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Devices: Gonimo, Building an ARM64 Laptop, and More

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  • How to create a free baby monitoring system with Gonimo

    New and expecting parents quickly learn that there is a long—and expensive—list of equipment that a new baby needs. High on that list is a baby monitor, so they can keep an eye (and an ear) on their infant while they're doing other things. But this is one piece of equipment that doesn't have to eat into your baby fund; Gonimo is a free and open source solution that turns existing devices into a baby monitoring system, freeing up some of your baby budget for any of the thousands of other must-have or trendy items lining the aisles of the nearby big-box baby store.


    If you know Haskell or want to learn it, you can check out our code at GitHub. Pull requests, code reviews, and issues are all welcome.

    And, finally, please help by spreading the word to new parents and the open source world that the Gonimo baby monitor is simple to use and already in your pocket.

  • Building an ARM64 laptop

    Processors based on the 64-bit ARM architecture have been finding their way into various types of systems, including mobile handsets and servers. There is a distinct gap in the middle of the range, though: there are no ARM64 laptops. Bernhard Rosenkränzer and a group of colleagues set out to change that situation by building such a laptop from available components. He showed up at the 2017 Open Source Summit North America to present the result.

    He started by addressing the question of why one would want to build an ARM64 laptop in the first place. The ARM architecture is known for low power use — a useful feature in a laptop in its own right — but there is more to the ARM story than that; the ARM64 chips are fast and can beat single-core Intel Core-M processors on some benchmarks. An ARM64 laptop may not be good for fast kernel builds, but it can do what most people need, and it can do the kernel builds too in the end. ARM processors need no fans, meaning that the resulting laptop is lighter and will not burn the user's legs. There is little or no malware targeting ARM64 systems, for now at least.

  • Fanless, rugged box-PC runs Linux on Kaby Lake

    Axiomtek’s rugged “eBOX700-891-FL” computer runs Linux or Win 10 IoT on Intel 7th Gen Core chips, and features 4x GbE, 6x USB, 2x mini-PCIe, and PCI x4.

  • 5.25-inch Apollo Lake SBC has up to 4x GbE ports
  • World’s first ESP32 industrial computer has extensive wireless options

    Techbase unveiled a “Moduino” automation controller with an ESP32-WROVER module plus WiFi, BT, and optional LoRa, Sigfox, LTE, Ethernet, and battery power.

    Polish embedded firm Techbase was one of the first manufacturers to tap the original Raspberry Pi Compute Module in 2014 with its ModBerry 500 automation controller, and has since updated it to an RPi Compute Module 3 based ModBerry 500 M3. Now, it is introducing the Moduino, which it calls the world’s first ESP32-based industrial computer.

  • Open Source USB-Key-Fob Allows Makers to Add the Peripherals They Need

Kernel: Clang, 2017 Linux Plumbers Conference, and Mesa Building

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  • Building the kernel with clang

    Over the years, there has been a persistent effort to build the Linux kernel using the Clang C compiler that is part of the LLVM project. We last looked in on the effort in a report from the LLVM microconference at the 2015 Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC), but we have followed it before that as well. At this year's LPC, two Google kernel engineers, Greg Hackmann and Nick Desaulniers, came to the Android microconference to update the status; at this point, it is possible to build two long-term support kernels (4.4 and 4.9) with Clang.

  • The rest of the 4.14 merge window

    As is sometimes his way, Linus Torvalds released 4.14-rc1 and closed the merge window one day earlier than some might have expected. By the time, though, 11,556 non-merge changesets had found their way into the mainline repository, so there is no shortage of material for this release. Around 3,500 of those changes were pulled after the previous 4.14 merge-window summary; read on for an overview of what was in that last set.

  • Notes from the LPC scheduler microconference

    The scheduler workloads microconference at the 2017 Linux Plumbers Conference covered several aspects of the kernel's CPU scheduler. While workloads were on the agenda, so were a rework of the realtime scheduler's push/pull mechanism, a distinctly different approach to multi-core scheduling, and the use of tracing for workload simulation and analysis. As the following summary shows, CPU scheduling has not yet reached a point where all of the important questions have been answered.

  • Testing kernels

    New kernels are released regularly, but it is not entirely clear how much in-depth testing they are actually getting. Even the mainline kernel may not be getting enough of the right kind of testing. That was the topic for a "birds of a feather" (BoF) meeting at this year's Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC) held in mid-September in Los Angeles, CA. Dhaval Giani and Sasha Levin organized the BoF as a prelude to the Testing and Fuzzing microconference they were leading the next day.

    There were representatives from most of the major Linux distributors present in the room. Giani started things off by asking how much testing is being done on the stable kernels by distributors. Are they simply testing their own kernels and the backports of security and other fixes that come from the stable kernels? Beyond the semi-joking suggestion that testing is left to users, most present thought that there was little or no testing (beyond simple build-and-boot testing) of the stable kernels.

  • Linking commits to reviews

    In a talk in the refereed track of the 2017 Linux Plumbers Conference, Alexandre Courouble presented the email2git tool that links kernel commits to their review discussion on the mailing lists. Email2git is a plugin for cregit, which implements token-level history for a Git repository; we covered a talk on cregit just over one year ago. Email2git combines cregit with Patchwork to link the commit to a patch and its discussion threads from any of the mailing lists that are scanned by The result is a way to easily find the discussion that led to a piece of code—or even just a token—changing in the kernel source tree.

    Courouble began with a short demo of the tool. It can be accessed by typing (or pasting) in a commit ID on this web page, which brings up a list of postings of the patch to various mailing lists; following those links shows the thread where it was posted (and, often, discussed). Another way to get there is to use cregit; navigating to a particular file then clicking on a token will bring up a similar list that relates to the patch where the symbol was changed. Note that the Patchwork data only goes back to 2009, so commits before that time will not produce any results.

  • Initial Meson Build System Support Lands In Mesa

    Landing in Mesa 17.3-dev Git yesterday is initial support for the Meson build system! Initially, this Meson build support just works for the Intel ANV and Radeon RADV Vulkan drivers.

    Meson is the latest build system catching the interest of open-source/Linux developers. Meson has already been widely deployed throughout the GNOME camp among other areas due to its faster build times when using the Ninja back-end on Linux, better support for Windows, and less clunky than Autotools.

Best Linux Distros for the Enterprise

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In this article, I'll share the top Linux distros for enterprise environments. Some of these distros are used in server and cloud environments along with desktop duties. The one constant that all of these Linux options have is that they are enterprise grade Linux distributions -- so you can expect a high greater degree of functionality and, of course, support.
What is an enterprise grade Linux distribution?

An enterprise grade Linux distribution comes down to the following – stability and support. Both of these components must be met to take any Linux distribution seriously in an enterprise environment. Stability means that the packages provided are both stable to use, while still maintaining an expected level of security.

The support element of an enterprise grade distribution means that there is a reliable support mechanism in place. Sometimes this is a single (official) source such as a company. In other instances, it might be a governing not-for-profit that provides reliable recommendations to good third party support vendors. Obviously the former option is the best one, however both are acceptable.

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Knoppix 8.1 Now Available For A Retro Linux Experience In 2017

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Knoppix 8.1 is now available although no release announcement has yet to hit the wire. As it's been some years since last trying out Knoppix, I decided to fire up this new release.

With recalling fond memories of Knoppix during its early height as being the first/best Debian live CD but somewhat fading away in recent years, I was curious to try out Knoppix 8.1 when being alerted to it by a German Phoronix reader.

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Also: Ubuntu Is Dropping 32-bit Desktop Images

In pursuit of Purism

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For GNU/Linux users wanting a laptop, it’s almost always easier to find the hardware you want and then install the distro of your choice – perhaps with some muttering about the ‘Windows tax’, or even making a stand and getting the Microsoft licence portion of the price refunded.

However, as Purism puts it: “The model of ‘buy hardware, install free software’ is ageing, due primarily to the fact that there is a growing cryptographic bond between proprietary non-free signed binaries and the hardware that they run on.”

There are one or two laptops available from manufacturers with Ubuntu pre-installed, although Dell doesn’t always make it easy to find them, and a few resellers who’ll do the install for you, such as System76 – but the sad truth is that most laptop manufacturers do not care about software freedom, at least not enough to take a risk in standing out from the herd.

If they don’t care, that’s probably because the public don’t exercise themselves much over the issue – although awareness of free and open source software is slowly growing, and the Raspberry Pi has put GNU/Linux into the hands of a new generation.

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Leftovers: Kernel, Graphics, and Manjaro Deepin 17.0.5

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  • RISC-V Continues Prepping For Mainline Linux Kernel

    Not only is AMDGPU DC finally aligning for Linux 4.15, but the RISC-V Linux kernel port might also be merged for this next kernel cycle.

    RISC-V kernel developers previously expressed interest getting into Linux 4.15 and the stars are beginning to align with the ninth version of their kernel patches coming out today.

  • AMDGPU DC Pull Request Submitted For Linux 4.15: Finally The New Display Stack

    Christmas looks like it may be coming early this year for Radeon Linux users... The AMDGPU DC pull request is finally out!

    It has yet to be pulled into DRM-Next, but last night Alex Deucher did what many AMDGPU users have been waiting years to see: submitting the DC display stack PR to DRM subsystem maintainer David Airlie. While not pulled yet, at the same time there's been no opposition to it expressed on the mailing list.

  • Libinput 1.9 Is Around The Corner With New Features

    Peter Hutterer of Red Hat has announced the first release candidate of libinput 1.9, the input handling library now widely used by both Wayland and X11 Linux systems.

  • Mesa 17.1 Linux Graphics Stack Reaches End of Life, Upgrade to Mesa 17.2 Now

    Mesa developer Juan A. Suarez Romero announced the release of the tenth and last maintenance update to the Mesa 17.1 graphics stack series for GNU/Linux distributions, urging users to upgrade to the latest Mesa 17.2 branch.

    Mesa 17.1.10 introduces numerous fixes for bugs and crashes, along with other improvements for various of the incorporated graphics drivers, among which we can mention the Intel ANV Vulkan driver, Intel i965 OpenGL driver, VC4 driver, SWR driver, as well as both the AMD Radeon RADV Vulkan and RadeonSI drivers.

    "The state tracker received a couple of patches, one that fixes a dEQP-GLES31 test and another that fixes the usage of 64-bit unsigned integers when used for boolean comparisons," reads the mailing list announcement. "In build and integration system, we add a dependency on libunwind when running make distcheck."

  • Crosses 26 Million Test/Suite Downloads
  • What’s New in Manjaro Deepin 17.0.5

Purism Librem 5 and SOTI 'Mobility'

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  • Linux Phone Crowdfunding Campaign Just Passed 50% Of Its Goal with a Month Left
  • Purism and Its Critics

    Of course, the Librem 5 may fail to reach its fundraising goals. It may also fail to turn a profit when eventually released. However, it is important to remember that most new hardware and software released by small vendors fail, not necessarily because of any mistakes, but because the near-monopolies of giant corporations make the odds for small vendors almost impossible.

    Still, explaining all the reasons why the device might fail in the marketplace is a defeatist position for those interested in open hardware to take, all the more so when few of the critics have any practical experience with developing a new product. At times, it sounds as though the critics are so used to seeing free hardware and software defeated that they take a gloomy satisfaction in predicting another failure.

    Having been involved in bring a couple of products to market, I am all too aware of the difficulties that something as new as the Librem 5 faces. Purism’s caution and clarity of goals are reassuring, but, the only sensible position is to wait for whatever happens. The next sixteen months should make for some real-life drama, especially since, as a long-time free hardware and software, I have an emotional investment in the Librem 5’s results.


  • SOTI to offer mobility management support for Linux devices, IoT endpoints

Installing Linux on your PC is super easy - here's how to do it

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The Manjaro Linux developers announced the release of version 17.0.5 last week. My objective today is to use this release to show that Linux can be installed from scratch, configured and used for everyday work without using command line (text console) access, and without having to download, compile, install or otherwise perform any manual tasks to install device drivers or other hardware support.

Best of all, the complete installation and configuration can be done in well under an hour!

First, I want to be absolutely clear about this, if you already have Manjaro Linux installed it is not necessary to reinstall from scratch with this new release. All you need to do is make sure that your system has all the latest patches and updates installed and you will in fact be running this new release.

The purpose of these new ISO images is to roll up all the updates and patches that have been made since the last Manjaro point release, and to update the installer itself to the latest version.

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Devices: SOTI MobiControl, LimeSDR, USB-Key-Fob, Aaeon

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