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Posts Tagged ‘open source’

LimeSDR Mini is a $135 Open Source Hardware, Full Duplex USB SDR Board (Crowdfunding)

September 18th, 2017 13 comments

LimeSDR open source hardware software defined radio was launched last year with the promise of integration with Ubuntu Snap Store allowing to easily download and install various radio implementations such as LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, LoRa, etc… It was offered for $200 and up as part of a crowdfunding campaign, but Lime Microsystems is back on CrowdSupply with a cheaper and low end version aptly called LimeSDR Mini.LimeSDR mini specifications:

  • FPGA – Intel Altera Max 10 (10M16SAU169C8G) with 16K Logic gates, 549 KB M9K memory, 2,368 KB user flash memory
  • Storage –  4 MB flash memory for data; 2x128KB EEPROM for RF transceiver MCU firmware and data
  • RF
    • Lime Microsystems LMS7002M RF transceiver
    • Tx & Rx SMA connectors
    • Frequency range – 10 MHz to 3.5 GHz
    • RF bandwidth – 30.72 Mhz
    • Sample Rate – 30.72 MSps with 12-bit sample depth
    • Power Output (CW): up to 10 dBm
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port via FTDI FT601 controller chip
  • Expansion – 8-pin FPGA GPIO header
  • Misc – 2x  dual color LEDs, JTAG
  • Power – USB or external power supply
  • Dimensions – 69 mm x 31.4 mm

The company also put together a table to compare LimeSDR to LimeSDR Mini and other product on the markers from the dirty cheap RTL-SDR stick to more expensive and advanced solutions like Ettus B210.

The new LimeSDR Mini board will support the same development tools such as LimeSuite, and Snappy Ubuntu Core apps as its old brother, although I’m not quite sure about the status about the app store, as they did not provide that many details. The board will also be open source hardware, with hardware design files that should be released on MyriadRF’s Github account shortly before or after shipping. The company will also offer some accessories for the board such as an acrylic enclosure, and three SMA antennas optimized for 800-960 MHz, 1710-2170 MHz, and 2400-2700 MHz.

LimeSDR Mini Prototype (no SMA connectors) in Acrylic Case

The goal is to raise at least $100,000 for mass production, and after a few days they’re off to a good start with over $76,000 pledged. All 500 $99 early bird rewards are gone, but you can still pledge $139 for the board with delivery planned for December 31, 2017. Shipping is free to the US, and $10 to the rest of the world.

Linux 4.9 Kernel Source Code Released for Phoenix OS Android Desktop Operating System

September 7th, 2017 2 comments

Phoenix OS is one of the last options left for people wanting to run Android with desktop optimizations on their computer. The problem is that so far, it was fully closed source, and the company refused to comply with the Linux kernel’s GPLv2 license, despite part of the project being based on Android-x86 work. The community also wanted to get involved to improve hardware compatibility with graphics cards, wireless modules / dongles, and other peripherals. However, without source code, nothing could be done, and a petition was launched on Change.org asking Chaozhuo, the company behind the project, to release the Linux kernel code.

After over 300 signatures was reached in the petition, the company did push Linux 4.9.24 to Github, and after verifying there was indeed some changes compared to Android x86 kernel, the community declared victory. They are however trying to make the company develop the kernel in the open on Github, and accept contributions from the community. Another request will be to make Phoenix OS completely open source, but this highly unlikely to happen. The kernel released is likely only for x86 and AMD64/x86-64 platforms, and ARM hardware supported by Phoenix OS are bound to use separate vendor trees.

Thanks to Ian and MrKames for the tip.

RadioShuttle Network Protocol is an Efficient, Fast & Secure Alternative to LoRaWAN Protocol

September 6th, 2017 5 comments

LoRaWAN protocol is one of the most popular LPWAN standards used for the Internet of Things today, but some people found it “lacked efficiency, did not support direct node-to-node communication, and was too costly and far too complicated for many applications”, so they developed their own LoRa wireless protocol software called RadioShuttle, which they claim is “capable of efficiently sending messages in a fast and secure way between simple LoRa modules”.

Some of the key features of the protocol include:

  • Support for secure or insecure (less time/energy) message transmission, multiple messages transmission in parallel
  • Unique 32-bit device ID (device number) per LoRa member, unique 16-bit app ID (program number for the communication)
  • Security – Login with SHA-256 encrypt password; AES-128 message encryption
  • Air Traffic Control – Nodes only send if no LoRa signal is active on that channel.
  • Optimized protocol –  Message delivery within 110 ms (SF7, 125 kHz, free channel provided); default LoRa bandwidth 125 kHz (125/250/500 kHz adjustable), as narrow bandwidths allow for a longer range; Automatic transmitting power adjustment
  • Operating modes
    • Station, constant power supply recommended –  12 mA in receiving mode, transmitting mode (20 to 100 mA)
    • Node Online (permanently receiving), constant power supply recommended – 12 mA in receiving mode, transmitting mode (20 to 100 mA)
    • Wireless sensor (Node Offline checking) – Node reports back regularly. 1 µA in standby mode, battery operation for years.
    • Wireless sensor (Node Offline) – Node only active if events are reported. 1 µA in standby mode, battery operation for years.

The Radioshuttle library has a low memory and storage footprint with current requirements of

  • 100 kB Flash for RadioShuttle library with SHA256 & AES
  • 10 kB RAM for Node Offline/Checking/Online mode
  • 10 kB RAM for Station Basic mode (RAM depends on the number of nodes)
  • 1 MB RAM for Station Server mode (Raspberry Pi, 10,000 LoRa nodes)

The solution supports various Arduino boards, some ARM Mbed boards (e,g, STM32L0, STM32L4), and Linux capable boards like Raspberry Pi or Orange Pi (planned). Semtech SX1276MB1MAS and SX1276MB1LAS (SX1276-based), MURATA CMWX1ZZABZ-078/091 (found in STM32 Discovery kit for LoRaWAN), and HopeRF RFM95 transceivers are supported.

LonRa Board – Click to Enlarge

The developers have also designed their own LongRa board, compatible with Arduino Zero, based on Semtech SX1276 LoRa radio chip with a 168 dB link budget and support for 868 MHz & 915 MHz frequency. The board can be powered by its micro USB port, or by two AA batteries if you’re going to use the board as a wireless sensor node.

RadioShuttle protocol is not open source for now, and while it support multiple devices as stated previsouly, if you are not using LongRa board, a 25 Euros license is required per device.

 

Connect Watch Runs AsteroidOS Open Source Operating System (Crowdfunding)

September 5th, 2017 No comments

At the beginning of last year, we discovered AsteroidOS (hobby) project aiming to provide a Linux based open source operating system working on some Android Wear smartwatches. At the time the OS relied on Android drivers working with libhybris, Qt5/QML for apps, and only supported LG G Watch. Since then, Florent Revest has continued development, with more watches being supported from Samsung, Asus, and other brands, and a French startup has decided to design and bring to market Connect Watch running AsteroidOS.

Connect Watch specifications:

  • SoC- Mediatek quad core processeur @ up to 1.39GHz MTK
  • System Memory – 512MB or 1GB RAM
  • Storage – 4 or 8GB  flash
  • Display – 1.39″ round Amoled display with 400×400 resolution
  • Audio – Built-in speaker
  • Connectivity
    • Bluetooth
    • Optional GSM ( 850/900/1800/1900MHz) and 3G WCDMA (850/2100MHz) support with nano SIM card slot
    • GPS
  • Camera – 2.0 MP; records to 720p
  • Sensors – Heart rate monitor
  • Misc – 2x buttons
  • Battery – No info; charging via 4 pogo pins.
  • Dimensions –  Band: 13.5cm long x 2.6cm width

AsteroidOS provides apps for calls and SMS notifications from your smartphone, and if you have the 3G version, you can directly call and sens SMS from the watch. Other apps include a stopwatch, a music player, a calculator, an alarm clock, a calendar, a weather app, settings and so on. The GPS function is handled through OpenStreetMap collaborative project. You can see a demo of the watch in the video below starting at the 27 seconds mark.

Connect Watch SAS – the company behind the watch – has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise fund on Ulule. Everything is in French right now, but English versions of the Ulule page, and company website are scheduled for early next week. The WiFi version of Connect Watch requires a 99 Euros pledge, while the 3G version goes for 129 Euros with delivery planned respectively in October and November 2017. They also have stretch goals to add 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, etc.. to all watches. Shipping is free to France, but adds 5 Euros to the rest of the world.

LoFive is a Tiny Open Source Hardware Board based on SiFive FE310 RISC-V Open SoC

August 31st, 2017 9 comments

Do you remember HiFive1? It’s an Arduino compatible board based on the SiFive FE310 open source RISC-V SoC. Michael Welling has now started working on LoFive board using the same processor, but in a much smaller & breadboard friendly form factor.

LoFive board specifications:

  • MCU – SiFive Freedom E310 (FE310) 32-bit RV32IMAC processor @ up to 320+ MHz (1.61 DMIPS/MHz)
  • Storage – 128-Mbit SPI flash (ISSI IS25LP128)
  • Expansion – 2x 14-pin headers with JTAG, GPIO, PWM, SPI, UART, 5V, 3.3V and GND
  • Misc – 1x reset button, 16 MHz crystal
  • Power Supply – 5V via pin 1 on header; Operating Voltage: 3.3 V and 1.8 V
  • Dimensions – 38 x 18 mm (estimated)

The board will be programmable with Arduino IDE + Cinco just like HiFive1 board.

Click to Enlarge

The board is also open source hardware, so beside the aforelinked info on Hackster,io, you’ll also find the KiCAD schematics, PCB layout, and 3D renders, released under CERN Open Hardware License v1.2, on Github.

Embedded Linux Conference & Open Source Summit Europe 2017 Schedule

August 27th, 2017 3 comments

The Embedded Linux Conference & IoT summit 2017 took place in the US earlier this year in February, but there will soon be a similar event with the Embedded Linux Conference *& Open Source Summit Europe 2017 to take up in Europe on October 23 – 25 in Prague, Czech Republic, and the Linux Foundation has just published the schedule. It’s always useful to find out what is being discussed during such events, even if you are not going to attend, so I went through the different sessions, and compose my own virtual schedule with some of the ones I find the most interesting.

Monday, October 23

  • 11:15 – 11:55 – An Introduction to SPI-NOR Subsystem – Vignesh Raghavendra, Texas Instruments India

Modern day embedded systems have dedicated SPI controllers to support NOR flashes. They have many hardware level features to increase the ease and efficiency of accessing SPI NOR flashes and also support different SPI bus widths and speeds.

In order to support such advanced SPI NOR controllers, SPI-NOR framework was introduced under Memory Technology Devices (MTD). This presentation aims at providing an overview of SPI-NOR framework, different types of NOR flashes supported (like SPI/QSPI/OSPI) and interaction with SPI framework. It also provides an overview of how to write a new controller driver or add support for a new flash device.

The presentation then covers generic improvements done and proposed while working on improving QSPI performance on a TI SoC, challenges associated when using DMA with these controllers and other limitations of the framework.

  • 12:05 – 12:45 – Free and Open Source Software Tools for Making Open Source Hardware – Leon Anavi, Konsulko Group

The open source hardware movement is becoming more and more popular. But is it worth making open source hardware if it has been designed with expensive proprietary software? In this presentation, Leon Anavi will share his experience how to use free and open source software for making high-quality entirely open source devices: from the designing the PCB with KiCAD through making a case with OpenSCAD or FreeCAD to slicing with Cura and 3D printing. The talk will also provide information about open source hardware licenses, getting started guidelines, tips for avoiding common pitfalls and mistakes. The challenges of prototyping and low-volume manufacturing with both SMT and THT will be also discussed.

  • 14:20 – 15:00 – Introduction to SoC+FPGA – Marek Vašut, DENX Software Engineering GmbH

In this talk, Marek introduces the increasingly popular single-chip SoC+FPGA solutions. At the beginning, the diverse chip offerings from multiple vendors are introduced, ranging from the smallest IoT-grade solutions all the way to large industrial-level chips with focus on their software support. Mainline U-Boot and Linux support for such chips is quite complete, and already deployed in production. Marek demonstrates how to load and operate the FPGA part in both U-Boot and Linux, which recently gained FPGA manager support. Yet to fully leverage the potential of the FPGA manager in combination with Device Tree (DT) Overlays, patches are still needed. Marek explains how the FPGA manager and the DT Overlays work, how they fit together and how to use them to obtain a great experience on SoC+FPGA, while pointing out various pitfalls.

  • 15:10 – 15:50 – Cheap Complex Cameras – Pavel Machek, DENX Software Engineering GmbH

Cameras in phones are different from webcams: their main purpose is to take high-resolution still pictures. Running preview in high resolution is not feasible, so resolution switch is needed just before taking final picture. There are currently no applications for still photography that work with mainline kernel. (Pavel is working on… two, but both have some limitations). libv4l2 is doing internal processing in 8-bit, which is not enough for digital photography. Cell phones have 10 to 12-bit sensors, some DSLRs do 14-bit depth.

Differences do not end here. Cell phone camera can produce reasonable picture, but it needs complex software support. Auto-exposure / auto-gain is a must for producing anything but completely black or completely white frames. Users expect auto-focus, and it is necessary for reasonable pictures in macro range, requiring real-time processing.

  • 16:20 – 17:00 – Bluetooth Mesh with Zephyr OS and Linux – Johan Hedberg, Open Source Technology Center, Intel

Bluetooth Mesh is a new standard that opens a whole new wave of low-power wireless use cases. It extends the range of communication from a single peer-to-peer connection to a true mesh topology covering large areas, such as an entire building. This paves the way for both home and industrial automation applications. Typical home scenarios include things like controlling the lights in your apartment or adjusting the thermostat. Although Bluetooth 5 was released end of last year, Bluetooth Mesh can be implemented on any device supporting Bluetooth 4.0 or later. This means that we’ll likely see very rapid market adoption of the feature.

The presentation will give an introduction to Bluetooth Mesh, covering how it works and what kind of features it provides. The talk will also give an overview of Bluetooth Mesh support in Zephyr OS and Linux and how to create wireless solutions with them.

  • 17:10 – 17:50 – printk() – The Most Useful Tool is Now Showing its Age – Steven Rostedt, VMware

printk() has been the tool for debugging the Linux kernel and for being the display mechanism for Linux as long as Linux has been around. It’s the first thing one sees as the life of the kernel begins, from the kernel banner and the last message at shutdown. It’s critical as people take pictures of a kernel oops to send to the kernel developers to fix a bug, or to display on social media when that oops happens on the monitor on the back of an airplane seat in front of you.

But printk() is not a trivial utility. It serves many functionalities and some of them can be conflicting. Today with Linux running on machines with hundreds of CPUs, printk() can actually be the cause of live locks. This talk will discuss all the issues that printk() has today, and some of the possible solutions that may be discussed at Kernel Summit.

  • 18:00 – 18:45 – BoF: Embedded Linux Size – Michael Opdenacker, Free Electrons

This “Birds of a Feather” session will start by a quick update on available resources and recent efforts to reduce the size of the Linux kernel and the filesystem it uses.

An ARM based system running the mainline kernel with about 3 MB of RAM will also be demonstrated. If you are interested in the size topic, please join this BoF and share your experience, the resources you have found and your ideas for further size reduction techniques!

Tuesday, October 24

  • 10:55 – 11:35 – Introducing the “Lab in a Box” Concept – Patrick Titiano & Kevin Hilman, BayLibre

Continuous Integration (CI) has been a hot topic for long time. With the growing number of architectures and boards, it becomes impossible for maintainers to validate a patch on all configurations, making it harder and harder to keep the same quality level without leveraging CI and test automation. Recent initiatives like LAVA, KernelCI.org, Fuego, (…) started providing a first answer, however the learning curve remains high, and the HW setup part is not covered.

Baylibre, already involved in KernelCI.org, decided, as part of the AGL project, to go one step further in CI automation and has developed a turnkey solution for developers and companies willing to instantiate a LAVA lab; called “Lab in a Box”, it aims at simplifying the configuration of a board farm (HW, SW).

Motivations, challenges, benefits and results will be discussed, with a demo of a first “Lab in a Box” instantiation.

  • 11:45 – 12:25 – Protecting Your System from the Scum of the Universe – Gilad Ben-Yossef, Arm Holdings

Linux based systems have a plethora of security related mechanisms: DM-Crypt, DM-Verity, Secure Boot, the new TEE sub-system, FScrypt and IMA are just a few examples. This talk will describe these the various systems and provide a practical walk through of how to mix and match these mechanisms and design them into a Linux based embedded system in order to strengthen the system resilience to various nefarious attacks, whether the system discussed is a mobile phone, a tablet, a network attached DVR, a router, or an IOT hub in a way that makes maximum use of the sometime limited hardware resources of such systems.

  • 14:05 – 14:45 – Open Source Neuroimaging: Developing a State-of-the-Art Brain Scanner with Linux and FPGAs – Danny Abukalam, Codethink

Neuroimaging is an established medical field which is helping us to learn more about how the human brain works, the most complex human organ. This talk aims to cover neuroimaging systems, from hobbyist to professional, and how open source has been used to build state-of-the-art systems. We’ll have a look the general problem area, why open source was a good fit, and some examples of solutions including a commercial effort that we have been involved in bringing to market. Typically these solutions consist of specialist hardware, a bespoke software solutions stack, and a suite to manage and process the vast amounts of data generated during the scan. Other points of interest include how we approached building a maintainable and upgradeable system from the outset. We’ll also talk about future plans for neuroimaging, future ideas for hardware & discuss areas lacking good open source solutions.

  • 14:55 – 15:35 – More Robust I2C Designs with a New Fault-Injection Driver – Wolfram Sang, Renesas

It has its challenges to write code for certain error paths for I2C bus drivers because these errors usually don’t happen on the bus. And special I2C bus testers are expensive. In this talk, a new GPIO based driver will be presented which acts on the same bus as the bus master driver under inspection. A live demonstration will be given as well as hints how to handle bugs which might have been found. The scope and limitations of this driver will be discussed. Since it will also be analyzed what actually happens on the wires, this talk also serves as a case study how to snoop busses with only Free Software and OpenHardware (i.e. sigrok).

  • 16:05 – 16:45 – GStreamer for Tiny Devices – Olivier Crête, Collabora

GStreamer is a complete Open Source multimedia framework, and it includes hundreds of plugins, including modern formats like DASH, HLS or the first ever RTSP 2.0 implementation. The whole framework is almost 150MB on my computer, but what if you only have 5 megs of flash available? Is it a viable choice? Yes it is, and I will show you how.

Starting with simple tricks like only including the necessary plugins, all the way to statically compiling only the functions that are actually used to produce the smaller possible footprint.

  • 16:55 – 17:35 – Maintaining a Linux Kernel for 13 Years? You Must be Kidding Me. We Need at Least 30? – Agustin Benito Bethencourt, Codethink Ltd

Industrial grade solutions have a life expectancy of 30+ years. Maintaining a Linux kernel for such a long time in the open has not been done. Many claim that is not sustainable, but corporations that build power plants, railway systems, etc. are willing to tackle this challenge. This talk will describe the work done so far on the kernel maintenance and testing front at the CIP initiative.

During the talk it will be explained how we decide which parts of the kernel to cover – reducing the amount of work to be done and the risk of being unable to maintain the claimed support. The process of reviewing and backporting fixes that might be needed on an older branch will be briefly described. CIP is taking a different approach from many other projects when it comes to testing the kernel. The talk will go over it as well as the coming steps. and the future steps.

Wednesday, October 24

  • 11:05 – 11:45 – HDMI 4k Video: Lessons Learned – Hans Verkuil, Cisco Systems Norway

So you want to support HDMI 4k (3840×2160) video output and/or video capture for your new product? Then this is the presentation for you! I will describe the challenges involved in 4k video from the hardware level, the HDMI protocol level and up to the kernel driver level. Special attention will be given to what to watch out for when buying 4k capable equipment and accessories such as cables and adapters since it is a Wild, Wild West out there.

  • 11:55 – 12:35 – Linux Powered Autonomous Arctic Buoys – Satish Chetty, Hera Systems 

In my talk/presentation, I cover the technical, and design challenges in developing an autonomous Linux powered Arctic buoy. This system is a low cost, COTS based, extreme/harsh environment, autonomous sensor data gathering platform. It measures albedo, weather, water temperature and other parameters. It runs on a custom embedded Linux and is optimized for efficient use of solar & battery power. It uses a variety of low cost, high accuracy/precision sensors and satellite/terrestrial wireless communications.

I talk about using Linux in this embedded environment, and how I address and solve various issues including building a custom kernel, Linux drivers, frame grabbing issues and results from cameras, limited power challenges, clock drifts due to low temperature, summer melt challenges, failure of sensors, intermittent communication issues and various other h/w & s/w challenges.

  • 14:15 – 14:55 – Linux Storage System Bottleneck for eMMC/UFS – Bean Huo & Zoltan Szubbocsev, Micron

The storage device is considered a bottleneck to the system I/O performance. This thinking drives the need for faster storage device interfaces. Commonly used flash based storage interfaces support high throughputs, eg. eMMC 400MB/s, UFS 1GB/s. Traditionally, advanced embedded systems were focusing on CPU and memory speeds and these outpaced advances in storage speed improvements. In this presentation, we explore the parameters that impact I/O performance. We describe at a high level how Linux manages I/O requests coming from user space. Specifically, we look into system performance limitations in the Linux eMMC/UFS subsystem and expose bottlenecks caused by the software through Ftrace. We show existing challenges in getting maximum performance of flash-based high-speed storage device. by this presentation, we want to motivate future optimization work on the existing storage stack.

  • 15:05 – 15:45 – New GPIO Interface for User Space – Bartosz Golaszewski

Since Linux 4.8 the GPIO sysfs interface is deprecated. Due to its many drawbacks and bad design decisions a new user space interface has been implemented in the form of the GPIO character device which is now the preferred method of interaction with GPIOs which can’t otherwise be serviced by a kernel driver. The character device brings in many new interesting features such as: polling for line events, finding GPIO chips and lines by name, changing & reading the values of multiple lines with a single ioctl (one context switch) and many more. In this presentation, Bartosz will showcase the new features of the GPIO UAPI, discuss the current state of libgpiod (user space tools for using the character device) and tell you why it’s beneficial to switch to the new interface.

  • 16:15 – 16:55 – Replace Your Exploit-Ridden Firmware with Linux – Ronald Minnich, Google

With the WikiLeaks release of the vault7 material, the security of the UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) firmware used in most PCs and laptops is once again a concern. UEFI is a proprietary and closed-source operating system, with a codebase almost as large as the Linux kernel, that runs when the system is powered on and continues to run after it boots the OS (hence its designation as a “Ring -2 hypervisor”). It is a great place to hide exploits since it never stops running, and these exploits are undetectable by kernels and programs.

Our answer to this is NERF (Non-Extensible Reduced Firmware), an open source software system developed at Google to replace almost all of UEFI firmware with a tiny Linux kernel and initramfs. The initramfs file system contains an init and command line utilities from the u-root project, which are written in the Go language.

  • 17:05 – 17:45 – Unikernelized Real Time Linux & IoT – Tiejun Chen, Vmware

Unikernel is a novel software technology that links an application with OS in the form of a library and packages them into a specialized image that facilitates direct deployment on a hypervisor. But why these existing unikernels have yet to gain large popularity broadly? I’ll talk what challenges Unikernels are facing, and discuss exploration of if-how we could convert Linux as Unikernel, and IoT could be a valuable one of use cases because the feature of smaller size & footprint are good for those resource-strained IoT platforms. Those existing unikernels are not designed to address those IoT characters like power consumption and real time requirement, and they also doesn’t support versatile architectures. Most existing Unikernels just focus on X86/ARM. As a paravirtualized unikenelized Linux, especially Unikernelized Real Time Linux, really makes Unikernels to succeed.


If you’d like to attend the real thing, you’ll need to register and pay a registration fee:

  • Early Registration Fee: US$800 (through August 27, 2017)
  • Standard Registration Fee: US$950 (August 28, 2017 – September 17, 2017)
  • Late Registration Fee: US$1100 (September 18, 2017 – Event)
  • Academic Registration Fee: US$200 (Student/Faculty attendees will be required to show a valid student/faculty ID at registration.)
  • Hobbyist Registration Fee: US$200 (only if you are paying for yourself to attend this event and are currently active in the community)

There’s also another option with the Hall Pass Registration ($150) if you just want to network on visit with sponsors onsite, but do not plan to attend any sessions or keynotes.

Purism Librem 5 Open Source Linux Smartphone Focuses on Privacy (Crowdfunding)

August 25th, 2017 12 comments

Purism is computer manufacturer founded in 2014 whose mission is to “provide the highest quality hardware available, ensuring the rights of security, privacy, and freedom for all users”, and so far, they’ve delivered several Intel Core i5/i7 laptops running their PureOS Linux distribution based on Debian with an emphasis on privacy protection. The company has now launched a crowdfunding campaign on their own website to develop and manufacture Librem 5 Linux smartphone with the same philosophy.

The phone will use open source software even for the GPU, so the company currently selected i.MX6 for the project since they can use etnaviv open source driver for the Vivante GPU, but they hope to switch to the more powerful i.MX8 processor for the final design, which explains why the hardware specifications are not set in stones yet:

  • SoC- NXP i.MX6/i.MX8 CPU with Vivante GPU
  • System Memory – 3GB LPDDR3
  • Storage – 32GB eMMC flash,  micro SD slot
  • Display – 5″ touchscreen display
  • Audio – 3.5mm headphone and microphone jack, microphone, speaker
  • Cellular Connectivity – Separate mobile baseband 2G/3G/4G, GSM, UMTS, and LTE networks, SIM card slot
  • Connectivity – 802.11 WiFi, Bluetooth 4, GPS
  • Camera – Front and back
  • USB – USB Host, USB Type-C
  • Sensors – Accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, ambient light, proximity
  • Debugging – Internal debugging interface
  • Misc
    • Power Button, volume controls
    • Hardware kill switches for: camera, microphone, baseband, WiFi/Bluetooth
  • Battery – Capacity TBD
  • Dimensions & Weight – TBD

While the phone will ship with PureOS by default, it will also be compatible with other distributions including Debian GNU/Linux, Ubuntu, Fedora, SuSE, Arch Linux ARM, and SubgraphOS. At launch, PureOS will offer basic communication services: phone, email, messaging, voice, camera, browsing, but more features will come after launch.

Click to Enlarge

The phone will run native HTML5 apps such as YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram, but it might also be possible to run Android apps via Shashlik for a more extensive choice of apps, although the company’s long-term goal is to utilize native applications that adhere to their philosophy. The company selected Matrix as the chat solution, instead of other encrypted chat services because those are proprietary solutions. The final goal is to have all software and hardware open sources (up to the schematics level), and Purism aims to get FSF RYF endorsement, but it might not be possible for such device because of the non-free kernel firmware needed for RF chips.

The phone will support mobile desktop convergence with an option for a compatible keyboard, mouse, and monitor in order to use your phone as a desktop computer. While many crowdfunding projects have a prototype of not so far from manufacturing, with Librem 5 smartphone, your pledge will also cover the huge software development undertaking needed to bring the project to life. There are risk on the hardware side too, as if you end up with an i.MX 6 quad core Cortex A9 processor, you’ll have a rather slow and power inefficient phone for… 2019, when the product is expected to ship. NXP i.MX 8 with Cortex A72 and Cortex A53 cores would be a better technical option, but it’s unclear whether the company will be able to procure it since it’s not exactly designed for smartphones, and it features a new Vivante GC7000 plus GPU that would need to be supported by etnaviv.

But if you’d like to go ahead and help the project reach its 1.5 million dollars funding goal, you can pledge $599 for Librem 5 Phone with charger, $1,399 with the addition of a 24″ display, keyboard and mouse, and $1,699 with a 30″ display kit instead. All those rewards are expected to ship in January 2019, but if you want to help with software development, you can also get a $299 development kit with board, display and accessories that will be ship in June 2018. Shipping is free to the US, but adds a whopping $80 to the rest of the world…

Via Liliputing

Android 8.0 Oreo Launched, OS Images, and AOSP Source Code Released

August 22nd, 2017 No comments

Google has now formally announced Android O version and name: Android 8.0 Oreo. We already had seen the new Features in Android O-reo during the first preview release with picture-in-picture support, autofill APIs, adaptive icons and so on. There’s also a new Android Oreo character…

If you want to run the latest Android 8.0 on your device, you can do so on Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, Pixel, and Pixel XL by getting the firmware in the download page, unless you are enrolled in Android Beta Program in which case you should receive it automatically. What I did not see (yet) is a joint announcement for a new Android 8.0 phone like last year LG V20 smartphone with Android 7.0, and Google simply said that “by the end of this year, hardware makers including Essential, General Mobile, HMD Global Home of Nokia Phones, Huawei, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp and Sony are scheduled to launch or upgrade devices to Android 8.0”.

You can also get Android 8.0 source code in AOSP using android-8.0.0_r4 tag: