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Open Hardware: RISC-V FUD and DIY Guns

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Hardware
  • ARM Takes Down Boneheaded Website Attacking Open-Source Rival

    ARM, the incredibly successful developer of CPU designs, appears to be getting a little nervous about an open-source rival that’s gaining traction. At the end of June, ARM launched a website outlining why it’s better than its competitor’s offerings and it quickly blew up in its face. Realizing the site was a bad look, ARM has now taken it down.

    For the uninitiated, ARM Holdings designs various architectures and cores that it licenses to major chipmakers around the world. Its tech can be found in over 100 billion chips manufactured by huge names like Apple and Nvidia as well as many other lesser-known players in the low-power market. If ARM is Windows, you can think of RISC-V as an early Linux. Like ARM, it’s an architecture based on reduced instruction set computing (RISC), but it’s free to use and open to anyone to contribute or modify. While ARM has been around since 1991, RISC-V just got started in 2010 but it’s gaining a lot of ground and ARM’s pitiful website could easily be seen as a legitimizing moment for the tech.

  • A Landmark Legal Shift Opens Pandora’s Box for DIY Guns

     

    Two months ago, the Department of Justice quietly offered Wilson a settlement to end a lawsuit he and a group of co-plaintiffs have pursued since 2015 against the United States government. Wilson and his team of lawyers focused their legal argument on a free speech claim: They pointed out that by forbidding Wilson from posting his 3-D-printable data, the State Department was not only violating his right to bear arms but his right to freely share information. By blurring the line between a gun and a digital file, Wilson had also successfully blurred the lines between the Second Amendment and the First.

     

    "If code is speech, the constitutional contradictions are evident," Wilson explained to WIRED when he first launched the lawsuit in 2015. "So what if this code is a gun?”

Linux module and dev board showcase Arm/FPGA Stratix 10 SX

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Linux
Hardware

Reflex CES has launched a “COMXpressSX Stratix 10” Basic Type 7 module that runs Linux on Intel’s Stratix 10 SX SoC and offers 56GB DDR4, 32GB eMMC, and 32x PCIe. An optional PCIe carrier supplies 10GbE, GbE, SATA, and more.

Paris-based Reflex CES, which sells a variety on FPGA-based PCIe boards and development kits, last year released a Linux-driven, 95 x 86mm Arria 10 SoC SoM based on Intel PSG’s FPGA- and dual Cortex-A9 enabled Arria 10 SoC. Now it has returned with a COM Express Basic Type 7 module and development kit that runs Linux on Intel PSG’s more powerful, 14nm fabricated Stratix 10 SX SoC. The COMXpressSX Stratix 10 supports high performance computing & analytics, acceleration, intelligent vision, and video processing applications.

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Also: Intel Core based EPIC SBC targets retail applications

ARM Launches "Facts" Campaign Against RISC-V

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Hardware

It looks like Arm Limited is going on the offensive against the RISC-V open-source processor instruction set architecture.

ARM has launched RISCV-Basics.com as a site to "understanding the facts" about the RISC-V architecture.

Their five points they try to make before designing a SoC is that the ISA accounts for only a small portion of the total investment to creating a commercial processor, RISC-V doesn't yet have an a large developer ecosystem, there is the risk of fragmentation with this open-source ISA, RISC-V is new and thus not yet as mature in terms of being a proven architecture around security, and greater design costs with RISC-V due to potential re-validation if modifying the ISA.

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Dell's GNU/Linux Offerings

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • Precision Developer Editions 7530/7730 now online — Welcome the power pair

    These new thinner, lighter, premium-built Precision mobile workstations come preloaded with Ubuntu and have been RHEL certified. The 7530 and 7730 feature the latest Intel Core and Xeon processors, blazing-fast memory and professional graphics.

    Of particular note is the increased core count and memory. In fact the maximum memory has doubled to 128GB which helps with cloud developer local workloads. In the case of the 7730, it supports up to 8TB of PCIe NVME storage, the most PCIe storage on the market today. The 7730 is also the first AI/ML ready mobile workstation available.

  • Dell Launches World's Most Powerful 15" and 17" Laptops Powered by Ubuntu Linux

    The Dell Precision 7530 and 7730 Mobile Workstation Developer Editions are now available to order from Dell's online store with the Ubuntu Linux operating system pre-installed.

    At the end of May 2018, Dell's Project Sputnik leader George Barton announced the availability of four new Dell Precision Mobile Workstations running the open-source and free Ubuntu Linux operating system.

    While at the moment of the announcement only the Dell Precision 3530 was available to order, those interested in purchasing a powerful laptop with Ubuntu pre-installed can now order two other models, namely the Dell Precision 7530 and Dell Precision 7730.

  • Dell Precision 7530 and 7730 laptops with Ubuntu pre-installed launched

    Dell Precision 7530 and 7730 Mobile Workstation Developer Editions are now open for order worldwide via the company’s online store. Both machines get powered by the open-source and free Ubuntu Linux operating system.

    Interested users who want a powerful machine with Ubuntu pre-installed, can now order the Dell Precision 7530 and Dell Precision 7730. Under the hood, both machines run the latest Intel Core or Xeon processors. The processor is further coupled with high-speed RAM, top-end NVidia or AMD graphics cards, and come pre-installed with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5 operating system.

    Dell also plans to release professional drivers in the near future that’ll include features not offered by standard Inbox drivers of NVidia and AMD GPUs.

Hacker Boards

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Development
Linux
Hardware
  • Renegade Elite Mini PC Board Counters Raspberry Pi 3 With 4K Streaming And Hexa-Core CPU

    A new device called the Renegade Elite (ROC-RK3399-PC) has surfaced as a competitor to the Raspberry Pi 3 that is packing in much higher specifications and can stream 4K video. The Renegade Elite is made by Libre Computer and will soon surface for pre-order on Indiegogo.

  • Raspberry Pi's 'app store' lands with new Raspbian OS update

    The latest version of Raspbian, the Raspberry Pi's official OS, introduces a new set-up wizard to help beginners easily get over the first few hurdles after buying one of the $35 developer boards.

    The new version of Raspbian also introduces an equivalent of the App Store that recommends software that users can choose to install, alongside apps already bundled with Raspbian.

Raspbian wizard and app store toss a lifeline to newbies

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
Debian

Raspbian has been updated with a a setup wizard and an app store. Meanwhile, Alpine Linux 3.8.0 adds RPi 3 B+ support, BusyBox 1.29 improves router support, and SUSE (as in Linux) was sold to EQT.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has updated the leading Linux distribution for the Raspberry Pi, which may also be the most popular embedded Linux distro. The update to the Debian-based Raspbian adds a setup wizard and a catalog of free apps, among other features. Other Linux software news in recent days includes new Alpine Linux and BusyBox releases, and the sale of SUSE to EQT (see farther below).

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SiFive To Release Code As Open-Source For Fully Initializing The RISC-V Board

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Hardware
OSS

Last week we noted how some of the code to boot the RISC-V SiFive HiFive Unleashed development board was closed-source. That upset some in the Coreboot community with hoping for a more open development board built around the RISC-V open-source processor ISA. The good news is that SiFive will soon be releasing the necessary code for initialization as open-source.

The code for initializing the DDR controller was not open-source and SiFive believed they could not open-source it. The good news is that SiFive has discovered they will be able to open-source it.

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Pi-lovers? There are two new OSes for you to bite

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

Owners of dimunitive Raspberry Pi computers rejoice! Alpine has emitted version 3.8.0 of its super light Linux distribution, with some special attention given to the latest iteration of the hardware.

While it has been possible to get Alpine on the Pi for some time – Raspberry Pi 2 owners have been able to get it working since version 3.2.0 – this is the first version to add support for the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and also offer an arm64 (aarch64) image to ease deployment.

The Pi 3 Model B+ packs a surprising amount of power into a small package, rocking a 64 bit 1.4GHz processor and gigabit ethernet (over USB 2.0). The 1GB RAM (unchanged from the previous Model Cool should give the slimline Alpine incarnation of Linux more than enough headroom, depending what else you decide to run.

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Devices/Embedded: Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), Raspberry Pi, Raspbian, Timesys

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Linux
Hardware

Raspbian Update

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware
Debian
  • Raspbian update: first-boot setup wizard and more

    After a few months of hiding in a dark corner of the office muttering to myself (just ask anyone who sits near me how much of that I do…), it’s time to release another update to the Raspberry Pi desktop with a few new bits and a bunch of bug fixes (hopefully more fixes than new bugs, anyway). So, what’s changed this time around?

  • Raspberry Pi's Raspbian Gets New Setup Wizard, New PDF Viewer

    The Raspberry Pi folks have released a new version of their Debian-based Raspbian Linux distribution to end out June.

    This June 2018 update to Raspbian features several user-facing improvements for those using the Raspbian desktop. First up on new installations is now an initial setup wizard to help guide new users to using the OS. This new setup wizard should help with localization, WiFi/network setup, and other settings.

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Mozilla: Firefox GCC/LLVM Clang Dilemma, September 2018 CA Communication and CfP

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Security: Quantum Computing and Cryptography, Time to Rebuild Alpine Linux Docker Container

  • Quantum Computing and Cryptography
    Quantum computing is a new way of computing -- one that could allow humankind to perform computations that are simply impossible using today's computing technologies. It allows for very fast searching, something that would break some of the encryption algorithms we use today. And it allows us to easily factor large numbers, something that would break the RSA cryptosystem for any key length. This is why cryptographers are hard at work designing and analyzing "quantum-resistant" public-key algorithms. Currently, quantum computing is too nascent for cryptographers to be sure of what is secure and what isn't. But even assuming aliens have developed the technology to its full potential, quantum computing doesn't spell the end of the world for cryptography. Symmetric cryptography is easy to make quantum-resistant, and we're working on quantum-resistant public-key algorithms. If public-key cryptography ends up being a temporary anomaly based on our mathematical knowledge and computational ability, we'll still survive. And if some inconceivable alien technology can break all of cryptography, we still can have secrecy based on information theory -- albeit with significant loss of capability. At its core, cryptography relies on the mathematical quirk that some things are easier to do than to undo. Just as it's easier to smash a plate than to glue all the pieces back together, it's much easier to multiply two prime numbers together to obtain one large number than it is to factor that large number back into two prime numbers. Asymmetries of this kind -- one-way functions and trap-door one-way functions -- underlie all of cryptography.
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