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Posts Tagged ‘ubuntu’

Fix for Ubuntu 16.04 “1024×768 Resolution” Problem in VirtualBox

May 1st, 2016 3 comments

My main computer is running Ubuntu 14.04.4 LTS, and I’m currently waiting for the Ubuntu 16.04.1 before upgrading to the latest version, which should happen in July. In the meantime, I have upgraded one of my VirtualBox image from Ubuntu 14.04 to Ubuntu 16.04, but I had only two options to set the resolution: 1024×768 or 800×600. This is quite a common problem, and usually the solution is to install VirtualBox additions, but this would not do for me.

VirtualBox_Additional_Drivers

After trying several solutions, including disabling 3D graphics support, without success, I decided to check Additional Drivers, and I noticed only VirtualBox Graphics Adapter driver was enabled. So I also enabled Innotek Systemberatubg GmbH: VirtualBox Guest Service, and Processor microcode firmware for AMD CPUs, and this fixed the issues most likely thanks to the former.

Ubuntu_16.04_VirtualBox_1920x1080
I’m running VirtualBox 5.0.18 installed from the ppa.

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Categories: Linux, Ubuntu Tags: how-to, ubuntu, virtualbox

Setup Guide & Mini Review of BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition Tablet from a Developer’s Perspective

April 30th, 2016 6 comments

BQ Aquaris M10 UBuntu Edition is the first officially supported Ubuntu tablet on the market. Blu, a frequent commenter on this blog, has purchased the Full HD version, and in the guest post below, shares his experience setting up the device for development purpose, before shortly providing his overall impressions about the tablet itself.

Quick introduction

Ever since I had to retire my trusty-but-ancient ARM notebook (a Genesi Efika iMX51) I’ve been looking for a new ARM notebook or perhaps a 2-in-1 device, that I could use for development on the go. The basic requirements are long battery life, passive cooling and reasonable price. Also, Just Enough Power™ for running vim, a couple of toolchains (gcc/clang with gold) and, well, enough grunt to run my coding experiments. Naturally, BQ M10 Ubuntu Edition immediately got my attention to the extent of me placing an order, which got delivered this past week. Allow me to share my impressions from the M10 so far.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

First thing first: turning the M10 into a coder’s productivity device

There is plenty of know-how on the web regarding how to ‘unlock’ a Ubuntu Touch device into a full-fledged Linux box, but here we will describe the minimum steps to achieve this, moreover without the need for a desktop. The M10 needs to be on a Wifi network with Internet access, though.

From the Ubuntu Store, install the terminal application – access to the store requires a registration with a valid email address. Once we have that, we have proper control over our device via the on-screen kbd or via a physical Bluetooth or micro USB kbd.

What we immediately see from the above is that the device hosts a quad Cortex-A53 p0r3 (CPU part 0xd03), and the userspace is armhf – ’CPU architecture’ in /proc/cpuinfo should say ‘AArch64’ for an arm64 userspace; instead it says ‘8’ on an armhf userspace.

Typing on the on-screen kbd is a mere curiosity, so before we get ourselves a decent Bluetooth kbd or a micro USB-to-female-USB adapter (for a standard usb kbd) we will need something better to type on. Getting an ssh server on the device takes a minimal effort – the package is already installed, it just needs enablement. We also need a public ssh key ready on the desktop machine, as the ssh server is factory-configured for public-key access only. So, assuming we have our public key handy on the desktop, we need to do the following in our M10 home:

Now we can ssh to [email protected]_ip and enjoy a proper kbd. Apropos, the final step of actually enabling the ssh server should also be achieved via engaging the tablet’s Developer mode in the About This Device tab in the system settings.

A quick look at the mounted filesystem shows that the rootfs is mounted as read-only, and that can be a show-stopper for any apt-get we plan to do next. So we need to enable read-write mode on the root fs via:

Please note that the system will automatically reboot after this command; our rootfs will be write-enabled after that. Then we can:

Just be warned that keeping the rootfs in write-enabled state actually disables OTA updates of the tablet fw. So once we’re done with apt-get for the day, we might want to:

For reference, these are the g++ and clang++ versions that we can get on the tablet currently from the standard vivid repositories:

Running (natively-built) binaries from within our home folder takes some tinkering, though. The reason for that is apparmor – this daemon is factory-configured to not allow the execution of apps from the /userdata mount-point (/userdata/user-data is where our home is at). To solve that inconvenience, we need to find the app profile of our indispensable terminal app, and edit it appropriately to allow the execution of binaries from our home.

Please note the actual version of the terminal app might be different. In there we find the following lines:

And add to them:

Followed by:

So, now we can build and test our code on the M10. A couple of notes:

  • Since this is an armhf userland, i.e. it’s 32-bit ARM, the default target of gcc/g++ is thumb2 (as per Canonical’s worldview) – one might want to pass -marm to the compiler for a few more percents of performance.
  • There’s a compressed ramdrive of the size of 0.5GB taken from our precious little 2GB RAM; it’s used as a swap partition. Whether that’s a beneficial decision for our purposes is not clear.
  • The Cortex-A53 in the MT8163A (i.e. the 1.5GHz version) appears to be somewhat slower in this configuration than other vendor’s A53s of the same revision (e.g. Rockchip’s RK3368 @ 1.51GHz). I don’t know what to attribute this to yet. Could be because of intricacies of the scheduler and/or performance manager, though the latter should be bog standard cpufreq. Or because of the lxc container with a minimal android providing the display painting services. Or it could be a hw difference somewhere in the cache hierarchy. An investigation is pending in the indefinite future.

Informal impressions

The M10 is a solidly-built piece of ‘luggable’ electronics, AKA portable things you always lug along in your backpack for 24/7 accessibility. Whenever I’ve found myself wishing for something more in the M10, it’s normally been a sw issue. Back to my original criteria for a productivity portable, its battery life is nice – lasts between one and two days of trivial coding use – vim, build, test, repeat. The pricing is slightly on the upper side for this class of hw, IMO, but hey, early adopters’ premium (which apparently I was willing to pay). For the price one gets a cluster of Cortex-A53 at (almost) industry-standard performance levels, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of eMMC (of ~150MB/s read BW). The quality of the screen also bears mentioning – it’s quite nice – better than that of my aging Acer netbook.

That said, the things that need improving going forward:

  • Android needs to go; Canonical need to pull their act together and provide a proper 100% Linux on this class of devices. Whether that includes ‘muscling’ vendors like MediaTek into conformance or just paying for the development of native graphics stacks – that’s rather irrelevant to the end user.
  • Along the above: out with the armhf and in with the arm64 userspaces on aarch64 hw – it’s about darn time.
  • Prices need to get more realistic, but that’s a matter of market adoption, I guess. At least, for the price of the M10 one should be able to get 4GB or RAM.
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NanoPC-T3 Octa-core Cortex A53 Single Board Computer Sells for $60

April 29th, 2016 9 comments

FriendlyARM launched NanoPC-T2 single board computer based on Samsung 5P4418 quad core Cortex A9 processor about 3 months ago, and the company has now an update based on Samsung S5P6818 Octa-Core A53 processor with the exact same interfaces and features including Gigabit Ethernet, WiFI, and Bluetooth, HDMI 1.4a, 30-pin expansion headers, etc…

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

NanoPC-T3 specifications:

  • SoC – Samsung S5P6818 octa core Cortex A53 processor @ up to 1.4GHz with Mali-400MP GPU
  • System Memory – 1 or 2GB 32bit DDR3 RAM
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash, and 1x SD card slot
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (RTL8211E), 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth LE 4.0 (Ampak AP6212) with on-board chip antenna and IPX antenna connector
  • Video Output / Display I/F- 1x HDMI 1.4a, LVDS, MIPI DSI, parallel RGB LCD
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack, on-board microphone
  • Camera – 1x DVP interface, 1x MIPI CSI interface
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 type A host ports; 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG port; 2x USB 2.0 host ports via 8-pin header
  • Expansions Headers – 30-pin header for GPIO, 8-pin header for power signals, reset and LED 1-2
  • Debugging – 4-pin header for serial console
  • Misc – Power switch, reset button, 1x power & 2x user LEDs, RTC battery header, boot selection button (SD card / eMMC)
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via power barrel; AXP228 PMIC
  • Dimension – 100 x 60 mm (6-layer PCB)

64-bit_octa-core_ARM-development-boardThe board can run Android and Debian from eMMC flash or SD card like its predecessor, as well as Ubuntu Core with Qt, and software and hardware documentation can be found on the Wiki. The board ships with the heatsink shown in the top picture.

The board can be bought on FriendlyARM website for $60 + shipping via China Post ($10), Fedex ($14) or DHL ($34). Shipping fees in brackets are for my location, so you may get other quotes.

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

April 29th, 2016 9 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.

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Inforce 6601 micro SoM Snapdragon 820 System-on-Module Embeds WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS

April 28th, 2016 1 comment

We’ve already seem Intrinsyc’s Snapdragon 820 development board and module, but there’s now an alternative thanks to Inforce Computing 6601 micro SoM  which is pin-to-pin compatible to the company’s earlier Inforce 6401 and Inforce 6501 Micro SOMs, also based on Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, and works with the same SYS6501 carrier board.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Inforce Computing 6601 Micro SoM specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (APQ8096) quad core ARMv8 processor with two “Gold” cores up to 2.2 GHz, two “Silver” cores up to 1.6 GHz, Adreno 530 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 3.2, OpenCL 2.0, and Vulkan, as well as  Hexagon 680 DSP  up to 825 MHz
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4 @ 1866 MHz
  • Storage – 64GB UFS 2.0 gear 3 flash up to 5.83Gbps, 1x micro SD card 3.0 interface for support for to HS400,  optional eMMC 5.1 flash.
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.1 & 2×2 dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi (QCA6174), and GPS (WGR4310)
  • Peripherals and I/O via two 100-pin SoM connectors:
    • Video / Display – 1x HDMI 2.0, dual MIPI-DSI (4-lane) & touch screen
    • Audio
      • 4x Line out, 3x Mic-in, 2x headphone out
      • On-board WDC9355 audio codec
      • Codec support for MP3, AAC + eAAC, WMA 9/Pro, Dolby AC-3, eAC-3, DTS
    • Camera – 3x MIPI-CSI (3x 4-lane) up to 28 MP with zero shutter lag
    • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x USB 3.0 host/OTG port
    • 1x PCIe, 1x SDC, SLIMBUS
    • JTAG, 8x GPIO, 12x BLSPs for UART, I2C, and SPI
  • Video / Image Capabilities
    • H.264 playback and capture @4K60
    • H.265 playback @4K60 and capture @4K30
    • VP9 playback up to 4K60
    • Dual 14-bit Spectra ISP with support for up to 1.2GPix/sec throughput
  • Power Supply – +3.3V/6A DC input; On-module MA8996 MIC
  • Dimensions – 50 x 28 mm
  • Weight – 11 grams
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0° C to 70° C; Storage: -20° C to 80° C
  • Certifications – RoHS and WEEE compliant, FCC.
6601 Micro SoM Block Diagram - Click to Enlarge

6601 Micro SoM Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The company provides Android 6.0 Marshmallow / Linaro Ubuntu Linux BSPs for the module, as well as several free Qualcomm SDK such as Vuforia VR, Alljoyn proximity connectivity, FastCV computer vision, Symphony System Manager, and Snapdragon for facial recognition. SYS6601 development kit includes a Inforce 6601 Micro SOM pre-loaded with either Linux and Android, a mini-ITX baseboard, and other accessories.

6601 micro SoM Development Kit - Click to Enlarge

6601 micro SoM Development Kit – Click to Enlarge

It’s exactly the same carrier board as for SYS6501 development kit so I won’t repeat the specs again.

Inforce 6601 micro SoM is sold for $270, while the complete development kit goes for $475. More details can be found on the product page.

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Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu Edition Smartphone is Up for Sale for $370

April 26th, 2016 1 comment

Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu Edition, the first high-end smartphone running Ubuntu operating system, is now available on jd.com for $369.99, and Russian people can order it here. However, one of the key selling point of using an Ubuntu phone would be desktop and mobile use, the so-called “convergence”, but since there’s no MHL or HDMI output, and the USB-C port does not carry the video signals on this phone, that feature will be missing.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition smartphone specifications as listed on JD.com:

  • SoC – Samsung Exynos 7 Octa (7420) octa core processor with four Cortex A57 cores @ 2.1GHz, four Cortex A53 cores @ 1.5Ghz, and a Mali-T760 MP8 GPU
  • System Memory – 3GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 32 GB UFS 2.0 storage + 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 (850/900/1900/2100 MHz),  FDD-LTE (1800/2100/2600 MHz); Dual SIM support
  • Connectivity -WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, GPS
  • USB – 1x USB type C connector for power and data
  • Sensors – Gravity, digital compass, ambient light, gyroscope
  • Battery – 3,050 mAh
  • Dimensions – 156.7 x 78 x 7.5 mm
  • Weight – 168 grams

I think the phone is available worldwide, but I’ve had troubles changing the shipping country on their website, which defaults to United States in my case. The good news is that the Ubuntu Edition is about the same price, even slightly cheaper than the Android version.

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MeLE PCG02U Ubuntu TV Stick is Now Available for $70

April 26th, 2016 6 comments

MeLE unveiled Start Cloud PCG02U Ubuntu TV stick powered by Intel Atom Z3735F processor with 1 to 2GB RAM and 32 GB flash a few weeks ago. The TV stick is a variation of PCG02 TV stick running Windows 10, but featuring an Ubuntu orange case, and running Ubuntu 14.04. The company has now launched the 2GB RAM version for $69.99 shipped on their Aliexpress store.

PCG02U_Ubuntu_TV_Stick

MeLE PCG02U specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom Z3735F  “Bay Trail” quad core processor @ 1.33 GHz / 1.83 GHz with Intel HD graphics Gen 7 (2W TDP)
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 32 GB eMMC + micro SD slot up to 128 GB
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 with external antenna
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x micro USB port (for power only)
  • Misc – Power button, Kensington lock
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via micro USB port.
  • Dimensions – 115 x 49 x 16.5 mm

The TV stick ships with Ubuntu 14.04.4. Since HDMI audio drivers have now been ported to mainline Linux for Bay Trail and Cherry Trail processors, it should be easier to upgraded than before when such TV sticks would have to be stuck with Linux 3.16. I’m not sure what exact image MeLE is using there, or if they have done anything themselves on the software side, but Linuxium has very recently released a Ubuntu 16.04 image for Bay Trail mini PCs so it should definitively be possible to upgrade to a newer version on PCG02U too.

PCG02U_Ubuntu_mini_PCI’ve never reviewed PCG02 myself, but their earlier MeLE PCG01 TV stick had very good build quality. Provided they’ve kept the name components, the company has also gone very aggressive with PCG02U pricing, as MeLE PCG02 (Windows 10) is now selling for $145 on Aliexpress.

Via AndroidPC.es

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Ubuntu 16.04 LTS “Xenial Xerus” Release

April 21st, 2016 6 comments

Ubuntu 16.04 Long Term Support (LTS) release of the popular Linux distribution is scheduled for later today. The release codenamed Xenial Xerus will feature ‘snap’ package format, LXD pure-container hypervisor, and be the very first release with support for converge with IoT, phone, desktop and server versions running on the same base.

Ubuntu-16.04

Some of the key changes listed by Canonical include:

  • Introduces “snaps” for new robust, secure app format which can still be used along ‘deb’ packages
  • Introduces LXD pure-container hypervisor with OpenStack Mitaka
  • Supports IBM Z and LinuxONE systems with flat pricing
  • Steps towards converged Ubuntu across IoT, Phone, Desktop and Server
  • Introduces ZFS and CephFS for large-scale cloud storage

Ubuntu 16.04 will also run updated version of packages with Linux 4.4, Python 3.5, OpenSSH 2.0, PHP 7.0, MySQL 5.7, etc.. More details about the changes can be found on Xenial Xerus release notes. I’ve also noticed the system recommends apt instead of apt-get when a command is not installed.

Since an LTS release is now supported by 5 years, Ubuntu 16.04 will get updates at least until April 2021.  If as I do, you are Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, there’s no rush to update, as support will only end in April 2019, and you won’t actually be notified of the upgrade until Ubuntu 16.04.1 release in July. But if you want to upgrade manually later today, open a terminal and make sure the system is up-to-date.

and then run the update manager:

which should inform you if Ubuntu 16.04 is ready to be installed.

Update_Ubuntu_14.04_to_Ubuntu_16.04

If instead you’d like to install from scratch, you should be able to download the ISO and flash it to a USB drive or DVD drive. Canonical also used to sell Ubuntu installation DVDs, but OMG Ubuntu reports that Ubuntu 16.04 is the first release for which an official installation DVD won’t be sold, and instead the company is selling a bootable USB  drive with Ubuntu 16.04.

Ubuntu_16.04_USB_stick

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