Circumference: OpenStack Progress with Network Booting

Circumference is a miniaturised datacentre-in-a-box, complete with programmable power distribution and sequencing, instrumentation, cooling, networking, and a switchable remote console — all packaged in custom-designed desktop enclosures which eliminate cable clutter and give you complete control over the hardware inside.

Chris Dent has a blog post about netbooting the Circumference.


In my previous posting on the Circumference I said that I wanted to get the eight Raspberry Pi nodes to netboot from the front end processor so I could more easily manage the nodes on which I wanted to install nova-compute. This post provides a very quick update on those explorations. Newer Pi 3 B have firmware that can allow them to netboot without any SD card in place, but it requires a fair bit of set up. I was struggling to make headway, never seeing bootpc packets from the nodes. Turns out a newer firmware is needed. Andrew Back, from Ground Electronics the company building the Circumference, pointed to a useful cookbook blog post, Network Booting a Raspberry Pi 3 from an Ubuntu Server, that includes pointers to the new firmware. That got me a bit further. I’m now able to see some nodes, sometimes choosing to send bootpc packets and otherwise talking to the network.[…]




Crowdsupply: NeTV2 second and third stretch goal update

Re: https://firmwaresecurity.com/2018/05/13/bunnie-launches-netv2-open-source-video-dev-board-on-crowdsupply/



CrowdSupply: SPIDriver: A better SPI adapter


SPIDriver is an easy-to-use tool for controlling SPI devices. It works with Windows, Mac and Linux, and has a built in color screen that shows a live logic-analyzer display of all SPI traffic. It uses a standard FTDI USB serial chip to talk to the PC, so no special drivers need to be installed. The board includes 3.3 and 5V supplies with voltage and current monitoring.


bunnie launches NeTV2, open source video dev board, on CrowdSupply




May in Portland: Teardown: new hardware conference by CrowdSupply

[…] You can think of Teardown as live-action Crowd Supply, but with fewer cardboard boxes and packing peanuts. We’ll be bringing together hardware aficionados from around the world to celebrate, inspect, create, and, of course, tear down hardware. There will be long-time Crowd Supply creators and backers, as well as people we’re meeting for the first time. There will be hardware, art, food, drink, puzzles, workshops, tutorials, talks, music, field trips, and friends. Most of all, there will be ideas and projects to explore and inspire.[…]



FSF: back the Raptor Talos Secure Workstation

A message from Donald Robertson of the Free Software Foundation, quoted verbatim:

Support the Talos Secure Workstation by January 14th Raptor Computing Systems is crowdfunding on Crowd Supply to produce, from the ground up, a high-powered computer with no proprietary software or firmware blobs called the Talos Secure Workstation. The project’s decision to raise funds via [Crowd Supply][0] means that you can support their work with anonymous payments, and without the use of [proprietary JavaScript][1]. We wrote about this project previously, and encouraged people to [voice their support][2]. While there are several companies that offer refurbished computers that have been freed to [Respect Your Freedom][3], the Talos Secure Workstation will be built from its inception with freedom in mind. But in order for that to happen, the project needs your help to meet their fund raising goal. The project has set a crowdfunding goal of $3.7 million and still has a ways to go to reach that mark. It may seem like they are asking for a lot of money, but relative to the scope of what the folks at Raptor Computing are trying to accomplish, it is a small amount. As Raptor Computing Systems Senior Electrical Engineer Timothy Pearson explained:

‘Large, complex systems such as Talos require minimum order quantities to be met for the component parts in use, in addition to R&D expenditure for prototyping, validation, and conformance testing. We have set the goal at the minimum level required to ensure that we can not only design the Talos systems, but also purchase the parts needed to manufacture these complex machines.’

They need every dollar they can get to make this system a reality. It is a difficult goal, but also one that is critical for the future of free computing. As they note in their explanation[4] of the problem:

‘As of this writing, all currently manufactured, low- to mid-range and higher x86 devices, with the exception of two obsolete AMD CPUs, incorporate a security processor that is cryptographically signed, updateable, unauditable, and for which no source code or documentation has been made public. Worse, these security processors must load and continually execute this signed firmware for the system to either be brought online (AMD) or for it to remain operational (Intel).’

If we want a future in which we can continue to have fully free systems that run only free software, we have to build that future ourselves. The Talos Secure Workstation is a proposed system to help secure that future. Their plans are to create a device that will meet the criteria for [Respects Your Freedom][3] certification, but in order for their plans to come to fruition, they need your help. You can support their work by backing the project via their [crowdfunding page][0], or even better, by purchasing a mainboard andaccessory package. Every little bit counts. Will you help support the future of free computing?

[0]: https://www.crowdsupply.com/raptor-computing-systems/talos-secure-workstation
[1]: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/javascript-trap.en.html
[2]: https://www.fsf.org/blogs/licensing/interested-in-a-powerful-free-software-friendly-workstation
[3]: https://www.fsf.org/resources/hw/endorsement/respects-your-freedom
[4]: https://www.crowdsupply.com/raptor-computing-systems/talos-secure-workstation/updates/a-word-on-lockdown