Quick newsworthy item related to coreboot, which I wanted to mention a lot earlier, but then forgot about it: Silicon Mechanics is shipping their Rackform nServ A236 with coreboot pre-installed if so desired by the customer.
From the coreboot News page:
Chris Watson at Silicon Mechanics says: "We will commit to offering coreboot preinstallation on the Rackform nServ A236 with a specific set of hardware and software. In the future, we may expand the program to additional platforms based on customer interest."
The A236 is a nice 1U server with 4 drive bays and a dual Opteron board (Supermicro H8DMR), which is supported in coreboot v2.
Nice to see more and more vendors shipping their products with coreboot pre-installed...
You might remember that I wrote a blog entry about my switch to the green electric utility "Lichblick" (Germany) a while ago. I did that purely out of environmental reasons, I didn't want to continue to waste money on polluting and/or dangerous crap such as fossil or nuclear power. Yes, even if that meant a slightly higher price (but I really didn't compare prices much before switching — I was after an environmentally clean solution, not the cheapest solution).
Quick status update: the switch went really nice and easy, no downtimes, no hassle. I've been a happy customer for more than 8 months now.
Today in my snail mail inbox: a letter from Lichtblick that they're going to reduce the price per kWh from 20.25 to 19.99 (Euro) cents starting July 1st and they give you a guarantee that there won't be any price raises before the end of 2009 (more details also here). Now, that's a positive surprise there.
Compare that to 98% of all other energy providers in Germany who have lately increased prices quite a lot for very obscure or non-existant reasons.
Yes, I do realize that the reduced costs are not that dramatic, and Lichtblick is using this as a means to impress people and gain new customers. But I fully support them in doing so, the more people are switching to a green energy provider the better, if you ask me. I encourage everyone to consider switching, either to Lichtblick, or some of their competitors (in Germany) e.g. Greenpeace energy, Elektrizitätswerke Schönau, or Naturstrom AG. There are various alternatives in other countries too, of course.
You might have already heard of it — the new Nine Inch Nails album "The Slip" has been released by them under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 US license. Yep, that's right, it's totally legal to download it from the web — and use it for any non-commercial purposes!
It's a bit annoying that they want your email address, though. Nothing that bugmenot.com (or similar) cannot fix, but still. Luckily, the files are now also available from archive.org! This, and the fact that the music is CC-licensed allowed me to "play" one of the songs in my Creative Commons music podcast (RSS), and more will likely follow.
There are situations where you might want to redirect some audio you're playing on your local computer to another computer's speakers, potentially in a different room, or even anywhere on the Internet.
One of many possibilities to do that is to use the Enlightened Sound Daemon (EsoundD, or esd). It ships with a program called esddsp (apt-get install esound-clients) which can redirect various audio sources.
First, you have to start the esd daemon on a console on the remote host (the one which should output the audio on some speaker, for example 192.168.0.xxx) e.g. like this:
$ esd -public -nobeeps -tcp
You can do this as regular user (no need to be root) if you have the proper permissions. You also need to allow connections on port 16001 in your firewall settings. Then you can redirect audio to that daemon from another computer. In this example I'm redirecting some music using various players:
$ esddsp -s 192.168.0.xxx:16001 mpg321 -o esd foo.mp3 $ esddsp -s 192.168.0.xxx:16001 mplayer -ao esd foo.mp3 $ esddsp -s 192.168.0.xxx:16001 ogg123 -d esd foo.ogg
This also works fine for videos, in which case you can redirect the audio (but not video):
$ esddsp -s 192.168.0.xxx:16001 mplayer -ao esd foo.mp4
For the video player Miro, I've recently documented this in the Debian package's README.Debian file. Basically you have to edit ~/.xine/config and enable audio.driver:esd there, then start Miro with
$ esddsp -s 192.168.0.xxx:16001 miro
Audio will be emitted on the remote host, video remains on your local PC.
Some programs may also support esd natively, in which case esddsp is not required, e.g.
$ ogg123 -d esd -o host:192.168.0.14:16001 foo.ogg
The coreboot project (previously known as LinuxBIOS) is taking part in the Google Summer of Code™ 2008 program. This year, the project has been assigned two slots/students who will work on the following projects:
This project aims to integrate into the coreboot BIOS a payload consisting of a minimalist KVM-aware Linux kernel along with an initrd image that contains the tools needed for creating and starting guest virtual machines installed on top of it. The resulting system could host any x86(or x86-64) OS that can run over KVM (almost any major OS does), and there is a great challenge to make it as small as possible, so that it can fit in a 2MB flash image.
Currently coreboot can not boot from an arbitrary SCSI controller. There are two solutions for the problem: (1) Use Linux and Kexec. This requires to keep the SCSI driver in the flash chip. (2) Use x86emu/vm86/ADLO and the int13 method. This would allow to use the PCI option rom available on all modern SCSI controllers. So we obviously need a solution based on the latter. This could as well be implemented as a Linux program, as an intermediate payload, or as a shared library. At this point of time, I would like to implemente it as a daemon program. The program needs to catch the int13 interrupt vector that the SCSI option rom installs and make it available to arbitrary (firmware/payload) code trying to load something from disk.
This should make for an interesting summer with nice improvements for coreboot.