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Screencasts and Audiocasts: Linux Mint 20 "MATE", Linux Headlines and More

  • Linux Mint 20 "MATE" overview | Stable, robust, traditional

    In this video, I am going to show an overview of Linux Mint 20 "MATE" and some of the applications pre-installed.

  • 2020-07-10 | Linux Headlines

    Possible changes on the horizon for LibreOffice are raising concerns in the community, industry players decry Google's gifting of Istio intellectual property to the Open Usage Commons, and both Ubuntu and Docker push further into the AWS ecosystem.

  • Tech Means Business: Best of Series 1

    Artificial intelligence with Darktrace Big data and Splunk IoT with Ubuntu/Canonical The Linux effect with Positive Internet Career paths, with DocuSign Thanks go to the people I spoke with, and who featured on the episodes that aren’t featured here. It was literally through lack of time that has meant this “best of” show is necessarily limited in scope. Series two already shaping up nicely: MasterCard, Red Hat, ARM, SuperMicro, and plenty more. Watch this space!

Graphics: Zink, VA-API, NVIDIA's NVAPI SDK

  • Mike Blumenkrantz: Extensions

    Usually I cover in-depth looks at various chunks of code I’ve been working on, but today it’s going to be a more traditional style of modern blogging: memes and complaining.

  • New VA-API H.264 decoder in gst-plugins-bad

    Recently, a new H.264 decoder, using VA-API, was merged in gst-plugins-bad. Why another VA-based H.264 decoder if there is already gstreamer-vaapi? As usual, an historical perspective may give some clues. It started when Seungha Yang implemented the GStreamer decoders for Windows using DXVA2 and D3D11 APIs. Perhaps we need one step back and explain what are stateless decoders.

  • NVIDIA open sourced part of NVAPI SDK to aid 'Windows emulation environments'

    NVIDIA sneakily put out a little open source release recently, with a part of the NVAPI SDK now under the MIT license. This was mentioned by the crew working on the DXVK translation layer in the VKx Discord, who sent along word to me as well. NVAPI is NVIDIA's core software development kit that allows direct access to NVIDIA GPUs and drivers on all Windows platforms. Now, that doesn't sound interesting for Linux obviously but here's why this actually is important: in the NVAPI Open Source SDK, it directly mentions that the contained "nvapi.h" file that's now provided under the MIT license was done to enable "open source re-implementations of NVAPI for Windows emulation environments"—so the Wine and Proton compatibility layers are what they're getting at without naming them directly.

Open Hardware: Adafruit, Arduino, Librem 5 and More

  • RFCat N32 Long Range nRF52832 Bluetooth Board Delivers 30x the Transmission Power with an Amplifier

    Bluetooth 5.0 has two main new features: high speed (2Mbps) and long-range. But as we’ve seen in our nRF52840 vs nRF52832 vs nRF52810 comparison is that only nRF52840 supports Bluetooth 5.x long range. Bluetooth 5 long range is achieved with two new lower bit rates of 500 kbps and 125 kbps. So what do you do if you’d like a longer range and keep using the higher bit rates? You add a power amplifier and LNA to your board, and that’s exactly what Nikolaj (RFCat) did with RFCat N32 board based on Nordic Semi nRF52832 wireless SoC. [...] The board is pre-loaded with Adafruit NRF52 bootloader supporting OTA, FreeRTOS, and Arduino. Source code and samples are available on Github. The Arduino library is based on Adafruit nRF52 Arduino Core and for some reason, only shared as a zip file (rfcat.zip in the Github repo).

  • Meet MrK_Blockvader, a little mobile robot that’s lots of fun

    One of the simplest ways to make a mobile robot involves differential steering, where two wheels move at different speeds as needed to turn and a ball caster keeps it from tipping over. The MrK_Blockvader is an excellent take on this type of bot — demonstrated in the first clip below — featuring a nice blocky body comprised out of 3D-printed parts, RC truck wheels driven by tiny gear motors, and an integrated roller on its back. The MrK_Blockvader is controlled via an Arduino Nano, along with an nRF24 breakout that allows it to receive signals from a radio transmitter unit. The build includes LED lighting as well as a piezo buzzer for all the beeps and boops. It can also take advantage of various sensors if necessary.

  • PoE FeatherWing Brings PoE, Unique MAC Address to Adafruit Feather Boards (Crowdfunding)

    After the launch of Microchip SAMA5 powered Giant Board last year, Silicognition LLC (Patrick Van Oosterwijck) is back with another Adafruit Feather compatible board. PoE FeatherWing is an expansion board that adds PoE support to Adafruit Feather board and can handle up to 4 Watts of power. The expansion board also comes with a built-in globally unique MAC address. It’s similar to the official Ethernet FeatherWing, but with the addition of PoE and a unique MAC address. [...] Since the board re-uses the same WIZnet W5500 Ethernet controller, it is fully compatible with existing software written for the Adafruit Ethernet FeatherWing meaning it can easily be programmed with Arduino or CircuitPuthong using standard libraries.

  • Tiny modules unlock i.MX8M Mini and Nano

    Keith & Koep’s Linux-friendly 48 x 32mm “Myon II” and “Myon II Nano” modules feature the i.MX8M Mini and Nano with 8GB and 4GB LPDDR4, respectively, along with eMMC expansion, GbE, MIPI-DSI and -CSI, and up to -40 to 85°C support. Germany-based Keith & Koep has added two new members to its 48 x 32 x 4.2mm Myon family of compute modules. While the Myon I runs Linux on a Snapdragon 4.0, the pin-compatible Myon II and Myon II Nano integrate NXP’s i.MX8M Mini and i.MX8M Nano, respectively. The company previously showcased the i.MX8M Mini in its larger, SODIMM-style Trizeps VIII Mini, which was announced last year along with an i.MX8M-based Trizeps VIII module. [...] Since Keith & Koep does not post press releases, we are not sure when the Myon II arrived, but they are listed as “new” and we have yet to see any coverage of the modules. Both the Myon II and Myon II Nano support Linux Kernel 4.14, Android 9, and Windows 10 IoT Core.

  • Librem 5 Dogwood Update 3

    The battery shipping with dogwood is 3600mAh, roughly 80% more battery than previous batches. Combined with early kernel optimizations usage is now measured in multiple hours, and with additional kernel work will continue to see leaps forward. A diffuser has been added between the screen and the indicator light. This makes notifications easier to notice at extreme viewing angles and overall better appearance. The volume buttons have become a volume rocker increasing usability. In previous versions, the headphone jack was recessed and not centered. In Dogwood it’s now flush with the top of the phone and centered in the frame.

Linux Kernel and the Linux Foundation: x86-64 micro-architecture, NVMe ZNS and Community Specification

  • Linux Might Pursue x86_64 Micro-Architecture Feature Levels

    Stemming from the recent GNU glibc work on better handling modern CPU optimizations with newer instruction set extensions across Intel and AMD product families, the concept of x86-64 micro-architecture feature levels is being talked about by open-source/Linux developers. The idea of these feature levels is breaking up the supported instructions beyond base x86_64 into that of what is supported at reasonable times by both Intel and AMD processors. While newer Intel/AMD CPUs generally support more instruction set extensions, there are other headaches involved in the current handling of x86_64 CPU capabilities considering the likes of modern Intel Atom CPUs only supporting a sub-set of the extensions supported by Core and Xeon CPUs, thus coming up with these reasonably sane feature levels is being talked about by Red Hat developers with input from Intel and AMD engineers.

  • NVMe ZNS Support Coming To Linux 5.9

    NVMe ZNS is for the Zoned Namespaces support that is part of the NVMe 2.0 specification debuting in H2'2020. ZNS is similar to existing SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) and ZBC (Zoned Block Commands) with allowing applications/software to control the placement of data on the NVMe SSD within zones rather than relying upon the SSD device exclusively for data placement. NVMe ZNS aims to improve solid-state drive lifetime with reducing write amplification, reducing latency, improving throughput, and potential TCO benefits.

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  • Linux Foundation launches Community Specification for creating standards and specifications [Ed: This misses the point that the Linux Foundation outsourced this to Microsoft (Github) proprietary software and monopoly]

    According to the Linux Foundation, Open Standards are “specifications made available to the public, developed, and maintained via an inclusive, collaborative, transparent, and consensus-driven process.” These standards allow for interoperability and data exchange among different products or services.  The Linux Foundation believes it’s important to have a standards project because items like due process, balance, inclusiveness, and intellectual property clarity are important for developing open-source projects, and a standards project ensures there aren’t any surprises regarding intellectual property down the line.  “The Community Specification builds on these best practices and brings them to the Git repository development environments that developers are already using. And it makes it easy to get started. You can start using the Community Specification by bringing its terms into your repository and getting to work — just like starting an open source project,” the Linux Foundation wrote.