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The Valve Index. On Linux. On A Min Spec Machine.

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What follows isn’t fully a review or guide, but a mixture of my initial experiences and criticisms as a completely new to VR owner of the Valve Index. And this being Boiling Steam, and since I only use Linux, I’ll be relaying what it is like to set up and use the Index on Linux today. Oh, and I just barely have the minimum specs Valve lists. This will be interesting…

(A much more complete history, guide, and everything VR coming soon from our new writer Patola. Be on the look out!)

Before getting into the details, let’s appreciate the clean (and secure!) packing Valve has done, with wonderful presentation of all the components in the full kit. (For $1,000 it is the least they could do.) You lift up the top layer, like a box of holiday chocolates, to reveal more underneath. And you know I am a sucker for boxes.

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Compared: Raspberry Pi OS vs. Armbian vs. Debian GNU/Linux

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Many programmers may have the same question: Is Armbian just another flavor of Debian GNU/Linux, or is it something completely different? What are the differences between Raspberry Pi OS, Armbian, and Debian? In this article, we will discuss the Armbian, Debian, and Raspberry Pi operating systems in detail, including a comparison between these different systems.

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It's 2020: Linux Kernel Sees New Port To The Nintendo 64

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It's been a turbulent year and 2020 is certainly ending interesting in the Linux/open-source space... If it wasn't odd enough seeing Sony providing a new official Linux driver for their PlayStation 5 DualSense controller for ending out the year, there is also a new Linux port to the Nintendo 64 game console... Yes, a brand new port to the game console that launched more than two decades ago.

Open-source developer Lauri Kasanen who has contributed to Mesa and the Linux graphics stack took to developing a new Nintendo 64 port and announced it this Christmas day. This isn't the first time Linux has been ported to the N64 but prior attempts weren't aimed at potentially upstreaming it into the mainline Linux kernel.

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Hands-On: Kali Linux on the Raspberry Pi 4

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Over the past few weeks, I have tried out Ubuntu, Manjaro, openSUSE and the latest Raspberry Pi OS release on the Raspberry Pi 4. I am going to complete this series with a look at Kali Linux, one of my favorite specialist Linux distributions. Kali is specifically made for security analysis and penetration testing, and is preloaded and configured for that purpose. The combination of the inexpensive and portable Raspberry Pi hardware and the Kali Linux distribution has seemed extremely promising to me for several years now, but so far it hasn't really fulfilled my expectations. Hopefully the more powerful Raspberry Pi 4 and the more mature Kali Linux 2020.4 will remedy that.

Kali Linux for the Raspberry Pi can be downloaded from the Offensive Security ARM Images web page (not the main Kali Downloads page, although there is a link to the correct page there). There are four download images there:

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Open Hardware: Raspberry Pi and Arduino, Among Others

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  • Raspberry Pi Imager update
  • Piunora has the guts of a Raspberry Pi 4 with Arduino form factor, M.2 PCIe socket

    The Raspberry Pi 4 is a pretty cool board, but if you wished it was just a bit smaller, and you could use the PCIe interface exposed by the Broadcom BCM2711 processor more easily, Timon has designed Piunora carrier board for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4. The solution provides a board with the guts of Raspberry Pi 4 SBC but using the Arduino form factor including access to the six ADC pins, and an M.2 socket with the PCIe signal from the Broadcom SoC.

  • Arduino Blog » Mesmerize your holiday guests with these motor-driven rheoscopic fluid ornaments

    We’ve all see Christmas ornaments shaped like a ball – interesting, but a bit passive. Will Donaldson, however, has created an amazing enhancement for these “orbaments,” adding a rheoscopic fluid inside that shows turbulent swirling patterns as it moves.

    The fluid is simply tap water and food coloring, plus the special rheoscopic concentrate that contains an array of light reflecting particles. To maintain a state or turbulence, Donaldson affixed a small drone-style motor to the hanger assembly on top of each orb using hot glue.

    Motors were inserted with propellers attached, which were bent to fit inside. To vary the speed of the turbulence, Donaldson included an Arduino Nano, along with an L293 driver, using the analogWrite() function for PWM control.

  • Notecard LTE Cat-M / NB-IoT M.2 modem sells for $49+ with 10 years of connectivity

    The company also offers a range of carrier boards for people not wanting to design their own custom baseboards for Notecard M.2 module that include support for LiPo or AA battery, Raspberry Pi HAT, a minimal board with micro USB, and one model designed for “embedded design”, meaning integration into end products.

  • Himax WE-I Plus EVB AI development board supports TFLite for microcontrollers

    The low power consumption technology of the development board reduces the current requirements. This significantly improves the design by eliminating the heat factor. The ASIC optimized for DSP intensive deep learning applications makes it multifunctional to perform voice, vision, and vibration detection and recognition. The all-in-one EVB contains many inbuilt devices that make it a good option over other “high profile boards such as the Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense and ESP32” The support for the Tensorflow Lite Microcontrollers adds an additional feature of easy deployment. In terms of performance, the latency time for the 250KB TensorFlow Lite for Microcontrollers “Person detection” example is only 40ms, while the latency time of the 20KB TensorFlow Lite for Microcontrollers “Micro speech” example is only 6ms.

Open Automation Software Platform now runs on Raspberry Pi

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Open Automation Software OAS has announced that its OAS Platform supports the Raspberry Pi 4, enabling low-cost, remote Pi-based data logging devices on multiplatform OAS automation networks.

Open Automation Software (OAS) announced that its Full OAS Platform supports the Raspberry Pi 4 with 4GB or 8GB of RAM. The addition of the Pi enables customers with OAS Platform software to deploy Pi-based devices for “on-site data logging in remote locations with limited power or connectivity.”

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Devices: Raspberry Pi, Open Hardware and More

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  • ESP32-C3 WiFi & BLE RISC-V processor to launch at ESP8266 price

    When we reported about ESP32-S2-MINI modules last September, we also noted Espressif teased us with ESP32-S3 and ESP32-C3 with close to no details. ESP32-S3 is expected to be a multi-core WiFI & Bluetooth processor with AI instructions/accelerator, but there were no details about ESP32-C3 at all, and we only found out it would be a RISC-V processor several weeks ago. But Twitter user Johnny Wu posted a screenshot in Chinese and its translation claiming ESP32-C3 was finally released by Espressif Systems.


  • Glasgow Interface Explorer is an iCE40 FPGA based hardware debugging tool (crowdfunding)

    We’ve seen some pretty interesting boards for hardware hackers and reverse engineers in recent months with the likes of Ollie and Tigard USB debug boards that allow interfacing various hardware interfaces and/or flashing firmware to different types of target boards. 

  • 10 Raspberry Pi project ideas from 2020

    The Raspberry Pi is the small, low-cost, single-board PC that took the world by storm when it was released in 2012. Since then, educators, students, makers, and tinkerers have used the various Raspberry Pi models for many, many unique and interesting projects. The possibilities are nearly endless.

  • New Part Day: Hackboard 2, An X86 Single-Board Computer

    From the old Gumstix boards to everyone’s favorite Raspberry Pi, common single-board computers (SBCs) have traditionally had at least one thing in common: an ARM processor. But that’s not to say hackers and makers haven’t been interested in an SBC with a proper x86 processor. Which is why the $99 Hackboard 2 is so exciting. With a modern x86 chip at the core it’s akin to a small footprint desktop motherboard, but with all the extra features that we’ve come to expect in a hacker-friendly SBC.


    That Celeron processor also means the Hackboard 2 can run Windows, if you’re into that sort of thing. While hacker types are usually more than happy with running Linux or potentially BSD on their ARM boards, there’s unquestionably a subset of the community that feels more comfortable with Clippy looking over their shoulder. Or maybe they’ve got some project that requires a piece of Windows software that doesn’t play well with WINE. Either way, getting a proprietary OS preinstalled on your SBC is going to cost you: it’s an extra $40 to get your Hackboard 2 with a copy of Windows 10 Pro on its 64 GB eMMC.

    While we can’t complain about the CPU and GPU given what the competition is packing, the fact that there’s only 4 GB of RAM onboard is something of a disappointment. Especially when the cheaper Raspberry Pi 4 includes up to 8 GB. It’s certainly enough for most Linux distributions, but pretty skimpy for a Windows box. Depending on what software you’re hoping to install, it might even be a non-starter. If you’re looking for a cheap machine to run Photoshop on, you’ll want to look elsewhere.


  • Use AutoTVM and uTVM to optimize ML workloads on embedded devices & microcontrollers

    We are seeing a massive increase in resource-constraints for embedded devices due to a lack of mature software stacks. With the increase in open-source hardware, the available software support takes a considerable amount of time to develop AI/ML/DL applications. Some of the challenges faced today are that bare-metal devices do not have on-device memory management, and they do not have LLVM support.

Devices: Feather Board, Raspberry Pi and More

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Ubuntu On The Raspberry PI 4

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When Ubuntu first appeared on the scene, around 2004, I remember trying it out and thinking that this was going to be a game changer because it worked almost instantly without hardly any tweaks and command line hacks.

Anybody who has used Linux since then has probably heard of Ubuntu and whether you love it or hate it there is no doubting that it in now a fairly polished desktop operating system.

Raspberry PI User is about using the Raspberry PI as a desktop computer and therefore it seemed an obvious choice to try out Ubuntu as in theory they should be a match made in heaven.

This article is a review of Ubuntu on a Raspberry PI 4 with 4 gigabytes RAM. The reasons for testing Ubuntu on the 4 gigabyte version is as follows:

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Raspberry Pi 400: Big Bang for Little Bucks

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The latest and greatest Raspberry Pi 400 no longer looks like a hacker board for the DIY crowd, but like a full-fledged desktop. We take it through it’s paces to see if it lives up to its promise.

Are you looking for a great stocking stuffer this Holiday season? I recommend you consider the new Raspberry Pi 400. Mine came in the mail last week.

I got my first Raspberry Pi about seven years ago, and what a difference between that model and this one. In 2013 the Raspberry Pi had a couple of USB ports, 512 MB RAM, an Ethernet port, and no wireless. In the seven years hence, with three newer models in between, much has changed.

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More in Tux Machines

Free, Libre, and Open Source Software Leftovers

  • Raptor Announces Kestrel Open-Source, Open HDL/Firmware Soft BMC

    Raptor Engineering known for their work on open-source POWER9 systems has announced Kestrel, an open-source baseboard management controller (BMC) design that is open down to the HDL design and firmware. Raptor describes Kestrel as "the world's first open HDL / open firmware soft BMC, built on POWER and capable of IPLing existing OpenPOWER systems!" This isn't a physical BMC chip but a "soft" BMC that is currently designed and tested on Lattice ECP-5 FPGAs. It can currently handle an initial program load (IPL) for a POWER9 host like the Blackbird and Talos II systems of Raptor Computing Systems after deactivating the existing ASpeed hardware BMC found on those systems.

  • Apache Superset Reaches Top-Level Status For Big Data Visualizations

    The Apache Software Foundation announced on Thursday that Apache Superset reached "top-level" status. Apache Superset is the project's big data visualization and business intelligence web solution. Apache Superset allows for big data exploration and visualization with data from a variety of databases ranging from SQLite and MySQL to Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, Snowflake, Oracle Database, IBM DB2, and a variety of other compatible data sources.

  • Intel oneAPI Level Zero 1.1 Headers/Loader Released

    The oneAPI Level Zero repository consisting of the Level Zero API headers, Level Zero loader, and validation layer have reached version 1.1. Following last year's big oneAPI 1.0 "Gold" status, Intel's open-source oneAPI effort continues moving along with the Level Zero focus as their low-level, direct-to-metal interface for offload accelerators like GPUs and other "XPU" devices.

  • [Older] A short journey to x86 long mode in coreboot on recent Intel platforms

    While it was difficult to add initial x86_64 support in coreboot, as described in my last blog article how-to-not-add-x86_64-support-to-coreboot it was way easier on real hardware. During the OSFC we did a small hackathon at 9elements and got x86_64 working in coreboot on recent Intel platforms. If you want to test new code that deals with low level stuff like enabling x86_64 mode in assembly, it's always good to test it on qemu using KVM. It runs the code in ring 0 instead of emulating every single instruction and thus is very close to bare metal machines.

Python Programming

  • How to Create a Database in MongoDB Using Python

    There’s no doubt that Python is a powerful—and popular—programming language capable of handling any project we throw its way. It is very flexible and can adjust to suit various development environments like penetration testing to web development and machine learning. When coupled to large applications such as those that require databases, Python adds more functionality and can be hard to work with, especially for beginners. Python knows this add provides us with better ways to add databases to our projects without compromising our workflow using a simple and intuitive NoSQL database. Using Python and a popular NoSQL database, MongoDB, development becomes more comfortable and, all in all, fun. This article will go over various MongoDB database concepts to give you a firm understanding of what it entails. After that, we will cover how to install MongoDB on Linux and show you how to use Python to interact with MongoDB.

  • Python Script to Monitor Network Connection

    The need to have our devices always connected to the internet is becoming more of a basic need than an added privilege. Having applications and devices that need to log, send, and receive data to the outside world is critical. Thus, having a tool that allows you to monitor when your network goes down can help you troubleshoot the network or stop the applications before sending a bunch of log errors. In today’s tutorial, we will build a simple network monitor that continually monitors your internet connectivity by sending ping requests to an external resource. The script we shall create shall also keep logs of when the internet is down and the duration of the downtime:

  • How to Build a Web Traffic Monitor with Python, Flask, SQLite, and Pusher

    If you have a web application running out there on the internet, you will need to know where your visitors are coming from, the systems they’re using, and other such things. Although you can use services such as Google Analytics, Monster Insights, etc., it’s more fun to build a monitoring system using Python, SQL database, and Pusher for real-time data updates. In today’s tutorial, we’ll go over how to create such a tool using Python, Flask, and Pusher. The tutorial is a highly-customized spin-off from a tutorial published on Pusher’s official page.

today's howtos

  • Linux 101: How to copy files and directories from the command line

    Are you new to Linux? If so, you've probably found the command line can be a bit intimidating. Don't worry--it is for everyone at the beginning. That's why I'm here to guide you through the process, and today I'm going to show you how to copy files and folders from the command line. Why would you need to copy files and folders this way? You might find yourself on a GUI-less Linux server and need to make a backup of a configuration file or copy a data directory. Trust me, at some point you're going to need to be able to do this. Let's find out how.

  • How to install Headless Dropbox on Ubuntu Server

    Dropbox can be termed as cloud-based file storage that makes your files available at any given time as long as you are connected to the internet. A local user accesses files by syncing to Dropbox. This aids to automatically update all removed and added files to your cloud-based storage. Most people are curious to know how the headless Dropbox can be installed on an Ubuntu Server. To learn more, follow the article below for detailed information, including screenshots of how the installation process is done.

  • Masterby Books by Michael W Lucas

    Look what was delievered a few days ago! Can’t wait to skill up in both SUDO and PAM modules. Michael W Lucas has written dozens of technical books on some of the most fascinating aspects of systems administration - I’ve read SSH Mastery book in the past and will someday try using FreeBSD for real just because Michael wrote so many books about this wonderful OS.

  • Cloud Native Patterns: a free ebook for developers

    Building cloud native applications is a challenging undertaking, especially considering the rapid evolution of cloud native computing. But it’s also very liberating and rewarding. You can develop new patterns and practices where the limitations of hardware dependent models, geography, and size no longer exist. This approach to technology can make cloud application developers more agile and efficient, even as it reduces deployment costs and increases independence from cloud service providers.

  • I am TheeMahn

    Let’s say you screw up your sources, Keysnatcher will fix them automatically. Nasup, dont have a NAS No Problemo I just told you use 0 memory. I can make it disable the service, I would not want it adding 6 seconds to your boot time. I have 20 Gigabit Networking and really understand. If you do have a NAS I want that picked up off the rip.

  • How to Install and Use the Etcher Tool on Ubuntu

    In most cases, when we’re trying out a new OS, we choose to install it on the main machine, a virtual machine, or to boot alongside another operating system. One of the upsides to using a Linux system is that we can boot using Live media, which makes it possible to test a specific distribution without altering the primary structure. Using bootable media such as USB drives, we can burn an iso image and boot from it or even use it to install the OS. Although there are various ways to create bootable media—UnetBootIn, dd (Unix), Rufus, Disk Utility, etcetera, —having a simple and cross-platform tool can be massively advantageous.

  • What is the difference between Paramiko and Netmiko?

    When it comes to networking, there is a wide range of perspectives, and one cannot master how to interact with all the devices in the real world. However, all networking devices share similar functionality that, when mastered, are automatable. As mentioned in my other tutorials, programmers are lazy and always looking to improve efficiency—thus doing the least work —, and when it comes to automating network-related issues, many often jump at the chance. In today’s quick guide, I’ll introduce you to automating SSH using two popular Python libraries: Paramiko and Netmiko. We will create simple python scripts using the two libraries to automate SSH and interact with network devices. I choose this approach because a guide primarily focused on the differences between Paramiko and Netmiko would be too short—a simple table would suffice—and no-concrete. By taking this approach, you’ll be better able to experiment with them and see which does what and how.

  • How to Use Unison to Synchronize Files Between Servers

    This tutorial will show you how to set up and use the Unison File synchronization tool on Debian systems. Using Unison, you can sync files between two different disks or directories in the same system or two other systems over the network.

  • How to detect the file system type of an unmounted device on Linux

    If you want to store data on a new hard drive or a USB memory stick, what you first need to do is to create a "filesystem" on it. This step is also known as "formating" the drive or the USB stick. A filesystem determines in exactly what format data is organized, stored and accessed on a physical device. It is often necessary to know the type of filesystem created on a hard disk or a USB thumb drive even before mounting it. For example, you may need to explicitly specify filesystem type when mounting a disk device, or have to use a filesystem-specific mount command (e.g., mount.aufs, mount.ntfs).

How to Install yay AUR Helper in Arch Linux [Beginner’s Guide]

This beginner’s guide explains the steps to install the Yay AUR helper in Arch Linux. Read more