Open source news roundup for June  5 - 11, 2016

Raspberry Pi on big list of single-board computers, new router chips to comply with FCC rules, and more news

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In this week's edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look at open hardware on big list of 81 single-board computers, new router chips to comply with FCC rules, and more.

Open source news roundup for June  5 - 11, 2016

Raspberry Pi, Arduino, BeagleBone on list of 81 open hardware boards

I love my Raspberry Pi's and have done a number of fun things with them, including getting some quality time with my grandkids and building a firewall. But the Raspberry Pi is not the only Linux-friendly hacker board out there—not by a long shot.

The folks at have put together an amazing list of 81 single-board computers for under $200. Their list has boards I had never heard of along with all of the usual Arduino, BeagleBone, Raspberry Pi, Bannana Pi, and others. If you are trying to find that perfect board for your project, this is the place to start your search.

New router chips to comply with FCC rules

New FCC rules require wireless router manufacturers to prevent third-party firmware such as OpenWrt and DD-WRT from altering the router radio frequencies in such a manner that it would interfere with other devices. Most router companies have been locking down their routers in response to the new rule.

The chip design company Imagination Technologies has a different idea. They are partnering with open source software makers to use virtual machines in wireless routers in a way that prevents the installed firmware from direct access to the radio frequency controls. This would satisfy the FCC requirements. There is still work to do, but the company has demonstrated the concept and is confident of having a complete design within a year.

Linux leader touts potential of 'The Machine'

Hewlett Packard Enterprise's (HPE) Bdale Garbee, an HPE Fellow and an open source leader on the advisory board of the Linux Foundation, recently discussed the announcement that it is open sourcing The Machine. "As someone who has been an open source guy for a really long time I am immensely excited. It represents a really different way of thinking about engagement with the open source world much earlier in the life cycle of a corporate research and development initiative than anything I have ever been near in the past," said Garbee. Garbee also said, "Linux is the primary operating system that we are targeting with The Machine."

In describing The Machine, the HPE Machine website says, "The Machine puts the data first. Instead of processors, we put memory at the core of what we call 'Memory-Driven Computing.' Memory-Driven Computing collapses the memory and storage into one vast pool of memory called universal memory. To connect the memory and processing power, we're using advanced photonic fabric. Using light instead of electricity is key to rapidly accessing any part of the massive memory pool while using much less energy."

Mozilla launches Secure Open Source (SOS) Fund

Security exploits like Heartbleed and Shellshock have raised awareness of the lack of support for tiny teams—and sometimes a single person—that maintain some of the most critical open source software that is used nearly everywhere. Although open source software is theoretically much more secure than closed source due to the fact that many people can review it for errors, in many cases that review does not occur because everyone either thinks, "someone else will do it," or because the software's function is so deeply embedded in the infrastructure there is no one who even thinks about it or realizes it is there.

In an effort to improve this situation and prevent further security bugs in critical infrastructure software, Mozilla has created the Secure Open Source ('SOS') Fund that is intended to rectify the problem. Chris Riley, Head of Public Policy, Mozilla says, "The SOS Fund will provide security auditing, remediation, and verification for key open source software projects. The Fund is part of the Mozilla Open Source Support program (MOSS) and has been allocated $500,000 in initial funding, which will cover audits of some widely-used open source libraries and programs. But we hope this is only the beginning. We want to see the numerous companies and governments that use open source join us and provide additional financial support. We challenge these beneficiaries of open source to pay it forward and help secure the Internet."

The fund will focus on three areas. 

  • Mozilla will contract with and pay professional security firms to audit other projects' code;
  • Mozilla will work with the project maintainer(s) to support and implement fixes, and to manage disclosure;
  • Mozilla will pay for the remediation work to be verified, to ensure any identified bugs have been fixed.

In other news

Thanks, as always, to staff members and moderators for their help this week. Make sure to check out our event calendar, to see what's happening next week in open source.


About the author

David Both - David Both is an Open Source Software and GNU/Linux advocate, trainer, writer, and speaker who lives in Raleigh North Carolina. He is a strong proponent of and evangelist for the "Linux Philosophy." David has been in the IT industry for nearly 50 years. He has taught RHCE classes for Red Hat and has worked at MCI Worldcom, Cisco, and the State of North Carolina. He has been working with Linux and Open Source Software for over 20 years. David prefers to purchase the components and build his...