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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Khadas Captain / Edge SBC Review – Part 2: Ubuntu 18.04

Khadas Edge Ubuntu 18.04

I received Khadas Edge Developer Package with Khadas Edge RK3399 module, Khadas Captain carrier board, and several accessories a few weeks ago, and after checking the hardware in the first part of the review, I’ve now taken the time to review software support, specially Ubuntu 18.04 on the board. Khadas Edge / Captain Firmware There are currently four main choices of firmware for Khadas Edge / Khadas Captain: Ubuntu 18.04 OS with LXDE desktop environment @ https://dl.khadas.com/Firmware/Edge/Ubuntu/ Android ROM @ https://dl.khadas.com/Firmware/Edge/Android/ with Android Nougat being a proper release, Android Oreo (available now) a temporary version that will not be supported, and Android P that will be released and supported by Rockchip later on in 2019 Armbian RK3399 for Khadas Edge that looks to be work-in-progress right now LibreELEC for playing videos on the platform I decided to focus on Ubuntu 18.04 for this review, and Karl who has he own sample will review the stable Android Nougat firmware that has …

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Balena EtcherPro Multi SD Card, USB, and Board Flasher Coming in Q2 2019

Balena EtcherPro

I previously wrote about Etcher Pro when posting about the fairly expensive SySTOR SD card duplicator that allows you to copy one (micro) SD card content to multiple cards on one go, for instance to speed up the process of flashing firmware for multiple single board computers. Made by the team behind the popular Etcher firmware flashing tool, EtcherPro promised to be a more cost effective solution, but there was not a lot of details at the time. Balena – previously resin.io – has now written a bit more about the project progress in a blog post. EtcherPro is a standalone hardware device, meaning no PC requires – with a user interface based on Etcher GUI, and allowing to copy a micro SD card, SD card, or USB flash driver to 16 destinations in one go thanks to USB 3.0 ports and SD card sockets. What makes the products even more interesting compared to existing solution is support for flashing …

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BitBumper ESP8266 Flash is a Standalone OTA Update Tool

BitBumper ESP8266 Flash

While it’s possible to perform OTA firmware update of ESP8266 with platformIO, Jochen wanted a standalone program to update the firmware of his ESP8266 based devices, and since he could not find any that satisfied his needs, he decided to write his own ESP8266 standalone OTA update tool: BitBumper ESP8266 Flash. The tools work in the local network or over the Internet, and the firmware needs to support PlatformIO OTA update mechanism with the code having the line: If your ESP8266 device is already running such firmware, you just need to load the new firmware in the program, input the IP address and port, and click flash. Jochen programmed BitBumper ESP8266 Flash with Lazarus/Pascal, but as not released the source code at this stage. Instead he shared FlashEsp8266.exe tools for Windows as a freeware program, as well as user and developer documentation here. If somebody needs this tool for Linux, Jochen can build it and release to you as well. …

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OpenMV Cam H7 MicroPython Machine Vision Camera Launched on Kickstarter

OpenMV CAM H7

OpenMV team has launched an upgrade to their popular OpenMV CAM M7 machine vision camera, with OpenMV CAM H7 replacing the STMicro STM32F7 micro-controller by a more powerful STM32H7 MCU clocked at up to 400 MHz. Beside having twice the processing power, the new camera board also features removable camera modules for thermal vision and global shutter support. OpenMV CAM H7 camera board specifications: MCU – STMicro STM32H743VI Arm Cortex M7 microcontroller @ up to 400 MHz with 1MB RAM, 2MB flash. External Storage – micro SD card socket supporting up to 100 Mbps read/write to record videos and store machine vision assets. Camera modules Omnivision OV7725 image sensor (default) capable of taking 640×480 8-bit Grayscale /  16-bit RGB565 images at 60 FPS when the resolution is above 320×240 and 120 FPS when it is below; 2.8mm lens on a standard M12 lens mount Optional Global Shutter camera module to capture high quality grayscale images not affected by motion blur Optional …

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How to Make a Low Cost DIY SD Card Duplicator

If you have to duplicate many SD cards for example to boot Raspbian on multiple Raspberry Pi board, one option is buy one of those SD card duplicators, but the problem is that they are not really cheap, for example the Systor 1-to-7 cards model sells for $540. Bob Brown, a retired senior lecturer, is now teaching K-12 students how to get started with Raspberry Pi boards, and must prepare bootable SD cards for his class. In order to save time, a duplicator would have been nice, but the price is too high, so instead he went with a DIY solution. You’ll first need some hardware, including a powered USB hub with the number of cards you want to duplicate, and corresponding SD card reader, and a larger micro SD card to hold Raspbian and/or other operating systems (optional, only for Raspberry Pi based duplicator). Mr. Brown made a 10-port SD card duplicator (1-to-9) for just under $100. One the …

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MINIX NEO U9-H TV Box Gets Android 7.1 Firmware

MINIX-NEO-U9-H-Android-7.1-Nougat

MINIX NEO U9-H is generally considered one of the best Android TV boxes if you are after an Android experience, as opposed to a pure Android TV experience. I found the firmware solid and performing on very capable hardware when I reviewed the device in 2017 although there were a few bugs here and there for the version of the firmware I tested. The device is still the main TV box model sold by MINIX, but so far, you had to run the older Android 6.0 OS. The good news is that you can now upgrade your box, if you wish to do so, to a more recent Android 7.1 operating system. There’s no specific changelog for the release, and you can find Android 7.1 for MINIX NEO U9-H on MEGA.An important caveat is that it’s not an OTA update, so you’d have to use USB Burning Tool – also included with the firmware – to flash the new version …

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Flashing Firmware to Rockchip Devices in Linux with rkdeveloptool Open Source Utility

Rockchip rockusb mode

It’s been possible to flash firmware to Rockchip devices in Linux with upgrade_tool command line tool for many years, but the utility is closed-source and only supports “RK Firmware” files that are also used for OTA firmware updates, but not “raw firmware” that you’d flash directly to micro SD cards for example. This week-end as I played with ROC-RK3328-CC board, I encountered some instability issues with micro SD cards, so I instead relied on an eMMC flash module. The only problem was that Firefly Team only releases “raw firmware” files, so I was unable to use upgrade_tool, and instead found out rkdeveloptool  open source utility was used to flash raw firmware images in Firefly’s Wiki. The first step is to connect a male to male USB  Type A cable (like that one on eBay)  between the board and the host computer, and connect a USB power adapter to the board. At least that’s what I had to do here, because …

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