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Devices: Adding Linux to A PDP-11, Adding GNU/Linux Software to Chrome OS, and Adding Ubuntu to Android

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Android
Linux
Google
  • Adding Linux To A PDP-11

    The UNIBUS architecture for DEC’s PDPs and Vaxxen was a stroke of genius. If you wanted more memory in your minicomputer, just add another card. Need a drive? Plug it into the backplane. Of course, with all those weird cards, these old UNIBUS PDPs are hard to keep running. The UniBone is the solution to this problem. It puts Linux on a UNIBUS bridge, allowing this card to serve as a memory emulator, a test console, a disk emulator, or any other hardware you can think of.

    The key to this build is the BeagleBone, everyone’s second-favorite single board computer that has one feature the other one doesn’t: PRUs, or a programmable real-time unit, that allows you to blink a lot of pins very, very fast. We’ve seen the BeagleBone be used as Linux in a terminal, as the rest of the computer for an old PDP-10 front panel and as the front end for a PDP-11/03.

  • Chrome OS Linux apps will soon be able to access your entire Downloads folder and Google Drive

    Google is working hard to turn Chrome OS into more than just a browser, but a real, functional operating system for consumers of all kinds. Most recently, they’ve invited developers to the platform with Linux app support that enables all of their tools, including Android Studio, to work as expected. Soon, your Chrome OS and Google Drive files will be even more accessible to your Linux apps.

    [...]

    According to a new commit on the Chromium Gerrit, that’s all about to change. The commit primarily pertains to a new dialog that will be shown when sharing ‘root’ folders like My Drive or Downloads with your Chrome OS Linux apps (internally known as Crostini) container. The dialog is intended to forewarn you that sharing a root folder is a bit more serious than just sharing a sub-folder, and to be sure you know what you’re doing.

  • Samsung Note 9 and Tab S4 owners can run a full Ubuntu Desktop – Linux on Dex

    We have come a long way as an industry and if this is not one of the biggest milestones in personal computing, I don’t know what else qualifies. Over the past decade of smartphones being around, we have seen an exponential increase in the power that our smartphones pack. I mean, flagships from the past few years spot more RAM and processing power than most laptops out there, but the small form factor has always been a hindrance to the utilization of this power. I mean you can only do so much on a 5.5-inch display.

    Samsung has launched its “Linux on Dex” app in beta and is inviting geeks and tinkerers to register and help test and develop it. The app lets owners of specific Samsung devices “run” a full Ubuntu desktop on their device alongside Android.

Google Does 'Squoosh' and Microsoft Cannot Even Get the Basics Right

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Google
Web

Google Shows Off New Android Dev Tools

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Android
Google

After years of teasing and speculation, it finally looks as though foldable screen smartphones are headed to market. Google's dev announcement followed closely on the heels of Samsung's announcement at its own developer conference of a folding phone/tablet prototype with Infinity Flex Display.

The Android tools will take advantage of the new display technology, which literally bends and folds, noted Stephanie Cuthbertson, director of product management at Google. The technology is based on two variations of screen design: two-screen devices and one-screen devices.

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4 tips for learning Golang

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Development
Google

My university's freshman programming class was taught using VAX assembler. In data structures class, we used Pascal—loaded via diskette on tired, old PCs in the library's computer center. In one upper-level course, I had a professor that loved to show all examples in ADA. I learned a bit of C via playing with various Unix utilities' source code on our Sun workstations. At IBM we used C—and some x86 assembler—for the OS/2 source code, and we heavily used C++'s object-oriented features for a joint project with Apple. I learned shell scripting soon after, starting with csh, but moving to Bash after finding Linux in the mid-'90s. I was thrust into learning m4 (arguably more of a macro-processor than a programming language) while working on the just-in-time (JIT) compiler in IBM's custom JVM code when porting it to Linux in the late '90s.

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Google May Bring GPU Acceleration Support For Linux Apps on Chromebooks In Early 2019

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GNU
Linux
Google

First off, let’s put this one down as a bit of conjecture and a strong dose of logic. Google hasn’t officially announced a firm release date for GPU Acceleration for Linux apps on Chromebooks just yet, but we know they are already working on it.

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Got a Screwdriver? GalliumOS Can Turn Chromebooks Into Linux Boxes

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GNU
Linux
Google

GalliumOS is a Chromebook-specific Linux variant. It lets you put a real Linux distro on a Chromebook.

My recent review of a new Chromebook feature -- the ability to run Linux apps on some Chromebook models -- sparked my interest in other technologies that run complete Linux distros on some Chromebooks without using ChromeOS.

GalliumOS is not a perfect solution. It requires making a physical adjustment inside the hardware and flashing new firmware before the GalliumOS installation ISO will boot. However, it can be a handy workaround if your Chromebook does not support Linux apps and/or Android apps.

If you follow directions explicitly and can wield a screwdriver to remove the bottom panel, GalliumOS is an ingenious Linux distro that can give you the best of two computing worlds. You can install it as a fully functional replacement for the ChromeOS on a compatible Chromebook. You can install it as a dual boot to give you both ChromeOS and a complete Linux distro on one lightweight portable computer.

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Chromebooks With GNU/Linux Software and Windows Breaking Itself (Again)

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GNU
Linux
Google
Microsoft
  • Linux Apps For MediaTek Chromebooks A Little Closer

    If you are the proud owner of a MediaTek-powered Chromebook such as the Acer Chromebook R13 or Lenovo Flex 11, some new features are headed your way.

    Spotted in the Canary channel in mid-October, the Crostini Project is now live in the Developer channel for Chromebooks with the ARM-based MediaTek processor. This brings native Linux app functionality to the Chromebooks with the MT8173C chipset and although the number of devices is few, MediaTek Chromebooks are relatively inexpensive and versatile machines.

  • Some Chromebooks Won’t Get Linux Apps. Here’s What You Can Do Instead

    When Chromebooks first began getting support for Android apps, there was some confusion as to just which Chromebooks would be supported. The same thing is starting to play out—though to a lesser degree—with support for Linux apps.

    You’ve always been able to install Linux applications (or other Linux-based operating systems) on Chromebooks through a workaround called Crouton because Chrome OS is based on the Linux kernel. The new method for installing Linux apps is much easier than before since it’s a baked-in part of the operating system.

    But not all Chromebooks will get official support for Linux apps. Here’s the deal.

  • The Chromium OS rootfs is mounted read-only. In developer mode you can disable the rootfs verification, enabling it to be modified.
  • Microsoft Acknowledges Issues with Edge Developer Tools and SQL Connection in cumulative update KB4462933

    In October 2018, Microsoft had release a cumulative update KB4462933 for Windows 10 V1803 users who had installed Windows 10 April 2018 update. This cumulative update released on 24th October lifted Windows 10 V1803 to build 17134376. It was a massive update with several important improvements and fixes. However, there were two main issues with this update that no one had noticed before, BornCity reports. One of the issues is the dysfunctional behavior of Edge Developer Tools and another is problems with SQL connections. These issues were also acknowledged by Microsoft on its support page for this update.

    According to WindowsLatest, Microsoft had not originally acknowledged the presence of these issues but later quietly updated the document to confirm these two issues being faced with the latest update.

Google Volleys Latest FS-VERITY Code For Transparent Integrity/Authenticity Of Files

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Linux
Google

One of the new Linux kernel features Google engineers have been working on is fs-verity for read-only file-based authenticity protection. Fs-verity is similar to dm-verity with a similar aim but is designed to work on a per-file basis for read-write file-systems rather than at the block level.

Fs-verity supports transparent integrity and authenticity protection of read-only file-systems. User-space appends a Merkle hash tree to a file and an ioctl allows enabling fs-verity on the per-file basis. All reads are then verified against the hash file and only allowed through if the verification passes.

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Also: Chrome 72 Poised To Have Some Wayland Performance Improvements

New Zealand chooses Google Chromebooks over Microsoft Windows 10 for education

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GNU
Linux
Google
Microsoft

While many people use Windows 10 every day, I sometimes wonder how many actually enjoy doing so. Look, Microsoft's operating system is very popular, but that could be largely out of habit. The interface is very inconsistent, and with aggressive telemetry, it can feel like you are being spied on too. Computers running Microsoft's OS are prone to malware, and even worse, users could find their important files deleted! Hell, even the Surface hardware feels uninspired these days. Once people start looking at alternatives, such as the excellent Linux-based Chromebooks, they may wonder why they need Windows 10 at all.

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Latest About GNU/Linux Software on Chromebooks

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GNU
Linux
Google
  • Linux Apps Coming To MediaTek-Powered Chromebooks Like The Acer R13

    Google made no mention of Linux apps on Chrome OS at last week’s hardware event in New York. I was a little surprised considering the fact that the Pixel Slate and Chrome OS saw nearly as much stage time as the Pixel phone that brought most of the media to Manhattan.

    [...]

    Unfortunately, the Chromebook R13 was quickly overshadowed by new flagships from Samsung and ASUS that featured more powerful processors and various features that made them more appealing to consumers. It was a sad happenstance for the Acer Chromebook because honestly, it is still a great device two years later. Seeing Google bring Linux apps to this device could breath much-needed new life into this model.

  • Linux app support coming to MediaTek-based Chromebooks

    Linux apps have arrived in the Chrome OS stable channel, but not all Chromebooks have access to them. The Linux container requires some kernel features that won't be backported to several models, but now Google is bringing the feature to a handful of MediaTek-based Chromebooks.

    Chrome Unboxed discovered a commit that enables Linux app support for the "oak" platform, which a number of Chromebooks were based on.

  • Linux apps on Chrome OS: An easy-to-follow guide

    The software that started out as a strictly web-centric entity — with everything revolving around the Chrome browser and apps that could operate inside it — is now one of modern computing's most versatile operating systems. Contemporary Chromebooks still run all the standard web-based stuff, of course, but they're also capable of connecting to Google's entire Play Store and running almost any Android app imaginable. And if that isn't enough, many models have recently gained the ability to run Linux apps as well.

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More in Tux Machines

Programming: mmap. Python and More

  • Making the Most of your Memory with mmap
    Sometimes it seems that we have nearly infinite memory resources, especially compared to the tiny 48K RAM of yesteryear’s 8-bit computers. But today’s complex applications can soak up megabytes before you know it. While it would be great if developers planned their memory management for all applications, thinking through a memory management strategy is crucial for applications with especially RAM intensive features like image/video processing, massive databases, and machine learning. How do you plan a memory management strategy? It’s very dependent on your application and its requirements, but a good start is to work with your operating system instead of against it. That’s where memory mapping comes in. mmap can make your application’s performance better while also improving its memory profile by letting you leverage the same virtual memory paging machinery that the OS itself relies on. Smart use of the memory mapping API (Qt, UNIX, Windows) allows you to transparently handle massive data sets, automatically paging them out of memory as needed – and it’s much better than you’re likely to manage with a roll-your-own memory management scheme. Here’s a real-life use case of how we used mmap to optimize RAM use in QiTissue, a medical image application. This application loads, merges, manipulates, and displays highly detailed microscope images that are up to gigabytes in size. It needs to be efficient or risks running out of memory even on desktops loaded with RAM.
  • Moving Kolla images to Python 3
    Python… To use 2.7 or to go for 3.x? To “be compatible” or to “use fancy new features”. Next year Python 2 gets finally unsupported upstream.
  • PyCharm 2019.1 RC 2
    New in PyCharm 2019.1: completely redesigned Jupyter Notebooks, improved HTML & CSS quick documentation, custom themes, and more. Get the release candidate from our website
  • 13 Project Ideas for Intermediate Python Developers
    Learning the basics of Python is a wonderful experience. But the euphoria of just learning can be replaced by the hunger for hands-on projects. It’s normal to want to build projects, hence the need for project ideas. The problem though is that some projects are either too simple for an intermediate Python developer or too hard. This article will suggest projects you can work on as an intermediate Python developer. These project ideas will provide the appropriate level of challenge for you.
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  • Announcing SLE 15 SP1 RC 1 and SES 6 Beta 11!
  • Coding in Python 19 - More fun with the OS Module
  • Coding in Python 20 - Subprocess
  • Coding in Python 21 - Handling Exceptions
  • Starting A Django Project
  • Microsoft buffs up its open-source halo to fine sheen with PostgreSQL GUI in Azure Data Studio [Ed: These are all proprietary software falsely marketed using "free bait" a.k.a. "open core" or 'open' plugins. It's also surveillance.]

DebConf20 Conference to Be Hosted in Haifa, Israel, for Debian GNU/Linux 11

A port city built in tiers, Haifa is found in the northern area of Israel, extending from the Mediterranean sea till the north slope of the Carmel Mountain National Park. Haifa it's the third-largest city in Israel after Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and it is close to the biblical city Nazareth where Jesus studied and prayed. In 2020, the Debian Project will celebrate 12 years since the first DebConf Debian developer conference, so they decided to choose Israel instead of Lisbon, Portugal, for next year's DebConf20 event despite the extensive discussions between the DebConf team and committee due to Israel's political system. Read more

Ubuntu Leftovers

  • Debug ACPI DSDT and SSDT with ACPICA Utilities
    Using acpidbg on Ubuntu 18.04 x64 can be quite handy; however, the Linux kernel with ACPI_DEBUGGER is not always available, such as on Ubuntu for ARM. In such cases, acpica also provides a set of utilities, named acpica-tools, for ACPI debugging.
  • NVIDIA Jetson Nano is a $99 Computer Built for AI, Powered by Ubuntu
    Sold as a complete compute solution, the Jetson Nano Developer Kit wants to let embedded designers, researchers, and DIY makers harness the power of AI, all at an affordable price. A NVIDIA’s JetPack SDK provides a ‘complete desktop Linux environment based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS’, replete with accelerated graphics, NVIDIA CUDA toolkit support, and more. NVIDIA say developers will find it “easy” to install leading open-source Machine Learning (ML) frameworks like TensorFlow, Caffe and Keras. Frameworks for computer vision and robotics development like OpenCV and ROS are also available via the SDK. The JetPack 4.2 SDK [shipped on the microSD card] provides a complete desktop Linux environment for Jetson Nano based on Ubuntu 18.04 with accelerated graphics, support for NVIDIA CUDA Toolkit 10.0, and libraries such as cuDNN 7.3 and TensorRT 5,” Nvidia says of the nimble Nano dev kit. But how powerful is it?
  • Vertical rhythm and spacing in Vanilla Framework 2.0
    Vanilla, the CSS framework behind Canonical’s suite of products and services, has undergone significant changes over the last 12 months. We’ve introduced vertical rhythm, a new type scale, consistent white space in and between elements, and adjustable information density. 
  • Ubuntu 19 04 Desktop Tour of New Features

Security: Updates, Microsoft, Mirai, Reproducible Builds and PuTTY