An old joke from the Linux community about its prevalence in computing quips that Linux will run on anything, including some animals. While the joke is a little dated, it is true that Linux can run on just about any computing platform with a certain amount of elbow grease. The current exception is the new Apple M1 silicon, although one group called Asahi Linux is currently working to get Linux running on this novel hardware as well.
While the Apple M1 is specifically built to run macOS, there’s no technical reason why Linux couldn’t run on it once all of the kinks are ironed out. This progress report from last month outlines some of the current areas of focus, especially around booting non-Mac kernels. The new Apple silicon runs on an ARM processor and because of this it functions more like an embedded device than a PC with standardized BIOS or UEFI. This means a lot of workarounds to the proprietary boot process have to be created to get a Linux kernel to boot. Luckily there are already versions of Linux that run on ARM so a lot of work has already been done, but there’s still much ahead.
While it’s probably best to buy an x86 machine for the time being if you need a Linux on your own personal machine, it seems like only a matter of time until all of the barriers to Linux are overcome on the M1 silicon. If Linux is able to take advantage of some of the efficiency and performance benefits of these chips, it could be a game-changer in the Linux world and at least give us all another option for hardware. Of course, we will still be needing software that can run on ARM, too.
Thanks to [Mark] for the tip!
If you live somewhere cold, where the rain, snow and slush don’t abate for weeks at a time, you’ve probably dealt with wet boots. On top of the obvious discomfort, this can lead to problems with mold and cause blisters during extended wear. For this reason, boot dryers exist. [mark] had a MaxxDry model that had a timer, but it wasn’t quite working the way he desired. Naturally, it was begging to be hooked up to the Internet of Things.
The brains of the dryer is an ESP32, a solid choice for such a project. With WiFi on board, connecting the device to the internet is a snap. Relays are used to control the fan and heater inside the boot dryer, while MQTT helps make the device controllable remotely. It can be manually switched on and off, or controlled to always switch on at a certain time of the day.
It’s a simple project that shows how easily a device can be Internet controlled with modern hardware. For the price of a cheap devboard and a couple of relays, [mark] now has a more functional dryer, and toasty feet to boot.
We don’t see a lot of boot hacks here, but this magnet-equipped footwear is quite impressive.
The hype around the NES Classic in 2016 was huge, and as expected, units are already selling for excessively high prices on eBay. The console shipped with 30 games pre-installed, primarily first-party releases from Nintendo. But worry not — there’s now a way to add more games to your NES Classic!
Like many a good hack, this one spawned from a forum community. [madmonkey] posted on GBX.ru about their attempts to load extra games into the console. The first step is using the FEL subroutine of the Allwinner SOC’s boot ROM to dump the unit’s flash memory. From there, it’s a matter of using custom tools to inject extra game ROMs before reburning the modified image to the console. The original tool used, named hakchi, requires a Super Mario savegame placed into a particular slot to work properly, though new versions have already surfaced eliminating this requirement.
While this is only a software modification, it does come with several risks. In addition to bricking your console, virus scanners are reporting the tools as potentially dangerous. There is confusion in the community as to whether these are false positives or not. As with anything you find lurking on a forum, your mileage may vary. But if you just have to beat Battletoads for the umpteenth time, load up a VM for the install process and have at it. This Reddit thread (an expansion from the original pastebin instructions) acts as a good starting point for the brave.
Only months after release, the NES Classic is already a fertile breeding ground for hacks — last year we reported on this controller mod and how to install Linux. Video of this ROM injection hack after the break.
Continue reading “How To Add More Games To The NES Classic”
[Winfred] was thinking one day, of how the world would be a different place if everything we owned had little start up and shut down sounds like our computers. Historically computers would just beep after passing their power on self test, and many PC’s still do, but in the 1980’s as machines became more powerful and home users wanted more flexibility in their hardware, startup chimes started to creep into our lives. And why not extend that little moment of joy to other objects, like adding Windows XP startup and shutdown sounds to your motorcycle.
Electronically the bill of materials looks like hobby shop catalog, featuring a Freeduino (Arduino variant), Adafruit wave shield, marine speakers, and a cheap-o mp3 amplifier from ebay. While admittedly not the cheapest way to play an audio clip [Winfred] offers a few suggestions to help drop the 100$ price tag, including just skipping it all together and mimicking the sounds with your voice.
Its a fun idea, its sure to earn some odd looks from his neighbors, and it will probably make you chuckle a little too.
It’s only been a week since the Super Gameboy’s boot ROM was dumped by [Costis] and he’s already at it again. This time he’s managed to grab the Gameboy Color’s boot ROM. He found the newer Gameboy Color’s hardware is able to cope with a clock speed up to 100MHz, so the original clock increase trick he used on the Super Gameboy wouldn’t work again.
Instead he discovered a quick disconnection of clock and power before 0xFF50 would make the Gameboy jump to a random area within the ROM. Then it was only a matter of entropy, luck, and some special NOP instructions until eventually he had the boot ROM. Keep up the good work [Costis].
[Costis] managed to dump a copy of the boot ROM for the Nintendo Super Game Boy. This small piece of code (256 bytes) writes a graphic to the display at boot time as it loads the ROM on the game cartridge. He was able to dump the code by finding the exact point at which the device locks down the boot ROM. Just as that point approached he overclocked the device causing it operate so fast it couldn’t write the lockout bits into the register. Once past that single point of security, he executes a code that writes the boot rom out to a different address that he is able to read from. He’s got a copy of the dump along with the explanation up for your enjoyment.