Posts Tagged ‘canonical’

Canonical Refocuses Ubuntu Development Efforts on Cloud and IoT, Drops Convergence and Mobile

April 6th, 2017 15 comments

Mark Shuttleworth has published a new blog post in Ubuntu Insights, and this is not all good news, as the title “Growing Ubuntu for Cloud and IoT, rather than Phone and convergence” implies. Canonical has decided to drop Unity8, and replace it with Gnome in Ubuntu 18.04, and by extension stop any investment in Ubuntu phone and convergence.

The main reasons given for the drop were that few commercial partners were interested in the project, preferring to stick with the most popular mobile operating systems like Android, and the community did not see the work as innovation, but instead fragmentation, probably referring to the Mir vs Wayland saga.

On the better news, Canonical is still committed to work on Ubuntu desktop, and will focus on the Cloud and IoT applications such as automotive, robotics, networking, and machine learning, for which the company has gone well so far with multiple commercial partners.

The video below shows the work done so far on Unity8. Sadly it will never be used in a meaningful way.

Shenzhen Xunlong Software & Canonical Launch Orange Pi App Store for Ubuntu Snaps

March 17th, 2017 3 comments

The maker of Orange Pi boards, Shenzhen Xunlong Software, has partnered with Canonical to launch Orange Pi app store, allowing developers to gain a simple mechanism to share their applications, projects and scripts with the Orange Pi community.

Click to Enlarge

The store relies on snaps instead of deb packages, with snaps allowing a secure distributions of apps bundled with all their dependencies, which according to Canonical can decreased the time for an half an hour installation process to just a few seconds.

The community has already contributed hundreds of snaps in the Ubuntu snap store, including openHAB for home automation, self-hosted chat platform, NextCloud for cloud storage, and wifi-ap for networking.

You can get them from the App store, but installing a snap from the command line is easy, for example:

However, I cannot find any Ubuntu Core image for Orange Pi Boards yet on Ubuntu Core Getting Started page. It would also work on other operating systems like Arch Linux ARM, Gentoo, Ubuntu (not Core), Debian, etc… by installing snapd.

You can also learn how to create your own branded app store for your board or community on Ubuntu website.

How to Upgrade to Linux 4.8 in Ubuntu 16.04.2

February 13th, 2017 14 comments

I had read from several news sources that Ubuntu 16.04.2 would come with Linux 4.8. My system was upgraded from Ubuntu 16.04.1 to Ubuntu 16.04.2 this week-end, but I still had Linux 4.4.

So I wondered why that was, and eventually found my answer on Reddit thanks to EndofLineLF user:

If it isn’t a new 16.04.2 installation then you won’t have newer kernel.

If your install started as 16.04 or 16.04.1 then with all updates installed “lsb_release” will display 16.04.2 as version because that’s what you have.

The switch to HWE (Hardware Enablement Stack) was never automatic. So if you want newer kernel you have to install it manually.
sudo apt-get install –install-recommends xserver-xorg-hwe-16.04

This will also install the new HWE kernel because it is recommended for that package.

Upgrading to the new kernel is completely optional, and Linux 4.4 will still get security updates, but I did it anyway, since I had an issue with the current Linux 4.4.62 kernel, although a fix with the next 4.4.63 release later this month. Anyway, I went ahead with:

After a reboot, I could confirm linux 4.8.0-34 kernel was installed:

If you run a Ubuntu 16.04 server installation, and want to upgrade to Linux 4.8, you may want to instead run:

One important note: If you switch from Linux 4.4 (GA) to Linux 4.8 (HWE), you’ll lose support for Canonical Livepatch Service.

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.


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 website.