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Plasma Mobile update: April-May 2020

It’s been a while since the last status update on Plasma Mobile, so let’s take a look at what happened since then. To assist new people in contributing, we organized a virtual mini Plasma Mobile sprint in April. During the three days, we discussed many things, including our current tasks, the websites and documentation, our apps and many other topics. Most of our important tasks have been asigned to people, many of them have been implemented already. On Saturday, there was a training day, with four training sessions on the technology behind Plasma Mobile... Read more

GNU/Linux and Arduino in Devices/Embedded and Open Hardware

  • ODYSSEY expandable mini PC supports Win10, Linux and Arduino

    A versatile new mini PC is now available to order in the form of the ODYSSEY X86J4105864, offering an easy way to build Edge Computing applications with powerful CPU and rich communication interfaces, say its developers. The ODYSSEY X86J4105 mini PC is based on Intel Celeron J4105, is a Quad-Core 1.5GHz CPU that bursts up to 2.5GHz. There is also an onboard ATSAMD21 Core, an ARM Cortex-M0+ MCU that allows you to program Arduino on the x86 platform.

  • What is ESP32 and Why Is It Best for IoT Projects?

    ESP32 is a low-powered, low-cost microcontroller (MCU) board, with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in, and is based on a dual-core processor mechanism. The first one is a powerful processor, such as a Xtensa LX6 (~240 MHz) with 512 KiB memory and the second an ultra-low coprocessor (ULP) with only 8 KiB memory designed to run when ESP32 is in deep-sleep mode. Other components include around 48 I/O pins (variable); an array of peripheral interfaces including temperature, hall effect, and capacitive touch sensors; and an 8-centimeter LCD panel, prominently visible here in an ESP32-WROVER board by Espressif Systems. [...] In fact, it runs on FreeRTOS, a leading operating system supported by Arduino. A big advantage of ESP32 is that it is readily supported by Arduino IDE as a “shield” which can be accessed from Board Manager. One can easily use functions from the FreeRTOS libraries when coding for the ESP32 within the Arduino IDE. Considering the scale of ESP32 applications which could be tiny, coin cell devices, it is better to use a predictable memory OS such as FreeRTOS rather than have its own complete OS, which is supported by Raspberry Pi, for example.

  • Kiwi TCMS is partnering up with Pionir

    We are happy to announce that Kiwi TCMS is going to partner with Pionir on the development of open source hardware for testers! Pionir is a free school focused on creating a new generation of digital leaders, an exponential culture and solving challenges using technology. They are located in Kikinda, Serbia. [...] Pionir will be developing hardware black boxes for teaching exploratory testing in cooperation with Kiwi TCMS. We have dedicated €2000 from our bounty program for students of the free school towards completing this project.

    The goal of the project is to produce at least 3 boxes and reference designs that will serve as a didactic tool for teaching, but also be free and open hardware, and as such, available to everyone to build from source. This project will be trusted to the students of the free school who will get opportunity to take part in the challenging process of building a digital appliance, from designing the machine logic, to develop and prototype hardware.

    The project includes designing, assembling, programming, documenting and delivering this hardware to us! Everything is expected to be open source: list of components, assembly instructions, 3D design files, source code, documentation and instructions! Our goal is that this will be relatively cheap and easy to build so everyone else can build their own boxes. During the next several months there will be new repositories created under https://github.com/kiwitcms to host the various boxes.

WWW: Curl, Mozilla Phoning Home, LMS for WordPress and Libre Graphic Meeting/Webstream

  • Daniel Stenberg: curl ootw: –socks5

    --socks5 was added to curl back in 7.18.0. It takes an argument and that argument is the host name (and port number) of your SOCKS5 proxy server. There is no short option version.

  • How does the Glean SDK send gzipped pings

    Within the Glean SDK, the glean-core Rust component does not provide any specific implementation to perform the upload of pings. This means that either the language bindings (e.g. Glean APIs for Android in Kotlin) or the product itself (e.g. Fenix) have to provide a way to transport data from the client to the telemetry endpoint. Before our recent changes (by Beatriz Rizental and Jan-Erik) to the ping upload system, the language bindings needed to understand the format with which pings were persisted to disk in order to read and finally upload them. This is not the case anymore: glean-core will provide language bindings with the headers and the data (ping payload!) of the request they need to upload. The new upload API empowers the SDK to provide a single place in which to compress the payload to be uploaded: glean-core, right before serving upload requests to the language bindings.

  • Create interactive content in WordPress with the H5P plugin

    WordPress is best known as a website content management system, but it also a great learning management system (LMS) for delivering online courses. If that is what you are looking for out of WordPress, then H5P should be the top plugin on your list. H5P is a way to create and share interactive HTML5 content, including presentations, games, quizzes, forms, and more, in a browser. You can download a wide variety of content types from H5P's Examples and Downloads page, or you can create unique content to embed in your WordPress site. H5P provides plugins and integrations for WordPress, Moodle, Drupal, Canvas, Brightspace, Blackboard, and more. In this article, I will show how to use H5P in WordPress to create a reading comprehension quiz for students.

  • Libre Graphic Meeting online 2020 Livestream

    After Canada, Germany, Spain, Brazil and more; the famous Libre Graphic Meeting 2020 was finally happening in France! But unfortunately, due to the worldwide pandemic, the in real life event was canceled. The event was then converted into an online event and I decided to contribute with offering a livestreaming session: a Krita digital painting workshop. I'll share on this one some step by step for my speedpainting technique; the theme: "Here be dragons". If you want to participate, connect to the program page on Friday 29 May, 15h00 (Paris Time); a "LIVE" button will be available on the top to access the video stream and you'll get also documentation on how to chat to interact with me during the livestream. It's free, open access, and the content of the video will be shared later under an open license.

Programming: GCC, Chapel, Perl, Python, Rust

  • A Quick Look At GCC 10.1 PGO Optimization Benchmarks

    Following the GCC 10.1 compiler optimization benchmarks posted this weekend, a number of readers were wondering about the impact of Profile Guided Optimizations (PGO) on the new GCC 10 compiler. Here are some preliminary data points on that front. Profile-Guided Optimizations basically amount to optimizing each binary after having collected various profiles/metrics as hints provided back to the compiler during the optimization process. PTS has a PGO module to make that instrumentation setup easy with first running the benchmarks, then rebuilding with the necessary PGO instrumentation and re-running each benchmark to generate the profile, and then rebuilding with that collected profile information on a per-test basis. So with that it's very easy to see the potential impact from PGO.

  • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Chapel

    Chapel is an open-source, high-productivity, productive, parallel-programming language in development at Cray Inc., and is designed to run on multi-core PCs as well as multi-kilocore supercomputers. The language aims to support general parallel programming, and make parallel programming at scale far more productive. The language is also portable and released under an open-source license. Here’s our recommended tutorials to learn Chapel.

  • Late May Software Releases

    There have been several! LANraragi, ZEVENET CE, LedgerSMB, and Sympa. All great perl software!

  • rdiff-backup – A Powerful Incremental Backup Tool Now Supports Python 3

    This improvement was officially released and published on March 15, 2020, with Version 2.0.0 and distributed on the GitHub site. The much appreciated Rdiff-backup application allows users to back up a directory to another remote or local destination. One of the key strengths of the application, is its simplicity.

  • Security Release for issue9351

    A vulnerability in sao has been found by Benjamin Kunz Mejri at Vulnerability-Lab. But they publish it without using our responsive disclosure procedure so we had to make this fix in the hurry. With issue9351 , the web client does not escape the HTML tags from user data. This allow cross-site scripting attack which result in session hijacking, persistent phishing attacks, persistent external redirects to malicious source.

  • Precision data plotting in Python with Matplotlib

    Matplotlib is the alligator of the plotting zoo. It's been around for a while, but it's still got plenty of bite. Matplotlib gives you precise control over your plots—but, like anything precise and powerful, this sometimes forces you to think harder than you might want to. [...] All this power is great, but there must be a handful of plots that people want to make all the time. Why can't somebody wrap Matplotlib in a high-level interface that makes things much simpler? That's been done, and it's called Seaborn. We will look into that next time. In the meantime, congratulations on your first Matplotlib visualization!

  • Kushal Das: Using Rust to access Internet over Tor via SOCKS proxy

    Tor provides a SOCKS proxy so that you can have any application using the same to connect the Onion network. The default port is 9050. The Tor Browser also provides the same service on port 9150. In this post, we will see how can we use the same SOCKS proxy to access the Internet using Rust.