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Back in the Day: UNIX, Minix and Linux

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OS
GNU
Linux

I don't remember my UCSD email address, but some years later, I was part of the admin team on the major UUCP hub hplabs, and my email address was simply hplabs!taylor.

Somewhere along the way, networking leaped forward with TCP/IP (we had TCP/IP "Bake Offs" to test interoperability). Once we had many-to-many connectivity, it was clear that the "bang" notation was unusable and unnecessarily complicated. We didn't want to worry about routing, just destination. Enter the "@" sign. I became taylor@hplabs.com.

Meanwhile, UNIX kept growing, and the X Window System from MIT gained popularity as a UI layer atop the UNIX command line. In fact, X is a public domain implementation of the windowing system my colleagues and I first saw at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. PARC had computers where multiple programs were on the screen simultaneously in "windows", and there was a pointer device used to control them—so cool. Doug Englebart was inspired too; he went back to Stanford Research Institute and invented the mouse to make control of those windows easier. At Apple, they also saw what was being created at PARC and were inspired to create the Macintosh with all its windowing goodness.

Still, who doesn't love the command line, as Ritchie and Kernighan had originally designed it in the early days of UNIX? (UNIX, by the way, is a wordplay on a prior multiuser operating system called Multics, but that's another story.)

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5 Operating Systems For The Internet Of Things

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OS

An Internet of Things OS is any Operating System specifically designed to work within the constraints that are particular to IoT devices which are typically limited in memory size, processing power, capacity, and built to enable swift data transfer over the Internet.

There are several (mostly Linux-based) Operating Systems that you can use for IoT but they wouldn’t allow you to get the best out of your setup and that’s the reason why IoT-focused distros exist.

Here is a list of the 5 best Operating Systems you can use for your Internet of Things projects.

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Robot Operating System (ROS2) News

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OS
  • Open-source project builds robot vision for shiny objects

    Contract R&D organisation, Southwest Research Institute, has developed a vision solution that improves robot handling of shiny metallic objects.

    The project integrates intelligent part reconstruction using the second generation of the Robot Operating System (ROS2) framework, an open-source software consortium for robotics applications.

    [...]

    Within the ROS framework is ROS-Industrial, which extends ROS capabilities to robotics in manufacturing and automation. This latest Southwest Research Institute and ROS-Industrial solution uses ROS2 to integrate cameras affixed to a robotic arm, collecting point cloud data at a high frame rate to create a 3D output mesh that optimises path planning.

  • Open Source Robotics: Hands on with Gazebo and ROS 2

    Louise Poubel gives an overview of ROS (Robot Operating System) and Gazebo (a multirobot simulator), the problems they've been solving so far and what's on the roadmap for the future. In the second half of the talk, a hands-on demo walks through the creation of a robot in simulation and controlling and inspecting it using ROS 2, the next generation ROS.

Tenth Anniversary of AltOS

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OS
Linux

In the early days of the collaboration between Bdale Garbee and Keith Packard that later became Altus Metrum, the software for TeleMetrum was crafted as an application running on top of an existing open source RTOS. It didn't take long to discover that the RTOS was ill-suited to our needs, and Keith had to re-write various parts of it to make things fit in the memory available and work at all.

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First look at the PinePhone dev kit running KDE Plasma Mobile & PostmarketOS

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OS
Android
KDE
Reviews

The folks at Pine64 are working on a Linux-powered smartphone that could sell for as little as $149. It’s called the PinePhone, and the team unveiled the project and launched a development kit earlier this year.

Now that developers are starting to work with that pre-release hardware, we’re getting our first look at what the phone could look like when it’s running GNU/Linux-based software.

Photos of a dev kit booting PostMarketOS with the KDE Plasma Mobile user interface were posted recently to the PinePhone developers Telegram group.

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Linux and Unikernels

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OS
Linux
  • How to quickly deploy, run Linux applications as unikernels

    A unikernel is a very specialized single-address-space machine image that is similar to the kind of cloud applications that have come to dominate so much of the internet, but they are considerably smaller and are single-purpose. They are lightweight, providing only the resources needed. They load very quickly and are considerably more secure -- having a very limited attack surface. Any drivers, I/O routines and support libraries that are required are included in the single executable. The resultant virtual image can then be booted and run without anything else being present. And they will often run 10 to 20 times faster than a container.

  • HermiTux: a unikernel that’s binary-compatible with Linux
  • HermiTux

    HermiTux is a unikernel: a minimal operating system with low memory/disk footprint and sub-second boot time, executing an application within a single address space on top of an hypervisor. Moreover, HermiTux is binary-compatible with Linux: it can run native Linux executables.

    Although being a proof-of-concept, HermiTux supports multiple compiled (C, C++, Fortran) and interpreted (Python, LUA) languages. It provides binary analysis and rewriting techniques to optimize system call latency and modularize a kernel in the presence of unmodified binaries. It supports statically and dynamically linked programs, different compilers and optimization levels. HermiTux also provides basic support for multithreading, debugging and profiling.

How to Install Linux Distribution Devuan on Raspberry Pi 3

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OS
Development
Hardware

For the readers unfamiliar with the Raspberry Pi, this article is sadly not talking about the eatable kind! Raspberry Pi’s are single board, credit card sized computer made by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in the UK. The boards have surprisingly good specifications for their size.

For example, the newest model (Raspberry Pi 3 B+) sports a 1.4 GHz ARM 64bit quad core, 1 Gbe network adapter, 4 USB ports, HDMI out, Built-in bluetooth and 802.11ac WiFi! The best part about these little power houses is that they’re only 35 dollars! The Raspberry Pi has become a starting point for people to learn programming to advanced topics in robotics.

This article is going to go over how to install the Linux distribution Devuan onto a Raspberry Pi 3. The process is very similar for other Raspberry Pi models as well. This installation will be done with another Linux distribution (although Windows installer tools do exist).

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F(x)tec Pro 1 phone with slide-out keyboard may support Sailfish OS (as well as Android)

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OS
Android
Linux

The F(x)tec Pro 1 is an upcoming smartphone with a 6 inch AMOLED touchscreen display and something that’s far more uncommon these days — a physical keyboard that slides out from behind the display and makes the phone look almost like a tiny laptop.

But that may not be the only unusual thing about this phone. While it will ship with Google Android software and a custom launcher app, it looks like the developers at F(x)tec are also working to ensure it can run Sailfish OS, an open source, Linux-based operating system actively developed by the folks at Finnish company Jolla.

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GrapheneOS is an Android-based, security-hardened, open source operating system

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OS
Android
Linux
Security

There’s a new(ish) smartphone operating system aimed at folks who want to be able to run Android apps, but want additional security and privacy features. It’s called GrapheneOS, and it comes from Daniel Micay, the former lead developer of another security-based Android fork called CopperheadOS.

After the founders of Copperhead had a falling out last year, Micay turned his attention to the Android Hardening Project, which he recently renamed GrapheneOS to better reflect what the project has become.

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Android Derivatives and Code

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OS
Android
  • CopperheadOS’ Android Pie update is now available for the Pixel & Pixel 2

    CopperheadOS is focused on providing users with the best security measures possible.

    [...]

    Currently, CopperheadOS only supports 4 devices: Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. You can actually buy these devices on Copperhead’s website with the system already installed, or just download the image and flash it by yourself. Obviously, Pixel devices already have the official Android Pie update, but CopperheadOS’ flavor is heavily focused on security. The update adds yet another security-focused feature called Security Flags, which includes information about the statuses of SELinux, verified boot, and theft protection.

  • Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus added to Sony’s Open Devices Program

    In the early days of Android, Sony was one of the very few OEMs that worked towards fostering good relations with the developer community by releasing device trees, vendor blobs, and kernel sources for some of its most popular devices. At BABBQ 2015, we even had the opportunity to interview XDA Senior Recognized Developer jerpelea a.k.a. Mr. Alin Jerpelea, the Open Source Community Manager at Sony, where we talked about Sony’s goals and vision for the Open Devices Program. Over the years, Sony’s smartphones have faded away from popularity, but the OEM has still stuck around with the same intents. Now, Sony has added in its latest Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus mid-rangers to the Sony Open Devices Program.

  • Five must use open source apps for Android smartphones and tablets

    Android is an open source software, where OEMs can tweak the overall user-interface and features depending on the requirement. Usually, we download Android apps from the Google Play Store, where most of the free apps show in-app ads to generate revenue, which might irk some users.

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More in Tux Machines

NomadBSD 1.2 released!

We are pleased to announce the release of NomadBSD 1.2! We would like to thank all the testers who sent us feedback and bug reports. Read more

Review: Alpine Linux 3.9.2

Alpine Linux is different in some important ways compared to most other distributions. It uses different libraries, it uses a different service manager (than most), it has different command line tools and a custom installer. All of this can, at first, make Alpine feel a bit unfamiliar, a bit alien. But what I found was that, after a little work had been done to get the system up and running (and after a few missteps on my part) I began to greatly appreciate the distribution. Alpine is unusually small and requires few resources. Even the larger Extended edition I was running required less than 100MB of RAM and less than a gigabyte of disk space after all my services were enabled. I also appreciated that Alpine ships with some security features, like PIE, and does not enable any services it does not need to run. I believe it is fair to say this distribution requires more work to set up. Installing Alpine is not a point-n-click experience, it's more manual and requires a bit of typing. Not as much as setting up Arch Linux, but still more work than average. Setting up services requires a little more work and, in some cases, reading too since Alpine works a little differently than mainstream Linux projects. I repeatedly found it was a good idea to refer to the project's wiki to learn which steps were different on Alpine. What I came away thinking at the end of my trial, and I probably sound old (or at least old fashioned), is Alpine Linux reminds me of what got me into running Linux in the first place, about 20 years ago. Alpine is fast, light, and transparent. It offered very few surprises and does almost nothing automatically. This results in a little more effort on our parts, but it means that Alpine does not do things unless we ask it to perform an action. It is lean, efficient and does not go around changing things or trying to guess what we want to do. These are characteristics I sometimes miss these days in the Linux ecosystem. Read more

today's howtos

Linux v5.1-rc6

It's Easter Sunday here, but I don't let little things like random major religious holidays interrupt my kernel development workflow. The occasional scuba trip? Sure. But everybody sitting around eating traditional foods? No. You have to have priorities. There's only so much memma you can eat even if your wife had to make it from scratch because nobody eats that stuff in the US. Anyway, rc6 is actually larger than I would have liked, which made me go back and look at history, and for some reason that's not all that unusual. We recently had similar rc6 bumps in both 4.18 and 5.0. So I'm not going to worry about it. I think it's just random timing of pull requests, and almost certainly at least partly due to the networking pull request in here (with just over a third of the changes being networking-related, either in drivers or core networking). Read more Also: Linux 5.1-rc6 Kernel Released In Linus Torvalds' Easter Day Message