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Cross Compile to PinePhone Part Three

Filed under
Linux
Gadgets

On last part, we managed to generate package by hand. While it works, having a script to do everything for us is even better. So I’ve wrote a small python script to automate the process.

Apart from the SDK issue mentioned above, we still need to write proper tutorials on https://develop.kde.org/ about cross compile. I’m happy with the overall result, to be able to cross compile to target platform is essention to mobile development. The major difference between Plasma Mobile and Android/iOS is apps on Plasma Mobile are neither self-contained or static linked. Together with the updating of system libraries it’s impossible to ship a static SDK, you’ll need to have all the dynamic linked libraries on rootfs. For iOS and Android, the only dynamic linked libraries is system ones, and they don’t change throughout one major version. You can have Android 10 SDK for Android 10, 11 SDK for 11… But for Plasma Mobile Manjaro, it’s a rolling distribution, you’ll also need a rolling SDK.

I hope the ablity to cross compiling to PinePhone can improve everyone’s productivity on Plasma Mobile development, however it’s just a small step towards what Android and iOS have. We still lack phone emulator, remote debugging and UI debugging tools.

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Steam Deck: Shaping Up

Filed under
Hardware
Gaming
Gadgets
  • Steam Deck: Valve Confirms Multi-Boot Support and More in New FAQ

    While Valve has not been particularly tight-lipped about the upcoming Steam Deck hardware, there have still been plenty of questions left unanswered about it. Thankfully, there should now be fewer of those than before as the company has shared an official Steam Deck FAQ full of answers to questions from the community received via Reddit, Discord, Twitter, and -- as Valve states -- "straight up emails to Gabe."

  • Easy Anti-Cheat is now supported on macOS, Linux, and by extension, Steam Deck

    In a surprise announcement, Epic Games today revealed Linux and macOS support for Easy Anti-Cheat, the widely used cheat detection service for PC games. This service, which Epic made free earlier this year, is what's being used for catching cheaters in a substantial number of popular PC titles, including Apex Legends, Fortnite, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Hunt: Showdown, Gears 5, and others.

    There is even more good news for Linux gamers, as alongside native support for their preferred operating system, Epic has also implemented support for the Wine and Proton compatibility layers. "Starting with the latest SDK release, developers can activate anti-cheat support for Linux via Wine or Proton with just a few clicks in the Epic Online Services Developer Portal," adds the announcement.

  • Steam Deck Interface for Dev Kits Leak Out

    While there’s a lot of info known about Valve’s upcoming Steam Deck, prepare for more, as the Steam Deck interface for dev kits have leaked! This comes from an unnamed Chinese developer who apparently doesn’t care about NDA’s (non-disclosure agreements).

  • One of the Steam Deck’s biggest hurdles just disappeared: EAC has come to Linux

    Valve promised it would work with anti-cheat software makers EAC and BattlEye to ensure some of the most popular games will run on its upcoming Steam Deck Linux-based gaming handheld, and one of those companies is now officially on board — Epic Games announced today that its Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC) now supports Linux and Mac. Not only that, it’s specifically set up to work with the Proton and Wine compatibility layers that Valve’s relying on to bring Windows games to the Deck.

    While developers would still need to patch their games, this immediately means some of the most popular games on Steam are now theoretically within reach, including Apex Legends, Dead by Daylight and War Thunder, which are all among the top 25 games on Steam. Other popular EAC games include 7 Days to Die, Fall Guys, Black Desert, Hunt: Showdown, Paladins, and the Halo Master Chief Collection.

Fairphone 4 5G Revealing Snapdragon 750G SoC Spotted on Geekbench, Launch Expected Soon

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Gadgets

We are aware of the fact that Fairphone is prepping up for the launch of the Fairphone 3 successor – the Fairphone 4 5G (FP4). The device’s key specifications and renders were revealed last week, courtesy of a retailer listing. As per the preliminary retailer listing, the Fairphone 4 5G is expected to pack 6GB of RAM and 128GB/256GB storage. The hardware specs of the device remained a mystery up till now. However, these details now are out courtesy of the Geekbench listing. MySmartPrice is the first to spot the Fairphone 4 Geekbench listing. The test results reveal that the device will pack Snapdragon 750G SoC and 6GB of RAM.

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Cross Compile to PinePhone Part Two

Filed under
Linux
Gadgets

So on part one, we managed to compile kalk with emulator, and generated ArchLinux package to install on our PinePhone. However, emulator is slow, and compiling with emulator isn’t cross compile. Today, we’ll be using real cross compiler to build kalk package.

To be able to cross compile, we need cross compiler and target platform’s libraries. On ArchLinux, there is aarch64-linux-gnu-gcc. But it’s sysroot option is bugged so we won’t use the cross compiler from pacman this time. Instead, we’ll grab the toolchain from ArchLinux arm. The link is here. Since PinePhone is armv8, download the armv8 pre-built crosstool-ng toolchain. To keep everything nice and tidy, we store the toolchain in dedicated directory. I’m using ~/Develop/CrossCompile.

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Cross Compile to PinePhone Part One

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Linux
Gadgets

PinePhone has been out for over one year now. In the last year, KDE plasma mobile saw rapid progress. We’ve developed almost all utility apps you’d have on iOS and Android. And actions like flashlight, screen capture also get added to top panel. What’s more, the launch screen and app drawer only get better.

When I started develop apps for PinePhone, I often find myself spent majority of time on PC. Only occassionaly I’d download the Android artifacts from CI and test it on Android(I don’t have access to PinePhone then). Pretty soon pine64 sent me two PinePhones(thank you, pine64!). But even then, I didn’t spent many time on them. Because I’m trying to first get my app running, what it will look on phone is not on the top of my list.

With the priority shifting from new features to stability and usability, bug fixes and UI/UX improvements are the most important things now. While I certainly can run my apps on PC, it doesn’t help with finding UI/UX bugs. Manjaro Plasma Mobile develop image updates everyday, but if you’re debugging an app, there is no other way than compiling your own.

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Primed for PineTime

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Reviews
Gadgets

There’s something about having a watch that’s special. For me, not only is it a good way to tell the time without looking at my phone, it’s also a way to “accessorize” myself (not into piercings or tattoos, gugh…). I’ve owned watches in the past, but I either lost them or they broke after just a few months of having them (the result of buying cheap watches).

These are just standard watches that I’m talking about; smartwatches have the burden of being tied down to a proprietary app on your smartphone in order to get any good use out of them, and what’s more, not only are they generally more expensive than a “dumb” watch, but they also need to be unstrapped from your wrist every week (or maybe every day, depending on what watch you have) and charged so that it can keep telling you the time.

Something about the PineTime struck me though. Not just it’s inexpensive price point ($27 at the time of writing this); but also the fact that this is the first smartwatch I’ve ever seen that’s not powered by Google, Samsung, Apple, or the likes of some other wallet-draining corporation. It’s powered by the community, through open-source software. I can rely on the fact that, as long as the developers stay active, I can keep getting updates to my watch indefinitely, and not have to buy a “second-generation” watch just because the guys at the big corps say, “Well, this watch is two years old now; we have a better model that increases the screen size by about 10 pixels, increases the battery by about 2%, and the vibration is just a hair stronger. You have to buy the new model now because we’re not supporting the older model anymore.”

None of that BS. The beauty the PineTime also has is that it’s not tied down to one specific type of operating system or firmware. I can use different types of firmware depending on my tastes; by default the PineTime ships with InfiniTime (more on that later), but if I want to change to say, WASP OS, that’s possible. Or any other type of firmware/operating system available.

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PinePhone Specs

Filed under
Linux
OSS
Gadgets

The PinePhone is a smartphone from Pine64 designed as an affordable device capable of running free and open source operating systems including postmarketOS, UBports Ubuntu Touch, Sailfish, Mobian, and Manjaro.

While it has entry-level hardware, it also has some features that are uncommon on modern smartphones, including a removable battery (which can be replaced with any Samsung J7 form factor battery) and hardware kill switches that can disable the mic, cameras, or wireless features of the phone when you need more privacy.

Aimed at developers and early adopters, the PinePhone is not generally available year-round, but Pine64 makes limited quantities available in batches several times per. You can find more details in the spec table blow, or check out Pine64’s PinePhone website and Wiki.

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4 Best Linux Phones for Privacy in 2021

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Gadgets

As the demand for internet connectivity keeps growing, so has the need for data privacy. In order to efficiently deliver their services, there is a tendency for some companies to collect and store personal data from their users. Sadly, some applications and platforms violate their users' privacy by leaking their data which finds its way to other platforms. This can often lead to users being inundated with adverts or worse still, data breaches

Linux-based phones are built on free and open-source software. Going for the privacy-focused phone will mean that may lose out on some of the first-party applications offered by Google or Apple.

In this tutorial, we have recommended some of the top Linux phones in 2021 that guarantee a user's privacy.

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Pining For A De-Googled Smartphone

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Linux
Gadgets

Last summer in the first swings of the global pandemic, sitting at home finally able to tackle some of my electronics projects now that I wasn’t wasting three hours a day commuting to a cubicle farm, I found myself ordering a new smartphone. Not the latest Samsung or Apple offering with their boring, predictable UIs, though. This was the Linux-only PinePhone, which lacks the standard Android interface plastered over an otherwise deeply hidden Linux kernel.

As a bit of a digital privacy nut, the lack of Google software on this phone seemed intriguing as well, and although there were plenty of warnings that this was a phone still in its development stages it seemed like I might be able to overcome any obstacles and actually use the device for daily use. What followed, though, was a challenging year of poking, prodding, and tinkering before it got to the point where it can finally replace an average Android smartphone and its Google-based spyware with something that suits my privacy-centered requirements, even if I do admittedly have to sacrifice some functionality.

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Libre Software Phones

Filed under
Android
GNU
Linux
Gadgets

This article is for you who want to know about free software phones. They are mobile devices with GNU/Linux or Android family operating systems inside with more libre software, less proprietary ones and made safer from surveillance. Today, talking about these also involves talking about the software systems inside. This article lists out several the top of them namely Librem 5, Ubuntu Phones, /e/ Fairphone, PinePhone, NitroPhone and mentions also several related software projects like microG. I write this in twenty twenty one so in the future we would certainly see changes going in and out in the world and this article might become obsolete quick. Nevertheless, I hope you would enjoy this!

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