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Latest on Hardware Catastrophe

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Hardware
Security

Librem Tablet In 2018

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • Purism Planning To Release Their Librem Tablet In 2018

    Not only is Purism working on their Librem 5 smartphone this year with hopes of still readying the software and hardware for shipping to consumers in 2019, but they are also planning to unveil their tablet this year.

    Todd Weaver, the founder and CEO of Purism, posted today about the company's goals for 2018. Besides releasing the development board for the Librem 5 phone this year and working on other efforts for their smartphone plans, they are also planning to "release the much-anticipated Librem tablet."

  • Happy New Year! Purism Goals for 2018

    Purism has some lofty goals that seem more attainable with each advancement that we make. Our pace for these achievements is already impressive, and we plan on maintaining and exceeding that pace in 2018.

​Major Linux redesign in the works to deal with Intel security flaw

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
Security

Long ago, Intel made a design mistake in its 64-bit chips -- and now, all Intel-based operating systems and their users must pay the price.

Linux's developers saw this coming early on and patched Linux to deal with it. That's the good news. The bad news is it will cause at least a 5-percent performance drop. Applications may see far more serious performance hits. The popular PostgreSQL database is estimated to see at least a 17-percent slowdown.

How bad will it really be? I asked Linux's creator Linus Torvalds, who said: "There's no one number. It will depend on your hardware and on your load. I think 5 percent for a load with a noticeable kernel component (e.g. a database) is roughly in the right ballpark. But if you do micro-benchmarks that really try to stress it, you might see double-digit performance degradation."

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Phoronix on Impact of Colossal x86 Bug

Filed under
Hardware
Security
  • Further Analyzing The Intel CPU "x86 PTI Issue" On More Systems

    Yesterday I posted the first benchmarks of the performance impact of these x86 PTI security changes that landed in the Linux 4.15 kernel just days ago. As outlined in that article, most of the slowdowns attributed to the page table isolation come down to slower I/O but not universally as it largely depends upon the I/O workload as well as the speed of the actual storage device. In most desktop-ish workloads, the impact of enabling x86 PTI is much less like with not seeing much of a change for gaming.

  • Linux Will End Up Disabling x86 PTI For AMD Processors

    While at the moment with the mainline Linux kernel Git tree AMD CPUs enable x86 PTI and are treated as "insecure" CPUs, the AMD patch for not setting X86_BUG_CPU_INSECURE will end up being honored.

    The patch covered in the aforelinked article has not been merged through to Linus Torvalds' Git tree. Instead, as of a short time ago, is now living within the tip/tip.git tree. In there is also defaulting PAGE_TABLE_ISOLATION to on and other recent fixes around x86 Page Table Isolation (PTI) support.

Orange Pi One Plus Single Board Computer With Android Is Here, Linux Images Are Coming

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware

Whenever we discuss single board computer and Raspberry Pi-alternatives, Orange Pi definitely earns a mention. This cheap, tiny computer looks just like Raspberry Pi and packs some useful features. Its makers have recently released the latest iteration in the form of Orange Pi One Plus, which is available on AliExpress for $19.99 + shipping.

The most important feature of this device is the brand-new SoC — Allwinner H6 V200 quad-core Cortex A53 processor with Arm Mali-T720MP2 GPU. This processor is designed for Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, PCI interfaces, etc. However, with Pi One Plus, you only get one USB 2.0 host port and microUSB for power. You can also power it via 4V/2A DC power barrel jack.

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Kernel Exploit For Sony PS4 Firmware 4.05 Released, Full Jailbreak Coming Soon

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware

A ‘jailbreak’ allows users to modify (a smartphone or other electronic device) to remove restrictions imposed by the manufacturer or operator, for instance, allow the installation of unauthorized software, third-party applications, and games that are basically not possible because of the anti-piracy mechanisms implicated on the device. In this case, it is the Sony PlayStation 4, which comes with its own firmware and an operating system designed by the company, but with the option to install GNU / Linux distros.

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Devices: Raspberry Pi, WiFi Repeater, Adlink, NUC

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • The state of netbooting Raspberry Pis

    I'm going to walk you through a few of the pieces involved in net-booting a Raspberry Pi and then talk about the challenges of running cloud native apps on a net-booted RPi.

    It's undeniable - Raspberry Pis capture the imagination of techies of all ages. Combine several Raspberry Pis into a cluster and you now have an x10 or x100 multiplier, but there are some problems with SD Cards. Netbooting is meant to fix this - but there are some limitations to its usefulness.

  • The WiFi Repeater You Probably Have on Your Bench

    Few things are as frustrating as a WiFi signal that drops in and out. On a public network it is bad enough but at home? Even if you can live with it, your cohabitants will certainly impune your technical abilities if they don’t have solid WiFi.  One solution is a WiFi repeater. You can buy one, of course. But you can also make one out of an ESP8266 and some code from GitHub. There is also a video about the project, below.

  • Rugged Type 7 COM jumps on Atom C3000

    Adlink’s Linux ready “Express-DN7” is a Type 7 module with an up to 16-core Atom C3000 SoC, 4x 10GBASE-KR ports, PTP, and a new Express-BASE7 carrier.

  • Intel NUC DCP847SKE Now Supported By Coreboot

    If you happen to have an older Sandy Bridge era Intel NUC, it may now supported by mainline Coreboot.

Raspberry Pi CM3 based automation controller adds ESP32

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

Techbase updated its ModBerry controllers with a model that mixes RPi CM3 and ESP32 modules, plus options like an expandable aluminum Modberry case, OLED display, and supercap backup.

Techbase announced several enhancements to its Linux-driven ModBerry family of automation controllers, which are based on a variety of open source boards. First, the company is introducing a new version of its ModBerry 500 to add an Espressif ESP32 module as a backup system for its Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 (CM3) computer-on-module. The Gdansk, Poland based company also announced options that can be added to other ModBerry models, including a more expandable aluminum case, an OLED display, and a supercapacitor battery backup system (see farther below).

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Also: Pico-ITX SBC offers TPM and a pair each of M.2 and MIPI-CSI

Linux-driven IoT gateway hooks up to Google Cloud analytics

Filed under
Linux
Google
Hardware

SolidRun’s “ClearCloud 8K” IoT gateway runs Linux on its quad -A72 MacchiatoBIN SBC with 1-, 2.5-, and 10GbE ports, and links to Google Cloud IoT Core.

SolidRun has launched a MacchiatoBIN ClearCloud 8K IoT gateway appliance with built-in software for connecting to Google’s beta-level Cloud IoT Core analytics service (see farther below). The $399 box is built around SolidRun’s open-spec, $349 Marvell MacchiatoBIN Mini-ITX networking SBC, which features 2.5GbE and 2x 10GbE SFP+ ports, along with a standard Gigabit Ethernet port. The ClearCloud 8K is intended for evaluation use only, and lacks FCC resale compliance for resale.

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From The IGF: Next Steps In Open Source? Open Source Hardware

Filed under
Hardware
OSS

The methods to collaboratively code software today are even embraced by big companies like Microsoft and Google who reap the benefits of collaborative coding via Github, a platform for jointly developing code. And many countries have established at least some form of policies to promote open source software and are users, often without even realizing, several activists reported.

The big issue today is to get back control over one‘s hardware. “Your devices will tell you if you are free,” she said. Choudhary also noted that the main battlefield here is not the desktop and laptop anymore, but mobile devices running on Android for example. Students have to be taught how to get “root access” to these otherwise closed-source handhelds, allowing them to change the code.

Instead, schools, like the ones in the IGF host city of Geneva, are just using Google as the platform for all the services, one participant said. While Google agreed to change the software to meet some requirements for the schools, there is no transparency on the data from the Geneva Google school cloud. In other cantons, the Swiss data protection authorities before had asked Microsoft to localize the data in similar school projects.

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More in Tux Machines

Why Everyone should know vim

Vim is an improved version of Vi, a known text editor available by default in UNIX distributions. Another alternative for modal editors is Emacs but they’re so different that I kind of feel they serve different purposes. Both are great, regardless. I don’t feel vim is necessarily a geeky kind of taste or not. Vim introduced modal editing to me and that has changed my life, really. If you have ever tried vim, you may have noticed you have to press “I” or “A” (lower case) to start writing (note: I’m aware there are more ways to start editing but the purpose is not to cover Vim’s functionalities.). The fun part starts once you realize you can associate Insert and Append commands to something. And then editing text is like thinking of what you want the computer to show on the computer instead of struggling where you at before writing. The same goes for other commands which are easily converted to mnemonics and this is what helped getting comfortable with Vim. Note that Emacs does not have this kind of keybindings but they do have a Vim-like mode - Evil (Extensive Vi Layer). More often than not, I just need to think of what I want to accomplish and type the first letters. Like Replace, Visual, Delete, and so on. It is a modal editor after all, meaning it has modes for everything. This is also what increases my productivity when writing files. I just think of my intentions and Vim does the things for me. Read more

Graphics: Intel and Mesa 18.1 RC1 Released

  • Intel 2018Q1 Graphics Stack Recipe
    Last week Intel's Open-Source Technology Center released their latest quarterly "graphics stack recipe" for the Linux desktop. The Intel Graphics Stack Recipe is the company's recommended configuration for an optimal and supported open-source graphics driver experience for their Intel HD/UHD/Iris Graphics found on Intel processors.
  • Mesa 18.1-RC1 Released With The Latest Open-Source 3D Driver Features
    Seemingly flying under our radar is that Mesa 18.1 has already been branched and the first release candidate issued. While the Mesa website hasn't yet been updated for the 18.1 details, Dylan Baker appears to be the release manager for the 18.1 series -- the second quarter of 2018 release stream.

Exploring Contributors Centrality Over Time

At the end of my previous post we concluded with yet another question. Indeed, on the 2017 KDEPIM contributor network we found out that Christian Mollekopf while being a very consistent committer didn't appear as centrality as we would expect. Yet from the topology he seemed to act as a bridge between the core contributors and contributors with a very low centrality. This time we'll try to look into this and figure out what might be going on. My first attempt at this was to try to look into the contributor network on a different time period and see how it goes. If we take two snapshots of the network for the two semesters of 2017, how would it look? Well, easy to do with my current scripts so let's see! Read more

KDE: Elisa 0.1.1, KDE Plasma 5.13 and More

  • 0.1.1 Release of Elisa
    The Elisa team is happy to announce the first bug fix release for the 0.1 version.
  • KDE Plasma 5.13 Is Making Great Improvements On Its Wayland Support
    KDE Plasma 5.13 that is due for release in June will have a great number of improvements to its Wayland support for allowing the KDE Plasma desktop to work much better on this alternative to the X.Org Server. KDE developer Roman Gilg has provided a nice summary of some of the Wayland improvements in the queue for the Plasma 5.13.0 release due out towards the middle of June.
  • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 15
    I’ve initiated a big project: overhauling KDE Open & Save dialogs for greater usability and productivity.
  • Latte bug fix release v0.7.5
    Latte Dock v0.7.5   has been released containing important fixes and improvements! Hopefullly this is going to be the last stable version for v0.7.x family. During the next months the next stable branch (v0.8.x) is going to appear.