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6 Reasons Why Linux Phones and Laptops Aren’t Cheap

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Linux is free as in freedom and free as in cost, but that doesn't mean it comes cheap. Sure, you can download a GNU-based operating system and load it up on your computer without paying a cent. But if you want to buy a PC that already has a free and open-source desktop pre-installed, that's going to cost you, and it's probably going to cost you a lot.

Why is this? Let's look at six reasons that preinstalled Linux hardware doesn't come cheap.

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Hardware Hacking: BreadBin and Arduino

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  • BreadBin Is An 8-bit TTL CPU On A Breadboard, In A Bread Bin | Hackaday

    The total circuit is incredibly compact for a complete CPU, using just 33 chips. This includes 64 KB of flash to store programs as well as a 555 timer to generate a clock signal. I/Os are limited to simple eight-bit input and output buses, but a sixteen-bit address bus gives it plenty of space to add ROM, RAM or fancier interfaces.

  • Duco is a wall-climbing robot that paints circuit murals | Arduino Blog

    An Arduino Uno board controls Duco through a motor shield. It has two stepper motors, a servo motor, a linear actuator, and a UV light. It is capable of switching between two different pens — normally the conductive and dielectric ink. The UV light cures the ink after Duco applies it to a wall. Most of Duco’s frame parts were 3D-printed.

  • OMNi is a modular, omnidirectional robot for museum duties | Arduino Blog

    Museums allow people to explore topics in history, science, and much more through the use of exhibits that are often comprised of screens or some other interactive medium. Staff are given the role of visiting each one periodically and checking to see if they still work correctly as well as guide visitors around the area, thus taking them away from other tasks. To solve this problem, a pair from EDM Studio in Vancouver (Will Donaldson and Darran Edmundson) wanted to build an autonomous telepresence robotic platform, called “OMNi,” which could do both on its own.

  • Portenta H7 Lite Connected brings back WiFi & Bluetooth - CNX Software

    Arduino has launched another Arduino Pro board! Well, sort of. Let’s not get too excited. The Portenta H7 Lite Connected is based on last month’s Portenta H7 Lite that itself was a cost-optimized version of Portenta H7 board without a wireless module, USB-C video output, and only fitted with the lower cost Microchip ATECC608 secure element.

Raspberry Pi 4 SSD Case With Stats Display

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In this project, we’re going to be taking my previous Raspberry Pi Desktop Case design and adapting it to accommodate an SSD underneath the Pi.

The case uses the same Raspberry Pi and Ice Tower combination that I used on the last version, but this time I’m going to add a Geekworm mSata SSD shield and a 128gb SSD. I’ve chosen an mSata shield and drive as these are typically quite a bit cheaper than NVME drives, and you don’t get that much benefit from using an NVME drive as you’re limited by the maximum speed of the USB 3 port in any case. You only really benefit from an NVME drive if it is connected through a PCIe port.

You can buy a premade kit to assemble your own Pi SSD Case from my Etsy store.

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TUXEDO InfinityBook Pro 14 Linux Laptop Updated with NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti Graphics

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Launched earlier this year in May, the 6th generation TUXEDO InfinityBook Pro 14 laptop is TUXEDO Computers’ first-ever device to feature a 16:10 Omnia display with a 2880×1800 pixels (3K) resolution.

Powered by 11th generation “Tiger Lake” Intel Core i7-1165G7 and i7-11370H processors with 4 cores, 8 threads and up to 4.8 GHz clock speeds, the Linux laptop shipped only with integrated Iris Xe Graphics, but now users can buy the device with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU too.

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Raspberry Pi Plots World Wide Earthquakes

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What do you do when you stumble across a website posting real-time earthquake data? Well, if you’re [Craig Lindley] you write some code to format it nicely onto a display, put it in a box, and watch it whilst making dinner.

[Craig] started off with coding in Forth on the ESP32, using ESP32Forth, but admits it didn’t go so well, ditching the ESP32 for a Raspberry Pi 3 he had lying around, and after a brief detour via C++, he settled on a Python implementation using Pygame.

A case was 3D printed, which he says worked OK, but needs a little tuning to be perfect. There is no shortage of casing options for the Pi with the official 7″ display, [Craig] suggests that it probably wasn’t worth the effort to 3D print the case and if he was building it again would likely use a commercially available option which had a better fit.

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Open Hardware/Modding

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  • Growing Raspberry Pi’s presence in Africa
  • Birdsong analyser/Bat detector

    I waited for evening time, when I knew bats would be flying at the back of the house, and took the gadget outside. I set it to drop the pitch by 4 octaves and therefore stretch time by a factor of 16. And it worked! I could hear descending chirps of pipistrelle bats as they flitted around the garden - and the stereo image made it possible to locate them by sound before seeing them. Echoes from buildings were stretched out too - I imagine it must be much closer to how the bats perceive their audio world.

    So, I hooked the gadget up to my Zoom H1 recorder, and grabbed a 10-minute sample when the bats were reasonably active. I processed it a bit in Audacity - snipped out the silences, and filtered and de-noised it. Here is the result: [...]

  • Shiner ESB, an Apple Network Server prototype, and what it did at Netscape/MCom

    After all that, and with the incomplete information at hand, best guess says this machine was at Netscape/Mosaic from 1995 or so to about 1999 where it performed at least a solidly documented several months of test work. That's not a bad run for an old beast that by then was no longer being supported by Apple at all.

GNU/Linux Devices and Hacking on Hardware

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  • Add an audio jack to Raspberry Pi 400 with the DACBerry 400 - CNX Software

    The Raspberry Pi 400 is a keyboard PC with most of the features of Raspberry Pi 4 SBC, with one of the exceptions being the lack of AV port. But you can now add a 3.5mm audio jack to the Raspberry Pi 400 through the DACBerry 400 S expansion board that connects to the 40-pin GPIO header.

    It’s a neater way than using a cheap USB audio dongle with microphone and headphone jacks, as it takes less space, and does not occupy any of the USB ports from the Raspberry Pi 400, and it does not prevent you from using the GPIO header. It’s also better suited for headphones with both microphone input and analog stereo audio output into a single jack, and probably comes with better audio quality than the low-cost USB dongles.

  • Marvell 7040 based networking SBC features 10GbE port, 5G, and WiFi 6

    On Kickstarter: Globalscale’s $159 “Mochabin” SBC runs Linux on a quad -A72 Marvell 7040 with up to 8GB DDR4, 10GbE and 1GbE SFP, 4x GbE, WAN/PoE, 2x M.2, and an enclosure. A $199 model adds WiFi 6.

    Globalscale Technologies has announced a more powerful follow-on to its EspressoBin networking board. The Mochabin advances to a 1.4GHz, quad-core, Cortex-A72 Marvell Armada 7040, compared to the earlier quad -A53 Armada 3720, and offers more Ethernet ports including a 10GbE port. The Ubuntu or OpenWrt driven board is supported by the same community, and supports a variety of firewall, networking, SDWAN, and NAS applications.

  • Portenta H7 Lite Connected hits another sweet spot for pro users

    We launched the powerful Portenta H7 last year. The more targeted Portenta H7 Lite just a few weeks ago. And we’re back (already!), with another new product that fills the gap between the previous two versions.

    It’s known as Portenta H7 Lite Connected, but we like to call it “the best of both worlds.”

    The Portenta H7 Lite Connected is powerful, with integrated wireless connectivity, yet remains cost-optimized. You could think of it as the H7 with only one secure element and no high-resolution video interface. Or if you prefer, the H7 Lite with the ability to connect.

  • What’s On Your Bank Card? Hacker Tool Teaches All About NFC And RFID | Hackaday

    The Flipper Zero hacker tool is a multipurpose hacker tool that aims to make the world of hardware hacking more accessible with a slick design, wide array of capabilities, and a fantastic looking UI. They are struggling with manufacturing delays like everyone else right now, but there’s a silver lining: the team’s updates are genuinely informative and in-depth. The latest update is all about RFID and NFC, and how the Flipper Zero can interact with a variety of contactless protocols.

  • Hackable Smart Watch Is Also Open Source | Hackaday

    When they first came to market, many detractors thought that smart watches would be a flop or that there wouldn’t be much use for them. Over the past few years, though, their sales continue to increase as people find more and more niche uses for them that weren’t previously considered. The one downside to most of these watches is unsurprisingly their lack of openness and hackability, but with some willpower and small circuit components there are a few options available for those of us who like to truly own our technology.

Raspberry Pi and Arduino Leftovers

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  • mediakit: Digitize education with Raspberry Pi with less than €100

    The mediakit project is an open-source project that utilize Raspberry Pi for education.

    It was released a few years ago (2019), with many interesting features. The distribution is not based on any operating system, and hence, the project stopped because there wasn't enough support to continue and time constrain. They kept everything online for public use.


  • It Seems Pop OS Linux Will Soon be Available on Raspberry Pi and Other ARM Devices

    There was a time when only lightweight operating systems were available for ARM devices like Raspberry Pi. Why? Because earlier ARM devices had low end hardware with limited RAM and CPU.

    It all changed when Raspberry Pi 4 targeted desktop users with its 8 GB variant and doubled down on it with the introduction of Raspberry Pi 400.


  • 30-second blood analysis with Raspberry Pi


  • The Graffomat is a giant plotter that automates graffiti art | Arduino Blog

    An Arduino Nano was selected as the brains of the operation, and it works by reading in data packets that contain positions or commands. If a movement is needed, the Nano outputs PWM pulses to either the X or Y axis H-bridge motor driver and rotates the drill until the target coordinate is reached. There is also a way to control the machine over the Internet in real-time using a Node.js web server to receive commands and forward them to the Graffomat.

Linux Devices and Open Hardware/Modding

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  • Build a LoRaWAN weighing scale with TTGO T-Weigh ESP32 board, HX711 module - CNX Software

    Ever wanted to build your own LoRaWAN connected weighing scale? Me neither, but apparently those types of products already exist for logistics and inventory management, and LilyGO’s latest ESP32 board – the TTGO T-Weigh – is designed for this exact purpose with a Semtech SX1272 based LoRa module, and a HX711 24-bit ADC chip.

    The board can handle up to four scales that transfer weight data over WiFi, Bluetooth or LoRaWAN, and should be useful in applications that require weighting goods or products where there are limited connectivity options including logistics, farming.

  • UDOO KEY ESP32 & RP2040 board launched for $4 (Crowdfunding) - CNX Software

    UDOO is known for its x86 boards that embed an Arduino compatible MCU, but the UDOO KEY is different, as it does without an Intel or AMD processor, and instead, combines Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller with Espressif ESP32 WiFi & Bluetooth WiSoC.

    As we noted in the past combining Raspberry Pi Pico/RP2040 with ESP32 does not make a lot of sense in most cases, but here’s the UDOO KEY will be offered for just $4 for the first 1,000 units, so they’ll basically throw the ESP32 for free since it’s the same price as one Raspberry Pi Pico, before eventually selling the device for $20.

  • The Arduino Store has been upgraded | Arduino Blog

    You might have noticed that the shopping experience on the Arduino Store has changed a little. We wanted to let you know what we’ve been working on to supercharge the store.

  • Telepresence Robot For “Doing The Rounds” | Hackaday

    The main controller is a Raspberry Pi 4 running ROS2 (Robot Operating System), which takes inputs from a 360 LIDAR sensor, high-quality camera module, and IMU.

  • Using Arduinos To Drive Undocumented Displays | Hackaday

    For those of us old enough to remember the VCR (and the difficulty of programming one), the ubiquitous vacuum fluorescent display, or VFD, is burned into our memories, mostly because of their brightness and contrast when compared to the superficially-similar LCD. These displays are incredibly common even apart from VCRs, though, and it’s easy to find them for next to no cost, but figuring out how to drive one if you just pulled it out of a 30-year-old VCR is going to take some effort. In this build, [mircemk] shows us how he drives unknown VFD displays using an Arduino in order to build his own weather forecasting station.

    For this demonstration [mircemk] decided to turn a VFD into a weather forecasting station. First of all, though, he had to get the VFD up and running. For this unit, which came from a point-of-sale (POS) terminal, simply connecting power to the device turned on a demo mode for the display which let him know some information about it. From there, and with the knowledge that most POS terminals use RS232 to communicate, he was able to zero in on the Rx and Tx pins on the on-board microcontroller and interface them with an Arduino. From there it’s a short step to being able to output whatever he wanted to this display.

  • DacBerry 400 S : un DAC audio pour Raspberry Pi 400
  • Lilbits: AYA Neo, YouTube Music, and a keyboard with 3 keys [Ed: In English]

    The DacBerry 400 S is a small, inexpensive DAC (digital to analog converter for audio) designed for the Raspberry Pi 400 computer-in-a-keyboard. It attaches to the 40-pin connector to give you 96 KHz/32-bit audio and sells for about €20 ($23).

Pop!_OS Is Coming To Raspberry Pi, And We Cannot Be More Excited!

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Raspberry Pi’s are solid devices for DIY projects, and they’ve gotten pretty powerful and capable over the years. The latest iterations — Raspberry Pi 4 and 400 offer 8GB RAM variants sufficient to run heavy distributions like Ubuntu and other ARM Linux distributions.

However, there aren’t a lot of good Desktop distributions for Raspberry Pi apart from Ubuntu and Ubuntu MATE. So, we have some good news for the people who’re done with the same and Canonical’s Snap BS! An ARM variant of Pop!_OS will be available soon.

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Radeon RX 6600 Linux Performance Rising Even Higher With Newest Open-Source Driver

Just one week ago was the public launch of the Radeon RX 6600 as the newest offering in the RDNA2 GPU line-up. While in our Radeon RX 6600 Linux review the performance was good on AMD's well regarded open-source driver stack and standing ground against the likes of the GeForce RTX 3060 with NVIDIA's proprietary Linux driver, it turns out the RX 6600 Linux performance can be even better already. Here are benchmarks of the Radeon RX 6600 on Linux across six different driver configurations. In particular, it appears that the driver state around 1 October that was used for the launch-day RX 6600 Linux review is actually less than ideal -- there appears to have been a regression around that point and with newer (as well as 21.2 stable) driver code there can be measurable gains to Linux gaming performance. Read more

Raspberry Pi 4 2GB jumps to $45 as 1GB model returns from the dead at $35

Citing chip shortages, Raspberry Pi announced its first price increase, bumping the RPi 4 with 2GB RAM up to $45. Meanwhile, the discontinued RPi 4 1GB has come back to life at $35. In the spirit of Halloween, Raspberry Pi Trading has reanimated the 1GB RAM version of the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, which it killed off when it dropped the price of the 2GB model from $45 to $35 in Feb. 2020. The company also increased the 2GB price to $45. With the 1GB version returning at its old $35 price, we have essentially turned back the clock to early 2020. (In which case, maybe we could get a second chance on stopping the pandemic.) In the Raspberry Pi blog post announcing the changes, CEO Eben Upton cited industry-wide supply chain issues for its first price increase in Pi history. The chip shortages, combined with heightened demand, have caused severe shortages of the RPi Zero and the RPi4 2GB. Read more

The love/hate relationship the cloud has with Linux

The cloud is run by Linux and open-source. There is no debating that claim at this point. It's fact. And not only does Linux power all of those cloud services we deploy and use, but the hold it has over that particular tech sector is also only going to get stronger as we march into the future. I predict that, over the next five years, the cloud and Linux will become synonymous to the point everyone (from CEOs to end-users) will finally get just how important and powerful the platform is. So it's safe to say, there would be no cloud without Linux. There would also be no cloud-native development, Kubernetes, Docker, virtual machines or containers in general. With that in mind, it should stand to reason that the relationship between Linux and the cloud would be all love. Read more

You Can Now Install the UnityX Desktop in Arch Linux, Here's How

UnityX is the successor of the Unity7 desktop environment created by Canonical for its popular Ubuntu Linux distribution back in 2011 with the Ubuntu 11.04 release. But Canonical pulled the plug on Unity7 after seven years of development, yet the community wasn’t ready for this major change. In May 2020, developer Rudra Saraswat created an unofficial Ubuntu flavor called Ubuntu Unity, which features the good old Unity7 desktop environment. Now, the Ubuntu Unity creator wants to take Unity7 to the next level and created UnityX, a modern, yet simple desktop environment. Read more