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Devices and Open Hardware: Chomebox, MNT Reform, Arduino and More

  • ASUS Chromebox 4 features Intel Comet Lake processor, WiFi 6, up to 16GB RAM

    Chrome OS devices, be it Chromebook laptops, Chomebox mini PCs, or Chromebit PC sticks, used to be relatively low-cost devices designed to run the Chrome browser. But over the years. the versatility of the platform has increased with more powerful, yet still with low-power consumption, hardware, and improved software with support for Android apps, the Google Play Store, and even Linux programs. [...] I could not quite remember what BC 1.2 meant, and it stands for “Battery Charging 1.2” technology meant you’ll be able to charge your smartphone or other battery-powered devices faster through compatible ports.

  • How to choose a wireless protocol for home automation

    In the second article in this series, I talked about local control vs. cloud connectivity and some things to consider for your home automation setup. In this third article, I will discuss the underlying technology for connecting devices to Home Assistant, including the dominant protocols that smart devices use to communicate and some things to think about before purchasing smart devices.

  • MNT Reform Production Update November 2020 — MNT Research

    Shortly after the conclusion of the Crowd Supply campaign, we shipped 8 hand-built beta devices and collected some last minute feedback. Based on the feedback and our own learnings during this last test assembly phase, we further refined some aspects of the MNT Reform design.

  • uSVC Arduino VGA board – a portable and programmable retro-gaming console (crowdfunding)

    Itaca Innovation previously launched uChip, an Arduino-compatible board that has a Cortex M0+ MCU that features 0.3” spacing between rows. Now, next-hack joined Itaca Innovation to come up with an expansion board for uChip. The uChip Simple VGA Console (uSVC) Arduino based retro-gaming console is open hardware and is a programmable console. It will allow creating and playing retro “9-bit” games with standard USB controllers and keyboards.

  • Arduino Blog » Controlling a gas convection heater with a custom thermostat

    Redditor “Higgs8” had a gas convection heater that is (or was) controlled manually, but they wanted something a bit more. To accomplish this, they came up with a small Arduino-based thermostat. This allows you to set the desired temperature using a potentiometer, and it senses the current temperature value via a DS18B20 thermometer unit. It then adjusts the formerly manual knob with a stepper motor and custom gear reduction in response, maintaining the desired comfort level.

Programming: Awk, LLVM Clang and Qt

  • Why Every Linux User Needs To Learn Awk - YouTube

    Awk is one of those tools that every linux user has on their system but they probably only use it for fairly simple tasks, so today I thought I'd explain not only what awk but why you should use it and compare it some other Linux utils like sed.

  • Arm Neoverse N2 Support Added To The LLVM Clang 12 Compiler - Phoronix

    In September Arm began adding Neoverse N2 support to the open-source compilers initially with GCC and now the support has been merged into LLVM Clang 12 as well. The Neoverse N2 "Perseus" core was outlined in September as a follow-on design to the successful Neoverse N1. The N2 aims to provide 40% more performance over the N1 for single-threaded performance. The N2 is intended for use from the cloud to enterprise networking devices to edge computing.

  • Qt 6.0 RC and timelines for 6.1 and 6.2

    Hi all, First of all, I wanted to thank everybody for the hard work towards getting Qt 6.0 out of the door. We now have a first RC out, so we’re definitely getting very close to the 6.0.0 release. With that and the fact that we now have a 6.0 branch, it’s also time to start looking a bit ahead towards 6.1 and 6.2. We have long discussed, that the timing of our feature releases to be just before summer and Christmas vacation is a bit unfortunate, as we have little slack for delays without going into the vacation period. Especially the releases in December have sometimes been difficult in that respect. So we’d like to push the schedule a bit and move the minor releases towards a Spring/Autumn schedule. A somewhat shorter release cycle directly after 6.0 is probably a good idea anyway, as we will probably still need to do changes/fixes that don’t quite fit with our policy for patch level releases. So the idea is to shorten the release cycle for Qt 6.1 a bit and focus mainly on bug fixing and stability for that release. We’d aim for a feature freeze by the end of January, and a final Qt 6.1.0 release end of April. 6.2 would then also happen a bit earlier, with a feature freeze in June and a release end of September. Content wise, I believe we’ll start seeing more and more of the add-ons from Qt 5 being supported over the next 6-9 months, and I believe that with Qt 6.2 we will have brought most modules that we supported in Qt 5.15 over to Qt 6. Cheers, Lars

  • Qt 6.1, Qt 6.2 Expected To Come Sooner With Tightened Release Cycles - Phoronix

    Qt 6.0 is releasing in December and The Qt Company is already drafting plans for the release cycles of Qt 6.1 and Qt 6.2 LTS next year. Normally Qt is on a six-month release cadence but next year's Qt 6.1/6.2 releases will likely be tightened up both to address a long-standing gripe of the current timing that often puts new releases around summer holidays and the Thanksgiving~Christmas holiday season. To try to move off those May and November~December release windows, they are looking at tightening up the cycles for Qt 6.1 and Qt 6.2, with the latter being the first long-term support release of the Qt6 series. Lars Knoll is proposing that Qt 6.1 be shipped by the end of April which would put the feature freeze already at the end of January. But for Qt 6.1 the emphasis anyhow will likely be on bug fixing and stability improvements after all the changes in Qt 6.0, so a tightened up Qt 6.1 release makes sense.

Q4OS 4.2 Gemini, testing

An update to the Q4OS 4 Gemini testing branch is immediately available for download as 64bit live media. The new 4.2 release is based on Debian 11 Bullseye and features Plasma desktop environment by default. New visual Plasma themes have been added, they are now available in system settings utility. Debian Bullseye packages has been received in their latest version, Q4OS specific packages has been updated as well. New version of Trinity desktop 14.0.10 is ready for installation using the Desktop profiler tool. Feel free to download live media for 64bit computers from the dedicated Testing releases site. Q4OS 4 Gemini will be in development until Debian Bullseye becomes stable, and it will be supported at least five years from the official release date. Read more

Security: Patches, Diffoscope, Netfilter, and Intel Defects

  • Security updates for Friday [LWN.net]

    Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (go, libxml2, postgresql, and wireshark-cli), Debian (drupal7 and lxml), Fedora (drupal7, java-1.8.0-openjdk-aarch32, libxml2, pacemaker, slurm, and swtpm), openSUSE (c-ares, ceph, chromium, dash, firefox, go1.14, java-1_8_0-openjdk, kernel, krb5, perl-DBI, podman, postgresql10, postgresql12, rclone, slurm, ucode-intel, wireshark, wpa_supplicant, and xen), SUSE (ceph, firefox, kernel, LibVNCServer, and python), and Ubuntu (freerdp, poppler, and xdg-utils).

  • diffoscope 162 released

    The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 162.

  • Netfilter virtual workshop 2020 summary

    Once a year folks interested in Netfilter technologies gather together to discuss past, ongoing and future works. The Netfilter Workshop is an opportunity to share and discuss new ideas, the state of the project, bring people together to work & hack and to put faces to people who otherwise are just email names. This is an event that has been happening since at least 2001, so we are talking about a genuine community thing here. It was decided there would be an online format, split in 3 short meetings, once per week on Fridays. I was unable to attend the first session on 2020-11-06 due to scheduling conflict, but I made it to the sessions on 2020-11-13 and 2020-11-20. I would say the sessions were joined by about 8 to 10 people, depending on the day. This post is a summary with some notes on what happened in this edition, with no special order. Pablo did the classical review of all the changes and updates that happened in all the Netfilter project software components since last workshop. I was unable to watch this presentation, so I have nothing special to comment. However, I’ve been following the development of the project very closely, and there are several interesting things going on, some of them commented below. Florian Westphal brought to the table status on some open/pending work for mptcp option matching, systemd integration and finally interfacing from nft with cgroupv2. I was unable to participate in the talk for the first two items, so I cannot comment a lot more. On the cgroupv2 side, several options were evaluated to how to match them, identification methods, the hierarchical tree that cgroups present, etc. We will have to wait a bit more to see how the final implementation looks like. Also, Florian presented his concerns on conntrack hash collisions. There are no real-world known issues at the moment, but there is an old paper that suggests we should keep and eye on this and introduce improvements to prevent future DoS attack vectors. Florian mentioned these attacks are not practical at the moment, but who knows in a few years. He wants to explore introducing RB trees for conntrack. It will probably be a rbtree structure of hash tables in order to keep supporting parallel insertions. He was encouraged by others to go ahead and play/explore with this.

  • The Peculiar State Of CPU Security Mitigation Performance On Intel Tiger Lake - Phoronix

    One area not talked about much for Intel's latest Tiger Lake processors are hardened CPU security mitigations against the various speculative execution vulnerabilities to date. What's peculiar about Tiger Lake though is now if disabling the configurable mitigations it can actually result in worse performance than the default mitigated state. At least that's what we are seeing so far with the Core i7 1165G7 on Ubuntu 20.10 Linux is the opposite of what we have been seeing on prior generations of hardware. [...] On each of these Dell XPS notebooks were clean installs of Ubuntu 20.10 with security / stable release updates of the time and on their default Linux 5.8 kernel. The out-of-the-box / default mitigation performance was tested on each notebook followed by re-testing the same laptop and software stack after booting with mitigations=off. Here is the geometric mean of all the results before digging into the individual data points, but as you can see mitigations=off was of noticeably help to the older Kaby Lake R and Whiskey Lake processors, previous-generation Ice Lake was of some help but less given more hardware mitigations, and now with Tiger Lake the tables have turned where disabling the mitigations actually hurt the performance.