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Syncthing: Open Source P2P File Syncing Tool

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Software
Gadgets

Syncthing is an open-source peer-to-peer file synchronization tool that you can use for syncing files between multiple devices (including an Android phone).

Usually, we have a cloud sync solution like MEGA or Dropbox to have a backup of our files on the cloud while making it easier to share it.

But, what do you do if you want to sync your files across multiple devices without storing them on the cloud?

That is where Syncthing comes to the rescue.

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PinePhone ‘Brave Heart’ Starts Shipping, Here’s What to Expect

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GNU
Linux
Gadgets

If you were plucky enough to pre-order a PinePhone Brave Heart edition last month you may be interested to know that devices start shipping from January 17, 2020.

Yes, this week!

Pine64’s Lukasz Erecinski shares the date in the company’s latest monthly update, explaining: “We’re now ready […] to confirm that PinePhones will begin shipping …on January 17th 2020. The dispatch process will take a couple of days, however, so your unit may ship on the 20th or 25th. At any rate, you’ll have your PinePhone soon”.

The handsets are being shipped through a company called Asendia who, Erecinski says, offer a good balance of shipping times (important to buyers) and cost (important to Pine64, who don’t exactly make huge profits all on this tech).

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Devices: Gaël Duval (Eelo or /e/), Wind River Claims "Linux Leadership", More on "Reachy" From Pollen Robotics

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Gadgets
  • Gaël Duval: A video interview at CoderStories

    I forgot to publish this quite comprehensive video interview I had with Sylvain Zimmer at CoderStories!

  • Wind River Extends Embedded Security and Linux Leadership with Acquisition of Star Lab

    Wind River®, a leader in delivering software for the intelligent edge, today announced its acquisition of Star Lab, a leader in cybersecurity for embedded systems. The acquisition broadens the comprehensive Wind River software portfolio with a system protection and anti-tamper toolset for Linux, an open source–based hypervisor, and a secure boot solution. Star Lab is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Wind River. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

    Historically, embedded devices have functioned in isolation, deployed to environments minimally connected to the outside world. However, with the emergence of ubiquitous connectivity paradigms such as IoT and remotely monitored/autonomously controlled industrial and transportation systems, today’s cyber threat landscape is rapidly evolving. Central to this evolution is the ease with which a focused and resourced adversary can acquire and reverse engineer deployed embedded systems. In addition to modification or subversion of a single specific device, hands-on physical access also aids an attacker in discovery of remotely-triggerable software vulnerabilities.

  • Meet Reachy, an expressive, open-source humanoid system

    This is Reachy, a very expressive and open-source robot developed by the French company Pollen Robotics. The robot was presented during CES this year.

    Obviously, among the pros of the robot, the fact that it is based on an open-source platform capable of learning more and more. At the moment, the robot has already shown its ability with simple games, but developers can use Python to create countless applications for the system. The modular nature of the robot allows an unlimited number of applications: use within the restaurant, customer service, demonstrations is possible, and it can also be dedicated to research and development sectors.

    [...]

    Reachy’s arms have 7 degrees of freedom of movement and can be equipped with various manipulators to simulate a five-fingered hand grip. It can manipulate up to 500-gram object.

Sailfish SDK 3.0 is now available

Filed under
OS
Development
Gadgets

This new release contains several updates for the entire SDK system. Some of the changes are already visible through the interface within this update, but more will become available in future releases building on the enabling features we’ve included in this release. An example of these upcoming changes is the possibility to support different kinds of virtualization technologies for the build engine and the emulators.

Command line interface

Our command line tool (sfdk), which we already introduced in version 2.2, receives an upgrade in this release. As a result of these changes it is now possible to use the SDK within a continuous integration environment.
For users who are comfortable using Qt Creator you can continue using it as before. However, if you want to script parts of the development process, or if you’re just happiest working from the command line, then sfdk provides important benefits. We’ll look briefly at some of the things you can do below to give you a taste.

[...]

We hope you enjoy using the new SDK tools and we look forward to bringing you the other improvements we’ve been working on in the future.

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2019 Year in Review: Librem 5 Software and Kernel

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Linux
Gadgets

libhandy had several releases and got support for stick-to-finger gestures (and widgets that make use of it) as can be seen on the shell’s lockscreen. That support was in large parts contributed by a community member (exalm).

The list of adaptive GNOME apps is steadily growing.

We’re running pretty close to a mainline kernel, which several folks doubted would be possible, for several revisions. There’s good support for the devkit upstream and initial patches for the phone already made it back into mainline too. There’s some fun stuff like camera left for 2020. Most of the DSI display stack is upstream now with one driver missing but hopefully not too far away.

We can run mainline mesa as well, another thing that’s not common in the embedded world, which will give us support for games from flatpaks in the near future

BaldPhone is an Open-Source Launcher for Elderly People

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OSS
Gadgets

You can download the app from GitHub and F-Droid. For those wondering why the app is not available to download on the Google Play Store, the developer says that it used to be present on Google Play but it had to be removed due to the recent permission requirements that would lead to split APKs.

It is worth mentioning that you can download the app for free and it doesn’t have ads.

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A new decade for Sailfish OS

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OS
Gadgets

As the year 2020 and a new decade are just around the corner I’d like to thank all our partners, customers, community members, and fellow sailors across the world for being part of the world-changing Jolla Sailfish story for another year. Not only was 2019 a good year but the entire decade has also been a wild ride for us together. Sincere thanks for sailing it with us!

Our dear Sailfish OS, and our company Jolla is steadily approaching an age of 10 years. Most of you know the history. Already from the start we had a bold vision of offering the world a transparent, trusted and privacy-preserving independent alternative for the most personal tech device we use to manage our daily lives – the smartphone. This is the vision we’ve been carrying through all stages of the story, from developing and offering Jolla branded devices in the early days, to the licensing business we’ve been pushing for the past few years.

We are mobile and tech enthusiasts who want to build and develop a mobile operating system we want to use ourselves, and to perfect Sailfish OS for our licensing customers. In parallel we’ve created the Sailfish X program to carry on the Jolla device heritage for all you like-minded people who want to be independent from the big players, who cherish privacy and data integrity, and who simply just enjoy being boldly different!

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Also: Jolla Making Plans For Sailfish OS In 2020

Purism on Hardware and Security in 2019

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gadgets
  • 2019 Year in Review: Hardware

    At the end of 2018 and going into 2019 we shipped the Librem 5 development kits – the first hardware for the Librem 5. The dev kits give developers very similar hardware and features to develop software against ahead of the final hardware being released, this is especially useful for GUI developers to visualize the applications. The first dev kits had a bug in the silicon of the i.MX8M CPU which meant the LCD did no work. It took a lot of effort but we fixed the issue in March giving everyone a fully functional LCD. In June we released a software update which enabled cellular calls.

  • 2019 Year in Review: Security

    This year also saw a number of improvements in supply chain security. On the physical supply chain front we announced the Made in USA Librem Key and more recently the Librem 5 USA. In both cases we are bringing the manufacturing of our electronics next to our fulfillment center where we can more directly oversee it.

    Finally we publicized our anti-interdiction services, a service that adds a number of sophisticated security measures to our fulfillment process to make it difficult to tamper with laptop shipments without detection. Up until now we haven’t publicized the service even though we offered it to customers who asked. Now it appears as an upgrade option on our laptops along with the PureBoot Bundle. We’ve already seen a dramatic interest in the service since we announced it publicly.

Early Experiences With PinePhone

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gadgets
  • Talking about Pine

    At GNU Health Con (now more than two weeks ago) I gave a talk on saturday afternoon about Pine. Thanks to TLLim for providing me we slides (we caught up at Linux App Summit) to start off the talk. I dove down a little more into the products that are available, saying “this is not a sales talk” but ..

    At the end of the day there were lots of people seriously interested in Pine hardware. If I can’t even not sell devices, what am I to do?

  • Yet Another Librem 5 and PinePhone comparison

    Let's start off with mentioning that both these new phones are great steps forward for Linux. While they will probably not beat Android and iOS in popularity, they will at least give Linux power users a device that can be called a Linux phone instead of the usual "technically it's running Linux because that's only a kernel". These phones not only run the latest, mainline Linux kernel, they also have the desktop stacks people are already familiar with.

  • PinePhone review

    Holy shit! This is the phone I have always wanted. I have never been this excited about the mobile sector before. However: the software side is totally absent — phone calls are very dubious, SMS is somewhat dubious, LTE requires some hacks, and everything will have to be written from the ground up.

    I have a PinePhone developer edition model, which I paid for out of pocket1 and which took an excruciatingly long time to arrive. When it finally arrived, it came with no SIM or microSD card (expected), and the eMMC had some half-assed version of Android on it which just boot looped without POSTing to anything useful2. This didn’t bother me in the slightest — like any other computer I’ve purchased, I planned on immediately flashing my own OS on it. My Linux distribution of choice for it is postmarketOS, which is basically the mobile OS I’d build if I wanted to build a mobile OS.

DragonBox Pyra prototypes begin shipping (open source handheld gaming computer)

Filed under
Debian
Gadgets

The DragonBox Pyra is a handheld computer with a 5 inch display, a QWERTY keyboard and a built-in gamepad. It’s designed to run free and open source software, and it’s been under development for more than six years… and after all that time, project leader Michael Mzorek (EvilDragon) has finally begun shipping prototypes to customers who placed pre-orders for pre-production hardware.

Pyra-handheld forum member Grench ordered one of the first prototypes almost three years ago. He received it last week, and has shared some photos and initial impressions.

[...]

It also supports 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 and has stereo speakers, a headset jack, a micro USB port, and an HDMI port. There’s also a “Mobile Edition” version of the Pyra with a 3G/4G modem.

The handheld PC features a backlit keyboard, a D-pad, analog sticks, a D-pad, and buttons that make the Pyra usable as a handheld gaming device. But it’s also a full-fledged computer that ships with a custom version of Debian Linux, although it also supports alternate operating systems.

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More in Tux Machines

Graphics: Dav1d AV1 Acceleration, AMDVLK and Sway 1.4

  • Dav1d AV1 Decoder Begins Adding AVX-512 Optimizations For Intel Ice Lake

    Ahead of the forthcoming dav1d 0.6 release, this open-source AV1 video decoder has begun implementing AVX-512 optimizations targeting Intel Ice Lake processors. The work has begun on AVX-512 optimizations focused on Ice Lake for this already quite speedy AV1 video decoder.

  • AMDVLK 2020.Q1.1 Brings Some Performance Tuning, Still On Vulkan 1.1

    Out this morning is AMDVLK 2020.Q1.1 as AMD's first official open-source Vulkan driver code drop of the new year. While the Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition driver for Windows was recently updated with Vulkan 1.2 support, this AMDVLK release is still on Vulkan 1.1 but at least updated against API 1.1.130 compliance. Hopefully their next code drop will have the Vulkan 1.2 support officially exposed. Meanwhile Mesa's RADV Radeon Vulkan driver has been supporting Vulkan 1.2 since hours after the specification's unveil.

  • Sway 1.4 Wayland Compositor Brings VNC Support, Initial Bits For MATE Panel Support

    Sway 1.4 is out today as the newest version of this i3-inspired Wayland compositor that has a growing following. Sway 1.4 consists of nearly 200 changes from over 50 contributors, showing the significant progress of this Wayland compositor that has been quick to pick-up features over the past few years.

LWN and Oracle on Linux 5.x Kernel

  • Grabbing file descriptors with pidfd_getfd()

    In response to a growing desire for ways to control groups of processes from user space, the kernel has added a number of mechanisms that allow one process to operate on another. One piece that is currently missing, though, is the ability for a process to snatch a copy of an open file descriptor from another. That gap may soon be filled, though, if the pidfd_getfd() system-call patch set from Sargun Dhillon is merged. One thing that is possible in current kernels is to open a file that another process also has open; the information needed to do that is in each process's /proc directory. That does not work, though, for file descriptors referring to pipes, sockets, or other objects that do not appear in the filesystem hierarchy. Just as importantly, though, opening a new file in this way creates a new entry in the file table; it is not the entry corresponding to the file descriptor in the process of interest. That distinction matters if the objective is to modify that particular file descriptor. One use case mentioned in the patch series is using seccomp to intercept attempts to bind a socket to a privileged port. A privileged supervisor process could, if it so chose, grab the file descriptor for that socket from the target process and actually perform the bind — something the target process would not have the privilege to do on its own. Since the grabbed file descriptor is essentially identical to the original, the bind operation will be visible to the target process as well. For the sufficiently determined, it is actually possible to extract a file descriptor from another process now. The technique involves using ptrace() to attach to that process, stop it from executing, inject some code that opens a connection to the supervisor process and sends the file descriptor via an SCM_RIGHTS datagram, then running that code. This solution might justly be said to be slightly lacking in elegance. It also requires stopping the target process, which is likely to be unwelcome.

  • configfd() and shifting bind mounts

    The 5.2 kernel saw the addition of an extensive new API for the mounting (and remounting) of filesystems; this article covered an early version of that API. Since then, work in this area has mostly focused on enabling filesystems to support this API fully. James Bottomley has taken a look at this API as part of the job of redesigning his shiftfs filesystem and found it to be incomplete. What has followed is a significant set of changes that promise to simplify the mount API — though it turns out that "simple" is often in the eye of the beholder. The mount API work replaces the existing, complex mount() system call with a half-dozen or so new system calls. An application would call fsopen() to open a filesystem stored somewhere or fspick() to open an already mounted filesystem. Calls to fsconfig() set various parameters related to the mount; fsmount() is then called to mount a filesystem within the kernel and move_mount() to attach the result to the filesystem hierarchy somewhere. There are a couple more calls to fill in other parts of the interface as well. The intent is for this set of system calls to be able to replace mount() entirely with something that is more flexible, capable, and maintainable. Back in November, Bottomley discovered one significant gap with the new API: it is not possible to use it to set up a read-only bind mount. The problem is that bind mounts are special; they do not represent a filesystem directly. Instead, they can be thought of as a view of a filesystem that is mounted elsewhere. There is no superblock associated with a bind mount, which turns out to be a problem where the new API is concerned, since fsconfig() is designed to operate on superblocks. An attempt to call fsconfig() on a bind mount will end up modifying the original mount, which is almost certainly not what the caller had in mind. So there is no way to set the read-only flag for a bind mount. David Howells, the creator of the new mount API, responded that what is needed is yet another system call, mount_setattr(), which would change attributes of mounts. That would work for the read-only case, Bottomley said, but it falls down when it comes to more complex situations, such as his proposed UID-shifting bind mount. Instead, he said, the file-descriptor-based configuration mechanism provided by fsconfig() is well suited to this job, but it needs to be made more widely applicable. He suggested that this interface be made more generic so that it could be used in both situations (and beyond).

  • Accelerating netfilter with hardware offload, part 1

    Supporting network protocols at high speeds in pure software is getting increasingly difficult, with 25-100Gb/s interfaces available now and 200-400Gb/s starting to show up. Packet processing at 100Gb/s must happen in 200 cycles or less, which does not leave much room for processing at the operating-system level. Fortunately some operations can be performed by hardware, including checksum verification and offloading parts of the packet send and receive paths. As modern hardware adds more functionality, new options are becoming available. The 5.3 kernel includes a patch set from Pablo Neira Ayuso that added support for offloading some packet filtering with netfilter. This patch set not only adds the offload support, but also performs a refactoring of the existing offload paths in the generic code and the network card drivers. More work came in the following kernel releases. This seems like a good moment to review the recent advancements in offloading in the network stack.

  • Linux Kernel Developments Since 5.0: Features and Developments of Note

    Last year, I covered features in Linux kernel 5.0 that we thought were worth highlighting. Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel 6 is based on stable kernel 5.4 and was recently made available as a developer preview. So, now is as good a time as any to review developments that have occurred since 5.0. While the features below are roughly in chronological order, there is no significance to the order otherwise. BPF spinlock patches BPF (Berkeley Packet Filter) spinlock patches give BPF programs increased control over concurrency. Learn more about BPF and how to use it in this seven part series by Oracle developer Alan Maguire. Btrfs ZSTD compression The Btrfs filesystem now supports the use of multiple ZSTD (Zstandard) compression levels. See this commit for some information about the feature and the performance characteristics of the various levels. Memory compaction improvements Memory compaction has been reworked, resulting in significant improvements in compaction success rates and CPU time required. In benchmarks that try to allocated Transparent HugePages in deliberatly fragmented virtual memory, the number of pages scanned for migration was reduced by 65% and the free scanner was reduced by 97.5%.

Lakka 2.3.2 with RetroArch 1.8.4

The Lakka team wishes everyone a happy new year and welcomes 2020 with a new update and a new tier-based releases system! This new Lakka update, 2.3.2, contains RetroArch 1.8.4 (was 1.7.2), some new cores and a handful of core updates. Read more

It is time to end the DMCA anti-circumvention exemptions process and put a stop to DRM

Although it is accurate, there's one aspect of the process that is missing from that description: the length. While the process kicks off every three years, the work that goes into fighting exemptions, whether previously granted or newly requested, has a much shorter interval. As you can see from the timeline of events from the 2018 round of the exemptions process, the process stretches on for months and months. For each exemption we have to prepare research, documents, and our comments through wave after wave of submission periods. For the 2018 exemptions round, the first announcements from the United States Copyright Office were in July of 2017, on a process that concluded in October of 2018. Fifteen months, every three years. If you do the math, that means we're fighting about 40% of the time just to ensure that exemptions we already won continue, and that new exemptions will be granted. If the timeline from the last round holds up, then we're only a few short months away from starting this whole circus back up again. Describing it as a circus seems an appropriate label for the purpose of this whole process. It's not meant to be an effective mechanism for protecting the rights of users: it's a method for eating up the time and resources of those who are fighting for justice. If we don't step up, users could lose the ability to control their own computing and software. It's like pushing a rock up a mile-long hill only to have it pushed back down again when we've barely had a chance to catch our breath. Read more