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Hardware

Devices and Open Hardware With Linux

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Hardware

Open Hardware/Modding: 3-D Printing and Arduino

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Hardware
  • Team to design 3D-printable mask inspired by animal noses

    A multi-institution team, including a Cornell researcher, has received a National Science Foundation grant to design an open-source, 3D-printable medical mask inspired by the nasal structures of animals.

    The team has been awarded a special one-year, $200,0000 RAPID grant; co-principal investigator Sunghwan “Sunny” Jung, associate professor of biological and environmental engineering, will receive $75,000 of the total to design the mask.

  • Open Source Arduino Stepper Motor Barometer displays air pressure

    I like this one – a super impressive Arduino-based barometer for measuring air pressure. There’s something satisfying about the link with nature, a tangible connection with outside weather.

    [...]

    Featured on the Arduino Project Hub, the project is open source and uses an Arduino UNO and Nano (above). It displays the pressure via a 12″ (300m) analogue display using three stepper motors, but this is just to scratch the surface of all the work involved. It’s a big, impressive project – read it in full (there are 28 sections of progress).

  • Open source published for 3D printing of its own high-quality microscope

    The open-source design from Bath University gives schools, homes, and laboratories the ability to 3D-print their own precision microscopes. It can be used to analyze samples and identify diseases. About this writes Biomedical Optics Express.

    The OpenFlexure microscope is a fully automated laboratory instrument with motorized sample positioning and focus control. It is unique among 3D printing microscopes in its ability to produce high-quality images. It is easy to use, with an intuitive software interface and simplified alignment procedures. It can be adapted for laboratory, school, and home.

  • Neat Open Source Pinhole Camera Design Can Be (Mostly) 3D Printed

    We’ve seen pinhole camera builds before, but this new one looks interesting. The Scura is a new open-source design for a pinhole camera that shoots on analog 35 mm film. It is all 3D printable except for a handful of screws, magnets, and the pinhole itself, which is laser cut. The cool and unusual part of the design, though, is the curved film holder, which produces 60 mm by 25 mm (2.3 in by 0.98 in) panoramic images that are sharp to the edges.

    Most pinhole cameras produce fuzzy-edged images because the distance from the pinhole varies across the film plane. That throws things out of focus, but the sample images from the Scura look much cleaner and sharper because the curved film holder keeps the film at a constant distance from the pinhole.

MNT Reform Open Source Hardware Laptop Launched for $999 and Up (Crowdfunding)

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Linux
Hardware
OSS

MNT Reform DIY Arm Linux laptop has been in the works at least since 2017. The open source hardware laptop is also fully modular with Boundary Devices Nitrogen8M SoM featuring NXP i.MX 8M quad-core Cortex-A53 processor and 4GB RAM, M.2 NVMe SSD storage, and standard, replaceable 18650 batteries.

The good news is the laptop is now almost ready for prime-time and has been launched on Crowd Supply with price starting at $999 in DIY kit form without storage, and $1,300 for a complete, assembled system with 256GB NVMe storage. If you don’t have that amount of money to spend, but would like to support the project, a $40 MNT Reform T-shirt is also offered. Alternatively, the motherboard only goes for $550.

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Raspberry Pi based dev kit opens up HART-IP field communications

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Development
GNU
Linux
Hardware

The FieldComm Group has announced a HART-IP Developer Kit built around the Raspberry Pi for evaluation, demonstrating, and prototyping devices that use HART-IP, the company’s IP-enabled version of its HART Communication Protocol field communications solution. Some 375 FieldComm Group members representing major suppliers to the process industry are responsible for an installed base of over 40 million HART-enabled field instruments. HART is “by far the most dominant communications protocol used in process manufacturing facilities around the world,” says the company.

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Intel-related Linux Work

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Linux
Hardware
  • Linux Writecache To See Much Greater Performance On Intel Optane Systems Soon

    The performance optimization now queued for Linux 5.8 is making use of CLFLUSHOPT within dm-writecache when available. CLFLUSHOPT is one of Intel's persistent memory extensions that allows for optimized flushing of cache lines by supporting greater concurrency. The CLFLUSHOPT instruction has been supported on Intel servers since Skylake and on AMD since Zen.

    The dm-writecache target will now check for CLFLUSHOPT support and use it when available, thereby helping the performance on Optane-like storage for this writeback caching. On unsupported CPUs, the existing behavior is maintained.

  • Intel Preparing Platform Monitoring Technology - Hardware Telemetry With Tiger Lake

    The kernel patches volleyed overnight I believe are the first time seeing "Intel Platform Monitoring Technology" and Google hasn't turned up many other hits besides these new patches. Which makes sense as the patches confirm this PMT feature is premiering with Tiger Lake. Intel Platform Monitoring Technology is for enumerating and accessing hardware monitoring capabilities for a device. Intel developer David Box says this is coming as a result of customers interested in hardware telemetry and making the data collection more discoverable and easier to manage.

    This is a hardware agnostic framework for collecting monitoring data. Intel PMT makes use of the PCIe Designated Vendor Extended Capability (DVSEC) bit for each instance/device. Box explained in the announcement, "The current capabilities defined by PMT are Telemetry, Watcher, and Crashlog. The Telemetry capability provides access to a continuous block of read only data. The Watcher capability provides access to hardware sampling and tracing features. Crashlog provides access to device crash dumps. While there is some relationship between capabilities (Watcher can be configured to sample from the Telemetry data set) each exists as stand alone features with no dependency on any other."

    The collected monitoring data is exposed to user-space via a new XML format for interested tools to parse.

  • WiFi & Cellular Router Focuses on Security, Always-on Connectivity with 2GB Free Monthly Data (Crowdfunding – US)

    I’m not sure what happens if the router dies in 10 years since the device is unlikely to still be manufactured due to OEL parts, but I assume they could always offer their upgraded device as a replacement to a defective unit. Shipping is expected by the end of this month since they already have 100 RC20 routers.

  • Intel adds support for Rocket Lake-S in its Linux drivers, confirms compatibility with 400 and 500 Series

    Later this year, Intel will launch Rocket Lake-S, its 11th generation of desktop processors, and is already preparing for market launch with driver support for its new integrated Gen12 based on the Xe architecture.

Manjaro Linux and Star Labs team up for their Linux-focused hardware

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Linux
Hardware

Star Labs, a small Linux vendor from the UK has teamed up with Manjaro Linux to offer Manjaro as an option on their custom Linux laptops. Announced today previously you could get Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Zorin OS but now your choice will include Manjaro too.

Unlike some other hardware vendors, Star Labs are not using generic Clevo casing and hardware. They originally did when the first started but nowadays they actually make their own. What they offer do look and sound great too. It's really awesome to see more Linux-focused hardware vendors.

What's also great, is that they're not focused on the top-end hardware that costs a small fortune. Instead they have the sweet little Star Lite Mk II with a 11-inch IPS display, with an Intel Pentium N4200 processor and Intel HD 505 Graphics, a very speedy 240GB SSD and 8GB RAM starting at £399...

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BreadBee tiny Linux development board soon launching via Crowd Supply

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Development
GNU
Linux
Hardware

A new small form factor Linux development board called the BreadBee will be launching via the Crowd Supply website in the near future offering a ARM Cortex A7 development board based on a relatively unknown IP camera SoC, the MSC313E, from a company called MStar. Measuring just 32 mm x 30 mm the tiny embedded Linux development board can be mounted vertically in a standard breadboard with a small adapter socket.

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Open Hardware/Modding: Raspberry Pi Zero W, OpenFlexure Microscope, Bill Dally's Ventilators

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Hardware
OSS
  • Engineers developed a low-cost, open-source, indoor robotic airship

    To date, most unmanned aerial vehicles have a multicopter design. The popularity of this design is mainly due to the fact that it is quite simple in terms of mechanics as well as control when compared to aircraft-type drones. But they usually have very short flight duration, about 20-30 minutes. In addition, multicopters have to rotate the screws at high speed, which makes them noisy and dangerous, so using such devices indoors is not a good idea.

    To address these problems, New Zealand engineers Gal Gorjup and Minas Liarokapis have developed a low-cost, miniature indoor robotic airship project, which is intended for indoor use and will be used for educational and research purposes. The engineers are part of the New Dexterity research group at the University of Auckland.

    [...]

    The 3D-printed case contains a Raspberry Pi Zero W, the motor drivers, a set of DC motors...

  • Print your own laboratory-grade microscope for US$18

    For the first time, labs around the world can 3D print their own precision microscopes to analyse samples and detect diseases , thanks to an open-source design created at the University of Bath.

    The OpenFlexure Microscope, described in Biomedical Optics Express, is a fully automated, laboratory-grade instrument with motorised sample positioning and focus control. It is unique among 3D-printed microscope in its ability to yield high-quality images. It has been designed to be easy to use, with an intuitive software interface and simplified alignment procedures. It is also highly customisable, meaning it can be adapted for laboratory, school and home use.

  • NVIDIA Chief Scientist Releases Low-Cost, Open-Source Ventilator Design

    NVIDIA Chief Scientist Bill Dally this week released an open-source design for a low-cost, easy-to-assemble mechanical ventilator.

    The ventilator, designed in just a few weeks by Dally—whose storied technology career includes key contributions to semiconductors and supercomputers—can be built quickly from just $400 of off-the-shelf parts, Dally says.

    Traditional ventilators, by contrast, can cost more than $20,000—and that’s when the world hasn’t been slammed with demand for the life-saving machines.

    “I hope that we don’t get so many people sick that we run out of ventilators,” Dally says, speaking from a spartan home electronics workshop stocked with oscilloscopes, voltmeters and other lab equipment.

OpenRazer 2.8 Brings Broader Razer Device Support On Linux

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Linux
Hardware

OpenRazer 2.8 as this third-party, open-source solution for managing Razer devices on Linux is capable of now interfacing with a lot more hardware. Now supported with OpenRazer 2.8 are the Abyssus Elite (D.Va Edition), Abyssus Essential, Base Station Chroma, Basilisk, Blackwidow Essential, Blade 15 Studio Edition, Blade Pro (Late 2019), Blade Pro 2019, Chroma HDK (Hardware Development Kit), DeathAdder Essential (White Edition), DeathAdder V2, Huntsman Tournament Edition, Lancehead, Lancehead Wireless (2019), Mamba Elite, Mamba Wireless, Nommo Chroma, Nommo Pro, Tartarus V2, Viper, and Viper Ultimate.

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Linux Laptop Buying Advice: System76 Lemur Pro Vs Tuxedo InfinityBook S 14

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

Two spectacular and very similar Linux laptops just launched, courtesy of System76 and TUXEDO Computers. On paper they may seem identical. The System76 Lemur Pro and TUXEDO Computers InfinityBook S 14 are both sourced from the same Clevo chassis. They both feature the same 10th-generation Intel CPUs and keyboard integrated into the body. Same webcams, same speakers, similar Samsung SSDs, same RealTek audio controller, same marathon 73wh battery, and 14-inch 1080p matte displays. However, there are subtle but meaningful differences to consider if you’re stuck on which laptop to choose.

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More in Tux Machines

Maintaining SUSE Linux support during the pandemic

The global pandemic and resulting government shelter-in-place or quarantine measures to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus have shifted the priorities of IT organizations away from non-critical maintenance and upgrades. Unfortunately, the planned end of General Support date for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 12 Service Pack 4 happens to be in the middle of this crisis. At SUSE, we understand the strain the current environment is putting on your IT operations so we have an option to help you keep your systems supported and secure. General Support for SLES 12 SP4 ends on June 30, 2020. Normally, organizations would either upgrade to a SLES service pack/version that still has full support or purchase up to 3 years of Long Term Service Pack Support (LTSS). Available today, organizations with current subscriptions of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP4 are eligible to receive continued access to patches and updates in the LTSS repositories free of charge for 3 months starting July 1, 2020, through September 30, 2020. Platforms included in this offer are x86-64 and IBM Z/LinuxOne. This gives IT teams more time to complete upgrade plans and evaluations at a time when staffing is limited and the focus is on keeping the business operational. Read more

Games: Akurra, RimWorld and Space Grunts 2

  • Akurra to support Linux without a stretch-goal on Kickstarter

    Game developer Jason Newman who is currently crowdfunding Akurra, mentioned here on GOL recently, has decided they no longer need a stretch-goal for Linux support. What is Akurra? A retro styled puzzle game, inspired by the likes of Chip's Challenge, Star Tropics, Sokoban, and Zelda. Push blocks into holes and over pits, avoid spikes, explore caves, and ride sea turtles in order to find keys, gems, and stars that unlock new paths and friends to aid you as you explore a collection of islands chock-full of puzzles and secrets.

  • The latest RimWorld update opens up more possible paths

    RimWorld was already a deep game, with so much on offer it's easy to get completely sucked into it and now that's going to be even more possible. With the latest update, the developer mentioned their aim has been to open up RimWorld to more progression paths. Enabling you to take the game in whatever direction tickles your fancy including tribal, outlander, pro-Empire, anti-Empire, neutral Empire, use Psycasters or not, use drugs or not, use ranching or not and whatever else. The point was to have the game AI and world respond sensibly to where you're headed.

  • Space Grunts 2 is a roguelike with card-based combat out now

    Merging together elements of a card-based deckbuilder with a traditional turn-based roguelike, Space Grunts 2 from Orangepixel has now left Early Access. Note: Key provided by the developer. This is the 9th game from Orangepixel to support Linux, and might possibly be my favourite yet! A very easy to get into game, with a satisfying gameplay loop that sees you travel through procedurally generated sci-fi environments with a tight pixel-art style.

Mozilla and Firefox Leftovers

  • Marco Zehe: Welcome to Marco's Accessibility Blog 2.0!

    Well, after 13 years, I felt it was time for something new. Also, as I wrote recently, Mozilla now has a dedicated accessibility blog, so I feel that I am free to do other things with my blog now. As a sign of that, I wanted to migrate it to a new platform. This is not to say the old platform, WordPress, is bad or anything like that. But for my needs, it has become much too heavy-weight in features, and also in the way how it feels when performing day to day tasks. 80% of features it offers are features I don't use. This pertains both to the blog system itself as well as its new block editor. But those features don't get out of the way easily, so over the months and actually last two to three years, I felt that I was moving mountains just to accomplish simple things. It has nothing to do with the steadily improving accessibility, either. That is, as I said, getting better all the time. It just feels heavy-weight to the touch and keyboard when using it.

  • Jeff Klukas: Encoding Usage History in Bit Patterns

    Monthly active users (MAU) is a windowed metric that requires joining data per client across 28 days. Calculating this from individual pings or daily aggregations can be computationally expensive, which motivated creation of the clients_last_seen dataset for desktop Firefox and similar datasets for other applications. A powerful feature of the clients_last_seen methodology is that it doesn’t record specific metrics like MAU and WAU directly, but rather each row stores a history of the discrete days on which a client was active in the past 28 days. We could calculate active users in a 10 day or 25 day window just as efficiently as a 7 day (WAU) or 28 day (MAU) window. But we can also define completely new metrics based on these usage histories, such as various retention definitions.

  • Mozilla VR Blog: WebXR Viewer 2.0 Released

    We are happy to announce that version 2.0 of WebXR Viewer, released today, is the first web browser on iOS to implement the new WebXR Device API, enabling high-performance AR experiences on the web that don't share pictures of your private spaces with third party Javascript libraries and websites. It's been almost a year since the previous release (version 1.17) of our experimental WebXR platform for iOS, and over the past year we've been working on two major changes to the app: (1) we updated the Javascript API to implement the official WebXR Device API specification, and (2) we ported our ARKit-based WebXR implementation from our minimal single-page web browser to the full-featured Firefox for iOS code-base.

  • Mozilla VR Blog: Scaling Virtual Events with Hubs and Hubs Cloud

    Virtual events are unique, and each one has varying needs for how many users can be present. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the different ways that you can consider concurrency as part of a virtual event, the current capabilities of Mozilla Hubs and Hubs Cloud for supporting users, and considerations for using Hubs as part of events of varying sizes. If you’ve considered using Hubs for a meetup or conference, or are just generally interested in how the platform works, read on!

  • Extensions in Firefox 77

    Firefox 77 is loaded with great improvements for the WebExtensions API. These additions to the API will help you provide a great experience for your users. Optional Permissions Since Firefox 57, users have been able to see what permissions an extension wants to access during the installation process. The addition of any new permissions to the extension triggers another notification that users must accept during the extension’s next update. If they don’t, they won’t receive the updated version. These notifications were intended to provide transparency about what extensions can do and help users make informed decisions about whether they should complete the installation process. However, we’ve seen that users can feel overwhelmed by repeated prompts. Worse, failure to see and accept new permissions requests for updated versions can leave users stranded on older versions.

  • Moving SUMO Community synchronous communications to Matrix

    As some of you already know, Mozilla has been working for some time to replace its official synchronous communication tool, and earlier this year we decided to launch our own Matrix instance to host our public conversations. In SUMO, we historically maintained a Telegram group to enable synchronous communications, and now we want to transition it to the new Mozilla Matrix.

Audiocasts/Shows: Ubuntu Podcast and More

  • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S13E09 – Breaking mirrors

    This week we’ve been getting older and adding plugins to OBS Studio. We discuss Ubuntu being certified on the Raspberry Pi, Unity Remix, if Microsoft should buy Canonical and WSL getting GUI app support. We also round up our pick from the general tech news.

  • All Good Things | TechSNAP 430

    It's a storage showdown as Jim and Wes bust some performance myths about RAID and ZFS. Plus our favorite features from Fedora 32, and why Wes loves DNF.

  • Episode 11: Advice on Getting Started With Testing in Python

    Have you wanted to get started with testing in Python? Maybe you feel a little nervous about diving in deeper than just confirming your code runs. What are the tools needed and what would be the next steps to level up your Python testing? This week on the show we have Anthony Shaw to discuss his article on this subject. Anthony is a member of the Real Python team and has written several articles for the site. We discuss getting started with built-in Python features for testing and the advantages of a tool like pytest. Anthony talks about his plug-ins for pytest, and we touch on the next level of testing involving continuous integration.