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Pocket PC handheld Linux computer coming in 2020 for $199 and up (maybe — crowdfunding)

Sure, there’s a chance you could turn your old smartphone into a pocket-sized Linux computer by replacing the operating system. But if you’re looking for a purpose-built device with a touchscreen display, a QWERTY keyboard, and features you won’t typically find on phones (like 4 USB ports), the folks at Popcorn Computer have you covered. Maybe. The team has unveiled plans to launch a new pocket-sized computer, appropriately called the Pocket P.C. It’s set to go up for pre-order through a crowdfunding campaign beginning November 24th. Prices will start at $199 (or $249 for a model with a LoRa radio). And if everything goes according to plan, it could ship by May 1st, 2020. Read more

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Thermostats, Locks and Extension Add-ons – WebThings Gateway 0.10

Happy Things Thursday! Today we are releasing WebThings Gateway 0.10. If you have a gateway using our Raspberry Pi builds then it should already have automatically updated itself. This new release comes with support for thermostats and smart locks, as well as an updated add-ons system including extension add-ons, which enable developers to extend the gateway user interface. We’ve also added localisation settings so that you can choose your country, language, time zone and unit preferences. From today you’ll be able to use the gateway in American English or Italian, but we’re already receiving contributions of translations in different languages! Read more

A technical comparison between the snap and the Flatpak formats

Since we’ve already discussed the snap layout and architecture in greater details in the previous weeks, let’s start with a quick overview of Flatpak. Much like snaps, Flatpak packages come with necessary components contained inside standalone archives, so they can be deployed and maintained with simplicity on a range of Linux distributions. Runtime and image components are bundled into a single file using the OCI format. In general, Flatpak applications are built against runtimes, but they can also contain additional libraries inside their own bundles. A Linux system with the Flatpak binary (primary command) installed and configured can then run Flatpak applications. At the moment, there are 21 distributions that offer Flatpak support. Furthermore, applications are sandboxed using Bubblewrap, which utilises kernel security and namespace features to set up unprivileged containers. Communication outside the sandbox is possible through a mechanism of portals, which allows granular access to system resources. Flatpak packages are available to end users primarily through Flathub, an app store and build service that is (semi)-officially associated with the Flatpak project. Submissions to Flathub are done as pull requests through GitHub, and require approval from the store admins. Similarly, publishers of proprietary software have to manually request inclusion of their applications. Flatpak applications are also sometimes available as manual download links. There is no automatic update mechanism available by default. Read more