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Hardware

Devices: Purism, Allwinner, Rockchip

Filed under
Hardware
Gadgets
  • The smartphone with convenience and control

    I often hear people saying that they have nothing to hide, and I usually reply that it is not about what you want to hide, it is about what you want to protect – your family’s privacy. Modern smartphones are convenience, always on and connected, but they come with a large attack surface to be exploited by hackers or even spying companies.

    [...]

    Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

  • Allwinner V831 AI Full HD Camera SoC Powers Sochip V831 Development Board

    In the last year or so, we’ve started to see several camera SoCs with a built-in NPU or SIMD instructions to accelerate face detection, objects detection and so on, starting with the low-resolution Kendryte K210 processor to the 2.5K Ingenic T31 MIPS video processor, or even the 4K capable iCatch V37 camera SoC.

  • Rockchip RK3588 8K TV Box Triples as 5G & WiFi 6 Router, Home Automation Gateway

    Rockchip RK3588 octa-core Cortex-A76/A55 processor was only expected in the second half of 2020 for IoT and vision/AI applications, but at least one company is working on a 3-in-1 product based on Rockchip high-end processor with a “5G AIoT 8K TV box” that also works as a 5G and WiFi 6, and with features such as Zigbee can also act as a home automation gateway.

    [...]

    The thing is supposed to run Android 9.0 operating system, but it’s a little odd that Rockchip does not work on an Android 10 for an upcoming processor.

How a Hardware Genius Turned a 1930s Teletype Into a Linux Terminal

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware

Keen-eyed hardware and computer science aficionados are already nodding along. But what’s a teletype machine, what’s Baudot, what’s ASCII, what’s ... going on here? Let’s take a crash course in the history of over-wire communication.A teletype machine like the one Verdiell uses in this video was a descendant and subsequence of telegraphy. We see people send and receive telegraphs in old movies, and you can still send and receive telegraphs today. In pop culture, the kind we see is almost always entered by hand by a trained operator using Morse code. Samuel Morse invented his eponymous code in 1838, shortly after the invention of the telegraph. Morse must have quickly realized that a standard way to send individual characters and instructions was vital. But Morse code relies on an individual person, a subjective code of “long” and “short,” and characters coded by variable length strings of these codes.Émile Baudot’s namesake code, which followed in the 1870s, turned everything into a standard five bits long. That means one binary bit that’s “on” or “off,” repeated five times, allowing for 32 combinations. Baudot also invented the idea of “shift,” the same one we use today, as a way to change from letters to numbers or symbols. This effectively doubles the character set.

Read more

Micron Outsources SSD Code to Microsoft's Proprietary Trap

Filed under
Hardware
Microsoft
OSS

Kernel: Linux Work of Intel and Microsoft Being Served

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • Intel Media Driver 20.2.pre1 Released With More Work Towards Gen12 + Discrete GPUs

    update for this open-source Linux video encode/decode driver for Intel graphics, their first pre-release of the Q2-2020 driver update is now out for testing.

    The Intel Media Driver 20.2.pre1 release was made available this Monday morning. While there isn't any formal release notes out, I've been digging through the patches making up this release and the highlights are below. The main takeaways are continued fixes for Gen11 and more work on next-gen Gen12 media handling. Most notably, last week local device memory support was merged for the Intel Media Driver. This local device memory support and sorting out the handling of that is necessary for Intel's forthcoming Xe discrete GPUs. That LMEM support has been happening elsewhere throughout the Intel Linux graphics stack and has now reached their media driver in beginning to get Xe video encode/decode in order.

  • Intel SGX Enclaves Support For Linux Sent Out For A 29th Time

    Going on since 2016 has been the long-running effort getting the Software Guard Extensions (SGX) support into the mainline Linux kernel. Sent out this week was the SGX foundation patches for the twenty-ninth time as it works to get into shape for upstream acceptance.

    Every few months tends to bring new rounds of SGX patches but ultimately new issues are pointed out or other code still left to be cleaned up. This work on the Secure Guard Extensions subsystem for the Linux kernel is about providing hardware-protected, encrypted memory regions with SGX enclaves. Intel SGX with Memory Encryption Engines (MEE) have been supported since Skylake CPUs albeit as we are approaching Tiger Lake mobile CPUs and Ice Lake Xeons in the months ahead, this SGX work for the kernel still remains up in the air.

  • New Linux Code To Reduce Transfer Speed Time In FAT Filesystem From 383 To 51 Seconds

    The patch code aims to enhance the readahead performance of the FAT filesystem code for Linux. If you don’t know, readahead is a system call of the Linux kernel that prefetches the data and loads it into the page cache. In this way, the file transfer speeds up as the data are read from physical memory rather than from disk.

Devices/Embedded: RISC-V and Open-Source Point of Sale

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • Ingenic T31 AI Video Processor Combines MIPS & RISC-V Cores

    Last week we asked “is MIPS dead?” question following the news that Wave Computing had filed for bankruptcy, two MIPS Linux maintainers had left, and China-based CIP United now obtained the exclusive MIPS license rights for mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

    Ingenic is one of those Chinese companies that have offered MIPS-based processors for several years, but one commenter noted that Ingenic joined the RISC-V foundation, and as a result, we could speculate the company might soon launch RISC-V processors, potentially replacing their MIPS offerings.

  • Steven Pritchard: Open-Source Point of Sale?

    I need an open-source POS solution for a client. They have a small cafeteria-type restaurant + gift shop. Currently they are using a craptastic closed-source commercial solution that offers no support despite requiring a huge service contract.

    Lots of bonus points for something web-based, since the POS terminals they have are rather low-end.

Sharing, Collaboration and Free Software Code to Tackle COVID-19

Filed under
Hardware
OSS
Sci/Tech
  • Discover the open source, low-cost ventilator for areas with limited means

    A group of scientists and researchers have designed a open source, low-cost ventilator to be used in areas that have limited means within their healthcare systems.

    Researchers from the Biophysics and Bioengineering Unit of the University of Barcelona, Spain, have created an open source, non-invasive, low-cost ventilator, to support patients with respiratory diseases in areas with limited means.

    The study was led by Ramono Farré, professor of Physiology and member of the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS) and the Respiratory Diseases Networking Biomedical Research Centre (CIBERES), and the results were published in the European Respiratory Journal.

  • Easy-to-Build $75 Open-Source Arduino Ventilator With High-Quality Performance

    Ventilator could support coronavirus treatment in low-income regions or where supplies are limited.

    A low-cost, easy-to-build non-invasive ventilator aimed at supporting the breathing of patients with respiratory failure performs similarly to conventional high-quality commercial devices, according to new research published in the European Respiratory Journal.

    Non-invasive ventilators are used to treat patients with breathing difficulty and respiratory failure, a common symptom of more severe coronavirus disease. Non-invasive ventilation is delivered using facemasks or nasal masks, which push a set amount of pressurized air into the lungs. This supports the natural breathing process when disease has caused the lungs to fail, enabling the body to fight infection and get better.

  • Harnessing the Open-Source Ventilator Movement

    As hospitals in developing countries struggle with ventilator shortages, engineers and doctors are coming together to launch open-source projects to help meet demand. WSJ takes a look at whether any of these plans could become real machines that help save lives.

  • Local, Open-Source Ventilator Project Plans to Build 200 ‘Bridge Ventilators’

    The Kahanu open-source ventilator project has received a $250,000 grant from the Hawai‘i Community Foundation to build bridge ventilators for state hospitals.

    A team of Hawai‘i engineers and an emergency room doctor are working to produce simple and effective bridge ventilators with funding from the Hawai‘i Resilience Fund, part of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF).

    Named Kahanu, which means “the breath” in the Hawaiian language, the ventilator is made of durable, sterilizable materials and can be produced in Hawai‘i for about $1,200 each, according to a project press release. Medical grade ventilators can cost more than $25,000 each.

    A Kahanu ventilator can serve as a “bridge ventilator” that can be enlisted in an emergency to save a patient’s life, the release said.

  • Longford man puts his skills to good use and designs an open source ventilator

    Since the lockdown began, there are plenty of people in the local community who are putting their time to good use to help others.

    One of those people is Finian McCarthy, who is an electronic engineer and the Managing Director of county Longford-based company, Envitec Ltd.

    Finian has been making the most of the time at home by designing and building an open source ventilator, which he says can be made cheaply and shared around the world so that others can replicate the design should there be an urgent need for ventilators during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Open-source ventilator designed by Cambridge team for use in low- and middle-income countries

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a team at the University of Cambridge has designed an open-source ventilator in partnership with local clinicians, engineers and manufacturers across Africa that is focused to address the specific needs for treating COVID-19 patients and is a fully functioning system for use after the pandemic.

  • Researchers design open-source ventilator for use in low- and middle-income countries

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a team at the University of Cambridge has designed an open-source ventilator in partnership with local clinicians, engineers and manufacturers across Africa that is focused to address the specific needs for treating COVID-19 patients and is a fully functioning system for use after the pandemic.

    Built primarily for use in low- and middle-income countries, the OVSI ventilator can be cheaply and quickly manufactured from readily available components. Current ventilators are expensive and difficult to fix, but an open-source design will allow users to adapt and fix the ventilators according to their needs and, by using readily available components, the machines can be built quickly across Africa in large numbers. The cost per device is estimated to be around one-tenth of currently available commercial systems.

  • University of Cambridge designs open-source ventilator for African countries

    An open-source ventilator has been designed by a team at the University of Cambridge primarily for use in low and middle-income countries.

    In partnership with clinicians, engineers and manufacturers across Africa, the focus was on the specific needs for treating Covid-19 patients and a fully-functioning system for use after the pandemic.

  • When Ventilators Run Short, a $500 Invention May Save Lives

    Ventilators have been difficult to find at any price, sometimes forcing doctors in jammed intensive care units to decide who gets the last one available. General Motors Co. was ordered last month by U.S. President Donald Trump to make the breathing machines to help fill the gap, and announced preparations for deliveries last week.

    [...]

    On April 1, Alkaher’s team published the design for the AmboVent-1690-108 on the online forum GitHub, allowing anyone to take the idea and run with it. AmboVent is busy producing 20 prototypes on a shoestring budget of $200,000, planning to send them to various countries where other developers will navigate the process of getting regulatory approval.

  • Open science takes on the coronavirus pandemic

    Data sharing, open-source designs for medical equipment, and hobbyists are all being harnessed to combat COVID-19.

    [...]

    Perhaps nowhere is that open ethos clearer than in the way do-it-yourself (DIY) and ‘maker’ communities have stepped up. As soon as it became clear that health systems around the world were at risk of running out of crucial equipment to treat people with COVID-19 and protect medical workers, DIY-ers set about trying to close the gap.

    Facebook groups such as Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies, which has more than 70,000 members, have become dispatch centres, through which hospital workers seek volunteers to print or make supplies, and volunteers trade tips on what materials to use and where to source them, and on sterilization procedures.

    The coronavirus crisis plays to 3D printing’s strong points — rapid prototyping and the ability to produce parts on demand anywhere in the world. Prusa Research, a manufacturer of 3D printers in Prague, has designed a frame for a face shield that is meant to be worn outside a mask or respirator to protect against infectious droplets. The company says it has the capacity to produce 800 shields per day, and tens of thousands of the devices are already protecting health-care workers in the Czech Republic. But because the company made its designs open-source, they are also being made around the world in maker spaces and homes.

    Formlabs, a 3D-printer manufacturer based in Somerville, Massachusetts, leads another project that has reached production: printing nasal swabs for COVID-19 test kits. Unlike common cotton swabs, nasal swabs must have a rod that is long and flexible enough to reach deep into the nose, to the upper throat. The swabs were designed by doctors at the University of South Florida in Tampa and the Northwell Health hospital system in New York, using printers purchased from the company to produce test versions. “They are prototyping it themselves, which is crazy and really awesome,” says Formlabs’s chief product officer, Dávid Lakatos. And whereas conventional swabs feature a bushy tip coating of nylon flock, the doctors devised a tip with an intricately textured pattern that is 3D-printed.

    But unlike face shields, these parts are beyond the capabilities of most printers used by hobbyists. “If someone tried to print the swabs on a hobbyist printer, they can really do harm” in a clinical setting, says Lakatos.

  • America Makes challenging community to innovate new COVID-19 solutions

    All submissions must be open-source designs.

  • Big Tech Signs Rare Open Source Pledge During Coronavirus [Ed: Greenwashing and openwashing of monopolies]

    One bottleneck to the mass production of critical goods, from antibody (or serology) tests to face masks, necessary to keep the public safe is copyright law. These chokeholds held over the world of atoms and the world of bits are preventing the appropriate response to a global pandemic, said Mark Radcliffe, a partner at DLA Piper, a global law firm.

  • Health minister now unsure if source code for COVID contact tracing app is safe to release

    Health minister Greg Hunt has put a question mark over whether a promise to release all source code for the federal government’s forthcoming COVID-19 contact tracing app is actually possible due to security concerns.

    Talking on Triple M Hobart’s ‘The Spoonman’ show with Brian Carlton on Tuesday, Hunt would not commit or back up Government Services minister Stuart Robert’s assurance last week that the full code of the app would be available for inspection.

    According to Hunt, the app will drop sometime next week.

  • Kyle Hiebert: In the COVID-19 world, open source textbooks are the way of the future

    For post-secondary schools, the coronavirus pandemic has spurred a paradigm shift in teaching and learning, as courses have migrated online. Because of this, universities now have the chance to save students huge sums of money by ramping up the creation and use of open educational resources (OER), particularly open textbooks.

    A sober look at the trajectory of the pandemic reveals that the prospects of in-person classes resuming as normal this fall are slim to none. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared that living with COVID-19 is “the new normal” until a vaccine is found, which experts widely predict will take at least another year, if not more. The high probability of second and third waves of COVID-19 will likely prompt more intermittent lockdowns in the future, as is currently happening in Singapore, one of the countries that initially seemed to be very successful in its coronavirus response. Through this lens, widespread online learning must be seen as part of a new era of post-secondary education, not a short-term fix.

  • Open Access, Open Source, and the Battle to Defeat COVID-19

    No legal development over the past decades has had a greater impact on the free flow of information and technology than the rise of the open access and open source movements. We recently looked at how AI, machine learning, blockchain, 3D printing, and other disruptive technologies are being employed in response to the coronavirus pandemic; we now turn to how two disruptive legal innovations, open access and open source, are being used to fight COVID-19. Although the pandemic is far from over, there are already promising signs that open access and open source solutions are allowing large groups of scientists, healthcare professionals, software developers, and innovators across many countries to mobilize quickly and effectively to combat and, hopefully, mitigate the impact of the coronavirus.

  • MIT Team Races to Fill COVID-19 Ventilator Shortage With Low-Cost, Open-Source Alternative

    An ad hoc team of engineers and doctors has developed a low-cost, open-source alternative, now ready for rapid production.

    It was clear early on in the unfolding Covid-19 pandemic that a critical need in the coming weeks and months would be for ventilators, the potentially life-saving devices that keep air flowing into a patient whose ability to breathe is failing.

    Seeing a potential shortfall of hundreds of thousands of such units, professor of mechanical engineering Alex Slocum Sr. and other engineers at MIT swung into action, rapidly pulling together a team of volunteers with expertise in mechanical design, electronics, and controls, and a team of doctors with clinical experience in treating respiratory conditions. They started working together nonstop to develop an inexpensive alternative and share what they learned along the way. The goal was a design that could be produced quickly enough, potentially worldwide, to make a real difference in the immediate crisis.

  • CURA shipping container ICUs open in turin to combat COVID-19

    as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads internationally, the first prototype of an open-source project to create plug-in intensive care units (ICU) from shipping containers has been built and installed at a hospital in italy. CURA (acronym for ‘connected units for respiratory ailments’ and also ‘cure’ in latin) proposes a quick-to-deploy solution to expand emergency facilities and ease the pressure on healthcare systems treating patients infected by coronavirus — (see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here).

    [...]

    CURA has been developed as an open-source project, with its technical specifcations, drawings and design materials made universally accessible online. since the project’s launch, more than 2,000 people have shown an interest and contacted the CURA team to join the project, reproduce it, or provide technical advice. more units are currently under construction in other parts of the world, from the UAE to canada.

  • Researchers in Europe Condemn Centralized COVID-19 Tracking Approach

    Two camps have emerged within the open-source COVID-19 tracking space in Europe. One solution, DP-3T, offers privacy-preserving benefits for citizens and is backed by over 300 scientists around the world. The other, PEPP-PT, is centralized and risks being repurposed for commercial uses or worse.

  • UC Team Builds Open Source COVID-19-Tracking App

    Developers have built a new smartphone app for tracing potential novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections.

    A team of researchers at the University of California, Irvine, announced the tool this week, describing it as potentially “instrumental” in the effort to trace and track infections, which is something governors have described as a vital step in reopening the economy. The tool is called TrackCOVID, and it is a free, open sourced app that its creators say also ensures the privacy of those who are potentially affected.

  • UN launches global ‘challenge’ for COVID-19 open source solutions

    The United Nations (UN) is organizing a global contest called “COVID-19 Detect and Protect” as part of the efforts to search for a solution to the coronavirus.

    The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)— the UN’s agency for development, and Hackster.io, the largest community of hardware and software developers, will be organizing the event which will be open until August 2020.

    The UN identifies COVID-19 as an “unprecedented global health and humanitarian emergency.” The organization also said the pandemic presents a massive threat and potentially devastating social, economic, and political crises that will be felt by many countries for many years to come

    The coronavirus pandemic can also reverse the progress made in tackling global poverty over the past 20 years, “putting at risk the lives and livelihoods of billions of people,” the organization said.

  • US researchers develop open-source ventilator for Covid-19 patients

    Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US have developed a low-cost, open-source ventilator to address the shortage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Named Spiro Wave, a version of the ventilator is currently being produced by a consortium of partners, including 10XBeta, Boyce Technologies and Newlab.

    The aim is to rapidly fulfil the Covid-19-related ventilator requirements at hospitals in New York, followed by other hospitals across the US.

    Furthermore, the MIT team is working to refine the ventilator’s design to make it more compact and add a respiratory function.

    10XBeta, Vecna Technologies and NN Life Sciences are part of the project.

  • Why Open Source Is Seeing Higher Adoption During COVID-19 Crisis
  • 28 government covid apps not open source, cannot be checked for vulnerabilities

    Apart from Aarogya Setu, the Centre and state governments are using at least 28 mobile applications to tackle the covid-19 pandemic.

    These apps have varied purposes — some disseminate information on cases, deaths and so on to users while others are used by officials to track people under quarantine.

    There is one common aspect to all of them: None of them is open-sourced.

    One of the most famous apps is the Centre’s Aarogya Setu, which collects users’ Bluetooth and location data to track their whereabouts and alert them if they come in contact with a covid-19 positive patient. The app, which has been controversial given privacy concerns, has been downloaded by over 7.5 crore people.

  • Open source: Boston Dynamics just opened up this robot tech to help tackle COVID-19

    Boston Dynamics has open-sourced some of its robotics technology to help protect healthcare workers battling the coronavirus.

    The robotics firm has developed a healthcare toolkit that it hopes will allow mobile robots to carry out essential functions that reduce the exposure of frontline healthcare staff to COVID-19.

  • These open-source projects are helping to tackle the coronavirus

    Since the onset of the coronavirus epidemic earlier this year, numerous countries have found themselves running short of ventilators. Ventilators, used in hospitals' intensive care units, are crucial to helping those worst affected by the virus to stay alive. They take on some of the work of breathing for COVID-19 patients who find themselves in respiratory failure. However, a number of innovative grassroots initiatives, built in weeks by altruistic engineers with distributed design methodologies and open-source licences, have sprung up to try and solve the shortage.

Devices: Linaro Developerbox, Axiomtek and More

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware

GNU/Linux and Intel

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • Intel's Clear Linux To Divest From The Desktop, Focus On Server + Cloud Workloads

    Intel's performance-optimized Clear Linux has made some inroads in the desktop space over the past two years with providing a nice desktop installer last year, enhancing their documentation, and making available more desktop packages. Clear Linux has offered some of the fastest performance even for desktop workloads like web browser performance and has worked out equally well on AMD hardware. But moving forward they are going to be shifting back to their roots on focusing on server and cloud workloads.

  • Intel ISPC 1.13 Compiler Brings Performance Boost To AVX-512 Systems

    Intel's ISPC compiler (Implicit SPMD Program Compiler) for targeting its C-based single-program, multiple data language is out now with a new feature release.

    ISPC already advertises performance speed-ups of three to six times faster depending upon the AVX configuration of the CPU being tested and core count. But with ISPC 1.13 they are continuing to work on making this SPMD program compiler even faster, particularly for AVX-512.

  • Intel FSGSBASE Linux Support Revived For A Performance Boost On Intel/AMD Processors

    arlier this month I reported that Linux developers were reviving work on the Intel FSGSBASE patches as a performance helper going back to Ivy Bridge CPUs but for which past patch series never got over the finish line for mainlining. On Thursday a new version of the FSGSBASE patches were sent out.

    One of Microsoft's Linux kernel hacker, Sasha Levin, has taken up the patches in trying to get the mainlined with Intel seemingly not in a rush to get the patches merged that have been sent out a few times in recent years.

Review of GNU/Linux on Dell XPS and a Fix

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Red Hat
Hardware
Reviews
  • The dell xps 13 9300 (2020 edition) hyper-detailed Fedora linux review

    First a bit of background before we get into reviewing. I’ve used a laptop as my primary computer for 20+ years, and since I do things on-line most of my waking life, this means I spend a lot of time in front of my laptop typing or reading away. So, it’s pretty important to me that my laptop works well, is nice to use and is under support in case anything happens.

    For the last 3.5 years or so, my laptop has been a Lenovo Yoga 920. It’s been a great laptop and I have enjoyed using it. Unfortunately, it’s support is going to be up in a few months and I really don’t like my primary laptop to be out of support. In the last 3.5 years, Lenovo has: replaced the LCD panel when it fell off a table and broke, Replaced the motherboard when a sound connector became loose, replaced the keyboard when it became mushy, and most recently replaced the battery because it started to swell up. So, warentee is pretty important to me.

    I was starting to worry that none of the current crop of laptops would really be any better than my 3.5+ year old yoga 920, but dell managed to announce their xps 13 9300 and it had some better stats, so I decided I would jump to it and see how things went. One kind of anoying thing was that dell announced the new laptop in January, but the model with the good specs I wanted wasn’t available to order until April, and the “developer” edition still isn’t available with the high end specs (I got the normal windows one).

  • A Fix Is Out For The Intel Ice Lake Performance Drop On Linux With The Dell XPS 7390

    Earlier this week I highlighted the Dell XPS 7390 "Ice Lake" ultrabook seeing a big performance drop on recent versions of the Linux kernel. Intel engineers seem to have sorted it out and now have a solution in place, which affects those running Linux 5.4 or newer.

Open Hardware/Modding: RISC-V, RasPi and Odroid

Filed under
Hardware
  • Codasip Releases Support Package for Western Digital's First RISC-V SweRV Core

    Codasip GmbH, the leading supplier of configurable RISC-V® embedded processor IP, announced today the official release of its new product, the Codasip SweRV CoreTM EH1 Support Package, which includes a free basic version. The package is designed to provide developers with comprehensive support for the Western Digital SweRV Core™ EH1, a production-grade RISC-V core developed by Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) last year and currently supported and available to the open-source community through CHIPS Alliance [http://www.chipsalliance.org], an open-source development organization which seeks to provide a barrier-free environment to allow collaboration for open-source software and hardware code.

  • Track your cat’s activity with a homemade speedometer
  • Odroid-C4 could be the Odroid you’re looking for

    Hardkernel has launched a $50 “Odroid-C4” SBC that runs Linux or Android on a 2GHz, quad Cortex-A55 Amlogic S905X3 with 4GB DDR4, an eMMC slot, 4x USB 3.0, GbE and HDMI, and a 40-pin GPIO.

    Hardkernel’s new open-spec Raspberry Pi 4 competitor and lookalike is the first community-backed SBC we’ve seen to integrate Amlogic’s new S905X3 SoC. The $50 Odroid-C4 is heir to the similarly open-spec Odroid-C2, which was one of the most popular rivals of the Raspberry Pi 3. The Odroid-C4 will likely be one of the biggest hacker board introductions of the year, especially considering the pipeline of new SBC models has slowed in early 2020.

  • $50 ODROID-C4 Raspberry Pi 4 Competitor Combines Amlogic S905X3 SoC with 4GB RAM

    Hardkernel has just launched an update to its ODROID-C2 board, with ODROID-C4 SBC equipped with a 2.0 GHz Amlogic S905X3 quad-core Cortex-A55 processor combined with up to 4GB RAM, four USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0 video output, and the usual 40-pin I/O header.

    That makes it a worthy competitor to Raspberry Pi 4 with 4GB RAM, especially since it supports Ubuntu 20.04, CoreELEC, Android 9, and LineageOS operating systems, and comes with a proper heatsink for cooling for just $50 plus shipping.

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More in Tux Machines

Programming Leftovers

  • I built my own camera with a Raspberry Pi 4

    The Raspberry Pi is a super tiny computer that is highly programmable. People have used these to program everything from smart mirrors, to portable arcades, to COVID-19 case counters, and even super smart, super techie greenhouses. They are tiny boxes that — if you know how to code — can do pretty much anything.

    For my build, I used the $50 HQ Camera Mod, a Raspberry Pi 4 computer, a USB-C portable 10,000mAh charger, a 3.5-inch touchscreen, jumper wires, a mini push button switch, the body of a Ninoka NK-700 35mm camera, and two vintage C-mount lenses.

  • Customizing my Linux terminal with tmux and Git

    I use tmux, a terminal multiplexer technology, to manage my terminal experience. At the bottom of the image above, you can see my green tmux bar. The [3] at the bottom indicates this terminal is the third one: each terminal runs its own tmux session. (I created a new one to make the font larger, so it's easier to see in this screenshot; this is the only difference between this terminal and my real ones.) The prompt also looks funny, right? With so much information jammed into the prompt, I like to stick in a newline so that if I want to do impromptu shell programming or write a five-step pipeline, I can do it without having things spill over. The trade-off is that simple sequences of commands—touch this, copy that, move this—scroll off my screen faster. [...] The first bit in the prompt is the bit I like the most: one letter that lets me know the Git status of the directory. It is G if the directory is "(not in) Git," K if the directory is "OK" and nothing needs to be done, ! if there are files unknown to Git that must be added or ignored, C if I need to commit, U if there is no upstream, and P if an upstream exists, but I have not pushed. This scheme is not based on the current status but describes the next action I need to do. (To review Git terminology, give this article a read.) This terminal functionality is accomplished with an interesting Python utility. It runs python -m howsit (after I installed howsit in a dedicated virtual environment).

  • Compare the speed of grep with Python regexes

    As we were converting our Shell scripts to Python anyway I thought I could rewrite it in Python and go over the file once instead of 20 times and use the Regex engine of Python to extract the same information.

    The Python version should be faster as we all know file I/O is way more expensive than in-memory operations.

    After starting conversion it turned out to be incorrect. Our code became way slower. Let's see a simulation of it.

  • Compare the speed of Perl and Python regexes

    The regex engine in Perl is much faster than the regex engine of Python.

    The are both slower than grep as measured when I compares Python with grep.

  • SSH Emergency Access

    Why would you want this? Only as an option of last resort. A backdoor into your servers when, for whatever reason, nothing else works.

    Why use certificates instead of public/private keys for emergency access?

    Passive revocation. Certificates expire; public keys don't. You can mint an SSH certificate valid for 1 minute, or even 5 seconds. Once it expires, the certificate will become unusable for new connections. This is perfect for occasional emergency access.

    You'll be able to create a certificate for any account on your hosts and send short-lived certificates to colleagues as needed.

  • Cartesi Launches 'Descartes' SDK Portal - Future of DApps

    Cartesi, the most recent Binance Launchpad IEO announced the launch of their Descartes SDK Documentation portal. The SDK Portal represents a leap forward for the Cartesi team in fulfilling their ambition in bridging the world of Linux open-sourced software, with the inherent security benefits of blockchain technology.

  • Cartesi launches Decartes SDK bringing blockchain dapp development to Linux

    The Cartesi Foundation today announced the launch of the Decartes software development kit and developer portal to enable developers to build distributed ledger blockchain apps using the Linux operating system. The SDK, which is currently an alpha test version, will allow developers to use mainstream software and libraries to develop distributed apps, or dapps, more easily while also keeping the security and capabilities of the blockchain.

  • Cartesi Launches SDK and Developer Portal Making DApp Development Feasible with Linux

    Cartesi, an innovator in the blockchain space, today announces the publishing of the alpha version of its Descartes Software Development Kit (SDK) and developer portal in line with its roadmap. Erick Demoura, CEO & Co-Founder of Cartesi said, "With this SDK release, we prove our continued commitment to making DApps powerful and easy to build. The SDK launch will allow developers who are already in the blockchain space to perform heavy computations and to get the convenience and the tools they were lacking before. Our vision is to make it possible, in the future, for any developer to build on top of Cartesi, to remove the boundaries and to make broad adoption of DApps a reality."

  • Isolating PHP Web Sites

    If you have multiple PHP web sites on a server in a default configuration they will all be able to read each other’s files in a default configuration. If you have multiple PHP web sites that have stored data or passwords for databases in configuration files then there are significant problems if they aren’t all trusted. Even if the sites are all trusted (IE the same person configures them all) if there is a security problem in one site it’s ideal to prevent that being used to immediately attack all sites. [...] The Apache PHP module depends on mpm_prefork so it also has the issues of not working with HTTP/2 and of causing the web server to be slow. The solution is php-fpm, a separate server for running PHP code that uses the fastcgi protocol to talk to Apache. Here’s a link to the upstream documentation for php-fpm [4]. In Debian this is in the php7.3-fpm package.

  • Template Haskell recompilation

    I was wondering: What happens if I have a Haskell module with Template Haskell that embeds some information from the environment (time, environment variables). Will such a module be reliable recompiled? And what if it gets recompiled, but the source code produced by Template Haskell is actually unchaned (e.g., because the environment variable has not changed), will all depending modules be recompiled (which would be bad)?

  • Breathing life into the (Emacs) cperl-mode

    If you are an Emacs user, you might know or even use cperl-mode. I am using it, more or less since my first days with Perl. Back then, newsgroups were a thing, and Ilya Zakharevich recommended it occasionally. In older times cperl-mode was shipped with Perl, today it is part of Emacs.

  • From the user perspective, Perl strings have no bugs and work well.

    I feel that in the upcoming version of Perl, the core team fixes the Unicode bug as a reason to break backward compatibility Perl 5. Unicode in Perl internally has some inconsistencies due to conflicts between latin-1 and UTF-8. this is true. On the other hand, from the user's point of view, a Perl string works perfectly fine if you only accept it can't tell whether it's a decoded string or a bytes. We are solving this problem by convention.

  • Monthly Report - June

    COVID-19 seems to be still haunting us but life is getting back to normal slowly. I had the pleasure to attend the first "Conference in the Cloud". It was 3 days event. I booked 3 days off from the work so that I can focus on the event without any interruptions. It was my first experience attending event in the cloud. I found it hard to focus on the talk in general. Could it be as I was at home with kids running around? The day one itself started on a very happy note with the announcement of "Perl 7" by Sawyer X. The entire day one was dedicated to this very topic. brian d foy even had his first book "Preparing for Perl 7" launched with the announcement. Thanks to the author brian d foy, I had the pleasure to read the first copy of the book. I simply loved it. The best introductory book on Perl 7 so far. Please go and check out yourself. I have been attending Perl conference for many years now but never had the opportunity to meet Damian Conway. The "Conference in the Cloud" made it possible to watch him live for the first time. As expected, I loved his talk, although it was recorded.

  • More stupid Bash tricks: Variables, find, file descriptors, and remote operations

    This blog post is the second of two covering some practical tips and tricks to get the most out of the Bash shell. In part one, I covered history, last argument, working with files and directories, reading files, and Bash functions. In this segment, I cover shell variables, find, file descriptors, and remote operations.

  • Python Software Foundation: Announcing the PSF Project Funding Working Group

    For the past 3 years, the PSF has been working on grant funded projects to improve our internal systems and platforms. This work has been done with the Packaging Working Group, and focused on our packaging ecosystem of PyPI and pip. We have been able to show that applying directed funding to open source projects has the ability to dramatically increase the speed of development, and move our community forward in a much more sustained way than relying solely on volunteer effort. [...] The PSF has created the Project Funding Working Group to help our community seek similar funding for their own projects. We hope to expand the amount of money going into the Python community as a whole, by providing resources and advice to projects who are interested in seeking funding from external sources. Our charter starts with our intended purpose: This Working Group researches, and advises Python community volunteers on applying for external grants and similar funding to advance the mission of the PSF, which includes, but is not limited to, things such as advancing the Python core, Python-related infrastructure, key Python projects, and Python education and awareness. You can read the entire charter for more information about the vision for the group that we intend to build over the medium and long term.

Spotlighting the Top Open Source Crafting Tools

Handicraft is a term that describes many different types of work where practical and decorative objects are made by hand or by using only simple tools. Depending on your location, the phrase ‘arts and crafts’ may be more commonly used. Collective terms for handicrafts include artisanry, handicrafting, crafting, and handicraftsmanship. This article focuses on crafting using your hands. This article highlights versatile open source software that aids cross-stitching and knot design. The software featured here helps individuals create their own charts from scratch or generate charts from imported pictures. Good quality open source software in this field is very sparse, fortunately there are still a few real gems. Here’s our recommendations. Read more

Purism Launches Librem 14, Successor to Security-focused Librem 13 Product Line

Purism, a security-first hardware and software maker, has launched the Librem 14 laptop for pre-order, the successor to its popular Librem 13 laptop line. The Librem 14 was designed based on Purism’s experience with four generations of Librem 13 laptops along with customer feedback. It retains popular security features such as hardware kill switches to disable the webcam/microphone and WiFi and supports PureBoot, Purism’s high security boot firmware. The laptop comes preloaded with PureOS–Purism’s operating system endorsed by the Free Software Foundation. Read more Also: Purism Unveil a Powerful, Privacy Focused New Linux Laptop

Software Leftovers

  • The best photo-editing software in 2020 [Ed: A lot here is proprietary]

    An open-source photo editor that debuted on Unix-based platforms, GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. Today it's available in versions for Linux, Windows and Mac. GIMP offers a wide toolset – everything you're accustomed to is within easy reach, including painting tools, colour correction, cloning, selection, and enhancement. The team that oversees development has worked hard to ensure compatibility too, so you'll be able to work with all the popular file formats without any trouble at all. You'll also find a very capable file manager built in, along similar lines to Adobe's Bridge.

  • The Best Free Software of 2020 [Ed: A lot here is not free but a trap; also proprietary]

    Open-source Audacity can record and edit audio files on more tracks than you can imagine. It then outputs exactly what you need, even to MP3 if you use a plug-in. It is perfect for noobs and pros alike, on any desktop OS.

  • The 10 Best Cross-Platform Task Apps

    Task management apps have surely made life simpler for many. There are scores of software in the market which handle a variety of tasks such as accounting software, office suits, and management tools, etc. However at times, despite having such software, it becomes challenging to hop from one task to another on your to-do-list because of priorities, different clients, and deadlines to meet. But, fortunately, there are lots of software that are dedicated for task management. Such software not only organizes workflow but also improves one’s capability to handle challenging tasks, especially when it comes to an individual task with several requirements. Through this article, we will introduce you to some of the best cross-platform task apps which will manage your business and work needs.

  • Daniel Stenberg: curl 7.71.1 – try again

    This is a follow-up patch release a mere week after the grand 7.71.0 release. While we added a few minor regressions in that release, one of them were significant enough to make us decide to fix and ship an update sooner rather than later. I’ll elaborate below. Every early patch release we do is a minor failure in our process as it means we shipped annoying/serious bugs. That of course tells us that we didn’t test all features and areas good enough before the release. I apologize.

  • Daniel Stenberg: Video: testing curl for security
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  • The Month in WordPress: June 2020

    June was an exciting month for WordPress! Major changes are coming to the Gutenberg plugin, and WordCamp Europe brought the WordPress community closer together. Read on to learn more and to get all the latest updates.