While Allwinner has been caught violating the (L)GPL and resulted in obfuscating their code and playing around with their advertised licenses, now this ARM vendor is taking things a step further.
First, we must understand why we can’t make hardware free the same way we make software free. Hardware and software are fundamentally different. A program, even in compiled executable form, is a collection of data which can be interpreted as instruction for a computer. Like any other digital work, it can be copied and changed using a computer. A copy of a program has no inherent physical form or embodiment.
The original founders of Arduino—the popular programmable DIY electronics kit—appear to have had a falling out. And that might bring about what could be the world’s first open-source hardware fork, a sort of developer schism that's much more common in the software world.
At the moment, two different websites display the Arduino logo and branding. There’s Arduino.cc, Arduino’s original site. Now there’s also Arduino.org, which prominently displays the text “the adventure continues,” as if it has been passed the torch.
Imagination Technologies is a British company that has recently entered full production of a board based on MIPS computer architecture. The single-board computer has been designed to allow developers to create applications for mobiles, gaming, Internet of Things, and wearables.
The MIPS Creator CI20 is billed as a high-performance, fully featured Linux and Android development platform. The board includes an Ingenic JZ4780 SoC which is built around a dual-core MIPS32 processor clocked at 1.2GHz, and Imagination's PowerVR SGX540 GPU. The Creator CI20 comes with a price tag of or £50, which is significantly more expensive than the Raspberry Pi 2. CI20 is an open platform with technical manuals, schematics and source code freely downloadable. You might be interested in my Raspberry Pi 2 review together with this article.
Dimitri John Ledkov of Intel has added support to the Ubuntu-Drivers-Common framework for having CPU family detection and being able to install the appropriate CPU microcode update packages depending on the reported processor family. It's basically just making sure the right CPU microcode packages are installed rather than having them not installed or having all of them in place.
To what extent do the ideas of free software extend to hardware? Is it a moral obligation to make our hardware designs free, just as it is to make our software free? Does maintaining our freedom require rejecting hardware made from nonfree designs?
Free software is a matter of freedom, not price; broadly speaking, it means that users are free to use the software and to copy and redistribute the software, with or without changes. More precisely, the definition is formulated in terms of the four essential freedoms.
The new Raspberry Pi 2 proclaims that it is 6x faster than the original Pi, taking the original machine to a new level. The big leaps focus on the processor and memory, with the machine now replacing a single core CPU with a quad core Broadcom BCM2836 CPU. The RAM has jumped to a very respectable 1GB.
A work colleague has just received a Samsung Xpress C460FW MFP (laser printer, scanner, copier and fax machine) for small print jobs. It is possible to connect to it via USB, Direct USB, wired network, wireless network, Wi-Fi Direct and NFC; that’s impressive for a MFP that can be purchased for GBP 270 in the UK.
The platform-drivers-x86 pull request has been filed for the Linux 3.20 kernel and it includes some prominent additions.
First up, the Toshiba ACPI driver (toshiba_acpi) is closer to feature-parity with its Windows counterpart. The Linux Toshiba ACPI driver now supports USB Sleep & Charge functions, USB Sleep functions under battery, USB Rapid Charge, USB Sleep & Music, support for keyboard functions mode, support for Panel Power On, support to enable/disable USB 3, etc. There's also driver clean-ups and other improvements for this ACPI laptop driver specifically for Toshiba hardware.