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Gadgets

Freedom-Respecting Librem 5 and DRM-Free Kindle Alternative

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Gadgets
  • Librem 5 Batch FAQ

    We have been getting a lot of questions related to our announcement of the Librem 5 shipping schedule. Here, we will post the answers to some frequently asked questions, and update this document as new questions come in.

  • Anyone Can Build This Open Source, DRM-Free Kindle Alternative

                           

                             

    It's harder to get an open source e-reader than you might think. Kindles are popular, but they lock you into Amazon's ecosystem. Amazon's books come with digital rights protection and the company can remove them from your device whenever it wants. Those problems exist on tablets from Barnes and Nobles, Google, and Apple, too. When it comes to open source reading, there's just no good options. The Open Book Project wants to change that.  

Play Your Favorite Classic Games, Then Make Your Own

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Gaming
Gadgets

The world’s first modular, portable gaming console with a GNU/LINUX embedded operating system, the GameShell Kit allows you to connect to your TV to play all of your favorite old games from Atair, GB, GBA, NES, NAME, MD, PS1 and other consoles. But it doesn’t end there. GameShell also supports programming languages like preset C, Python, Lua, and LISP, so not only can you modify your childhood favorites, but you can build your own games. TechCrunch calls Gameshell “totally unique” and “entirely refreshing when it comes to gaming on the go.”

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PinePhone Linux phone prototypes to ship to developers this month

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Gadgets

PINE64’s claim to fame was its open source-friendly Allwinner-based single board computers (SBC) that came at the height of the Raspberry Pi’s popularity. It has since then expanded to putting those boards and their experience inside more finished products, like the Pinebook ARM-based laptops. As the team’s Lukasz Erecinski narrates, the decision to add a smartphone to that list wasn’t an easy or quick one but it was the most logical next step (a tablet is in the works now as well).

But not even a year after that decision was made, the team has already started making making prototypes, enough to start pre-orders for them. Not everyone’s invited for now, though. Only experienced Linux developers that could contribute towards actually improving the PinePhone. That said, in October and November, they do plan on having a more open pre-order period, this time for tinkerers and app developers as well.

The design and composition of the boards are all but ready but aren’t set in stone. An Allwinner64 SoC will, of course, be at the heart of it all, with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of expandable storage. Those may sound almost laughable by today’s standards but the phone’s emphasis has always been on providing a private and secure open source Linux phone, not compete with Samsung and Apple. As such, it embraces a multitude of Linux on Phone projects and experiences and isn’t locked down to a single one.

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PinePhone Remains On Track For Shipping In The Months Ahead

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Gadgets

The open-source minded PinePhone is sitll on track for shipping in the months ahead and its software side is coming along nicely with the ability to run UBports Ubuntu Touch, Sailfish OS, postmarketOS, KDE Plasma Mobile, and other options.

The PINE64 crew confirmed today that the PinePhone is still on track for shipping soon with its Allwinner A64 SoC. While the A64 with its four Cortex-A53 cores and Mali 400 graphics isn't impressive by today's standards, the PinePhone does remain an interesting beast in targeting the $150 USD price point compared to the much more expensive pricing on the likes of the Librem 5. The PinePhone's ability already to run multiple Linux distributions makes it an interesting low-end device as well.

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Also: September Update: The PinePhone Is Real & Shipping Soon

Samsung’s DeX Overview At Converting A Smartphone Into A PC

Raspberry Pi Camera v2 Review

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Hardware
Reviews
Gadgets

The versatile single-board computer from the UK, the Raspberry Pi, is a firm favorite among makers and tinkerers and Linux hackers the world over. It’s small, it’s light, it’s easy to use and set up, and with the launch of the new Model B version 4, it’s really quite powerful.

But almost as interesting as the board itself are the kinds of peripheral gizmos you can attach to the main board. Most of these are third-party hats and other add-ons, but one of the most popular ones is the official Raspberry Pi camera.

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Can Fairphone 3 scale ethical consumer electronics?

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OS
Gadgets

Fairphone, the Dutch social enterprise that’s on a mission to rethink the waste and exploitation that underpins the business of consumer electronics, has unboxed its third smartphone.

The handset, which is sold with the promise of longevity rather than cutting edge obsolescence, goes on pre-sale from today in Europe via Fairphone’s website with a suggested retail price of €450 (depending on local taxes and levies). It will ship to buyers on September 3.

Like its predecessor, the design is modular to allow the user to swap out damaged parts for replacement modules that Fairphone also sells.

Out of the box the phone comes with Android 9 preloaded. A post-launch update will make it easy for buyers to wipe Google services off their slate and install the Android Open Source Project instead.

Commenting in a statement, CEO Eva Gouwens said: “We developed the Fairphone 3 to be a real sustainable alternative on the market, which is a big step towards lasting change. By establishing a market for ethical products, we want to motivate the entire industry to act more responsibly since we cannot achieve this change alone.”

“We envision an economy where consideration for people and the planet is a natural part of doing business and according to this vision, we have created scalable ways to improve our supply chain and product,” she added.

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Devices: PegLeg, ARM and Neousys

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Linux
Hardware
Gadgets
  • PegLeg Biohackers Installed Raspberry Pis in Their Legs

    This was probably just a matter of time, right? We do so many things with the Internet of things ? just about anything can be made into an IoT device, so why not a person? Why not turn a person into an IoT device?

    A group of biohackers have installed Raspberry Pis under the skin in their legs. The PegLeg (you have to appreciate the name here) project is actually so far along it?s already v2.

  • Pi-oT Raspberry Pi Add-on Board Targets Commercial & Industrial IoT Automation (Crowdfunding)

    USA Based Startup Builds RPi Add-on Pi-oT, a Cleveland based startup has launched a Kickstarter campaign for a Raspberry Pi add-on for commercial and industrial IoT automation.

  • Arm Talks Up Their BFloat16 / BF16 Support For Upcoming Processors

    With the next revision to ARMv8-A will come Neon and SVE vector instructions for select computations using the BFloat16 floating-point number format. For nearly the past year we have seen Intel prepping the Linux/open-source ecosystem for BFloat16 and its support with their upcoming Cooperlake support for BF16. It's looking now like Arm might beat AMD in to supporting BF16 on their processor designs.

  • Industrial computers feature with 9th or 8th Gen Coffee Lake

    Neousys has launched a “Nuvo-8208GC” edge AI PC and three variants of a “Nuvo-7100VTC” automotive controller with 9th and 8th Gen Coffee Lake CPUs. It also added 9th Gen support to the 8th Gen ready Nuvo-7000 and Nuvo-7164GC.

    Taiwan-based Neousys Technology announced support for Intel’s 9th Generation Coffee Lake processors on six Nuvo-branded industrial computers, half of which were originally announced with 8th Gen Coffee Lake. The four systems covered here — the Nuvo-8208GC, Nuvo-7100VTC, Nuvo-7200VTC, and Nuvo-7250VTC — were announced in June and July and are still listed as “coming soon.”

Fairphone 3 Pre-Orders Begin For Ethical Smartphone With Better Specs Than The Librem 5

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Gadgets

The Fairphone 3 made its formal announcement this week with pre-orders beginning and plans to begin shipping in mid-October. The Fairphone 3 is the latest iteration for this phone design that is focused on social values / ethical manufacturing, the longevity of the phone, and modular replacement parts.

The Fairphone 3 runs on Android 9, which may not be too interesting, but hopefully won't be long before seeing Ubuntu Touch, KDE Plasma Mobile, and other Linux mobile software offerings for this phone, just as we have with earlier Fairphone models.

The Fairphone 3 is priced at €450.00 ($500 USD), which actually is quite a fair price for the hardware: Qualcomm Snapdragon 632, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, 3000 mAH battery, 5.6-inch full HD+ display, dual nano SIM, USB Type-C, and all modern connectivity features like Bluetooth 5.

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Meet the startup making ethical electronics mainstream

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Gadgets

With ethical consumers increasingly concerned with the origin of their purchases, almost every industry, from fashion to food to diamonds, has been held to account over the ethics of its supply chain.

Bar a small number in the tech community, the ethical implications of the electronics industry has gone largely unnoticed by many consumers. However, the smartphone many have in their pocket may have a questionable past.

The average smartphone contains over 60 different metals, so tracking the supply chain of each component is complex. The mining and processing of many of these metals contributes to environmental damage and poor working conditions for those involved.

For example, cobalt, found in lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, is commonly sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it is frequently mined by child labourers. Last year, Bloomberg reported that factory workers making the casing for iPhones were working long hours in hazardous conditions. According to a study from 2014, 97% of the 39 electronics companies studied did not pay factory workers a living wage.

[...]

The concept of ethical electronics is not a new one. Although a fairtrade certification does not yet exist for electronics, some people within the tech community have been aware of the ethical implications of the electronics industry for a number of years with software movement activist Richard Stallman, for example, only running Linux software on fairtrade laptops.

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SailfishOS on Sony Xperia XA2 Plus

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GNU
Linux
Gadgets

Not too much noise has been made about it, but fairly recently SailfishOS for Sony Xperia XA2, XA2 Ultra and XA2 Plus (finally) came out of beta stage after the initial release last autumn. I went and got myself an XA2 Plus and have been using it for a week now and am very pleased with it. Compared to former SailfishOS devices the Android runtime for the XA2 models is at version 8.x (compared to 4.x for previous devices), meaning a lot more Android apps will run on it.

So if you’re looking for a proper GNU/Linux phone and/or an alternative to the Google/Apple duopoly now is your chance to run SailfishOS on very decent and affordable midrange hardware. Below is a video of the XA2 Plus running SailfishOS (not mine).

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