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Kangaroo on protest

Filed under
Humor

140,000 Reached

Filed under
Site News

Clock

THIS may be hard to believe, but after more than 16 years we've managed to put together 140,000 Drupal nodes (this one is the 140,000th). Most of these are news clippings and clusters of links. The rest are pages, blog posts and forum threads.

The next meaningful milestone will be the 150,000th node and our 20th anniversary (some time in 2024). We're quite certain we'll get there, along with 200,000 nodes, as this past week we've been in the region of all-time record traffic.

Susan is still involved sometimes, albeit behind the scenes. We thank her enormously for all the work she did.

3 Months From Home

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Site News

TM setup portrait


TUX MACHINES has been run from one single place over the past 3 months because of the COVID-19-induced lock-downs. We no longer travel far from home (it's impractical)... and we both work from home anyway.

The prolonged shut-down of businesses (they only reopened a fortnight ago) resulted in lack of access to some digital necessities, but that almost always meant more free time to rethink and reassess the workflow and the workspace with existing hardware (reshuffling what we already have, both new and old).

Last month I showed how the screens on my desk were split to handle multi-tasking. Last week I shuffled to portrait mode (as shown above). Rianne too uses 2 or 3 screens, but her setup is somewhat simpler. We basically both use a combination of RSS readers. I mostly use QuiteRSS and she uses Thunderbird and QuiteRSS in conjunction (best of both worlds). We're still hoping that an intern based in Africa will start participating soon. The pandemic has made access to the Internet a lot harder for him. He wants to cover programming and Web-related topics for us.

Message From the Editors

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Site News

Roy and Rianne

Summary: We're still running the site 24/7 every day/week of the year; we're managing to cope with slower news cycles

WE RECENTLY passed the sixteenth anniversary of this site, which is peaking in terms of traffic (record levels and all-time highs for several consecutive weeks). This weekend is very, very slow for news. Very.

We're typically managing to cope with the decline of journalism by digging deeper, finding lesser known sites such as blogs. We're hoping to reach the twentieth anniversary of the site. That's 2024.

Star Trek Thanksgiving: Did I tell you the joke about the flightless bird? Oh, don't get started, Worf... turned out it was a machine

For those who don't follow over RSS feeds (default and recommended as there are no middlemen; access is direct) there are also Twitter (proprietary) and the following accounts in Free software-based networks. Diaspora:

Diaspora logo

Mastodon:

Mastodon logo

Pleroma (Fediverse like Mastodon):

Pleroma logo

Thanks for choosing Tux Machines for news.

Sweet Sixteen

Filed under
Site News

Exuberant dog

TUX MACHINES is turning 16 today. Yes, 16. Not many sites last this long.

The interesting thing is, this past week we had an all-time traffic record and the same is true for the week prior. So for two weeks in a row, despite relatively slow news, we broke a record.

We aren't celebrating the birthday this year (we're still restricted in what can be done here, due to the virus), but maybe next year we'll do something and even share some photos.

Variscite Rises to Platinum Member of NXP Partner Program

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News

Variscite and NXP are taking their partnership to the next level with the promotion of Variscite to become a Platinum Member of NXP’s Partner Program.

Official Launch of Variscite’s i.MX8X System on Module

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News

Variscite has re-launched its VAR-SOM-MX8X System on Module, based on the i.MX8X processor with the latest NXP’s qualified silicon for full production. The SoM expands Variscite’s VAR-SOM Pin2Pin product family and offers built-in safety features, highly integrated multimedia support, and efficient power/performance architecture.

Peaking Again

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Site News

Summary: In terms of number of daily nodes, we're at the pinnacle still (despite slow news at times of lock-downs)

Tux Machines is turning 16 exactly one month from now. We've decided to plot activity over time, as measured by number of posts/nodes. It's not the most important measure (e.g. original articles), but it's something that's not too hard to plot.

Attached to this post is tux-posts.txt, which can be converted into tux-numbers.txt as follows:

sed 's/[\t ][\t ]*/ /g' < tux-posts.txt | cut -d' ' -f3,5 >tux-numbers.txt

We can then plot it:

gnuplot -p -e 'plot "./tux-numbers.txt" with linespoints linetype 1 pointtype 2 linecolor 10'

And voila!

Plot tuxmachines posts

In a month from now we might buy a cake.

Running Tux Machines

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Site News

Roy's deskop

Roy's deskop and laptop

Roy's deskop and laptop with text

Running Tux Machines with my wife (the lead editor, I mostly sweep up and cluster related stories) is a hobby but it feels like a full-time job, a 24/7 job that involves picking and sorting news as quickly as possible, almost non-stop around the clock. My own workflow -- not speaking about Rianne's -- can be shown in this annotated photo, which I took a couple of hours ago. Readers might find it interesting, knowing roughly how the site is run from my side (not Rianne's). The office is at home of course, as we're both remote workers in the area of computing. We're like sysadmins for a living and maintaining Tux Machines helps keep us abreast of the latest technologies.

Turning 16 This Summer

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Site News

No crisis for the "tuxmachiners"

tuxmachines at whois

AS keen observers may be aware, bearing in mind last year's anniversary party (when such parties were still permitted), we're soon turning 16. There won't be a party or anything; not even online (it's pointless).

This past year has been our strongest and for whatever reason since the pandemic began (epidemic escalated and declared "pandemic"), then soon thereafter lock-downs were enforced, we saw another uptick in traffic. We don't spy on visitors, but we merely observe the size of Apache logs, which are then wiped for privacy reasons.

When Rianne and I took over the site in 2013 it had already flourished, thanks to the love of care of Susan. We continue curating the news, clustering together related reports. The list of blogs we syndicate continues to grow because the mainstream media perishes, leaving a vacuum for people who are eager to find timely information, such as distro reviews and howtos.

If you run a GNU/Linux-oriented blog in the English language that we do not link to (most likely because we're not aware of its existence), let us know in the comments, in IRC, or other contact means. We soon turn 16 and we're quite confident that we'll make it to 20 as well. At the moment, as of this month, we also do server upgrades and we hope to add SSL soon. We've already moved one of this site's databases to a separate container in Alpine Linux. We make improvements while maintaining the site's spirit and long tradition.

Stay home. Save lives.

100,000 Tweets

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Site News

@tuxmachines in Twitter
The @tuxmachines account in Twitter as of this morning

We have been on Twitter for nearly a decade. It's proprietary and centralised, but some of our audience comes from there. In the start of March we'll have posted our 100,000th tweet in Twitter. A milestone? Maybe for Twitter. We try to focus on our presence in Free/libre networks, such as Mastodon, Pleroma and Diaspora. We joined Pleroma a year ago and have more followers there than we have in Twitter. Spring is fast approaching, which means we soon turn 16.

In the face of an Orangutan

Filed under
Just talk

Orangutan

Mother of two species.

The camels' outcry

Filed under
Just talk

Camel

When a human doesn't know what to do and people don't know how to tackle the real issue, the animals are becoming the sacrifice. Billion of animals were lost to bushfires alone and millions are slaughtered every day, yet the audacity to kill the camels is astonishing. I wonder what would be the humans' reaction if the animals called for human culling. Think about it.

Why Tux Machines Occasionally Adds Editorial Comments

Filed under
Just talk

Editorials

Summary: Editorial remarks (or Editor's comments, "Ed" for short) play a role in highlighting potential inaccuracies -- and manipulations of the mind -- when those aren't so shallow and aren't abundantly obvious

Recently, and as lately as a few hours ago, Richard Stallman exchanged some messages and we might meet again in a few months (he is traveling to the UK). Stallman and I share a concern about neglect of truth and history; for instance, many GNU programs are nowadays dubbed "LINUX COMMANDS" (I saw one example of that just 2 hours ago) and people sometimes lose sight of the important goals, focusing on brands instead of philosophy, political aspects and so on.

"Sometimes we link to something which isn't entirely accurate or can be misleading."

I would like to take this moment, on the last day of this year, to explain where we stand on issues pertaining to software freedom. A few times in the past one reader bemoaned my editorial comments (marked "Ed"), which typically bemoan something about the cited article/s. Sometimes we link to something which isn't entirely accurate or can be misleading. One example of that is openwashing. Another rather common and increasingly ubiquitous example concerns Microsoft "loving" Linux (it actually loves Windows).

We live in a world with Public Relations and marketing agencies. They exist to mislead; they shape perceptions -- that's their business model! To blindly link to just anything online without commentary or curation would likely lead us astray. Truth does matter. Facts need to be checked. This is what Tux Machines strives to achieve; throwing the word "LINUX" into something like Google News would expose one to loads of cruft, irrelevant stuff, plagiarism, pure spam and sometimes intentional lies. With no human operator or editor just about anything can be dunked into search results, owing to SEO manipulation and mishandling of indexes. I've seen that for well over a decade. Automation just doesn't work; someone who understands the problem domain needs to assess things for quality and accuracy.

"To be fair, comments are open, so readers can respond."

My adult life (since age 18 or so when I became a GNU/Linux user) involved very hard work and lifelong activism for software freedom. Not everyone agrees with me and if sometimes I may say something readers disagree with (e.g. in editorial comments), then it's likely because I try to be realistic, not jingoistic. Moreover, no two individuals will agree on everything 100% of the time. That's inevitable. So some readers might dislike these editorial comments. To be fair, comments are open, so readers can respond.

At the moment, the way I personally see it, Free software is under a number of attacks. There are different types of attacks. I think Free software will endure regardless. On a more positive note, Free software is nowadays used everywhere, it's just not being called that ("Open Source" is the term corporate media prefers) and it has been leveraged as a low-cost 'cushion' for DRM, surveillance, militarism etc. Think of companies like Facebook and Netflix (GNU and Linux at their back ends). Is this what we strive for? Closed systems that are merely built upon Freedom-respecting stacks?

"At the moment, the way I personally see it, Free software is under a number of attacks."

Software freedom is a huge objective in a world where almost everything becomes digital (only more so over time). I think it's up to us to somehow guide the world's software towards ethical uses, without necessarily imposing how it's used, and that is perhaps a future challenge for the Free Software Movement. It's a monumental challenge because politics can be a massive terrain to navigate. Over at Techrights I mostly focus on issues such as patents (laws), with emphasis on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO) granting software patents in Europe and so on. Patents on algorithms are one kind of barrier (among many) impeding Free software adoption.

The End of Tux Machines' Strongest Year

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Site News

Tux Machines 2020

TODAY is the last day of the last month of this year if not decade. We're pleased to close this year with record traffic levels. In 2019 we increased our coverage of programming-centric matters, especially when the underlying frameworks/languages were Free/libre software.

Earlier this year we also celebrated our 15th anniversary. There are three of us working behind the scenes to make the site up to date and keep it up (online). We're all passionate users of GNU/Linux who want to spread the word and encourage more people to use the platform.

In 2019 not only did we see record traffic levels; we also saw an unprecedented level of success for GNU/Linux in the adoption sense. Rianne is responsible for "Android leftovers" and remember that each Android device has Linux (or "Tux") in it. Google explored alternatives, but we haven't heard of these for months. It's nowadays very difficult to run a company or start a company without Linux -- no matter if in the server or device space. Let's hope Tux Machines will be around -- and online -- for many years to come. Happy new year.

Moving Into 'Christmas Mode'

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Site News

Slow news day

Summary: Fewer news items in days to come and potentially some planned downtime as well

AS ONE can expect, we won't be able to find much news over the next few days, and perhaps be 'low volume' for as long as a week or more to come (a problem to news addicts or neophiles). We'll try to also upgrade/migrate the site if all goes according to plan. In that case, there might be limited downtime (scheduled, altogether expected, no need to panic).

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it.

Keep the Bees Going

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Site News

Bee

MANCHESTER is known as the city of "working bees" because of the work ethics or its hard-working people. Working bees are the symbol of Manchester, where my wife and I are based and spend each day -- morning, afternoon, evening and sometimes night -- posting updates here in Tux Machines.

The end of the year is fast approaching. Literally 22 days left, i.e. 3 weeks and a day. We wish to thank those who tipped up yesterday to keep us going. We accept donations through PayPal and we're grateful for any contribution readers can make, even if as meager as a cup of coffee's worth. It gives my wife and I motivation to continue and circulate updates as soon as we find them. Thank you! Smile

Using Menus For Command Line Programs and Scripts

Filed under
Howtos

THE holidays are coming (Christmas approaching), so I've taken advantage of some spare time to menu-ise commands that I use frequently. Those commands aren't the mere opening of an application and they often require dealing with input and output (in the command line). So I've created menu.sh and used dialog to craft the following menu, e.g. for operations associated with Techrights. I invoke this menu with the click of one button (of the mouse).

Rianne has a similar menu for commands she often runs (which are long and would otherwise need pasting or typing in length). Her menu looks something like this:

Rianne's menu

Here's the code (bash file) that renders the menu above (it's really that simple!):


#!/bin/bash

HEIGHT=15
WIDTH=40
CHOICE_HEIGHT=4
BACKTITLE="Aloha, Rianne"
TITLE="Rianne @ Ted"
MENU="Choose one of the following options:"

OPTIONS=(1 "Start VPN"
         2 "REDACTED"
         3 "REDACTED"
	4 "REDACTED"
	5 "REDACTED"
	6 "REDACTED"
	7 "REDACTED"
)

CHOICE=$(dialog --clear \
                --backtitle "$BACKTITLE" \
                --title "$TITLE" \
                --menu "$MENU" \
                $HEIGHT $WIDTH $CHOICE_HEIGHT \
                "${OPTIONS[@]}" \
                2>&1 >/dev/tty)

clear
case $CHOICE in
        1)
            echo "You chose Option 1"
sh ~/vpn.sh ;;

        2)
            echo "You chose Option 2"
REDACTED COMMAND ;;
        3)
            echo "You chose Option 3"
REDACTED COMMAND ;;
        4)
            echo "You chose Option 4"
REDACTED COMMAND ;;
        5)
            echo "You chose Option 5"
REDACTED COMMAND ;;
        6)
            echo "You chose Option 6"
REDACTED COMMAND ;;
        7)
            echo "You chose Option 7"
REDACTED COMMAND ;;

esac

Hopefully this inspires other people out there to do the same. It takes a while to set up, but it's a big time saver over the long run.

Tux Machines Entering a Third Decade Soon

Filed under
Site News

Put your tuxedo on

Tux Machines 2020
Getting better over time?

SUSAN created this site a very long time ago, more than a decade and a half in the past. Susan did a spectacular job. With regular news updates she managed to grow the site in terms of pages, screenshots, reviews, readers, and contributors. We are eternally thankful to her.

Rianne and I have run the site since 2013. 2020 is around the corner (just over 3 weeks left!) and that makes another new decade. In terms of site traffic we continue to grow. Other than Rianne and I posting news updates 'around the clock' there's already a systems administrator who volunteered to help keep the site chugging along. We are very thankful to him. He prefers to remain unnamed. So Tux Machines is basically not a one-person operation. It is basically a team of three people now (in addition to various people who add posts/links). Rianne (based in the UK) usually takes the lead with breaking stories, I tend to post summaries or clusters of related links and system integrity/uptime is assured from Scandinavia. The hypervisor is physically in the United States. We're a sort of international team with no income source (other than our jobs).

If you enjoy the site and find it handy, maybe you wish to drop us a tip for Christmas as a token of gratitude. Anything helps, even a cup of coffee's worth. Coffee helps keep us awake to post more links. Wink

Kali Linux for android without rooting your device

Filed under
Linux

Kali Linux for android devices under ten minutes in just few steps.
Kali Linux for android

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More in Tux Machines

How to Install Latest MS Paint Alternative Pinta in Ubuntu and Other Linux

This guide explains the steps required to install the latest Pinta software in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions such as Linux Mint, Fedora, and others. Read more

More Progress for Mageia 8 – Beta 1 is available for testing

We are happy to announce the release of Mageia 8 Beta 1. After the good feedback from Alpha 1, there have been some improvements and fixes for this release, we look forward to hearing your feedback and thoughts so that we can continue to get Mageia 8 ready for release. A full list of included packages is available in the .idx file for the installation media. For those that want to jump in and test straight away, the images can be downloaded here, as always with pre-release images, use your best judgement. Read more Also: Mageia 8 Beta 1 Released With Many Improvements

today's leftovers

  • By embracing blockchain, a California bill takes the wrong step forward.

    The California legislature is currently considering a bill directing a public board to pilot the use of blockchain-type tools to communicate Covid-19 test results and other medical records. We believe the bill unduly dictates one particular technical approach, and does so without considering the privacy, security, and equity risks it poses. We urge the California Senate to reconsider. The bill in question is A.B. 2004, which would direct the Medical Board of California to create a pilot program using verifiable digital credentials as electronic patient records to communicate COVID-19 test results and other medical information. The bill seems like a well-intentioned attempt to use modern technology to address an important societal problem, the ongoing pandemic. However, by assuming the suitability of cryptography-based verifiable credential models for this purpose, rather than setting out technology-neutral principles and guidelines for the proposed pilot program, the bill would set a dangerous precedent by effectively legislating particular technology outcomes. Furthermore, the chosen direction risks exacerbating the potential for discrimination and exclusion, a lesson Mozilla has learned in our work on digital identity models being proposed around the world. While we appreciate the safeguards that have been introduced into the legislation in its current form, such as its limitations on law enforcement use, they are insufficient. A new approach, one that maximizes public good while minimizing harms of privacy and exclusion, is needed.

  • Karl Dubost: Browser developer tools timeline

    I was reading In a Land Before Dev Tools by Amber, and I thought, Oh here missing in the history the beautifully chiseled Opera Dragonfly and F12 for Internet Explorer. So let's see what are all the things I myself didn't know.

  • Daniel Stenberg: Using fixed port numbers for curl tests is now history!

    The curl test suite fires up a whole bunch of test servers for the various supported protocols, and then command lines using curl or libcurl-using dedicated test apps are run against those servers to make sure curl is acting exactly as it is supposed to.

  • Mycroft: an open-source voice assistant

    Mycroft is a free and open-source software project aimed at providing voice-assistant technology, licensed under the Apache 2.0 license. It is an interesting alternative to closed-source commercial offerings such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple Siri. Use of voice assistants has become common among consumers, but the privacy concerns surrounding them are far-reaching. There have been multiple instances of law enforcement's interest in the data these devices produce for use against their owners. Mycroft claims to offer a privacy-respecting, open-source alternative, giving users a choice on how much of their personal data is shared and with whom. The Mycroft project is backed by the Mycroft AI company. The company was originally funded by a successful one-million-dollar crowdfunding campaign involving over 1,500 supporters. In recent years, it has developed two consumer-focused "smart speaker" devices: the Mark 1 and Mark 2. Both devices were funded through successful Kickstarter campaigns, with the most recent Mark 2 raising $394,572 against a $50,000 goal. In the press, the company has indicated its intention is to focus on the enterprise market for its commercial offerings, while keeping the project free to individual users and developers. On the subject of developers, contributors are expected to sign a contributor license agreement (CLA) to participate in the project. The actual CLA was unavailable at the time of publication, but the project claims it grants the project a license to the contributed code, while retaining ownership of the contribution to the developer.

  • GSoC 2020 Second Evaluation Report: Curses Library Automated Testing

    My GSoC project under NetBSD involves the development of test framework of curses library. This blog report is second in series of blog reports; you can have a look at the first report. This report would cover the progress made in second coding phase along with providing some insights into the libcurses.

  • Accelerating the value of multicloud environments: A collaborative DevSecOps approach is critical

    Cloud Native development is not so much about where you run your application, but more about how you develop it. It is an interesting moment in time for enterprise developers, as more emphasis shifts to application modernization and cloud native development. The responsibility is shifting to the application for critical success factors for hybrid cloud environments, including security, reliability, and manageability. I have found that these “interesting” challenges are best addressed by collaborative, cross-disciplinary DevSecOps teams that understand the entire software development lifecycle. In this new environment, your role as developers is more demanding, and we all need better tools. You have increased responsibility for understanding and working directly with security engineers on governance and related management policies. You are being tasked with prioritizing service reliability, and the best practice is to address potential problems early in the application lifecycle. You also need to proactively detect and resolve potential issues with production environments before they have a negative business impact.

  • Play Minecraft with Fedora Friends at Nest 2020 [Ed: Fedora is boosting Microsoft and "Fedora Minecraft/Spigot server follows the same Code of Conduct as Fedora Nest and the wider Fedora Community. Be kind, be respectful, and have fun!" (unlike Microsoft)]
  • Linux Foundation New Course To Help Developers Create Enterprise Blockchain Applications

    The Linux Foundation has announced a new training course, LFD272 – Hyperledger Fabric for Developers. The course, developed in conjunction with Hyperledger, is designed for developers who want to master Hyperledger Fabric chaincode – Fabric’s smart contracts – and application development.

  • The Linux Foundation release innovative training course

    The Linux Foundation is a  nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source.

  • Google Details Its Open Source Contributions

    Most of Google’s open source work is done within two hosting platforms: GitHub and Google’s own Git service, git-on-borg, which hosts Android and Chromium. According to the report, Google hosts over 8,000 public repositories on GitHub and more than 1,000 public repositories on git-on-borg.

  • Open source by the numbers at Google

    At Google, open source is at the core of our infrastructure, processes, and culture. As such, participation in these communities is vital to our productivity. Within OSPO (Open Source Programs Office), our mission is to bring the value of open source to Google and the resources of Google to open source. To ensure our actions match our commitment, in this post we will explore a variety of metrics intended to increase context, transparency, and accountability across all of the communities we engage with.

  • libredwg-0.11 released
  • Best free tools for small businesses
  • 7-Zip 20.01 Alpha

    The unRAR code is under a mixed license: GNU LGPL + unRAR restrictions. Check license information here: 7-Zip license.

  • Kiwi TCMS Enterprise v8.5.2-mt

    We're happy to announce Kiwi TCMS Enterprise version 8.5.2-mt and extended support hours for subscribers in America.

  • Jonathan Dowland: Vimwiki

    At the start of the year I begun keeping a daily diary for work as a simple text file. I've used various other approaches for this over the years, including many paper diaries and more complex digital systems. One great advantage of the one-page text file was it made assembling my weekly status report email very quick, nearly just a series of copies and pastes. But of course there are drawbacks and room for improvement. vimwiki is a personal wiki plugin for the vim and neovim editors. I've tried to look at it before, years ago, but I found it too invasive, changing key bindings and display settings for any use of vim, and I use vim a lot. I decided to give it another look. The trigger was actually something completely unrelated: Steve Losh's blog post "Coming Home to vim". I've been using vim for around 17 years but I still learned some new things from that blog post. In particular, I've never bothered to Use The Leader for user-specific shortcuts.

  • Gmail Desktop

    There is a new application available for Sparkers: Gmail Desktop

  • Wine 5.0.2 Released With Fixes For Various Games, Windows Applications

    For those using Wine in a production environment for running Windows software on Linux, Wine 5.0.2 is out as the latest stable update. While Wine continues chugging along with a lot of great feature work with the Wine 5.x bi-weekly snapshots leading up to the Wine 6.0 release early next year, Wine 5.0.2 is the latest stable point release with a variety of bug-fixes back-ported to this code-base that was minted at the start of this year. There are no new features but exclusively bug fixes.

Open Hardware, Raspberry Pi and More

  • When Will Open Source Hardware Become a Thing?

    my honest opinion, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is probably the best of all innovation to come out of the tech industry in the past four or five decades. As far as I can tell, the Open Source Initiative is predated by Richard Stallman’s famous Free Software Foundation (FSF) (1985), which itself is predated by his own GNU project (1983) which seems as if it pretty much kick-started what we would call Free and Open Source today. Whilst it is true that software programs were often shared amongst academics before GNU, the software industry was a fraction of what it is today and so I believe that it was indeed GNU that kicked it all off. [...] Open Source firmware and drivers have been harder to come by in general than software. However, there have been major efforts made by Open Source and Free Software community members to create projects such as Libreboot which aims to replace proprietary boot firmware. Firmware is often a more contentious issue than software since most hardware we buy comes with firmware baked in. Reverse engineering a device’s firmware is not necessarily a particularly easy task, at least not when compared to just rebuilding an existing software project (eg. LibreOffice and Microsoft Office). To make matters worse, It can be much easier for companies to embed potentially malicious code since it is harder to analyse. I think that Open Source firmware will slowly become a bigger thing. However, its growth will probably be driven by the rise of Open Source hardware. [...] We’ve also seen the introduction of devices for the everyday user (not just hobbyists and tinkerers) including mobile phones and laptops. The company Purism has recently released both Laptops and a model of mobile phone which seem promising. Unfortunately, their laptops do rely on Intel CPUs, even if they claim to have disabled the management engine. It does seem like it will certainly take a while for these devices to meet mainstream though. Still, promising…

  • SAMD21 Lite is a Stamp-sized, MikroBus Compatible Cortex-M0+ MCU Board

    If you’re a fan of tiny microcontroller boards, you’ll be pleased with BOKRA SAMD21 Lite board powered by Microchip SAMD21 Arm Cortex-M0+ MCU, exposing I/Os in a way compatible with MikroBus socket, and adding a Grove connector for good measure.

  • TLS gets a boost from Arduino for IoT devices

    Arduino devices are a favorite among do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiasts to create, among other things, Internet of Things (IoT) devices. We have previously covered the Espressif ESP8266 family of devices that can be programmed using the Arduino SDK, but the Arduino project itself also provides WiFi-enabled devices such as the Arduino MKR WiFi 1010 board. Recently, the Arduino Security Team raised the problem of security shortcomings of IoT devices in a post, and how the Arduino project is working to make improvements. We will take the opportunity to share some interesting things from that, and also look at the overall state of TLS support in the Arduino and Espressif SDK projects. When it comes to making a secure IoT device, an important consideration is the TLS implementation. At minimum, TLS can prevent eavesdropping on the communications, but, properly implemented, can also address a number of other security concerns as well (such as man-in-the-middle attacks). Moreover, certificate-based authentication for IoT endpoints is a considerably better approach than usernames and passwords. In certificate-based authentication, a client presents a certificate that can be cryptographically verified as to the client's identity, rather than relying on a username and password to do the same. These certificates are issued by trusted and cryptographically verifiable authorities so they are considerably more difficult to compromise than a simple username and password. Still, according to the team: "As of today, a lot of embedded devices still do not properly implement the full TLS stack". As an example, it pointed out that "a lot of off-brand boards use code that does not actually validate the server's certificate, making them an easy target for server impersonation and man-in-the-middle attacks." The reason for this is often simply a lack of resources available on the device — some devices only offer 32KB of RAM and many TLS implementations require more memory to function. Moreover, validating server certificates requires storing a potentially large number of trusted root certificates. Storing all of the data for Mozilla-trusted certificate authorities on a device takes up over 170KB in a system that potentially only has 1MB of available total flash memory. A general lack of education regarding the importance of security in this space unfortunately also plays a role. After all, TLS isn't the most straightforward subject to begin with, and having to implement it on a resource-limited platform does not make implementing it correctly any easier of a problem to solve.

  • Open-source CNCing

    Last year Sienci Labs finished its Kickstarter campaign for the open-source LongMill Benchtop CNC Router — its second successful open-source CNC machine Kickstarter campaign. CNC routers allow users to mill things (like parts) from raw materials (like a block of aluminum) based on a 3D-model. The LongMill is a significant improvement over the original sold-out Mill One and makes professional-quality machining based entirely on open-source technology a reality. As an owner of a LongMill, I will walk through the various open-source technologies that make this tool a cornerstone of my home workshop. Hardware The Sienci Labs LongMill is an impressive feat of engineering, using a combination of off-the-shelf hardware components alongside a plethora of 3D-printed parts. The machine, once assembled, is designed to be mounted to a board. This board, called a spoilboard, is a board the machine can "accidentally" cut into or otherwise suffer damage — designed to be occasionally replaced. In most circumstances, the spoilboard is the top of a table for the machine, and Sienci provides documentation on several different table builds done by the community. For builders short on space, the machine can be mounted on a wall. The complete 3D plans for the machine are available for download, including a full bill of materials of all of the parts needed. The project also provides instructions to assemble the machine and how best to 3D print relevant components. The machine is controlled by the LongBoard CNC Controller, and Sienci Labs provides full schematics [23MB ZIP] of that as well. All mentioned materials are licensed under a Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license. In addition to the open-source design of the machine itself, an open-source-minded community has formed around the project. The company's Facebook user group has 1,600 members, and an active community forum is hosted by the company, which discusses everything from tips to machine support. Community members contribute, among other things, various modifications to improve the original design or to add new features such as a laser engraver.

  • iWave Telematics Control Unit Supports GPS, 4G LTE, WiFi, and Bluetooth

    We’ve often written about iWave Systems’ single board computers, development kits, and systems-on-module, but the company has also been offering automotive products such as a Linux based OBD-II Dongle.

  • First Tiger Lake SBCs emerge

    Aaeon and Kontron are prepping 3.5-inch SBCs — and Advantech will offer a 2.5-incher — that debut Intel’s 11th Gen, 10nm Tiger Lake CPUs. The 15-28W TDP Tiger Lake offers better graphics than Ice Lake, including support for up to 4x 4K displays. Intel’s recent announcement of an additional six months delay in delivering 7nm CPUs, pushing back its original roadmap by a year to late 2022 or 2023 has led to further questions about the company’s future dominance. The 7nm defects are severe enough that Intel says it will expand its outsourcing of manufacturing to TSMC. Yet, Intel’s strong quarterly earnings and news that 10nm fabricated, 11th Gen Tiger Lake processors will meet their revised Q4 2020 deadline are helping to salve the wound.

  • RAK2287 Mini PCIe LoRaWAN Concentrator Module Supports up to 500 Nodes per km2

    The company provides a Raspbian based Raspberry Pi 3/4 firmware in the Wiki, but it’s obviously possible to use the card with other Linux hardware, and instructions to build an x86 Linux gateway are also provided. That’s for RAK2247, but it will work for RAK2287 as well.

  • How A Raspberry Pi 4 Performs Against Intel's Latest Celeron, Pentium CPUs

    Following the recent Intel Comet Lake Celeron and Pentium CPU benchmarking against other x86_64 Intel/AMD CPUs, here was a bit of fun... Seeing how these budget Intel CPUs compare to a Raspberry Pi 4 in various processor benchmarks, all tested on Debian Linux. The Celeron part tested was the G5900 as a $42 processor as a dual-core 3.4GHz processor with 2MB cache and UHD Graphics 610.

  • MEGA-RTD Raspberry Pi HAT Offers up to 64 Resistance Temperature Detectors (Crowdfunding)

    Sequent Microsystems like to make stackable Raspberry Pi HATs. After their stackable 4-relay board allowing for up to 32 relays controlled by a Raspberry Pi board, the company has now launched MEGA-RTD 8-channel RTD Raspberry Pi HAT enabling up to 64 resistance temperature detectors via 8x MEGA RTD board stacked on top of a Raspberry Pi board.

  • The State of Robotics – July 2020

    Looking for an easy way to get familiar with ROS 2? We recently published a few helpers on how to simulate robots with turtlesim to help our readers get a rolling start on ROS2. [...] CIS has a long and successful history of creating community-consensus best practice recommendations for security. The first CIS benchmark for ROS is currently under consideration and covers Melodic running on Ubuntu Server 18.04.