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9 open source robotics projects

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Open source isn't just changing the way we interact with the world, it's changing the way the world interacts back with us. Case in point: open source robotics.

Robots are playing an increasing role in our world, and while we perhaps haven't reached the utopian future with robotic housekeepers imagined for us in the Jetsons, robotics are making advances in fields that fifty years ago would have been completely unimaginable.

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Introducing MrRobot, Ubuntu Touch App Enabled Robotics Powered by Raspberry Pi

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Today we have the great pleasure of introducing you to a brand-new project developed during the Ubuntu ShenZhen hackathon by Joseph Wang. It is called MrRobot, just like the TV show we taked about in a couple of articles right here on Softpedia.

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Linux-based bipedal robot endures kicks and dodgeball attacks

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OSU demonstrated its speedy, bipedal ATRIAS robot withstanding a barrage of kicks and dodgeballs. ATRIAS runs on ROS and a real-time Xenomai Linux kernel.

Researchers at Oregon State University’s Dynamic Robotics Laboratory have demonstrated their Linux-driven ATRIAS robot withstanding a considerable beating while keeping its cool. OSU recently posted videos of its unusual torture testing procedures, which include human kicks and a barrage of dodgeballs, as reported by IEEE Spectrum. Eventually, the human-sized bipedal robot is knocked from its feet, but not before it absorbs a lot of hits. The robot protects itself with strategies such as side stepping and hopping on one foot

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Linux for Astronomers

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I've looked at specialty distributions that were created for engineers and biologists in previous articles, but these aren't the only scientific disciplines that have their own distributions. So in this article, I introduce a distribution created specifically for astronomers, called Distro Astro. This distribution bundles together astronomy software to help users with tasks like running observatories or planetariums, doing professional research or outreach.

From the very first moment of booting up Distro Astro, you will notice that this distribution is aimed at astronomers. The look and feel of items, from the boot splash screen to wallpapers and screensavers, have all been given an astronomical theme. Even the default wallpaper is a slideshow of Hubble images.

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Imitate Fake Hollywood Terminal Hacking Melodrama with This Amazing App for Ubuntu

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We all know that Hollywood movies are the worst place to see some accurate depiction of anything from real life and that includes computer terminals. Well, there is a solution for that now and we can only hope that some misguided producer will see the new "hollywood" package made for this exact purpose.

Hollywood movie producers invest a lot of time and money in custom interfaces and GUIs that don't really do anything, but they think they’re nice and interesting on film. Most of the time, someone is hacking away by typing frenetically while windows with crazy stuff open and close. This is why this kind of image is now seared into the public's consciousness and hacking looks more exciting than in real life. It isn't.

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NASA’s R2 bot to receive legs via SpaceX

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The 330-pound Robonaut 2 measures 3 feet, 4 inches tall from the waist, and is equipped with more than 350 sensors. Its stomach-located brain runs Linux on 38 PowerPC-based processors. The robot is operated remotely by humans, using the Robonaut Tele-operation System (RTS). This telerobotics system requires a ground- or space-based user to wear a 3D visor, vest, and pressure-sensitive gloves. (For more on the R2, see our original coverage.)

According to the OSRF, the R2 team also uses the open source Gazebo simulator to simulate R2 for development and testing. NASA and released their Gazebo models of the R2 and the ISS as open source.

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Top 10 tech tricks we're sick of seeing in movies

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SciFi Think how awesome it was the first time you saw a lightsaber in action. Or how your mind was officially shredded when Neo mastered the Matrix. Technology in movies is cool. But for every thrilling example of cool-ass tech, Hollywood seems to produce a tired, dated cliche.

Michael Crichton, million-selling science-fiction author, dies at 66

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Obits Best-selling author Michael Crichton, who wrote such novels as "The Andromeda Strain" and "Jurassic Park," and created the popular TV drama "ER," has died at 66, his family said today.

George Lucas Talks More 'Star Wars' TV

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SciFi In a two-part interview with TV Guide, George Lucas talked some more about those two Star Wars TV series he currently has in the works.

BBC confirms Doctor Who series five

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the register: The BBC has announced there will be a fifth series of Doctor Who, although it won't be until 2010 and David Tennant is doubtful to reprise his role as the Time Lord.

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Linux 4.8.4

I'm announcing the release of the 4.8.4 kernel. And yeah, sorry about the quicker releases, I'll be away tomorrow and as they seem to have passed all of the normal testing, I figured it would be better to get them out earlier instead of later. And I like releasing stuff on this date every year... All users of the 4.8 kernel series must upgrade. The updated 4.8.y git tree can be found at: git:// linux-4.8.y and can be browsed at the normal git web browser: Read more Also: Linux 4.7.10 Linux 4.4.27

New Releases: Budgie, Solus, SalentOS, and Slackel

  • Open-Source Budgie Desktop Sees New Release
    The pet parakeet of the Linux world, Budgie has a new release available for download. in this post we lookout what's new and tell you how you can get it.
  • Solus Linux Making Performance Gains With Its BLAS Configuration
    - Those making use of the promising Solus Linux distribution will soon find their BLAS-based workloads are faster. Solus developer Peter O'Connor tweeted this week that he's found some issues with the BLAS linking on the distribution and he's made fixes for Solus. He also mentioned that he uncovered these BLAS issues by using our Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.
  • SalentOS “Luppìu” 1.0 released!
    With great pleasure the team announces the release of SalentOS “Luppìu” 1.0.
  • Slackel "Live kde" 4.14.21
    This release is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures, while the 64-bit iso supports booting on UEFI systems. The 64-bit iso images support booting on UEFI systems. The 32-bit iso images support both i686 PAE SMP and i486, non-PAE capable systems. Iso images are isohybrid.

Security News

  • Free tool protects PCs from master boot record attacks [Ed: UEFI has repeatedly been found to be both a detriment to security and enabler of Microsoft lock-in]
    Cisco's Talos team has developed an open-source tool that can protect the master boot record of Windows computers from modification by ransomware and other malicious attacks. The tool, called MBRFilter, functions as a signed system driver and puts the disk's sector 0 into a read-only state. It is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows versions and its source code has been published on GitHub. The master boot record (MBR) consists of executable code that's stored in the first sector (sector 0) of a hard disk drive and launches the operating system's boot loader. The MBR also contains information about the disk's partitions and their file systems. Since the MBR code is executed before the OS itself, it can be abused by malware programs to increase their persistence and gain a head start before antivirus programs. Malware programs that infect the MBR to hide from antivirus programs have historically been known as bootkits -- boot-level rootkits. Microsoft attempted to solve the bootkit problem by implementing cryptographic verification of the bootloader in Windows 8 and later. This feature is known as Secure Boot and is based on the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) -- the modern BIOS.
  • DDOS Attack On Internet Infrastructure
    I hope somebody's paying attention. There's been another big DDOS attack, this time against the infrastructure of the Internet. It began at 7:10 a.m. EDT today against Dyn, a major DNS host, and was brought under control at 9:36 a.m. According to Gizmodo, which was the first to report the story, at least 40 sites were made unreachable to users on the US East Coast. Many of the sites affected are among the most trafficed on the web, and included CNN, Twitter, PayPal, Pinterest and Reddit to name a few. The developer community was also touched, as GitHub was also made unreachable. This event comes on the heels of a record breaking 620 Gbps DDOS attack about a month ago that brought down security expert Brian Krebs' website, KrebsonSecurity. In that attack, Krebs determined the attack had been launched by botnets that primarily utilized compromised IoT devices, and was seen by some as ushering in a new era of Internet security woes.
  • This Is Why Half the Internet Shut Down Today [Update: It’s Getting Worse]
    Twitter, Spotify and Reddit, and a huge swath of other websites were down or screwed up this morning. This was happening as hackers unleashed a large distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the servers of Dyn, a major DNS host. It’s probably safe to assume that the two situations are related.
  • Major DNS provider Dyn hit with DDoS attack
    Attacks against DNS provider Dyn continued into Friday afternoon. Shortly before noon, the company said it began "monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack" against its Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure. The attack may also have impacted Managed DNS advanced service "with possible delays in monitoring."
  • What We Know About Friday’s Massive East Coast Internet Outage
    Friday morning is prime time for some casual news reading, tweeting, and general Internet browsing, but you may have had some trouble accessing your usual sites and services this morning and throughout the day, from Spotify and Reddit to the New York Times and even good ol’ For that, you can thank a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) that took down a big chunk of the Internet for most of the Eastern seaboard. This morning’s attack started around 7 am ET and was aimed at Dyn, an Internet infrastructure company headquartered in New Hampshire. That first bout was resolved after about two hours; a second attack began just before noon. Dyn reported a third wave of attacks a little after 4 pm ET. In all cases, traffic to Dyn’s Internet directory servers throughout the US—primarily on the East Coast but later on the opposite end of the country as well—was stopped by a flood of malicious requests from tens of millions of IP addresses disrupting the system. Late in the day, Dyn described the events as a “very sophisticated and complex attack.” Still ongoing, the situation is a definite reminder of the fragility of the web, and the power of the forces that aim to disrupt it.
  • Either IoT will be secure or the internet will be crippled forever
    First things first a disclaimer. I neither like nor trust the National Security Agency (NSA). I believe them to be mainly engaged in economic spying for the corporate American empire. Glenn Greenwald has clearly proven that in his book No Place to Hide. At the NSA, profit and power come first and I have no fucking clue as to how high they prioritize national security. Having said that, the NSA should hack the Internet of (insecure) Things (IoT) to death. I know Homeland Security and the FBI are investigating where the DDoS of doomsday proportions is coming from and the commentariat is already screaming RUSSIA! But it is really no secret what is enabling this clusterfuck. It’s the Mirai botnet. If you buy a “smart camera” from the Chinese company Hangzhou XiongMai Technologies and do not change the default password, it will be part of a botnet five minutes after you connect it to the internet. We were promised a future where we would have flying cars but we’re living in a future where camera’s, light-bulbs, doorbells and fridges can get you in serious trouble because your home appliances are breaking the law.
  • IoT at the Network Edge
    Fog computing, also known as fog networking, is a decentralized computing infrastructure. Computing resources and application services are distributed in logical, efficient places at any points along the connection from the data source (endpoint) to the cloud. The concept is to process data locally and then use the network for communicating with other resources for further processing and analysis. Data could be sent to a data center or a cloud service. A worthwhile reference published by Cisco is the white paper, "Fog Computing and the Internet of Things: Extend the Cloud to Where the Things Are."
  • Canonical now offers live kernel patching for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS users
    Canonical has announced its ‘Livepatch Service’ which any user can enable on their current installations to eliminate the need for rebooting their machine after installing an update for the Linux kernel. With the release of Linux 4.0, users have been able to update their kernel packages without rebooting, however, Ubuntu will be the first distribution to offer this feature for free.
  • ​The Dirty Cow Linux bug: A silly name for a serious problem
    Dirty Cow is a silly name, but it's a serious Linux kernel problem. According to the Red Hat bug report, "a race condition was found in the way the Linux kernel's memory subsystem handled the copy-on-write (COW) breakage of private read-only memory mappings. An unprivileged local user could use this flaw to gain write access to otherwise read-only memory mappings and thus increase their privileges on the system."
  • Ancient Privilege Escalation Bug Haunts Linux
  • October 21, 2016 Is Dirty COW a serious concern for Linux?
  • There is a Dirty Cow in Linux
  • Red Hat Discovers Dirty COW Archaic Linux Kernel Flaw Exploited In The Wild
  • Linux kernel bug being exploited in the wild
  • Update Linux now: Critical privilege escalation security flaw gives hackers full root access
  • Linux kernel bug: DirtyCOW “easyroot” hole and what you need to know
  • 'Most serious' Linux privilege-escalation bug ever discovered
  • New 'Dirty Cow' vulnerability threatens Linux systems
  • Serious Dirty Cow Linux Vulnerability Under Attack
  • Easy-to-exploit rooting flaw puts Linux PCs at risk
  • Linux just patched a vulnerability it's had for 9 years
  • Dirty COW Linux vulnerability has existed for nine years
  • 'Dirty Cow' Linux Vulnerability Found
  • 'Dirty Cow' Linux Vulnerability Found After Nine Years
  • FakeFile Trojan Opens Backdoors on Linux Computers, Except openSUSE
    Malware authors are taking aim at Linux computers, more precisely desktops and not servers, with a new trojan named FakeFile, currently distributed in live attacks. Russian antivirus vendor Dr.Web discovered this new trojan in October. The company's malware analysts say the trojan is spread in the form of an archived PDF, Microsoft Office, or OpenOffice file.

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