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Why Linux stands out amongst other OSes

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OS
Linux

Up until recently, Elementary OS was my platform of choice. It's an elegant, simple, and user-friendly solution for the desktop. One thing that the Elementary developers do that I believe is fairly wise is to not allow upgrades from one major release to another. In other words, if you use Elementary OS Loki, you can't upgrade to Juno. To get the benefits of Juno, you must do a full-blown re-install of the OS.

Why is this route wise? My latest adventures in Linux will help explain.

A few months ago, I purchased a System76 Thelio. It's a beast of a desktop, while at the same a masterful work of art. Preinstalled on that desktop machine was System76's own Pop!_OS. Based on Ubuntu, it seemed like a great way for me to dive back into the GNOME desktop. So I did. It took no time to get accustomed to the new workflow with GNOME. Once my fingers understood the new keyboard shortcuts, I was good to go.

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Rancher Labs Releases Slim OS for Its Edge-Focused K3s Platform

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OS
Ubuntu

Rancher Labs has developed an operating system for its recently launched edge-specific k3s Kubernetes distribution designed for resource-constrained environments and easier management when deployed within the k3s environment.

Sheng Liang, CEO and co-founder of Rancher Labs, said the conveniently named k3OS uses the same declarative syntax as other Kubernetes resources. This allows a user to install and upgrade the k3s platform and the k3OS at the same time.

Users can also use the k3OS platform to model infrastructure-as-a-code, which allows for repeatable cluster deployments and should make the k3s clusters more secure when running in isolated environments. It also has a reduced attack surface that further bolsters its security posture.

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Back in the Day: UNIX, Minix and Linux

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OS
GNU
Linux

I don't remember my UCSD email address, but some years later, I was part of the admin team on the major UUCP hub hplabs, and my email address was simply hplabs!taylor.

Somewhere along the way, networking leaped forward with TCP/IP (we had TCP/IP "Bake Offs" to test interoperability). Once we had many-to-many connectivity, it was clear that the "bang" notation was unusable and unnecessarily complicated. We didn't want to worry about routing, just destination. Enter the "@" sign. I became taylor@hplabs.com.

Meanwhile, UNIX kept growing, and the X Window System from MIT gained popularity as a UI layer atop the UNIX command line. In fact, X is a public domain implementation of the windowing system my colleagues and I first saw at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. PARC had computers where multiple programs were on the screen simultaneously in "windows", and there was a pointer device used to control them—so cool. Doug Englebart was inspired too; he went back to Stanford Research Institute and invented the mouse to make control of those windows easier. At Apple, they also saw what was being created at PARC and were inspired to create the Macintosh with all its windowing goodness.

Still, who doesn't love the command line, as Ritchie and Kernighan had originally designed it in the early days of UNIX? (UNIX, by the way, is a wordplay on a prior multiuser operating system called Multics, but that's another story.)

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5 Operating Systems For The Internet Of Things

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OS

An Internet of Things OS is any Operating System specifically designed to work within the constraints that are particular to IoT devices which are typically limited in memory size, processing power, capacity, and built to enable swift data transfer over the Internet.

There are several (mostly Linux-based) Operating Systems that you can use for IoT but they wouldn’t allow you to get the best out of your setup and that’s the reason why IoT-focused distros exist.

Here is a list of the 5 best Operating Systems you can use for your Internet of Things projects.

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Robot Operating System (ROS2) News

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OS
  • Open-source project builds robot vision for shiny objects

    Contract R&D organisation, Southwest Research Institute, has developed a vision solution that improves robot handling of shiny metallic objects.

    The project integrates intelligent part reconstruction using the second generation of the Robot Operating System (ROS2) framework, an open-source software consortium for robotics applications.

    [...]

    Within the ROS framework is ROS-Industrial, which extends ROS capabilities to robotics in manufacturing and automation. This latest Southwest Research Institute and ROS-Industrial solution uses ROS2 to integrate cameras affixed to a robotic arm, collecting point cloud data at a high frame rate to create a 3D output mesh that optimises path planning.

  • Open Source Robotics: Hands on with Gazebo and ROS 2

    Louise Poubel gives an overview of ROS (Robot Operating System) and Gazebo (a multirobot simulator), the problems they've been solving so far and what's on the roadmap for the future. In the second half of the talk, a hands-on demo walks through the creation of a robot in simulation and controlling and inspecting it using ROS 2, the next generation ROS.

Tenth Anniversary of AltOS

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OS
Linux

In the early days of the collaboration between Bdale Garbee and Keith Packard that later became Altus Metrum, the software for TeleMetrum was crafted as an application running on top of an existing open source RTOS. It didn't take long to discover that the RTOS was ill-suited to our needs, and Keith had to re-write various parts of it to make things fit in the memory available and work at all.

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First look at the PinePhone dev kit running KDE Plasma Mobile & PostmarketOS

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OS
Android
KDE
Reviews

The folks at Pine64 are working on a Linux-powered smartphone that could sell for as little as $149. It’s called the PinePhone, and the team unveiled the project and launched a development kit earlier this year.

Now that developers are starting to work with that pre-release hardware, we’re getting our first look at what the phone could look like when it’s running GNU/Linux-based software.

Photos of a dev kit booting PostMarketOS with the KDE Plasma Mobile user interface were posted recently to the PinePhone developers Telegram group.

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Linux and Unikernels

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OS
Linux
  • How to quickly deploy, run Linux applications as unikernels

    A unikernel is a very specialized single-address-space machine image that is similar to the kind of cloud applications that have come to dominate so much of the internet, but they are considerably smaller and are single-purpose. They are lightweight, providing only the resources needed. They load very quickly and are considerably more secure -- having a very limited attack surface. Any drivers, I/O routines and support libraries that are required are included in the single executable. The resultant virtual image can then be booted and run without anything else being present. And they will often run 10 to 20 times faster than a container.

  • HermiTux: a unikernel that’s binary-compatible with Linux
  • HermiTux

    HermiTux is a unikernel: a minimal operating system with low memory/disk footprint and sub-second boot time, executing an application within a single address space on top of an hypervisor. Moreover, HermiTux is binary-compatible with Linux: it can run native Linux executables.

    Although being a proof-of-concept, HermiTux supports multiple compiled (C, C++, Fortran) and interpreted (Python, LUA) languages. It provides binary analysis and rewriting techniques to optimize system call latency and modularize a kernel in the presence of unmodified binaries. It supports statically and dynamically linked programs, different compilers and optimization levels. HermiTux also provides basic support for multithreading, debugging and profiling.

How to Install Linux Distribution Devuan on Raspberry Pi 3

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OS
Development
Hardware

For the readers unfamiliar with the Raspberry Pi, this article is sadly not talking about the eatable kind! Raspberry Pi’s are single board, credit card sized computer made by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in the UK. The boards have surprisingly good specifications for their size.

For example, the newest model (Raspberry Pi 3 B+) sports a 1.4 GHz ARM 64bit quad core, 1 Gbe network adapter, 4 USB ports, HDMI out, Built-in bluetooth and 802.11ac WiFi! The best part about these little power houses is that they’re only 35 dollars! The Raspberry Pi has become a starting point for people to learn programming to advanced topics in robotics.

This article is going to go over how to install the Linux distribution Devuan onto a Raspberry Pi 3. The process is very similar for other Raspberry Pi models as well. This installation will be done with another Linux distribution (although Windows installer tools do exist).

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F(x)tec Pro 1 phone with slide-out keyboard may support Sailfish OS (as well as Android)

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OS
Android
Linux

The F(x)tec Pro 1 is an upcoming smartphone with a 6 inch AMOLED touchscreen display and something that’s far more uncommon these days — a physical keyboard that slides out from behind the display and makes the phone look almost like a tiny laptop.

But that may not be the only unusual thing about this phone. While it will ship with Google Android software and a custom launcher app, it looks like the developers at F(x)tec are also working to ensure it can run Sailfish OS, an open source, Linux-based operating system actively developed by the folks at Finnish company Jolla.

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More in Tux Machines

OpenBSD 6.5 Released With RETGUARD, OpenRSYNC

OpenBSD 6.5 was released today, about one week ahead of schedule for this security-minded BSD operating system. OpenBSD 6.5 is bringing several prominent new features including RETGUARD as its new stack protector and OpenRSYNC as its ISC-licensed in-progress replacement to rsync. OpenBSD 6.5's new RETGUARD functionality aims to be a better stack protector on x86_64 and AArch64 with instrumenting every function return with better security properties than their traditional stack protector. Read more Also: OpenBSD 6.5

Development kit showcases Cortex-A76 based Snapdragon 855

Intrinsyc has launched a 96Boards CE form-factor “Snapdragon 855 Mobile HDK” that runs Android 9 on a 7nm, octa-core Snapdragon 855 with GNSS, WiFi/BT, and optional touchscreens and cameras. Intrinsyc’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Hardware Development Kit is now available for $1,149, offering a development window into Qualcomm’s powerful Snapdragon 855 SoC. The new HDK runs the latest Android 9.0 Pie release. Read more

Sad News! Scientific Linux is Being Discontinued

Scientific Linux, a distributions focused on scientists in high energy physics field, will not be developed anymore. It’s creator, Fermilab, is replacing it by CentOS in its labs. Read more

today's leftovers

  • Announcing Akademy 2019 in Milan, Italy (September 7th - 13th)
    Akademy 2019 will be held at the University of Milano-Bicocca in Milan, Italy, from Saturday the 7th to Friday the 13th of September. The conference is expected to draw hundreds of attendees from the global KDE community to discuss and plan the future of the community and its technology. Many participants from the broad Free and Open Source software community, local organizations and software companies will also attend. KDE e.V. is organizing Akademy 2019 with unixMiB — the Linux User Group of the University of Milano-Bicocca. unixMiB aims to spread Open Source philosophy among students.
  • Checking out Crunchbang++
  • Intel Iris Gallium3D Picks Up Conservative Rasterization Support
    On top of Intel's new open-source OpenGL driver seeing some hefty performance optimizations, the Iris Gallium3D driver has picked up another OpenGL extension ahead of the Mesa 19.1 branching.  Iris Gallium3D now supports INTEL_conservative_rasterization alongside the existing support in the i965 driver. INTEL_conservative_rasterization is the several year old Intel extension for seeing if all fragments are at least partially covered by a polygon rather than the default rasterization mode of including fragments with at least one sample covered by a polygon.