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Alan Pope: KDE Slimbook 2 Review

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KDE
Hardware
Reviews

The kind folks at Slimbook recently sent me the latest generation of their ultrabook-style laptop line for review, the KDE Slimbook 2. You can hear my thoughts on the latest episode of the Ubuntu Podcast, released on June 7th 2018.

Slimbook are a small laptop vendor based in Spain. All the laptops ship with KDE Neon as the default operating system. In addition to their hardware, they also contribute to and facilitate local Free Software events in their area. I was sent the laptop only for review purposes. There's no other incentive provided, and Slimbook didn't see this blog post before I published it.

Being a small vendor, they don't have the same buying power with OEM vendors as other big name laptop suppliers. This is reflected in the price you pay. You're supporting a company who are themselves supporting Free Software developers and communities.

If you're after the cheapest possible laptop, and don't care about its origin or the people behind the device, then maybe this laptop isn't for you. However, if you like to vote with your wallet, then the KDE Slimbook should absolutely be on your list to seriously consider.

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2018 reader survey of 116 open-spec Linux/Android SBCs

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Android
Linux
Hardware
  • 2018 reader survey of 116 open-spec Linux/Android SBCs

    Vote for your favorites from our freshly updated catalog of 116 sub-$200, hacker-friendly SBCs that run Linux or Android, and you could win one of 15 prizes. An embedded engineer awakening from a 20-year coma might find today’s hacker board scene surprising to say the least.

  • Catalog of 116 open-spec hacker boards

    This catalog accompanies our June 2018 reader survey of hacker-friendly, open-spec SBCs. Here, we provide recently updated descriptions, specs, pricing, and links to details for all 116 SBCs.

    Our June 2018 round-up of hacker-friendly single board computers comprises three resources: an overview of recent SBC market trends; this catalog; and a Google docs spreadsheet that tabulates the boards’ key features. Click on the introduction link below to find the link to the SurveyMonkey site where you can vote for your favorite boards and win a chance at some free SBC prizes.

Devices: Fuchsia, Jolla, and Udoo Bolt

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • Fuchsia Friday: Google is working on two unusual Fuchsia device prototypes

    Inside of the Zircon repo, is a maintained list of hardware vendors and devices from those vendors that are compatible with the kernel. Some of these vendors include standard ones like Intel (for the NUC and Pixelbook), chip makers like Broadcom and Amlogic, and companies like Khadas and 96Boards who make development hardware. Google themselves are included are vendors in this list with three devices, Gauss, Astro and Machina. We’ll come back to Machina soon™.

  • CCW & The Power of German Community

    Critical Communications World or CCW for short is an international event held in a different part of the world each year. This year the event took place in Berlin on May 15th & 16th. At the event, dozens of companies from all over the globe gather to showcase their critical communication solutions and products, be it services, hardware, software or apps. We were situated at the Critical Communications Finland booth.

    Jolla, who’s flexible, reliable and independent solution: Sailfish OS, is intrinsically private and secure, is highly relevant at such events.

    [...]

    While walking around the event and discussing with the different exhibitors it was clear that participation in this “ecosystem” requires versatile and scalable solutions integrated to long service life infrastructure such as buses, ambulances, drones, tablets and phones. Sailfish 3 brings more scalability with support for feature phone and PDA type devices in addition to existing form factors such as Phones, Tablets and Watches.

    Addressing privacy and security is important to the ecosystem and SailfishOS provides a solid solution for a secure and privacy-respecting product out of the box. You can then plug in features such as secure VPN communication to the Sailfish OS frameworks either with your own, or already provided, technologies. With Sailfish OS you are not locked to our cloud services and servers, but instead you have the freedom to choose a provider of your own. Many companies at the event commented that when they selected a platform they had to first strip down certain services and even change some components in order to reach the privacy requirements.

  • Udoo Bolt is first Ryzen V1000 based hacker board

    Seco has won KS funding for its open-spec, $229 “Udoo Bolt” SBC, which runs Linux or Windows on AMD’s Ryzen Embedded V1000 SoC. The SBC supports up to 4x displays, and offers SATA III, 3x M.2, 2x HDMI 2.0, and Arduino and Grove expansion.

Libre Hardware

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Hardware
  • Flash your Libre Firmware with a Libre Programmer

    Whether or not you personally agree with all the ideals of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), you’ve got to give them credit: they don’t mess around. They started by laying the groundwork for a free and open source operating system, then once that dream was realized, started pushing the idea of replacing proprietary BIOS firmware with an open alternative such as Libreboot. But apparently, even that’s not enough, as there’s still more freedom to be had. We’re playing 4D Libre Chess now, folks.

    [...]

    Luckily, the FSF has just awarded the Zerocat Chipflasher their “Respects Your Freedom” certification, meaning every element of the product is released under a free license for your hacking enjoyment.

  • Coreboot Picks Up Support For Another Eight Year Old Intel Motherboard

    If by chance you happen to have an Intel DG41WV motherboard, it's now supported by mainline Coreboot so you can free the system down to the BIOS.

    The DG41WV motherboard comes from the LGA-775 days with an Intel G41 Eaglelake chipset back when DDR3-1066 was great, motherboards topped out with 4GB of RAM, four USB 2.0 ports were suitable, and motherboard PCBs were much less fashionable. The DG41WV was a micro-ATX board and a decent choice for the times to pair with a CPU like the Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad.

Devices: QNAP, Seeed, New SOM

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • QNAP Launches 16-Bay AMD Ryzen-Based TS-1677X NAS with 10 GbE

    QNAP will offer four models of the TS-1677X NAS with various CPUs and different amount of memory. The manufacturer did not disclose prices, but since we are talking about enterprise-grade NAS, they are not going to be low.

  • Latest ReSpeaker mic array offers improved barge-in and full duplex operation

    Seeed has launched an upgraded, $69 “ReSpeaker Mic Array v2.0” for far-field voice control that works with any Linux, Mac, or Windows computer. It enables simultaneous playback and recording and offers improved barge-in voice recognition.

    [...]

    Seeed launched the ReSpeaker microphone array on Kickstarter in 2016, and followed up a year later with the $25 ReSpeaker 4-Mic Array for Raspberry Pi add-on board. Seeed’s new v.2.0 is an upgrade to the original ReSpeaker, but like the Raspberry Pi version, it’s not an SBC boardset, but is instead controlled via a separate attached computer.

  • Microchip – New SOM simplifies industrial-grade Linux designs (SAMA5D27)

    The Microchip SAMA5D27 SOM removes the complexity of managing signal integrity, EMI and ESD for high-speed interfaces and power management in MPU-based industrial Linux designs.

More Dell Laptops With GNU/Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • Welcome the new Dell Precision developer editions!

    Today I’m proud to announce the new the Linux-based Dell Precision Mobile workstation line: the 3530, 5530, 7530 and the 7730. These systems, which represent the fourth generation of the Precision developer editions, come preloaded with Ubuntu and have been RHEL certified.

    These new thinner, lighter, premium-built Precision mobile workstations feature the latest Intel Core and Xeon processors, blazing-fast memory and professional graphics.

  • Dell Launches New Precision Mobile Workstation Line-Up Powered by Ubuntu Linux

    Dell has launched a new Dell Precision Mobile Workstation line-up powered by the Ubuntu Linux operating system, featuting thinner and lighter designs with premium builds and using the latest technologies.

    Targeted mostly at developers, the new Dell Precision Mobile Workstation "Developer Edition" line-up consists of the Dell Precision 3530 Mobile Workstation, Dell Precision 5530 Mobile Workstation, Dell Precision 7530 Mobile Workstation, and Dell Precision 7730 Mobile Workstation, which come with a much lighter and thinner design, and offer a premium build.

  • Dell Unveils New Ubuntu Laptops

    Thinner, lighter and more powerful — three ways to describe the latest Ubuntu powered laptops from Dell.

    Everyone’s favourite Linux laptop vendor has lifted the veil on a fresh set of Linux-powered laptops.

    Their all-new Dell Precision Mobile Workstation ‘developer editions’ combine the latest Intel Core and Xeon processors, memory options and discrete graphics with the steady and stable Ubuntu operating system.

Devices: Ibase, OpenWatch, Purism

Filed under
OS
Linux
Hardware
  • 3.5-inch Apollo Lake SBC supports industrial temperatures

    Ibase’s Linux-compatible, 3.5-inch “IB818” SBC provides a dual- or quad-core Apollo Lake SoC, plus 2x GbE, 4x USB 3.0, 2x SATA, 2x mini-PCIe, triple display support, wide-range power, and -40 to 85°C support.

  • AsteroidOS and OpenWatch offer open alternatives to smartwatch stacks

    The open source, Linux based “AsteroidOS” alternative to Wear OS arrives in a stable 1.0 release, and Block spins off some of its Android smartwatch stack as an open source OpenWatch Project.

    The AsteroidOS project has released version 1.0 of its open source, Linux-based smartwatch distribution. Designed for after-market installation on “Wear OS by Google” (formerly Android Wear) watches, AsteroidOS can now be dual booted on seven different models. The release follows the late March announcement of an OpenWatch Project for building Android based open source custom ROMs on Wear OS watches.

  • Purism Publishes Librem 5 Dev Kit Details, Small Batch Order Going In Soon

    Purism has published their nearly final specifications on their limited-run Librem 5 Dev Kit. The cutoff for ordering a developer kit is next week as they are placing their hardware order and planning on only this single, limited run of the developer kit prior to the phones becoming available next year.

    Their deadline for ordering a developer kit is the end of the month and the kit price has raised to $399 USD. In the process, Purism believes they are still on track for their January 2019 for coming up with having the phone's actual hardware ready.

Suitcase Computer Reborn with Raspberry Pi Inside

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Hardware

Fun fact, the Osborne 1 debuted with a price tag equivalent to about $5,000 in today’s value. With a gigantic 9″ screen and twin floppy drives (for making mix tapes, right?) the real miracle of the machine was its portability, something unheard of at the time. The retrocomputing trend is to lovingly and carefully restore these old machines to their former glory, regardless of how clunky or underpowered they are by modern standards. But sometimes they can’t be saved yet it’s still possible to gut and rebuild the machine with modern hardware, like with this Raspberry Pi used to revive an Osborne 1.

Purists will turn their nose up at this one, and we admit that this one feels a little like “restoring” radios from the 30s by chucking out the original chassis and throwing in a streaming player. But [koff1979] went to a lot of effort to keep the original Osborne look and feel in the final product. We imagine that with the original guts replaced by a Pi and a small LCD display taking the place of the 80 character by 24 line CRT, the machine is less strain on the shoulder when carrying it around. (We hear the original Osborne 1 was portable in the same way that an anvil is technically portable.) The Pi runs an emulator to get the original CP/M experience; it even runs Wordstar. The tricky part about this build was making the original keyboard talk to the Pi, which was accomplished with an Arduino that translates key presses to USB.

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Devices: Raspberry Pi, Klashwerks, Volvo/AGL/IVI

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • Raspberry Pi gets in touch with touch panels

    The Raspberry Pi 3 and RPi 3 Compute Module are quickly expanding into the industrial touch-panel market. Here’s a guide to six RPi-based contenders.

    In the smart home, voice agents are increasingly replacing the smartphone touchscreen interface as the primary human-machine interface (HMI). Yet, in noisier industrial and retail IoT environments, touchscreens are usually the only choice. The industrial touch-panel computer market has been in full swing for over a decade. Touch-panel systems based on Linux, and to a lesser extent, Android, are gaining share from those that use the still widely used Windows Embedded, and over the past year, several Raspberry Pi based systems have reached market. Here we look at six RPi-based touch-panels.

  • Gesture controlled dashcam and telematics computer has dual HD cameras

    Klashwerks has launched a $299, gesture controlled “Raven” dashcam, security system, navigation tool, and OBD-II telematics reporting device, which runs Android on a Snapdragon 650 and offers front- and cabin-facing HD cameras.

    Klashwerks’ Android-based Raven dashcam and automotive computer was a hit on Indiegogo and won a CES Innovation Award. Now it’s available publicly for $299.

  • Volvo runs with Android for Intel IVI, Linux will dominate

    Volvo’s decision to pick Intel’s Atom automotive system on chip (SoC) to run In Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) for its new XC40 SUV highlights the intensifying competition among chip makers in this fast-growing sphere. The decision to base the system on Android also illuminates the evolving OS scene for cars, with Linux the primary alternative in its AGL (Automotive Grade Linux) variant.

Devices: AsteroidOS, Android and More

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • AsteroidOS 1.0 Released, Net Neutrality Update, Qt 3D Studio 2.0 Beta Now Available and More

    AsteroidOS 1.0 is now available. Released yesterday, the open-source operating system for smartwatches is finally available after four years in the works. As posted on the AsteroidOS website, "AsteroidOS is built on standard Linux technologies including OpenEmbedded, opkg, Wayland, Qt5, systemd, BlueZ, and PulseAudio. This makes it the ideal platform to build any sort of wearable project you can imagine. Do you want to run Docker on your watch? AsteroidOS can do it. Do you want to run Quake on your watch? AsteroidOS can do that too. The sky is really the limit! Our community welcomes anyone interested in playing with a smartwatch project."

  • Meet AsteroidOS – A potential replacement for Wear OS
  • Logic Supply embedded PCs now available with pre-loaded AWS Greengrass

    Logic Supply is now offering pre-loaded AWS Greengrass software for autonomous edge processing linked to the AWS IoT platform on two of its Linux-based systems: its recent Apollo Lake based CL200 mini-PC and its Kaby Lake enabled MC850 embedded PC.

    Logic Supply announced it has joined Amazon Web Services’ AWS Partner Network (APN), and is certified to offer the Linux-driven AWS Greengrass software for localized edge computing. The first two certified systems are the recent Intel Apollo Lake based CL200 Edge Device mini-PC and last year’s high-end MC850 embedded computer running Kaby Lake or Skylake CPUs.

  • New Cherry Trail Pico-ITX SBC also available in 7- and 10-inch touch-panels

    Estone Technology (AKA Habey) has launched a Linux-friendly “EMB-2610” Pico-ITX SBC built on an Atom x5-Z8350 with WiFi, BT, and optional PoE, and also introduced 7- and 10-inch touch-panel PCs built on it.

    Over the last decade, Toledo, Ohio based Estone Technology has sold products under either the Estone or Habey label. It’s now integrating the operations and websites under the Estone brand. The product page for the new EMB-2610 Pico-ITX SBC, for example, points to a Habey EMB-2610 datasheet. The EMB-2610 also powers new 7-inch PPC-6607 and 10.1-inch PPC-6610 touch-panel PCs (see farther below).

  • OnePlus 6 Launched; Features A 6.28-inch Screen With Notch And Full Glass Body

    The highly-awaited OnePlus 6 has been launched by the Chinese company OnePlus. Latest of the segment, OnePlus 6 features a 6.28-inch Optic AMOLED display, a notorious notch and carries the price tag of $529 for the starting variant.

    The phone can be availed in three colors namely Mirror Black, Midnight Black and the limited edition Silk White. Under the hood, you will find the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 along with two options of RAM (6GB and 8GB).

  • How Android P’s Gesture Navigation Works
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PulseAudio 12 Open-Source Sound System Released with AirPlay, A2DP Improvements

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