Linux 5.1 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS & RISC-V Architectures

Linux 5.1 Changelog

Linus Torvalds has just announced the release of Linux 5.1: So it’s a bit later in the day than I usually do this, just because I was waffling about the release. Partly because I got some small pull requests today, but mostly just because I wasn’t looking forward to the timing of this upcoming 5.2 merge window. But the last-minute pull requests really weren’t big enough to justify delaying things over, and hopefully the merge window timing won’t be all that painful either. I just happen to have the college graduation of my oldest happen right smack dab in the middle of the upcoming merge window, so I might be effectively offline for a few days there. If worst comes to worst, I’ll extend it to make it all work, but I don’t think it will be needed. Anyway, on to 5.1 itself. The past week has been pretty calm, and the final patch from rc6 is not all that …

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Allwinner Tablet SoC Roadmap 2019 – 2020

Allwinner A-Series Roadmap 2019 2020

Both Rockchip and Amlogic have some pretty interesting processors coming down the pipe with for example Rockchip RK3588 Cortex A76/A55 or Amlogic S922D Cortex A73/A53 SoCs both featuring an neural processing unit (NPU) for AI workloads acceleration at low power. The companies also have updated entry-level quad Arm Cortex-A55 processors with RK3530 and S905X3 models which are planned to launch later this year. But this made me wonder what was going with Allwinner since the company got really quiet, except for the “launch” of renamed processors for a specific business unit. That’s the only company among the three to have yet to announce a Cortex-A7X 64-bit Arm processor. The good news is that the company has released a roadmap of sort for their A-Series processors for tablets. The less good news is that very few details are available for the processors except for one: Allwinner A50 – Quad core Cortex-A7 processor @ 1.8 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU, GMS certification. Suitable …

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Pioneer Edition FreedomBox Home Server Launched with Olimex A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 Board

Pioneer Edition FreedomBox Home Server

Olimex works on open source hardware boards, while the FreedomBox Foundation has been developing FreedomBox, a free and open source private server system, since 2010 with the goal of empowering regular people to host their own internet services, like a VPN, a personal website, file sharing, encrypted messengers, a VoIP server, a metasearch engine, and more. When you mix open source hardware, open source software, and a bit of Internet freedom it gives birth to a product called “Pioneer Edition FreedomBox Home Server” based on Olimex A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 board and running FreedomBox software. Pioneer Edition FreedomBox Home Server specifications: SoC – Allwinner A20 dual-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU @ 1.0 GHz  with dual-core Mali 400 GPU System Memory – 1GB DDR3 Storage – microSD slot fitted with 32GB class 10 card loaded with FreedomBox, SATA data and power connectors, 2KB EEPROM for MAC address and custom data Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet Video Output – HDMI up to 1080p60 USB – 2x USB …

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Allwinner MR133 Processor Targets Robot Vacuum Cleaners

Allwinner MR133

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a new processor from Allwinner, so today I got curious and visited the company website hoping to find maybe some news about the first Cortex-A7x processor from the company. But instead I found something else intriguing with the new Allwinner MR133 processor specifically designed for “SLAM/VSLAM intelligent robot sweeper solutions”. In other words, Allwinner has just launched a processor for robot vacuum cleaners… Allwinner MR133 key features and specifications: CPU – Quad-core Arm Cortex-A7 processor @ 1.8GHz with 32KB L1 I-cache + 32KB L1 D-cache per core, 512KB L2 cache, low-power CoolFlex power management architecture GPU – Arm Mali 400MP2 with support for OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1, Direct3D 11.1, OpenVG 1.1 Memory I/F – 32-bit DDR4/DDR3/DDR3L/LPDDR3/LPDDR4 Storage I/F – eMMC 5.0 flasj, compatible with eMMC 5.1, support Full Disk Encryption(FDE) 8-bit TLC/MLC/SLC/EF NAND flash, supports FDE LDPC/80-bit BCH/1024bytes Video Engine – H264 HP encoder 1080p @ 60fps, JPEG encoder up to 4096 x 4096 …

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Linux 5.0 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS & RISC-V Architectures

Linux 5.0 Changelog

Linus Torvalds has just released Linux 5.0: Ok, so the last week of the 5.0 release wasn’t entirely quiet, but it’s a lot smaller than rc8 was, and on the whole I’m happy that I delayed a week and did an rc8. It turns out that the actual patch that I talked about in the rc8 release wasn’t the worrisome bug I had thought: yes, we had an uninitialized variable, but the reason we hadn’t immediately noticed it due to a warning was that the way gcc works, the compiler had basically initialized it for us to the right value. So the same thing that caused not the lack of warning, also effectively meant that the fix was a no-op in practice. But hey, we had other bug fixes come in that actually did matter, and the uninitialized variable _could_ have been a problem with another compiler. Regardless – all is well that ends well. We have more than a …

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FOSDEM 2019 Open Source Developers Meeting Schedule

FOSDEM 2019

FOSDEM – which stands for Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting – is a free-to-participate event where developers meet on the first week-end of February to discuss open source software & hardware projects. FOSDEM 2019 will take place on February 2 & 3, and the schedule has already been published with 671 speakers scheduled to speak in 711 events themselves sorted in 62 tracks. Like every year, I’ll create a virtual schedule based on some of the sessions most relevant to this blog in tracks such as  open hardware, open media, RISC-V, and hardware enablement tracks. February 2 10:30 – 10:55 – VkRunner: a Vulkan shader test tool by Neil Roberts A presentation of VkRunner which is a tool to help test the compiler in your Vulkan driver using simple high-level scripts. Perhaps the largest part of developing a modern graphics driver revolves around getting the compiler to generate the correct code. In order to achieve this, extensive …

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Year 2018 in Review, Top 10 Posts, and Some Stats

cnx software year 2018 review

That’s it, we’ve already reached the last day of 2018, and it’s time to have a look back at what happened during the past year. On the mini PC front, Gemini Lake based mini PCs took over from Apollo Lake with some performance improvements, but I expected the price point to be a bit lower than it is today.  Apart from further developments with regards to mobile processors, it feels 2018 was an off-year for processors, such as the ones found in TV boxes and development boards, with mostly more of the same. Allwinner and Rockchip did not release any really interesting processor, and Amlogic only launched S905X2 and S905Y2 which are mostly evolutions of their previous generation with an OpenGL 3.x capable GPU and USB 3.0. Rockchip RK3399 stood out this year, as despite being launched in 2016, it suddenly became popular again with many RK3399 SBCs coming to market, and RK3399Pro was announced – but not launched yet …

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Linux 4.20 Release – Main Changes, Arm and MIPS Architectures

Linux 4.20 Changelog

After Greg K-H handling Linux 4.19 release, Linus Torvalds is back at the helm, and released Linux 4.20 just before Christmas: Let’s face it, last week wasn’t quite as quiet as I would have hoped for, but there really doesn’t seem to be any point to delay 4.20 because everybody is already taking a break. And it’s not like there are any known issues, it’s just that the shortlog below is a bit longer than I would have wished for. Nothing screams “oh, that’s scary”, though. And as part of the “everybody is already taking a break”, I can happily report that I already have quite a few early pull requests in my inbox. I encouraged people to get it over and done with, so that people can just relax over the year-end holidays. In fact, I probably won’t start pulling for a couple of days, but otherwise let’s just try to keep to the normal merge window schedule, even …

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