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Hardware

Linux-Ready Devices With Intel (Back Door/ME) Chips

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • Rugged, low-cost Bay Trail SBC runs Linux

    VersaLogic released a rugged, PC/104-Plus form-factor “SandCat” SBC with a dual-core Intel Bay Trail SoC, -40 to 85℃ support, plus SATA, GbE, and mini-PCIe and more, starting at $370 in volume.

    VersaLogic has spun a simpler, more affordable alternative to its BayCat single board computer, which similarly offers a Linux supported Intel Bay Trail SoC in a PC/104-Plus form-factor board. The rugged new SandCat is limited to a dual-core, 1.33GHz Atom E3825, and offers a somewhat reduced feature set, but launches at less than half the price of the dual-core version of the BayCat, selling at $370 in volume.

  • Rugged DIN-rail PC taps Skylake-U

    Aaeon has launched a Linux-friendly DIN-rail “Boxer-6750” DIN-rail computer with a dual-core Intel 6th Gen CPU, dual displays, extended temp and vibration resistance, plus 2x GbE, 2x USB 3.0, and 4x serial ports.

New Part Day: A $6 Linux Computer You Might Be Able To Write Code For

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Linux
Hardware

The latest news from the world of cheap electronics is a single board computer running Linux. It costs six dollars, and you can buy it right now. You might even be able to compile code for it, too.

The C-Sky Linux development board is listed on Taobao as an ‘OrangePi NanoPi Raspberry Pi Linux Development Board” and despite some flagrant misappropriation of trademarks, this is indeed a computer running Linux, available for seven American dollars.

This board is based on a NationalChip GX6605S SoC, a unique chip with an ISA that isn’t ARM, x86, RISC-V, MIPS, or anything else that would be considered normal. The chip itself was designed for set-top boxes, but there are a surprising number of build tools that include buildroot, GCC and support for qemu. The company behind this chip is maintaining a kernel, and support for this chip has been added to the mainline kernel. Yes, unlike many other single board computers out there, you might actually be able to compile something for this chip.

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Also: Modular automation controller builds on UP Squared SBC

Arduino Gets a Command Line Interface

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Hardware
OSS

When using an Arduino, at least once you’ve made it past blinking LEDs, you might start making use of the serial connection to send and receive information from the microcontroller. Communicating with the board while it’s interacting with its environment is a crucial way to get information in real-time. Usually, that’s as far as it goes, but [Pieter] wanted to take it a step farther than that with his command line interpreter (CLI) for the Arduino.

The CLI allows the user to run Unix-like commands directly on the Arduino. This means control of GPIO and the rest of the features of the microcontroller via command line. The CLI communicates between the microcontroller and the ANSI/VT100 terminal emulator of your choosing on your computer, enabling a wealth of new methods of interacting with an Arduino.

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Microsoft and Apple Against Repairs

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Hardware
Microsoft
Mac

POWER On-Chip Controller Driver Coming For Linux 4.21

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

The IBM POWER On-Chip Controller (OCC) driver is queued for inclusion in the next version of the Linux kernel. This on-chip controller driver collects sensor data from the system and processor, including temperature and power metrics, and exposes that to the user as well as handling thermal/power management tasks.

The on-chip controller is embedded into POWER processors with P8/P9 processors. The newly-queued OCC driver exposes via sysfs temperatures, frequencies, power usage, power capacity/minimum/maximums, and other sensor data. The OCC driver documentation covers the information in more detail.

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GCC 9 Lands Initial Support For The OpenRISC Architecture

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Development
GNU
Hardware

It's been a long journey for the OpenRISC CPU instruction set architecture not to be confused with RISC-V, but with the GCC 9.1 compiler release due out in early 2019 will finally be initial mainline support for this ISA.

There had been GCC OpenRISC patches for a while, but the original developers were not okay with assigning their copyrights to the Free Software Foundation as is required to contribute to the GCC project (and most other FSF projects for that matter). Since earlier this year a clean-room rewrite of the GCC OpenRISC port has been taking place and the GCC steering committee approved of this CPU architecture seeing a port in GCC.

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Linux-driven 96Boards SBC features AI and RISC-V companion chips

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Linux
Hardware

Bitmain announced a “Sophon BM1880 EDB” 96Boards CE SBC featuring its new Sophon BM1880 AI chip plus dual Cortex-A53 cores that run Linux. There’s also a RISC-V chip and optional Raspberry Pi and Arduino modules.

Beijing-based Bitmain, which is known primarily as a leading vendor of bitcoin mining chips and computers, also has a “Sophon” AI chip business built around its BM1680 and more recent BM1682 Tensor Computing Processor (TPU) AI chips. Bitmain recently announced a third-gen BM1880 TPU along with a Sophon BM1880 Edge Development Board (EDB) 96Boards CE SBC, referred to by 96Boards.org as the “Sophon Edge.”

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Sony Needs Free Software

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Hardware
OSS
Gaming
  • Sony using open source emulator for PlayStation Classic plug-and-play

    ReARMed is a popular, modernized branch of the original PCSX emulator, which was actively developed from 2000 to 2003 for Linux, Mac, and Windows. A new branch called PCSX Reloaded picked up that development later in the decade, adding new features and fixing bugs and eventually leading to the ReARMed fork. The emulator supports network play and a "save rewind" feature that lets you easily reverse recent gameplay, two features that seem to be missing from the PlayStation Classic.

  • Playstation Classic is using the open-source PCSX emulator in order to play its games

    A lot of console gamers were hyped when Sony announced the Playstation Classic. However, it appears that Sony has not developed its own emulator and instead it is using the open source PCSX emulator that most PC gamers have been using all these years.

    What ultimately this means is that the overall emulation may not be that “authentic” as some gamers may have expected. We’ve seen this happening in SNES classic and to be honest I was expecting Sony to put some more effort to it.

  • PlayStation Classic Using Open Source Emulator, 50Hz Versions of Games in Europe

    The PlayStation Classic has always seemed like a bit of a hasty attempt by Sony to try and cash in on the popularity of the NES Classic Mini and SNES Classic Mini’s success. Which is fine, of course—the PlayStation brand has a history and a legacy that deserves to be celebrated, too.

    But the hastiness of the effort seems to have compromised it. The list of games on the hardware seems to be, well, not the best, while there are basic baffling decisions like the decision to not have the controllers be the DualShock controllers, instead reverting to the no-analog original controllers.

2018 Mac Mini blocks Linux, here are alternative small form factor PCs

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
Mac

Apple's long-awaited refresh of the Mac Mini includes a component called the "T2 Security Chip" which Apple touts as having "a Secure Enclave coprocessor, which provides the foundation for APFS encrypted storage, secure boot, and Touch ID on Mac," as well as integrating "the system management controller, image signal processor, audio controller, and SSD controller," which were separate components in previous Mac systems. Because of the extent to which T2 is involved with the boot sequence of this new hardware, Apple controls what operating systems can be loaded onto their hardware.

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Why you should care about RISC-V

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Hardware

If you haven’t heard about the RISC-V (pronounced “risk five”) processor, it’s an open-source (open-hardware, open-design) processor core created by the University of Berkeley. It exists in 32-bit, 64-bit, and 128-bit variants, although only 32- and 64-bit designs exist in practice. The news is full of stories about major hardware manufacturers (Western Digital, NVidia) looking at or choosing RISC-V cores for their product.

But why should you care? You can’t just go to the local electronics boutique and buy a RISC-V laptop or blade server. RISC-V commodity hardware is either scarce or expensive. It’s all still early in its lifespan and development, not yet ready for enterprise tasks. Yet it’s still something that the average professional should be aware of, for a number of reasons.

By now everyone has heard about the Meltdown and Spectre issues, and related “bugs” users have been finding in Intel and AMD processors. This blog is not about how hard CPU design is – it’s hard. Even harder than you realize. The fear created by these bugs was not that there was a problem in the design, but that users of these chips had no insight into how these “black boxes” worked, no way to review code that was outside their control, and no way to audit these processors for other security issues. We’re at the mercy of the manufacturer to assure us there are no more bugs left (ha!).

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More in Tux Machines

Schedule a visit with the Emacs psychiatrist

Welcome to another day of the 24-day-long Linux command-line toys advent calendar. If this is your first visit to the series, you might be asking yourself what a command-line toy even is. We’re figuring that out as we go, but generally, it could be a game, or any simple diversion that helps you have fun at the terminal. Some of you will have seen various selections from our calendar before, but we hope there’s at least one new thing for everyone. Today's selection is a hidden gem inside of Emacs: Eliza, the Rogerian psychotherapist, a terminal toy ready to listen to everything you have to say. Read more

Download User Guide Books of All Ubuntu Flavors

This is a compilation of download information of user guide books of Ubuntu and the 5 Official Flavors (Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, and Ubuntu Studio). You can find either complete user guides (even for server edition), installation guide, or tutorials compilation; either in PDF or HTML format; plus where to purchase two official ebooks of Ubuntu MATE. On the end of this tutorial, I included how to download the HTML-only documentation so you can read it completely offline. I hope you will find all of books useful and you can print them out yourself. Get the books, print them, share with your friends, read and learn Ubuntu All Flavors. Read more

Games: Desert Child, KKnD, Twice Circled

  • Desert Child Now Available on Linux, PC, and Mac OS
    Akupara Games is here with an all-new game that blends a mix of hoverbikes with shooting and racing alongside high-resolution pixel art. It's odd to see a game try so many different genres, but Desert Child does that and more. Adventure games are also covered, as you have to go from place to place and explore the world. Your overall goal is to leave Earth before it blows up, and winning the Grand Prix allows you to go to Mars and escape the planet.
  • The KKnD remake using the OpenRA engine has a first release out
    KKnD, the classic strategy game is being revived and the new open source project has the first release out. I was going to write this up last night, but it seems I jumped the gun a bit before they had all the bits in place. Nice to see such quick and polite communication from their team though. Unlike Red Alert and the other titles served by OpenRA, KKnD and KKnD 2 were not made freeware. You will still need the games for the full experience. However, this remake will download the demo files for you to get you going.
  • The lovely aquarium building game Megaquarium just had a big update
    Twice Circled are adding in plenty of new features to Megaquarium as promised, with a major update now available.

Debian Installer Buster Alpha 4 release

The Debian Installer team[1] is pleased to announce the fourth alpha release of the installer for Debian 10 "Buster". Foreword ======== I'd like to start by thanking Christian Perrier, who spent many years working on Debian Installer, especially on internationalization (i18n) and localization (l10n) topics. One might remember graphs and blog posts on Planet Debian with statistics; keeping track of those numbers could look like a pure mathematical topic, but having uptodate translations is a key part of having a Debian Installer that is accessible for most users. Thank you so much, Christian! Read more Also: Debian Installer Buster Alpha 4 Released