelligence as Free Software

  • Early Look at elementary OS 6 New Desktop Features - Road to Odin
  • Zorin OS 15.3 Lite overview | Your old computer. New again.

    In this video, I am going to show an overview of Zorin OS 15.3 Lite and some of the applications pre-installed.

  • Boost Productivity With Emacs, Org Mode and Org Agenda

    Do you use "productivity apps"? If so, Emacs, Org Mode and Org Agenda lets you make todo lists, schedule tasks, manage projects and much more. I've never been a "todo list" or "appointment scheduling" kind of person but the more I play with Emacs and Org, the more I think that I should be doing these things.

  • The Untapped Magic Of The Vim Runtime Directories

    Prior to using plugin managers vim plugins were handled in a completely different way, you would make use of all these special run time directories and be required to move the files for each plugin into the specified directories, while they're not used as much anymore there's no reason why you can't make use of them in a modern vim configuration.

  • Artificial intelligence as Free Software with Vincent Lequertier

    For the seventh episode of our Software Freedom Podcast we talk with Vincent Lequertier about transparency, fairness, and accessibility as crucial criteria for artificial intelligence (AI) and why it is important for our society to release AI software under a Free Software license. Our guest for the seventh episode of the Software Freedom Podcast is Vincent Lequertier. Vincent is a member of the Free Software Foundation Europe and is researching AI in the health care sector. Together we discuss the use and development of artificial intelligence from a Free Software perspective. Vincent explains what AI actually is and why it is important for our society to release AI software under a Free Software license. We discuss why the criteria of transparency, fairness and accessibility are important when working with artificial intelligence and how they relate to Free Software. Finally, we also discover what challenges AI is facing in the future and whether we should be afraid of the increasing use of this technology in our daily lives.

NVIDIA GeForce vs. AMD Radeon Vulkan Neural Network Performance With NCNN

With having added Tencent's NCNN tests to the Phoronix Test Suite with Vulkan acceleration, here is a look at the real-world impact by using RealSR-NCNN for scaling up with RealSR. Various NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon graphics cards were tested for this initial NCNN / RealSR-NCNN Vulkan comparison. This is our first time looking at how well Vulkan performs in this area with the current state of the Linux drivers. The GeForce hardware was tested with the latest 450 series proprietary driver while on the Radeon side it was with Linux 5.9 and Mesa 20.3-devel using the RADV Vulkan driver. One of the Tencent developers working on NCNN has commented as well that using RADV's ACO offers a big boost for the performance, which fortunately is the current default for the RADV Vulkan driver. Read more Also: Phoronix Test Suite / OpenBenchmarking.org Now Has 600 Different Tests/Benchmarks