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. […]

MNT Reform Open Source Hardware Laptop Launched for $999 and Up (Crowdfunding)

MNT Reform DIY Arm Linux laptop has been in the works at least since 2017. The open source hardware laptop is also fully modular with Boundary Devices Nitrogen8M SoM featuring NXP i.MX 8M quad-core Cortex-A53 processor and 4GB RAM, M.2 NVMe SSD storage, and standard, replaceable 18650 batteries. The good news is the laptop is now almost ready for prime-time and has been launched on Crowd Supply with price starting at $999 in DIY kit form without storage, and $1,300 for a complete, assembled system with 256GB NVMe storage. If you don’t have that amount of money to spend, but would like to support the project, a $40 MNT Reform T-shirt is also offered. Alternatively, the motherboard only goes for $550. Here’s a reminder of MNT Reform specification: SoM – Boundary Devices Nitrogen8M SoC – NXP i.MX 8MQuad quad-core Cortex-A53 processor @ 1.5 GHz, 1x Arm Cortex-M4F real-time core Vivante […]

Khadas Edge2 Arm mini PC

Linux 5.6 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS & RISC-V Architectures

Linus Torvalds has just announced the release of Linux 5.6 on the Linux Kernel Mailing List: So I’ll admit to vacillating between doing this 5.6 release and doing another -rc. This has a bit more changes than I’d like, but they are mostly from davem’s networking fixes pulls, and David feels comfy with them. And I looked over the diff, and none of it looks scary. It’s just slightly more than I’d have preferred at this stage – not doesn’t really seem worth delaying a release over. So about half the diff from the final week is network driver fixlets, and some minor core networking fixes. Another 20% is tooling – mostly bpf and netfilter selftests (but also some perf work). The rest is “misc” – mostly random drivers (gpio, rdma, input) and DTS files. With a smattering of fixes elsewhere (a couple of afs fixes, some vm fixes, etc). […]

MNT Reform 2 Open Source DIY Arm Linux Modular Laptop Coming Soon (Crowdfunding)

We first covered MNT Reform in fall of 2017, when it was a prototype for a DIY and modular laptop powered by NXP i.MX 6QuadPlus processor, and with plans to eventually use i.MX 8 hexa-core processor. Last year they designed several beta units of Reform to get feedback for a dozen users, and have now fully redesigned the laptop based on an NXP i.MX 8M system-on-module with the crowdfunding campaign expected to go live in February on Crowd Supply. MNT Reform 2 specifications: SoM – Boundary Devices Nitrogen8M SOM with SoC – NXP i.MX 8MQuad quad-core Cortex-A53 processor @ 1.5 GHz, 1x Arm Cortex-M4F real-time core Vivante GC7000Lite 3D GPU System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4 Storage – Probably none Networking – Atheros Ethernet MAC chip (AR8035) 200 pin SO-DIMM edge connector exposing USB 3.0, PCIe, MIPI DSI, etc… Dimensions – 67.6mm x 48.4mm Motherboard Storage – SD card slot, M.2 […]

Some Interesting Talks from 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 […]

ProteusDevice Secure, Open-Source Linux Handheld Features Ethernet Connectivity

ProteusDevice XXLSEC Ltd., the developer of the Privecall-TX device, has developed a near-identical, slightly bigger ProteusDevice, which runs the Linux 5.4 based PriveOS. The ProteusDevice handheld device (“not a mobile phone”) is said to have very tight security and was developed with secure access in mind. Background and Linux Handheld Market The market is seeing more Linux handheld and phones such as the Purism Librem 5, the PinePhone “Braveheart”  both of which are already in mass production. There are also other computing options with the handheld Pocket Popcorn Computer, which is much like the PocketChip, but decidedly improved and faster in general, as well as the Solectrix SX Mobile Device Kit which is more of a business option, for smartphone, opensource development with no cellular connectivity, but Gigabit Ethernet and USB-to-UART ports. Some Features and Mystery Production The ProteusDevice is in good company, and has a solid start, but is […]

AAEON Intel Arc

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

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 […]

Librem 5 & Pinephone Linux Smartphones to Launch This Fall

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 […]

Khadas VIM4 SBC