Kodi 18 Features and Improvements (FOSDEM 2018 Video)

Most Kodi users are now running Kodi 17.x Krypton that was initially released in February 2017, with the latest point version being Kodi 17.6. At the time of Krypton release, the developers had also started working on Kodi 18 “Leia” which should now be in “alpha”, and the stable release may only be a few months away although Kodi developers do not provide an ETA. What they did provide however – via Martijn Kaijser at FOSDEM 2018 – is a progress report for Kodi 18 “Leia”, as well as some insights into Kodi 19 whose development has just started. Kodi 18 has gone through a lot of cleanup with the code upgraded to C++11 standard, duplicate code and obsolete libraries removed, dropped unmaintained feature, and so on. They also moved non-core features such as audio encoders and decoders, PVR, picture decoding, etc…  to external plugins. This work resulted into 299,476 deleted lines of codes, and 387,205 added lines of codes …

AV1 Open Source Video Codec Update at FOSDEM 2018 (Video)

We first covered the Alliance for Open Media’s AV1 video codec in summer 2016, as an open source, royalty-free video codec aiming to replace VP9, and compete or even surpass H.265 capabilities. At the time, everything was pretty new, and when I tried the open source implementation encoding was really slow. Since then, AV1 has gained momentum with for example Apple, Facebook, and IBM recently joining AOMedia, and Mozilla adding HTML5 AV1 video support to Firefox Nightly builds at the end of last year. I was able to play a 720p video @ 800 Kbps almost smoothly in my computer based on AMD FX8350 processor. Many companies want AV1 to succeed since they may not be willing to pay MPEG LA license fee for H.265 and future MPEG codecs (e.g. H.266), and there indeed seems to be issues with the currently MPEG licensing business model. However, AV1 is not quite ready yet, although it’s getting there as you’ll find out …

SiFive Introduces HiFive Unleashed RISC-V Linux Development Board (Crowdfunding)

RISC-V free and open architecture has gained traction in the last couple of years. SiFive has been one of the most active companies with RISC-V architecture, introducing Freedom U500 and E500 open source RISC-V SoCs in the summer of 2016, before launching their own HiFive1 Arduino compatible board, and later the official Arduino Cinque board. That’s fine if you are happy with MCU class boards, but RISC-V is getting into more powerful processors, and recently got initial support o Linux 4.15, so it should come as no surprise the company has now launched HiFive Unleashed, the first RISC-V-based, Linux-capable development board. HiFive Unleashed key features and specifications: SoC – SiFive Freedom U540 with 4x U54 RV64GC application cores @ up to 1.5GHz with Sv39 virtual memory support, 1x E51 RV64IMAC Management Core, 2 MB L2 cache;  28 nm TSMC process System Memory – 8GB DDR4 with ECC Storage –  32MB Quad SPI Flash from ISSI, MicroSD card for removable storage …

Pulurobot is a Low Cost Open Source Raspberry Pi based Load Carrying Autonomous Robot

Earlier today I wrote about FOSDEM 2018 schedule, and among the various talks I selected for my virtual schedule was “How to build an autonomous robot for less than 2K€”.  Some excerpt from the abstract including a short description of the project, and its “open-sourceness”: PULUrobot solves the autonomous mobile robotics complexity issue without expensive parts, without compromise. By fearless integration and from-scratch design, our platform can do SLAM, avoid obstacles, feed itself, and carry payload over 100kg, for less than 2,000 EUR. Application ecosystem can be born around it, as we offer a ready-made Open Source (GPLv2) solution in a tightly coupled HW-SW codesign. So I decided to have a closer at this project, which can be used as a robot maid/helper of sort, and other applications. The robot was made by a brand new (July 2017) startup called Pulu Robotics Oy and based in Finland. They have three models: Pulurobot S – Small version capable of carrying up …

FOSDEM 2018 Open Source Developers Meeting Schedule

FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting) occurs every year on the first week-end of February, where developers meet for two days discussing about open source software projects. FOSDEM 2018 will take place on February 3-4 this year with  652 speakers, 684 events, and 57 tracks, an increase over  last year 608 speakers, 653 events, and 54 tracks. There will be 8 main tracks namely: Community, History, Miscellaneous, Performance, Python, Security and Encryption, Space, and Global Diversity CFP Day. There will also be 33 developer rooms, and since the full schedule is now available, I’ll make a virtual schedule mostly based on sessions from the Embedded, mobile, and automotive, Hardware Enablement, and Internet of Things devrooms. Saturday 3, 2018 09:50 – 10:15 – Turning On the Lights with Home Assistant and MQTT by Leon Anavi In this presentation you will learn the exact steps for using MQTT JSON Light component of the open source home automation platform Home …