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System76 is Developing a New Keyboard

System76 (http://www.system76.com/) is famous for designing and developing some of the most powerful Linux-based computers on the planet. Never one to rest on reputation, System76 is constantly innovating. This time around, they are focusing their efforts on improving a device we all take for granted – the keyboard.

This new keyboard is being designed with Linux and Linux users in mind. In fact, according to Carl Richell, CEO of System76, "Auto tiling in our upcoming Pop!_OS 20.04 release is designed to work extremely well with this keyboard, and I think that people are going to really respond to it…" This new keyboard will make typing much more comfortable. For instance, the keypad has been completely removed, so the mouse can be moved closer to where your hands rest.

Another change to the standard keyboard design is that the spacebar has been significantly reduced. Of this change, Richell says "we've found that spacebars typically, for example, are way too long, which means your strongest digit, your thumb, isn't very useful." To that end, the layout will drastically change.

This keyboard will also be highly configurable. The entire keyboard consists of keys that are only three different sizes. That means you will be able to swap them out to create a custom layout perfectly suited for your needs.

System76 hopes to bring this new ground-breaking keyboard to market late summer, 2020.

Original source: https://blog.system76.com/post/612874398967513088/making-a-keyboard-the-system76-approach

Embedded Linux Joins the Fight Against COVID-19

There are new devices on the market, working with embedded Linux, to help combat the growing pandemic. One such device is the Kogniz Health Cam (https://www.kogniz.com/health), a camera that can scan groups of people walking through an entrance and check for temperatures from 16 feet away. Another similar device is the Raspberry Pi-based FluSense (https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/flusense-takes-on-covid-19-with-raspberry-pi/), which uses machine learning to detect coughing and crowd size and analyze the data to monitor flu-like symptoms. Both devices are capable of leveraging Linux to aid in the battle against COVID-19.

In fact, there are a number of open source projects that are working for this cause. For instance, Chai's Linux-driven BeagleBone-based Open qPCR (https://www.chaibio.com/openqpcr) is a Coronavirus Environmental Testing Kit which can test surfaces for COVID-19 from swab samples.

Another project is Opentrons (https://opentrons.com/) lab automation platform which is currently being adapted for COVID-19 testing on humans. Because Opentrons have open sourced their devices, the specs and code for the apps, protocols, and hardware are publicly available (https://github.com/Opentrons).

There are also two open source projects dedicated to solving the ventilator problem. The first is OpenLung BVM Ventilator (https://gitlab.com/open-source-ventilator/ventilator/OpenLung). This is an open collaboration between OpenLung and OpenSourceVentilator to produce a low resource, quick deployment ventilator design that utilizes a bag valve mask as its core component. The second is the Open Source Ventilator Project (https://simulation.health.ufl.edu/technology-development/open-source-ventilator-project/), created to address the predicated ventilator shortage. For this project, you can download the specs for all the modules and grab the source from Github (https://github.com/CSSALTlab/Open_Source_Ventilator).

AWS Launches a New Linux Distribution

Amazon's cloud platform (AWS) has created and released a new distribution of Linux aimed at container deployments for bare metal and virtual machines. The new operating system, Bottlerocket (https://aws.amazon.com/bottlerocket/), is still in the developer review phase, but can be tested as an Amazon Image Machine for EC2.

This purpose-built Linux distribution supports all images that follow the Open Container Initiative (https://www.opencontainers.org/) image format (such as Docker images) and uses a read-only file system for security and integrity. To further bolster the security of the platform, SSH access is discouraged and only available through the Bottlerocket admin container tool (https://github.com/bottlerocket-os/bottlerocket-admin-container).

Bottlerocket shrugs off the standard update process in favor of automatic image-based updates by way of an orchestration service, such as Amazon EKS. The single step update process reduces management overhead and improves uptime for container applications by minimizing update failures and enabling easy rollbacks.

The Bottlerocket OS offers much-improved resource usages because it contains only the essential applications and services to run containers. This means Bottlerocket is a purpose-built platform and not intended for general usage.

Once Bottlerocket has been released for general usage, it will be supported for three years. Already, Bottlerocket has a number of interested partners, such as Alcide, Armory, CrowdStrike, Datadog, New Relic Sysdig, Tigera, Trend Micro, and Waveworks.

Original announcement: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/bottlerocket-open-source-os-for-container-hosting/

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