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Hardware

Devices/Embedded: Raspberry Pi, Librem and More

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • A Raspberry Pi-style computer you can build yourself: Blueberry Pi

    If buying a Raspberry Pi or one of the many other single-board computers available isn't a tough enough challenge, hacker Marcel Thürmer has sketched out enough details about his Blueberry Pi open-source hardware project to help the like-minded take things to the next level.

    As Thürmer wryly notes on the GitHub page where he's left the Blueberry Pi's schematics, this is just "another fruit single-board computer" based on the Allwinner V3s system on chip (SoC).

    However, while some single-board computer makers have open-sourced their hardware designs, unless you're building a large enough quantity, it's probably not worth the cost or effort.

  • Ethical aesthetics – Librem 5 design report #7

    You may have noticed that there is no obvious visual branding on the Librem laptops. While this was at first a technical limitation on the very first Librem model (back in 2015), the subtle and minimalistic branding that began on newer models in 2016 was a conscious design decision.

    Now, we’re hoping to refine the physical branding further.
    One reason for a minimalist design is aesthetic. Just like on a piece of hand-made jewelry, we wish the branding to be made in the form of an inconspicuous marking that doesn’t interfere with the natural beauty of the overall shape.

  • Intel launches seven NUCs with Coffee Lake and 10nm Canyon Lake CPUs

    Intel has launched five, barebones “Bean Canyon” NUC mini-PC kits equipped with 14nm, 8th Gen “Coffee Lake” CPUs starting at $299. It also unveiled two configured, Windows 10 equipped NUCs that tap its 10nm “Canyon Lake” chips.

  • Rugged, Linux-friendly embedded PC plugs you into the CANBus

    IEI announced an IP40-protected “DRPC-130-AL” DIN-rail computer with an Atom x5-E3930, CANBus, SATA, eMMC, 4x USB 3.0, dual HDMI and GbE, extended temperature support, and shock and vibration resistance.

    IEI’s fanless DRPC-130-AL may be the quintessential compact industrial embedded PC. Nothing much stands out except for the CANBus port, but IEI Technology has crammed a lot into a compact, 1.4 kg, 174 x 130 x 58.8mm chassis.

ASUS Begins Offering Linux-Based Endless OS On Select Laptops

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware

It has been a while since ASUS last offered any Linux options for laptops, but they appear to have a new effort underway with Endless OS.

For those that remember Eee PC from a decade ago, ASUS used to offer some Linux laptops/netbook options that back was using Xandros Linux during the netbook fad...

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Railway computer runs Linux on Kaby Lake

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

Lanner’s rugged, Linux-friendly “R6S” railway computer runs on an Intel 7th Gen Core i7-7600U chip and offers 10x M12 PoE ports, 3x mini-PCIe slots, and EN 50155 and EN 45545 certification.

The R6S uses the same dual-core, Kaby Lake Core i7-7600U CPU as Lanner’s recent V6S vehicle surveillance NVR computer and similarly offers 10x GbE ports with Power-over-Ethernet (PoE). Yet, the R6S is more specifically targeted at trains. It offers compliance with ISO 7637-2, EN 50155, and EN 45545 certifications, and has passed EN 61373/MIL-STD-810G shock and vibration resistance certifications. It also supports a wider set of applications, including “rolling stock control and monitoring, infotainment, video surveillance and fleet management.”

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Amiga Enthusiast Gets Quake Running On Killer NIC PowerPC CPU Core

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OS
Hardware
Gaming

The Amiga community remains one of the most passionate and inventive we have ever seen, even now, decades after Commodore’s demise. A couple of weeks back, we featured just a few recent projects that were designed to breathe new life into aging Amiga systems, or at the very least ensure they remain repairable for the foreseeable future. Our article explaining how to build a cheap Amiga emulator using a Raspberry Pi was immensely popular as well. Today, however, we stumbled across a video that encapsulates the ingenuity of many of the more technical folks in the Amiga community. What it shows is an Amiga 3000UX, equipped with a Voodoo 3 card and BigFoot Networks Killer NIC M1, running some software – including Quake – on the Killer NIC’s on-board Power PC processor.

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New Devices With Defective Intel Chips and Linux Support

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • Linux-friendly embedded computer runs on Apollo Lake power

    Axiomtek has released a rugged, Ubuntu-ready “eBOX627-312-FL” embedded PC with a dual-core Celeron N3350, 2x GbE, 6x USB, and 4x serial ports plus mini-PCIe, HDMI, SATA, and “Flexible I/O.”

  • EPIC board boasts 4x GbE ports and PCIe x4

    Aaeon is rolling out a new EPIC form-factor “EPIC-KBS9” SBC with 6th or 7th Gen Core S-series chips, 4x GbE ports, up to 32GB DDR3, and mini-PCIe and PCIe x4 expansion.

    Aaeon’s EPIC-KBS9 follows two other EPIC-KBS SBCs to support Intel’s 6th “Skylake” or 7th “Kaby Lake” generation S-Series processors: the EPIC-KBS7, which emphasized real-world ports, and last month’s EPIC-KBS8, which is a bit more feature rich but with fewer coastline ports. Unlike these earlier models, the KBS9 offers 4x GbE ports, up to 32GB DDR4-2133, and a full-size PCIe x4 slot, which supports NVMe storage.

Latest Speculative Execution 'Bug' (Chip Defect)

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
Security
  • L1 Terminal Fault - The Latest Speculative Execution Side Channel Attack

    Details are still light but a new vulnerability is coming out called the L1 Terminal Fault. It's been described as a "train-wreck" and is another big deal in the security space as the latest speculative side-channel attack vector.

    The CVEs are CVE-2018-3615, CVE-2018-3620, and CVE-2018-3646 but as of writing they have not been made public yet. I just noticed the code hitting the mainline Linux kernel to this "L1TF - L1 Terminal Fault" vulnerability.

  • Ubuntu updates for L1 Terminal Fault vulnerabilities

    Today Intel announced a new side channel vulnerability known as L1 Terminal Fault. Raoul Strackx, Jo Van Bulck, Marina Minkin, Ofir Weisse, Daniel Genkin, Baris Kasikci, Frank Piessens, Mark Silberstein, Thomas F. Wenisch, Yuval Yarom, and researchers from Intel discovered that memory present in the L1 data cache of an Intel CPU core may be exposed to a malicious process that’s executing on the CPU core. Processors from other vendors are not known to be affected by L1TF.

  • Microsoft Patch Tuesday 17134.228 Enhances Battery Performance and Mitigates L1TF Vulnerability

Run a Linux Terminal on Cheap E-Ink Displays

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

If you haven’t kept up with the world of e-ink displays, here’s some good news: they are pretty cheap now. For as little as $15 you can get a small e-ink display that has good enough performance and contrast to actually do something useful. There’s only one problem: figuring out how to drive them in your project.

Tired of seeing nothing but wiring diagrams and sample code when it came to actually putting these e-ink modules to use, [Jouko Strömmer] decided to try his hand at creating a turn-key application for these gorgeous little displays. The result is PaperTTY, a Python program that allows the user to open up a fully functional Linux virtual terminal on an e-ink display.

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Also: Open Sourcing Martian Engineering

Phoronix on Threadripper 2900 Series

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
Hardware
  • Threadripper 2900 Series Temperature Monitoring Sent In For Linux 4.19 Then Backported

    As expected, the CPU temperature monitoring support within the "k10temp" hwmon driver has seen the patches sent in today to be updated for the AMD Threadripper 2900 series CPU support. These patches are going into the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window but slated to be back-ported to the currently supported stable kernel series.

  • AMD Threadripper 2950X Offers Great Linux Performance At $900 USD

    The embargo has expired now for talking about Threadripper 2 performance figures... First up are our initial Threadripper 2950X Linux benchmarks. In this article are the most interesting metrics for this 16-core / 32-thread processor while in the just-published AMD Threadripper 2990WX Linux Benchmarks are a lot more figures complemented by the 2950X and other CPUs plus power consumption numbers, etc. This article is most useful if specifically focused on the performance of the Threadripper 2950X that comes in at $899 USD.

  • AMD Threadripper 2990WX Cooling Performance - Testing Five Heatsinks & Two Water Coolers

    The 32-core / 64-thread AMD Threadripper 2990WX carries a 250 Watt TDP rating, thus the cooling performance is quite important especially if you don't want to hit any thermal throttling with this $1799 USD processor. Fortunately, the 2990WX doesn't require water cooling but actually can work quite well with high-end air heatsinks too. For adding some perspective on the cooling requirements of the Threadripper 2990WX, here are benchmarks of five heatsinks and two all-in-one water cooling systems.

  • AMD Threadripper 2990WX Linux Benchmarks: The 32-Core / 64-Thread Beast

    Whether you are compiling a lot of code, rendering models with Blender, or running various scientific workloads with OpenMP or MPI, the AMD Threadripper 2990WX is capable of delivering immersive Linux performance with its 32-cores and 64 total threads. While coming in at $1800 USD, the AMD Threadripper 2990WX can deliver better performance than the more expensive Intel Core i9 7980XE. Beyond being mesmerized about the performance today with this high-end desktop/workstation processor with the many thread-happy Linux workloads we encounter daily, this 32-core Zen+ processor has us even more eager to see AMD's next-generation Zen2-based EPYC CPUs next year.

Build Your Own Linux Single Board Computer

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware

We are fortunate enough to have a huge choice of single-board computers before us, not just those with a bare-metal microcontroller, but also those capable of running fully-fledged general purpose operating systems such as GNU/Linux. The Raspberry Pi is probably the best known of this latter crop of boards, and it has spawned a host of competitors with similarly fruity names. With an entire cornucopia to choose from, it takes a bit more than evoking a berry to catch our attention. The form factors are becoming established and the usual SoCs are pretty well covered already, show us something we haven’t seen before!

[Marcel Thürmer] may have managed that feat, with his Blueberry Pi. On the face of it this is just Yet Another SBC With A Fruity Pi Name, but what caught our attention is that unlike all the others, this is one you can build yourself if you want. It’s entirely open-source, but it differs from other boards that release their files to the world in that it manages to keep construction within the realm of what is possible on the bench rather than the pick-and-place. He’s done this by choosing an Alwinner V3, an SoC originally produced for the action camera market that is available in a readily-solderable TQFP package. It’s a choice that has allowed him to pull off another constructor-friendly feat: the board is only two layers, so it won’t break the bank to have it made.

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OTTO: A Pi Based Open Source Music Production Box

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Hardware

Want an open source portable synth workstation that won’t break the bank? Check out OTTO. [Topisani] started OTTO as a clone of the well-known Teenage Engineering OP-1. However, soon [Topisani] decided to branch away from simply cloning the OP-1 — instead, they’re taking a lot of inspiration from it in terms of form factor, but the UI will eventually be quite different.

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More in Tux Machines

GNOME: NVMe Firmware and GSConnect

  • Richard Hughes: NVMe Firmware: I Need Your Data
    In a recent Google Plus post I asked what kind of hardware was most interesting to be focusing on next. UEFI updating is now working well with a large number of vendors, and the LVFS “onboarding” process is well established now. On that topic we’ll hopefully have some more announcements soon. Anyway, back to the topic in hand: The overwhelming result from the poll was that people wanted NVMe hardware supported, so that you can trivially update the firmware of your SSD. Firmware updates for SSDs are important, as most either address data consistency issues or provide nice performance fixes.
  • Gnome Shell Android Integration Extension GSConnect V12 Released
    GSConnect v12 was released yesterday with changes like more resilient sshfs connections (which should make browsing your Android device from the desktop more reliable), fixed extension icon alignment, along with other improvements. GSConnect is a Gnome Shell extension that integrates your Android device(s) with the desktop. The tool makes use of the KDE Connect protocol but without using any KDE dependencies, keeping your desktop clean of unwanted packages.
  • Linux Release Roundup: Communitheme, Cantata & VS Code
    GSconnect is a magical GNOME extension that lets your Android phone integrate with your Linux desktop. So good, in fact, that Ubuntu devs want to ship it as part of the upcoming Ubuntu 18.10 release (though last I heard it probably just end up in the repos instead). Anyway, a new version of GSconnect popped out this week. GSconnect v12 adds a nifty new features or two, as well as a few fixes here, and a few UI tweaks there.

Red Hat Leftovers

  • Red Hat Advances Container Storage
    Red Hat has moved to make storage a standard element of a container platform with the release of version 3.1 of Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage (OCS), previously known as Red Hat Container Native Storage. Irshad Raihan, senior manager for product marketing for Red Hat Storage, says Red Hat decided to rebrand its container storage offering to better reflect its tight integration with the Red Hat OpenShift platform. In addition, the term “container native” continues to lose relevance given all the different flavors of container storage that now exist, adds Raihan. The latest version of the container storage software from Red Hat adds arbiter volume support to enable high availability with efficient storage utilization and better performance, enhanced storage monitoring and configuration via the Red Hat implementation of the Prometheus container monitoring framework, and block-backed persistent volumes (PVs) that can be applied to both general application workloads and Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform (OCP) infrastructure workloads. Support for PVs is especially critical because to in the case of Red Hat OCS organizations can deploy more than 1,000 PVs per cluster, which helps to reduce cluster sprawl within the IT environment, says Raihan.
  • Is Red Hat Inc’s (NYSE:RHT) ROE Of 20.72% Sustainable?
  • FPgM report: 2018-33

OSS Leftovers

  • Infineon enables open source TSS ESAPI layer
    This is the first open source TPM middleware that complies with the Software Stack (TSS) Enhanced System API (ESAPI) specification of the Trusted Computing Group . “The ease of integration on Linux and other embedded platforms that comes with the release of the TPM 2.0 ESAPI stack speeds up the adoption of TPM 2.0 in embedded systems such as network equipment and industrial systems,” says Gordon Muehl, Global CTO Security at Huawei.
  • Open source RDBMS uses spurred by lower costs, cloud options
    As the volumes of data generated by organizations get larger and larger, data professionals face a dilemma: Must database bills get bigger in the process? And, increasingly, IT shops with an eye on costs are looking to open source RDBMS platforms as a potential alternative to proprietary relational database technologies.
  • Progress open sources ABL code in Spark Toolkit
    New England headquartered application development company Progress is flexing its programmer credentials this month. The Massachusetts-HQ’d firm has now come forward with its Progress Spark Toolkit… but what is it? The Progress Spark Toolkit is a set of open source ABL code combined with some recommended best-practices.
  • Mixing software development roles produces great results
    Most open source communities don’t have a lot of formal roles. There are certainly people who help with sysadmin tasks, testing, writing documentation, and translating or developing code. But people in open source communities typically move among different roles, often fulfilling several at once. In contrast, team members at most traditional companies have defined roles, working on documentation, support, QA, and in other areas. Why do open source communities take a shared-role approach, and more importantly, how does this way of collaborating affect products and customers? Nextcloud has adopted this community-style practice of mixing roles, and we see large benefits for our customers and our users.
  • FOSS Project Spotlight: SIT (Serverless Information Tracker)
    In the past decade or so, we've learned to equate the ability to collaborate with the need to be online. The advent of SaaS clearly marked the departure from a decentralized collaboration model to a heavily centralized one. While on the surface this is a very convenient delivery model, it simply doesn't fit a number of scenarios well. As somebody once said, "you can't FTP to Mars", but we don't need to go as far. There are plenty of use cases here on Earth that are less than perfectly suited for this "online world". Lower power chips and sensors, vessel/offshore collaboration, disaster recovery, remote areas, sporadically reshaping groups—all these make use of central online services a challenge. Another challenge with centralization is somewhat less thought of—building software that can handle a lot of concurrent users and that stores and processes a lot of information and never goes down is challenging and expensive, and we, as consumers, pay dearly for that effort. And not least important, software in the cloud removes our ability to adapt it perfectly for use cases beyond its owner's vision, scope and profitability considerations. Convenience isn't free, and this goes way beyond the price tag.
  • ProtonMail's open source encryption library, OpenPGPjs, passes independent audit
    ProtonMail, the secure email provider, has just had its credentials re-affirmed after its encryption library, OpenPGPjs, passed an independent security audit. The audit was carried out by the respected security firm, Cure53, after the developer community commissioned a review following the release of OpenPGPjs 3.0 back in March.
  • Uber Announces Open Source Fusion.js Framework
    Uber Announces Fusion.js, an open source "Plugin-based Universal Web Framework." In the announcement, Uber senior software engineer Leo Horie explains that Uber builds hundreds of web-based applications, and with web technologies changing quickly and best practices continually evolving, it is a challenge to have hundreds of web engineers leverage modern language features while staying current with the dynamic nature of the web platform. Fusion.js is Uber's solution to this problem.
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  • ASAN And LSAN Work In rr
    AddressSanitizer has worked in rr for a while. I just found that LeakSanitizer wasn't working and landed a fix for that. This means you can record an ASAN build and if there's an ASAN error, or LSAN finds a leak, you can replay it in rr knowing the exact addresses of the data that leaked — along with the usual rr goodness of reverse execution, watchpoints, etc. Well, hopefully. Report an issue if you find more problems.
  • Oracle Open-Sources GraphPipe to Support ML Development
    Oracle on Wednesday announced that it has open-sourced GraphPipe to enhance machine learning applications. The project's goal is to improve deployment results for machine learning models, noted Project Leader Vish Abrams. That process includes creating an open standard. The company has a questionable relationship with open source developers, so its decision to open-source GraphPipe might not receive a flood of interest. Oracle hopes developers will rally behind the project to simplify and standardize the deployment of machine learning models. GraphPipe consists of a set of libraries and tools for following a deployment standard.
  • OERu makes a college education affordable
    Open, higher education courses are a boon to adults who don’t have the time, money, or confidence to enroll in traditional college courses but want to further their education for work or personal satisfaction. OERu is a great option for these learners. It allows people to take courses assembled by accredited colleges and universities for free, using open textbooks, and pay for assessment only when (and if) they want to apply for formal academic credit. I spoke with Dave Lane, open source technologist at the Open Education Resource Foundation, which is OERu’s parent organization, to learn more about the program. The OER Foundation is a nonprofit organization hosted by Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin, New Zealand. It partners with organizations around the globe to provide leadership, networking, and support to help advance open education principles.
  • Tomu Is A Tiny, Open Source Computer That Easily Fits In Your USB Port
    There are a number of USB stick computers available in the market at varying prices. One of them that really stands out is Tomu — a teeny weeny ARM processor that can entirely fit inside your computer’s USB port. Tomu is based on Silicon Labs Happy Gecko EFM32HG309 Arm Cortex-M0+ microcontroller that runs at 25 MHz. It sports 8 kb of RAM and 60 kb of flash onboard. In spite of the small size, it supports two LEDs and two capacitance touch buttons.
  • RcppArmadillo 0.9.100.5.0
    A new RcppArmadillo release 0.9.100.5.0, based on the new Armadillo release 9.100.5 from earlier today, is now on CRAN and in Debian. It once again follows our (and Conrad's) bi-monthly release schedule. Conrad started with a new 9.100.* series a few days ago. I ran reverse-depends checks and found an issue which he promptly addressed; CRAN found another which he also very promptly addressed. It remains a true pleasure to work with such experienced professionals as Conrad (with whom I finally had a beer around the recent useR! in his home town) and of course the CRAN team whose superb package repository truly is the bedrock of the R community.
  • PHP version 7.1.21 and 7.2.9
    RPM of PHP version 7.2.9 are available in remi repository for Fedora 28 and in remi-php72 repository for Fedora 25-27 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS). RPM of PHP version 7.1.21 are available in remi repository for Fedora 26-27 and in remi-php71 repository for Fedora 25 and Enterprise Linux (RHEL, CentOS).

GNU/Linux on Laptops and Desktops

  • Endless OS and Asus, Update on L1TF Exploit, Free Red Hat DevConf.US in Boston, Linux 4.19 Kernel Update
    Some of us may recall a time when ASUS used to ship a stripped down version of Xandros Linux with their line of Eee PC netbooks. Last week, the same company announced that Endless OS will be supporting non-OS offerings of their product. However it comes with a big disclaimer stating that ASUS will not officially support the operating system's compatibility issues.
  • The Chromebook Grows Up
    What started out as a project to provide a cheap, functional, secure and fast laptop experience has become so much more. Chromebooks in general have suffered from a lack of street-cred acceptance. Yes, they did a great job of doing the everyday basics—web browsing and...well, that was about it. Today, with the integration of Android apps, all new and recently built Chrome OS devices do much more offline—nearly as much as a conventional laptop or desktop, be it video editing, photo editing or a way to switch to a Linux desktop for developers or those who just like to do that sort of thing.
  • Windows 10 Linux Distribution Overload? We have just the thing [Ed: Microsoft is still striving to control and master GNU/Linux through malware, Vista 10]
  • What Dropbox dropping Linux support says
    You've probably already heard by now that Dropbox is nixing support for all Linux file systems but unencrypted ext4. When this was announced, much of the open source crowd was up in arms—and rightfully so. Dropbox has supported Linux for a long time, so this move came as a massive surprise.
  • Winds Beautifully Combines Feed Reader and Podcast Player in One Single App
    Billboard top 50 playlist is great for commuting. But I’m a nerd so I mostly prefer podcasts. Day after day, listening to podcasts on my phone has turned into a habit for the better and now, I crave my favorite podcasts even when I’m home, sitting in front of my computer. Thus began, my hunt for the perfect podcast app for Linux. Desktop Linux doesn’t have a huge selection of dedicated podcast applications. Of course, you can use Rhythmbox music player or VLC Media player to download podcasts (is there anything VLC can’t do?). There are even some great command line tools to download podcasts if you want to go down that road.
  • VirtualBox 5.2.18 Maintenance Update fixed VM process termination on RDP client disconnect
    Virtualbox developers released a maintenance update for virtualization solution on the 14th of August, 2018. The latest update raised the version of VirtualBox to 5.2.18. The improvements and additions have been welcomed by several users as it makes the virtualization product even more convenient to use.