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Hardware

Open Hardware: Open-source Circuit Simulation and Open-Source Turbomolecular Pump Controller

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Hardware
OSS
  • Open-source Circuit Simulation

    For simple circuits, it’s easy enough to grab a breadboard and start putting it together. Breadboards make it easy to check your circuit for mistakes before soldering together a finished product. But if you have a more complicated circuit, or if you need to do response modeling or other math on your design before you start building, you’ll need circuit simulation software.

    While it’s easy to get a trial version of something like OrCAD PSpice, this software doesn’t have all of the features available unless you’re willing to pony up some cash. Luckily, there’s a fully featured free and open source circuit simulation software called Qucs (Quite Universal Circuit Simulator), released under the GPL, that offers a decent alternative to other paid circuit simulators. Qucs runs its own software separate from SPICE since SPICE isn’t licensed for reuse.

  • An Open-Source Turbomolecular Pump Controller

    It’s not every project write-up that opens with a sentence like “I had this TURBOVAC 50 turbomolecular pump laying around…”, but then again not every write-up comes from someone with a lab as stuffed full of goodies as that of [Niklas Fauth]. His pump had an expired controller board, so he’s created an open-source controller of his own centred upon an STM32. Intriguingly he mentions its potential use as “I want to do more stuff with sputtering and Ion implantation in the future“, as one does of course.

    So given that probably not many Hackaday readers have a turbomolecular pump lying around but quite a few of you will find the subject interesting, what does this project do? Sadly it’s a little more mundane than the pump itself, since a turbomolecular pump is a highly specialised multi-stage turbine, this is a 3-phase motor controller with analogue speed feedback taken from the voltage across a couple of the motor phases. For this reason he makes the point that it’s a fork of his hoverboard motor controller software, the fruits of which we’ve shown you in the past. There isn’t a cut-out timer should the motor not reach full speed in a safe time, but he provides advice as to where to look in the code should that be necessary.

Leap Motion details low-cost AR headset, plans to go open source

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Hardware
OSS
Gaming

“We believe that the fundamental limit in technology is not its size or its cost or its speed,” writes Leap Motion, “but how we interact with it.”

This statement demonstrates the fresh perspective that companies like Leap Motion have been bringing to the commercial 3D tech industry. In fact, in the past year or two, we’ve started to feel a sea change as even the most entrenched, traditional manufacturers in the commercial 3D space have taken a hard turn toward simplicity of operation and sheer usability.

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Raspberry Pi-alike NanoPi K1 Plus: For $35 you get 2xRAM, 4K video, Gigabit Ethernet

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Linux
Hardware

FriendlyElec has released a $35 rival to the Raspberry Pi 3 B+, outdoing the better-known board with 2GB of memory, Gigabit Ethernet, and a more powerful GPU.

The NanoPi K1 Plus follows FriendlyElec's Nano Pi K2, released last year with similar dimensions to the Raspberry Pi 3 for $40.

The NanoPi K1 Plus shares similar specs to the Nano Pi K2 and maintains the Raspberry Pi's form factor, but offers double the RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, and 4K video playback.

The device also has the same 40-pin GPIO pin-header as the Raspberry Pi 3, so it should work with Raspberry Pi accessories and housings.

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Raspberry Pi alternatives: 10 single-board computers for novice coders

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Linux
Hardware

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is the dinky single-board computer grabbing headlines around the world, and for good reason. Initially launched as a tool to train up amateur coders, it has since gone on to sell more than 19 million units worldwide.

[...]

If you’re weighing up your options, read on for the best Raspberry Pi 3 B+ alternatives.

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Devices: 'Open' Hardware and Android

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Linux
Hardware

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Linux Performance Boosted By Updated BIOS/AGESA

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Hardware

With last week's initial launch-day Linux benchmarks of the Ryzen 5 2600X / Ryzen 7 2700X some found the Linux performance to be lower than Windows. While the root cause is undetermined, a BIOS/AGESA update does appear to help the Linux performance significantly at least with the motherboard where I've been doing most of my tests with the Ryzen 7 2700X. Here are the latest benchmark numbers.

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Turris MOX is a Modular & Open Source Router

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Hardware

A company from the Czech Republic is trying to raise money to bring a modular and open source router to the public. It has a number of features that can’t be found in the current line up of routers available for purchase.
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Open Hardware/RISC-V Latest

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Hardware
  • Brains behind seL4 secure microkernel begin RISC-V chip port

    Last week, the first RISC-V port of its seL4 microkernel was released by the Data61 division of the Australian government's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

    seL4 is an open-source and highly secure version of the L4 microkernel that aims to be mathematically proven to be bug free, in that it works as expected as per its specifications. Meanwhile, RISC-V is an open-source instruction-set architecture, and is used as the blueprint for various open-source processor core designs – some of which are now shipping as real usable silicon, such as chips from SiFive and Greenwaves.

  • Dongwoon Anatech Licenses Codasip's Bk3 RISC-V Processor for Motor Control ICs for Mobile Camera

    Codasip, the leading supplier of RISC-V® embedded processor IP, announced today that Dongwoon Anatech, a technology leader in analog and power ICs for mobile phones, has selected Codasip’s Bk3 processor and Studio design tool for its next generation family of motor control IC products.

    Dongwoon Anatech, fabless analog semiconductor specialist, offers a wide range of analog products, including auto-focus driver IC for smartphones, AMOLED DC-DC converter, display power driver IC, and haptic driver IC.

3-D Printing and Open Hardware

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Hardware
OSS
  • Open Source Innovation Could Put a 3D Bioprinter in Your Living Room

    3D bioprinting traditionally requires high-level expertise, proprietary technology and a five-figure investment. A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University setout to change all that. In a paper published earlier this month in HardwareX, the group released the design of a fully functional 3D bioprinter it built by altering a widely available desktop 3D machine. The team’s innovation could be a game changer in terms of the overall accessibility of bioprinting.

  • 3D Printing the SynDaver Open-Source Healthcare Mannequin

    As desktop 3D printers become more robust, reliable, and feature-rich, we are seeing a definite shift in professional use-cases from prototyping to producing final products.

  • Unlock & Talk: Open Source Bootloader & Modem

    Since [Tom Nardi] introduced Hackaday readers to postmarketOS, the team has made progress on compiling a standard bootloader for MediaTek System-on-Chip (SoC) processors. Many Android phones use the MIT-licensed Little Kernel as the base of their bootloader and then apply custom closed-source modifications. [McBitter] has worked to eliminate this closed-source code by porting Little Kernel to the MT6735P used in the Coolpad Modena 2. By understanding the modifications MediaTek used for this particular SoC, the postmarketOS team hopes to use their modified, open-source Little Kernel bootloader with other MediaTek-based devices. While progress has been difficult and attempts at using emulators to probe bootloader memory have failed, [McBitter] was able to decode the DRAM configuration settings by searching for a leaked portion of the configuration strings. Now that he can set up the DRAM, there should be few barriers to running Little Kernel.

Single-unit version of Odroid-MC1 cluster computer adds flexibility

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Android
Linux
Hardware

Hardkernel has launched a stackable single-unit Solo version of its 4-board Odroid-MC1 cluster computer. The system runs Linux on a octa-core Samsung Exynos5422 based Odroid-XU4S SBC.

Hardkernel has spun a single-unit version of its four-unit, 32-core Odroid-MC1 cluster computer for running Docker Swarm, Build Farm, and other parallel computing applications. The octa-core Odroid-MC1 Solo costs $48 instead of $220 for the original. The design offers greater flexibility, enabling users to combine Odroid-MC1 Solo units for a “single unit, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or n stackable cluster” or combine one or more Solo units with the original 4-unit MC1 to act as a single cluster,” says Hardkernel.

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OSS Leftovers

  • Uber Open Sources Its Large Scale Metrics Platform M3
    Uber's engineering team released its metrics platform M3, which it has been using internally for some years, as open source. The platform was built to replace its Graphite based system, and provides cluster management, aggregation, collection, storage management, a distributed time series database (TSDB) and a query engine with its own query language M3QL. [...] M3's query engine provides a single global view of all metrics without cross region replication. Metrics are written to local regional M3DB instances and replication is local to a region. Queries go to both the regional local instances as well as to coordinators in remote regions where metrics are stored. The results are aggregated locally, and future work is planned wherein  any query aggregation would happen at the remote coordinators.
  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Dev.to
    This week’s highlighted project comes courtesy of a community of developers who hope that their codebase will be used to foster communities like theirs, focused on education and collaboration among peers of any skill level. Dev.to’s codebase is open-source as of last week week and the community-building platform’s developers think that further community involvement in development will lead to great things. [...] Halpern made sure to clarify in the post that this release is not simply a library for creating the types of community-driven communication platforms that dev.to embodies, but the for-profit company’s entire codebase. “However, that is a perfectly valid use case in the future,” Halpern wrote in a post leading up to the release. “If you are interested in contributing such that we can eventually help people stand up their own version of this platform for their own business or society, we’ll definitely welcome that input.” The platform is a Ruby on Rails app with a Preact front-end. The company is hard at work on native apps for iOS and Android but say its technology choices are fluid.
  • RLS 1.0 release candidate
    The current version of the Rust Language Server (RLS), 0.130.5, is the first 1.0 release candidate. It is available on nightly and beta channels, and from the 3rd September will be available with stable Rust. 1.0 for the RLS is a somewhat arbitrary milestone. We think the RLS can handle most small and medium size projects (notable, it doesn't work with Rust itself, but that is large and has a very complex build system), and we think it is release quality. However there are certainly limitations and many planned improvements. It would be really useful if you could help us test the release candidate! Please report any crashes, or projects where the RLS gives no information or any bugs where it gives incorrect information.
  • Mozilla brings back Stylish Add-on to Firefox after it was Banned Last Year
    The Stylish add-on, with which you can give websites their very own style, is back for Firefox. This improvement has been welcomed by many users. The history of this Add-on is quite complicated as it was supposedly twice removed and added back before it was removed again. Now it has been added back as reported by Vess (@VessOnSecurity). [...] The add-on Stylish has been brought back in the Mozilla’s add-on storehouse. What users should know: This expansion was criticized some time prior as a user data collector and has been prohibited and banned a year back from Mozilla’s Add-on store. Owing to its notoriety of collecting data of users’ website visits in a way which makes it convenient to reveal users’ identity to third parties, Google and Mozilla banned it last year. It is indeed surprising as to why Mozilla decided to bring it back to its browser after it was criticized for compromising users’ identity.
  • LibreOffice 6.1: A week in stats
    On August 8, we announced LibreOffice 6.1, a new version of the suite with many great features and updates created by our worldwide community. Let’s look at some stats from the last week!
  • Graphos 0.7 released
    Graphos 0.7 has been released a couple of days ago!
  • Tesla open sources its security software, Hollywood goes open source, and more news
  • How Changa Bell is taking an ‘open source’ approach to grow the Black Male Yoga Intiative
  • As Academic Publishers Fight And Subvert Open Access, Preprints Offer An Alternative Approach For Sharing Knowledge Widely
    That's certainly true, but is easy to remedy. Academics who plan to publish a preprint could offer a copy of the paper to the group of trusted journalists under embargo -- just as they would with traditional papers. One sentence describing why it would be worth reading is all that is required by way of introduction. To the extent that the system works for today's published papers, it will also work for preprints. Some authors may publish without giving journalists time to check with other experts, but that's also true for current papers. Similarly, some journalists may hanker after full press releases that spoon-feed them the results, but if they can't be bothered working it out for themselves, or contacting the researchers and asking for an explanation, they probably wouldn't write a very good article anyway. The other concern relates to the quality of preprints. One of the key differences between a preprint and a paper published in a journal is that the latter usually goes through the process of "peer review", whereby fellow academics read and critique it. But it is widely agreed that the peer review process has serious flaws, as many have pointed out for years -- and as Sheldon himself admits. Indeed, as defenders note, preprints allow far more scrutiny to be applied than with traditional peer review, because they are open for all to read and spot mistakes. There are some new and interesting projects to formalize this kind of open review. Sheldon rightly has particular concerns about papers on public health matters, where lives might be put at risk by erroneous or misleading results. But major preprint sites like bioRxiv (for biology) and the upcoming medRxiv (for medicine and health sciences) are already trying to reduce that problem by actively screening preprints before they are posted.
  • MUMPS Masochism part I: Line and Block Scope

    It's sort of an open secret that I sometimes use ANSI M, better known as MUMPS. It was developed in the 60's, and it definitely still looks like something from the 60's. But it's 1,000 times uglier than anything from that decade. I've made plenty of people, from software testers at work to other developers on IRC, recoil in horror from showing them samples of even relatively mundane code like a simple "Hello, World!".

  • OpenSSH Username Enumeration
     

    We realized that without this patch, a remote attacker can easily test whether a certain user exists or not (username enumeration) on a target OpenSSH server

Microsoft Openwashing

  • Microsoft open sources new framework for Windows driver development [Ed: openwashing Microsoft Windows by pretending that when you write proprietary drivers for a proprietary O/S that does DRM, spies on users etc. you actually do something "open"]
  • Microsoft to Open Source Its Network Replication Software [Ed: Microsoft is openwashing some more of its entirely proprietary 'offerings', a hallmark of a company of liars. Come to us! The traps are free, the cages will be "open".]
  • GitHub goes off the Rails as Microsoft closes in [Ed: Microsoft will take GitHub off the rail like it did Skype and LinkedIn (totally lost)]
    GitHub's platform group is about 155 people at the moment and growing, said Lambert. And much of the group's focus is on breaking GitHub apart. GitHub is about a third of the way through an architectural change that began last year. The company is moving away from Ruby on Rails toward a more heterogeneous, composable infrastructure. Ruby still has a place at GitHub – Lambert referred to the company as a Ruby shop, but he said there's more Go, Java and even some Haskell being deployed for services. The goal, he explained, is to make GitHub's internal capabilities accessible to integrators and partners. "Our monolith is starting to break up and we're starting to abstract things into services," said Lambert. "The platform we've chosen to put them on is Kubernetes."

Android Leftovers

Benchmarks Of Btrfs RAID On Four Samsung 970 EVO NVMe SSDs

With the MSI MEG X399 CREATION that we received as part of the launch package for the Threadripper 2950X and Threadripper 2990WX it includes the XPANDER-AERO that provides 4-way M.2 NVMe SSD slots on a PCI Express x16 card. The XPANDER-AERO is actively cooled and could be passed off as a small form factor graphics card upon a very cursory examination. With this card I've been running tests on four Samsung 970 EVO NVMe SSDs in RAID to offer stellar Linux I/O performance. Here are some initial benchmarks using Btrfs. Read more