It goes without saying that if you go to a computer store downtown to buy a new laptop, you will be offered a notebook with Windows preinstalled, or a Mac. Either way, you’ll be forced to pay an extra fee – either for a Microsoft license or for the Apple logo on the back.
On the other hand, you have the option to buy a laptop and install a distribution of your choice. However, the hardest part may be to find the right hardware that will get along nicely with the operating system.
On top of that, we also need to consider the availability of drivers for the hardware. So what do you do? The answer is simple: buy a laptop with Linux preinstalled.
This is a big update: a lot has been going on, with bursts of activity and the need to adapt to changing circumstances.
GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton announced recently that he managed to create a remix of Raspberry Pi Foundation's Raspbian with PIXEL desktop operating system for PC and Mac.
If you're reading the news lately, you should be aware of the fact that Raspberry Pi Foundation modified their widely-used, Debian-based Raspbian GNU/Linux distribution for Raspberry Pi single-board computers, with the new PIXEL desktop environment, to work on x86 computers and Macs.
When we said "modified" above, we actually meant to say that there's a new spin of Raspbian PIXEL, which you can use on your PC or Mac, but there's a catch. It appears that there's currently no installer including in this image to deploy the Linux-based operating system on your personal computer or laptop.
This board is being officially supported by Android and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. I/O includes HDMI 2.0, PCI Express M.2, DP 1.2, eDP, USB 3.0, and more. Storage varies from 16GB eMMC and 2GB of RAM up to 4GB of RAM and 128GB eMMC. Pricing starts out at $139 USD for the base model.
In May 2016, disgruntled developers of the embedded-Linux-for-routers distribution OpenWRT forked the project and headed off to do their own thing.
The Linux Embedded Development Environment – LEDE – project felt that OpenWRT was heading in the wrong direction and lacked engagement with the wider developer community.
Now, in the shadow of Christmas, it looks like the two factions have all-but made peace.
For many of us 2016 flew by, and we didn't complete all our New Year's resolutions or mark everything off our "2016 To Do" lists. I didn't have nearly enough time to play with the Raspberry Pi this year, and my list of projects I want to do keeps growing. In this article I've rounded up 8 recent Raspberry Pi projects that I haven't made yet, but that made it onto my "2017 To Do" list.
The tiny, open-spec, Kodi-oriented “Khadas Vim” SBC has a quad-core, -A53 Amlogic S905X, plus WiFi, BT, 2GB RAM, and 8GB ($50) or 16GB ($65) eMMC.
A Chinese startup called Khadas has launched an open source Khadas Vim single board computer that runs on the Amlogic S905X, a lower-cost upgrade to the quad-core, Cortex-A53 Amlogic S905 found on Hardkernel’s Odroid-C2 hacker SBC. Primarily aimed at media player applications, the Khadas VIM supports Android 6.0 Marshmallow with built-in Kodi-17 media software, as well as Ubuntu 16.04, Buildroot, and 7.0 versions of the Kodi-supporting OpenELEC and forked LibreELEC.
Since Nintendo's Switch game console launch powered by the NVIDIA Tegra we have suspected they were making use of Vulkan as the graphics API, particularly with Nintendo joining The Khronos Group, now it's been pretty much firmed up.
The Nintendo Switch has been certified as a Vulkan 1.0 conformant implementation by The Khronos Group. Over on Khronos.org is now public confirmation with the Nintendo Switch currently being listed as the newest certified Vulkan product. The OS is listed as "Nintendo OS" and it passes the Vulkan 220.127.116.11 CTS.
The Radeon Open Compute platform has been updated and quietly released prior to the weekend. The ROCm 1.4 release comes with preliminary OpenCL support.
Peter Hutterer has an early Christmas present for users of libinput on mobile devices with touchpads: much-improved touchpad acceleration.
The Red Hat input developer explained, "This patchset is a cleanup and revamp of the touchpad acceleration code. It doesn't give us perfect acceleration, but it goes from the current rather abysimal state to one that should at least be good enough most of the time...he first 10 patches separate the touchpad code from the mouse acceleration code and switch it to use mm/s as base velocity unit (rather than the current 1000dpi-mouse-equivalency units). 11 is the main change that changes the acceleration pattern, mostly to start accelerating at a lot higher finger speed (found mostly by trial and error)."
This past weekend I published a number of year-end 2016 AMD Linux benchmarks on a wide-range of AMD GPUs going back many generations while using the Linux 4.9 kernel on Ubuntu along with the Mesa 13.1-development code for having the newest open-source Gallium3D drivers. Those results were very interesting and go check them out now if you haven't done so already. For this article is a sub-set of those tests carried out again while monitoring the AC power consumption, GPU temperature, and CPU utilization while also automatically calculating the performance-per-Watt.
Arduino LLC’s $22 “MKRZero” shrinks the guts of the Arduino Zero board to the 65 x 25mm size of a MKR1000, but without the MKR1000’s WiFi.
Earlier this year when Arduino LLC debuted its $35, IoT focused MKR1000 board, we suggested it was like combining an Arduino Zero with its WiFi Shield. With its new MKRZero, Arduino LLC offers the same tiny 65 x 25mm footprint as the MKR1000, but with the 68 x 30mm Zero’s original Atmel (now Microchip) ATSAMD21 MCU rather than the WiFi-enabled ATSAMW25. It also lacks the MKR1000’s crypto chip, but does add a handy SD slot.
A few weeks ago, if I had heard of the RISC-V Instruction Set Architecture (ISA), it was only in passing. How things have changed. Kevin Morris has covered the announcement that RISC-V IP is available for a wide range of Microsemi's FPGAs. Around the 5th RISC-V workshop in November, there was a flurry of announcements. At several meetings and conferences I have attended, RISC-V has been discussed in the informal sessions. And now there are rumours in various places on the Internet that Samsung is planning a device using RISC-V.
So what is it, and why is there a buzz now?
Eurotech’s “CPU-161-18” is a headless COM Express Type 6 Compact module with a 12-core Xeon-D, up to 24GB DDR4, PCIe x16, and wide temperature operation.
Aaeon’s “PICO-APL1” is a Pico-ITX SBC built around Intel’s “Apollo Lake” SoCs, with mini-PCIe, SATA III, and mSATA.
Bremen, Germany-based thin client vendor IGEL Technology has announced the IGEL UD Pocket, which it is describing as a revolutionary new product. It has a dual-boot system that offers simple and secure access to the user’s IGEL Linux 10-powered desktop.
Open source hardware is still atypical for the technology world. However, you can now enthusiastically opt for a fully open source notebook PC to work on your next projects without looking at a proprietary solution.
Called Libreboot C201, the latest offering is a dream come true for the open source community. It features a 1.8GHz ARM Rockchip RK3288 processor coupled with 4B RAM and 16GB eMMC storage and sports an 11-inch HD display. On the connectivity front, the laptop lacks a built-in Wi-Fi chip but does come with an Atheros Wi-Fi dongle that works with open source drivers.