Linux User & Developer, Issue 147

Linux User & Developer Issue 147This month’s Linux User & Developer magazine includes my review of a device I’ve been wanting to play with ever since I first interviewed its creator, Andreas Olofsson: the Adapteva Parallella.

I was introduced to the Parallella project way back in November 2012, when I interviewed Olofsson ahead of the launch of a Kickstarter campaign to create a low-cost development board for his company’s many-core tile-based Epiphany chip architecture. The promise: a single-board computer boasting a dual-core ARM processor, user-accessible field-programmable gate array (FPGA) and a 16- or 64-core Epiphany co-processor for the bargain-basement sum of $99. The Kickstarter campaign ended its run successfully, and the boards were produced – but there was a long delay between the Kickstarter production run and general availability, and a further delay before the boards became available in the UK.

Thanks to RS Components’ UK arm, availability is a solved issue. While the price of the boards might have increased – the attention-grabbing $99 price having proved unsustainable – the specifications remains the same, with 16-core Epiphany-III boards available now and 64-core Epiphany-IV boards just around the corner. For the Linux user, the magazine’s target audience, they’re tempting indeed: low-power enough to run on battery, a Parallella has the grunt to handle even complex tasks like machine vision but lacks readily-available software written for the Epiphany architecture. With partial OpenCL compatibility, it’s relatively straightforward to get parallelisable code running on the co-processor – and while optimisation is a harder task, the board is nevertheless tempting for anyone familiar with OpenCL and other multi-threading interfaces.

As to whether the Parallella is worth the asking price, you’ll have to buy the magazine to find out – and if you do, you’ll also be treated to my usual four pages of news from the world of open source, open hardware, open governance and open-anything-else-that-catches-my-eye.

Linux User & Developer Issue 147 is available at all god newsagents and most bad ones, supermarkets, or electronically via Zinio and similar services now. As always, the content in this issue will be republished in a French translation as Inside Linux in the coming months.

Linux User & Developer, Issue 113

Linux User & Developer, Issue 113This month’s Linux User & Developer magazine features another review of the Raspberry Pi, this time from a somewhat different perspective to the one featured on Dennis Publishing’s Bit-Tech website.

As with my previous review, I looked at the functionality of both the hardware and available software for the Pi – but, restricted to just two pages in the print edition, the Linux User version is sadly lacking in extras like the popular overclocking section.

Nevertheless, I’m confident that the review covers the key features potential buyers – when supply issues are finally sorted – will be looking for, and addresses the questions that Linux User’s readership will likely have.

The review was published on the Linux User & Developer website ahead of its publication in the magazine, rapidly becoming the most-read item on the website and gathering plenty of comments from readers and contributors to the Raspberry Pi’s software base.

Unfortunately, due to impending deadlines on a certain secretive project, there’s no group test from me this month – nor will there be one next month. Once the aforementioned project is out of the way, however, things should be back to normal.

Linux User & Developer Magazine is in shops now, and also available from the Zinio website at a substantial discount.