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Open Hardware

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  • Russia's 3Dquality Continues to Expand and Impress with Growing Range of 3D Printers
  • Minimalist Cetus 3D Printer Soon to Hit Kickstarter
  • Qubie is an open hardware solution for tracking wait times at voting places

    With an incredibly important national election coming up, it’s more critical than ever that everyone who can vote does — and is able to. Election tech firm Free and Fair is hoping to help avoid overflowing voting locations with a simple, open source device that automatically monitors waiting times and keeps voters and officials informed.

    Free and Fair creates open source software for polling places, from checking in voters to actually taking and tallying votes — but Qubie is the company’s first original hardware, created for the Hackaday Prize. Founder Daniel Zimmerman explained that it was just another aspect of the voting process that struck them as out of date.

    “In the last few elections there have been reports of long queue times, people giving up and going home,” he told TechCrunch. “Election technology is in a pretty sorry state — we thought it’d be nice to gather data on that rather than anecdotes.”

AMD Graphics

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  • Radeon RX 460 Released, Linux Review Later This Week

    Just days after the Radeon RX 470 began shipping, the Radeon RX 460 is shipping this morning and the embargo concerning the RX 460 has expired.

    This Polaris 11 graphics card has 14 compute units, 896 stream process, 1090MHz boost clock speed with 1200MHz boost clock speed, and is rated for up to 2.2 TFLOPS of compute power. The video memory is GDDR5 on a 128-bit bus. The TDP for this graphics card is less than 75 Watts.

  • AMD GPUOpen's CodeXL 2.2 Now Supports Linux With AMDGPU-PRO

    Earlier this year AMD made CodeXL 2.0 open-source as a developer tool with GUI centered around profiling/optimizing D3D, OpenGL, and Vulkan (since CodeXL 2.1) under Windows and Linux. Today marks the release of CodeXL 2.2.

Android and Devices

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  • Is Knocking On The Door Of My Odroid-C2

    If this ~$100 CDN tiny box pleases TLW, it’s Good Enough. When a proper video driver gets into Linus’ mainline, say, with Wayland, and distros have all the usual applications working, these things will take over. It surely blows away her old VIA box with 8 core-gHz CPU, gigabit/s networking and 2gB RAM compared to 0.4 core-gHz, 100 mbits/s, and 0.25gB RAM. We’re using files over NFS so TLW will be able to use her old desktop environment on Beast III if she wants. Otherwise, she can use the Odroid-C2 as a thick client well enough. Cost for the old ones was ~$150 CDN delivered a decade ago, with real money, not this inflated stuff. Life is good.

  • ​Google wants you to log in once on Android - with any password manager
  • Google Says Goodbye to Android Wear's 'Together' Watch Face
  • Here's an open source PC that can be a laptop, desktop or even tablet

    Would-be backers of the open-source, modular EOMA68 PC card can now support the crowdfunding campaign by purchasing several new gadgets that work with the system.

    Fund-raising for the 'Easy-on-Mother-Earth' EOMA68 PC began in July and have now reached $66,000, or just under half of the $150,000 targeted by the end of August.

    The concept, from UK firm Rhombus Tech, is designed to demonstrate that computers can be easy and cheap to fix or upgrade with a standardized PC board and 3D printable housing and components. It also hopes the modular design can cut the mountains of e-waste produced by the tech industry.

4-Disk Btrfs RAID Benchmarks On Linux 4.7

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Going along with the recent Linux 4.7 file-system benchmarks, here are some tests of Btrfs' built-in RAID functionality when tested on the Linux 4.7 kernel across four SATA SSDs.

Read more

Open Hardware

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  • AArch64 desktop hardware?

    Soon there will be four years since I started working on AArch64 architecture. Lot of software things changed during that time. Lot in a hardware too. But machines availability still sucks badly.

    In 2012 all we had was software model. It was slow, terribly slow. Common joke was AArch64 developers standing in a queue for 10GHz x86-64 cpus. So I was generating working binaries by using cross compilation. But many distributions only do native builds. In models. Imagine Qt4 building for 3-4 days…

    In 2013 I got access to first server hardware. With first silicon version of CPU. Highly unstable, we could use just one core etc. GCC was crashing like hell but we managed to get stable build results from it. Qt4 was building in few hours now.

  • RISC-V on an FPGA, pt. 1

    Last year I had open source instruction set RISC-V running Linux emulated in qemu. However to really get into the architecture, and restore my very rusty FPGA skills, wouldn’t it be fun to have RISC-V working in real hardware.

    The world of RISC-V is pretty confusing for outsiders. There are a bunch of affiliated companies, researchers who are producing actual silicon (nothing you can buy of course), and the affiliated(?) lowRISC project which is trying to produce a fully open source chip. I’m starting with lowRISC since they have three iterations of a design that you can install on reasonably cheap FPGA development boards like the one above. (I’m going to try to install “Untether 0.2” which is the second iteration of their FPGA design.)

  • RISC-V on an FPGA, pt. 2
  • RISC-V on an FPGA, pt. 3
  • RISC-V on an FPGA, pt. 4
  • RISC-V on an FPGA, pt. 5

Open Hardware

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  • Open-Source Farming Machine Plants And Waters Seeds

    While it is nice to have access to produce that is not in season, the unseen use of pesticides and other harmful additives is a difficult problem to avoid.

  • California dreaming: DIY, open-source SoCs with RISC-V

    With its customizable, open-source SoCs built on the free and open RISC-V instruction set architecture, SiFive, a San Francisco start-up, is poised to reverse the industry’s rising licensing, design and implementation costs.

    With on the one hand Moore’s Law ended or approaching the end and on the other, vast investments required for to develop a modern, high-performance chip, it looks impossible for smaller system designers to join the traditional economic model of chip building. However, the body of software and tools available from the open-source community under the guidance of the RISC-V Foundation, can substantially cut the cost of developing custom silicon. System designers can use the SiFive Freedom platforms to focus on their own differentiated processor without having the overhead of developing a modern SoC, fabric or software infrastructur

  • Lawn Da Vinci Open Source RC Lawnmower (video)

    If you find the prices of the current range of robotic lawnmowers just a little too high for your budget, you might be interested in a new open source remote control lawnmower which has been created called the Lawn Da Vinci.

    Okay so it’s not completely autonomous but you can still add a little extra fun to those lawn mowing days, with the addition of a little remote control to the humble petrol powered lawnmower.

  • A open source toolkit for building your own home

    The evidence is overwhelming that large scale collaboration leads to superior technology. FOSS showed us the way and now free and open source hardware is rapidly gaining traction. There is a growing list of open source hardware projects, which are bringing millions (billion?) of dollars of value to the world. Now a new initiative from the Open Building Institute (OBI) is adding "house" to the list of killer open hardware apps.

  • Open Source Hardware: What It Means and Why It Matters

    You've heard of open source software. But what about open source hardware? Here's an overview of what open source hardware is, what the challenges are and why open hardware is poised to grow in importance as the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to boom.

Linux Devices

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  • Smaller & Faster than Raspberry Pi Zero: Meet NanoPi NEO ARM Linux Development Board

    Raspberry Pi Zero has two noticeable attributes compared to other Raspberry Pi boards: it’s smaller and it’s cheaper. FriendlyARM has now designed another model for their NanoPi family, that about 12% smaller, although not quite as thin at all due to its Ethernet jack and USB connector, and much faster than Raspberry Pi Zero, with NanoPi NEO board powered by Allwinner H3 quad core processor.

  • Notes from the fourth RISC-V workshop

    Many of the lowRISC team (Robert Mullins, Wei Song, and Alex Bradbury) have been in Boston this week for the fourth RISC-V workshop. By any measure, this has been a massive success with over 250 attendees representing 63 companies and 42 Universities. Wei presented our most recent work on integrating trace debug, which you’ll soon be able to read much more about here (it’s worth signing up to our announcement list if you want to be informed of each of our releases).

  • Arduino-powered Lock Automatically Locks The Door When You Open Incognito Mode

    Mike, the CEO of the Useless Duck Company, has created an Arduino-powered door lock which locks the door automatically when you open an incognito window in your web browser. In a YouTube video, Mike shows how this awesome tech works.

Devices and Hardware (Linux and Hacker-Friendly)

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  • 8 open source point of sale systems

    Running a small business isn't easy, and especially so for retailers, restaurant owners, and others who have a brick-and-mortar storefront. Managing purchases and cash flow, keeping inventory stocked, making sure your employees are happy, and above all else serving your customers needs requires dedication, a solid business plan, and a bit of luck to be successful.

  • ELC video explains the mystery of modern caches

    In his recent ELC talk, ARM kernel developer Mark Rutland traced the evolution of caches over the last decade or so, and explained how to manage them.

    “If you’re a bit tired, this is a presentation on cache maintenance, so there will be plenty of opportunity to sleep,” began Rutland. Despite this warning, Rutland’s presentation, titled Embedded Linux Conference presentation titled Stale Data, or How We (Mis-)manage Modern Caches, was actually kind of an eye opener — at least as far as cache management presentations go.

  • This open source CNC system integrates high-tech automation into backyard farming

    This story might more properly belong on RobotHugger, but with its open source DIY approach to small-scale food production, FarmBot is worth a look.

    The old-school gardener in me is battling my high-tech early adopter side over whether or not this robotic farming device is a step toward greater food sovereignty or toward a dystopian future where robot overlords rule backyard farms. Sure, it's easy enough to learn to garden the old fashioned way, on your hands and knees with your hands in the soil, but considering that one of the excuses for not growing some our own food is lack of time and lack of skills and knowledge, perhaps this automated and optimized small-scale farming approach could be a feasible solution for the techie foodies who would like homegrown food without having to have a green thumb.

  • Tropical Labs Offers a Powerful Open Source Servo for Makers

    Joe Church from Tropical Labs wanted low cost, accurate servo motors for a project but was unable to find the right parts for his need. The team began to develop motors and recording their progress on The motor project eventually turned into Mechaduino, and Tropical Labs is running a highly successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the first run of production motors.

  • SiFive – the open-source hardware company

    Customisation periods end with ICs becoming complex and expensive and, at that point, standardisation comes in and returns ICs to affordability.

    Or that’s the theory.

    Over the years there have been many ways to bring the cost of custom silicon down – MPW, ASIC, P-SOC, FPGAs and, latterly, ARM’s offer of free access to Cortex-M0 processor IP through DesignStart which aims to deliver test chips for $16,000.

Anki Cozmo: AI toy robot gets open-source SDK for programming, hacking

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Games for GNU/Linux

  • Why GNU/Linux ports can be less performant, a more in-depth answer
    When it comes to data handling, or rather data manipulation, different APIs can perform it in different ways. In one, you might simply be able to modify some memory and all is ok. In another, you might have to point to a copy and say "use that when you can instead and free the original then". This is not a one way is better than the other discussion - it's important only that they require different methods of handling it. Actually, OpenGL can have a lot of different methods, and knowing the "best" way for a particular scenario takes some experience to get right. When dealing with porting a game across though, there may not be a lot of options: the engine does things a certain way, so that way has to be faked if there's no exact translation. Guess what? That can affect OpenGL state, and require re-validation of an entire rendering pipeline, stalling command submission to the GPU, a.k.a less performance than the original game. It's again not really feasible to rip apart an entire game engine and redesign it just for that: take the performance hit and carry on. Note that some decisions are based around _porting_ a game. If one could design from the ground up with OpenGL, then OpenGL would likely give better performance...but it might also be more difficult to develop and test for. So there's a bit of a trade-off there, and most developers are probably going to be concerned with getting it running on Windows first, GNU/Linux second. This includes engine developers.
  • Why Linux games often perform worse than on Windows
    Drivers on Windows are tweaked rather often for specific games. You often see a "Game Ready" (or whatever term they use now) driver from Nvidia and AMD where they often state "increased performance in x game by x%". This happens for most major game releases on Windows. Nvidia and AMD have teams of people to specifically tweak the drivers for games on Windows. Looking at Nvidia specifically, in the last three months they have released six new drivers to improve performance in specific games.
  • Thoughts on 'Stellaris' with the 'Leviathans Story Pack' and latest patch, a better game that still needs work
  • Linux community has been sending their love to Feral Interactive & Aspyr Media
    This is awesome to see, people in the community have sent both Feral Interactive & Aspyr Media some little care packages full of treats. Since Aspyr Media have yet to bring us the new Civilization game, it looks like Linux users have been guilt-tripping the porters into speeding up, or just sending them into a sugar coma.
  • Feral Interactive's Linux ports may come with Vulkan sooner than we thought
  • Using Nvidia's NVENC with OBS Studio makes Linux game recording really great
    I had been meaning to try out Nvidia's NVENC for a while, but I never really bothered as I didn't think it would make such a drastic difference in recording gaming videos, but wow does it ever! I was trying to record a game recently and all other methods I tried made the game performance utterly dive, making it impossible to record it. So I asked for advice and eventually came to this way.

Leftovers: Software

  • DocKnot 1.00
    I'm a bit of a perfectionist about package documentation, and I'm also a huge fan of consistency. As I've slowly accumulated more open source software packages (alas, fewer new ones these days since I have less day-job time to work on them), I've developed a standard format for package documentation files, particularly the README in the package and the web pages I publish. I've iterated on these, tweaking them and messing with them, trying to incorporate all my accumulated wisdom about what information people need.
  • Shotwell moving along
    A new feature that was included is a contrast slider in the enhancement tool, moving on with integrating patches hanging around on Bugzilla for quite some time.
  • GObject and SVG
    GSVG is a project to provide a GObject API, using Vala. It has almost all, with some complementary, interfaces from W3C SVG 1.1 specification. GSVG is LGPL library. It will use GXml as XML engine. SVG 1.1 DOM interfaces relays on W3C DOM, then using GXml is a natural choice. SVG is XML and its DOM interfaces, requires to use Object’s properties and be able to add child DOM Elements; then, we need a new set of classes.
  • LibreOffice 5.1.6 Office Suite Released for Enterprise Deployments with 68 Fixes
    Today, October 27, 2016, we've been informed by The Document Foundation about the general availability of the sixth maintenance update to the LibreOffice 5.1 open-source and cross-platform office suite. You're reading that right, LibreOffice 5.1 got a new update not the current stable LibreOffice 5.2 branch, as The Document Foundation is known to maintain at least to versions of its popular office suite, one that is very well tested and can be used for enterprise deployments and another one that offers the latest technologies.