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Hardware

GNU/Linux Experiences With AMD's Latest

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • AMD's Raven Ridge Botchy Linux Support Appears Worse With Some Motherboards/BIOS

    With my launch testing of the Raven Ridge desktop APUs with the Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G there were some stability issues to report and some hangs within games and mode-setting issues. It appears those issues are exacerbated with some motherboards: the past few days with two different AMD B350 motherboards have been a real pain getting the current AMDGPU driver stack working -- and even Linux 4.17 AMDGPU WIP code -- on either of these Raven Ridge APUs.

  • XDA’s First Full PC Build: An All-AMD Linux Desktop Featuring Ryzen and Polaris

    With GPU prices increasing exponentially over the past few months, it’s been hard to price out a PC. This particular build took us nearly a year to assemble; getting all the parts together was a challenge. (TK, our video producer, delivered the last piece of the puzzle after the Consumer Electronics Show in January.)

    Our goal was to show what a decent budget can get you in an all-AMD build, and what kind of performance you can expect from it. Thanks to AMD Ryzen and Polaris, we were able to do just that.

  • Ryzen 3 2200G Video Memory Size Testing On Linux

    One of the discussion items in the forums this week was about the video memory allowance for the Vega graphics on Raven Ridge APUs as well as efficiences or inefficiencies around the TTM memory manager as used by the AMDGPU kernel driver. Here are some vRAM size tests with the Ryzen 3 2200G.

Devices/Embedded: Nintendo Switch, Advantech, Renesa, PocketBeagle

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Linux
Hardware

Raspberry Pi Projects: Things Gateway by Mozilla, Bang and Olufsen and HiFiBerry

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Linux
Hardware

RISC-V Latest

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Linux
Hardware
  • First Open-Source RISC-V SoC for Linux Released

    Only months after debuting the Freedom U540, the world's first Linux-compatible processor based on the open-source RISC-V chip architecture, RISC-V chipmaker SiFive has surprised the open-source community again by unveiling a full development board built around the ISA.

    Called the HiFive Unleashed, the new development board is built around SiFive's Freedom U540, which is based on the company's U54-MC Coreplex. The chip is a 64-bit, 4+1 multicore processor that fully supports Linux, as well as other operating systems such as FreeBSD and Unix. The development board itself features a 8GB of DDR4 with ECC, a gigabit ethernet port, 32 MB of quad SPI flash memory, a MicroSD card slot, and an FPGA mezzanine card (FMC) connector for allowing peripherals and other expansion devices to be attached to the board.

  • RISC-V plans to fulfill open-source architecture innovation dreams

    Digital transformation and the proliferation of big data are driving a renaissance in software development, requiring new advancements in hardware and processors. With a range of needs from a variety of users and platforms, standard instruction set architectures are no longer fulfilling all use cases as the demand for flexibility and improved performance increases.

    “The world is dominated by two instruction set architectures. … Both are great, but … they’re owned by their respective companies. RISC-V is a third entrant into this world … it’s completely open source,” said Martin Fink (pictured, right), chief technology officer of Western Digital Corp. Through the RISC-V initiative, Fink and Dave Tang (pictured, left), senior vice president of corporate marketing at Western Digital, are working to provide an instruction set that can be freely shared to encourage innovation.

  • Fedora/RISC-V: Runnable stage 4 disk images

Add-on board brings BACnet building control to the Raspberry Pi

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Linux
Hardware

Contemporary Controls is launching a “BASpi” Raspberry Pi add-on that supports the BACnet building control standard and Sedona Framework, and provides 6x relay outputs and 6x inputs, including analog, temp, contact closure, pulse, and resistance inputs.

Home automation is a new phenomenon compared to more established building automation technology, which largely follows the BACnet (Building Automation Control network) standard. We have seen various Linux-ready IoT products that offer some BACnet support, including Echelon’s IzoT Router. However, Contemporary Controls’ new BASpi Raspberry Pi 3 add-on board is the first product we’ve seen that is specifically designed for the standard.

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Devices: ROS, Taicenn, Mycroft Mark

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Linux
Hardware
  • Your first robot: The controller [3/5]

    This is the third blog post in this series about creating your first robot with ROS and Ubuntu Core. In the previous post you were introduced to the Robot Operating System (ROS), and got your robot moving by ROSifying one of the CamJam worksheets. Today we're going to move beyond the CamJam worksheets, and work toward having our robot remotely controlled by focusing on our wireless controller: getting data out of it and into ROS messages.

  • Tough, Atom-based box PC supports EtherCAT

    Taicenn’s Linux-ready “TBOX-4000” industrial box PC provides an Atom D2550, dual GbE ports with EtherCAT support, mSATA, optional wireless, and shock, vibration, and extended temperature resistance.

    Shenzhen based Taicenn Technology has launched a rugged industrial computer that runs Linux or Windows on an old school Intel Atom D2550 “Cedar Trail” processor with dual 1.86GHz cores, 640MHz Intel graphics, and a separate Intel NM10 controller chipset. The TBOX-4000’s D2550 chip has the advantage of being reasonably power efficient (10W TDP), leading to the computer’s under 20W total consumption. It’s also likely to make this computer more affordable than most, although no pricing was listed.

  • Developing an Open Source Voice Assistant: Interview with Mycroft AI’s Steve Penrod

    Mycroft is an industry first. Where Amazon Echo and Google Home are unsurprisingly closed-lipped about their data gathering, we know that recordings gathered from these devices are stored for later use (whatever that might be). Mycroft Mark II, by comparison, is an open source voice platform.

    This means that users of the Mycroft platform can opt into sharing their usage data and designers can then use that data to learn more about demographics, language, and voice recognition.

    On the other hand, users could choose to keep their data private.

    What we know about Mycroft Mark II's hardware is that it has a Xilinx quad-core processor, specifically a Zynq UltraScale+ EG MPSoC. It has an array of six far-field PDM-based MEMs microphones and has hardware acoustic echo cancellation (AEC) for beamforming and noise reduction. It has stereo sound with dual 2" drivers (10 Watts), a 4" IPS LCD touchscreen, BT 2.1+EDR and BLE 4.2 Bluetooth In, and single-band Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz).

PocketSprite With GNUBoy

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GNU
Hardware
Gaming
  • You Can Now Buy Keychain Game Boys & 2018 Never Looked So Retro
  • PocketSprite Tiny Handheld Game System Launches From $45

    PocketSprite is a new tiny retro handheld games system, which has this week launched via the Crowd Supply crowdfunding website, and has already nearly raised its required $20,000 pledge goal. Thanks to over 380 backers with still 41 days remaining on its campaign. The tiny keychain PocketSprite games console comes pre-loaded with two emulators in the form of the GNUBoy and SMS Plus. Allowing you to play “every single game” from the Nintendo Game Boy, Nintendo Game Boy Color, Sega Master System and Sega Game Gear consoles.

  • Retrogaming Dream Device PocketSprite is Almost Funded

    These days, dipping into the nostalgia pool is a surefire way to grab the attention of retro preservationists and lovers of geeky gadgetry. Team Pocket’s chibi-sized emulator is a case in point. The PocketSprite, a diminutive, open source emulation device, accomodates your old-school cravings with a lineup of Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Gear and Sega Master System Games within a colour OLED display. It doesn’t make sacrifices on framerates, either; Sonic runs loop de loops at 60+ FPS in PocketSprite’s 5:4 aspect ratio.

  • The keychain Game Boy is now a real crowdfunded gadget, and I want one

    Interestingly, the PocketSprite isn’t the only pocket-sized GameBoy out there. There’s a slew of competitors, including the PocketStar (which is also crowdfunding on Kickstarter), the Arduino-based 8-bit Arduboy, and the NES-copying BittBoy Mini handheld.

  • PocketSprite is a tiny open source ‘Game Boy’ for retro games

    Unlike the “pocket games” of old, which were preloaded with generic, unchangeable random games, PocketSprite lets users upload their own preferred content.

Automation controller debuts Linux-based PLCnext software

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Linux
Hardware

Phoenix Contact’s rugged, dual Cortex-A9 based “PLCnext AXC F 2152” controller for its Axioline F I/O field bus is the first field controller designed to run Phoenix’s Linux-based PLCnext control stack, which enables PLC control using high-level languages.

Today’s embedded engineers have a wider breadth of tech knowledge than their parents’ generation, but they are less likely to know the intricacies of the old-school Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and field bus technologies that still drive much of the industrial automation world. As reported in Design & Control, Phoenix Contacts decided to reach out to younger engineers by providing a Real-Time Linux-based PLCnext Technology field controller stack, which supports multiple high-end programming languages in addition to traditional IEC 61131 PLC programming. A year after announcing PLCnext, Phoenix has launched the first controller based on the technology.

Read more

Open Hardware/Modding: RISC-V, PIXO Pixel, Arduino

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Linux
Hardware
  • RISC-V gains momentum as it moves from MCUs to Linux-friendly SoCs

    The open source RISC-V ISA has evolved quickly into silicon, thanks to help from companies like SiFive and Microsemi. SiFive’s HiFive Unleashed board should arrive less than two years after SiFive announced its first Linux-driven Freedom SoCs.

    It’s been two years since the open source RISC-V architecture emerged from computer labs at UC Berkeley and elsewhere and began appearing in soft-core implementations designed for FPGAs, and over a year since the first commercial silicon arrived. So far, the focus has primarily been on MCU-like processors, but last October, SiFive announced the first Linux-driven RISC-V SoC with its quad-core, 64-bit bit Freedom U540 (AKA U54-MC Coreplex). A few days ago at FOSDEM, SiFive opened pre-sales for an open source HiFive Unleashed SBC that showcases the U540.

  • SiFive releases Linux SoC processor and board

    SiFive Inc. (San Mateo, Calif.), a startup that is offering processor cores that comply with the RISC-V open source architecture, has launched a Linux-capable RISC-V based processor chip, the Freedom U540 SoC.

  • Chip Embarks As First Linux-Capable RISC-V Based SoC

    SiFive launches what it calls the industry's first Linux-capable RISC-V based processor SoC. The company recently demonstrated the first real-world use of the HiFive Unleashed board featuring the Freedom U540 SoC, based on its U54-MC Core IP. During the demo, SiFive provided updates on the RISC-V Linux effort, surprising attendees with an announcement that the presentation had been run on the HiFive Unleashed development board. With the availability of the HiFive Unleashed board and Freedom U540 SoC, SiFive has brought to market the first multicore RISC-V chip designed for commercialization, and now offers the industry's widest array of RISC-V based Core IP.

  • PIXO Pixel - Open Source LED Display for Makers

    Sean Hodgins is an inventor and maker interested in purposing current technologies in new and different ways. He’s currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter for the PIXO Pixel, an open source RGB display that controls 256 LEDs.

  • AFRL, NextFlex leverage open-source community to create flexible circuit system

    Lightweight, low-cost and flexible electronic systems are the key to next-generation smart technologies for military as well as consumer and commercial applications.

    An Air Force Research Laboratory-led project in conjunction with NextFlex, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics Institute, has resulted in the first ever, functional samples of flexible Arduino circuit board systems made by using a flexible hybrid electronics manufacturing process, setting the stage for smart technologies for the internet of things and sensor applications like wearable devices.

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today's howtos

Graphics: VC4 and AMDVLK Driver

  • VC4 display, VC5 kernel submitted
    For VC5, I renamed the kernel driver to “v3d” and submitted it to the kernel. Daniel Vetter came back right away with a bunch of useful feedback, and next week I’m resolving that feedback and continuing to work on the GMP support. On the vc4 front, I did the investigation of the HDL to determine that the OLED matrix applies before the gamma tables, so we can expose it in the DRM for Android’s color correction. Stefan was also interested in reworking his fencing patches to use syncobjs, so hopefully we can merge those and get DRM HWC support in mainline soon. I also pushed Gustavo’s patch for using the new core DRM infrastructure for async cursor updates. This doesn’t simplify our code much yet, but Boris has a series he’s working on that gets rid of a lot of custom vc4 display code by switching more code over to the new async support.
  • V3D DRM Driver Revised As It Works To Get Into The Mainline Kernel
    Eric Anholt of Broadcom has sent out his revised patches for the "V3D" DRM driver, which up until last week was known as the VC5 DRM driver. As explained last week, the VC5 driver components are being renamed to V3D since it ends up supporting more than just VC5 with Broadcom VC6 hardware already being supported too. Eric is making preparations to get this VideoCore driver into the mainline Linux kernel and he will then also rename the VC5 Gallium3D driver to V3D Gallium3D.
  • AMDVLK Driver Gets Fixed For Rise of the Tomb Raider Using Application Profiles
    With last week's release of Rise of the Tomb Raider on Linux ported by Feral Interactive, when it came to Radeon GPU support for this Vulkan-only Linux game port the Mesa RADV driver was supported while the official AMDVLK driver would lead to GPU hangs. That's now been fixed. With the latest AMDVLK/XGL source code as of today, the GPU hang issue for Rise of the Tomb Raider should now be resolved.

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

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

GNU: The GNU C Library 2.28 and Guix on Android

  • Glibc 2.28 Upstream Will Build/Run Cleanly On GNU Hurd
    While Linux distributions are still migrating to Glibc 2.27, in the two months since the release changes have continued building up for what will eventually become the GNU C Library 2.28. The Glibc 2.28 work queued thus far isn't nearly as exciting as all the performance optimizations and more introduced with Glibc 2.27, but it's a start. Most notable at this point for Glibc 2.28 is that it will now build and run cleanly on GNU/Hurd without requiring any out-of-tree patches. There has been a ton of Hurd-related commits to Glibc over the past month.
  • Guix on Android!
    Last year I thought to myself: since my phone is just a computer running an operating system called Android (or Replicant!), and that Android is based on a Linux kernel, it's just another foreign distribution I could install GNU Guix on, right? It turned out it was absolutely the case. Today I was reminded on IRC of my attempt last year at installing GNU Guix on my phone. Hence this blog post. I'll try to give you all the knowledge and commands required to install it on your own Android device.
  • GNU Guix Wrangled To Run On Android
    The GNU Guix transactional package manager can be made to run on Android smartphones/tablets, but not without lots of hoops to jump through first.