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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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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.

New enhanced Sailfish SDK is here

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OS
  • New enhanced Sailfish SDK is here

    Today we released Sailfish SDK 2.0, the latest version of our app SDK. The SDK has provided good value for our Sailfish users and developers, and has now matured enough for it to be move out of Beta status.

    The new version adds the ability to install different Sailfish emulators to match the OS release of your choice. Currently there are emulators available for all of Sailfish 3 releases.

  • Jolla Releases Sailfish SDK 2.0

    Following the release this week of Sailfish OS 3.0.2, Jolla has released Sailfish SDK 2.0 as a big update to the mobile Linux platform's software development kit.

    The Sailfish SDK 2.0 now allows installing different Sailfish emulators to match a desired OS release, integrated debugging support, easier testing/deployment, and various other changes for this Qt Creator based tool.

New Zorin OS 15 Beta Is Worth the Wait

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OS
Reviews

I am impressed with the Zorin OS 15 beta release. Zorin OS is not the same old GNOME distro retread. It has a well-integrated and tweaked user interface that makes the GNOME interface much more productive.

This release also introduces the Wayland display server with application sandboxing and improved security. Zorin OS 15 has a lot more to offer. It is a serious contender that should rank high on the Linux hit parade list of easy-to-use and productive OSes.

Zorin OS 15 beta is a solid performer. That bodes well for a successful upgrade or adoption changeover when the final version of Zorin OS 15 is released.

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today's howtos and software bits

Security: Windows, Books, Apple and More

  • Windows 7 Enters the Last Six Months of Support [Ed: Microsoft propagandist (for ages) Bogdan Popa won't advise people to hop over to GNU/Linux (which he lies about, saying Microsoft "loves Linux")]

    According to third-party data provided by NetMarketShare, Windows 7 continues to be one of the most popular choices for desktop users.

  • Security bootcamp: 8 must-read books for leaders

    The threat of cybercrime constantly looms over business leaders – and it becomes more urgent as cyber attacks become more sophisticated. In 2019, security breaches happen more frequently, and the associated financial hit has increased, according to research from Accenture. Notably, the report points out that hackers increasingly target humans – the “weakest link in cyber defenses” – at all levels of organizations, through tactics like ransomware and phishing. (Witness the recent wave of ransomware attacks against U.S. cities, large and small.) That’s why it’s becoming essential for everyone – not just security professionals – to be well-versed in risk and their organization’s security efforts.

  • Security scanning your DevOps pipeline

    Security is one of the most important considerations for running in any environment, and using open source software is a great way to handle security without going over budget in your corporate environment or for your home setup. It is easy to talk about the concepts of security, but it's another thing to understand the tools that will get you there. This tutorial explains how to set up security using Jenkins with Anchore. There are many ways to run Kubernetes. Using Minikube, a prepackaged virtual machine (VM) environment designed for local testing, reduces the complexity of running an environment.

  • This Is Why We Have Betas. iOS 13 Beta Shows Saved Passwords

    There’s a reason we have beta versions of software: all the kinks need to be worked out. This is also why using beta versions always come with warnings and disclaimers that you’re using the software at your own risk. Users of the iOS 13 beta have discovered that there’s a bug that makes it easy to access the data in “Website & App Passwords” in the Settings app. Certainly, this is something Apple needs to get fixed before the official release, expected for September.

  • Hackers breached Bulgaria’s tax agency and leaked the data of 5M people

    Bulgaria has suffered what has been described as the biggest data leak in its history. The stolen data, which hackers emailed to local media on July 15, originates from the country’s tax reporting service – the National Revenue Agency (NRA). The breach contains the personal data of 5 million citizens, local outlet Capital reports. To put that into perspective, Bulgaria has a population of 7 million. Among other things, the trove includes personal identifiable numbers, addresses, and even income data.

Hardware: ASUS Chromebooks, MacBook Air Slowdowns, Exploding 'i' Things and Planned Obsolescence

  • Acer Chromebook R 11
  • ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA
  • ASUS Chromebook C202SA
  • The 2019 MacBook Air Has 35% Slower SSD Than 2018 Model

    Tests were conducted on MacBook Air variants with different internal storage options and the drop in the write speeds were witnessed in every variant regardless of the internal storage.

  • 11-Year-Old Girl’s iPhone 6 Exploded Burning Holes In Blanket

    With smartphones from various tech companies falling prey to the exploding game, it seems like it’s Apple’s turn, as this time an iPhone caught fire in Bakersfield, California. It is suggested that 11-year-old Kayla Ramos was sitting in her sister’s bedroom and was holding the iPhone 6 in her hands. She mostly used it for watching YouTube videos and sometimes gave it to her younger siblings.

  • How many kinds of USB-C™ to USB-C™ cables are there?

    Why did it come to this? This problem was created because the USB-C connectors were designed to replace all of the previous USB connectors at the same time as vastly increasing what the cable could do in power, data, and display dimensions. The new connector may be and virtually impossible to plug in improperly (no USB superposition problem, no grabbing the wrong end of the cable), but sacrificed for that simplicity is the ability to intuitively know whether the system you've connected together has all of the functionality possible. The USB spec also cannot simply mandate that all USB-C cables have the maximum number of wires all the time because that would vastly increase BOM cost for cases where the cable is just used for charging primarily.

    How can we fix this? Unfortunately, it's a tough problem that has to involve user education. [...]

Programming: Thread Synchronization, Python, C++

  • Thread Synchronization in Linux and Windows Systems, Part 1

    In modern operating systems, each process has its own address space and one thread of control. However, in practice we often face situations requiring several concurrent tasks within a single process and with access to the same process components: structures, open file descriptors, etc.

  • Intro to Black – The Uncompromising Python Code Formatter

    There are several Python code checkers available. For example, a lot of developers enjoy using Pylint or Flake8 to check their code for errors. These tools use static code analysis to check your code for bugs or naming issues. Flake8 will also check your code to see if you are adhering to PEP8, Python’s style guide.

  • Report from the February 2019 ISO C++ meeting (Library)

    Back in February, I attended the WG21 C++ standards committee meeting in rainy Kona, Hawaii (yes, it rained most of the week). This report is so late that we’re now preparing for the next meeting, which will take place mid-July in Cologne. As usual, I spent the majority of my time in the Library Working Group (for LWG; for details on the various Working Groups and Study Groups see Standard C++: The Committee). The purpose of the LWG is to formalize the specification of the C++ Standard Library, i.e. the second “half” of the C++ standard (although in terms of page count it’s closer to three quarters than half). With a new C++20 standard on the horizon, and lots of new features that people want added to the standard library, the LWG has been very busy trying to process the backlog of new proposals forwarded by the Library Evolution Working Group (LEWG). One of the main tasks at the Kona meeting was to review the “Ranges Design Cleanup” proposal. The cleanup involves a number of fixes and improvements to the new Ranges library, addressing issues that came up during the review of the previous (much larger) proposal to add the Ranges library, which is one of the biggest additions to the C++20 library (most of the other significant additions to C++20 affect the core language, without much library impact). In fact, I’d say it’s one of the biggest additions to the C++ standard library since the first standard in 1998. The Ranges library work overhauls the parts of the standard that originated in the Standard Template Library (STL), i.e. iterators, algorithms, and containers, to re-specify them in terms of C++ Concepts. This has been a multi-year effort that has now landed in the C++20 working draft, following multiple proposals and several meetings of wording review by LWG.

  • Save and load Python data with JSON

    JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation. This format is a popular method of storing data in key-value arrangements so it can be parsed easily later. Don’t let the name fool you, though: You can use JSON in Python—not just JavaScript—as an easy way to store data, and this article demonstrates how to get started.