The Linux Foundation Announces the CHIPS Alliance, Raspberry Pi-Driven Dream Machine, Purism’s Librem 5 Phone to Have Lockdown Mode, Avidemux 2.7.2 Now Available and sway 1.0 Released

News briefs for March 12, 2019.

The Linux Foundation yesterday announced it is forming the CHIPS Alliance project to "host and curate high-quality open source code relevant to the design of silicon devices. CHIPS Alliance will foster a collaborative environment that will enable accelerated creation and deployment of more efficient and flexible chip designs for use in mobile, computing, consumer electronics, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications." According to the press release, Esperanto Technologies, Google, SiFive and Western Digital, are all early backers of the CHIPS Alliance, and all are "committed to both open source hardware and continued momentum behind the free and open RISC-V architecture."

The Dream Machine is a Raspberry Pi-driven vending machine recently launched by FOODBEAST and Nissin. RaspberryPi.org reports that the Dream Machine "retrofit vending machine" is part of a digital viral marketing campaign", and it "dispenses ramen noodles, video games, and swag in exchange for the use of an Instagram hashtag". So far, the Dream Machines have appeared in Torrance, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Purism announces that along with three kill switches, Librem 5 smartphone also will have a new feature called "Lockdown Mode". As far as the kill switches, one is for cameras and microphone, one for WiFi and Bluetooth, and one for cellular baseband. Lockdown Mode goes further and "extends our normal kill switches to provide even more security and privacy". Purism's Chief Security Officer Kyle Rankin writes, "When in Lockdown Mode, in addition to powering off the cameras, microphone, WiFi, Bluetooth and cellular baseband we also cut power to GNSS, IMU, and ambient light and proximity sensors. Lockdown Mode leaves you with a perfectly usable portable computer, just with all tracking sensors and other hardware disabled. If you switch any of the hardware kill switches back on, the hardware that corresponds to that switch powers on along with GNSS, IMU, and ambient light and proximity sensors."

Avidemux 2.7.2 was released yesterday. This version of the video editor includes new demuxers and encoders, as well as the usual bugfixes. See also the UbuntuHandbook post for links to downloads and more install information.

sway 1.0 was released yesterday. This marks the first stable release of sway, and "represents a consistent, flexible, and powerful desktop environment for Linux and FreeBSD". Creator Drew DeVault writes, "Sway 1.0 adds a huge variety of features which were sorely missed on 0.x, improves performance in every respect, offers a more faithful implementation of Wayland, and exists as a positive political force in the Wayland ecosystem pushing for standardization and cooperation among Wayland projects." The GitHub page for sway 1.0 is here.