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Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ First Impressions

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Linux

I have always been curious about the tiny computer called Raspberry Pi but I didn’t have the time or opportunity to buy one until now. I got the latest version (Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+) along with bundled accessories from AliExpress for $65. I think it was a good deal considering what I got which I will explain to you later on. But before that and for your convenience, here are some quick facts about Raspberry Pi that I got from Wikipedia...

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Sway – A Tiling Wayland i3-Compatible Compositor

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GNU
Linux

I have covered window tiling editors/managers previously with apps like herbstluftwm and Tilix so check them out if you haven’t already.

Sway is a free and open source tiling Wayland compositor that is compatible with the i3 window manager, uses the same configuration syntax, and works with most of the software designed for i3.

Sway makes use of all the available space on your screen and automatically adjusts window sizes as you open more apps and you can navigate between apps with your keyboard.

App windows can be arranged horizontally, vertically, stacked, or tabbed and you can change their size as well as split windows into containers of several windows all without touching your mouse. You could, however, use your mouse to rearrange windows and even take windows out of the tiling grid and manipulate them.44

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New From RMS: Install Fests: What to Do about the Deal with the Devil

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GNU
Linux

Install fests invite users to bring their computers so that experts can install GNU/Linux on them. This is meant to promote the idea of free software as well as the use of free software. In practice, these two goals conflict: users that want to reject nonfree software entirely need to choose their computers carefully to achieve that goal.

The problem is that most computers can't run with a completely free GNU/Linux distro. They contain peripherals, or coprocessors, that won't operate unless the installed system contains some nonfree drivers or firmware. This happens because hardware manufacturers refuse to tell us how to use their products, so that the only way to figure out how is by reverse engineering, which in most cases has not yet been done.

This presents the install fest with a dilemma. If it upholds the ideals of freedom, by installing only free software from 100%-free distros, partly-secret machines won't become entirely functional and the users that bring them will go away disappointed. However, if the install fest installs nonfree distros and nonfree software which make machines entirely function, it will fail to teach users to say no for freedom's sake. They may learn to like GNU/Linux, but they won't learn what the free software movement stands for. In effect, the install fest makes a tacit deal with the devil that suppresses the free software movement's message about freedom and justice.

The nonfree software means the user sacrifices freedom for functionality. If users had to wrestle with this choice, they could draw a moral lesson from it, and maybe get a better computer later. But when the install fest makes the compromise on the user's behalf, it shelters the user from the moral dimension; the user never sees that something other than convenience is at stake. In effect, the install fest makes the deal with the devil, on the user's behalf, behind a curtain so the user doesn't recognize that it is one.

I propose that the install fest show users exactly what deal they are making. Let them talk with the devil individually, learn the deal's bad implications, then make a deal—or refuse!

As always, I call on the install fest itself to install only free software, taking a strict stance. In this way it can set a clear moral example of rejecting nonfree software.

My new idea is that the install fest could allow the devil to hang around, off in a corner of the hall, or the next room. (Actually, a human being wearing sign saying “The Devil,” and maybe a toy mask or horns.) The devil would offer to install nonfree drivers in the user's machine to make more parts of the computer function, explaining to the user that the cost of this is using a nonfree (unjust) program.

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Also: RMS article: "Install fests: What to do about the deal with the devil"

LinHES R8.6 Released

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GNU
Linux

The LinHES Dev team is pleased to announce the release of LinHES R8.6!

LinHES R8.6 updates MythTV to 30-fixes as well as updates to the kernel, system libraries, graphics drivers and many other parts of LinHES.

Release notes and upgrade instructions can be found here.

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Also: Tails 3.13 is out

Stable kernels 5.0.3, 4.20.17, 4.19.30, 4.14.107 and 4.9.164

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Linux
  • Linux 5.0.3

    I'm announcing the release of the 5.0.3 kernel.

    All users of the 5.0 kernel series must upgrade.

    The updated 5.0.y git tree can be found at:
    git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.0.y
    and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
    http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-st...

  • Linux 4.20.17
  • Linux 4.19.30
  • Linux 4.14.107
  • Linux 4.9.164

Linux Foundation: The Kodi Foundation and Open Networking Summit

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Linux
  • Kodi Foundation Joins The Linux Foundation to Help Grow the Open Source Movement

    The Kodi Foundation was proud to announce today that it finally decided to join The Linux Foundation in their attempt to enrich the Open Source software ecosystem.

    As of today, The Kodi Foundation, the makers of the free, open-source, and cross-platform media center software known as Kodi (formerly XBMC), is now an Associate Member of The Linux Foundation in attempt to contribute their code to the Open Source software community and help similar projects evolve.

    "It seemed natural for us to join, given the fact that we are strong believers in the benefits of open-source software. We strongly believe that open-source is the best way to achieve awesome things. That was and still is what moves Kodi forward," stated The Kodi Foundation in a press release.

  • The Kodi Foundation joined the Linux Foundation

    The Kodi Foundation is very proud to announce that it has joined the Linux Foundation as an Associate Member. It seemed natural for us to join, given the fact that we are strong believers in the benefits of open-source software.

    We strongly believe that open-source is the best way to achieve awesome things. That was and still is what moves Kodi forward. Ever since XBMP, where this project started, a small group of like-minded individuals from different backgrounds have worked together to achieve a goal, taking advantage of each other's merits and talents.

  • Community Demos at ONS to Highlight LFN Project Harmonization and More

    A little more than one year since LF Networking (LFN) came together, the project continues to demonstrate strategic growth, with Telstra coming on in November, and the umbrella project representing ~70% of the world’s mobile subscribers. Working side by side with service providers in the technical projects has been critical to ensure that work coming out of LFN is relevant and useful for meeting their requirements. A small sample of these integrations and innovations will be on display once again in the LF Networking Booth at the Open Networking Summit Event, April 3-5 in San Jose, CA.

Ten Years After Part III - A Storied Conclusion

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GNU
Linux

Old habits are indeed hard to break, and especially if you don't really understand the reason why those habits have to change. The idea of a software repository just didn't make sense to most of our Reglue kids at first. I cannot count the times when I went to troubleshoot a problem on a Reglue computer to find the desktop riddled with .exe files of failed installations.

What isn't really surprising is that the kids did eventually pick up the whole installation process on their Linux machines, and mostly came to prefer it. But the parents? Not so much. I wish I had recorded some of the calls I got from irate parents or guardians because they couldn't install XYZ software on the computer. It didn't take me long to make sure to make sure that Mom or Dad were present when I explained that part during the orientation. At times, I had to remind those adults that the computer and software was engineered for the benefit of the student, not as a household computer. I mean, get TurboTax on your own machine. It helped some, but still....Adults, right?

[...]

By far the most vocal complaints concerned "needed" software not being available on Linux. We might as well just call out The Terrible Two. Photoshop and Microsoft Office. Now remember, the bulk of my work was done between 2005 and 2009. I never offered any excuses for Photoshop. The Gimp isn't Photoshop, no matter how you twist or turn it and trying to tell someone who uses Photoshop scholastically or professionally that The Gimp can replace Photoshop is a fools errand. Sure it can do a lot of what Photoshop can do but it's those pesky little items that The Gimp lacks that everyone got all bunched up over.

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Rugged computers run Linux on Jetson TX2 and Xavier

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Linux

Aitech is offering RedHawk Linux RTOS for its rugged, compact, Jetson TX2-based A176 Cyclone and new A177 Twister systems. There’s also a similar new Jetson Xavier based A178 Thunder computer.

Aitech, which has been producing embedded Linux-driven systems for military/aerospace and rugged industrial applications since at least 2004, announced that Concurrent Real-Time’s hardened RedHawk Linux RTOS will be available on two Linux-ready embedded systems based on the Nvidia Jetson TX2 module. With Redhawk Linux standing in for the default Nvidia Linux4Tegra stack, the military-grade A176 Cyclone and recently released, industrial-focused A177 Twister systems can “enhance real-time computing for mission-critical applications,” says Aitech.

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Linux Devices: Orchard Audio, Seco and Ubuntu Core

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Linux
  • Raspberry Pi based audio DAC board starts at $225

    Orchard Audio’s $225 “PecanPi” audio DAC add-on for the Raspberry Pi and $400, Pi-equipped “Streamer” system features 24-bit, 192kHz sampling, 130dB SNR, and -110dB THD+N.

    Orchard Audio has opened pre-orders on a next-gen PecanPi audio DAC board for the Raspberry Pi that replaces its earlier, Kickstarter backed ApplePi DAC. The $225 PecanPi DAC offers modest audio improvements, as well as more options that can be be added a la carte all the way up to a $400 PecanPi Streamer system with aluminum case and Raspberry Pi. Shipments are expected between June and August.

  • 3.5-inch i.MX8M SBC focuses on A/V

    Seco’s 3.5-inch “SBC-C20” runs Linux on a dual- or quad-core -A53 i.MX8M SoC with up to 2GB RAM and 16GB eMMC plus 4K-ready eDP or HDMI 2.0, M.2 expansion, and optional -40 to 85°C.

    The SBC-C20 is the third and final SBC announced by Seco at Embedded World. It’s not as fast as the i.MX8 QuadMax based SBC-C43 and not quite as customizable as the i.MX8M Mini powered SBC-C61, but considering the widespread availability of the well-traveled i.MX8M, it’s likely to ship sooner than its siblings. The media-rich, 3.5-inch SBC targets “cost-effective solutions in the multimedia field as well as for IIoT applications.”

  • The path to Ubuntu Core

    At Canonical, helping customers overcome their challenges is what we do every day. In the IoT world, a common challenge we encounter is customers who are interested in transitioning to Ubuntu Core and the snapcraft.io ecosystem, but are unsure how to begin. This post covers the recommended approach.

    In most cases, it’s relatively easy for someone to see the advantages of Ubuntu Core when they’re first introduced to it. The transactional updates, immutable system design, simplified development and powerful update controls have most people going “you had me at transactional!”

    However, we all know the devil’s in the details. Shortly after the “eureka!” moment, there is often an anticlimax, as the newly minted Ubuntu Core believer starts to consider their current product state. For teams of harried software developers on a fixed budget, both in terms of time and money, making changes to the underlying components can feel impossible. Staring down the barrel of one or more projects with aggressive delivery schedules, the last thing you want to do is start changing things. To borrow from a quote often attributed to Walt Kelly, updating your device OS and packaging platform can feel like an “insurmountable opportunity.”

MATE 1.22 released

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GNU
Linux

After about a year of development, the MATE Desktop team have finally released MATE 1.22. A big thank you to all contributors who helped to make this happen.

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Also: MATE Desktop discussion forums are closing

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Android Leftovers

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ First Impressions

I have always been curious about the tiny computer called Raspberry Pi but I didn’t have the time or opportunity to buy one until now. I got the latest version (Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+) along with bundled accessories from AliExpress for $65. I think it was a good deal considering what I got which I will explain to you later on. But before that and for your convenience, here are some quick facts about Raspberry Pi that I got from Wikipedia... Read more

GNOME Desktop: Parental Controls and More

  • Parental controls & metered data hackfest: days 1 & 2
    I’m currently at the Parental Controls & Metered Data hackfest at Red Hat’s office in London. A bunch of GNOME people from various companies (Canonical, Endless, elementary, and Red Hat) have gathered to work out a plan to start implementing these two features in GNOME. The first two days have been dedicated to the parental control features. This is the ability for parents to control what children can do on the computer. For example, locking down access to certain applications or websites. Day one began with presentations of the Endless OS implementation by Philip, followed by a demonstration of the Elementary version by Cassidy. Elementary were interested in potentially expanding this feature set to include something like Digital Wellbeing – we explored the distinction between this and parental controls. It turns out that these features are relatively similar – the main differences are whether you are applying restrictions to yourself or to someone else, and whether you have the ability to lift/ignore the restrictions. We’ve started talking about the latter of these as “speed bumps”: you can always undo your own restrictions, so the interventions from the OS should be intended to nudge you towards the right behaviour. After that we looked at some prior art (Android, iOS), and started to take the large list of potential features (in the image above) down to the ones we thought might be feasible to implement. Throughout all of this, one topic we kept coming back to was app lockdown. It’s reasonably simple to see how this could be applied to containerised apps (e.g. Snap or Flatpak), but system applications that come from a deb or an rpm are much more difficult. It would probably be possible – but still difficult – to use an LSM like AppArmor or SELinux to do this by denying execute access to the application’s binary. One obvious problem with that is that GNOME doesn’t require one of these and different distributions have made different choices here… Another tricky topic is how to implement website white/blacklisting in a robust way. We discussed using DNS (systemd-resolved?) and ip/nftables implementations, but it might turn out that the most feasible way is to use a browser extension for this.
  • GNOME ED Update – February
    Another update is now due from what we’ve been doing at the Foundation, and we’ve been busy! As you may have seen, we’ve hired three excellent people over the past couple of months. Kristi Progri has joined us as Program Coordinator, Bartłomiej Piorski as a devops sysadmin, and Emmanuele Bassi as our GTK Core developer. I hope to announce another new hire soon, so watch this space… There’s been quite a lot of discussion around the Google API access, and GNOME Online Accounts. The latest update is that I submitted the application to Google to get GOA verified, and we’ve got a couple of things we’re working through to get this sorted.

Android Leftovers