lkcl writes: The introduction of systemd has unilaterally created a polarisation of the GNU/Linux community that is remarkably similar to the monopolistic power position wielded by Microsoft in the late 1990s. Choices were stark: use Windows (with SMB/CIFS Services), or use UNIX (with NFS and NIS). Only the introduction of fully-compatible reverse-engineered NT Domains services corrected the situation. Instructions on how to remove systemd include dire warnings that "all dependent packages will be removed", rendering a normal Debian Desktop system flat-out impossible to achieve. It was therefore necessary to demonstrate that it is actually possible to run a Debian Desktop GUI system (albeit an unusual one: fvwm) with libsystemd0 removed. The reason for doing so: it doesn't matter how good systemd is believed to be or in fact actually is: the reason for removing it is, apart from the alarm at how extensive systemd is becoming (including interfering with firewall rules), it's the way that it's been introduced in a blatantly cavalier fashion as a polarised all-or-nothing option, forcing people to consider abandoning the GNU/Linux of their choice and to seriously consider using FreeBSD or any other distro that properly respects the Software Freedom principle of the right to choose what software to run. We aren't all "good at coding", or paid to work on Software Libre: that means that those people who are need to be much more responsible, and to start — finally — to listentowhatpeoplearesaying. Developing a thick skin is a good way to abdicate responsibility and, as a result, place people into untenable positions.
lkcl writes: Straight from the crowd-funding page comes news of Hack-E-Bot, described as a "low price and open source robot that hopes to encourage children to learn about engineering, electronics, and programming". Part of the reason for achieving such a low price appears to be down to the use of a tiny $7 off-the-shelf Arduino-compatible board called Trinket from Adafruit. The Trinket (ATTiny328 PIC) press-fits neatly into a supplied breadboard: all connections and any educational experiments can be done entirely without soldering. It's cute, it's under $50, you can pay extra for one to be given free to a child if you want, and there's a lower-cost kit version available if you prefer to use your own embedded board and are prepared to write your own software. I absolutely love the whole idea, and they've already reached the incredibly low $7,000 funding target, so it's going ahead.
lkcl writes: In an open letter to the core developers behind OpenLDAP (Howard Chu) and Python-LMDB (David Wilson) is a story of a successful creation of a high-performance task scheduling engine written (perplexingly) in python. With only partial optimisation allowing tasks to be executed in parallel at a phenomenal rate of 240,000 per second, the choice to use Python-LMDB for the per-task database store based on its benchmarks as well as its well-researched design criteria turned out to be the right decision. Part of the success was also due to earlier architectural advice gratefully received here on slashdot. What is puzzling though is that LMDB on wikipedia is being constantly deleted, despite its "notability" by way of being used in a seriously-long list of prominent software libre projects, which has been, in part, motivated by the Oracle-driven BerkeleyDB license change. It would appear that the original complaint about notability came from an Oracle employee as well...
lkcl writes: After the reports on SSD reliability and after experiencing a costly 50% failure rate on over 200 remote-deployed OCZ Vertex SSDs, a degree of paranoia set in where I work. I was asked to carry out SSD analysis with some very specific criteria: budget below £100, size greater than 16Gbytes and Power-loss protection mandatory. This was almost an impossible task: after months of searching the shortlist was very short indeed. There was only one drive that survived the torturing: the Intel S3500. After more than 6,500 power-cycles over several days of heavy sustained random writes, not a single byte of data was lost. Crucial M4: fail. Toshiba THNSNH060GCS: fail. Innodisk 3MP SATA Slim: fail. OCZ: epic fail. Only the end-of-lifed Intel 320 and its newer replacement the S3500 survived unscathed. The conclusion: if you care about data even when power could be unreliable, only buy Intel SSDs.
lkcl writes: With much appreciated community assistance, the first EOMA-68 CPU Card in the series, based on an Allwinner A10 processor, is now running Debian 7 (armhf variant). Two demo videos have been made. Included in the two demos: fvwm2, midori web browser, a patched version of VLC running full-screen 1080p, HDMI output, powering and booting from Micro-HDMI, and connecting to a 4-port USB Hub. Also shown is the 1st revision PCB for the upcoming KDE Flying Squirrel 7in tablet.
The next phase is to get the next iteration of test / engineering samples out to interested free software developers, as well as large clients, which puts the goal of having Free Software Engineers involved with the development of mass-volume products within reach.
lkcl writes: Rhombus Tech and QiMod have working samples of the first EOMA-68 CPU Card, featuring 1GByte of RAM, an A10 processor and stand-alone (USB-OTG-powered with HDMI output) operation. Upgrades will include the new Dual-Core ARM Cortex A7, the pin-compatible A20. This is the first CPU Card in the EOMA-68 range: there are others in the pipeline (A31, iMX6, jz4760 and a recent discovery of the Realtek RTD1186 is also being investigated).
The first product in the EOMA-68 family, also nearing a critical phase in its development, will be the KDE Flying Squirrel, a 7in user-upgradeable tablet featuring the KDE Plasma Active Operating System. Laptops, Desktops, Games Consoles, user-upgradeable LCD Monitors and other products are to follow.
And every CPU that goes into the products will be pre-vetted for full GPL compliance, with software releases even before the product goes out the door. That's what we've promised to do: to provide Free Software Developers with the opportunity to be involved with mass-volume product development every step of the way. We're also on the look-out for an FSF-Endorseable processor which also meets mass-volume criteria which is proving... challenging.
lkcl writes: "The 2nd revision of the A10 EOMA-68 CPU Card is complete and samples are due soon: one sample is due back with a Dual-Core Allwinner A20. This will match up with the new revision of the Vivaldi Spark Tablet, codenamed the Flying Squirrel. Also in the pipeline is an iMX6 CPU Card, and the search is also on for a decent FSF-Endorseable option. The Ingenic jz4760 has been temporarily chosen. Once these products are out, progress becomes extremely rapid."
lkcl writes: "The Rhombus Tech Project is pleased to announce the beginning of a Texas Instruments AM389x/DM816x EOMA-68 CPU Card: thanks to earlier work on the A10 CPU Card and thanks to Spectrum Digital, work on the schematics is progressing rapidly. With access to more powerful SoCs such as the OMAP5 and Exynos5 being definitely desirable but challenging at this early phase of the Rhombus Tech initiative, the AM3892 is powerful enough (SATA-II, up to 1600mhz DDR3 RAM, Gigabit Ethernet) to still take seriously even though it is a 1.2ghz ARM Cortex A8. With no AM3892 beagleboard clone available for sale, input is welcomed as to features people would like on the card. The key advantage of an AM3892 EOMA-68 CPU Card though: it's FSF Hardware-endorseable, opening up the possibility — at last — for the FSF to have an ARM-based tablet or smartbook to recommend. Preorders for the AM3892 CPU Card are open."
lkcl writes: "Rhombus Tech's first CPU Card is nearing completion and availability: the schematics have been completed by Wits-Tech. Although it appears strange to be using a 1ghz Cortex A8 for the first CPU Card, not only is the mass-volume price of the A10 lower than other offerings; not only does the A10 classify as "goodenough" (in combination with 1gb of RAM); but Allwinner Tech is one of the very rare China-based SoC companies willing to collaborate with Software (Libre) developers without an enforced (GPL-violating) NDA in place. Overall, it's the very first step in the right direction for collaboration between Software (Libre) developers and mass-volume PRC Factories. There will be more (faster, better) EOMA-68 CPU Cards: this one is just the first."
lkcl writes: "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nymwars outlines the problem with Google+ as an "identity" service, but nowhere does this page discuss any compelling down-sides for Google themselves. One is the risk of lawsuits where people *relied * on Google+, were lulled into a false sense of security by Google+, failed to follow standard well-established online internet identity precautions, and were defrauded as a *direct* result of Google's claims of "safety". Another is the legal cost of involvement in, and the burden of proof that would fall onto Google in identity-fraud-related cases of online stalking, internet date rape and murder. Can anyone think of some other serious disadvantages that would compel google to rethink its google+ identity policy? I would really like to use Google Hangouts, but I'll be damned if i'll use it under anything other than under my 25-year-established pseudonym, "lkcl". What's been your experience with applying for an "unreal" identity?"
lkcl writes: "The domain name for the pyjamas project, pyjs.org, was hijacked today by some of its users. The reasons: objections over the project leader's long-term goal to have pyjamas development be self-hosting (git browsing, wiki, bugtracker etc. all as Free Software Licensed pyjamas applications). Normally if there is disagreement, a Free Software Project is forked: a new name is chosen and the parting-of-the-ways is done if not amicably but at least publicly. Pyjamas however now appears to have made Free Software history by being the first project to have its domain actually hijacked. rather embarrassingly, in the middle of a publicly-announced release cycle. Has anything like this ever happened before?"
lkcl writes: "Boot to Gecko is a full and complete stand-alone Operating System that is to use Gecko as both its Window Manager and Applications UI. Primarily targetted at smartphones, security and the distribution of applications are both facing interesting challenges: scaling to mass-volume proportions (100 million+ units). The resources behind Google's app store (effectively unlimited cloud computing) are not necessarily guaranteed to be available to Telcos that wish to set up a B2G store.
Although B2G began from Android, Mozilla's primary expertise in the development of Gecko and in the use of SSL is second to none. There is howevera risk that the B2G Team will rely solely on userspace security enforcement (in a single executable) and to try inappropriate use of CSP, Certificate pinning and other SSL techniques for app distribution, resulting in some quite harmful consequences that will impact B2G's viability.
The question is, therefore: what security infrastructure surrounding the stores themselves as well as in the full B2G OS itself would actually be truly effective in the large-scale distribution of B2G applications, whilst also retaining flexibility and ease of development that would attract and retain app writers?"
lkcl writes: "An initiative by a CIC company Rhombus Tech aims to provide Software (Libre) Developers with a PCMCIA-sized modular computer that could end up in mass-volume products. The Reference Design mass-volume pricing guide from the SoC manufacturer, for a device with similar capability to the raspberrypi, is around $15: 40% less than the $25 rbpi but for a device with an ARM Cortex A8 CPU 3x times faster than the 700mhz ARM11 used in the rbpi. GPL Kernel source code is available. A page for community ideas for motherboard designs has also been created. The overall goal is to bring more mass-volume products to market which Software (Libre) Developers have actually been involved in, reversing the trend of endemic GPL violations surrounding ARM-based mass-produced hardware. The Preorder pledge registration is now open (account creation required)."
lkcl writes: "Has anyone else wondered why ultra-efficient hybrid vehicles have to look like this, why the Twizy doesn't have doors as standard and has leased batteries, or why the Volkswagen XL1 does 313mpg but only seats 2 people and isn't yet in production? Why were both Toyota's RAV4-EV as well as GM's EV1 not just discontinued but destroyed? Against this background, what makes this 3-seat Hybrid EV design different, and what could make it successful? Although this article on hybridcar.com outlines the problem, the solution isn't clear-cut, so how can ultra-efficient affordable hybrids actually end up on the road?"