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Raspberry Pi alternatives: 10 single-board computers for novice coders

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Linux
Hardware

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is the dinky single-board computer grabbing headlines around the world, and for good reason. Initially launched as a tool to train up amateur coders, it has since gone on to sell more than 19 million units worldwide.

[...]

If you’re weighing up your options, read on for the best Raspberry Pi 3 B+ alternatives.

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Stable kernels 4.16.5 and 4.14.37

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Linux

"Native Linux apps in Chrome OS" and Kernel News From LWN

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Linux
  • Native Linux apps in Chrome OS will have a slick, electric Material Design theme

    The Chrome OS developers have been working out the stylistic elements of what you’ll see once you open your first native Linux apps in Chrome OS, and they’ve opted for Adapta, a popular Material Design-inspired Gtk theme that can be used on many of your favorite GNU/Linux distributions.

    For those of you not keeping track, the Chrome OS developers have been busy baking native container functionality into Chrome OS that allows the user-friendly startup of regular Linux applications in containers-within-VMs. This project, codename “Crostini,” is the largest change to Chrome OS since Android apps were introduced. Containers allow for applications to run in their own dedicated environment in isolation of the host OS – like a virtual machine, except unlike a VM, it doesn’t virtualize the whole OS to make the application work, it just bundles up the application and necessary baggage into an executable package.

  • The rhashtable documentation I wanted to read

    The rhashtable data structure is a generic resizable hash-table implementation in the Linux kernel, which LWN first introduced as "relativistic hash tables" back in 2014. I thought at the time that it might be fun to make use of rhashtables, but didn't, until an opportunity arose through my work on the Lustre filesystem. Lustre is a cluster filesystem that is currently in drivers/staging while the code is revised to meet upstream requirements. One of those requirements is to avoid duplicating similar functionality where possible. As Lustre contains a resizable hash table, it really needs to be converted to use rhashtables instead — at last I have my opportunity.

    It didn't take me long to discover that the rhashtable implementation in Linux 4.15 is quite different from the one that originally landed in Linux 3.17, so the original LWN introduction is now barely relevant. I also quickly discovered that the in-kernel documentation was partially wrong, far from complete, and didn't provide any sort of "getting started" guide. Nevertheless I persisted and eventually developed a fairly complete understanding of the code, which seems worth sharing. This article gives an introduction to the use of the rhashtable interfaces without getting into too many internal implementation details. A followup will explain how rhashtables work internally and show how some of the mechanism details leak though the interfaces.

  • The second half of the 4.17 merge window

    By the time the 4.17 merge window was closed and 4.17-rc1 was released, 11,769 non-merge changesets had been pulled into the mainline repository. 4.17 thus looks to be a typically busy development cycle, with a merge window only slightly more busy than 4.16 had. Some 6,000 of those changes were pulled after last week's summary was written.

GNU/Linux Distributions

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GNU
Linux

Devices: 'Open' Hardware and Android

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Linux
Hardware

What Stratis learned from ZFS, Btrfs, and Linux Volume Manager

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Linux

The reasons vary. First, let's consider ZFS. Originally developed by Sun Microsystems for Solaris (now owned by Oracle), ZFS has been ported to Linux. However, its CDDL-licensed code cannot be merged into the GPL-licensed Linux source tree. Whether CDDL and GPLv2 are truly incompatible is a subject for debate, but the uncertainty is enough to make enterprise Linux vendors unwilling to adopt and support it.

Btrfs is also well-established and has no licensing issues. For years it was the "Chosen One" for many users, but it just hasn't yet gotten to where it needs to be in terms of stability and features.

So, fuelled by a desire to improve the status quo and frustration with existing options, Stratis was conceived.

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Best Linux apps of 2018

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Linux

While everyone knows that most Linux distributions (distros) are free to download, not everybody is aware that you also have access to thousands of cost-free applications through your operating system’s package manager.

Many of the more user-friendly distros will come with a selection of software preinstalled to help you get started, but there are many more apps out in the wild, under continuous development.

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Linux Foundation: Real-Time Linux (RT Linux), LF Deep Learning Foundation, OpenTracing and More

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Linux
  • Developers: Prepare Your Drivers for Real-Time Linux

    Although Real-Time Linux (RT Linux) has been a staple at Embedded Linux Conferences for years -- here’s a story on the RT presentations in 2007 -- many developers have viewed the technology to be peripheral to their own embedded projects. Yet as RT, enabled via the PREEMPT_RT patch, prepares to be fully integrated into the mainline kernel, a wider circle of developers should pay attention. In particular, Linux device driver authors will need to ensure that their drivers play nice with RT-enabled kernels.

    At the recent Embedded Linux Conference in Portland, National Instruments software engineer Julia Cartwright, an acting maintainer on a stable release of the RT patch, gave a well-attended presentation called “What Every Driver Developer Should Know about RT.” Cartwright started with an overview of RT, which helps provide guarantees for user task execution for embedded applications that require a high level of determinism. She then described the classes of driver-related problems that can have a detrimental impact to RT, as well as potential resolutions.

    One of the challenges of any real-time operating system is that most target applications have two types of tasks: those with real-time requirements and latency sensitivity, and those for non-time critical tasks such as disk monitoring, throughput, or I/O. “The two classes of tasks need to run together and maybe communicate with one another with mixed criticality,” explained Cartwright. “You must resolve two different degrees of time sensitivity.”

    One solution is to split the tasks by using two different hardware platforms. “You could have an Arm Cortex-R, FPGA, or PLD based board for super time-critical stuff, and then a Cortex-A series board with Linux,” said Cartwright. “This offers the best isolation, but it raises the per unit costs, and it’s hard to communicate between the domains.”

  • Clarifying the Linux Real Time Issue

    I recently posted an article about the increasing development and availability of Linux-powered automation devices. This is a clear industry trend that’s unavoidable for anyone following the automation technology industry.

    Shortly after posting the article, I heard from a reader who wrote: “I read your article and I am surprised that you would promote the idea that anyone would use Linux for anything critical. It isn’t even a real-time control system. It can be used for non-critical applications, but the article implies that industry is adopting it for everything.”

    This reader brings up a valid point. Linux is not a real-time OS in and of itself. As Vibhoosh Gupta of GE Automation & Controls noted in the original article, GE uses “Type 1 hypervisor technology to run a real-time OS, such as VxWorks, running traditional control loops alongside our PAC Edge technology operating on Linux.”

    [...]

    The Linux Foundation launched the RTL (Real Time Linux) Collaborative Project in October 2015. According to the Foundation, the project was “founded by industry experts to advance technologies for the robotics, telecom, manufacturing and medical industries. The aim of the RTL collaborative project is mainlining the PREEMPT_RT patch.”

    While there are plenty of mission critical applications running Linux OS with real-time extensions—as highlighted by GE, Opto and Wago—the Linux Foundation notes on its site that there remains “much work to be done.”

  • Linux Launches Deep Learning Foundation For Open Source Growth In AI

    The Linux Foundation has launched the LF Deep Learning Foundation, an umbrella organisation which will support and sustain open source innovation in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning. The organisation will strive to make these critical new technologies available to developers and data scientists everywhere, said a statement published by LF.

    Founding members of LF Deep Learning include Amdocs, AT&T, B.Yond, Baidu, Huawei, Nokia, Tech Mahindra, Tencent, Univa, and ZTE, among others. LF Deep Learning, members are working to create a neutral space where makers and sustainers of tools and infrastructure can interact and harmonise their efforts and accelerate the broad adoption of deep learning technologies.

  • OpenTracing: Distributed Tracing’s Emerging Industry Standard

    What was traditionally known as just Monitoring has clearly been going through a renaissance over the last few years. The industry as a whole is finally moving away from having Monitoring and Logging silos – something we’ve been doing and “preaching” for years – and the term Observability emerged as the new moniker for everything that encompasses any form of infrastructure and application monitoring. Microservices have been around for a over a decade under one name or another. Now often deployed in separate containers it became obvious we need a way to trace transactions through various microservice layers, from the client all the way down to queues, storage, calls to external services, etc. This created a new interest in Transaction Tracing that, although not new, has now re-emerged as the third pillar of observability.

  • There’s a Server in Every Serverless Platform [Ed: "Serverless" is a lie. It's a server. One that you do not control; one/s that control/s you. Even Swapnil finally or belatedly gets it. The LF really likes buzzwords.]

    Serverless computing or Function as a Service (FaaS) is a new buzzword created by an industry that loves to coin new terms as market dynamics change and technologies evolve. But what exactly does it mean? What is serverless computing?

  • Take the Open Source Job Survey from Dice and The Linux Foundation

    Interest in hiring open source professionals is on the rise, with more companies than ever looking for full-time hires with open source skills and experience. To gather more information about the changing landscape and opportunities for developers, administrators, managers, and other open source professionals, Dice and The Linux Foundation have partnered to produce two open source jobs surveys — designed specifically for hiring managers and industry professionals.

  • Automotive Linux Summit & OS Summit Japan Schedule Announced [Ed: "Brian Redmond, Microsoft" so you basically go to an event about Linux and must listen to a talk from a company which attacks Linux with patent blackmail, bribes etc.]

Open-spec SBC is a clone of a clone of a clone of a Raspberry Pi 3

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Linux

FriendlyElec has launched a $35m open-spec “NanoPi K1 Plus” SBC with a quad -A53 Allwinner H5, 2GB DDR3, WiFi, GbE, a 40-pin expansion header, and Ubuntu Core and Armbian images.

A year ago when FriendElec launched its $40 (now $45) NanoPi K2 SBC, we called it an Odroid-C2 clone with wireless, as well as a near clone of the Raspberry Pi 3. The new NanoPi K1 Plus is a slightly reduced, but more media-rich, version that switches from the Amlogic S905, which is also found on the Odroid-C2, to an Allwinner H5, which is used by several other NanoPi boards. Both SoCs give you 4x Cortex-A53 cores and a Mali-450 GPU, but the H5 tops out at 1.4GHz instead of 1.5GHz.

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Configuring local storage in Linux with Stratis

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Linux

Configuring local storage is something desktop Linux users do very infrequently—maybe only once, during installation. Linux storage tech moves slowly, and many storage tools used 20 years ago are still used regularly today. But some things have improved since then. Why aren't people taking advantage of these new capabilities?

This article is about Stratis, a new project that aims to bring storage advances to all Linux users, from the simple laptop single SSD to a hundred-disk array. Linux has the capabilities, but its lack of an easy-to-use solution has hindered widespread adoption. Stratis's goal is to make Linux's advanced storage features accessible.

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More in Tux Machines

Purism’s Librem 5 smartphone will run Ubuntu Touch, as well as PureOS

Purism has partnered up with UBports to offer Ubuntu Touch as a supported operating system on its Librem 5 smartphone. The crowd-sourced, open-source smartphone runs Purism’s PureOS, by default. Purism is also working with GNOME for a version of PureOS with the KDE Plasma Mobile environment, giving users a choice between three OSes. Read more

Core i7 8700K vs. Ryzen 7 2700X With Rise of The Tomb Raider On Linux

Here are our latest Linux gaming benchmarks comparing the Intel Core i7 8700K to the newly-released Ryzen 7 2700X. The focus in this article is on the Rise of the Tomb Raider Linux port released last week by Feral Interactive and powered by Vulkan. Read more

Stable kernels 4.16.5 and 4.14.37

today's leftovers

  • Heptio Debuts Gimbal Kubernetes Load Balancer Project
    Kubernetes startup Heptio has added another project to its roster of open-source efforts that provide expanded capabilities for container orchestration users.
  • Heptio Launches Kubernetes Load Balancing Application
  • The Role of Site Reliability Engineering in Microservices
    You can always spot the hot jobs in technology: they’re the ones that didn’t exist 10 years ago. While Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) did definitely exist a decade ago, they were mostly inside Google and a handful of other Valley innovators. Today, however, the SRE role exists everywhere, from Uber to Goldman Sachs, everyone is now in the business of keeping their sites online and stable. While SREs are hotshots in the industry, their role in a microservices environment is not just a natural fit that goes hand-in-hand, like peanut butter and jelly. Instead, while SREs and microservices evolved in parallel inside the world’s software companies, the former actually makes life far more difficult for the latter.
  • Lying with statistics, distributions, and popularity contests on Cooking With Linux (without a net)
    It's Tuesday and that means it's time for Cooking With Linux (without a net), sponsored and supported by Linux Journal. Today, I'm courting controversy by discussing numbers, OS popularity, and how to pick the right Linux distribution if you want to be where are the beautiful people hang out. And yes, I'll do it all live, without a net, and with a high probability of falling flat on my face.
  • Voyage open sources its approach to autonomous vehicle safety
    In an effort to improve autonomous vehicle safety, Voyage is open sourcing its Open Autonomous Safety (OAS) library that contains the company’s internal safety procedures, materials, and test code that is intended to supplement the existing safety programs at autonomous vehicle startups. Voyage is the self-driving business from the educational organization Udacity.
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to KubeCon Europe
    The cloud native community is gathering in Copenhagen next week for KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe! Here’s your guide to the talks and events you won’t want to miss. Meet the Red Hat and CoreOS team members all week long, May 1-4 at booth D-E01.
  • Event - "GNU Health Con 2018" (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain)
    GNU Health is this year holding the III International GNU Health Conference, GNU Health Con 2018. This conference will gather the community of activists and developers who have been working on the project during the past 10 years.
  • ONNX: the Open Neural Network Exchange Format
    The good news is that the battleground is Free and Open. None of the big players are pushing closed-source solutions. Whether it is Keras and Tensorflow backed by Google, MXNet by Apache endorsed by Amazon, or Caffe2 or PyTorch supported by Facebook, all solutions are open-source software. Unfortunately, while these projects are open, they are not interoperable. Each framework constitutes a complete stack that until recently could not interface in any way with any other framework. A new industry-backed standard, the Open Neural Network Exchange format, could change that.
  • L.A. Lawmakers Looking To Take Legal Action Against Google For Not Solving Long-Running City Traffic Problems
    The city's government believes the traffic/mapping app has made Los Angeles' congestion worse. That the very body tasked with finding solutions to this omnipresent L.A. problem is looking to hold a private third party company responsible for its own shortcomings isn't surprising. If a third-party app can't create better traffic flow, what chance do city planners have? But beyond the buck-passing on congestion, the city may have a point about Waze making driving around Los Angeles a bit more hazardous. For several months, it's been noted that Waze has been sending drivers careening down the steepest grade in the city -- Baxter Street. Drivers seeking routes around Glendale Ave. traffic choke points have been routed to a street with a 32% grade, increasing the number of accidents located there and generally resulting in barely-controlled mayhem. When any sort of precipitation falls from the sky, the city goes insane. Drivers bypassing Glendale are now hurtling down a steep, water-covered hill, compounding the problem.
  • Even Microsoft's lost interest in Windows Phone: Skype and Yammer apps killed
    Microsoft’s given users of its collaboration apps on Windows Phone under a month’s warning of their demise. A support note from late last week advises that “Windows phone apps for Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Yammer are retiring on May 20, 2018.” “Retiring” means all three will vanish from the Microsoft store on May 20, with differing results.
  • Should You Build Your Own DIY Security System?