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First Steps with Google SkyWater PDK – Free Open Source Silicon for Everyone

For a while now Google has been collaborating with SkyWater Technology to create what many refer to as free and open source silicon (FOSSi). The project gained traction in 2020 and is continuing to gain momentum.
The proclaimed goal is to bring chip design to the masses and enable everyone from academia, industry and makers to create their own computer chips. If this plan succeeds it would mean a considerable shift in the chip industry which traditionally is very secretive and dominated by just a few big corporations and their partners, connected by a opaque web of interdependencies. (Surely Google counts as the underdog in comparison *cough*)

Installation and Configuration of MiniDLNA/ReadyMedia

This is a very brief article or rather a reminder to myself, about how to install MiniDLNA on Ubuntu Server 20.04. I always knew this piece of software by it’s old name MiniDLNA, but apparently it was renamed and is now called ReadyMedia. There don’t seem to be many changes below the hood though.

MiniDLNA is a light-weight media server using the DLNA protocol. Through MiniDLNA a library of media files is created which allows a user to very conveniently browse through the files and start audio and video playback. Most SmartTVs and Android phones support DLNA out of the box.

Connect Wireguard after Boot

It is sometimes desirable to bring a Wireguard interface up each time the system boots. Using wg-quick it is dead easy to create a service which takes care of the required steps. In case wg0 is already up and running, it must be taken down before the service can start successfully.

$> sudo systemctl enable wg-quick@wg0.service
$> sudo systemctl daemon-reload
$> sudo wg-quick down wg0
$> sudo systemctl start wg-quick@wg0

References:

Make Samba Share Appear in Windows 10 Network View

Since Windows 10 version 1709 (“Fall Creators Update”) neither SMB1 nor NetBios device discovery is supported anymore.
Due to this change a Samba share which is hosted on a Linux machine may no longer show up in the Network view of Windows Explorer.
Although the Samba share can still be reached by it’s hostname or IP address (and share name) this is a slight inconvenience.

Luckily there is a small Python tool called wsdd which provides a Web Service Discovery (host) daemon. What follows is a short guide on how to install and use wsdd on Ubuntu Server 20.04 (works similar for other Debian based distributions).

Setting up Wireguard on Ubuntu

Wireguard is a modern VPN protocol allowing secure and confidential communication between a network of peers. Wireguard is based on the concept of private-public key cryptography and a number of other modern cryptographic algorithms. Have a look at the wireguard white paper for more details.

Wireguard Requirements

Since Linux kernel version 5.6 (late March 2020) wireguard is an integral part of the Linux kernel. That means Linux distributions using a kernel >= 5.6 do not need to install any additional packages in order to support wireguard.

Writing and Understanding RISC-V Assembly Code

For quite a while I have followed the RISC-V ISA with growing intereset. Now that RISC-V is becoming more and more popular and catching a lot of public attention, it is time to get my hands dirty with some low level RISC-V assembly coding.

First Steps with the iCEBreaker FPGA Development Board

The iCEBreaker board is the first FPGA development board with a fully open-source toolchain, which allows to go all the way from HDL code to configuration bitstream. All the schematics and hardware information is openly available at no extra cost.

First Steps with the Longan Nano RISC-V Development Board

The Longan Nano is a new contestor in the area of affordable RISC-V development boards. The Longan Nano’s form factor and price puts it up against the Arduino Nano and all other varieties of STM32-based “nano boards”, which can be found abundantly on Ebay and AliExpress.

Undelete Files with SnapRAID

Today I accidentally deleted a whole folder of important documents on my OpenMediaVault(OMV) NAS, while doing some cleaning up.
Of course I would have a backup of the folder on an external hard-drive, but this was the perfect opportunity to test SnapRAID.

Getting Started with GHDL

If you haven’t heard of GHDL, it is *the* free open-source VHDL simulator out there.
GHDL stand for “G Hardware Description Language” (the G is without meaning). GHDL is mainly implemented in Ada and can be build with different backends: mcode, LLVM and GCC. The different backends provide different performance levels and vary in build complexity. I recommend LLVM since it performs well and is still quite straight forward to build. Building GHDL from latest sources from its github project is probably the best way to go.

Despite its free nature GHDL provides very good support for all major VHDL-LRM releases: VHDL-1987/1993/200X/2008(partial). Unfortunately GHDL is a pure VHDL simulator, so there is no support for Verilog at all. This is understandable as there are already some very good simulators for Verilog out there.

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