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Hardware

Open Hardware: TinyCircuits, Numworks, and Open Source FPGAs

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Hardware
  • TinyCircuits Portfolio of Tiny Open Source Electronics Available Globally from Digi-Key

    TinyCircuits' selection of small-size open source electronics, including the TinyDuino, is available for immediate shipment worldwide through Digi-Key Electronics, a global electronic components distributor, thanks to a new distribution agreement between the two companies.

  • Numworks graphing calculator is made for students raised on tech

    Now, an open-source calculator called Numworks is taking them on with a clean, simple look, an intuitive interface and open source programming and design.

  • Retrocomputing With Open Source FPGAs

    A few years ago, we saw the reverse engineering of the Lattice iCE40 bitstream, opening the door to a completely Open Source development tool chain for FPGAs. This was an astonishing amount of work from [Clifford Wolf], [Mathias Lasser], and [Cotton Seed], but since then we haven’t seen a whole lot from Project IceStorm. Now, that’s about to change, and in the coolest way possible. [hoglet] is retrocomputing on an ICE40 development board.

    This is an implementation of the Acorn Atom on a myStorm BlackIce board. This board is basically just a Lattice iCE40 FPGA, a few support components, and a bunch of pin headers, some of which are in the not-so-handy Arduino pinout footprint. By porting some Acorn Atom implementations and a 6502 core to verilog, [hoglet] was able to stuff a cool old retrocomputer onto an Open Source FPGA development board. Video output is through a resistor DAC driving a VGA cable, and keyboard input is through PS/2.

Survey shows Linux and FreeRTOS out front in embedded tech

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Linux
Hardware

AspenCore’s 2017 survey of embedded tech developers reveals that open source OSes like Linux and FreeRTOS continue to grow as proprietary platforms decline.

Dozens of market studies are happy to tell you how many IoT gizmos are expected to ship by 2020, but few research firms regularly dig into embedded development trends. That’s where reader surveys come in handy. Our own joint survey with Linux.com readers on hacker board trends offer insights into users of Linux and Android community-backed SBCs. The AspenCore survey of its EETimes and Embedded readers has a smaller sample (1,234 vs. 1,705), but is broader and more in depth, asking many more questions and spanning developers who use a range of OSes on both MCU and application processors.

The survey, which was taken in March and April of this year, does not perfectly represent global trends. The respondents are predominantly located in the U.S. and Canada (56 percent) followed by Europe/ENEA (25 percent), and Asia (11 percent). They also tend to be older, with an average of 24 years out of college, and work at larger, established companies with an average size of 3,452 employees and on teams averaging 15 engineers.

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Phoronix Benchmarks and AMD Recalls

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Hardware
  • Keeping The Ryzen Threadripper Busy With An Array Of Compiler Benchmarks

    While there are an array of interesting AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X Linux benchmarks in this morning's review, after hitting a 36 second Linux kernel compilation time with this 16 core / 32 thread processor, I spent this afternoon seeing what I was getting for some other compile times of popular programs.

  • Phoronix Test Suite 7.4 M3 Released With OpenBenchmarking Seamless/Dynamic Comparisons
  • AMD Replaces Ryzen CPUs for Users Affected By Rare Linux Bug

    AMD’s Ryzen 7 has been generally well-received by the enthusiast community, but there’s been one low-level problem that we’ve been watching but haven’t previously reported on. In early June, Ryzen users running Linux began reporting segmentation faults when running multiple concurrent compilation workloads using multiple different versions of GCC. LVVM/Clang was not affected, and the issue appears confined to Linux. Moreover, it wasn’t apparently common, even among Linux users — Michael Larabel, of Phoronix.com, reported that his own test rigs had been absolutely solid, even under heavy workloads.

    Like the Pentium FDIV bug of yesteryear, this was a real issue, but one that realistically only impacted a fraction of a fraction of buyers. AMD had previously said it was investigating the problem (which isn’t present on any Epyc or Threadripper CPUs) and it’s now announced a solution: CPU replacement.

Devices: Triple-Display Linux Thin Clients, Asteroid (Linux) Spreads, Microsoft Dumped in New York City

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Linux
Hardware
  • Compact thin client runs Linux, supports triple displays

    0ZiG’s “5900q” thin client features a quad-core Intel Braswell SoC, triple display and 4K support, and optional PoE, WiFi, and M.2.

  • Connect Watch: First Device To Run Asteroid OS Out Of The Box

    The Connect Watch is the first device to run the Linux based Astroid OS right out of the box, and leaving your phone at home is doable with this watch thanks to its nano sim slot with 3G capabilities with support for GSM bands 850, 900, 1800, and 1900 as well as WCDMA bands 850 and 2100. You’ll also be getting a 1.39-inch AMOLED display coming in at a resolution of 400 x 400 with no flat tire in sight. Under that display, is a 1.39GHz Quad Core processor with your choice of either 512MB or 1GB of RAM and 4GB or 8GB of internal storage. Also on board, are Bluetooth and GPS capabilities as well as a 2-megapixel camera with the ability to shoot 720p video. To take advantage of all these bells and whistles, the watch comes equipped with dedicated dialer, camera, and fitness tracking apps.

  • New York City cops will replace their 36,000 Windows phones with iPhones
  • New York Police scrap 36,000 Windows smartphones

    The New York Police Department will scrap 36,000 smartphones, thanks to a monumental purchasing cock-up by a billionaire's daughter.

    The city spent millions on the phones back in October 2016 as part of its drive to bring the police force into the 21st century. And the woman behind the purchase – Deputy Commissioner for Information Technology, Jessica Tisch – praised them for their ability to quickly send 911 alerts to officers close to an incident.

    There was only one problem: Tisch chose Windows-based Lumia 830 and Lumia 640 XL phones, and Microsoft officially ended support for Windows 8.1 in July.

Intel Media SDK for Embedded Linux, Raspberry Slideshow 9.0, and Librem 5

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Linux
Hardware

Purism's Librem 5, Jolla's Sailfish OS for Sony Xperia X, NVIDIA's Jetson TX1 Developer Board

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Hardware
  • Purism's Librem 5 Is Nearing $100k In Funding, But A Long Journey Remains

    This week Purism announced their plans for the Librem 5 smart-phone as a GNU/Linux smartphone that is privacy-respecting, as open as possible, and costs $599 USD. The company believes they can have the phone ready for release by early 2019 if they raise $1.5 million USD over the next two months. In just about three days they have raised nearly $100,000, but it's not clear if the pacing will continue to reach the milestone in time.

    As of writing this morning, they have raised $93,994 USD since their announcement on Thursday. This includes 134 backers sending in $599 USD to effectively pre-order the device, just six sending in $299 USD for the developer kit, two sending in $1399 for getting the Librem 5 phone with a 24-inch monitor, and four pledging $1699 USD to get the Librem 5 phone with an unnamed 30-inch monitor.

  • Jolla officially launches Sailfish OS for Sony Xperia X, but at a hefty price

    Sailfish OS will debut on Xperia X handsets soon, as Sony has tied up with Jolla to optimise the new mobile OS for its flagship series. After a few failed attempts with Intex, Fairphone and TRI, the Sailfish OS is all set for a comeback with a new moniker 'Sailfish X'. It will be offered as a paid software on Xperia X smartphones.

  • NVIDIA Rolls Out Jetson TX1 Developer Board SE At $199 USD

    For those looking for a very capable ARM developer board but have previously been put off by the Jetson TX1 at $579 USD, they now have a $199 developer board.

Devices: Khadas Vim2, ODROID HC1, Librem 5

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Hardware
  • Open-spec SBC features octa-core -A53 SoC

    The “Khadas Vim2” SBC runs Android 7.1 or Ubuntu 16.04 on an octa-core, -A53 Amlogic S912 with up to 3GB DDR4, WiFi, GbE, HDMI 2.0, and dual USB ports.

    Late last year, the Khadas project launched an open spec Khadas Vim SBC that runs on the Amlogic S905X, a cheaper version of the quad-core, Cortex-A53 Amlogic S905 used on Hardkernel’s Odroid-C2. Now, Khadas is back with a similarly open-spec Khadas Vim2 board that advances to the octa-core Amlogic S912.

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  • [Video] ODROID HC1 : Home Cloud One Introduction

    ODROID-HC1 is a mini PC which can be an affordable solution for a network attached storage (NAS) server. This home cloud-server centralizes data and enables users to share and stream multimedia files to phones, tablets and other devices on a network. Ideal for a single user on many devices, sharing between family members, developers or a group. Tailor the ODROID-HC1 to your specific needs. Plenty of software is available with only simple configuration. Determine the storage capacity of your server with a higher HDD/SSD. Depending on your needs, the frame is made to be stackable.

  • The Librem 5: Your Ultimate GNU/Linux FLOSS Smartphone

    Purism is well known for Linux based laptop with Coreboot. Now they started a crowdfunding campaign today for its smartphone called Purism Librem 5. What is so special about this phone? It is 100% powered by GNU/Linux. You can run any Linux distro on it. The phone provides high security and privacy features, i.e., it does not track you. This seems like an excellent device. One that I would certainly purchase or recommend to a privacy-conscious person.

  • The Librem 5 from Purism: A Matrix Native Smartphone.

    We’ve been approached by Purism to partner up to provide the communications subsystem for their upcoming Librem 5 smartphone – for which they are launching a crowdfunding campaign starting today! The whole idea of the phone is to provide unprecedented privacy, security and autonomy by running an entirely FOSS Debian-based GNU/Linux stack (even including CPU & GPU drivers!), and we are incredibly proud and overexcited that the folks at Purism have asked the Matrix core team to provide the native dialler and messaging app for the phone.  Yes, this means that the phone will literally boot by default into Matrix for all its primary communications (although, being FOSS, you could of course use a different dialler if you wanted).  The intention is to be a very usable and flexible phone for folks who value freedom, privacy and simplicity over the (relative) quagmire of iOS or Android – and of course jumping way ahead of where Apple or Google are in terms of integrating next-generation communications into the very heart of the device.

Meet the Entroware Zeus, a Powerful Linux Laptop

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

A hulking great 15.6-inch laptop with the power to match. On paper, I’m impressed at how well the Entroware Zeus manages to balance top tier performance and yet retain the benefits of portability.

The sleek aluminium chassis measures just 18.6mm thick, and the whole laptop weighs in at just 1.9KG — surprisingly light for a portable workstation.

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Devices: Portwell’s and Habey’s Linux-Ready Boards

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Linux
Hardware

Graphics and Hardware: VC5 Gallium3D, RADV Vulkan Driver, and AMD Ryzen

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Hardware
  • VC5 Gallium3D Driver Close To Merging To Mainline Mesa

    Broadcom's shiny new VC5 Gallium3D driver for supporting more modern graphics on future SoCs is close to merging to mainline Mesa.

    Details on VC5 are still scarce, such as when we'll see this new Broadcom graphics processor in SoCs/devices (hopefully future Raspberry Pis), but Eric Anholt continues developing this driver. VC5 does support OpenGL ES 3.0 and will also eventually be working on OpenCL and Vulkan support.

  • More Vega/GFX9 Fixes Posted For RADV Vulkan Driver

    It's looking like it shouldn't be much longer before David Airlie has the RADV Mesa Vulkan driver working well on AMD's new Radeon RX Vega graphics cards.

  • AMD Ryzen 3 CPUFreq Governor Benchmarks On Linux 4.13

    For those curious about the performance impact of the different CPUFreq governors on a low-end Ryzen 3 processor, here are some benchmarks.

    Using the Linux 4.13 Git kernel atop Ubuntu 17.04 with the AMD Ryzen 3 1200, I tested CPUFreq's ondemand, performance, powersave, schedutil, and conservative governors. As a reminder, Ubuntu defaults to CPUFreq's "ondemand" governor for AMD processors while the Intel CPUs using the P-State driver use "powersave" as their default.

  • ASRock AB350 Pro4: A Decent, Linux-Friendly Ryzen Motherboard For As Low As $69 USD
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More in Tux Machines

Linux Foundation: New Members, Certifications and Microsoft Entryism

ETSI/GNU/Linux-based MANO

  • ETSI Open Source MANO announces Release FOUR, moving faster than ever
    ETSI is pleased to announce the availability of OSM Release FOUR. Bringing a large set of new features and enhancements, this version is the most ambitious and innovative OSM Release to date and constitutes a huge leap forward in terms of functionality, user experience and maturity. This new Release brings substantial progress thanks to a number of architectural improvements, which result in a more efficient behaviour and much leaner footprint – up to 75% less RAM consumption. Additionally, its new northbound interface, aligned with ETSI NFV work, and the brand-new cloud-native setup, facilitate OSM’s installation and operation, while making OSM more open and simpler to integrate with pluggable modules and external systems, such as the existing OSS.
  • Open Source MANO Release FOUR lands
    In monitoring, ETSI says OSM Release FOUR's alarm and metric settings are easier to use, and a new policy manager adds push notifications and reactive policy configuration, which the standards body says “opens the door to closed-loop operations”. The monitoring module uses Apache Kafka as its message passing bus, and the module also implements a flexible plugin model so sysadmins can BYO monitoring environment.

today's howtos part 2

Programming: GitLab, Security, Power and Jakarta EE

  • GitLab 10.8 open sources push mirroring
    GitLab 10.8 was released this week with the open sourcing of a highly requested feature. The company announced its push mirroring capability is now open sourced. Push mirroring was originally introduced as a paid feature, but GitLab says it is one of the most frequently requested to be moved into the open-source codebase. This move will add a few new use cases for GitLab Core users, such as freelance developers being able to mirror client repos and users migrating to GitLab being able to use push mirroring to ease the migration path.
  • How Security Can Bridge the Chasm with Development
    Enhancing the relationships between security and engineering is crucial for improving software security. These six steps will bring your teams together. There's always been a troublesome rift between enterprise security teams and software developers. While the friction is understandable, it's also a shame, because the chasm between these teams makes it all the more challenging to build quality applications that are both great to use and safe.
  • Which Programming Languages Use the Least Electricity?
    Can energy usage data tell us anything about the quality of our programming languages? Last year a team of six researchers in Portugal from three different universities decided to investigate this question, ultimately releasing a paper titled “Energy Efficiency Across Programming Languages.” They ran the solutions to 10 programming problems written in 27 different languages, while carefully monitoring how much electricity each one used — as well as its speed and memory usage.
  • How Java EE found new life as Jakarta EE
    The title of this post may seem strange, but if you look a bit into Java EE's recent history, it will make sense. Originally, Sun started and ran Java Enterprise Edition, and later Oracle took over after it acquired Sun. Specifications were driven by a Sun/Oracle-governed process. At more or less regular intervals, they made a new version of the specification available, which was implemented by the server vendors. Those vendors had to license the technology compatibility kits (TCKs) and brand from Oracle. Let's fast-forward a bit. In 2013, Java EE 7 was released, and Oracle began work on EE8, but it did not progress quickly. Meanwhile, new technologies like Docker and Kubernetes came along and changed the way applications run. Instead of running a single fat server process on a big machine, the software is now split into smaller, independent services that run in a (usually) Docker container orchestrated by Kubernetes.