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Hardware

A Guide To Buying A Linux Laptop

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

It goes without saying that if you go to a computer store downtown to buy a new laptop, you will be offered a notebook with Windows preinstalled, or a Mac. Either way, you’ll be forced to pay an extra fee – either for a Microsoft license or for the Apple logo on the back.

On the other hand, you have the option to buy a laptop and install a distribution of your choice. However, the hardest part may be to find the right hardware that will get along nicely with the operating system.

On top of that, we also need to consider the availability of drivers for the hardware. So what do you do? The answer is simple: buy a laptop with Linux preinstalled.

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Also: The Open-Source / Linux Letdowns Of 2016

Computing Devices: EOMA68, Raspberry Pi

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Linux
Hardware
  • Earth-friendly EOMA68 Computing Devices: A20 Prototype progress, RK3288 PCB CAD complete, and more.

    This is a big update: a lot has been going on, with bursts of activity and the need to adapt to changing circumstances.

  • You Can Now Create Your Own Remix of Raspberry Pi Foundation's Raspbian PIXEL OS

    GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton announced recently that he managed to create a remix of Raspberry Pi Foundation's Raspbian with PIXEL desktop operating system for PC and Mac.

    If you're reading the news lately, you should be aware of the fact that Raspberry Pi Foundation modified their widely-used, Debian-based Raspbian GNU/Linux distribution for Raspberry Pi single-board computers, with the new PIXEL desktop environment, to work on x86 computers and Macs.

    When we said "modified" above, we actually meant to say that there's a new spin of Raspbian PIXEL, which you can use on your PC or Mac, but there's a catch. It appears that there's currently no installer including in this image to deploy the Linux-based operating system on your personal computer or laptop.

Linux Devices

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • The Firefly-RK3399 Looks Like An Interesting 6-Core ARM 64-Bit Developer Board

    This board is being officially supported by Android and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. I/O includes HDMI 2.0, PCI Express M.2, DP 1.2, eDP, USB 3.0, and more. Storage varies from 16GB eMMC and 2GB of RAM up to 4GB of RAM and 128GB eMMC. Pricing starts out at $139 USD for the base model.

  • Peace comes to troubled embedded-Linux-for-routers community

    In May 2016, disgruntled developers of the embedded-Linux-for-routers distribution OpenWRT forked the project and headed off to do their own thing.

    The Linux Embedded Development Environment – LEDE – project felt that OpenWRT was heading in the wrong direction and lacked engagement with the wider developer community.

    Now, in the shadow of Christmas, it looks like the two factions have all-but made peace.

8 fun Raspberry Pi projects to try

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

For many of us 2016 flew by, and we didn't complete all our New Year's resolutions or mark everything off our "2016 To Do" lists. I didn't have nearly enough time to play with the Raspberry Pi this year, and my list of projects I want to do keeps growing. In this article I've rounded up 8 recent Raspberry Pi projects that I haven't made yet, but that made it onto my "2017 To Do" list.

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Quad-core, 64-bit ARM hacker SBC has onboard wireless and eMMC

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Linux
Hardware

The tiny, open-spec, Kodi-oriented “Khadas Vim” SBC has a quad-core, -A53 Amlogic S905X, plus WiFi, BT, 2GB RAM, and 8GB ($50) or 16GB ($65) eMMC.

A Chinese startup called Khadas has launched an open source Khadas Vim single board computer that runs on the Amlogic S905X, a lower-cost upgrade to the quad-core, Cortex-A53 Amlogic S905 found on Hardkernel’s Odroid-C2 hacker SBC. Primarily aimed at media player applications, the Khadas VIM supports Android 6.0 Marshmallow with built-in Kodi-17 media software, as well as Ubuntu 16.04, Buildroot, and 7.0 versions of the Kodi-supporting OpenELEC and forked LibreELEC.

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Graphics and Hardware

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Hardware
  • Nintendo's Switch Game Console Is Vulkan & OpenGL Conformant

    Since Nintendo's Switch game console launch powered by the NVIDIA Tegra we have suspected they were making use of Vulkan as the graphics API, particularly with Nintendo joining The Khronos Group, now it's been pretty much firmed up.

    The Nintendo Switch has been certified as a Vulkan 1.0 conformant implementation by The Khronos Group. Over on Khronos.org is now public confirmation with the Nintendo Switch currently being listed as the newest certified Vulkan product. The OS is listed as "Nintendo OS" and it passes the Vulkan 1.0.1.0 CTS.

  • AMD's ROCm 1.4 Now Available With OpenCL Support

    The Radeon Open Compute platform has been updated and quietly released prior to the weekend. The ROCm 1.4 release comes with preliminary OpenCL support.

  • Libav Now Supports VA-API HEVC Accelerated Decoding
  • Reworked Touchpad Acceleration For Libinput: No Longer Terrible

    Peter Hutterer has an early Christmas present for users of libinput on mobile devices with touchpads: much-improved touchpad acceleration.

    The Red Hat input developer explained, "This patchset is a cleanup and revamp of the touchpad acceleration code. It doesn't give us perfect acceleration, but it goes from the current rather abysimal state to one that should at least be good enough most of the time...he first 10 patches separate the touchpad code from the mouse acceleration code and switch it to use mm/s as base velocity unit (rather than the current 1000dpi-mouse-equivalency units). 11 is the main change that changes the acceleration pattern, mostly to start accelerating at a lot higher finger speed (found mostly by trial and error)."

  • The Power Efficiency From A Radeon HD 4890 Through The RX 480 & R9 Fury

    This past weekend I published a number of year-end 2016 AMD Linux benchmarks on a wide-range of AMD GPUs going back many generations while using the Linux 4.9 kernel on Ubuntu along with the Mesa 13.1-development code for having the newest open-source Gallium3D drivers. Those results were very interesting and go check them out now if you haven't done so already. For this article is a sub-set of those tests carried out again while monitoring the AC power consumption, GPU temperature, and CPU utilization while also automatically calculating the performance-per-Watt.

Arduino MKRZero shrinks Zero to MKR1000 dimensions

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Hardware

Arduino LLC’s $22 “MKRZero” shrinks the guts of the Arduino Zero board to the 65 x 25mm size of a MKR1000, but without the MKR1000’s WiFi.

Earlier this year when Arduino LLC debuted its $35, IoT focused MKR1000 board, we suggested it was like combining an Arduino Zero with its WiFi Shield. With its new MKRZero, Arduino LLC offers the same tiny 65 x 25mm footprint as the MKR1000, but with the 68 x 30mm Zero’s original Atmel (now Microchip) ATSAMD21 MCU rather than the WiFi-enabled ATSAMW25. It also lacks the MKR1000’s crypto chip, but does add a handy SD slot.

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Also: Maker Movement and FOSS: Two Sides of the Same Coin?

Open Source Hardware

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Hardware
  • Is Open Source Hardware Growing Up?

    A few weeks ago, if I had heard of the RISC-V Instruction Set Architecture (ISA), it was only in passing. How things have changed. Kevin Morris has covered the announcement that RISC-V IP is available for a wide range of Microsemi's FPGAs. Around the 5th RISC-V workshop in November, there was a flurry of announcements. At several meetings and conferences I have attended, RISC-V has been discussed in the informal sessions. And now there are rumours in various places on the Internet that Samsung is planning a device using RISC-V.

    So what is it, and why is there a buzz now?

  • MEDIA ALERT: ESD Alliance to Host Discussion on Open Source, RISC-V Processor

Linux Devices

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

This might be the first fully open source notebook

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware

Open source hardware is still atypical for the technology world. However, you can now enthusiastically opt for a fully open source notebook PC to work on your next projects without looking at a proprietary solution.

Called Libreboot C201, the latest offering is a dream come true for the open source community. It features a 1.8GHz ARM Rockchip RK3288 processor coupled with 4B RAM and 16GB eMMC storage and sports an 11-inch HD display. On the connectivity front, the laptop lacks a built-in Wi-Fi chip but does come with an Atheros Wi-Fi dongle that works with open source drivers.

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KDE Leftovers

  • Integrate Your Android Device With Ubuntu Using KDE Connect Indicator Fork
    KDE Connect is a tool which allows your Android device to integrate with your Linux desktop. With KDE Connect Indicator, you can use KDE Connect on desktop that support AppIndicators, like Unity, Xfce (Xubuntu), and so on.
  • FirstAid – PDF Help Viewer
    in the recent months, I didn’t find much time to spend on Kate/KTextEditor development. But at least I was now able to spend a bit more time on OpenSource & Qt things even during work time in our company. Normally I am stuck there with low level binary or source analysis work. [...] Therefore, as our GUIs are developed with Qt anyways, we did take a look at libpoppler (and its Qt 5 bindings), which is the base of Okular, too.
  • KBibTeX 0.6.1-rc2 released
    After quite some delay, I finally assembled a second release candidate for KBibTeX 0.6.1. Version 0.6.1 will be the last release in the 0.6.x series.
  • Meet KDE at FOSDEM Next Month
    Next month is FOSDEM, the largest gathering of free software developers anywhere in Europe. FOSDEM 2017 is being held at the ULB Campus Solbosch on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th of February. Thousands of coders, designers, maintainers and managers from projects as popular as Linux and as obscure as Tcl/Tk will descend on the European capital Brussels to talk, present, show off and drink beer.

Leftovers: OSS

  • D-Wave Unveils Open-Source Software for Quantum Computing
    Canada-based D-Wave Systems has released an open-source software tool designed to help developers program quantum computers, Wired reported Wednesday.
  • D-Wave builds open quantum computing software development ecosystem
    D-Wave Systems has released an open source quantum computing chunk of software. Quantum computing, as we know, moves us on from the world of mere 1’s and 0’s in binary to the new level of ‘superposition’ qubits that can represent many more values and therefore more computing power — read this accessible piece for a simple explanation of quantum computing.
  • FOSS Compositing With Natron
    Anyone who likes to work with graphics will at one time or another find compositing software useful. Luckily, FOSS has several of the best in Blender and Natron.
  • Hadoop Creator Doug Cutting: 5 Ways to Be Successful with Open Source in 2017
    Because of my long-standing association with the Apache Software Foundation, I’m often asked the question, “What’s next for open source technology?” My typical response is variations of “I don’t know” to “the possibilities are endless.” Over the past year, we’ve seen open source technology make strong inroads into the mainstream of enterprise technology. Who would have thought that my work on Hadoop ten years ago would impact so many industries – from manufacturing to telecom to finance. They have all taken hold of the powers of the open source ecosystem not only to improve the customer experience, become more innovative and grow the bottom line, but also to support work toward the greater good of society through genomic research, precision medicine and programs to stop human trafficking, as just a few examples. Below I’ve listed five tips for folks who are curious about how to begin working with open source and what to expect from the ever-changing ecosystem.
  • Radio Free HPC Looks at New Open Source Software for Quantum Computing
    In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at D-Wave’s new open source software for quantum computing. The software is available on github along with a whitepaper written by Cray Research alums Mike Booth and Steve Reinhardt.
  • Why events matter and how to do them right
    Marina Paych was a newcomer to open source software when she left a non-governmental organization for a new start in the IT sector—on her birthday, no less. But the real surprise turned out to be open source. Fast forward two years and this head of organizational development runs an entire department, complete with a promotional staff that strategically markets her employer's open source web development services on a worldwide scale.
  • Exploring OpenStack's Trove DBaaS Cloud Servic
    You can install databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, or even MongoDB very quickly thanks to package management, but the installation is not even half the battle. A functioning database also needs user accounts and several configuration steps for better performance and security. This need for additional configuration poses challenges in cloud environments. You can always manually install a virtual machine in traditional settings, but cloud users want to generate an entire virtual environment from a template. Manual intervention is difficult or sometimes even impossible.
  • Mobile Edge Computing Creates ‘Tiny Data Centers’ at the Edge
    “Usually access networks include all kinds of encryption and tunneling protocols,” says Fite. “It’s not a standard, native-IP environment.” Saguna’s platform creates a bridge between the access network to a small OpenStack cloud, which works in a standard IP environment. It provides APIs about such things as location, registration for services, traffic direction, radio network services, and available bandwidth.

Leftovers: Ubuntu and Debian

  • Debian Creeps Closer To The Next Release
    I’ve been alarmed by the slow progress of Debian towards the next release. They’ve had several weird gyrations in numbers of “release-critical” bugs and still many packages fail to build from source. Last time this stage, they had only a few hundred bugs to go. Now they are over 600. I guess some of that comes from increasing the number of included packages. There are bound to be more bad interactions, like changing the C compiler. I hate that language which seems to be a moving target… Systemd seems to be smoother but it still gives me problems.
  • Mir: 2016 end of year review
    2016 was a good year for Mir – it is being used in more places, it has more and better upstream support and it is easier to use by downstream projects. 2017 will be even better and will see version 1.0 released.
  • Ubuntu Still Planning For Mir 1.0 In 2017
    Alan Griffiths of Canonical today posted a year-in-review for Mir during 2016 and a look ahead to this year.
  • Linux Mint 18.1 “Serena” KDE – BETA Release

GNU Gimp Development

  • Community-supported development of GEGL now live
    Almost every new major feature people have been asking us for, be it high bit depth support, or full CMYK support, or layer effects, would be impossible without having a robust, capable image processing core. Øyvind Kolås picked up GEGL in mid-2000s and has been working on it in his spare time ever since. He is the author of 42% of commits in GEGL and 50% of commits in babl (pixel data conversion library).
  • 2016 in review
    When we released GIMP 2.9.2 in late 2015 and stepped over into 2016, we already knew that we’d be doing mostly polishing. This turned out to be true to a larger extent, and most of the work we did was under-the-hood changes. But quite a few new features slipped in. So, what are the big user-visible changes for GIMP in 2016?