Arm Officially Supports Panfrost Open-Source Mali GPU Driver Development

Most GPU drivers found in Arm processors are known to be closed-source making it difficult and time-consuming to fix some of the bugs since everybody needs to rely on the silicon vendor to fix those for them, and they may even decide a particular bug is not important to them, so you’d be out of luck. So the developer community has long tried to reverse-engineer GPU drivers with projects like Freedreno (Qualcomm Adreno), Etnaviv (Vivante), as well as Lima and Panfrost for Arm Mali GPUs. Several years ago, Arm management was not interested at all collaborating with open-source GPU driver development for Mali GPUs, but as noted by Phoronix, Alyssa Rosenzweig,  a graphics software engineer employed by Collabora, explained Panfrost development was now done in partnership with Arm during a talk at the annual X.Org Developers’ Conference (XDC 2020). A recent merge commit confirms the move with Daniel Stone, Graphics Leads at Collabora commenting To reiterate the answer from earlier …

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PicoRio Linux RISC-V SBC is an Open Source Alternative to Raspberry Pi Board

There’s a lot of interest/hype around RISC-V, and low-cost boards such as Longan Nano or Maixduino are already available, but those are based on microcontroller-class chips, even though it’s possible to run Linux on Kendryte K210 RISC-V board, it comes without MMU, so it’s not for everyone. Linux capable RISC-V boards do exist but cost several hundred dollars or more with the likes of HiFive Unleashed and PolarFire SoC Icicle development kit. If only there was a RISC-V board similar to the Raspberry Pi board and with a similar price point… The good news is that the RISC-V International Open Source (RIOS) Laboratory is collaborating with Imagination technologies to bring PicoRio RISC-V SBC to market at a price point similar to Raspberry Pi. The PicoRio board was presented at the RISC-V Global Forum on September 3rd. I could not find the full presentation slides yet, but there are some screenshots here and there on Twitter giving us a few more …

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The Open Invention Network Aims to Protect Linux and Open-Source Software with a Patent Non-Aggression Pact

When we covered Alibaba XT910 RISC-V processor earlier this week, the company confirmed working with open-source companies to make the source code is available for the chip, but that there were legal challenges to do so for a high-performance core. The company did not expand on what legal challenges there were, but I’m pretty sure it’s about patents and potential lawsuits. But there may be a solution, or at least a way for companies to protect themselves to some degree against patent trolls, thanks to the Open Invention Network (OIN) which I discovered in a press release about UNISOC recently joined the organization. So what does the Open Invention Network does exactly? We enable freedom of action for Open Invention Network community members and users of Linux/OSS-based technology through our patent non-aggression cross-license in the “Linux System,” which defines the commitment. We will continue to grow our community and the “Linux System” over time, thereby strengthening OIN’s patent non-aggression coverage …

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Perfetto Profiler Now Supports Mali GPU Hardware Counters via Panfrost

Perfetto is an open-source system profiler, app tracer, and trace analyzer for Linux, Android & Chrome platforms, and user-space apps. The program can already visualize CPU and memory usage, as well as power consumption.  GPU support is more limited with the program only capable of sampling the GPU frequency when the driver outputs that information via ftrace. When Perfetto is also extendable thanks to a Tracing C++ SDK that “allows userspace applications to emit trace events and add more app-specific context to a Perfetto trace”. Collabora made use of the tracing SDK to add support for Mali Midgard GPU performance profiling in gfx-pps project using the Mali GPU hardware counters exposed via Panfrost open-source Mali GPU driver. After following the installation instructions, you’ll be able to run the following executables for tracing and profiling: tracedtracing service. traced_probes OS probes service. perfetto command-line tool for recording traces. producer-gpuproviding the Panfrost data source. There’s also gpu.cfgconfig file to feed as input to …

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Keyboard FeatherWing Brings Keyboard & Display to Adafruit Feather Boards

Solder Party is a brand new Swedish startup founded by Arturo182 who previously designed several maker boards including the tiny Serpente R2 CircuitPython prototyping board, and its first product, named Keyboard FeatherWing, brings a QWERTY keyboard and 2.6” color LCD with resistive touch screen to any boards compatible with Adafruit Feather for factor. That means you can build a portable device that runs Linux via the  Giant Board, features an FPGA (Orange Crab), or a wide range of connectivity options including WiFi, Bluetooth LE, LoRa, etc… depending on your chosen board. The solution actually brings a bit more than just a keyboard and color, as shown by the list of Keyboard FeatherWing key features: Display – 2.6” 320×240 16-bit color LCD with resistive touch screen (SPI) Storage – MicroSD card slot (SPI) User Inputs controlled by a Microchip SAMD20 MCU QWERTY keyboard (I2C) 5-way button 4 soft tactile buttons Expansion Stemma QT/Qwiic I2C connector Dual-row Adafruit Feather compatible female headers …

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Sonoff Zigbee Bridge Now Supports Tasmota Firmware, Home Assistant, Zigbee2Tasmota

Sonoff ZBBridge (aka Sonoff Zigbee Bridge) WiFi to Zigbee gateway was launched a few months ago for $16.90 plus shipping, and it’s now also listed on Banggood for $17.99 shipped. It allows users to control Zigbee devices connected to the gateway using the eWelink mobile app used with other Sonoff devices. But many people like to run Tasmota firmware on their Sonoff devices since it’s open-source and provided more flexibility such as integration with Home Assitant or Domoticz. There was already support for Zigbee in Tasmota at the time but only for Texas Instruments SimpleLink CC253x Zigbee MCU’s, and Sonoff ZBBridge is made of an ESP8266 WiSoC and a Silicon Labs EFR32MG21 Gecko Series 2 Cortex-M33 Zigbee microcontroller. So I just suspected that eventually, Sonoff Zigbee Bridge could support Tasmota open-source firmware but that would take some time… It took about four months. Not too bad. It started in the comments section on CNX Software and other places, with the …

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CANTact Pro Open-source USB to CAN Device Enables Car Hacking (Crowdfunding)

The Controller Area Network (CAN) serial communication bus allows microcontrollers and devices to communicate with each other without a host computer. It’s especially used in automotive applications where various components (dashboard, ABS, air conditioner, and other sensors) may need to communicate with each other, but it has also found its way into robots, industrial control systems, and avionics. CANTact Pro is an open-source USB to CAN device that can help you debugging or hack components inside a car or other vehicle. The tool features two CAN Interfaces and can be controlled from Windows, Linux, or Mac OS computers. CANTact Pro key features and specifications: CAN Interfaces – 1x CAN/CAN-FD/SWCAN (Single Wire CAN), 1x CAN/CAN-FD; Both via DB9 connectors Host Interface – USB 2.0 device port Misc – 4x LEDs Safety – Isolation between CAN and USB Power Supply – 5V via USB port CANTact Pro works with Windows, macOS, and Linux with USB drivers, command-line interface, and Python, C/C++, and …

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ATCwatch Arduino Firmware Works with PineTime, COLMI P8, “Da Fit” Smartwatches

Earlier this week, we wrote about fake heart rate sensors found in ultra-low-cost fitness trackers as reported by Aaron Christophel. It turns out he also maintains an open-source project specific to P8 watch, PineTime, and other smartwatches compatible with Da Fit Android app: ATCwatch Arduino firmware. The firmware provides a basic menu system, notifications, and the latest implementation enables direct HTTP or HTTPS GET requests to control IoT devices and get info from the Internet. The current firmware consumes about 150-200uA standby current, and last roughly 92 hours on a charge with heavy notification and usage. While it’s possible to connect an SWD St-Link V2 to flash the bootloader and firmware, it’s not necessary, as it’s possible to flash ATCwatch Arduino firmware without having to open the watch by using over-the-air update function with DaFlasherFiles for PineTime or P8 watch together with DaFlasher Android app. Once the update is done, you can get notifications on your phone after installing D6 …

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