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Purism's Privacy and Security-Focused Librem 5 Linux Phone to Arrive in Q3 2019

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Linux
Security

Initially planned to ship in early 2019, the revolutionary Librem 5 mobile phone was delayed for April 2019, but now it suffered just one more delay due to the CPU choices the development team had to make to deliver a stable and reliable device that won't heat up or discharge too quickly.

Purism had to choose between the i.MX8M Quad or the i.MX8M Mini processors for their Librem 5 Linux-powered smartphone, but after many trials and errors they decided to go with the i.MX8M Quad CPU as manufacturer NXP recently released a new software stack solving all previous power consumption and heating issues.

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Tiny, $29 IoT gateway SBC packs in WiFi and dual LAN ports

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Linux
Ubuntu

FriendlyElec’s open-spec, 60 x 55.5mm “NanoPi R1” SBC runs mainline Linux on a quad -A7 Allwinner H3 and offers GbE and Fast Ethernet ports, WiFi/BT, 3x USB ports, and a standard metal case with antenna.

FriendlyElec has launched a hacker board aimed at low-cost IoT gateway duty. The open-spec, Linux-driven NanoPi R1 combines 10/100 and 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet ports along with 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0. The SBC runs FriendlyCore with Linux-4.14-LTS or OpenWrt on the Allwinner H3 SoC.

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ST Spins Its First Linux-Powered Cortex-A SoC

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Linux

STMicroelectronics announced its first Cortex-A SoC and first Linux- and Android-driven processor. The STM32MP1 SoC intends to ease the transition for developers moving from its STM32 microprocessor unit (MCU) family to more complex embedded systems. Development boards based on the SoC will be available in April.

Aimed at industrial, consumer, smart home, health, and wellness applications, the STM32MP1 features dual, 650MHz Cortex-A7 cores running a new “mainlined, open-sourced” OpenSTLinux distro with Yocto Project and OpenEmbedded underpinnings. There’s also a 209MHz Cortex-M4 chip with an FPU, MPU, and DSP instructions. The Cortex-M4 is supported by an enhanced version of ST’s STM32Cube development tools that support the Cortex-A7 cores in addition to the M4 (see below).

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Blacklisting insecure filesystems in openSUSE

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Linux

The Linux kernel supports a wide variety of filesystem types, many of which have not seen significant use — or maintenance — in many years. Developers in the openSUSE project have concluded that many of these filesystem types are, at this point, more useful to attackers than to openSUSE users and are proposing to blacklist many of them by default. Such changes can be controversial, but it's probably still fair to say that few people expected the massive discussion that resulted, covering everything from the number of OS/2 users to how openSUSE fits into the distribution marketplace.
On January 30, Martin Wilck started the discussion with a proposal to add a blacklist preventing the automatic loading of a set of kernel modules implementing (mostly) old filesystems. These include filesystems like JFS, Minix, cramfs, AFFS, and F2FS. For most of these, the logic is that the filesystems are essentially unused and the modules implementing them have seen little maintenance in recent decades. But those modules can still be automatically loaded if a user inserts a removable drive containing one of those filesystem types. There are a number of fuzz-testing efforts underway in the kernel community, but it seems relatively unlikely that any of them are targeting, say, FreeVxFS filesystem images. So it is not unreasonable to suspect that there just might be exploitable bugs in those modules. Preventing modules for ancient, unmaintained filesystems from automatically loading may thus protect some users against flash-drive attacks.

If there were to be a fight over a proposal like this, one would ordinarily expect it to be concerned with the specific list of unwelcome modules. But there was relatively little of that. One possible exception is F2FS, the presence of which raised some eyebrows since it is under active development, having received 44 changes in the 5.0 development cycle, for example. Interestingly, it turns out that openSUSE stopped shipping F2FS in September. While the filesystem is being actively developed, it seems that, with rare exceptions, nobody is actively backporting fixes, and the filesystem also lacks a mechanism to prevent an old F2FS implementation from being confused by a filesystem created by a newer version. Rather than deal with these issues, openSUSE decided to just drop the filesystem altogether. As it happens, the blacklist proposal looks likely to allow F2FS to return to the distribution since it can be blacklisted by default.

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A Psion Palmtop Successor Has Arrived and It Runs Android and Linux

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Android
Linux
Gadgets

A lot of people probably remember the 1990s palmtop computers made by Psion fondly. The clamshell-design palmtops were pocketable, black and white, but had a working stylus and a fantastic tactile foldout QWERTY keyboard that you could type pretty substantial documents on or even write code with. A different company -- Planet Computers -- has now produced a spiritual successor to the old Psion palmtops called the Gemini PDA that is much like an old Psion but with the latest Android smartphone hardware in it and a virtually identical tactile keyboard. It can also dual boot to Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, Sailfish) alongside Android. The technical specs are a MediaTek deca-core processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage (plus microSD slot), 4G, 802.11c Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, eSIM support, and 4,220mAh battery. The screen measures in at 5.99-inches with a 2,160 x 1,080 (403ppi) resolution. The only thing missing seems to be the stylus -- but perhaps that would have complicated manufacturing of this niche-device in its first production run.

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Eensy-weensy i.MX8M Mini module also powers SBC

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Android
Linux

CompuLab’s Linux-driven, 38 x 28mm “UCM-iMX8M-Mini” module features an i.MX8M Mini, WiFi/BT, and up to 4GB RAM and 64GB eMMC. The COM also ships on a sandwich-style “SBC-iMX8M-Mini” SBC.

CompuLab unveiled a Linux-driven computer-on-module with NXP’s new i.MX8M Mini SoC. At 38 x 28 x 4mm, the UCM-iMX8M-Mini is considerably smaller than CompuLab’s i.MX8M-based, 68 x 42mm CL-SOM-iMX. The module is also smaller than the two other Mini-based COMs we’ve seen so far: F&S Elektronik Systeme’s 40 x 35mm PicoCore MX8MM and Variscite’s 55 x 30mm DART-MX8M-Mini.

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HTTP Vs. HTTPS

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Linux

The internet runs on protocols. Rules and norm defined so that there is some form of standardization. One such protocol is the HyperText Transfer Protocol(HTTP).

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5 of the Best Linux Distros for Developers and Programmers

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Development
GNU
Linux

One of the reasons Linux is great is because of how flexible it is. For example, it can run on everything from servers to your old laptop to a Raspberry Pi. For this reason, it’s also a fantastic platform for developers.

Whether you’re a seasoned developer or just using Linux to learn to program, you still have to choose a distribution. You could just choose Ubuntu and run with it, but there are plenty of “other options available to you.”

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How To Automatically Change GNOME Background In Intervals Using BASH

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Linux

Have you ever wanted to have that automatic background switching feature on your GNOME Linux distro? I missed that feature after I switched from Cinnamon to GNOME Sad Searched for apps in the software center and alas there is none that I could find. However, today I’m happy to let you know that there is a workaround to this missing feature through the use of BASH scripting language.

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Arm-based IoT gateway runs on Moxa Industrial Linux

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Linux
Hardware

Moxa announced a -40 to 85°C tolerant “UC-8200” IoT gateway that runs Moxa Industrial Linux on a dual-core, -A7 SoC and offers dual GbE, RS-232/422/485, and mini-PCIe links, plus a CAN port, WiFi/BT, and optional 4G LTE.

Moxa, which announced its Cortex-A8-based UC 2100 series of Industrial IoT gateways last April, partially unveiled a new IIoT gateway called the UC-8200. The system features an unnamed dual-core, Cortex-A7 SoC that “has been optimised for use in energy monitoring systems but is widely applicable to a variety of industrial solutions,” according to the PR-like Control Engineering story that announced the product along with a shorter Industrial Ethernet Book post.

Eventually, a product page should appear with missing details such as RAM and storage. Yet, even the product page for the similar UC-8100 series fails to describe the Cortex-A8 SoC. Other specs are complete, however, such as the earlier model’s 256MB to 512MB DDR3 and 8GB eMMC. (Update: LinuxGizmos reader Arnd Bergmann spotted the earlier UC-8100’s SoC family in the firmware image’s device tree. It’s a TI Sitara AM33x, perhaps one of the AM335x family, which runs on BeagelBone boards.)

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Also: Arm Neoverse N1 & E1 Platforms Announced For Cloud To Edge Computing

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Server: HTTP Clients, IIS DDoS and 'DevOps' Hype From Red Hat

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    The whole is greater than the sum of its parts is a very famous quote from Aristotle, a Greek philosopher and scientist. This quote is particularly pertinent to Linux. In my view, one of Linux’s biggest strengths is its synergy. The usefulness of Linux doesn’t derive only from the huge raft of open source (command line) utilities. Instead, it’s the synergy generated by using them together, sometimes in conjunction with larger applications. The Unix philosophy spawned a “software tools” movement which focused on developing concise, basic, clear, modular and extensible code that can be used for other projects. This philosophy remains an important element for many Linux projects. Good open source developers writing utilities seek to make sure the utility does its job as well as possible, and work well with other utilities. The goal is that users have a handful of tools, each of which seeks to excel at one thing. Some utilities work well independently. This article looks at 4 open source command line HTTP clients. These clients let you download files over the internet from the command line. But they can also be used for many more interesting purposes such as testing, debugging and interacting with HTTP servers and web applications. Working with HTTP from the command-line is a worthwhile skill for HTTP architects and API designers. If you need to play around with an API, HTTPie and curl will be invaluable.
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Purism's Privacy and Security-Focused Librem 5 Linux Phone to Arrive in Q3 2019

Initially planned to ship in early 2019, the revolutionary Librem 5 mobile phone was delayed for April 2019, but now it suffered just one more delay due to the CPU choices the development team had to make to deliver a stable and reliable device that won't heat up or discharge too quickly. Purism had to choose between the i.MX8M Quad or the i.MX8M Mini processors for their Librem 5 Linux-powered smartphone, but after many trials and errors they decided to go with the i.MX8M Quad CPU as manufacturer NXP recently released a new software stack solving all previous power consumption and heating issues. Read more

Qt Creator 4.9 Beta released

We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.9 Beta! There are many improvements and fixes included in Qt Creator 4.9. I’ll just mention some highlights in this blog post. Please refer to our change log for a more thorough overview. Read more

Hack Week - Browsersync integration for Online

Recently my LibreOffice work is mostly focused on the Online. It's nice to see how it is growing with new features and has better UI. But when I was working on improving toolbars (eg. folding menubar or reorganization of items) I noticed one annoying thing from the developer perspective. After every small change, I had to restart the server to provide updated content for the browser. It takes few seconds for switching windows, killing old server then running new one which requires some tests to be passed. Last week during the Hack Week funded by Collabora Productivity I was able to work on my own projects. It was a good opportunity for me to try to improve the process mentioned above. I've heard previously about browsersync so I decided to try it out. It is a tool which can automatically reload used .css and .js files in all browser sessions after change detection. To make it work browsersync can start proxy server watching files on the original server and sending events to the browser clients if needed. Read more