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Librem 5 August Update

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GNU
Linux
GNOME
Gadgets

We are preparing everything for the Librem 5 to be delivered soon, and its software will focus on the most critical applications a phone needs: calls, messages and web browsing. There are supporting projects that will be delivered too, like GNOME Settings, the shell, GNOME Initial Setup, and GNOME Contacts. So without further ado, let’s take a tour through the software we will deliver–as well as some other applications that have seen some major changes.

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7 of the Best IoT Projects Using Arduino

Filed under
Hardware
Gadgets

If you’re an electronics hobbyist, chances are you’ve heard of the Arduino. It’s a tiny computer that you can use to do surprisingly complex things. It also happens to be behind a fair number of Internet of Things projects.

While some people reach a for Raspberry Pi or something even more powerful, an Arduino or Arduino Uno might be all you need. We’ve put together a list of IoT projects that prove this to be true.

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Also: mDash Cloud platform for IoT Devices Targets ESP8266/ESP32, STM32, and TI CC3220 Wireless MCUs

The ClockworkPi GameShell is a super fun DIY spin on portable gaming

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gaming
Gadgets

Portable consoles are hardly new, and thanks to the Switch, they’re basically the most popular gaming devices in the world. But ClockworkPi’s GameShell is something totally unique, and entirely refreshing when it comes to gaming on the go. This clever DIY console kit provides everything you need to assemble your own pocket gaming machine at home, running Linux-based open-source software and using an open-source hardware design that welcomes future customization.

The GameShell is the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, which began shipping to its backers last year and is now available to buy either direct from the company or from Amazon. The $159.99 ( on sale for $139.99 as of this writing) includes everything you need to build the console, like the ClockworkPi quad-core Cortex A7 motherboard with integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 1GB of DDR3 RAM — but it comes unassembled.

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System76’s First 4K OLED Linux Laptop is Here

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Gadgets

System76 launched its latest high-end Linux powered laptop – Adder WS.

System76 – the american computer manufacturer introduced the first 4K OLED Linux powered laptop. Named Adder WS, this device targets to the content creators, gamers and researchers who needs high performance hardware with Linux. Powered by Intel i9 series 8-core CPU and 64GB ram, this device includes a 15″ 4K OLED display with RTX 2070 graphics.

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Purism and e Foundation take on the smartphone duopoly

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OS
Gadgets

For years, the devices and services we use have ever more aggressively monitored our activities and mined our data. But as consumers have grown increasingly attuned to privacy concerns, solutions have been appearing to help them evade tracking. Browsers such as Brave and search engines such as DuckDuckGo play up their privacy-first design. When it comes to the dominant mobile operating systems, Google has talked about preserving privacy by providing more transparency and exposing opt-out controls. Apple, on the other hand, has sought to create services that remove the opt-out requirement by not collecting data in the first place, turning privacy preservation into a key differentiator.

But many users aren’t comfortable even with Apple’s approach. Recently, two groups have created new platforms that avoid sharing data with Google, Apple, or any other entity behind the scenes. Nevertheless, their product-development approaches parallel the market strategies of Google and Apple, with some striking differences.

One of these is the e Foundation. Its eOS aspires to be a Google-free version of Android that has a wide range of device support. It’s not a new idea: One existing alternative to Google’s flavor of Android is LineageOS, a fork of what had been the leading Google Android alternative, CyanogenMod. However, according to Gaël Duval, head of e Foundation, producing a version of Android that is completely Google-free requires far more effort than just stripping out Google apps such as Gmail; even LineageOS sends some data through Google’s servers or relies on its services.

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Samsung DeX missed its chance to make a big splash

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Android
GNU
Linux
Gadgets

The Galaxy Note 10 has just broken cover and, just like its predecessors, it has something new for Samsung DeX users. To be fair, the convenience of being able to not just control your phone but access the “DeXtop” from any Windows or Mac computer is a major step forward, but it may have fallen short of what fans of the platform have been expecting or even requesting for a few months now. Samsung DeX definitely has a lot of potential but Samsung may have missed the boat on that one this year.

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Librem 5 Smartphone – Final Specs Announced

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Gadgets
  • Librem 5 Smartphone – Final Specs Announced

    We are proud to unveil the final specifications for the Librem 5 smartphone, set to begin shipping in Q3 of 2019.

  • Librem 5 privacy-focused Linux phone specs finalized as pre-orders begin

    Despite the growing number of evidence and cases of mobile software that blatantly violate user privacy, it’s almost impossible to imagine life these days without a smartphone. While hardcore privacy advocates might be able to ditch their mobile device for good, there are some that try to promise the best of both mobile and privacy worlds. One of those is Purism who has finally finalized the specs and features of its crowdfunded privacy-respecting Librem 5 phone.

    [...]

    The question now is whether all of that is enough to justify a $699 price tag. For those who answer a resounding “yes”, an early bird pre-order will shave $50 off that price for $649 only until July 31. As for the shipping date, that is still unannounced for both those pre-orders and, more importantly, the original backers back in 2017.

  • Purism Reveals Final Hardware Specs of the Privacy-Focused Librem 5 Linux Phone

    Purism, the company behind the powerful Linux-based laptops known as the Librem computers, announced today the final hardware specifications of their upcoming Librem 5 Linux smartphone.

    As you probably are already aware, Purism is working for some time on a Linux-powered smartphone, which the company calls Librem 5. Designed from the ground up to be privacy and security-aware, the Librem 5 Linux phone is currently scheduled for launch in Q3 2019, after it's been delayed a couple of times.

  • Purism Finally Announces The Firmed Up Specifications For The Librem 5 Smartphone

    It still remains to be seen if Purism will be able to ship the Librem 5 Linux smartphone this quarter as is their current revised target, but at least today they are publishing the finalized specifications for the phone's hardware.

    While we've long known of their plans to use the i.MX8 SoC and other components, items like the phone's cameras, battery capacity, and even RAM were not known until now.

Consent Matters: When Tech Takes Remote Control Without Your Permission

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Gadgets

In my previous post I talked about why consent matters when it comes to privacy; and yet, privacy is only one of the areas where tech companies take advantage of users without their consent. Recently, tech companies have come to a troubling consensus: that they can change your computer, remotely (and often silently) without your knowledge or permission.

[...]

Anyone who has ever worked for a large company in the computer age has experienced first-hand the authoritarian, controlling, and restrictive policies that IT employs to manage company computers. Starting with centralized systems like Active Directory, IT teams were able to create policies that controlled what sorts of passwords employees could use and whether employees could install applications, access printers, and even, in some cases, insert USB drives.

These centralized tools have evolved over the years: they can now add and remove files, install new software and software updates, remotely control machines over the network in order to view what’s on their screens and access local files. This controls extends into Active Management Technology features embedded into the Intel Management Engine, that lets administrators remotely control computers even if they are turned off. Now that smartphones are critical tools in many organizations, MDM (Mobile Device Management) tools are also often employed at enterprises to bring those devices under a similar level of control–with the added benefit of using GPS to track employee phones even outside the office.

The most common justification for these policies is convenience. If you are an IT department and have thousands of employees–each with at least one computer and one smartphone that you need to support–one of the ways to make sure that the appropriate software is on the systems, and updates get applied, is to push them from a central location. Companies often have custom in-house software their employees rely on to do their jobs, and throughout the life of the company more tools are added to their toolbox. You can’t expect the IT team to go desk-by-desk installing software by hand when you have thousands of employees working at offices all over the world: when an employee’s computer breaks, these same tools make it easy for IT to replace the computer so the employee can get back to work quickly.

The main justification for the strictest–and most controlling–IT policies isn’t convenience, though: it’s security. IT pushes software updates for protection against security bugs. They push anti-virus, anti-malware and remote monitoring tools, to protect both employee and company from dangerous email attachments, from software they might download from their web browser. IT removes local administrative privileges from employees in the name of protecting them from installing malware (and, practically speaking, from installing games and other time-wasting apps). They disable USB storage devices so employees can’t insert disks containing malware or copy off sensitive company documents. Each of these practices have valid reasons behind them for companies facing certain threats.

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Also: Fitness Trackers and Smartwatches Don’t Correctly Track Heart Rate of People with Darker Skin

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

Filed under
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...

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More in Tux Machines

Linux Foundation and Intel: Confidential Computing Consortium, OpenGL 4.6 Support For Mesa 19.2 and More

  • New Cross-Industry Effort to Advance Computational Trust and Security for Next-Generation Cloud and Edge Computing

    The Linux Foundation today announced the intent to form the Confidential Computing Consortium, a community dedicated to defining and accelerating the adoption of confidential computing. Companies committed to this work include Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom and Tencent. Across industries computing is moving to span multiple environments, from on premises to public cloud to edge. As companies move these workloads to different environments, they need protection controls for sensitive IP and workload data and are increasingly seeking greater assurances and more transparency of these controls. Current approaches in cloud computing address data at rest and in transit but encrypting data in use is considered the third and possibly most challenging step to providing a fully encrypted lifecycle for sensitive data. Confidential computing will enable encrypted data to be processed in memory without exposing it to the rest of the system and reduce exposure for sensitive data and provide greater control and transparency for users.

  • The Linux Foundation, Intel & Co Form The Confidential Computing Consortium

    In kicking off the Open Source Summit that has returned to San Diego, the Linux Foundation has announced the formation of the Confidential Computing Consortium in collaboration with Intel and other companies. The initial batch of companies forming the Confidential Computing Consortium include Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom, and Tencent. This consortium will focus on providing greater transparency and control over user data, reduce exposure to sensitive data, and other protections by means of open-source tooling and hardware advancements around trusted execution environments.

  • Intel's OpenGL Linux Driver Now Has OpenGL 4.6 Support For Mesa 19.2

    Two years after the OpenGL 4.6 specification was announced, Intel's open-source OpenGL Linux driver is now officially advertising the support after today landing the remaining SPIR-V enablement work. For the better part of the past two years the Intel OpenGL Linux drivers were held up from having GL 4.6 due to the ARB_gl_spirv / ARB_spirv_extensions extensions for better interoperability with Vulkan. But today those extensions are now crossed off the list and OpenGL 4.6 is finally in Mesa core with Intel's i965/Iris drivers being the first.

  • Intel Launches 10th Gen "Comet Lake" Laptop CPUs For Laptops & 2-in-1s

    Earlier this month Intel announced 11 Icelake CPUs for laptops and 2-in1s under their 10th Gen CPU line-up. Today the company announced the 10th Gen Comet Lake CPUs also for 2-in-1s and laptops.

Debian and Ubuntu Leftovers

  • Joey Hess: releasing two haskell libraries in one day: libmodbus and git-lfs

    The first library is a libmodbus binding in haskell. There are a couple of other haskell modbus libraries, but none that support serial communication out of the box. I've been using a python library to talk to my solar charge controller, but it is not great at dealing with the slightly flakey interface. The libmodbus C library has features that make it more robust, and it also supports fast batched reads. So a haskell interface to it seemed worth starting while I was doing laundry, and then for some reason it seemed worth writing a whole bunch more FFIs that I may never use, so it covers libmodbus fairly extensively. 660 lines of code all told. Writing a good binding to a C library has art to it. I've seen ones that are so close you feel you're writing C and not haskell. On the other hand, some are so far removed from the underlying library that its documentation does not carry over at all. I tried to strike a balance. Same function names so the extensive libmodbus documentation is easy to refer to while using it, but plenty of haskell data types so you won't mix up the parity with the stop bits.

  • Misc Developer News (#49)
    The news are collected on https://wiki.debian.org/DeveloperNews
    Please contribute short news about your work/plans/subproject.
    
    In this issue:
     + Self-service buildd givebacks
     + Removal of the mips architecture
     + Superficial package testing
     + Debian Developers Reference now maintained as ReStructuredText
     + Scope of debian-mentors broadened to help with infrastructure questions
     + Hiding package tracker action items
    
    Self-service buildd givebacks
    -----------------------------
    
     Philipp Kern has created[1] an *experimental* service that allows Debian
     members to perform self-service retries of failed package builds (aka
     give-backs). This service aims to reduce the time it takes for give-back
     requests to be processed, which was done manually by the wanna-build
     admins until now. The service is authenticated using the Debian Single
     Signon[2] service. Debian members are still expected to act responsibly
     when looking at build failures; do your due diligence and try reproducing
     the issue on a porterbox first. Access to this service is logged and logs
     will be audited by the admins.
    
  • Debian Guts Support For Old MIPS CPUs

    Debian developers have decided to remove the 32-bit MIPS big-endian architecture. Debian will continue to maintain MIPSEL and MIPS64EL but the older 32-bit big-endian variant of MIPS will be no more. Debian developers decided to drop the older 32-bit BE support due to it being limited to 2GB of virtual address space and it being one of the remaining holdouts of big endian architectures for Debian. Not to mention, there hasn't been much interest in the older MIPS 32-bit BE target in a while either.

  • Alpha: Self-service buildd givebacks

    Builds on Debian's build farm sometimes fail transiently. Sometimes those failures are legitimate flakes, for instance when an in-progress build happens to exhaust its resources because of other builds on the same machine. Until now, you always needed to mail the buildd, wanna-build admins or the Release Team directly in order to get the builds re-queued. As an alpha trial I implemented self-service givebacks as a web script. As SSO for Debian developers is now a thing, it is trivial to add authentication in a way that a role account can use to act on your behalf. While at work this would all be an RPC service, I figured that a little CGI script would do the job just as well.

  • Linux Mint 19.2 Cinnamon Edition – Ships With Cinnamon 4.2 and Uses Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Package Base

    Linux Mint 19.2 has been released and announced by Linux Mint Project, now available to download which ship with the Cinnamon, Mate and Xfce editions both for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. It’s powered by the Linux 4.15 kernel and uses the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS package base, which will be supported for five years until 2023. Linux Mint 19.2 Cinnamon edition features latest version of Cinnamon desktop 4.2 with new features and updates. Although the amount of RAM consumed by Cinnamon largely depends on the video driver, Cinnamon uses significantly less RAM than before. The application menu is faster and it now identifies and distinguishes duplicates. If two applications have the same name, the menu will show more information about them. Scrollbars are now configurable and Nemo file manager support pin file and folder .

  • Jupyter looks to distro-agnostic packaging for the democratisation of installation

    When users of your application range from high school students to expert data scientists, it’s often wise to avoid any assumptions about their system configurations. The Jupyter Notebook is popular with a diverse user base, enabling the creation and sharing of documents containing live code, visualisations, and narrative text. The app uses processes (kernels) to run interactive code in different programming languages and send output back to the user. Filipe Fernandes has a key responsibility for Jupyter packaging and ease of installation. At the 2019 Snapcraft Summit in Montreal, he gave us his impressions of snaps as a tool to improve the experience for all concerned. “I’m a packager and a hacker, and I’m also a Jupyter user. I find Jupyter to be great as a teaching tool. Others use it for data cleaning and analysis, numerical simulation and modelling, or machine learning, for example. One of the strengths of Jupyter is that it is effectively language agnostic. I wanted Jupyter packaging to be similar, distro-agnostic, if you like.” Filipe had heard about snaps a while back, but only really discovered their potential after he received an invitation to the Snapcraft Summit and noticed that Microsoft Visual Studio Code had recently become available as a snap. The ease of use of snaps was a big factor for him. “I like things that just work. I often get hauled in to sort out installation problems for other users – including members of my own family! It’s great to be able to tell them just to use the snap version of an application. It’s like, I snap my fingers and the install problems disappear!”

Programming: OpenPOWER Foundation, iOS and Android Localization Tool, First Python Program, Eclipse Vert.x Spring Boot

  • Open Source Developer Gain New Collaboration Opportunities on Open Hardware

    Live from Open Source Summit this week, we’re thrilled to share that the OpenPOWER Foundation is becoming a project hosted at The Linux Foundation. This includes a technical contribution of the POWER Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) and Source Design Implementations, including a softcore implementation of the POWER ISA. The OpenPOWER Foundation recognizes how increased collaboration across the open source ecosystem will advance open hardware technology and accelerate opportunity. Six years ago, IBM setup the OpenPOWER Foundation to widen the reach of their POWER technology. The goal from the start was to support Instruction Set Architecture and contributed Source Design Implementations required for data-driven HPC workloads like modelling and simulation, cloud services and also Artificial Intelligence (AI).

  • iOS and Android Localization Tool

    Localization is simply the process of translating your app into multiple languages. In situation like you need support multiple language, including API response messages and dynamic strings you need a list of localizable .strings file, and you need to localized it based on the Language you want ( e.g English, Chinese, Japanese ). Xcode has a built-in localizable file generator that generate your localizable .strings for each language you supported.

  • First Python Program

    Ok, really thrilled today. Patting myself on the back. I finally managed to write a program all on my ownsome. Kushal gave me a toy problem and I went around, scratched my head, did a lot of searching, a lot more headbanging, even more mistakes and then finally managed to write this. Am happy because this is how I imagined myself learning in the first place. Figuring out a problem someone has and then figuring out how to help them.

  • Reactive Spring Boot programming with Vert.x

    The latest bundle of Red Hat supported Spring Boot starters was recently released. In addition to supporting the popular Red Hat products for our Spring Boot customers, the Red Hat Spring Boot team was also busy creating new ones. The most recent technical preview added is a group of Eclipse Vert.x Spring Boot starters, which provide a Spring-native vocabulary for the popular JVM reactive toolkit. Let’s quickly go through the main concepts to get everybody on the same page before looking into an example. A reactive system as defined in the Reactive Manifesto is responsive, resilient, elastic, and message-driven. These properties guarantee easy replication, non-blocking communication with high system resources utilization and great fault tolerance. At the latest stage of software evolution, with cloud-first, low-latency, and highly data-intensive applications, reactive systems provide a great value for money. In our newest release, we have introduced a few Spring WebFlux extensions for Vert.x. With these extensions, you can build your application the way you’re used to—using WebFlux and Project Reactor—while network communications will be handled by the Vert.x servers and clients.

Android Leftovers