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Open Hardware: Moral Panic and NASA'a Blueprints

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  • Ignorant Hysteria Over 3D Printed Guns Leads To Courts Ignoring The First Amendment

    A year and a half ago, we wrote about a troubling ruling by the 5th Circuit siding with the US State Department waving a magic "national security" wand to ignore the First Amendment implications of banning the internet distribution of the CAD files for 3D printing components for guns. As we pointed out over five years ago, the hysteria over these 3D printed gun plans was silly. Attempts to ban them from the internet wouldn't just fail, but would actually draw much more attention to them.

    However, in the last few days the hysteria has returned... and much of it is misleading and wrong, and while most people probably want to talk about the 2nd Amendment implications of all of this, it's the 1st Amendment implications that are a bigger deal. First off, most of what you've probably heard about the case is either wrong or misleading. David French has a pretty good post separating fact from fiction. This is not (as some claimed) the Trump administration "legalizing" 3D printed guns. It is already legal to make guns yourself, so long as they are not undetectable. Undetectable guns are already illegal under the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 and nothing has changed or is changing on that front.


    So a bunch of states sued to somehow try to stop this whole thing from going forward -- though it's unclear what there is to actually stop. Can states stop the US government from settling a lawsuit? That seems odd. Either way, at least three courts rushed forward to issue injunctions against posting the files, including Washington State, where the judge didn't even seem to consider the First Amendment issues at hand, and issued a ruling that seems to be a classic case of prior restraint. I mean, the ruling literally doesn't even discuss the First Amendment concerns. Instead, it argues that there's a likelihood of success under the Administrative Procedures Act, effectively arguing that because the government is modifying the munitions list, it needs to go through a more thorough administrative process. That... seems weak, especially given the First Amendment issues at play.

    Again, no matter how you feel about the 2nd Amendment, guns or gun control... that's not really the issue here, even if it's clouding much of the reporting on it. Nothing in this case is about legalizing 3D printed guns. It is entirely about exporting computer files that might be used by people outside of the US to make guns, but which are already widely available in many places on the internet and aren't going to go away (note that this case only applies specifically to Cody Wilson and his organization, and doesn't directly impact third parties who are already distributing the files elsewhere).

  • Build your own NASA space rover: Here are the DIY JPL blueprints

    NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has been quietly working on a way to let students and interested hobbyists build a planet-exploring rover that's a scaled-down version of the American agency's six-wheeled 'droids.

    For the past few months, JPL eggheads have been toiling away on the project over on GitHub, basing their work on an outreach rover, “ROV-E”, that's toured schools and museums since 2015. The boffins went public with their designs on July 31.

  • Want a Raspberry Pi-powered Mars rover designed by NASA? Here's how to build one
  • NASA’s Open Source Rover Is a Miniature Curiosity You Can Build Yourself
  • Raspberry Pi space rover: NASA open-sources its mini Mars robot
  • Build your own Mars rover using plans from NASA
  • JPL Open Source Rover Project Lets You Build Your Own Working Robot Rover

Latest EdgeX IoT middleware release gets smaller, faster, and more secure

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EdgeX Foundry’s “California” release of its EdgeX IoT middleware adds security features and is rewritten in Go for faster boot and a smaller footprint, enabling it to run on its target platform: the Raspberry Pi.

The Linux Foundation’s EdgeX Foundry project announced its second major release of its EdgeX IoT middleware for edge computing. The “California” release adds security features including reverse proxy and secure credentials storage. It’s also rewritten in Go to offer a smaller footprint This makes it possible to run EdgeX on the Raspberry Pi 3, which has been chosen as the official target platform for California.

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Open Hardware: NASA Open Source Rover and New Laws in the US to Limit 3-D Printing

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Open Hardware: Shakti, Prosthetics, Open Source Bioprinter for 3D Printing Branching

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  • India's first RISC-V based Chip is Here: Linux boots on Shakti processor!
  • Innovating to Make Prosthetics More Accessible and Affordable

    India has an ancient affinity with prosthetics. The earliest known historical document to describe a prosthesis is the Rigveda, an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns, whereby the lost foot of the warrior Vispala is replaced with a “metallic leg” by her husband, Khela, enabling her to walk again.

  • Researchers Build Inexpensive Open Source Bioprinter for 3D Printing Branching, Hydrogel-Based Vascular Constructs

    But thanks to 3D bioprinting, it’s now possible to 3D print complex structures on multiple length scales within a single construct. This enables the generation of branching, interconnected vessel systems of small, vein-like microvessels and larger macrovessels, which couldn’t be done with former tissue engineering methods. However, the best sacrificial material for fabricating branching vascular conduits in constructs based in hydrogel has yet to be determined.

    A team of researchers from the University of Toronto recently published a paper, titled “Generating vascular channels within hydrogel constructs using an economical open-source 3D bioprinter and thermoreversible gels,” in the Bioprinting journal. Co-authors of the paper include Ross EB Fitzsimmons, Mark S. Aquilino, Jasmine Quigley, Oleg Chebotarev, Farhang Tarlan, and Craig A. Simmons.

  • (Badly) cloning a TEMPer USB

    At this point things became less reliable. The V-USB code is an evil (and very clever) set of interrupt driven GPIO bit banging routines, working around the fact that the ATTiny doesn’t have a USB port. 1-Wire is a timed protocol, so the simple implementation involves a bunch of delays. To add to this the temper-python library decides to do a USB device reset if it sees a timeout. And does a double read to work around some behaviour of the real hardware. Doing a 1-Wire transaction directly in response to these requests causes lots of problems, so I implemented a timer to do a 1-Wire temperature check once every 10 seconds, and then the request from the host just returns the last value read. This is a lot more reliable, but still sees a few resets a day. It would be nice to fix this, but for the moment it’s good enough for my needs - I’m reading temperature once a minute to report back to the MQTT server, but it offends me to see the USB resets in the kernel log.

SMARC module runs Linux on i.MX8 QuadMax

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Congatec unveiled a Linux-driven, SMARC form factor “Conga-SMX8” module with an i.MX8 QuadMax, QuadPlus or DualMax, plus up to 8GB LPDDR4, dual GbE, HDMI 2.0, optional onboard eMMC and wireless, and optional “Conga-SEVAL” carrier and -40 to 85°C support.

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Dell XPS 13 Kabylake Makes For A Great Linux Laptop

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When it comes to new laptops for the summer of 2018 that are Linux-friendly, the latest-generation Dell XPS 13 with Intel Kabylake-R processor ranks high on that list. Recent in upgrading my main production workstation, I decided to go with the Dell XPS 13 9370 while using Fedora Workstation 28 and it's been a phenomenal combination. Here are my thoughts on the current Dell XPS 13 as well as some benchmarks and other information.

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In Open Hardware, “Free as in Beer” Matters

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Richard M. Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation, is famously fond of distinguishing between “free as in freedom” and “free as in beer.” Free software, he is pointing out, is a matter of philosophy and politics, not price, and the implication is that “free as in freedom” is by far the superior of the two. Yet as open hardware spreads, reduced costs — if not always no cost — is starting to seem just as important as licensing, both for manufacturers and for handling situations that normal business is unable to handle.

To some degree, the same is true in software. Admittedly, though, it is less true than it used to be, because, in the last decade, online services such as Google Docs have diminished the attractiveness of gratis free software. For users who little about free licenses and often care less, proprietary services can seem just as convenient as local hardware or free services, all the more so because they carry a well-known brand name. However, cost remains a major factor in business, where freely available source code can reduce development costs and bring products more quickly to market.

With open hardware, the business advantage sometimes remains. For instance, much of the development of autonomous cars is open source, a fact that is not widely advertised. More often, though, the situation is different from that of free software. Hardware has costs like manufacturing, shipping, and storage that software does not — at least, not to the same extent. In fact, for years, these costs were a major obstacle to the development of open hardware and seemed impossible to overcome. While a hobbyist can contribute to software development for the price of a computer and an Internet connection, the cost of contributing to hardware used to be beyond most people’s — and many small business’ — ability to pay.

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Hardware: Mercury Security, Rock960, RISC-V

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  • Mercury’s Linux Intelligent Controller Line

    Building upon the success of its open architecture series controllers, Mercury Security, a leader in OEM access control hardware and part of HID Global, launched its next-generation LP intelligent controller platform built on the Linux operating system. The controllers offer advanced security and performance, plus extensive support for third-party applications and integrations—delivered on an identical form factor that enables seamless upgrades for existing Mercury based deployments.

  • Rock960 Review: An Affordable Six-Core ARM Board That Runs Linux And Android

    The single-board computer space, spearheaded by Raspberry Pi products, is pretty vast and polluted by a number of low-end offerings. But every now and then, there’s something that really catches your eye and makes you wonder just how much can be crammed onto a credit card sized board and still manage to be affordable. The Rock960 does just that.

    Most readers will know of the Raspberry Pi family of products, but for those that are more familiar, you’ll be painfully aware of the woeful limitations of these budget-minded devices. The big one typically being USB 3, but some would like to see better networking throughput, as well.

  • Linux Boots On “Shakti” — India’s First Ever RISC-V Based Silicon Processor

    RISC-V Workshop in Chennai, India, hosted by The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras), achieved a significant milestone by booting Linux on its first ever RISC-V based silicon chip processor named Shakti (Project Page). The team, which is sponsored by the Western Digital, aims to create a critical mass of CPU architects in India, according to the project lead (Via: Hacker News, Twitter). Open-Source, patent-free domestic CPU production is well on the cards, according to experts.

Helios4 Arm-Based Open Source NAS SBC For Linux/FreeBSD

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NAS is an acronym for Network-attached storage. A NAS server or computer can store and retrieve files from a centralized location on your LAN or Intranet. NAS device typically uses Ethernet-based connections and do not have display output. NAS do not need keyboard or mouse to operate. You can manage your NAS using an ssh-based tool or browser-based configuration tool.

NAS allows users to share data using standard protocols such as NFS, CIFS, SSH, iSCSI, FTP, SSH and more. You can turn NAS into a personal cloud. NAS supports MS-Windows, macOS, Linux and Unix clients. Advanced NAS features may include full-disk encryption and virtualization support.

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Also: Weekend Reading: Raspberry Pi Projects

Devices: Raspberry Pi, Bridgetek’s Embedded Video Engine (EVE), NileCAM

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  • Get Started With Ethical Hacking Using Kali Linux and Raspberry Pi

    Ethical hacking is a great way to uncover your inner Mr. Robot. And what better way to build those skills than by using one of the foremost hacking toolkits?

    We’re talking Kali Linux on your Raspberry Pi 3! A Raspberry Pi 3 running Kali Linux is surprisingly formidable for hacking. The tiny computer is cheap, powerful, and versatile.

    In fact, Kali Linux comes packed with everything you need to expand your ethical hacking skills. Here’s how you load Kali Linux onto your Raspberry Pi 3.

  • Graphics Controller Gaining Ground In Open-Source Universe

    Bridgetek’s Embedded Video Engine (EVE) technology is reportedly gaining more traction within the global open-source community, as well as with larger OEMs. The integrated graphics controllers can handle the display, touch, and audio aspects of modern human machine interfaces (HMIs), As a result, they are finding their way into a growing number of products developed by small start-ups. The latest of these is the Sunflower Shield.

    Using the FT813 EVE IC, the Sunflower Shield allows makers to add a touch-enabled premium quality 3.5" (QVGA) TFT LCD display, to their Arduino projects. With the ability to render 24-bit color content in either landscape or portrait orientations, plus support for smooth 60fps animations, this compact board has a 5-point multi-touch capacitive touchscreen for delivery of intuitive operation and compelling user experiences.

  • HD-resolution GMSL camera kit available in USB and Jetson TX2 models

    E-con has released a four-board, 3.4MP “NileCAM30” camera system claimed to be the world’s fastest GMSL camera. Its available in either a USB 3.1 interface or a MIPI-CSI connection for linking to a Jetson TX2 module.

    E-con Systems has launched a four-board, fixed-focus 3.4-megapixel camera system with up to HD video resolution at 60fps and and GMSL technology for 80ms latency over a 15-meter cable. The NileCAM30 is available in two similar models: a NileCAM30_TX2 model that’s designed to plug into a Linux-powered, hexa-core Nvidia Jetson TX2 module by way of the Jetson TX2 Developer Kit and a NileCAM30_USB model with a USB interface that can work with any Linux- or Windows-driven, USB-enabled computer. The TX2 model also supports the earlier Jetson TX1.

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Security: 'Cyber' Wars, IPFS, Updates and PHP FUD

Graphics: CodeXL, X.Org Server, and SIMD32

  • CodeXL 2.6 is released!
    For current users of CodeXL, this new release may look and feel a little different. The AMD Developer Tools team has been busy working on many new tools, some of which replicate functionality found in older versions of CodeXL. Thus, to limit confusion for our users, we have removed several major components from CodeXL.
  • AMD CodeXL 2.6 Advances GPU Profiling, Static Analysis & GPU Debugging
    But what is found within CodeXL 2.6 for GPU developers are the GPU profiling features, static analysis features, and GPU debugging features.
  • [ANNOUNCE] xorg-server 1.20.2
    Lots of bugfixes all over the map. Thanks to all for testing and patches!
  • X.Org Server 1.20.2 Released With A Bunch Of Bug Fixes
    It's almost been a half-year already since the release of the long delayed X.Org Server 1.20, but with no signs of X.Org Server 1.21 releasing soon, xorg-server 1.20.2 was announced today as the latest stable point release.
  • Might Formally Join Forces With The X.Org Foundation is already effectively part of X.Org given the loose structure of, the key members/administrators being part of both projects, and long being the de facto hosting platform from the X.Org Server to Mesa and much more. But now they may be officially joining forces. As a formality, the X.Org Foundation is seeking to change their foundation's by-laws to reflect that the X.Org Foundation shall also "Support free and open source projects through the infrastructure. For projects outside the scope [of the X.Org Foundation] support extends to project hosting only."
  • Experimental Patches For Using SIMD32 Fragment Shaders With Intel's Linux Driver
    Existing Intel graphics hardware already supports SIMD32 fragment shaders and the Intel open-source Linux graphics driver has supported this mode for months, but it hasn't been enabled. That though is in the process of changing. Since June the Intel Mesa driver's fragment shader code has supported the SIMD32 mode supported by the past number of generations of Intel graphics hardware, but it hasn't actually been turned on. That enabling wasn't done over not having the heuristics in place for determining when to enable it over the other code paths.

8 of the Best Free Linux Comic Book Viewers (Updated 2018)

A comic book is a magazine which consists of narrative artwork in the form of sequential images with text that represent individual scenes. Panels are often accompanied by brief descriptive prose and written narrative, usually dialog contained in word balloons emblematic of the comics art form. Comics are used to tell a story, and are published in a number of different formats including comic strips, comic books, webcomics, Manga, and graphic novels. Some comics have been published in a tabloid form. The largest comic book market is Japan. Many users associate desktop Linux with their daily repetitive grind. However, we are always on the look out for applications that help make Linux fun to use. It really is a great platform for entertainment. Some document viewers offer a good range of different formats. Although they are not dedicated comic book viewers, Evince and okular have support for the common comic book archive files, and merit mention here. Read more