Linux 5.3 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS & RISC-V Architectures

Linux 5.3 Changelog

Linus Torvalds has just announced the release of Linux 5.3: So we’ve had a fairly quiet last week, but I think it was good that we ended up having that extra week and the final rc8. Even if the reason for that extra week was my travel schedule rather than any pending issues, we ended up having a few good fixes come in, including some for some bad btrfs behavior. Yeah, there’s some unnecessary noise in there too (like the speling fixes), but we also had several last-minute reverts for things that caused issues. One _particularly_ last-minute revert is the top-most commit (ignoring the version change itself) done just before the release, and while it’s very annoying, it’s perhaps also instructive. What’s instructive about it is that I reverted a commit that wasn’t actually buggy. In fact, it was doing exactly what it set out to do, and did it very well. In fact it did it _so_ well that …

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Librem 5 & Pinephone Linux Smartphones to Launch This Fall

Librem 5 vs Pinephone

There are too highly anticipated Linux smartphones currently in development namely Purism Librem 5 and Pine64 Pinephone. The first one, based on NXP i.MX 8M processor is fairly pricey ($699) partly because of better specifications, but mostly because the company handles software development internally, while Allwinner A64 Pinephone has somewhat lower specifications, but a much lower $150 price tag as software development is done by the community. Neither phones are available, and until a few days ago there were no clear launch dates. This has now changed as Purism announced Librem 5 would start shipping on September 24, while Pinephone first batch is scheduled for mid-October, which should also be the date for the launch of pre-orders, and shipment will start in November. This sounds great, but be warned the first phones will be for enthusiasts who do not mind having a few defects and missing hardware/software features, and the final products will really show up in 2020. Librem 5 …

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Librem 5 Linux Smartphone Specifications Finalized

Librem 5 specifications

If you were interested in purchasing, or more exactly pre-ordering, a privacy-focused, open source Linux smartphone with clearly defined hardware specifications, Purism Librem 5 was not quite for you. Until today that is, as while the company did not commit to exact specifications at the beginning of the project, Purism has now revealed the full specifications of Librem 5 Linux smartphone. Librem 5 specifications: SoC – NXP i.MX8M quad-core Cortex A53 @ up to 1.5GHz, Cortex-M4 real-time core, 3G GPU with OpenGL/ES 3.1, Vulkan, OpenCL 1.2 support System Memory – 3GB RAM Storage – 32GB eMMC flash, MicroSD slot up to 2 TB Display- 5.7″ IPS TFT touchscreen with 1440×720 resolution Connectivity Cellular Option 1 – Gemalto PLS8 3G/4G modem w/ single sim on replaceable M.2 card Option 2 – Broadmobi BM818 (made in China) nanoSIM tray Dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi 4, Bluetooth 4.0 GPS – Teseo LIV3F GNSS Cameras – 13MP rear camera with LED flash, 8MP front-facing camera Audio …

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Software Development on Librem 5 and PinePhone Linux Phones is Progressing Nicely

PinePhone LuneOS

Several Linux phones are expected this year including Purism Librem 5 and Pine64 PinePhone. Both companies have sent phone development kits out to developers a few months ago, and we are starting to see some nice progress for both phones. What made me write this post is an update from Purism comparing the boot time on Librem 5 running PureOS Linux distribution without specific optimizations yet, and HTC One Android smartphone.  Librem 5 smartphone devkit takes 13 seconds to get to the lockscreen, while the Android phone takes over 40 seconds. Fair enough, most people won’t boot their phone often, but it still nice to know it won’t take long to turn on the phone from power off state.  They also posted a progress report at the end of May saying calls are now working with better audio quality, fixed various issue with messaging in Chatty, work on Linux mainline is going well with Linux 5.2 expected to work …

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postmarketOS Linux Mobile OS Supports Over 100 Devices

postmarketOS

postmarketOS is a Linux operating system that was first unveiled in 2017, with the developers aiming to provide long term support in order to extend the life of existing phones.  The operating system is based on Alpine Linux with touch-screen optimization, and the goal is to provide updates, including security updates, for at least 10 years just like you would get on a computer. The project was really getting started at the time, but now the community has provided an update for the first 600 days of development, and over 100 devices are now supported, mostly smartphones such as Google Pixel 3 XL or Motorola Droid 4, but also some SBCs, for instance, Pine A64-LTS and various Raspberry Pi boards. “Supported” means the 112 devices listed can boot postmarketOS, but the operating system is still considered to be alpha software, and for example, if you look at the features matrix in the list of the device, you’ll find only LG …

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Purism Librem 5 Linux phone development kits are now shipping

Purism Librem5 development kit

Purism Librem 5 is a privacy-focused open source Linux smartphone powered by NXP i.MX 8M processor that was launched via a crowdfunding campaign in August 2017 that ends up being extremely popular with over 1.5 million dollars raised. At the time, the phone was scheduled to ship on January 2019, but a $299 development kit with board, display and accessories was slated to ship in June 2018. There have been some delays, but the good news is that Librem 5 development kits are now shipping so third party software development for the phone will now really get started. Librem 5 development kit preliminary specifications: System-on-Module – Emcraft SOM-IMX8M module with NXP i.MX 8M Quad core Cortex A53 processor, at least 2GB LPDDR4 RAM and 16GB eMMC flash (I could not find exact RAM and storage capacities for the module used in the board) Display – 5.7″ LCD touchscreen with a 18:9 (2:1) 720×1440 resolution Camera – 1x camera module Librem …

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Ubuntu Touch to Be Officially Supported on Librem 5 Open Source Smartphone

Ubuntu Touch looked really promising as a Linux mobile operating system supporting mobile desktop convergence, so eventually some people would have been able to use a single device for their mobile and desktop needs. If was not for lack of trying, but sadly Canonical had to end the development of Ubuntu Touch due to lack of interest from phone manufacturers and the community at large, focusing their resources instead of the cloud and IoT. But some people were still very enthousiastic about Ubuntu Touch, Unity and convergence, so since the code was open source, UBPorts continued working on Ubuntu Touch on their own.  UBPorts developers have now collaborated with Purism to make Ubuntu Touch one of the officially supported operating systems for the Librem 5 smartphone. Librem 5 will still ship with GNOME based PureOS, but Purism will support customers who want to easily install Ubuntu Touch or PureOS with KDE Plasmas Mobile. The community supported Ubuntu Touch ports now …

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Purism Librem 5 Open Source Linux Smartphone Meets its 1.5 Million Dollars Funding Target

Back in the summer, we reported about Purism Librem 5, a privacy-focused, open source Linux smartphone. The hardware has not been developed yet, at the time the company was still considering either i.MX 6 Cortex A9 processor or i.MX8 Cortex A53 processor for the phone, and asked for 1.5 million dollars in their self-managed crowdfunding campaign to get the phone delivered in 2019. The project was interesting but with the current status for the project, amount to be raised, and delivery timeline, it was a long shot. But it turns out there’s some demands for smartphones outside of Android and iOS ecosystem, and since then, KDE and the GNOME foundation have joined the project leading to more coverage & people getting involved, and Librem 5 phone is now fully funded with 13 days to go. The processor will likely be NXP i.MX 8M Quad  quad core Cortex A53 SoC, as they’ve found it to be working with Etnaviv open source …

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