ELBE is a simpler alternative to Yocto/OpenEmbedded and Buildroot

To support embedded design, there are several options when it comes to choosing an operating system (OS). Some of the traditional approaches to building custom Linux systems is to use built systems such as Yocto/OpenEmbedded or Buildroot. The options available for system integration include building everything manually, binary distributions (Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, etc.), and build systems (Buildroot, Yocto, PTXdist, etc.). The major drawback of build systems is that they are not as easy as a binary distribution and also the build time is more. Why was ELBE born? In the early days, the embedded devices had 4MiB flash and 16MiB of RAM. With these specifications, people started to hack a root file system for their devices. But in some cases, they had to start with building a cross-toolchain first. For this, tools like OpenEmbedded, Buildroot are good as long as they are well maintained. For this, a lot of libraries are used for the development of a system. Now, depending […]

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How to Take a Remote Screenshot in Raspberry Pi over SSH

I recently reviewed a Raspberry Pi 4 laptop with a custom interface that made it impractical to take screenshots directly on the device. So instead I had to take screenshots remotely over SSH. It’s quite easy to do. Most of the steps can be reproduced in other Linux systems, and are not specific to Raspberry Pi. Enable SSH in Raspberry Pi First, enable SSH either with sudo raspi-config in a terminal window and selecting 5. Interface Options, then P2 SSH… If for some reason, you don’t have access to the terminal, take out the MicroSD card from the Raspberry Pi board, and from a computer create a new empty file named “ssh” in the boot partition. Now provided you have the username and password for your board, you can connect to SSH with the IP address from a terminal: or a program like Putty. Taking a screenshot remotely You’re now ready to take a screenshot as follows: scrot is the […]

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The Open Invention Network Aims to Protect Linux and Open-Source Software with a Patent Non-Aggression Pact

When we covered Alibaba XT910 RISC-V processor earlier this week, the company confirmed working with open-source companies to make the source code is available for the chip, but that there were legal challenges to do so for a high-performance core. The company did not expand on what legal challenges there were, but I’m pretty sure it’s about patents and potential lawsuits. But there may be a solution, or at least a way for companies to protect themselves to some degree against patent trolls, thanks to the Open Invention Network (OIN) which I discovered in a press release about UNISOC recently joined the organization. So what does the Open Invention Network does exactly? We enable freedom of action for Open Invention Network community members and users of Linux/OSS-based technology through our patent non-aggression cross-license in the “Linux System,” which defines the commitment. We will continue to grow our community and the “Linux System” over time, thereby strengthening OIN’s patent non-aggression coverage […]

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ETSI Releases EN 303 645 IoT Security Standard for Consumer Devices

To be successful over the long term, IoT must be secure, at least that’s what people say. So in 2016, UL introduced the UL 2900 IoT security standard, but it set the bar so high, that nobody ended up using it. and the UL IoT Security Rating System was introduced last year with various rankings for IoT devices security from bronze to diamond. The rating system was based on various countries/regions standard including ETSI TS 103 645 standard for the European market which defined requirements in terms of software updates, data & cryptography, logical security, system management, privacy protection, protocol security, and processes and documents. The ETSI Technical Committee on Cybersecurity (TC CYBER) has now released an update to TS 103 645 IoT security standard with ETSI EN 303 645 “that establishes a security baseline for internet-connected consumer products and provides a basis for future IoT certification schemes”. There are thirteen cybersecurity provisions – aka the 13 commandments of IoT […]

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Software Update Brings Subscription based Functions-on-Demand to BMW Cars

Cars are getting smarter and safer, and autonomous driving looks promising but may take longer than expected, as many shortcomings still have to be worked out. In any case, that means most new cars will be connected to the Internet in the future, especially with the launch of 5G and V2X solutions. This will bring benefits and new business models, as BMW showcased at the recent BMW Connected Car Beta Days 2020. BMW lists a long list of new advantages of an upcoming software upgrade with improved BWM maps, connected parking to help you find parking space, connected charging to “make mobility more sustainable and innovative”, BMW Digital Key that turns an iPhone into a secure digital vehicle key,  wireless support of Google’s Android Auto, and the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant has received some improvement with the virtual character now turns towards the person talking and can distinguish between addressing the driver and the passenger. Some updates look genuinely useful, […]

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Interview – NXP Linux BSP and Timesys Vigiles Maintenance Service & Security Updates

I’ve been interviewing Ed White, Manager of NXP’s Professional Support and Engineering Services, and Akshay Bhat, Director of Engineering, Security Solutions at Timesys by email to find out more about NXP Linux BSP development process, and how Timesys can help to keep it updated and secure with its Vigiles service. Q1. CNX Software readers recently discussed NXP Linux BSP update status. One person specifically noted Linux 4.14.98 used in the BSP was well over a year old, and there were various opinions about the topic, including one person suggesting NXP only provides a stable BSP and it was the ultimate responsibility of the customer to merge Linux security patchsets. Could you explain the typical development process for NXP Linux BSP, and why the company chose not to update the patchsets regularly? Answer: The kernel strategy for NXP’s i.MX family BSPs closely follows the annual cadence of kernel.org’s LTS kernel selection. As soon as kernel.org establishes the next official LTS kernel […]

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New Tech Vocabulary for 2020 Could Break Software Compatibility

2020 has been an interesting year with plenty of disruption to most people lives, and political changes. Now it appears some of those changes will affect technology, and by that, I mean things like changes to datasheets and even source code. I’ve been seen a lot of talks about slave/master terminology on Twitter, blogs, and CNET is now reporting Twitter Engineer will remove racially charged technical terms from the source code and interface. Whether you are a veteran or just graduated last year, you may have to learn a new set of vocabulary to understand datasheets and code. Twitter’s senior management is allegedly backing the effort for the changes. This goes beyond racially charged terms, but if it’s the world we’re going to live in so be it. Some changes in the datasheet may not be a big issue, except for the initial confusion, but it may become problematic when changes happen in the source code as it may break […]

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Looking for an Android Phone with Long Term Support? Fairphone 2 Gets Android 9 Five Years After Launch

When you use a laptop or computer with Windows or Linux, you’re pretty much assured to get regular security updates. That’s partially why I prefer to do things like online banking on my computer rather than a phone, despite banks pushing for mobile apps. Why? Because most mobile phones get limited support. I selected an Android One phone, namely Xiaomi Mi A2, because I would get updates for at least 18 months. When you think about it it’s quite pathetic, but that’s about the best Android has to offer. It’s quite better on Apple side with updates for 4 to 5 years for iPhones, while Google Pixel phones are said to get updates for about 3+ years. How you deliver updates also matter, as I recently heard Samsung users complain about frequent updates, while they had somehow no such complaint about their iPhone. But if you’re not quite ready to make the jump to iPhones, and prefer the openness of […]

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