Linux 5.5 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS and RISC-V Architectures

Linux 5.5 Changelog

Linux 5.5 has just been released by Linus Torvalds: So this last week was pretty quiet, and while we had a late network update with some (mainly iwl wireless) network driver and netfilter module loading fixes, David didn’t think that warranted another -rc. And outside of that, it’s really been very quiet indeed – there’s a panfrost driver update too, but again it didn’t really seem to make sense to delay the final release by another week. Outside of those, it’s all really tiny, even if some of those tiny changes touched some core files. So despite the slight worry that the holidays might have affected the schedule, 5.5 ended up with the regular rc cadence and is out now. That means that the merge window for 5.6 will open tomorrow, and I already have a couple of pull requests pending. The timing for this next merge window isn’t optimal for me – I have some travel and other things …

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Year 2019 in Review – Top 10 Posts and Stats

Happy New Year 2020

2019 is closing to an end, or you may already be into 2020 while reading this post. In any case, that means it’s time to look back at 2019 and look forward to the events and new products to take place next year. While 2018 was a boring year for new processors, 2019 brought us some interesting new chips such as Amlogic S922X / A311D, or the first Arm Cortex-A55 only processors such as Amlogic S905X3. Rockchip RK3399Pro was promising when it was announced last year, but it never really took off. It was a pretty quiet year for Allwinner as well. RISC-V architecture has been ramping up with the first general-purpose RISC-V MCU: GD32V, WCH CH572 Bluetooth LE MCU, the launch of more SiFive RISC-V cores, and Kendryte K210 RISC-V AI processor announced last year has found its way into more and more boards. There have also been the usual launches of mobile Arm processors from Qualcomm, Samsung, and …

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Some Interesting Talks from FOSDEM 2020 Schedule

FOSDEM 2020 Schedule

We wrote about IoT devroom call for proposals for FOSDEM 2020 a little while ago, and as the free open-source developer meetup is getting closer, FOSDEM 2020 organizers released the schedule. So I’ll look at some of the talks in the relevant devrooms such as the Internet of Things, hardware enablement, Embedded, Mobile and Automotive, as well as RISC-V and others to compose my own little virtual schedule for the 2-day event. Saturday, February 1 10:30 – 10:50 – How lowRISC made its Ibex RISC-V CPU core faster – Using open source tools to improve an open-source core – by Greg Chadwick Ibex implements RISC-V 32-bit I/E MC M-Mode, U-Mode, and PMP. It uses an in-order 2 stage pipe and is best suited for area and power-sensitive rather than high-performance applications. However, there is scope for meaningful performance gains without major impact to power or area. This talk describes work done at lowRISC to analyze and improve the performance of …

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Pocket Popcorn Computer Handheld Linux Computer Looks Like an Improved, Faster PocketCHIP (Crowdfunding)

Pocket Popcorn Computer

PocketCHIP was a Linux handheld computer powered by Allwinner R8/GR8 Cortex-A8 based CHIP board. The battery-powered device came with a small resistive display, 512 MB RAM, 4GB NAND flash, and a keyboard allowing to run Debian with PICO8 GUI so you could play retro games, access the terminal and so on. But since Next Thing Co folded last year the products are not available anymore. Since the designs were open source, Source Parts first tried to resurrect the board via their slightly modified Popcorn Computer but the Kickstarter campaign was unsuccessful. The company is now attempting to bring back PocketCHIP (sort of) with Pocket Popcorn Computer (abbreviated as Pocket P.C.) with a new design, and a much more powerful quad-core Cortex-A53 processor and overall better specs. Pocket Popcorn Computer specifications: SoC – Allwinner A64 quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 CPU with Arm Mali-400MP2 GPU System Memory – 2GB DDR3 RAM Storage – 32GB eMMC Memory, Internal microSD card connector Display – 4.95″ …

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Linux 5.4 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS & RISC-V Architectures

Linux 5.4 Changelog

Linus Torvalds has just announced the release of Linux 5.4: Not a lot happened this last week, which is just how I like it. And as expected, most of the pull requests I got were for the 5.5 merge window, which I’ll obviously start working through tomorrow. What little there is here is mostly some networking updates (mix of network drivers and core networking), and some minor GPU driver updates. Other than that it’s a small collection of random other things all over. The appended shortlog is small enough that you might as well just scroll through it. Anyway, this obviously opens the merge window for 5.5. It’s not ideal timing with Thanksgiving week coming up, but it hopefully shouldn’t be too much of an issue. If I fall behind (not because I’m all that big of a fan of the indiscriminate and relentless turkey-killing holiday) it’s because we’ve got all three kids back for the holiday, and I might …

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PinePhone “BraveHeart” Limited Edition Linux Smartphone is Now Available for $150

Pinephone

Pinephone is a Linux smartphone powered by an Allwinner A64 processor, and running one of the various Linux mobile distributions such as PostmarketOS or Ubuntu Touch among others. Last time we wrote about Pinephone mass-production schedule, the phone was expected to start shipping in October, and there has been a slight delay, but the good news is that Pinephone “BraveHeart” Limited Edition is now up for sale for $149.99. Note this batch is for enthusiasts as the phone may have some defects, and comes without operating system with the users having to flash it themselves. Pinephone specifications: SoC – Allwinner A64 quad-core Cortex-A53 processor @ up to 1.2 GHz with Arm Mali-400MP2 GPU System Memory – 2GB LPDDR3 SDRAM Storage – 16GB eMMC flash,  MicroSD Card (SDHC/SDXC) up to 2TB Display – 5.95″ IPS capacitive touchscreen with 1440×720 resolution Audio – Mono loudspeaker, 3.5mm stereo audio jack with mic support Cameras 5MP rear camera with 1/4″ sensor, LED Flash 2MP …

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Linux 5.3 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS & RISC-V Architectures

Linux 5.3 Changelog

Linus Torvalds has just announced the release of Linux 5.3: So we’ve had a fairly quiet last week, but I think it was good that we ended up having that extra week and the final rc8. Even if the reason for that extra week was my travel schedule rather than any pending issues, we ended up having a few good fixes come in, including some for some bad btrfs behavior. Yeah, there’s some unnecessary noise in there too (like the speling fixes), but we also had several last-minute reverts for things that caused issues. One _particularly_ last-minute revert is the top-most commit (ignoring the version change itself) done just before the release, and while it’s very annoying, it’s perhaps also instructive. What’s instructive about it is that I reverted a commit that wasn’t actually buggy. In fact, it was doing exactly what it set out to do, and did it very well. In fact it did it _so_ well that …

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Librem 5 & Pinephone Linux Smartphones to Launch This Fall

Librem 5 vs Pinephone

There are too highly anticipated Linux smartphones currently in development namely Purism Librem 5 and Pine64 Pinephone. The first one, based on NXP i.MX 8M processor is fairly pricey ($699) partly because of better specifications, but mostly because the company handles software development internally, while Allwinner A64 Pinephone has somewhat lower specifications, but a much lower $150 price tag as software development is done by the community. Neither phones are available, and until a few days ago there were no clear launch dates. This has now changed as Purism announced Librem 5 would start shipping on September 24, while Pinephone first batch is scheduled for mid-October, which should also be the date for the launch of pre-orders, and shipment will start in November. This sounds great, but be warned the first phones will be for enthusiasts who do not mind having a few defects and missing hardware/software features, and the final products will really show up in 2020. Librem 5 …

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