My last post on LinuxGizmos






This is my final LinuxGizmos story after nine years as an editor and managing editor. But LG lives.

I started at LinuxGizmos shortly after Rick Lehrbaum launched the site in early 2013. In 2018 he sold LinuxGizmos to KCK Media Corp., who did an admirable job of supporting Rick’s tradition of reporting news about embedded Linux in a simple and unbiased style. (Sometimes causing snoring, but that’s it for me.)


tuxedo

I want to thank KC Prescott, publisher of KCK Media, and Jeff Child, editor of Circuit Cellar and LinuxGizmos, for keeping the LinuxGizmos good ship cruising for the past four years. (And so did Rick, who did some back-end consulting.) I appreciate the editorial freedom I’ve been given and the willingness to support the site’s strict separation of editorial and advertising.

LinuxGizmos will remain in good hands with the new editor, Giorgio Mendoza. Giorgio holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Florida, unlike the publisher’s previous bachelor’s degree in English. He worked as an applications engineer at Renesas Electronics on portable battery-powered devices and developed integrated security solutions for ADI. He has experience in embedded programming for Linux devices and is passionate about embedded systems, robotics and open source software.

As you can read in the link above, LinuxGizmos is a reboot of LinuxDevices, which Rick launched in October 1999, shortly after earning the nickname “father of the PC/104” in his early days by co-founding Ampro Computers and helping to launch the embedded computing industry. In Lehrbaum’s December 2013 LinuxDevices retrospective, when he announced that he had restored the LinuxDevices archive after nearly two years of downtime, he wrote of the 1999 launch: “Few people had heard of Linux outside of the tech community, and far fewer knew it was beginning to be integrated into consumer and industrial devices.

Lehrbaum hired me at LinuxDevices as a journalist in 2007 shortly before selling the publication to Ziff Davis Enterprise. For the next two years I worked with Jonathan Angel under Henry Kingman who stayed on until 2009. Jon and I stayed on until the site was acquired and closed by QuinStreet in February 2012 with most ZDE releases.


Sergei Brin and Larry Page
when launching Android

In its later years, LinuxDevices followed the evolution of Linux into mobile devices. I was there in New York in 2008 when Larry Page and Sergey Brin took the stage to announce the HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1), the first Linux-based Android phone. In the years that followed, I reported on the evolution of Android phones and tablets, as well as Linux open-source phone competitors such as OpenMoko.

There were also Linux tablets and netbooks running Meego, consumer electronics running Tizen, and the first ChromeOS laptops, all Linux-based. We’ve also covered compute modules, printed circuit boards, and industrial computers, as we do today, as well as robots, signaling systems, drones, and more. At the time, many of these systems were limited to Windows or RTOS. Yet year after year, Linux has gained significant market share on just about every platform except the desktop.

With the launch of LinuxGizmos in 2013, we increasingly moved away from Android phones and consumer electronics phones to focus more on developers. The Raspberry Pi had launched the previous year and the BeagleBone in 2014, and our coverage has increasingly focused on open, community-supported hardware SBCs. Commercial products were still our bread and butter, as they are today, mainly because there are so many more of them. However, our readers flocked to the open source forums.


Raspberry pie
Model B

We started bundling community-supported SBCs into our first maker board catalog in 2014 in conjunction with Linux.com, and we’ve maintained it to this day. Our latest catalog of 136 Linux Hacker Cards released in January contains links to every catalog we have published.

We were so in love with community supported boards that we briefly changed our name to HackerBoards.com. We changed when we discovered that our readers and advertisers liked the focus on Linux. It was also difficult to keep track of all Arduinos and other non-Linux RTOS boards while maintaining a solid database of embedded Linux products. Our publication’s database focus and incessant links to other similar products have been our main differentiators from other sites, along with our editorial independence and relative lack of marketing talk.


Ingenuity

Whenever I got tired of writing about one more computer or COM Express module, there were always plenty of exciting new technologies to interest me. In addition to hack maps, there were robots and drones, including this amazing Linux-driven Ingenuity drone on Mars. We’ve sometimes covered software-defined radio, autonomous submarines, and self-driving cars, and we’ve spent a lot of time on the rise of the Internet of Things. More recently, the story has been edge AI and RISC-V, which brought the magic of open-source Linux to the processor realm.

I will continue to follow the world of embedded Linux, but perhaps not at the granular level that I do now. It’s time for a change, and I’m starting with a long vacation. It’s been a fun ride and I wish LinuxGizmos the best moving forward. — Eric Brown

About Jon Moses

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