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Back in the Day: UNIX, Minix and Linux

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OS
GNU
Linux

I don't remember my UCSD email address, but some years later, I was part of the admin team on the major UUCP hub hplabs, and my email address was simply hplabs!taylor.

Somewhere along the way, networking leaped forward with TCP/IP (we had TCP/IP "Bake Offs" to test interoperability). Once we had many-to-many connectivity, it was clear that the "bang" notation was unusable and unnecessarily complicated. We didn't want to worry about routing, just destination. Enter the "@" sign. I became taylor@hplabs.com.

Meanwhile, UNIX kept growing, and the X Window System from MIT gained popularity as a UI layer atop the UNIX command line. In fact, X is a public domain implementation of the windowing system my colleagues and I first saw at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. PARC had computers where multiple programs were on the screen simultaneously in "windows", and there was a pointer device used to control them—so cool. Doug Englebart was inspired too; he went back to Stanford Research Institute and invented the mouse to make control of those windows easier. At Apple, they also saw what was being created at PARC and were inspired to create the Macintosh with all its windowing goodness.

Still, who doesn't love the command line, as Ritchie and Kernighan had originally designed it in the early days of UNIX? (UNIX, by the way, is a wordplay on a prior multiuser operating system called Multics, but that's another story.)

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5 Operating Systems For The Internet Of Things

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OS

An Internet of Things OS is any Operating System specifically designed to work within the constraints that are particular to IoT devices which are typically limited in memory size, processing power, capacity, and built to enable swift data transfer over the Internet.

There are several (mostly Linux-based) Operating Systems that you can use for IoT but they wouldn’t allow you to get the best out of your setup and that’s the reason why IoT-focused distros exist.

Here is a list of the 5 best Operating Systems you can use for your Internet of Things projects.

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Robot Operating System (ROS2) News

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OS
  • Open-source project builds robot vision for shiny objects

    Contract R&D organisation, Southwest Research Institute, has developed a vision solution that improves robot handling of shiny metallic objects.

    The project integrates intelligent part reconstruction using the second generation of the Robot Operating System (ROS2) framework, an open-source software consortium for robotics applications.

    [...]

    Within the ROS framework is ROS-Industrial, which extends ROS capabilities to robotics in manufacturing and automation. This latest Southwest Research Institute and ROS-Industrial solution uses ROS2 to integrate cameras affixed to a robotic arm, collecting point cloud data at a high frame rate to create a 3D output mesh that optimises path planning.

  • Open Source Robotics: Hands on with Gazebo and ROS 2

    Louise Poubel gives an overview of ROS (Robot Operating System) and Gazebo (a multirobot simulator), the problems they've been solving so far and what's on the roadmap for the future. In the second half of the talk, a hands-on demo walks through the creation of a robot in simulation and controlling and inspecting it using ROS 2, the next generation ROS.

Tenth Anniversary of AltOS

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OS
Linux

In the early days of the collaboration between Bdale Garbee and Keith Packard that later became Altus Metrum, the software for TeleMetrum was crafted as an application running on top of an existing open source RTOS. It didn't take long to discover that the RTOS was ill-suited to our needs, and Keith had to re-write various parts of it to make things fit in the memory available and work at all.

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First look at the PinePhone dev kit running KDE Plasma Mobile & PostmarketOS

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OS
Android
KDE
Reviews

The folks at Pine64 are working on a Linux-powered smartphone that could sell for as little as $149. It’s called the PinePhone, and the team unveiled the project and launched a development kit earlier this year.

Now that developers are starting to work with that pre-release hardware, we’re getting our first look at what the phone could look like when it’s running GNU/Linux-based software.

Photos of a dev kit booting PostMarketOS with the KDE Plasma Mobile user interface were posted recently to the PinePhone developers Telegram group.

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Linux and Unikernels

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OS
Linux
  • How to quickly deploy, run Linux applications as unikernels

    A unikernel is a very specialized single-address-space machine image that is similar to the kind of cloud applications that have come to dominate so much of the internet, but they are considerably smaller and are single-purpose. They are lightweight, providing only the resources needed. They load very quickly and are considerably more secure -- having a very limited attack surface. Any drivers, I/O routines and support libraries that are required are included in the single executable. The resultant virtual image can then be booted and run without anything else being present. And they will often run 10 to 20 times faster than a container.

  • HermiTux: a unikernel that’s binary-compatible with Linux
  • HermiTux

    HermiTux is a unikernel: a minimal operating system with low memory/disk footprint and sub-second boot time, executing an application within a single address space on top of an hypervisor. Moreover, HermiTux is binary-compatible with Linux: it can run native Linux executables.

    Although being a proof-of-concept, HermiTux supports multiple compiled (C, C++, Fortran) and interpreted (Python, LUA) languages. It provides binary analysis and rewriting techniques to optimize system call latency and modularize a kernel in the presence of unmodified binaries. It supports statically and dynamically linked programs, different compilers and optimization levels. HermiTux also provides basic support for multithreading, debugging and profiling.

How to Install Linux Distribution Devuan on Raspberry Pi 3

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OS
Development
Hardware

For the readers unfamiliar with the Raspberry Pi, this article is sadly not talking about the eatable kind! Raspberry Pi’s are single board, credit card sized computer made by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in the UK. The boards have surprisingly good specifications for their size.

For example, the newest model (Raspberry Pi 3 B+) sports a 1.4 GHz ARM 64bit quad core, 1 Gbe network adapter, 4 USB ports, HDMI out, Built-in bluetooth and 802.11ac WiFi! The best part about these little power houses is that they’re only 35 dollars! The Raspberry Pi has become a starting point for people to learn programming to advanced topics in robotics.

This article is going to go over how to install the Linux distribution Devuan onto a Raspberry Pi 3. The process is very similar for other Raspberry Pi models as well. This installation will be done with another Linux distribution (although Windows installer tools do exist).

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F(x)tec Pro 1 phone with slide-out keyboard may support Sailfish OS (as well as Android)

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OS
Android
Linux

The F(x)tec Pro 1 is an upcoming smartphone with a 6 inch AMOLED touchscreen display and something that’s far more uncommon these days — a physical keyboard that slides out from behind the display and makes the phone look almost like a tiny laptop.

But that may not be the only unusual thing about this phone. While it will ship with Google Android software and a custom launcher app, it looks like the developers at F(x)tec are also working to ensure it can run Sailfish OS, an open source, Linux-based operating system actively developed by the folks at Finnish company Jolla.

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GrapheneOS is an Android-based, security-hardened, open source operating system

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OS
Android
Linux
Security

There’s a new(ish) smartphone operating system aimed at folks who want to be able to run Android apps, but want additional security and privacy features. It’s called GrapheneOS, and it comes from Daniel Micay, the former lead developer of another security-based Android fork called CopperheadOS.

After the founders of Copperhead had a falling out last year, Micay turned his attention to the Android Hardening Project, which he recently renamed GrapheneOS to better reflect what the project has become.

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Android Derivatives and Code

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OS
Android
  • CopperheadOS’ Android Pie update is now available for the Pixel & Pixel 2

    CopperheadOS is focused on providing users with the best security measures possible.

    [...]

    Currently, CopperheadOS only supports 4 devices: Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. You can actually buy these devices on Copperhead’s website with the system already installed, or just download the image and flash it by yourself. Obviously, Pixel devices already have the official Android Pie update, but CopperheadOS’ flavor is heavily focused on security. The update adds yet another security-focused feature called Security Flags, which includes information about the statuses of SELinux, verified boot, and theft protection.

  • Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus added to Sony’s Open Devices Program

    In the early days of Android, Sony was one of the very few OEMs that worked towards fostering good relations with the developer community by releasing device trees, vendor blobs, and kernel sources for some of its most popular devices. At BABBQ 2015, we even had the opportunity to interview XDA Senior Recognized Developer jerpelea a.k.a. Mr. Alin Jerpelea, the Open Source Community Manager at Sony, where we talked about Sony’s goals and vision for the Open Devices Program. Over the years, Sony’s smartphones have faded away from popularity, but the OEM has still stuck around with the same intents. Now, Sony has added in its latest Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus mid-rangers to the Sony Open Devices Program.

  • Five must use open source apps for Android smartphones and tablets

    Android is an open source software, where OEMs can tweak the overall user-interface and features depending on the requirement. Usually, we download Android apps from the Google Play Store, where most of the free apps show in-app ads to generate revenue, which might irk some users.

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More in Tux Machines

Graphics: AMDGPU and X.Org Elections

  • amdgpu drm-next-5.2
  • AMDGPU Has Another Round Of Updates Ahead Of Linux 5.2
    Feature work on DRM-Next for the Linux 5.2 kernel cycle is winding down while today AMD has sent in what could be their last round of AMDGPU feature updates for this next kernel release. Building off their earlier Linux 5.2 feature work are more updates. That earlier round brought new SMU11 enablement code for Vega 20, various other Vega 20 features, HMM preparations, and other code changes.
  • 2019 Election Round 2 voting OPEN
    To all X.Org Foundation Members: The round 2 of X.Org Foundation's annual election is now open and will remain open until 23:59 UTC on 2 May 2019. Four of the eight director seats are open during this election, with the four nominees receiving the highest vote totals serving as directors for two year terms. There were six candidates nominated. For a complete list of the candidates and their personal statements, please visit the 2019 X.Org Elections page at https://www.x.org/wiki/BoardOfDirectors/Elections/2019/ The new bylaw changes were approved in the first round of voting. Here are some instructions on how to cast your vote: Login to the membership system at: https://members.x.org/ If you do not remember your password, you can click on the "lost password" button and enter your user name. An e-mail will be sent to you with your password. If you have problems with the membership system, please e-mail membership at x.org. When you login you will see an "Active Ballots" section with the "X.Org 2019 Elections Round 2" ballot. When you click on that you will be presented with a page describing the ballot. At the bottom you will find a number of dropdowns that let you rank your candidates by order of preference. For the election: There is a pull-down selection box for 1st choice, 2nd, choice, and so on. Pick your candidates top to bottom in order of preference, avoiding duplicates. After you have completed your ballot, click the "Cast vote" button. Note that once you click this button, your votes will be cast and you will not be able to make further changes, so please make sure you are satisfied with your votes before clicking the "Cast vote" button. After you click the "Vote" button, the system will verify that you have completed a valid ballot. If your ballot is invalid (e.g., you duplicated a selection or did not answer the By-laws approval question), it will return you to the previous voting page. If your ballot is valid, your votes will be recorded and the system will show you a notice that your votes were cast. Note that the election will close at 23:59 UTC on 2 May 2019. At that time, the election committee will count the votes and present the results to the current board for validation. After the current board validates the results, the election committee will present the results to the Members. Harry, on behalf of the X.Org elections committee
  • It's Time To Re-Vote Following The Botched 2019 X.Org Elections
    While there were the recent X.Org Foundation board elections, a do-over was needed as their new custom-written voting software wasn't properly recording votes... So here's now your reminder to re-vote in these X.Org elections. At least with the initial round of voting they reached a super majority and the ballot question of whether the X.Org Foundation should formally fold FreeDesktop.org into its umbrella worked and that X.Org + FreeDesktop.org hook-up passed so all is well on that front. But for the Board of Directors elections, that's where re-voting is needed with the voting software that now correctly records the votes.

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Games: Lutris and More

  • Epic Games Store Now On Linux Thanks To Lutris
    While the Epic Games Store itself is not officially supported by the open source Linux operating system, a third-party gaming client has now made sure that you can access the store and launcher on your own distro. The Epic Games Store is now accessible on Linux via the Lutris Gaming client. The client is available to all Linux users, who in the past has provided the same users a way to play PC games without the need to have Windows installed in their machines. Although Linux is not necessarily the go-to platform when it comes to PC gaming, there is a very niche audience dedicated to making the platform work in favor of open-source and to counteract what could be perceived as a heavily Windows-biased PC gaming community. Linux gaming is somewhat tedious to the relatively casual or normal user, although there are some within the Linux community that advertise and try to foster its growth in terms of gaming, as there are some games that can run better on the operating system. That is to say, if you have a lot of patience to try and make it work.
  • You Died but a Necromancer revived you is good fun in a small package
    Sometimes, simplicity is what makes a game and in the case of You Died BaNRY that's very true. The game has little depth to it but makes up for that in just how frantic and fun it can be. The entire gameplay is just you (or you and friends) attempting to cross a small level filled with platforms, spikes and all sorts of crazy traps. It's ridiculously easy to get into as well, since the controls are so basic all you need to worry about is your movement.
  • Forager is a weirdly addictive casual grinding game that has mined into my heart
    I'm not usually one for games that have you endlessly wander around, collect resources, build a little and repeat but Forager is so ridiculously charming it's lovely.
  • DragonRuby Game Toolkit, a cross-platform way to make games with Ruby
    Now for something a little different! Ryan "Icculus" Gordon, a name known for many Linux ports and SDL2 teamed up with indie developer Amir Rajan to create a new cross-platform toolkit. Why was it created? Well, in a nutshell they both "hate the complexity of today's engines" and this toolkit was actually made to help ship A Dark Room for the Nintendo Switch, which shows how versatile it is.

10+ Open Source Software Writing Tools That Every Writer Should Know

Being a professional writer requires two key things to help ensure success: commitment and support. The former comes from the writer, and the latter comes from the tools he (or she) uses to get the job done. Below is a list of 11 great and lesser-known writing tools or apps, many of which are free and open-source, that can help improve the quality of your writing and make you a more productive and successful writer. Read more