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OpenMoko: 10 Years After (Mickey’s Story)

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Hardware
OSS
Gadgets

For the 10th anniversary since the legendary OpenMoko announcement at the „Open Source in Mobile“ (7th of November 2006 in Amsterdam), I’ve been meaning to write an anthology or – as Paul Fertser suggested on #openmoko-cdevel – an obituary. I’ve been thinking about objectively describing the motivation, the momentum, how it all began and – sadly – ended. I did even plan to include interviews with Sean, Harald, Werner, and some of the other veterans. But as with oh so many projects of (too) wide scope this would probably never be completed.

As November 2016 passed without any progress, I decided to do something different instead. Something way more limited in scope, but something I can actually finish. My subjective view of the project, my participation, and what I think is left behind: My story, as OpenMoko employee #2. On top of that you will see a bunch of previously unreleased photos (bear with me, I’m not a good photographer and the camera sucked as well).

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Financial news: Jolla reaches 70M USD of funding

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Linux
Gadgets

Surviving against the big players in the mobile industry is a lot about funding, at least until a start-up gets all their sails up. Jolla, a Finnish company developing Sailfish OS mobile operating system, has struggled for six years against the real big players like Google's Android and that hasn't always been easy. One of the former Nokia directors told them in the beginning that they will need at least 100M USD to break into the business they aim at. Reaching the end of 5th financing round, Jolla has now received 70% of that, but they are still far away of their goal.

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Jolla to Begin Testing Sailfish OS on the Sony Xperia X this Month

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Linux
Gadgets

During Mobile World Congress 2017, Jolla announced a new collaboration with the Sony Open Devices program to bring Sailfish OS for Sony Xperia smartphones. Now, the company has just released a new post to inform us that Sailfish OS would be available for the first Xperia devices starting in this month.

The first Sony device to officially support Sailfish OS will be the Sony Xperia X. Initially, only a small number of users will get Sailfish OS 2.1.2. Jolla plans to use its Cbeta, a small community development group, for alpha and beta testing. The team consists of developers, translators, and attendees of various community events. The first few members of the Cbeta group are expected to get resources from Jolla sometime this month.

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Ubuntu Phone security updates end in June, app store closing

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Ubuntu
Gadgets

When Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical (the company behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution), announced his company would not only be abandoning their custom desktop environment (Unity), but also halting development on their phone/tablet operating system, many questions were left unanswered.

One of those questions: What happens to the existing phones and tablets running Ubuntu Touch that have already been sold?

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UBports Recommends Buying Fairphone 2, OnePlus One or Nexus 5 as Ubuntu Phones

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Ubuntu
Gadgets

Continuing our coverage on the UBports' Unity 8 and Ubuntu Touch plans, we've got word from Marius Quabeck, who's now the new community manager for UBports, about some of the aspects that remained unclear since the last Q&A.

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Next Tizen powered smartphone Samsung Z4 makes appearance at FCC

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Gadgets

Samsung’s next Tizen Smartphone, the Samsung Z4 SM-Z400F, has made its appearance at the FCC. Looking through the details of the filing we can see that there will be dual-SIM variant of the device with model number SM-Z400DS. The Samsung Z4 will now be the fourth smartphone powered by Tizen that the Korean tech giant will release. Previous models were the Samsung Z1, Z2 and Z3.

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Also: Smartphone App: Astroscope: a new horoscope app added to Tizen Store

Devices/Mobile

Filed under
Linux
Gadgets
  • AsteroidOS is an Open Source OS for Smartwatches

    Florent Revest is a French computer science student who has been working on an open source operating system for smartwatches for the last two years. Yesterday, he officially launched version 1 of the alpha for AsteroidOS.

    The goal for the platform was to create something that gave smartwatch owners more control over their privacy, as well as the hardware they purchased.

    Florent feels that the current proprietary platforms do not guarantee this, and this was the basis for AsteroidOS. He wanted his open source smartwatch operating system to provide freedom with free software, more privacy than other wearable platforms offer, interoperability so it could communicate with other devices, modularity that enabled the user to tweak and change the OS as they see fit, the ability to port the software to as many devices as possible, and gathering a community who is passionate about the platform.

  • AsteroidOS Brings Open Source Functionality To Smartwatches

    Smartwatches may not have taken off like companies were hoping, but they have come quite far in terms of what they can offer and what sorts of features are available for the many different models of smartwatches that are out there. Even with the updated functionality of options like Samsung’s Gear S lineup and Android Wear platforms, though, smartwatches can still feel a little bit limiting, and part of this undoubtedly includes the reason that the operating systems aren’t as open as platforms like Android. That is now changing thanks to a platform called AsteroidOS which is an open source operating system for smartwatches.

  • Mini Apollo Lake module takes the heat — and the cold

    Congatec’s “Conga-MA5” is a Linux-ready COM Express Compact Type 10 Mini module with Apollo Lake SoCs, up to 128GB eMMC 5.1, and -40 to 85°C support.

    Congatec was one of the first embedded vendors to announce computer-on-modules based on Intel’s Atom E3900 and other Apollo Lake Pentium and Celeron SoCs. The offerings included a Qseven module, a SMARC 2.0 module, and a COM Express Compact Type 6 Conga-TCA5. The company has now followed up with a COM Express Compact Type 10 Mini Conga-MA5 module.

  • Top 20 Best Tizen Apps for November 2016, Tizen Smartphone
  • Smartphone game: Indian Football League game comes to the Tizen Store

Eight great Linux gifts for the holiday season

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gadgets

Do you want to give your techie friend a very Linux holiday season? Sure you do! Here are some suggestion to brighten your favorite Tux fan's day.

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Also: More Random Gift Ideas For Linux Enthusiasts & Others Into Tech

Which open source gift is at the top of your holiday wish list?

Huawei Linux Devices

Filed under
Gadgets
  • Huawei Mate 9 leaked in flat and curved-screen variants

    Evan Blass has leaked renders of two variants of the upcoming Huawei Mate 9: a flat-screened and dual curved screen version that looks an awful lot like the Galaxy Note 7. While the wrapping will come off the new phone/s on November 3 in Munich, these renders are apparently the real deal and Blass’ sources have confirmed that the previously leaked Mate 9 specs are legit.

  • Huawei launches Honor 8 in India, along with Honor 8 Smart
  • Huawei Teases Honor S1 smartwatch, No mention of Android Wear

    Huawei is currently teasing their new smartwatch which is to be released under the Honor brand named as the Honor S1. The Chinese manufacturer has an event scheduled for October 18 at which we expect the S1 to be unveiled. But could it be running Tizen ? Huawei are already known as stating they will not release anymore Android wear smartwatches for the remainder of this year, so this leaves either Tizen or some other proprietary OS. According to a report in the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper Huawei are currently working with Samsung to deploy the Tizen operating system in its next smartwatches.

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More in Tux Machines

LWN on Linux: LTS, API, Pointer Leaks and Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC)

  • Cramming features into LTS kernel releases
    While the 4.14 development cycle has not been the busiest ever (12,500 changesets merged as of this writing, slightly more than 4.13 at this stage of the cycle), it has been seen as a rougher experience than its predecessors. There are all kinds of reasons why one cycle might be smoother than another, but it is not unreasonable to wonder whether the fact that 4.14 is a long-term support (LTS) release has affected how this cycle has gone. Indeed, when he released 4.14-rc3, Linus Torvalds complained that this cycle was more painful than most, and suggested that the long-term support status may be a part of the problem. A couple of recent pulls into the mainline highlight the pressures that, increasingly, apply to LTS releases. As was discussed in this article, the 4.14 kernel will include some changes to the kernel timer API aimed at making it more efficient, more like contemporary in-kernel APIs, and easier to harden. While API changes are normally confined to the merge window, this change was pulled into the mainline for the 4.14-rc3 release. The late merge has led to a small amount of grumbling in the community.
  • Improving the kernel timers API
    The kernel's timer interface has been around for a long time, and its API shows it. Beyond a lack of conformance with current in-kernel interface patterns, the timer API is not as efficient as it could be and stands in the way of ongoing kernel-hardening efforts. A late addition to the 4.14 kernel paves the way toward a wholesale change of this API to address these problems.
  • What's the best way to prevent kernel pointer leaks?
    An attacker who seeks to compromise a running kernel by overwriting kernel data structures or forcing a jump to specific kernel code must, in either case, have some idea of where the target objects are in memory. Techniques like kernel address-space layout randomization have been created in the hope of denying that knowledge, but that effort is wasted if the kernel leaks information about where it has been placed in memory. Developers have been plugging pointer leaks for years but, as a recent discussion shows, there is still some disagreement over the best way to prevent attackers from learning about the kernel's address-space layout. There are a number of ways for a kernel pointer value to find its way out to user space, but the most common path by far is the printk() function. There are on the order of 50,000 printk() calls in the kernel, any of which might include the value of a kernel pointer. Other places in the kernel use the underlying vsprintf() mechanism to format data for virtual files; they, too, often leak pointer values. A blanket ban on printing pointer values could solve this problem — if it could be properly enforced — but it would also prevent printing such values when they are really needed. Debugging kernel problems is one obvious use case for printing pointers, but there are others.
  • Continuous-integration testing for Intel graphics
    Two separate talks, at two different venues, give us a look into the kinds of testing that the Intel graphics team is doing. Daniel Vetter had a short presentation as part of the Testing and Fuzzing microconference at the Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC). His colleague, Martin Peres, gave a somewhat longer talk, complete with demos, at the X.Org Developers Conference (XDC). The picture they paint is a pleasing one: there is lots of testing going on there. But there are problems as well; that amount of testing runs afoul of bugs elsewhere in the kernel, which makes the job harder. Developing for upstream requires good testing, Peres said. If the development team is not doing that, features that land in the upstream kernel will be broken, which is not desirable. Using continuous-integration (CI) along with pre-merge testing allows the person making a change to make sure they did not break anything else in the process of landing their feature. That scales better as the number of developers grows and it allows developers to concentrate on feature development, rather than bug fixing when someone else finds the problem. It also promotes a better understanding of the code base; developers learn more "by breaking stuff", which lets them see the connections and dependencies between different parts of the code.

An update on GnuPG

The GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG) is one of the fundamental tools that allows a distributed group to have trust in its communications. Werner Koch, lead developer of GnuPG, spoke about it at Kernel Recipes: what's in the new 2.2 version, when older versions will reach their end of life, and how development will proceed going forward. He also spoke at some length on the issue of best-practice key management and how GnuPG is evolving to assist. It is less than three years since attention was focused on the perilous position of GnuPG; because of systematic failure of the community to fund its development, Koch was considering packing it all in. The Snowden revelations persuaded him to keep going a little longer, then in the wake of Heartbleed there was a resurgent interest in funding the things we all rely on. Heartbleed led to the founding of the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII). A grant from CII joined commitments from several companies and other organizations and an upsurge in community funding has put GnuPG on a more secure footing going forward. Read more

Ubuntu: GNOME, New Video, Ubuntu Podcast, Refreshing the Xubuntu Logo

  • Ubuntu 17.10: We're coming GNOME! Plenty that's Artful in Aardvark, with a few Wayland wails
    Ubuntu has done a good job of integrating a few plugins that improve GNOME's user experience compared to stock GNOME – most notably a modified version of the Dash-to-Dock and the App Indicator extensions, which go a long way toward making GNOME a bit more like Unity. It's worth noting that Ubuntu's fork of Dash-to-Dock lacks some features of the original, but you can uninstall the Ubuntu version in favour of the original if you prefer. In fact you can really revert to a pretty stock GNOME desktop with just a few tweaks. Canonical said it wasn't going to heavily modify GNOME and indeed it hasn't.
  • What’s New in Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark
  • Ubuntu Podcast: S10E33 – Aggressive Judicious Frame
    This week we’ve been protecting our privacy with LineageOS and playing Rust. Telegram get fined, your cloud is being used to mine BitCoin, Google announces a new privacy focused product tier, North Korea hacks a UK TV studio, a new fully branded attack vector is unveiled and Purism reach their funding goal for the Librem 5.
  • Refreshing the Xubuntu logo
    Earlier this year I worked a bit with our logo to propose a small change to it – first change to the logo in 5 years. The team approved, but for various reasons the new logo did not make it to 17.10. Now we’re ready to push it out to the world.

Intel Linux and GCC Work

  • Intel Begins Landing GFNI Support In GCC 8
    Intel compiler engineers have begun landing "GFNI" support within the GNU Compiler Collection as one of the new ISA extensions not expected until the Icelake processor debut.
  • Control-Flow Enforcement Technology Begins To Land In GCC 8
    Intel Control-flow Enforcement Technology (CET) support has begun landing within the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) for this code safety feature. Patches have been in the works for several months while now the start of the patches are being merged to mainline. Coincidentally, at the same time Intel is also landing their GFNI instruction patches in GCC as well.
  • Intel Continues Landing New i915 DRM Features For Linux 4.15
    Jani Nikula has sent in another drm-intel-next update for David Airlie's DRM-Next tree. They continue prepping more updates to their Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) for targeting the upcoming Linux 4.15 cycle. There have already been several Intel "i915" DRM driver updates queued in DRM-Next for this new kernel version. Past pulls have included marking Coffeelake graphics as stable, continued Cannonlake "Gen 10" graphics enablement, various display improvements, and quite a lot of other low-level code improvements.