Own-Mailbox is a Tiny, Secure, and Open Source Hardware Mail Server (Crowdfunding)

Email encryption has been around for a while, but virtually nobody uses it, because it’s quite complex to setup, and your recipients email clients, apps or browsers must also support encryption. Revolutek aims to simplify the setup and usage of encrypted email with their “Own-Mailbox” based on open source hardware and software technology. The hardware solution could have been based on the Raspberry Pi board in theory, but the popular board requires a closed source binary to boot, documentation about part of the hardware is lacking, and once the enclosure, and required accessories are included the price would have been higher. So instead they decided to design their own hardware based on an Allwinner processor: SoC – Allwinner A13 Cortex A8 processor @ 1GHz System Memory – 256 MB RAM Storage – (micro?) SD card slot with 16GB card included Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet (Lan9500A controller) USB – USB host […]

Numato Opsis is an Open Source Hardware FPGA Board with 6 Video Inputs and Outputs (Crowdfunding)

Numato Lab is a Bangalore based company specializing in MCU and FPGA boards such as the low cost Mimas V2 Spartan 6 board, and their latest board is also based on a Spartan 6 FPGA, but a more powerful part with LX45T FPGA, and targets video applications with two HDMI inputs, two HDMI outputs, one DisplayPort output, and one DisplayPort input, among other interfaces. Instead of simply listing specifications of Numato Opsis, I’ll reproduce a table – drawn by Numato – showing Opsis features and specifications against some other FPGA video platforms. Opsis miniSpartan6+ Mixxeo Atlys Nexys Anvyl CVK 2.0 AVDB Make Numato ScarabHardware M‑Labs Digilent Digilent Digilent TED OmniTek License Open Open Open Closed Closed Closed Closed Closed Cost USD $349 USD $105 no stock USD $419 USD $499 USD $539 USD $2,995 USD $999 FPGA Fab Xilinx Xilinx Xilinx Xilinx Xilinx Xilinx Xilinx Altera Family Spartan‑6 Spartan‑6 Spartan‑6 Spartan‑6 Artix‑7 Spartan‑6 Spartan‑6 Cyclone V Part LX45T […]

FOSDEM 2015 Schedule – January 31 – February 1 2015

FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting) takes place every year during the first week-end of February. This year the developer-oriented event expects to bring over 5000 geeks to share ideas and collaborate on open source projects. Contrary to most other events, it’s free to attend, and you don’t even need to register, just show up. FOSDEM 2015 will take place on January 31- February 1 in Brussels. There will be 551 sessions divided into 5 keynotes, 40 lightning talks, 6 certification exams, and with the bulk being developer rooms and main tracks,  divided into 7 main tracks this year: Languages, Performance, Time, Typesetting, Hardware, Security and Miscellaneous. I’m not going to attend, but it’s still interested to see what will be talked about, and I’ve concocted my own little virtual program out of the main tracks and developers’ rooms. There’s a few minutes overlap between some talks […]

EasyEDA is a Web-based Schematics Capture, Simulation, and PCB Layout Tool

I recently watched a video showing AllWinner R&D, and I noticed although most (all?) software engineer run Ubuntu in the PC, the hardware engineers all relied on Windows based EDA tools for schematics capture and PCB Layout. There are already Linux-based tools such as Kicad, which appears to be good for new projects, but importing existing projects can be an issue. An alternative to operating system dependent EDA software suites are web-based tools. I’ve already tried Fritzing which allows to draw circuits on breadboard, convert these to schematics and PCB layouts, and order the PCBs. It looks pretty good for its purpose, but it’s limited to mostly simple designs, and AFAIK can’t be used to replace an EDA suite. That’s where EasyEDA comes into play.  It’s a web-based tool where you can draw schematics, perform simulation, and create PCB layouts for your project, either keeping them private, or sharing them […]

Open Hardware System on Module Project

“JM” has started working on a system-on-module project with the goal “to create a whole range of SoM boards and motherboards that can handle a large number of embedded projects”.  He has just released schematics and layout files created with Kicad for a dual NXP LPC1764 SO-DIMM module and the baseboard under GPL3 license.  The next goal is to release an AllWinner A10 SoM and corresponding baseboard. Kicad is an open source schematics capture and PCB layout software that can run in Windows, Linux and Mac. If you want to read the schematics or try it out, you can freely download it. In Ubuntu you could just use apt-get:

The hardware files for the module and carrier board are available here. JM explains that the LPC module and baseboard have already been manufactured and tested, so it could just be a matter of adapting the module for AllWinner A10/A20. […]

Schematics Capture and PCB Layout in Linux with Kicad

kicad_schematics_eeschema

Most schematics capture and PCB layout software run on Windows and are closed source. But if your favorite OS is Linux, there are a few open source software including Kicad and gEDA. There is also Cadsoft Eagle which can be installed in Linux with a free license for hobbyists and educational purposes, but is not open source. Today, I’ll focus on Kicad. I don’t really capture schematics, let alone layout PCBs, but I sometimes need to use this type of software to locate pins/components on the schematics and PCB and check some parts of the schematics that can affect  software. So I will mainly give an overview of Kicad and write my experience trying to import another project (Beagleboard XM) to Kicad. If you want to learn how to get started with your own project with Kicad, you might want to have a look at Teho Labs Kicad Tutorial. In […]

RISC-V laptop, mini PC