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Hardware

Google: TensorFlow, Open Hardware and More on Collaboration

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Hardware
OSS
  • Beginner's guide for TensorFlow: The basics of Google's machine-learning library

    It is an open-source, accelerated-math library designed to help developers build and train machine-learning models using a wide range of hardware — CPUs, GPUs, and even specialized chips such as TPUs (Tensor Processing Units).

    While TensorFlow was originally designed for use with more powerful machines, it has evolved to be able to create models to run in all sorts of unlikely places, from browsers to low-power IoT devices. Today, TensorFlow can be used with a wide range of programming languages, including Python, Go, C++, Java, Swift, R, Julia, C#, Haskell, Rust, and JavaScript.

  • Google extends lowRISC FOSSi partnership

    Unlike proprietary processors, the design and instruction set architecture (ISA) for which are kept behind a typically expensive licence wall, free and open source silicon (FOSSi) does what it says on the tin: Projects like RISC-V provide both the ISA and key implementations under permissive licences, allowing anyone to use, modify, distribute, and commercialise the technology without a single license or royalty payment - including, in many cases, the ability to create a proprietary implementation, should they so choose.

    Following on from the news that it was a founding member of the Linux Foundation's CHIPS Alliance, an industry group set up to 'host and curate high-quality open source code relevant to the design of silicon devices', Google has now announced that it is extending its existing partnership with the lowRISC project to include additional funding, support, and the appointment of two Google staffers as board members on the project.

  • Google wants an open source silicon community for chip design

    As evidenced by Android and Chromium, Google has long been committed to open source software. The company now wants to foster a similar community for hardware and chip design, particularly open source silicon.

  • To Create Prosperity, Free Market Competition Isn’t Enough—You Need Collaboration Too

    What’s ironic is that all of this communal activity isn’t driven by beret-wearing revolutionaries plotting in coffee houses, but by many of today’s most powerful and profit-driven corporations, who act not out of altruism, but self-interest. The fact is that technology firms today who do not actively participate in open source communities are at a significant competitive disadvantage.

    For example, Chris DiBona, Director of Open Source at Google, once told me, “We released Android as an open source product because we knew that was the fastest way to grow adoption, which enabled us to preserve the relationships with customers for businesses like search, maps and Gmail.” That is the reality of today’s marketplace. You collaborate in order to compete effectively. Businesses that don’t accept that simple fact will find it difficult to survive.

    Science’s commitment to communal effort is not at all new, but is a thread running deep in America’s long history of technological dominance. And it’s not all about private companies competing with each other, either: it’s about how the market can benefit from public investment. When Vannevar Bush submitted his famous report, “Science, The Endless Frontier,” to President Truman at the end of World War II, he argued that scientific discovery should be considered a public good crucial to the competitiveness of the nation. The crux of his argument is that such efforts build capacity through creating what he called “scientific capital” and pointed out that “New products and new processes do not appear full-grown. They are founded on new principles and new conceptions, which in turn are painstakingly developed by research in the purest realms of science.”

Modding Devices and Freedom: Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Brushless Motors, HestiaPi and More

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Hardware
OSS
  • How to Build Your Own Futuristic Smart Mirror

    A smart mirror can show your calendar, weather, and news like something out of a sci-fi movie. Powered by a Raspberry Pi, you can build your own with some simple tools and hardware.

  • Arduino launches new Nano board range

    Arduino has established itself as one of the leading small open source single-board microcontroller and microcontroller kit makers on the market with its designs popular with enthusiasts through to schools and universities. Founded in Italy, the company has launched its new Nano range of compact project boards that also happen to be among the cheapest it currently offers. They range in price from just US$9.90 for the Nano Every through to US$29.50 for the Nano 33 BLE Sense that includes Bluetooth as well as a range of proximity, gesture and environmental sensors.

    [...]

    Also new from Arduino is a MKR GSM 1400 Cellular SIM Kit. The Nano Every and the Nano 33 IoT will ship from mid-June while the Bluetooth-equipped Nano 33 BLE and Nano 33 BLE Sense will ship from mid-July.

  • An Open Source ESC For Brushless Motors

    For something basic like a brushed DC motor, speed control can be quite simple, and powering up the motor is a simple matter of just applying voltage. Brushless motors are much more demanding in their requirements however, and won’t spin unless driven just right. [Electronoobs] has been exploring the design of a brushless speed controller, and just released version 1.0 of his open-source ESC design.

    The basic design is compact, and very similar to many off-the-shelf brushless ESCs in the low power range. There’s a small PCB packing a bank of MOSFETs to handle switching power to the coils of the motor, and a big capacitor to help deal with current spikes. The hacker staple ATMEGA328 is the microcontroller running the show. It’s a sensorless design, which measures the back EMF of the motor in order to determine when to fire the MOSFETs. This keeps things simple for low-torque, low-power applications.

  • A Customizable Open Source Mechanical Numpad

    Mechanical keyboards with reduced key counts are all the rage these days, but while those streamlined input devices might look cool on your desk, there are times when the traditional number pad or navigation keys are quite handy. Rather than just going without, [Mattia Dal Ben] decided to put together his own mechanical auxiliary input device for when the main board just isn’t cutting it.

  • Little Printer returns as an open-source messaging device

    Berg’s Little Printer, an adorable internet-connected box that printed out tiny snippets of news, Instagram photos, and to-do lists, stopped working when the studio and its servers shut down in 2014. Now, design consultancy firm Nord Projects has brought it back to life with a brand-new app, and it added the ability to send messages between devices, as reported by Core77.

  • Perfecting the Open Source RC Controller

    For this entry into the 2019 Hackaday Prize, [Vitor de Miranda Henrique] is working on his own version of the ultimate open source remote control. His design follows some of the trends we’ve already seen in terms of outward design and hardware expandability, but also branches off into some new territory with features such as dual integrated displays.

  • HestiaPi Touch open source Raspberry Pi smart thermostat

    This month Google has made a number of changes to its Nest smart thermostat platform and services, some of which will have a profound effect on the integration of the thermostat with other Internet of Things services. If you are interested in moving away from corporate smart thermostats a new open source thermostat specifically designed for controlling HVAC and water systems has been created by the team at MakeOpenStuff.

    The HestiaPi smart thermostat is powered by integrated Raspberry Pi Zero W to offer wireless connectivity has been equipped with the 3.5-inch LCD display together with a host of sensors to monitor and control home heating and water. What she demonstration video below to learn more about the open source system that allows you to build your very own smart home thermostat and offer root access and increased privacy and security from the prying eyes of large corporations.

  • The Rise of ROS: Nearly 55% of total commercial robots shipped in 2024 Will Have at Least One Robot Operating System package Installed
  • Raptor's Blackbird micro-ATX POWER9 System Is Ready To Take Flight This Week

    The much anticipated Raptor Blackbird is set to begin shipping over the days ahead. Blackbird is the lower-cost (compared to the Talos II Secure Workstation) micro-ATX motherboard for IBM POWER9 systems and offers open-source firmware as currently one of the most open, high-performance systems available.

    The Raptor Blackbird supports up to 8-core 160W Sforza POWER9 CPUs, two DDR4 ECC modules, one PCI Express 4.0 x16 slot (and one PCIe 4.0 x8), dual Gigabit Ethernet, 4 x SATA 3.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, and other standard connectivity.

Intel Chips Get Slower (Again) Because of the Defects

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Hardware
  • MDS / Zombieload Mitigations Come At A Real Cost, Even If Keeping Hyper Threading On

    The default Linux mitigations for the new Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) vulnerabilities (also known as "Zombieload") do incur measurable performance cost out-of-the-box in various workloads. That's even with the default behavior where SMT / Hyper Threading remains on while it becomes increasingly apparent if wanting to fully protect your system HT must be off.

    MDS was announced on Tuesday and now back from the Open-Source Technology Summit I am running a number of MDS/Zombieload mitigation benchmarks including the likes now of comparing the overall Spectre/Meltdown/L1TF/MDS impact and also if going the "full" route of disabling Hyper Threading. Tomorrow will be the first featured (multi-page) article with MDS data on multiple systems while here are some initial numbers I am seeing when just looking at the new default cost of this MDS mitigation.

  • Intel's Coffeelake OpenCL Performance Between Beignet & Their Modern NEO Driver

    A few days back I posted a number of Intel OpenCL benchmarks between their former Beignet and new "NEO" Linux compute stacks that was done using a Skylake NUC for the Iris Pro 580 graphics. For those wondering how these two open-source Intel OpenCL implementations compare for the more common UHD Graphics 630, here are some benchmarks using an Intel Core i9 8700K "Coffeelake" processor.

    With an Intel Core i7 8700K sporting UHD Graphics 630, I ran some benchmarks comparing the latest Git code of the now-deprecated Beignet OpenCL driver against the modern OpenCL NEO driver. These are complementary data points to last week's Iris Pro benchmarks. As outlined in that earlier article and is also the case for Coffeelake, Beignet only provides OpenCL 2.0 while the current NEO driver offers OpenCL 2.1 capabilities at present and is the default Intel Linux OpenCL implementation moving forward.

hgTerm Is A DIY Mini Raspberry Pi Computer That Runs PlayStation Games

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

Raspberry Pi has been used in a number of mini laptops that run on tiny single-board computers. But a recent one, developed by hgTerm, could be one of the best DIY mini PCs made till date.

The pocket-sized hgTerm computer comes with a 4-inch touchscreen display and rocks a 270-degree hinge that can be flipped backwards to use the device as a stand.

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Linux-powered LattePanda And Nvidia GTX 1650 Make A Perfect Match

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
Hardware

Linux-powered LattePanda Alpha is one of the most powerful Single Board Computers (SBC) on the market. Unlike several SBCs available, the LattePanda Alpha features an X86-based Intel Processor, a PCI express slot for installing GPU, eMMC storage, a USB type-c port and a lot more.

However, the Linux-powered LattePanda becomes even more valuable with another piece of hardware called the Nvidia GTX 1650. The entry level Graphics card was launched a few weeks ago and it is a perfect match for the LattePanda.

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Raspberry Pi-Sized DIY Retro Gaming Console Lets You Relive Childhood

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

Roshambo Pro has released a retro DIY gaming console which is sure to please the inner child in you. The kit includes a retro gaming console shell, heat sink, controllers and much more. The best part is that the retro console shell, which resembles SNES Europe or Super Famicom, can use a number of tiny SOCs.

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Linux Devices: Building a Raspberry Pi Rover and Linaro Turns 9

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • Building a Raspberry Pi Rover: My Big Fat Linux Weekend

    Linux! Such a wonderful, rich, capable operating system has blessed us, and all for the low, low cost of absolutely free.

  • Nine years of Linaro

    Nine years ago at 11:00 a group of developers gathered in a small room. I was one of them and did not knew anyone from a group before entering the room.

    The meeting took place in Dolce La Hulpe Hotel and Resort in a village close to Brussels, Belgium. It was on first day of UDS-M.

    This was the first meeting of NewCo developers. The organization now known as Linaro.

5 open source hardware products for the great outdoors

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Hardware
OSS

When people think about open source hardware, they often think about the general category of electronics that can be soldered and needs batteries. While there are many fantastic open source pieces of electronics, the overall category of open source hardware is much broader. This month we take a look at open source hardware that you can take out into the world, no power outlet or batteries required.

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Performance Testing Intel’s Core i9-9980XE 18-core CPU In Linux

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
Hardware

We’ve run Intel’s Core i9-9980XE processor through a gauntlet of tests over the past couple of weeks, and we’re going to kick off our look at its performance with some Linux tests. Join us as we tackle Intel’s top Core-series chip across a range of workloads, from compression to encryption and rendering to encoding.
We’ve been hugely focused on Windows benchmarks lately, so it’s about time we spice things up and get another collection of Linux tests together. The last time we tackled CPU performance in Linux was with the launch of Intel’s Core i9-9900K. That article prefaced the Windows one, so it’s a bit of a parallel that we’re kicking off our i9-9980XE coverage the same way (Windows coverage will come soon.)

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Grove Base Kit for Raspberry Pi gives you 10 sensors for $40

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

Seeed’s “Grove Base Kit for Raspberry Pi” is an RPi HAT aimed at newbies at less than half the price of its Starter Kit for the Pi. The kit has a few less sensors, but adds motion, moisture, and servo.

After seeing our report yesterday on the Grove AI HAT for accelerating AI on the Raspberry Pi, Seeed alerted us to a Grove Base Kit for Raspberry Pi that touched down in early April without much media coverage. Based on its $9.90 Grove Base HAT for Raspberry Pi, the $39.90 kit is less than half the price of Seeed’s $89.90 GrovePi+ Starter Kit for Raspberry Pi, which is more expensive in part due to using Dexter Industries’ $30 Grove Pi+ add-on for the Raspberry Pi. (Note that Dexter also offers its own, more feature-rich GrovePi+ Starter Kit, which includes an RPi 3 SBC.)

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More in Tux Machines

Introducing GNOME Usage’s Storage panel

GNOME Usage is a new GNOME application to visualize system resources such as memory consumption and disk space. It has been developed by Petr Stetka, a high school intern in our Red Hat office in Brno. Petr is an outstanding coder for such a young fellow and has done a great job with Usage! Usage is powered by libgtop, the same library used by GNOME System Monitor. One is not a replacement for the other, they complement our user experience by offering two different use cases: Usage is for the everyday user that wants to check which application is eating their resources, and System Monitor is for the expert that knows a bit of operating system internals and wants more technical information being displayed. Besides, Usage has a bit of Baobab too. It contains a Storage panel that allows for a quick analysis of disk space. Read more

Android Leftovers

4 open source Android apps for writers

While I'm of two minds when it comes to smartphones and tablets, I have to admit they can be useful. Not just for keeping in touch with people or using the web but also to do some work when I'm away from my computer. For me, that work is writing—articles, blog posts, essays for my weekly letter, e-book chapters, and more. I've tried many (probably too many!) writing apps for Android over the years. Some of them were good. Others fell flat. Here are four of my favorite open source Android apps for writers. You might find them as useful as I do. Read more

How a trip to China inspired Endless OS and teaching kids to hack

Last year, I decided to try out Endless OS, a lightweight, Linux-based operating system developed to power inexpensive computers for developing markets. I wrote about installing and setting it up. Endless OS is unique because it uses a read-only root file system managed by OSTree and Flatpak, but the Endless company is unique for its approach to education. Late last year, Endless announced the Hack, a $299 laptop manufactured by Asus that encourages kids to code, and most recently the company revealed The Third Terminal, a group of video games designed to get kids coding while they're having fun. Since I'm so involved in teaching kids to code, I wanted to learn more about Endless Studios, the company behind Endless OS, The Third Terminal, The Endless Mission, a sandbox-style game created in partnership with E-Line Media, and other ventures targeted at expanding digital literacy and agency among children around the world. I reached out to Matt Dalio, Endless' founder, CEO, and chief of product and founder of the China Care Foundation, to ask about Endless and his charitable work supporting orphaned children with special needs in China. Read more