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Hardware

Devices: TaraXL and Librem 5

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • Stereo vision camera pumps up images with Jetson TX2

    E-con’s “TaraXL” stereo vision camera works with Nvidia’s Linux-driven Jetson TX2 module and other Tegra based systems to stream 3D depth maps with 752 x 480 resolution at up to 50fps over USB 3.0.

    E-con Systems’ TaraXL is designed for stereo vision imaging applications including autonomous driving, robotics, drones, mixed reality applications, people detection/counting, stock level monitoring, volume measurements, and proximity warning systems. Like the very similar, two-year old Tara camera, the TaraXL has a USB 3.0 interface and is built around a pair of OnSemi 1/3-inch MT9V024 CMOS image sensors, which enable WVGA Global shutter monochrome image capture. The main difference is that the TaraXL SDK is five times faster than the Tara SDK, claims E-con.

  • Librem 5, the world’s first ethical, user-controlled smartphone, makes steady progress for initial shipping beginning April 2019

    Purism, the social purpose corporation which designs and produces popular digital rights respecting hardware, software, and services, is sharing the much anticipated progress and scheduling for its Librem 5 smartphone.

  • Progress update from the Librem 5 hardware department

    As you might have noted when we announced closing the development kit “last call” sale, new specifications have been made public. I want to explain what led to these specifications and why we made the choices we made and what the current timeline is for the devkits and Librem 5 phones.

    We want to make a secure mobile communication device which can offer on-par experience similar to today’s smartphones, while making it as free and transparent to the extent we can given the reality of today. We take the notion of “free” or “libre” seriously, striving to comply with the Free Software Foundation (FSF) strict “Respects Your Freedom” (RYF) requirements. Having that endorsement is an important and critical goal for us. The RYF criteria rules out a substantial amount of hardware, making finding RYF complaint phone hardware a challenging endeavor. It would have been relatively trivial to produce a smartphone with non-free GPU drivers and a CPU with combined radios + CPU + GPU in a few months, but creating a regular smartphone is not our goal. We have much higher aspirations.

CompuLab Goes WILD With Debian-Based Android WiFi RTT Indoor Location Tracking

Filed under
Android
Hardware

The folks at the Linux-friendly CompuLab hardware vendor have introduced WILD, the first WiFi RTT access point to allow for WiFi indoor location detection/tracking with supported Android 9 smartphones. CompuLab WILD is able to deliver under 0.5 meter accuracy.

WiFi RTT is the standard for real-time, accurate indoor location tracking. CompuLab's Wi-Fi Indoor Location Device (WILD) is the first RTT-enabled access point using Intel 8260 Wireless-AC and dual Gigabit Ethernet for the traffic handling.

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Also: Controlling the Energenie 433MHz mains switch with an ATTiny

Hardware: Purism Librem 5 and ROC-RK3328-CC

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • Purism Pushes Back The Librem 5 Linux Smartphone Release Date

    We knew it was pretty much inevitable, but Purism's embargo has just expired confirming the news that the Librem 5 smartphone will not be released in January as originally planned.

    Purism is announcing today that there's been a three-month delay in releasing the Librem 5 GNU/Linux smartphone. The new release plan is to begin shipping the units in April 2019.

  • ROC-RK3328-CC: A Raspberry Pi Competitor With Gigabit Ethernet, USB3, DDR4

    The folks from LoverPi.com have sent out some of their newest ARM SBCs. What we're taking a look and benchmarking first is the Libre Computer Board ROC-RK3328-CC. Pricing on this board, which was developed between the Libre Computer Project and Firefly, starts at $35 USD with 1GB of DDR4 but at $80 USD a 4GB version can be acquired. This quad-core 64-bit ARM board has modern features like Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, and other interfaces over what is found with current generation Raspberry Pi hardware.

    [...]

    Officially supported by this Libre Computer Board is Android 7.1.1 and Ubuntu 16.04 by Firefly. The Libre Computer Project also has Ubuntu 18.04 and Debian 9 images available that make use of Rockchip's Linux 4.4 LTS kernel.

Hardware: Raspberry Pi, Arduino, OpenSUSE on HP Pavilion Power 580-146nd, Ancient Hardware I Have Hacked, Backups and Apple Defects

Filed under
Hardware
  • Raspberry Pi Vs. Arduino

    Most people find it difficult to differentiate between a pi and an Arduino. What most people do not understand is that an Arduino is a microcomputer while the Arduino is a micro-controller. This article is about laying out those differences and simplifying each bit by bit. Most probably some of you might have used a Pi and never used an Arduino.

  • Review of the HP Pavilion Power 580-146nd

    The HP Pavilion Power 580-146nd packs a lot of power for a price that is hard to match when building your own PC. However, it might surprise you that I would not recommend this exact machine to others. The reason is that Nvidia cards are still better supported on openSUSE Leap 15. I feel that for most people, the HP Pavilion Power 580-037nd would be the better choice. This machine features an Intel i5-7400 CPU, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU and has 8 GB of RAM. The pricing is very comparable. And the outside of the machine is the same.

    For me personally, this machine was absolutely the right choice. I am very interested in the AMD Ryzen CPU’s. I also like AMD’s strategy to develop an open source driver for its GPU’s (amdgpu) for the Linux kernel. I was looking for an AMD machine and this HP Pavilion Power 580-146nd fits the bill and then some.

  • Ancient Hardware I Have Hacked: My First Computer

    For the first couple of decades of my life, computers as we know them today were exotic beasts that filled rooms, each requiring the care of a cadre of what were then called systems programmers. Therefore, in my single-digit years the closest thing to a computer that I laid my hands on was a typewriter-sized electromechanical calculator that did addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. I had the privilege of using this captivating device when helping out with accounting at the small firm at which my mother and father worked.

    I was an early fan of hand-held computing devices. In fact, I was in the last math class in my high school that was required to master a slide rule, of which I still have several. I also learned how to use an abacus, including not only addition and subtraction, but multiplication and division as well. Finally, I had the privilege of living through the advent of the electronic pocket calculator. My first pocket calculator was a TI SR-50, which put me firmly on the infix side of the ensuing infix/Polish religious wars.

  • backups⁉️

    A nice long weekend (in the US at least) is a great time to deal with your Backups. You do have backups right? They work right?

    For a number of years now I have been using rdiff-backup for my backups. Unfortunately, a week or so before flock my backups started erroring out and I put off looking into it for various reasons until now.

  • Your iPhone Might Have A Serious Problem: Here’s How To Find Out And Fix It

Greg Kroah-Hartman and Linus Torvalds Upset at Intel Over CPU Defects and Negative Response

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
Security
  • Intel blocked kernel fixes on Meltdown and Spectre

    Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman criticized Intel's slow initial response to the Spectre and Meltdown bugs in a talk at the Open Source Summit North America.

    Kroah-Hartman said that when Intel finally decided to tell Linux developers, the disclosure was siloyed.

    "Intel silenoed SuSE, they siloed Red Hat, they siloed Canonical. They never told Oracle, and they wouldn't let us talk to each other."

  • Linux Creator On Intel CPU Bugs: “It’s Unfair. We Have To Fix Someone Else’s Problems”

    Almost all modern CPUs use Speculative Execution as a means to improve performance and efficiency. Your computer’s processor performs tons of calculations in advance and chooses the correct one according to a program’s flow. It makes sense as an idle CPU is undoubtedly a wasted resource.

    When it comes to Linux creator Linus Torvalds, he likes the way speculative execution improves performance. What irritates him is the fact that not all incorrect calculations are completely discarded — this is what turned out to be the root cause of bugs like Spectre and Meltdown.

Boffins trying to build a open source secure enclave on RISC-V

Filed under
Hardware
OSS

At some point this fall, a team of researchers from MIT's CSAIL and UC Berkeley's EECS aim to deliver an initial version of an open source, formally verified, secure hardware enclave based on RISC-V architecture called Keystone.

"From a security community perspective, having trustworthy secure enclaves is really important for building secure systems," said Dawn Song, a professor of computer science at UC Berkeley and founder and CEO of Oasis Labs, in a phone interview with The Register. "You can say it's one of the holy grails in computer security."

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Lulzbot's Plan for September

Filed under
Hardware
OSS
  • Lulzbot hints at SLA 3D printer addition to open source FFF portfolio

    Lulzbot, the open-source brand of the FDM 3D printers from Colorado-based manufacturer Aleph Objects, has hinted the development of an stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer in its latest newsletter.

    The newsletter heading states: “Wash Away Your 3D Printing Preconceptions: We’ve got the cure for the common printer—our newest solution will be released this September! We’re laser focused on the fine details, get on our wavelength to get the info first.”

  • LulzBot Teases New Open Source SLA 3D Printer, Coming September

    Hot on the heels of the release of its LulzBot Mini 2 desktop FDM 3D printer this summer (check out our full review here), LulzBot appears to be readying some new hardware.

    Teased in a fun email newsletter that packs more stereolithography puns than you could shake a resin-covered stick at, LulzBot posits a “cure for your high-resolution 3D printing needs.“.

    Such a system would mark a whole new direction for a company which, to date, has focused solely on fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printers.

Open Hardware Leftovers

Filed under
Hardware
  • Essential should open source its accessories platform

    With all these shortcomings, the company has struggled under the father of Android, Andy Rubin. Sales estimations of the PH-1 have come in well below 200,000 units. Subsequently, the rumors have been rampant that the company is up for sale to get out from under its debts. Another struggle has been its proprietary accessory system. That’s the topic I’d like to take on in this post. Essential should open source its plans for mods.

  • 3D-Printed Firearms Are Blowing Up

    If you follow 3D printing at all, and even if you don't, you've likely seen some of the recent controversy surrounding Defense Distributed and its 3D-printed firearm designs. If you haven't, here's a brief summary: Defense Distributed has created 3D firearm models and initially published them for free on its DEFCAD website a number of years ago. Some of those 3D models were designed to be printed with a traditional home hobbyist 3D printer (at least in theory), and other designs were for Defense Distributed's "Ghost Gunner"—a computer-controlled CNC mill aimed at milling firearm parts out of metal stock. The controversy that ensued was tied up in the general public debate about firearms, but in particular, a few models got the most attention: a model of an AR-15 lower receiver (the part of the rifle that carries the serial number) and "the Liberator", which was a fully 3D-printed handgun designed to fire a single bullet. The end result was that the DEFCAD site was forced to go offline (but as with all website take-downs, it was mirrored a million times first), and Defense Distributed has since been fighting the order in court.

    The political issues raised in this debate are complicated, controversial and have very little to do with Linux outside the "information wants to be free" ethos in the community, so I leave those debates for the many other articles on this issue that already have been published. Instead, in this article, I want to use my background as a hobbyist 3D printer and combine it with my background in security to build a basic risk assessment that cuts through a lot of the hype and political arguments on all sides. I want to consider the real, practical risks with the 3D models and the current Ghost Gunner CNC mill that Defense Distributed provides today. I focus my risk assessment on three main items: the 3D-printed AR-15 lower receiver, the Liberator 3D-printed handgun and the Ghost Gunner CNC mill.

  • Friday Hack Chat: GNU RadioFriday Hack Chat: GNU Radio

    Our guests for this week’s Hack Chat will be Derek Kozel and Nate Temple, officers of the GNU Radio project. They’re also organizers of this year’s GNU Radio Conference. Also joining in on the Hack Chat will be Martin Braun, community manager, PyBOMBS maintainer, and GNU Radio Foundation officer.

Video: A Different Linus talks about an Open CPU

Filed under
Hardware

We have had a few discussions about the RISC-V development (at the BozemanLUG meetings). Some Fedora folks have gotten Linux working on some of the RISC-V development boards. There appear to be several layers to the overall design from the low-end moving up. Can RISC-V ever become a viable, mainstream alternative? Time will tell... but at the very least, seeing such developments gives me some hope. Here's a somewhat mainstream "youtuber" talking about RISC-V and given the number of views so far, maybe the word / information will break through.

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Benchmarks Of Intel's Latest Linux Microcode Update

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Hardware

With all of the confusion last week over Intel's short-lived CPU microcode license change that forbid benchmarking only for them to change it a short time later -- to a much nicer license in that the microcode files can be easily redistributed and don't curtail it in other manners (and also re-licensing their FSP too), here are some performance benchmarks when trying out this latest Intel microcode on Linux.

[...]

In the benchmarks run over the weekend, the latest Intel microcode files for August (taking Xeon Scalable CPUs to 0x200004d appeared to have only minimal impact on the system performance... Mostly in I/O cases were there some slight differences in performance, but nothing overly shocking and not as bad as the L1TF Linux kernel mitigation itself -- see those benchmarks for all the details. Going into this microcode comparison I was expecting much more volatile results given their short-lived benchmark restriction, but it looks like it may have just been an overzealous Intel lawyer who thought it would be a good idea to forbid benchmarking and further lock-down their microcode license...

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Kernel: Virtme, 2018 Linux Audio Miniconference and Linux Foundation Articles

  • Virtme: The kernel developers' best friend
    When working on the Linux Kernel, testing via QEMU is pretty common. Many virtual drivers have been recently merged, useful either to test the kernel core code, or your application. These virtual drivers make QEMU even more attractive.
  • 2018 Linux Audio Miniconference
    As in previous years we’re trying to organize an audio miniconference so we can get together and talk through issues, especially design decisons, face to face. This year’s event will be held on Sunday October 21st in Edinburgh, the day before ELC Europe starts there.
  • How Writing Can Expand Your Skills and Grow Your Career [Ed: Linux Foundation article]
    At the recent Open Source Summit in Vancouver, I participated in a panel discussion called How Writing can Change Your Career for the Better (Even if You don't Identify as a Writer. The panel was moderated by Rikki Endsley, Community Manager and Editor for Opensource.com, and it included VM (Vicky) Brasseur, Open Source Strategy Consultant; Alex Williams, Founder, Editor in Chief, The New Stack; and Dawn Foster, Consultant, The Scale Factory.
  • At the Crossroads of Open Source and Open Standards [Ed: Another Linux Foundation article]
    A new crop of high-value open source software projects stands ready to make a big impact in enterprise production, but structural issues like governance, IPR, and long-term maintenance plague OSS communities at every turn. Meanwhile, facing significant pressures from open source software and the industry groups that support them, standards development organizations are fighting harder than ever to retain members and publish innovative standards. What can these two vastly different philosophies learn from each other, and can they do it in time to ensure they remain relevant for the next 10 years?

Red Hat: PodCTL, Security Embargos at Red Hat and Energy Sector

  • [Podcast] PodCTL #50 – Listener Mailbag Questions
    As the community around PodCTL has grown (~8000 weekly listeners) we’ve constantly asked them to give us feedback on topics to discuss and areas where they want to learn. This week we discussed and answered a number of questions about big data and analytics, application deployments, routing security, and storage deployment models.
  • Security Embargos at Red Hat
    The software security industry uses the term Embargo to describe the period of time that a security flaw is known privately, prior to a deadline, after which time the details become known to the public. There are no concrete rules for handling embargoed security flaws, but Red Hat uses some industry standard guidelines on how we handle them. When an issue is under embargo, Red Hat cannot share information about that issue prior to it becoming public after an agreed upon deadline. It is likely that any software project will have to deal with an embargoed security flaw at some point, and this is often the case for Red Hat.
  • Transforming oil & gas: Exploration and production will reap the rewards
    Through advanced technologies based on open standards, Red Hat deliver solutions that can support oil and gas companies as they modernize their IT infrastructures and build a framework to meet market and technology challenges. Taking advantage of modern, open architectures can help oil and gas providers attract new customers and provide entry into markets where these kinds of services were technologically impossible a decade ago.