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Ubuntu MATE 19.10 Alpha Arrives, But Only for the GPD MicroPC

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GNU
Linux
Ubuntu
Gadgets

Did you know that Ubuntu MATE is besties with the GPD Pocket & Pocket 2?

Well it is; the pair of pocket-sized PCs, which were made possible through various crowdfunding efforts, got their own, customised, and 100% official Ubuntu MATE 18.10 install image last year, and a follow-up with the 19.04 release this year.

I guess making a custom-spun ISO is the distro equivalent of weaving a friendship bracelet!

Accordingly, it’s no major surprise to learn Ubuntu MATE 19.10 will also come tailored for use on China-based GPD’s latest mini-marvel, the GPD MicroPC.

Interestingly, the device is sold with Ubuntu MATE 18.10 pre-loaded.

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GNU/Linux Devices: Raspberry Pi, AAEON and Librem 5

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GNU
Linux
Gadgets
  • Raspberry Pi 4 B+ - PCI Express

    Without much exaggeration, the new Raspberry Pi is likely the largest single-step improvement on the Pi family since the early changes of the form factor. Although Pi3 introduced 64bit capability, it's been pretty limited in practice due to lack of memory. Pi4 introduces 4GB RAM, USB 3.0 and Gigabit Ethernet.

    Most importantly for our purposes, the USB 3.0 (and 2.0) chip is attached via the PCI Express interface - that means, if we were to remove it, we can gain access to the underlying bus. So, without further ado, the sacrificial goat.. uhm, chip.

  • Modder Connects External PCIe To Raspberry Pi 4

    Raspberry Pi is a low-cost computer designed for tech enthusiasts, students, and engineers who wish to make extreme use of limited hardware. Just two weeks ago, the Raspberry Pi 4 was unveiled, which caught the attention of technology enthusiasts.

    The latest version of Raspberry Pi is a big improvement over the previous version despite its faulty USB-C port design. It relies on PCI Express for USB chips. However, there isn’t any provision to connect external devices on the Raspberry Pi 4.

  • AAEON Launches BOXER-8150AI Compact Embedded Box PC Features 8 USB 3.0 Ports

    The BOXER-8150AI is able to support up to eight USB connected cameras or devices, each operating independently of one another.

  • Runs on the Librem 5 Smartphone – Week 3

    We’ve been showcasing a different piece of software running on the Librem 5 Smartphone Development Kit every day for the last twenty days.  Twenty.  In a row.

    And we’re not done.  Because, holy smokes, do we have a lot more to show.  And, let’s be honest, these are just plain fun.  Daily videos kick back off tomorrow (July 11th) with video number 21.

    You can enjoy Days 15 through 20 below — and Days 1 through 14 in the Week 1 and 2 posts.

  • Purism and the Linux 5.2 Kernel

    Hello again. Following up on our report for the Linux 5.1 kernel, here’s a list of contributions for the Linux 5.2 kernel cycle, for which our team recently contributed with 14 patches–including a new driver for the Librem 5 devkit’s panel...

Up and Running With Your Librem in Three Minutes

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GNU
Linux
Gadgets

The right to respect and privacy should be unconditional; within the digital world itself, it shouldn’t be necessary to be an expert in computer science to guarantee you can–and know how to–be entitled to those rights. Making secure and respectful devices is essential, but to be fully ethical, those devices also need to be simple to use, so everyone can use them.

Our mission at Purism is to make technologies that respects people, whoever they are and whichever background they come from. That is why we make sure that everything we develop conforms to the Ethical Design manifesto, The manifesto itself is quite simple in what it states: that everyone should have the right to be respected and to have a delightful user experience.

I am not saying that Purism’s technology is perfect in the sense of simplicity of use–nevertheless, we are constantly working towards it, and we will always keep that goal in mind. Purism is a Social Purpose corporation, it is funded by the people, and we give back all our research and development to the people. This way we make sure that the initial ethical goal of Purism is a free seed that will grow no matter what.

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GameShell is a portable and modular DIY retro game console

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GNU
Linux
Gadgets

It’s the “world’s first modular, portable game console” running a GNU/Linux operating system. You can easily play retro games from Atari, GameBoy, GameBoy Advance, Nintendo Entertainment System, and more on the GameShell. Or, create your own game entirely with Preset C, Python, Lua, Javascript, or LISP.

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Also: Google's Fuschia operating system has been in works for years now.

Pine64 Linux PinePhone could get Moto Mod functionality

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GNU
Linux
Gadgets

With the focus given to Huawei’s US ban, there has also been some discussion about Android, Google’s hold on the platform, and truly free (as in freedom) alternatives to the world’s biggest mobile OS. There has never been a shortage of alternative mobile platforms, many of them revolving around Linux, but there has been a dearth of companies making devices that run and support such platforms. Pine64 is one of those few and it is now sharing some development in its quest to make a privacy-respecting open source smartphone.

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The $149 PinePhone Linux smartphone will support modular add-ons

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GNU
Linux
Gadgets

The upcoming PinePhone is expected to be an inexpensive, but versatile smartphone designed to run GNU/Linux operating systems. Yesterday we took a look at some of the operating systems that are already being ported to run on the PinePhone. But it looks like the software isn’t the only thing that’s actively under development.

Pine64 has posted an update on the state of the smartphone’s hardware with new details about the phone’s battery, hardware kill switches, and a previously announced feature — support for swappable back covers that can add functionality to the $149 smartphone.

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The Finest Linux Tablet You Can Build

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GNU
Linux
Gadgets

For the last few years now, we’ve all had access to tiny, affordable Systems on a Module. These wunderchips are complete Linux systems with WiFi, a halfway decent GPU, and enough memory to run a real system. This is the perfect platform to base a tablet build on, the only problem is that someone has to actually do it. The DLT One is the ‘Damn Linux Tablet’ from [Prof. Fartsparkle]. It’s the answer to the question of when someone is going to build a tablet computer around one of these cheap Systems on a Chip that are floating around.

With many modules to choose from, the first task is actually choosing one of these Linux modules. [Fartsparkle] ended up with the Nvidia Jetson Nano, an impressive little board that has one distinct advantage: it’s drop-in compatable with the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, the Raspberry Pi-on-an-SODIMM. Given a single chassis, [Prof. Fartsparkle] can simply upgrade his tablet by getting a newer version of the Jetson Nano (or the Compute Module).

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PinePhone $149 Linux smartphone could support Ubuntu, Sailfish, Maemo, LuneOS and more

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OS
GNU
Linux
Gadgets

The PinePhone is a cheap, Linux-ready smartphone that’s expected to ship in limited quantities later this year. It’s not exactly a high-power device by modern smartphone standards, but with an expected starting price of $149, it will be a lot more affordable than some of the other Linux phones on the horizon.

It’s also starting to look like the PinePhone could be a very versatile device.

Pine64 has been sending out development kits for a while, and it looks like developers are porting a number of GNU/Linux-based operating systems to the platform.

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Introduction to catalog of 125 Linux hacker boards

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Hardware
Gadgets

Our 2019 spring edition catalog of hacker-friendly SBCs under $200 that run Linux or Android offers updated descriptions, specs, and pricing for 125 SBCs. Two big questions for 2019: Is it time for AI, and what about those tariffs?

Welcome to our latest catalog of 125 community-backed Linux and Android SBCs. We’re skipping the reader survey this year, although you’re welcome to cast your unofficial vote in the comments section at the end of this introduction. In any case, we have compiled the essential prices, features, and comparisons to help you vote with your wallet. We have updated the blurbs and the comparison spreadsheet with new pricing and in some cases, feature changes, and added descriptions of new boards.

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Ubuntu Powered Autonomous Drones for Hazardous, High Altitude Work

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Ubuntu
Gadgets

With surveys in 2016 indicating that falls accounted for more than 16% of all workplace deaths in the United States Apellix the aerial robotics company took upon itself the challenge of devising ways to prevent people from having to work in dangerous, elevated environments by developing innovative drones that can take over hazardous, high altitude work – for instance measuring paint thickness on U.S.

Navy ships or the wall thickness of a 100m flare stack at an oil and gas refinery. Built on Ubuntu, the drones leverage autonomous flight functionality to manoeuvre with pinpoint accuracy, making it fast, cost-effective, and safe to perform essential tasks at great heights targeting infrastructure, maritime and energy industries.

Each U.S. Navy Destroyer and Aircraft Carrier requires five coats of paint, and each coat must be measured to ensure that it is the correct thickness for which corrosion engineers have to go up using cranes, lifts, or rope work to manually take more than 2,000 measurements across the hull. Even in good weather and without interruptions, measuring each coat of paint on ships needs a 7 person crew employed for six days, and costs more than $100,000.

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Also: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter 581

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today's leftovers

  • Linux Weekly Roundup #35

    Hello and welcome to this week's Linux Roundup and what a wonderful week we had! We have plenty of Linux Distro releases and LibreOffice 6.3 RC1. The Linux distros with releases this week are Q4OS 3.8, SparkyLinux 5.8, Mageia 7.1, ArcoLinux 19.07.11, Deepin 15.11, ArchBang 2107-beta, Bluestar 5.2.1, Slackel 7.2 "Openbox" and Endeavour OS 2019.07.15. I looked at most of these Linux Distros, links below, I will look at some of them in the new week and some I will unfortunately not have a look at, for download links and more, please visit distrowatch.com Well, this is this week's Linux Roundup, thank you so much for your time! Have a great week!

  • Full Circle Magazine: Full Circle Weekly News #140
  • Christopher Allan Webber: ActivityPub Conf 2019

    That's right! We're hosting the first ever ActivityPub Conf. It's immediately following Rebooting Web of Trust in Prague. There's no admission fee to attend. (Relatedly, the conference is kind of being done on the cheap, because it is being funded by organizers who are themselves barely funded.) The venue, however, is quite cool: it's at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, which is itself exploring the ways the digital world is affecting our lives. If you plan on attending (and maybe also speaking), you should get in your application soon (see the flier for details). We've never done one of these, and we have no idea what the response will be like, so this is going to be a smaller gathering (about 40 people). In some ways, it will be somewhere between a conference and a gathering of people-who-are-interested-in-activitypub. As said in the flier, by attending, you are agreeing to the code of conduct, so be sure to read that.

Sysadmin Appreciation Day, IBM and Fedora

  • Gift ideas for Sysadmin Appreciation Day

    Sysadmin Appreciation Day is coming up this Friday, July 26. To help honor sysadmins everywhere, we want you to share your best gift ideas. What would be the best way a team member or customer could show their appreciation for you? As a sysadmin, what was the best gift you've ever received? We asked our writers the same question, and here are their answers: "Whilst working in the Ubuntu community on Edubuntu, I took it upon myself to develop the startup/shutdown sound scheme, which became the default in Ubuntu for, from what I can understand, the next decade. Whilst people had a love-hate relationship with my sound scheme, and rightly so, I had a love-hate relationship with my sound card during the development. At the time I had recorded all my sound samples using one sample rate, but my new sound card, as my motherboard had exploded a few days earlier, did not support it. I had two choices, resample all my samples (which I didn't really want to do) or buy a new sound card.

  • Red Hat OpenStack Platform with Red Hat Ceph Storage: Radosbench baseline performance evaluation

    Red Hat Ceph Storage is popular storage for Red Hat OpenStack Platform. Customers around the world run their hyperscale, production workloads on Red Hat Ceph Storage and Red Hat OpenStack Platform. This is driven by the high level of integration between Ceph storage and OpenStack private cloud platforms. With each release of both platforms, the level of integration has grown and performance and automation has increased. As the customer's storage and compute needs for footprints have grown, we have seen more interest towards running compute and storage as one unit and providing a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) layer based on OpenStack and Ceph. [...] Continuing the benchmarking series, in the next post you’ll learn performance insights of running multi-instance MySQL database on Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Ceph Storage across decoupled and hyperconverged architectures. We’ll also compare results from a near-equal environment backed by all-flash cluster nodes.

  • The State of Java in Flathub

    For maintainers of Java-based applications in Flathub, it's worth noting that even if you consume the Latest OpenJDK extension in your application, users will not be broken by major updates because OpenJDK is bundled into your Flatpak. The implication of this for users is that they won't see updates to their Java version until the application maintainer rebuilds the application in Flathub. If you maintain a Java-based Flatpak application on Flathub, you can consume the latest version of your chosen OpenJDK stream (either LTS or Latest) simply by rebuilding; the latest version of that OpenJDK steam will be pulled in automatically.

  • Fedora Magazine: Contribute at the Fedora Test Week for kernel 5.2

    The kernel team is working on final integration for kernel 5.1. This version was just recently released, and will arrive soon in Fedora. This version has many security fixes included. As a result, the Fedora kernel and QA teams have organized a test week from Monday, Jul 22, 2019 through Monday, Jul 29, 2019. Refer to the wiki page for links to the test images you’ll need to participate. Read below for details.

Debian and Ubuntu Leftovers

  • Bootstrappable Debian BoF

    Greetings from DebConf 19 in Curitiba! Just a quick reminder that I will run a Bootstrappable Debian BoF on Tuesday 23rd, at 13.30 Brasilia time (which is 16.30 UTC, if I am not mistaken). If you are curious about bootstrappability in Debian, why do we want it and where we are right now, you are welcome to come in person if you are at DebCon or to follow the streaming.

  • Candy Tsai: Outreachy Week 6 – Week 7: Getting Code Merge

    You can’t overhear what others are doing or learn something about your colleagues through gossip over lunch break when working remotely. So after being stuck for quite a bit, terceiro suggested that we try pair programming. After our first remote pair programming session, I think there should be no difference in pair programming in person. We shared the same terminal, looked at the same code and discussed just like people standing side by side. Through our pair programming session, I found out that I had a bad habit. I didn’t run tests on my code that often, so when I had failing tests that didn’t fail before, I spent more time debugging than I should have. Pair programming gave insight to how others work and I think little improvements go a long way.

  • about your wiki page on I/O schedulers and BFQ
    Hi,
    this is basically to report outdated statements in your wiki page on
    I/O schedulers [1].
    
    The main problematic statement is that BFQ "...  is not ideal for
    devices with slow CPUs or high throughput I/O devices" because too
    heavy.  BFQ is definitely more sophisticated than any of the other I/O
    schedulers.  We have designed it that way to provide an incomparably
    better service quality, at a very low overhead.  As reported in [2],
    the execution time of BFQ on an old laptop CPU is 0.6 us per I/O
    event, against 0.2 us for mq-deadline (which is the lightest Linux I/O
    scheduler).
    
    To put these figures into context, BFQ proved to be so good for
    "devices with slow CPUs" that, e.g., Chromium OS migrated to BFQ a few
    months ago.  In particular, Google crew got convinced by a demo [3] I
    made for them, on one of the cheapest and slowest Chromebook on the
    market.  In the demo, a fast download is performed.  Without BFQ, the
    download makes the device completely unresponsive.  With BFQ, the
    device remains as responsive as if it was totally idle.
    
    As for the other part of the statement, "...  not ideal for ...  high
    throughput I/O devices", a few days ago I ran benchmarks (on Ubuntu)
    also with one of the fastest consumer-grade NVMe SSDs: a Samsung SSD
    970 PRO.  Results [4] can be summarized as follows.  Throughput with
    BFQ is about the same as with the other I/O schedulers (it couldn't be
    higher, because this kind of drives just wants the scheduler to stay
    as aside as possible, when it comes to throughput).  But, in the
    presence of writes as background workload, start-up times with BFQ are
    at least 16 times as low as with the other I/O schedulers.  In
    absolute terms, gnome-terminal starts in ~1.8 seconds with BFQ, while
    it takes at least 28.7 (!) seconds with the other I/O schedulers.
    Finally, only with BFQ, no frame gets lost in video-playing
    benchmarks.
    
    BFQ then provides other important benefits, such as from 5x to 10X
    throughput boost in multi-client server workloads [5].
    
    So, is there any chance that the outdated/wrong information on your
    wiki page [1] gets updated somehow?  If I may, I'd be glad to update
    it myself, after providing you with all the results you may ask.
    
    In addition, why doesn't Ubuntu too consider switching to BFQ as
    default I/O scheduler, for all drives that BFQ supports (namely all
    drives with a maximum speed not above ~500 KIOPS)?
    
    Looking forward to your feedback,
    Paolo
    
    
  • Should Ubuntu Use The BFQ I/O Scheduler?

    The BFQ I/O scheduler is working out fairly well these days as shown in our benchmarks. The Budget Fair Queueing scheduler supports both throughput and low-latency modes while working particularly well for consumer-grade hardware. Should the Ubuntu desktop be using BFQ by default? [...] But in addition to wanting to correct that Wiki information, Paolo pops the question of why doesn't Ubuntu switch to BFQ as the default I/O scheduler for supported drives. Though as of yet, no Ubuntu kernel developers have yet commented on the prospect of switching to BFQ.

Devices With Linux Support

  • Quest Releases KACE SDA & SMA Updates

    The update to 7.0 for KACE Systems Deployment Appliance is primarily about bringing a scope of endpoint management capabilities with new support for Linux devices to the table.

  • Rugged, Kaby Lake transport computer has a 10-port LAN switch with PoE

    Axiomtek’s Linux-ready “tBOX400-510-FL” transportation system has a 7th Gen Intel CPU and a 10-port managed switch with 8x M12-style 10/100Mbps PoE and 2x GbE ports. The rugged system also has 3x mini-PCIe slots and dual swappable SATA drives. Axiomtek has launched a fanless, Kaby Lake-U based transportation computer with a choice of power supplies designed for in-vehicle, marine, or railway applications. The rugged tBOX400-510-FL features a Qualcomm-driven, Layer 2 managed PoE switch with support for IP surveillance and video management applications. “Customers can connect IP cameras directly without installing an extra PoE switch, minimizing overall deployment costs and installation space onboard,” stated Axiomtek product manager Sharon Huang.