All posts in “linux”

Master Linux with this online course series that’s on sale for $39

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Image: Pixabay

When it comes to operating systems, Mac OS or Windows immediately come to mind. So it’s understandable that aspiring programmers flock to those two because of their immense popularity and widespread use. However, there is another OS that is criminally underrated and always seems to be overlooked — Linux.

Linux is everywhere. If you’re an Android user, you’re using a modified version of Linux. Hotshot companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, IBM, and NASA all use Linux. The television you glue your eyes on to catch up on Westworld? There’s a good chance it runs on Linux, too.

If you want to become a Linux pro, a great way to get introduced to the platform is this Linux Essentials Bundle online learning series. It’s a course pack that consists of 54 hours of professional training to take you from Linux neophyte to a full-fledged expert.

Across five courses, you’ll learn how to install a Linux system from scratch and how to work with it, get familiarized with the file management system, explore the command terminal, and gain a deep understanding of shell scripts. You’ll get a primer on vi Editor, the platform used by UNIX/Linux programmers, and get the lowdown on Docker, one of the fastest growing virtualization technologies on the market. Plus, you’ll also learn the fundamentals of Linux system administration.

Normally $325, you can get the Linux Essentials Bundle for only $39 — a savings of 88%.

The UDOO BOLT is a powerful computer on a tiny board

When we last met UDOO the team was building a powerful Raspberry Pi-based DIY board with a bunch of impressive features including more ports and a better processor. Now the team behind the first units has released the UDOO BOLT, a DIY board that can run “AAA games” thanks to a built-in AMD Ryzen Embedded V1202B 3.2 GHz SoC processor and a Radeon Vega 3 graphics card. The system is also Arduino compatible so you can connect it to your robotics and other electronics projects.

The BOLT, when outfitted with a chunk of RAM, is, according to the creators, “almost twice as powerful as a MacBook Pro 13-inch equipped with an Intel i5 and three times more powerful than a Mac Mini.” Because it is nearly a fully-fledged computer you can stick it into a case and treat it like a mini-workstation with a USB keyboard and mouse and HDMI out to a monitor. The BOLT can drive four monitors at once, two via 4K HDMI and two via USB-C. It runs Linux or Windows.

The team plans on shipping in December 2018. The starter kit costs $298 on Kickstarter and includes a power supply and 4GB of RAM. The 8GB unit with SATA and Wireless costs $409.

Is a DIY board with a massive processor and graphics card a bit of overkill? Absolutely. However, because the system is designed for experimentation and on-the-fly design, you can easily repurpose a board like this for a kiosk, store display, or workstation. Because it is so portable you could slap a few of these on school desks and give the kids powerful computers that run nearly everything you can throw at them. Plus it’s pretty cool to be able to play VR games on a machine the size of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

UDOO has been adding onto the traditional Raspberry Pi/Arduino stack for so long that they’ve become experts at making basic boards much more powerful. Given their earlier models could run drones and control multi-legged robots all while running Android, this new product should be a real treat.

The Skagen Falster is a high fashion Android wearable

Danish understatement meets Mountain View tech

Skagen is a well-know maker of thin and uniquely Danish watches. Founded in 1989, the company is now part of the Fossil group and, as such, has begin dabbling in both the analog with the Hagen and now Android Wear with the Falster. The Falster is unique in that it stuffs all of the power of a standard Android Wear device into a watch that mimics the chromed aesthetic of Skagen’s austere design while offering just enough features to make you a fashionable smartwatch wearer.

The Falster, which costs $275 and is available now, has a fully round digital OLED face which means you can read the time at all times. When the watch wakes up you can see an ultra bright white on black time-telling color scheme and then tap the crown to jump into the various features including Android Fit and the always clever Translate feature that lets you record a sentence and then show it the person in front of you.

You can buy it with a leather or metal band and the mesh steel model costs $20 extra.

Sadly, in order stuff the electronics into such a small case, Skagen did away with GPS, LTE connectivity, and even a heart-rate monitor. In other words if you were expecting a workout companion then the Falster isn’t the Android you’re looking for. However, if you’re looking for a bare-bones fashion smartwatch, Skagen ticks all the boxes.

What you get from the Flasterou do get, however, is a low-cost, high-style Android Wear watch with most of the trimmings. I’ve worn this watch off and on few a few weeks now and, although I do definitely miss the heart rate monitor for workouts, the fact that this thing looks and acts like a normal watch 99% of the time makes it quite interesting. If obvious brand recognition nee ostentation are your goal, the Apple Watch or any of the Samsung Gear line are more your style. This watch, made by a company famous for its Danish understatement, offers the opposite of that.

Skagen offers a few very basic watch faces with the Skagen branding at various points on the dial. I particularly like the list face which includes world time or temperature in various spots around the world, offering you an at-a-glance view of timezones. Like most Android Wear systems you can change the display by pressing and holding on the face.

It lasts about a day on one charge although busy days may run down the battery sooner as notifications flood the screen. The notification system – essentially a little icon that appears over the watch face – sometimes fails and instead shows a baffling grey square. This is the single annoyance I noticed, UI-wise, when it came to the Falster. It works with both Android smartphones and iOS.

What this watch boils down to is an improved fitness tracker and notification system. If you’re wearing, say, a Fitbit, something like the Skagen Falster offers a superior experience in a very chic package. Because the watch is fairly compact (at 42mm I won’t say it’s small but it would work on a thinner wrist) it takes away a lot of the bulk of other smartwatches and, more important, doesn’t look like a smartwatch. Those of use who don’t want to look like we’re wearing robotic egg sacs on our wrists will enjoy that aspect of Skagen’s effort, even without all the trimmings we expect from a modern smartwatch.

Skagen, like so many other watch manufacturers, decided if it couldn’t been the digital revolution it would join it. The result is the Falster and, to a lesser degree, their analog collections. Whether or not traditional watchmakers will survive the 21st century is still up in the air but, as evidenced by this handsome and well-made watch, they’re at least giving it the old Danish try.

Cryptocurrency ad bans are a step in the right direction

Google just banned cryptocurrency and ICO ads, a move that follows Facebook’s decision to do the same. The language is stark: You are no longer allowed to advertise “Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice).”

This is good news.

In the Wild West of crypto things can head in one of two ways. First, the industry can ignore rationality and decorum and pump and dump ICOs all day long until the SEC, the FBI and European authorities shut down every single one. Or, if the industry takes the slow and steady route, builds self-regulatory bodies and avoids scammy pump-and-dump tactics, then perhaps the industry can grow into maturity.

Currently the methods for token sale marketing are ridiculous. Most recently I spotted a token advertisement that featured a scantily clad young lady in a compromising position — all in an effort to see financial instruments. Further, “crypto geniuses” like James Altucher have polluted all of our feeds for the past few months with strange claims and spurious product offerings. Enough is enough.

The sad part is that cryptocurrencies have to become boring before they can work. I always go back to the early days of Linux. There were flame wars, screeds and practitioners of dark FUD. No one could agree if KDE or Gnome was a better desktop environment and woe were you if you picked the wrong one. The world was full of angry, aggressive and passionate people.

Fast-forward a few decades and now those same people are typing softly in cubicles making millions of dollars. Their early zeal, while seemingly silly, paid off. And now Linux is completely boring, a tool programmers use to spin up and down servers in a heartbeat.

Cryptocurrency has to head in this same direction.

Until it is hidden, until it is unclear where the blockchain stops and the rest of the world starts, and until we rid ourselves of the get-rich-quickers and the outright scams, the industry will not rise to the rank it deserves. Fools and their money are soon parted. Google and Facebook are right to do something to protect them.

Hacker group manages to run Linux on a Nintendo Switch


Hacker group fail0verflow shared a photo of a Nintendo Switch running Debian, a distribution of Linux (via Nintendo Life). The group claims that Nintendo can’t fix the vulnerability with future firmware patches.

According to fail0verflow, there’s a flaw in the boot ROM in Nvidia’s Tegra X1 system-on-a-chip. when your console starts, it reads and executes a piece of code stored in a read-only memory (hence the name ROM). This code contains instructions about the booting process.

It means that the boot ROM is stored on the chip when Nvidia manufactures it and it can’t be altered in any way after that. Even if Nintendo issues a software update, this software update won’t affect the boot ROM. And as the console loads the boot ROM immediately after pressing the power button, there’s no way to bypass it.

The only way to fix it would be to manufacture new Nvidia Tegra X1 chips. So it’s possible that Nintendo asks Nvidia to fix the issue so that new consoles don’t have this vulnerability.

fail0verflow also says that you don’t need to install a modification chip to bypass the boot ROM. On the photo, it looks like they plugged something on the right side of the device, where the right Joy-Con is supposed to be.

If fail0verflow decides to share the exploit, it could open up many possibilities when it comes to homebrew software and, yes, pirated games. It could have some financial implications for Nintendo.