Linux 6.1 LTS release – Main changes, Arm, RISC-V and MIPS architectures

Linux 6.1 LTS

Linus Torvalds announced the release of Linux 6.1, likely to be an LTS kernel, last Sunday: So here we are, a week late, but last week was nice and slow, and I’m much happier about the state of 6.1 than I was a couple of weeks ago when things didn’t seem to be slowing down. Of course, that means that now we have the merge window from hell, just before the holidays, with me having some pre-holiday travel coming up too. So while delaying things for a week was the right thing to do, it does make the timing for the 6.2 merge window awkward. That said, I’m happy to report that people seem to have taken that to heart, and I already have two dozen pull requests pending for tomorrow in my inbox. And hopefully I’ll get another batch overnight, so that I can try to really get as […]

Google ADT-4 could be a hybrid Android TV developer Kit with ATSC 3.0 and DVB-S2 TV tuners

Google ADT-4

Google is allegedly about to release the ADT-4 hybrid developer kit for Android TV based on Amlogic S905X4 processor with AV1 video support, as well as ATSC 3.0 and DVB-S2 tuners. Launched in January 2020, the Google ADT-3 developer box allows developers to test their app on the latest version of the Android TV OS as soon as it is released. But 9to5Google reports the devkit has been out of stock for several months, will be deprecated, and they’ve read some documentation about an ADT-4 Hybrid Developer Kit that should replace it by the end of the year or early next year with digital TV tuners. The documentation is private/confidential, but 9to5Google says the device looks to the DroidLogic’s Amlogic S905X4 Developer Box with the following specifications: SoC – Amlogic S905X4 quad-core Cortex-A55 processor @ 2.0 GHz with Arm Mali-G31 MP2 GPU System Memory – 2GB DDR4 Storage – 16GB […]

Google KataOS – A secure OS for embedded systems written in Rust (mostly)

KataOS Rust application sel4

Google Research has been working on its own Rust-based operating system called KataOS and designed to secure embedded systems that run Machine Learning (ML) applications. There has been a lot of talk about the Rust programming language in recent times, since it offers about the same level of performance as C programming but helps programmers write more secure code with built-in prevention against buffer overflows for instance. It has gained a lot of traction over the years, and Linux 6.1 will be the first kernel release to include Rust code. Google Research noticed that system security is often treated as a feature that can be added to existing systems either by software or an extra security chip. But in a world, where more and more of our private data is exposed to the world through the Internet, it is not good enough, so the company developed KataOS open-source, secure operating […]

Lyra V2 open-source audio codec gets faster, higher quality and compatible with more platforms

Lyra V2 vs Opus

Lyra V2 is an update to the open-source Lyra audio codec introduced last year by Google, with a new architecture that offers scalable bitrate capabilities, better performance, higher quality audio, and works on more platforms. Under the hood, Lyra V2 is based on an end-to-end neural audio codec called SoundStream with a “residual vector quantizer” (RVQ) sitting before and after the transmission channel, and that can change the audio bitrate at any time by selecting the number of quantizers to use. Three bitrates are supported: 3.2 kps, 6 kbps, and 9.2 kbps. Lyra V2 leverages artificial intelligence, and a TensorFlow Lite model enables it to run on Android phones, Linux, as well as Mac and Windows although support for the latter two is experimental. iOS and other embedded platforms are not supported at this time, but this may change in the future. It gets more interesting once we start to […]

Chromecast with Google TV (HD) features Amlogic S805X2 CPU with AV1 video support

Chromecast with Google TV HD

Google has launched the new Chromecast with Google TV (HD) powered by an Amlogic S805X2 quad-core Cortex-A35 CPU that offers a cheaper alternative to the Chromecast with Google TV (4K) that is limited to 1080p60 resolution, instead of the 4Kp60 video output supported by the Amlogic S905X3 model. While the processor is slower, the system comes with less memory (1.5GB vs 2GB), and only supports 1080p60, it supports the more efficient AV1 video decoding and as well as A/B partitions for seamless updates since the firmware does not need to be downloaded to the internal storage before the Chromecast with Google TV (HD) specifications: SoC – Amlogic S805X2 quad-core Cortex-A35 processor with Mali-G31 MP2 GPU, 1080p60 H.265, H.264, VP9, AV1 video decoder System Memory  – 1.5GB RAM Storage – 8GB eMMC flash with support for “virtual A/B updates with compression“ Video output – HDMI up to 1080p60 with HDR support […]

Android 13 Beta for TV available for Google ADT-3 devkit

Android 13 Android TV OS

Google released the first Android 13 Developer preview in February, and we know quite a lot about Android 13 including virtualization support, as well as security and privacy updates. But the company has now released Android 13 Beta for TV (aka Android 13 for Android TV) for Google ADT-3 developer kit and the Android Emulator for TV in Android Studio. The beta release allows app developers to test their apps and provide feedback on the latest release before it is released to customer devices. Google does not provide any changelog specific to Android 13 for Android TV, but you’ll find the OS image for ADT-3 and installation instructions on the release page. Mishaal Rahman tried it on his ADT-3 box expecting some new features, but he noted that expanded PiP support, low power standby ( which could disable wakelocks and cut off network access to apps in order to preserve […]

UCIe (Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express) open standard for Chiplets with heterogeneous chips

UCIe Open Chiplet platform-on-a-package

We first heard about Chiplet, chips that gather IP or chips from different vendors into a single chip, in 2020 with the now-defunct zGlue’s Open Chiplet Initiative, but the term recently came back to the forefront last month with Intel’s investment into the “Open Chiplet Platform” that aims to offer a modular approach to chip design through chiplets with each block/chiplet customized for a particular function. It turns out there’s now an official standard called the Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express (UCIe) whose specification defines the interconnect between chiplets within a package, and not only backed by Intel, but also AMD, Arm, ASE, Google Cloud, Meta, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung, and TSMC. UCIe defines the Physical Layer (Die-to-Die I/O) and protocols to be used for the chiplet interfaces, currently PCIe and CXL (Compute Express Link), but more protocols will be added to the specification in the future. The goal is to provide […]

Android 13 virtualization lets Pixel 6 run Windows 11, Linux distributions

Android 13 virtualization Pixel 6 Linux

The first Android 13 developer preview may have felt a bit underwhelming, but there’s a hidden gem with full virtualization possible on hardware such as the Google Pixel 6 smartphone. What that means is that it is now possible to run virtually any operating system including Windows 11, Linux distributions such as Ubuntu or Arch Linux Arm on the Google Tensor-powered phone, and do so at near-native speed. Android & web developer “kdrag0n” tested several Linux distributions compiled for Aarch64 on the Pixel 6 with Ubuntu 21.10, Arch Linux Arm, Void Linux, and Alpine Linux using “the KVM hypervisor on Pixel 6 + Android 13 DP1”. He/she further explains: As far as I can tell, we can pretty much get full EL2 on production devices now. Protected KVM is optional and can be enabled on a per-VM basis, but for non-protected VMs, it looks like full KVM functionality is available. […]