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Hardware

Linux/Android hacker SBC with hexa-core Rockchip SoC debuts at $75

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Android
Linux
Hardware

The Vamrs “RK3399 Sapphire” SBC is on sale for $75, or $349 for a full kit. Vamrs is also prepping an RK3399-based “Rock960” 96Boards SBC.

Rockchip’s RK3399 is one of the most powerful ARM-based system-on-chips available on hacker boards, featuring two server-class Cortex-A72 cores clocked to up to 2.0GHz, as well as four Cortex-A53 at up to 1.42GHz and a quad-core Mali-T864 GPU. The hexa-core SoC has appeared on T-Firefly’s Firefly-RK3399 SBC and RK3399 Coreboard computer-on-module, as well as Videostrong’s VS-RD-RK3399 SBC and Theobroma’s RK3399-Q7 Qseven module. Now we have a new contender: Shenzhen based Vamrs, which built the limited edition Rockchip RK3399 Sapphire SBC as the official RK3399 dev board for Rockchip, is now re-launching the board, which features a 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible connector, with “many in stock” for a discounted price of $75.

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Linux Boards with Intel (Back Doors)

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • Arduino Create Expands to Support Linux on Intel Chips

    When we talk about open source hardware, we often think about the Raspberry Pi and other community-backed single board computers running Linux. Yet all these communities were modeled on the success of the 14-year-old Arduino project, in which Linux has been only tangentially involved, and only over the past four years. The two platforms should grow closer, however, now that Arduino has extended its Arduino Create development environment to support Linux on x86 platforms.

    With the new Linux support, “users are now able to program their Linux devices as if they were regular Arduinos,” says Arduino. Arduino Create works in concert with embedded Linux distributions – initially Ubuntu or Intel’s Wind River Pulsar Linux – to let developers load Arduino sketches to control lower level interfaces to sensors and other Internet of Things peripherals.

  • 3.5-inch SBC comes in 6th and 7th Gen Intel flavors

    Commell’s 3.5-inch “LS-37K” SBC supports 6th or 7th Gen Core S-series and Xeon-E3-1200 v5 CPUs with up to 16GB DDR4, triple displays, 2x SATA, and mSATA.

    Commell announced a 3.5-inch SBC with Intel’s 6th (“Skylake”) or 7th (“Kaby Lake”) Gen Core S-series and Xeon-E3-1200 v5 CPUs. The LS-37K’s layout and feature set are similar to that of its Skylake based LE-37I and LE-37G 3.5-inch boards. As usual, no OS support is listed, but Linux should run with no problem.

  • Apollo Lake DIN-rail computer packs a lot in a little

    Axiomtek’s Linux-friendly “ICO120-83D” IoT gateway runs on a dual-core Apollo Lake Celeron, and offers mini-PCIe expansion and extended temp support.

    Axiomtek has launched an ICO120-83D Internet of Things gateway that runs on Intel’s dual-core, 1.1GHz Celeron N3350 SoC with 6W TDP. The system has the same Apollo Lake processor and fanless DIN-rail design as the recent ICO300-83B gateway, but with a more compact 125 x 100 x 31mm. 0.3 k footprint and a reduced feature set.

MINIX: ​Intel's hidden in-chip operating system

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OS
Hardware
Security

Why? Let's start with what. Matthew Garrett, the well-known Linux and security developer who works for Google, explained recently that, "Intel chipsets for some years have included a Management Engine [ME], a small microprocessor that runs independently of the main CPU and operating system. Various pieces of software run on the ME, ranging from code to handle media DRM to an implementation of a TPM. AMT [Active Management Technology] is another piece of software running on the ME."

In May, we found out that AMT had a major security flaw, which had been in there for nine -- count 'em -- nine years.

"Fixing this requires a system firmware update in order to provide new ME firmware (including an updated copy of the AMT code)," Garrett wrote. "Many of the affected machines are no longer receiving firmware updates from their manufacturers, and so will probably never get a fix," he said. "Anyone who ever enables AMT on one of these devices will be vulnerable."

[...]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has called for Intel to provide a way for users to disable ME. Russian researchers have found a way to disable ME after the hardware has initialized, and the main processor has started. That doesn't really help much. ME is already running by then.

But Minnich found that what's going on within the chip is even more troubling. At a presentation at Embedded Linux Conference Europe, he reported that systems using Intel chips that have AMT, are running MINIX.

If you learned about operating systems in the late '80s and early '90s, you knew MINIX as Andrew S Tanenbaum's educational Unix-like operating system. It was used to teach operating system principles. Today, it's best known as the OS that inspired Linus Torvalds to create Linux.

So, what's it doing in Intel chips? A lot. These processors are running a closed-source variation of the open-source MINIX 3. We don't know exactly what version or how it's been modified since we don't have the source code.

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Purism Librem 13 v2 privacy-focused Linux laptop -- great hardware, frustrating software [Review]

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
Reviews

As a computer user in 2017, privacy is always on my mind -- as it should be. I suppose I have always cared about securing my information and data, but in recent years, we have learned so many troubling things about government hackers -- including the USA -- that it seems more important than ever. Patriot Edward Snowden really shone a light on the unfortunate state of privacy, or lack thereof, in modern days.

This is why I was very intrigued by the Purism line of laptops. These are computers that are designed with privacy in mind. The Librem 13 v2, which I have been testing, features two hardware kill-switches -- one will cut the webcam and microphone, while the other kills the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios. By cutting access on the hardware level, hackers cannot access these things when switched off. Instead of using a traditional bios system for booting, it even leverages Coreboot. It runs a Linux-based operating system called "Pure OS" which aims to be very secure and private. Unfortunately, the OS ends up being a little too secure, and the weak link of the overall package. But does that really matter?

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Raspberry Pi CM3 fuels touch panel and network media player

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Linux
Hardware

Distec’s 10.1-inch “POS-Line IoT” touch-panel PC is built on its RPi CM3 based “Artista-Iot” board, which also drives a VideoPoster IV media player.

In February, Germany based Distec announced its Artista-IoT touchscreen controller board based on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, and has now announced a POS-Line IoT touch-panel computer built on the sandwich-style board combo. Primarily aimed at Point-of-Sale (PoS) applications, the touch-panel can also be used for HMI devices, digital whiteboard and production visualization, medical, aerospace, and signage applications.

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Another Dead Microsoft Product

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Hardware
Microsoft

Success! Beelink S1 Running Linux – Courtesy of the Open Source Community

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

We recently published a post summarizing why the Beelink S1’s hardware specs look so promising for an inexpensive Linux mini PC. But I hit a brick wall when trying to install any flavour of Linux on the machine. I simply could not get the machine to boot a live Linux distro, either from a USB DVD or USB key.

I contacted Shenzhen AZW Technology Co. Ltd., the manufacturer of the Beelink S1, twice to see if they could offer any support. They replied recommending I get used to running Windows 10, as they contend Ubuntu is difficult to install on this mini PC. The second email has yet to elicit a response. I must have exhausted my support quota. Undeterred, I made a call for help to Linux enthusiasts. And half a dozen good folk promptly stepped forward to offer a simple solution, which I’ll detail below. This is one reason why I love Linux; the community.

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NODE Handheld Linux Terminal Version 3

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

YouTuber NODE has released a new video unveiling his third generation Handheld Linux Terminal which builds on the features from the previous creations and is once again fantastically awesome.

Check out the video below to learn more about the Handheld Linux Terminal Version 3 powered by a Raspberry Pi 3 mini PC. Great job NODE.

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Linux Tiny Box PCs and DeX

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • Linux Tiny Box PCs: Quad-core i.MX6 Dual Lite

    Kingdy's new ultra-compact tiny embedded platform for space limited solution, based on the ARM Cortex-A9TM iMX6 Dual Lite / Quad Core processor, delivers optimum I/O design for maximum connectivity with Pre-install Yocto 1.8 on eMMC.

  • Samsung to Give Linux Desktop Experience to Smartphone Users

    Samsung on Thursday announced a new app, Linux on Galaxy, designed to work with its DeX docking station to bring a full Linux desktop experience to Galaxy Note8, Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphone users.

    Samsung earlier this year introduced DeX, a docking station that connects to a monitor to give Galaxy smartphone users a desktop experience.

Devices: Beelink S1 Mini PC, Aaeon’s SBC, Kobo and LEDE

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • Beelink S1 Mini PC and Linux – Comedy Gold

    The Beelink S1 is a small, silent mini PC released in August 2017 retailing for around 300 dollars (250 euros). It’s produced by Shenzhen AZW Technology Co Ltd, a Chinese company that focuses on Android smart TV boxes, Intel mini PCs, and home cloud TV boxes.

    The S1 ships with an activated copy of Windows 10. But what makes this mini PC interesting? For starters, it purports to run Ubuntu. Combined with a quad core Celeron CPU, dual monitor support (HDMI and VGA), 4K video, expansion options, together with a raft of other features, the machine looks a mouthwatering prospect compared to many other mini PCs.

  • Kaby Lake Pico-ITX SBC features dual M.2 slots

    Aaeon’s “PICO-KBU1” SBC is built on Intel 7th Gen U-series CPUs with up to 16GB DDR4, dual GbE ports, and M.2 B-key and E-Key expansion.

    The PICO-KBU1 SBC is equipped with Intel’s dual-core, 15W TDP 7th Gen U-series CPUs from the latest Kaby Lake generation. Other 100 x 72mm Pico-ITX boards that run Kaby Lake U-Series processors include Axiomtek’s PICO512. As usual with Aaeon, no OS support is listed.

  • Kobo firmware 4.6.9995 mega update (KSM, nickel patch, ssh, fonts)

    It has been ages that I haven’t updated the MegaUpdate package for Kobo. Now that a new and seemingly rather bug-free and quick firmware release (4.6.9995) has been released, I finally took the time to update the whole package to the latest releases of all the included items. The update includes all my favorite patches and features: Kobo Start Menu, koreader, coolreader, pbchess, ssh access, custom dictionaries, and some side-loaded fonts.

  • LEDE v17.01.4 service release

    Version 17.01.4 of the LEDE router distribution is available with a number of important fixes. "While this release includes fixes for the bugs in the WPA Protocol disclosed earlier this week, these fixes do not fix the problem on the client-side. You still need to update all your client devices. As some client devices might never receive an update, an optional AP-side workaround was introduced in hostapd to complicate these attacks, slowing them down."

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More in Tux Machines

Graphics: Mesa 17.2.6 RC, AMDGPU, and Vulkan

  • Mesa 17.2.6 release candidate
  • Mesa 17.2.6 RC Arrives With 50+ Fixes
    While Mesa 17.3 is imminent and should be released as stable within the next few days, Mesa 17.2.6 is being prepped for release as the current point release.
  • 43 More AMDGPU DC Patches Hit The Streets
    While the massive AMDGPU DC infrastructure has been merged for Linux 4.15, the flow of improvements to this display code continues and it looks like the next few kernel cycles at least could be quite busy on the AMD front.
  • A Prototype Of The Vulkan Portability Initiative: Low-Level 3D To Vulkan / D3D12 / Metal
    A Mozilla engineer has put out a prototype library in working on the Vulkan Portability Initiative for allowing low-level 3D graphics support that's backed by Vulkan / Direct3D 12 / Metal. With Apple sticking to their own Metal graphics API and Direct3D 12 still being the dominant graphics API on Windows 10, The Khronos Group has been working towards better 3D portability for where Vulkan may not be directly supported by the OS/drivers or otherwise available. They've been working to target a subset of the Vulkan API that can be efficiently mapped to these other native graphics APIs and to have the libraries and tooling for better compatibility and code re-use of these different graphics APIs.

Kernel: Linux 4.15, TLDR, and Linus Torvalds' Latest Rant

  • Linux 4.15 Adds AMD Raven Ridge Audio ID
    Not only is AMD Stoney Ridge audio (finally) being supported by the Linux 4.15 kernel, but it also looks like Raven Ridge audio should now be working too.
  • Linux 4.14.2 Fixes The BCache Corruption Bug
    Normally I don't bother mentioning new Linux kernel point releases on Phoronix unless there are some significant changes, as is the case today with Linux 4.14.2.
  • TLDR is what Linux man pages always should have been
    If you get stuck using a Linux tool, the first port of call shouldn’t be to Stack Overflow, but rather its “man pages.” Man — which is short for manual — retrieves documentation for a given program. Unfortunately, this can often be dense, hard to understand, and lacking in practical examples to help you solve your problem. TLDR is another way of looking at documentation. Rather than being a comprehensive guide to a given tool, it instead focuses on offering practical example-driven instructions of how something works.
  • Linux creator Linus Torvalds: This is what drives me nuts about IT security
    Developers are often accused of not thinking about security, but Linux kernel founder Linus Torvalds has had enough of security people who don't think about developers and end-users. After blasting some kernel developers last week for killing processes in the name of hardening the kernel, Torvalds has offered a more measured explanation for his frustration with security myopia. While he agrees that having multiple layers of security in the kernel is a good idea, certain ways of implementing it are not, in particular if it annoys users and developers by killing processes that break users' machines and wreck core kernel code. Because ultimately, if there are no users, there's not much point in having a supremely secure kernel, Torvalds contends.

Unity 7 Hoping To Become An Official Flavor For Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

While Canonical abandoned their work on the Unity desktop environment in favor of the Unity-inspired customized GNOME Shell that debuted in Ubuntu 17.10, some within the community have remained interested in maintaining Unity 7 and even getting it into an official spin/flavor of Ubuntu. Posted today to the community.ubuntu.com was a Unity maintenance roadmap, reiterating the hope by some in the Ubuntu community for Ubuntu Unity to become an official LTS distribution of Ubuntu. They are hoping to make it an official flavor alongside Kubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Xubuntu, and others. Read more Original/direct: Unity Maintenance Roadmap

Programming/Development: Django and Google India

  • An introduction to the Django ORM
    One of the most powerful features of Django is its Object-Relational Mapper (ORM), which enables you to interact with your database, like you would with SQL. In fact, Django's ORM is just a pythonical way to create SQL to query and manipulate your database and get results in a pythonic fashion. Well, I say just a way, but it's actually really clever engineering that takes advantage of some of the more complex parts of Python to make developers' lives easier.
  • Hey, Coders! Google India Is Offering 130,000 Free Developer Scholarships — Here’s How To Apply
  • Google to prepare 1.3 lakh Indians for emerging technologies

    "The new scholarship programme is in tandem with Google's aim to train two million developers in India. The country is the second largest developer ecosystem in the world and is bound to overtake the US by 2021," William Florance, Developer Products Group and Skilling Lead for India, Google, told reporters here.