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Posts Tagged ‘canonical’

Canonical Livepatch Service Automatically Updates Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (and later) with the Latest Kernel without Rebooting

October 25th, 2016 15 comments

Installing or upgrading packages in Linux distributions does not normally require rebooting your system, except for the Linux kernel and drivers. But since Linux 4.0 kernel, Live Kernel patching is possible, meaning Linux kernel updates can be performed without having to reboot your server or computer. Canonical is now taking advantage of this new feature with their Livepatch Service available for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and greater.

canonical_livepatchIf you want to enable it on your machine, you’ll have to authenticate to Livepatch portal to get a key / token for the service as shown in the screenshot above.

Now you can install the service:

and enable it with your token:

That’s it. Your can check Livepatch service status with the command:

In my case, an update was not necessary, but if there’s one you should see something like:

That way you can make sure your system always have the latest security patchsets. This is mostly useful for servers, but it might not be a bad idea to enabled for your computer too, especially it’s free for end-users for up to 3 machines. Companies need to apply to Ubuntu Advantage for business to support more machines.

Nextcloud Box is a $80 Private Cloud Server with 1TB HDD for Development Boards

September 17th, 2016 29 comments

While there are plenty of cloud services provided by companies such as Dropbox or Google, you may want to manage you own private cloud server instead for performance and/or privacy reasons. One typical way to do this is to install Owncloud or Nextcloud (a fork of Owncloud), on a Linux computer or board such as Raspberry Pi 3. The former is usually a little expensive for just this task, the latter often results in cable mess, and in both case, some people may not be comfortable with setting it all up. Nextcloud, Western Digital, and Canonical seems to have addressed most of those issues with Nextcloud Box including a 1TB USB 3.0 WDLabs harddrive, Nextcloud case with space for the drive and small ARM or x86 Linux development boards, and a micro USB power supply.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The kit also include a micro SD card pre-loaded with Snappy Ubuntu Core, Apache, MySQL and Nextcloud 10 for the Raspberry Pi 2. They are also working on SD card images for ODROID-C2 and Raspberry Pi 3 boards, but readers of this blog should also be able to use the kit on any ARM or x86 Linux development boards that fit in the case, as all you need to do is install you favorite Linux distribution, and install & configure Nextcloud.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Some more information and links to purchase can be found on Nexcloud Box product page. Price is $79.99 in the US, 70 Euros in Europe including VAT, and 60 GBP in the United Kingdom. The kit is not available in the rest of the world for now. Remember than you’ll need to add your board, and with a Raspberry Pi 3 the total cost would end up being around $120, but with cheaper boards you should be able to keep the total price below $100 even once shipping is taken into account.

LimeSDR Open Source Hardware Software Defined Radio Goes for $199 and Up (Crowdfunding)

April 29th, 2016 13 comments

Canonical and Lime Micro showcased SoDeRa software defined radio (SDR) a couple of months ago, with a promise to launch a crowdfunding campaign later this year. They’ve fulfill their promise, and launched the open source SDR, renamed to LimeSDR, on Crowdsupply.
LimeSDR_BoardLimeSDR board specifications:

  • FPGA – Altera Cyclone IV EP4CE40F23 Altera FPGA compatible with EP4CE30F23
  • System Memory – 256 MB DDR2 SDRAM
  • RF
    • Lime Microsystems LMS7002M RF transceiver with continuous coverage of the frequency range between 100 kHz and 3.8 GHz; 61.44 MHz bandwidth
    • 4 x TxOut and 6 x RxIn U.FL connectors
    • Power Output (CW): up to 10 dBm
    • Wi-Fi, GSM, UMTS, LTE, LoRa, Bluetooth, Zigbee, RFID, Digital Broadcasting, configurable through apps.
  • USB – 1x micro USB3 via CYUSB3014-BZXC Cypress Microcontroller  for control, data transfer and power
  • Misc – Status LEDs, RGB LEDs, 4x switches
  • Power – USB or external power supply
  • Dimensions –  100 mm x 60 mm

The board interfaces with systems running Snappy Ubuntu Core, and you can enable wireless protocols the easy way by simply installing the required app with snappy. If you implement a new protocol, it can also be easily shared through snappy apps.

LimeSDR with Aluminium ENclosure with 4 Antennas

LimeSDR with Aluminum Enclosure with 4 Antennas

Potential applications include radio astronomy,RADAR, 2G to 4G cellular basestation, media streaming (DVB, ATSC, ISDB-T), IoT gateway, HAM radio, wireless keyboard and mice emulation and detection, tyre pressure monitoring systems, aviation transponders, utility meters, drone command and control, test and measurement, and more.

It’s not the first FPGA based SDR system that’s available to hobbyist, so the company compared it to other platform such as HackRF One, BladeRF, and others, include ultra-low cost solution based on RTL-SDR.

HackRF One Ettus B200 Ettus B210 BladeRF x40 RTL-SDR LimeSDR
Frequency Range 1MHz-6GHz 70MHz-6GHz 70MHz-6GHz 300MHz-3.8GHz 22MHz-2.2GHz 100kHz-3.8GHz
RF Bandwidth 20MHz 61.44MHz 61.44MHz 40MHz 3.2MHz 61.44MHz
Sample Depth 8 bits 12 bits 12 bits 12 bits 8 bits 12 bits
Sample Rate 20MSPS 61.44MSPS 61.44MSPS 40MSPS 3.2MSPS 61.44MSPS (Limited by USB 3.0 data rate)
Transmitter Channels 1 1 2 1 0 2
Receivers 1 1 2 1 1 2
Duplex Half Full Full Full N/A Full
Interface USB 2.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 2.0 USB 3.0
Programmable Logic Gates 64 macrocell CPLD 75k 100k 40k (115k avail) N/A 40k
Chipset MAX5864, MAX2837, RFFC5072 AD9364 AD9361 LMS6002M RTL2832U LMS7002M
Open Source Full Schematic, Firmware Schematic, Firmware Schematic, Firmware No Full
Oscillator Precision +/-20ppm +/-2ppm +/-2ppm +/-1ppm ? +/-1ppm initial, +/-4ppm stable
Transmit Power -10dBm+ (15dBm @ 2.4GHz) 10dBm+ 10dBm+ 6dBm N/A 0 to 10dBm (depending on frequency)
Price $299 $686 $1,119 $420 ($650) ~$10 $299 ($199 early bird)

As mentioned in the comparison table, LimeSDR is open source hardware and you’ll find the Altium schematics & PCB layout, as well as the manufacturing files in LimeSDR-USB github repo, Altera Quartus FPGA project, Cypress FX3 firmware, source code for the drivers and GUI, and more in the various repo available on myriadrf github account.

So far, the project has raised close to $70,000 out of its $500,000 goal. A $199 early bird pledge should get you LimeSDR board, as long as you are part of the 500 backers (200 left), after which you’d need to pledge $299 for the board. Unless you provide your own antennas, you may want to add $85 to your pledge to get the four antennas and cables, or if you want a complete system with the board, antennas, enclosure, and “turnkey support”, go for the acrylic or aluminum kits for respectively $499 and $599. Shipping is free to the US, and between $15 to $35 to the rest of the world, with delivery scheduled for November or December 2016 depending on the pledge.

Microsoft Brings Bash on Ubuntu on Windows 10

March 31st, 2016 17 comments

Yes, you’ve read that right, and no, it’s not an April Fools’ Day prank, Microsoft and Canonical really cooperated to bring Ubuntu user space to Windows 10 allowing developers and others to run bash commands directly into Windows. All you’ll need to do is to install Ubuntu on Windows app, hit the Windows key, and type bash to get a terminal window.

Ubuntu_Bash_Windows_10

Once you are in bash, you can run any Ubuntu command line, including apt-get to install packages, just like if you were in a terminal in Ubuntu, and all binaries are the same as in Ubuntu, as Microsoft implemented new infrastructure within Windows called the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). That means Ubuntu runs without Linux, but instead the implementation is a conversion layer somewhat similar to Wine to run Windows programs in Ubuntu, or Libhybris to convert Linux calls to Android calls.

Dustin Kirkland, in charge of Ubuntu Product and Strategy, explains it’s not Ubuntu running in a virtual machine or a container, not something like cygwin his blog post about the announcement:

“Right, so just Ubuntu running in a virtual machine?”  Nope!  This isn’t a virtual machine at all.  There’s no Linux kernel booting in a VM under a hypervisor.  It’s just the Ubuntu user space.
“Ah, okay, so this is Ubuntu in a container then?”  Nope!  This isn’t a container either.  It’s native Ubuntu binaries running directly in Windows.
“Hum, well it’s like cygwin perhaps?”  Nope!  Cygwin includes open source utilities are recompiled from source to run natively in Windows.  Here, we’re talking about bit-for-bit, checksum-for-checksum Ubuntu ELF binaries running directly in Windows.
[long pause]
“So maybe something like a Linux emulator?”  Now you’re getting warmer!  A team of sharp developers at Microsoft has been hard at work adapting some Microsoft research technology to basically perform real time translation of Linux syscalls into Windows OS syscalls.  Linux geeks can think of it sort of the inverse of “wine” — Ubuntu binaries running natively in Windows.  Microsoft calls it their “Windows Subsystem for Linux”.  (No, it’s not open source at this time.)

CPU, memory, and I/O performance is almost the same as native performance according to results obtained with sysbench utility.

Since there are already ways to access a Linux terminal in Windows as mentioned above, this new feature may not not seem much, but for example that means Ubuntu or Linux instructions posted in this website, most of them using the command line, will run in Windows 10 natively without having to install a VirtualBox or VMWare and a virtual machine running Ubuntu.

You can also get a perspective from a web developer using Windows 10 on Scott Hanselman blog.

This is a beta release so it’s not working 100% just yet. If you are part of Windows Insider program you can have access to the early beta of Ubuntu on Windows.

Canonical Introduces SoDeRa Software Defined Radio Solution for Base Stations and IoT Gateways

February 23rd, 2016 9 comments

Canonical and Lime Micro have jointly announced SoDeRa low-cost software defined radio (SDR) which can be programmed to support any type of wireless standard including UMTS, LTE, LoRa, Bluetooth, Zigbee, RFID, Digital Broadcasting, and more, and aiming at helping operators reducing costs & complexity, while speeding up time to market and providing greater flexibility.

SoDeRaThe kit will include a board with the following specifications:

  • FPGA – Altera Cyclone IV EP4CE40F23 Altera FPGA (compatible with EP4CE30F23)
  • System Memory – 256 MB DDR2 SDRAM
  • RF
    • Lime Microsystems LMS7002M Transceiver with continuous Frequency range of 100 kHz – 3.8 GHz
    • 4 x TxOut and 6 x RxIn U.FL connectors for RF cables
    • Power Output (CW): up to 6.5 dBm
    • Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G, LTE, any other air interfaces
  • USB – 1x micro USB3 via CYUSB3014-BZXC Cypress Microcontroller  for control, data transfer and power
  • Misc – Status LEDs, RGB LEDs, 4x switches
  • Dimensions –  100 mm x 60 mm
SoDeRa Block Diagram

SoDeRa Block Diagram

Canonical (Ubuntu) will provide a framework for open source developers to develop apps supporting current and next generation wireless standards including 2G to 4G radio, TV broadcast, satellite communication, RFID, Bluetooth, WiFi, ZigBee, zwave, lorawan, ibeacon and radar. The Telecom operators will then have the flexibility to add additional standards to the base station or IoT gateway by simply uploading apps, removing the (over) reliance on Telecom hardware vendors.

SoDeRa is currently showcased at Mobile World Congress 2016 in Canonical and Lime Micro booth, and SoDeRa will soon be launched on Indiegogo. Interested telecom operators, or anybody who wants to received updated, are invited register their interest on SoDeRa.org website.

Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu Edition Smartphone is Powered by Exynos 7420 Processor, Does NOT Support Desktop Mode Yet

February 17th, 2016 7 comments

So far most smartphones with alternative operating systems had rather low-end to mid-end hardware specifications, but according to OMG! Ubuntu!, Canonical and Meizu are about to change that, as they should be about to launch an Ubuntu Edition of Meizu PRO 5 smartphone with an Exynos 7420 octa-core Cortex A57/A53 processor coupled with 3 to 4GB RAM, 32 to 64GB storage., and a 5.7″ display with 1920×1080 resolution. The device will support convergence, meaning it could work in mobile or desktop mode, just like the recently announced BQ Aquaris M10 tablet. [Update: Finally, the USB-C port on Meizu PRO 5 does not support external display, so no convergence, unless Canonical decides to implement convergence over Miracast…].

Meizu_PRO_5_Ubuntu_EditionMeizu PRO 5 Ubuntu Edition specifications:

  • SoC – Samsung Exynos 7 Octa (Exynos 7420) octa core processor with 4x Cortex A57 core @ 2.1GHz + 4x Cortex A53 cores @ 1.5Ghz, and Mali-T760 MP8 GPU
  • System Memory – 3GB or 4GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 32 or 64 GB UFS 2.0 flash + micro SD slot up to 128GB
  • Display  – 5.7″’AMOLED capacitive touchscreen with 1920×1080 resolution. Gorilla Glass 3.
  • Camera – 21MP rear camera with autofocus and dual LED flash, 5MP front-facing camera
  • Cellular Network – GSM, WDCDMA, TS-SCDMA (34/39), FDD-LTE (1/3/7), TD-LTE (38/39/40/41). Dual SIM support
  • Connectivity -WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v4.1, NFC, GPS
  • USB – 1x USB type C connector for data and power
  • Sensor – Hall effect, light, gyroscope, proximity, digital compass, gravity, fingerprint
  • Battery – 3,050 mAh (Allegedly good for 8 hours)
  • Dimensions – 156.7 x 78 x 7.5 mm
  • Weight – 168 grams

The phone should run Ubuntu 16.04. There are two version of the phone one with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, and the other with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage.

OMG! Ubuntu also got some pre-launch information, and claims that the phone should be available for pre-order in the next few weeks for customers in Europe and China. The latter probably means it will soon show up on Chinese e-retailer website as a – hopefully slightly – inflated price. Actual price should be announced on February 22, 2016 at Mobile World Congress. For reference, the Android – actually Flyme OS – version of the phone sells for $400 to $525 depending on configuration and options. European customers should obviously expect their 20% VAT added to that, and some more to pay for that social safety net…

Try Ubuntu Touch on Your Computer with Ubuntu Touch Emulator

February 20th, 2014 3 comments

Canonical has just announced Meizu (China) and Bq (Europe) will be the first manufacturers to launch Ubuntu Touch phones at the end of 2014. But if you want to try Ubuntu Touch, and don’t own a Google Nexus 4 or 7, or simply don’t want to flash Ubuntu Touch to your devices, you can do so using Ubuntu Touch x86 Emulator in your computer running Ubuntu , or in an Ubuntu Virtual machine in Virtualbox or VMWare.

Ubuntu Touch Emulator (Click to Enlarge)

Ubuntu Touch Emulator (Click to Enlarge)

The emulator has been available since last November, but Ricardo Salveti announced an updated version, the first public preview, with the following changes:

  1. Better TLS handling (not using the Android slots, but using pthread_set/getspecifics instead)
  2. Qt packages compatible with OpenGL ES 2.0 available at https://launchpad.net/~rsalveti/+archive/qt-gles-test

It has been tried on Ubuntu Trusty (14.04), but I could run it just fine on Ubuntu Saucy (13.10), by following the instructions below in a terminal:

  1. Download and extract the emulator:
  2. Download the rootfs (~350 MB) and create the sd card image with:
  3. Start the emulator

After about a minute, I could access the emulator, and enter a small tutorial teaching how how to swipe the screen edges to access the different options / menus. My main display is 1920×1080 and it nearly takes the full height, although the emulator itself is cut, the emulator’s “screen” is still visible on my secondary display (1280×1024), but if your resolution is lower than that you may have issues. I did not have to install anything else to run it, but if something goes wrong you may want to check Ubuntu Touch emulator wiki to check for dependencies.

The few apps I’ve tried (Browser, Setting, Facebook, Dialer, Contact…) appear to work, except the gallery app (known bug), and the camera app which is not usable in an emulator anyway… More apps can be installed from the marketplace.

You can access the terminal via adb:

or ssh (password: phablet):

By default the memory is set to 512MB, but if you need more you can change the -memory argument in run-emulator.sh.

Watch the video below to see Ubuntu Touch running in its x86 emulator.

ARM Unveils System Base Architecture Specification to Standardize ARM based Servers

January 31st, 2014 1 comment

64-bit ARM based servers should hit the market later this year or earlier in 2015 with SoCs such as Applied Micro X-Gene or AMD Opteron A1100. ARM still has the lead in terms of efficiency with a lower dollar per watt ratio, but Intel is closing in with their new Avoton server-on-chips. However, there’s one aspect where Intel is clearly in the lead: standardization and compatibility. ARM is very flexible, and allow SoC designers to create more or less what they want, but it comes at the cost that most ARM based systems are not capable of running mainline Linux, and instead use vendor trees.  With many applications, that may not be critical, but when it comes to data-centers, companies want to be able to run the latest Linux version with the latest security patches as soon as possible, and want to lower the total cost of ownership (TCO), so they don’t want to spend considerable resources to handle different hardware platform. This is currently not feasible, but ARM together with their partners, including silicon vendors such as AMD, Applied Micro Cavium, and Texas Instruments, and software companies such as Canonical, Citrix, Linaro, Microsoft, Red Hat and SUSE, have jointly announced the System Base Architecture Specifications to standardize all ARM based servers so that one single OS image can run on all ARMv8-A server.

SBSA_Specifications

The SBSA specification does not address the application layer, but it standardizes low-level CPU and SoC attributes such as timers, interrupt controllers, watch dog timers, performance counters and also specifies minimum hardware requirements that firmware and OS vendors expect to be present. To be compliant, server will also need to run industry standards for bootloader and firmware,  with all hardware being describable or discoverable. There are three levels of standardization:

  • Level 0 – Defines CPU Architecture, Interrupt Controller, Memory Map, IO Visualization, Clock and Timer Subsystem, Wake up semantics, Power State Semantics and Peripheral Subsystems
  • Level 1 – Based on Level 0 with extra requirements with regards to CPU Architecture, Interrupt Controller, Clock and Timer Subsystem, Watchdogs, Requirements on power state semantics, and Peripheral Subsystems
  • Level 2 – Based on Level 1 with extra requirements with regards to CPU Architecture, Interrupt Controller (inc. PPI assignments),  Memory Map, Requirements on power state semantics, IO Visualization, Clock and Timer Subsystem, Wake up semantics and Watchdogs

Most recent ARM SoCs, such as Opteron A1100, are likely to only support Level 0 or 1 at first. I haven’t read the specifications in details, but for example, Level 0 defines SoC with up to 8 CPU cores, Level 1 is still limited to a maximum of 8 cores, but adds minimum requirements for the number of PMU counters, watchpoints and breakpoints, and Level 2 supports SoC with up to 2^28 (268,435,456) CPU cores which is the maximum supported by GICv3 architecture.

If you want to find out the details, you can download the specifications from ARM website, after registration and accepting an EULA. Alternatively, since the document is non-confidential, the EULA is also listed in page 2 to 4 of the document, you can download it directly here.