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Hardware

The Novena Open Hardware Laptop: A Hacker's Dream Machine

Filed under
Hardware
OSS

Would you buy a high-end laptop built completely around open hardware and the Linux distro of your choice? Novena offers that opportunity, but it comes with an out-of-the-box experience that might be beyond the reach of the typical computer consumer.

That said, the Novena laptop's experimental technology has the potential to offer new options to a sluggish computer industry. Novena is an open-hardware computing platform that is flexible and powerful. It is designed for use as a desktop, laptop or standalone board.

Two engineers cofounded Sutajio Ko-usagi, an operations-oriented company focused on the manufacturing and sales of hardware to OEMs and hobbyists.

Since Sutajio Ko-usagi is difficult to pronounce in English, the Novena developers shortened it to "Kosagi," noted cofounder Andrew "Bunnie" Huang. Huang also runs the IP-oriented Bunniestudios

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TI spins Cortex-A9 Sitara SoC

Filed under
Development
Linux
Hardware

TI unveiled a 1GHz, Cortex-A9 Sitara “AM437x” SoC with a 3D GPU, a Linux SDK, and an updated PRU module for dual simultaneous control of fieldbus protocols.

The Sitara AM437x is a major upgrade to the Texas Instruments Sitara AM335x, as well as the related Sitara AM3715 and Sitara AM3874. The Sitara AM437x is said to offer up to 40 percent more processing power than previous Sitara processors.

The Sitara AM437x begins sampling in July, and is available as part of a Linux-ready, $599 TMDXEVM437X evaluation kit (see farther below). Like other Sitara SoCs, the AM437x is aimed primarily at industrial applications. Suggested pairings include factory automation, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), home automation gateways, Internet of Things (IoT) gateways, and human machine interface (HMI).

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Automation controller taps Raspberry Pi Compute Module

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

Techbase has designed a Raspberry Pi Compute Module into a Linux-based “ModBerry” automation computer backed by an “iMod” cloud platform for remote control.

The computer-on-module version of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, which began shipping this week, was anticipated by many, but perhaps nowhere so acutely as in Poland. First, we heard about A Sherlybox private cloud storage device based on the module from Polish startup Sher.ly, and now Gdansk-based industrial computer manufacturer Techbase has opened pre-orders for an automation computer called the ModBerry 500 based on the COM.

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Russia Industry And Trade Ministry To Replace Untrusted Intel And AMD Processors With Their Own ARM Design

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware
MDV

Russia's Baikal processor will be built around an ARM Cortex A57, which ties into Vladimir Putin's goal, established in 2010, to move all government computers over to Linux - another move that's easy to understand given the OS' open-source and modular nature.

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Logitech Isn't Yet Fully Supporting Linux

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

Outside of Logitech, there's many Linux users that have come up with several different open-source utilities for supporting Logitech under Linux. For most of these apps the hardware support is limited to the few keyboards/mice that the developer owns, but it isn't too hard reverse-engineering a USB keyboard for others to help out and contribute.

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NVIDIA Wins Over AMD For Linux Gaming Ultra HD 4K Performance

Filed under
GNU
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
Hardware

As it's been a while since last delivering any "4K" resolution OpenGL benchmarks at Phoronix, out today -- now that we're done with our massive 60+ GPU open-source testing and 35-way proprietary driver comparison -- are benchmarks of several NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon graphics cards when running an assortment of Linux games and other OpenGL tests at the 4K resolution.

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Hands-on with Canonical’s Orange Box and a peek into cloud nirvana

Filed under
Server
Hardware
Ubuntu

First off, Canonical emphasized to Ars multiple times that it is not getting into the hardware business. If you really want to buy one of these things, you can have Tranquil PC build one for you (for £7,575, or about $12,700), but Canonical won’t sell you an Orange Box for your lab—there are too many partner relationships it could jeopardize by wading into the hardware game. But what Canonical does want to do is let you fiddle with an Orange Box. It makes for an amazing demo platform—a cloud-in-a-box that Canonical can use to show off the fancy services and tools it offers.
Inside the custom orange chassis are ten stripped Intel Ivy Bridge D53427RKE NUCs. Each comes with 16GB of RAM and a 120GB SSD, and they’re all connected to a gigabit Ethernet switch. One of the NUCs is the control node; its USB and HDMI ports are wired to the Orange Box’s rear panel, and that particular node also runs Canonical’s MAAS software. Its single unified internal 320W power supply runs on a single 110v outlet—even when all ten nodes are going flat-out, it doesn't require a second power plug.

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Marvell lifts curtain on popular NAS SoC

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

Marvell has posted detailed datasheets on its previously opaque Armada 370 SoC, used in Linux-based NAS systems from Buffalo, Netgear, and Synology.

Until now, datasheets and other details about the ARM-based Armada 370 system-on-chips have been available only under NDA to Marvell customers and partners. Last week, however, the chipmaker released two detailed datasheets on the SoC, with no restriction or registration required. Both a functional spec datasheet and hardware spec datasheet were released, each of which is more like a manual than a typical datasheet.

We were tipped to the Marvell Armada 370 datasheet release by Linux training firm Free Electrons. The company is known here for its regular contributions of videos and slide decks from shows like the Embedded Linux Conference, released under a Creative Commons license.

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AMD Marketing Manager Mentions Linux & Mantle

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

Right now Linux gamers only have OpenGL renderers to exploit and recently OpenGL has come under a lot of scrutiny with one of the complaints being that it's too high-level compared to Mantle, DirectX 12, or even Apple's Metal. In terms of Mantle support on Linux, AMD has said in the past that it could come and they would like to see it come, but there are no active plans with no engineering resources being devoted to the process of actually porting it over to their Catalyst Linux driver but its feasibility is still being determined. This latest AMD Gaming blog post gives a bit more of a renewed hope that we could see Mantle on Linux given the reference and AMD's continued investment into this proprietary graphics API.

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The Linux Setup - Sean Cross, Novena Developer

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
Interviews

I’m not a big hardware guy. At all. Specs mean very little to me. However, Sean’s hardware is interesting, as it’s a Novena, something he developed himself. And of course, because he’s working with Linux, he’s able to get things to run pretty well. I have no idea what the future of the Novena is, but I love that people can make new devices that will be able to access familiar software and interfaces. Microsoft is making Windows cost-free for certain devices. It’s a smarter strategy than charging manufacturers, but until they let people get under the hood of the code, they’re going to have a hard time reaching new, experimental devices. Which is actually OK with me, since I’m happy to have Linux in as many places as possible.

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