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The rise of the Linux distribution-specific laptop

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

About two years ago, a young man began a small business, called Juno Computers. The purpose of that business was to sell laptops with elementary OS pre-installed. He has since shifted over to selling laptops with Ubuntu pre-installed. Why the change? I do not know. But the intention of the store hinted at something I believe we'll see much more of in the future.

Said something is the rise of the Linux distribution-specific laptop.

We're already seeing more of this. We have the KDE Slimbook (KDE), Kubuntu Focus (Kubuntu), Purism Librem (PureOS), the Dell XPS Developer edition (Ubuntu), all of the System76 laptops (Pop!_OS), Penguin M3 (Linux Mint), Huawei Matebook (with Deepin Linux), Pinebook (Debian), and Tuxedo Red (which will soon be sold with Manjaro Linux). That list continues to grow.

This rise of the distribution-specific laptop is an important one for Linux as a whole. But more than that, it's a crucial step forward for Linux distributions.

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SECO Unveils 3.5″ Ryzen Embedded SBC, Docker-Compatible EDGEHOG OS Linux Distribution

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

Separately from the hardware announcement, SECO has launched a Yocto-based, Docker-compatible Linux distribution called EDGEHOG OS and supporting containers, OTA updates, and remote management.

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Open Hardware: Rise of RISC-V, Open Source FPGA Toolchains, Electrosmith's Daisy

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Hardware
  • Open Source Hardware: The Rise of RISC-V

    While open source software is taking over the world, a push for open source hardware has been quietly building.

    The RISC-V Foundation has been pushing its open sourced instruction set architecture for chips based on the long-established paradigms for reduced instruction set computing. And one of its most vocal advocates is Calista Redmond, the chief executive of the RISC-V Foundation, which is working to promote its adoption.

    [...]

    It’s been exciting to watch RISC-V attracting more and more believers. Over the years the ecosystem has grown “exceptionally fast,” Redmond said in a recent InsideHPC interview, citing the rise in artificial intelligence and machine learning. “The level of commitment to drive the mainstream adoption of RISC-V is like nothing I’ve seen before,” Redmond said, adding that it’s “exhilarating” to see the global community collaborating across industries “with the shared goal of accelerating the RISC-V ecosystem.”

  • Mithro Runs Down Open Source FPGA Toolchains

    Tim [Mithro] Ansell has a lot to tell you about the current state of open FPGA tooling: 115 slides in 25 minutes if you’re counting. His SymbiFlow project aims to be the GCC of FPGA toolchains: cross-platform, multi-platform, completely free, and all-encompassing. That means that it’s an umbrella framework for all of the work that everyone else is doing, from work on synthesis and verification tools, to placing and routing, to vendor-specific chip libraries. His talk catches you up with the state of the art at the end of 2019, and it’s embedded below. Spoiler alert: SymbiFlow has the big Xilinx 7-series FPGAs in its crosshairs, and is closing in. SymbiFlow is that close to getting a networked Linux system on the FPGA fabric in a Xilinx 7 today, completely independent of any vendor tools.

  • This tiny $29 computer lets you build DIY synths, pedals, and more

    Audio electronics company Electrosmith has launched a Kickstarter for a little audio development board called Daisy. It’s a physical board computer designed for use in DIY instruments and sound processors — think of Daisy like a Raspberry Pi but just for music gear.

    Shaped like (and about the size of) a stick of gum, Daisy is both for professionals and for beginners who like tinkering with electronics and code. If you’re okay with fiddling around a bit, you can use Daisy even if you’re not a programmer. It comes loaded with everything to make all sorts of audio hardware devices, like synths, effects pedals, or MIDI controllers. Plus, no soldering is needed — just plug in a USB cable to start loading programs.

    You can just buy the board as a blank slate to build something from scratch, or get a ready-made Daisy device if you want to go straight to programming. Electrosmith has made four devices that Daisy can be used with. There’s a breakout board (a more robust version of Daisy for prototyping), a guitar pedal, a Eurorack module, and a desktop synthesizer.

FreeNAS and TrueNAS are Unifying

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Hardware
BSD

FreeNAS and TrueNAS have been separate-but-related members of the #1 Open Source storage software family since 2012. FreeNAS is the free Open Source version with an expert community and has led the pursuit of innovations like Plugins and VMs. TrueNAS is the enterprise version for organizations of all sizes that need additional uptime and performance, as well as the enterprise-grade support necessary for critical data and applications.

From the beginning at iXsystems, we’ve developed, tested, documented, and released both as separate products, even though the vast majority of code is shared. This was a deliberate technical decision in the beginning but over time became less of a necessity and more of “just how we’ve always done it”. Furthermore, to change it was going to require a serious overhaul to how we build and package both products, among other things, so we continued to kick the can down the road. As we made systematic improvements to development and QA efficiency over the past few years, the redundant release process became almost impossible to ignore as our next major efficiency roadblock to overcome. So, we’ve finally rolled up our sleeves.

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Also: FreeNAS + TrueNAS Unifying Into TrueNAS 12.0 CORE/Enterprise

Acer Is Launching In Germany What Could Be A Great AMD Ryzen 5 4500U Linux Laptop

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

Making this laptop even more attractive for Linux usage is that it just has eShell (Acer's EFI shell) pre-installed without Windows or any other operating system by default. There was a report Linux would even be pre-installed on the laptop, but it appears to just ship without an OS installed.

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GNU/Linux Preinstalled: XPS 13 and Thelio

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • Dell's XPS 13 For Penguin Lovers

    Dell’s 2019 XPS 13 DE ships with Ubuntu 18.04 installed and ready to go, no tweaking required but certainly not forbidden if you so desire. Ars Technica is looking at the pros and cons of picking up a developer laptop right now, or waiting for the newest model to arrive. The 2019 model they have investigated is powered by a Comet Lake i7-10710U, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB solid state drive and a 13″ InfinityEdge, 4K IPS touchscreen and was a decent improvement over the previous model.

    The 2020 edition will sport a 10th generation Core processor and similar memory and storage but the screen will be changed to a 16:10 aspect ratio as opposed to the 16:9 of the current. This might not sound like much but for a 13″ laptop it does add screen real estate, not to mention allowing for a larger keyboard. Drop by for a look at their thought process as they ponder Dell’s new workstation.

  • New Color Options Means More Character for Thelio

    System76 began with the mission to inspire users to create, make, and build their imaginations into existence. And in 2018, we built an inspiring computer of our own. As an open hardware computer, Thelio was the culmination of our vision of an open source future. We infused Thelio with design elements that best represented our journey and began manufacturing these computers in our founding city of Denver, Colorado.

    Hundreds of iterations and over a year later, we’re expanding our color options for Thelio to include Neptune Blue, Martian Red, and Dark Matter wood stains. These colors give Thelio a modernized aesthetic that’s fitting for creators, makers, and builders on the cusp of new discoveries.

Seco spins 3.5-inch Ryzen Embedded SBC plus a managed Linux distro

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

Seco unveiled a Linux-ready, 3.5-inch “SBC-C90” with a Ryzen V1000 or R1000, 2x GbE, and 4x DP++ ports. It also launched a Yocto-based Edgehog OS with containers, OTA updates, and remote management that runs on an upcoming SoloX based SBC-C23.

Last week at Embedded World, Seco announced an SBC-C90 board based on AMD’s Ryzen Embedded V1000 or R1000 SoCs. The Italian embedded firm also launched a subscription-based, managed Linux distribution called Edgehog OS that runs on several of its SBCs including an “under development” i.MX6 SoloX based SBC-C23 (see farther below). Finally, Seco unveiled two compute modules based on the Ryzen Embedded R1000 and AMD’s Epyc Embedded 3000, respectively, which we hope to cover in the coming days.

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Devices: SDMC, SQFMI and Raspberry Pi

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

Devices: Congatec, MSC, RISC-V

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • Congatec conga-SMC1 3.5″ Carrier Board is Designed for NXP i.MX8 SMARC Modules

    Last year, Congatec introduced SMARC 2.0 compliant systems-on-modules based on NXP i.MX 8, i.MX 8M Mini and i.MX 8M Nano processors, together with Conga-SEVAL carrier board designed for evaluation and early software development, but is not suitable for deployment in the field.

    The company has now unveiled a standard 3.5″ carrier board – conga-SMC1 – that takes any of the company’s i.MX8 SMAC modules, in order to help their customers bring products faster to market thanks to a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) board.

  • 9th Gen module debuts new COM-HPC edge server spec

    MSC unveiled the first module based on the 800-pin COM-HPC edge server standard with a Linux-ready, Intel 9th Gen equipped “MSC HCC-CFLS” that adopts the COM-HPC/Client spec. Adlink revealed a proof-of-concept module using the larger COM-HPC/Server variant.

  • Sipeed M1n is a $10 M.2 Module based on K210 RISC-V AI Processor

    Kendryte K210 is a RISC-V processor with AI accelerator found in boards such as Maixduino, Grove AI HAT, or HuskyLens among others, and enabling low-cost, low power AI applications such as face detection or object recognition.

    You can now add Kendryte K210 AI accelerator to any board or computer with M.2 socket or USB-C port thanks to Sipeed M1n M.2 module that also comes with an M.2 to USB-C adapter.

Creating real-time ready systems with ACRN and Ubuntu

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Linux
Hardware
Ubuntu

At Embedded World 2020, we showed Ubuntu running in parallel with the real-time OS Zephyr, on top of ACRN. Zephyr is an RTOS developed under the Linux Foundation umbrella and backed by industry leaders like Intel, NXP and Linaro. It supports a wide range of hardware, from MCUs to x86 boards. For the demo, we use an Intel NUC where we reserve a core and a small amount of memory for Zephyr. Ubuntu 18.04 then uses the rest of the systems resources. ACRN takes control of the system on boot and then starts Zephyr and Ubuntu. We show how Zephyr is able to perform calculations at a constant rate, unaffected by the additional Ubuntu payload. Isolation of the two operating systems is guaranteed as fatal events on one OS do not affect the other, which shows the readiness for safety-critical systems.

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Also: Anbox Cloud – An introduction

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