Kazan Software Vulkan Implementation is Optimized for RISC-V Processors

Kazan Vulkan RISC-V GPU

More and more people want to run fully open source systems due to philosophical, privacy and security concerns, but on embedded systems with a GPU is often hard to achieve due to closed-source binary blobs. Projects such as Freedreno and Etnaviv have freed Qualcomm Adreno and Vivante GPUs, but it takes years to implement workable reverse-engineered open source GPU drivers. One solution to get an open source graphics driver from the get-go is to implement the rendering into the CPU, but the problem is that it’s usually really slow, and GPU’s are much faster thanks to their ability to quickly handle parallel tasks. Kazan is a software-rendering Vulkan implementation, but it may be eventually end up as a low-end soft-GPU in some RISC-V SoCs thanks to specific instructions. I found out about Kazan through the Libre RISC-V M-Class chip project that aims to be a low-power, mobile-class, 64-bit quad-core SoC clocked at a minimum 800 MHz clock rate and relying …

More Investments into RISC-V – Qualcomm Backs SiFive, OpenHW Group Created

RISC-V Investments

Some may doubt RISC-V will ever challenge Arm at least in some markets, but the industry is investing in solutions based on the royalty-free open source ISA, with this week SiFive securing $65.4 Million from various investors including Qualcomm Ventures LLC, and the announcement of the launch of the OpenHW Group, a new not-for-profit global organization aims to boost the adoption of open-source processors currently backed by 13 companies, and aiming to reach 25 sponsors by year’s end. SiFive gets more interest from investors Here’s the main part of the announcement of SiFive’s new series D funding: SiFive, Inc., the leading provider of commercial RISC-V processor IP and silicon solutions, today announced it raised $65.4 million in a Series D round led by existing investors Sutter Hill Ventures, Chengwei Capital, Spark Capital, Osage University Partners and Huami, alongside new investor Qualcomm Ventures LLC. This Series D round brings the total investment to date in SiFive to more than $125 million. …

Xibo Player for Linux Released (Open Source Digital Signage Player)

Xibo Player Linux

Xibo is an open source digital signage software comprised of a CMS and a player/client. Xibo CMS has always worked on both Windows and Linux, but in recent years, Xibo Client only worked on Windows, Android, and WebOS with the latter two being paid apps. Many years ago there was a Python-based Xibo player working in Linux but it was abandoned. However, recently the company restarted the development of a Linux player, and I even tried Xibo Player and CMS on MINIX NEO Z83-4U mini PC, but at the time the player was at the alpha stage and not very stable at least with the layout I experimented with. Around two months have passed, and the developers must have worked out the quirks, as Xibo Player for Linux has now been released, and just like the Windows player it’s entirely free to use, and open source (C++ code) under the AGPLv3 license. It requires a Linux distribution with support for …

NODE Mini Server V2 is a Raspberry Pi Based Storage Server for the Decentralized Web

Node Mini Server V2 3D View

We’ve previously covered networked hard drive enclosures with Ethernet and/or WiFi running OpenWrt or Ubuntu that allows you to easily and fairly cheaply connect SATA drives to your local network with models such as Blueendless X3. NODE has done something similar with a DIY project featuring a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+. NODE Mini Server V2 connects the popular SBC to a 2.5″ SATA hard drive over USB and is designed to build out the physical infrastructure for the decentralized web (e.g. IPFS) that would allow users to replace remote servers with nodes that they themselves own and operate. Having said that nothing would prevent you from using this as a simple NAS although performance will not be as optimal as the aforementioned products due to the lack of SATA or USB 3.0 interface, as well as having “Gigabit” Ethernet limited to 300 Mbps. Having said that the design could also be easily be adapted to one of the Raspberry …

E-ALE is a Free & Open Source Linux Training Program for Embedded Engineers

E-ALE official hardware kit

As I wrote about the Embedded Linux Conference 2019 schedule a few days ago, I found out one of talk planned to use E-ALE hardware kit for the session. I had never heard about this kit, but a quick search led me to e-ale.org website which explains E-ALE stands for Embedded Apprentice Linux Engineer. The training program is made for embedded engineers with experience designing firmware for microcontrollers, but now need to transition to embedded Linux. Training only happens in-person (no webinar) at existing Embedded Linux conferences and is comprised of 8 to 9 seminars over 2 to 3 days. It usually starts with a presentation on one subject, followed by lab time to practice the relevant learned skills. The training takes place on the E-ALE kit at each conference, but it does not refer to a specific hardware platform. In most conferences, the PocketBeagle and BaconBits add-on board are used to lab sessions, but for example this year at …

Embedded Linux Conference & Open Source Summit 2019 Schedule

Embedded Linux Conference 2019 Schedule

In the last few years, I covered the Embedded Linux Conference and IoT Summit schedules since both were happening at the same time and in the same location. But the Linux Foundation have recently announced the Embedded Linux Conference will combine with the Open Source Summit, so the IoT Summit appears to have been phased out. The full schedule for the events taking place on August 21 – 23, 2019 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, USA, has also been released, so I’ll create a virtual schedule with some of the sessions most relevant to this blog. Wednesday August 21, 2019 11:30 – 12:05 – What’s New with U-Boot? by Simon Glass, Google LLC U-Boot is a widely used bootloader in embedded systems. Many users are unaware of the wide feature-set of U-Boot, particularly features added in the last few years. This talk aims to bring users (and prospective users) up to speed on the state of the art in …

Programmable-Air is an Arduino Nano Powered Pneumatics Kit (Crowdfunding)

Programmable-Air Arduino Nano Pneumatics Kit

Programmable-Air is a hardware toolkit that allows you to inflate and deflate objects. Powered by an Arduino Nano board, the kit comes with high pressure and vacuum pumps, valves, and a pressure sensor that enables users to experiement and learn about pneumatics and inflatables. Some of the potential applications include vacuum pick and place machines,  soft robots able to walk, soft robotics hands, using a syringe as a linear actuator, inflatable bras, arts projects and more. Programmable-Air specifications: MCU Board – Arduino Nano baord nased on Microchip ATMega328P microcontroller Pneumatics – Full channel control, i.e. high pressure through atmospheric pressure to vacuum output in the same tube. Max pressure – 0.5 atmosphere (7.5 PSI / 50 kPa) Min Pressure – -0.5 atmosphere (-7.5 PSI / -50 kPa) Flow rate: 2 liters per minute per motor Expansion Grove I²C connector to easily add sensors (Not shown in prototype photo above) Expandable for adding valves/sensors Power Supply – 12 V/1.2 A from …

e.Foundation to Sell Refurbished Phones Running Google-Free /e/ Android OS

Google Free Android Smartphone

Most Android phones come with Google services, which is both a boon and a curse, as those services are often convenient, but they come at the loss of your privacy.  For example, most people get all upset and lost if a firmware image for an SBC is shipped without Google Play Store, but yet at the same time they worry about their privacy providing all their data to a single company like Google. There must be a better way, and that’s what the e.foundation is attempting with /e/ operating system based on Android, but without any of the Google Services, and targetting your typical end-users, as opposed to geek. /e/ operating system aims to provide privacy both inside the phone, and via cloud services unrelated to Google. It is a fork of LineageOS 14.1 itself a fork of AOSP, and replaces Google services and apps with programs such as MicroG open source implementation of Google’s proprietary Android user space apps …