Nintendo’s NES Classic Edition runs Linux

Also in today’s open source roundup: DistroWatch reviews FreeBSD 11.0, and 5 Linux terminal commands every new user should know

Nintendo’s NES Classic Edition runs Linux
Credit: JCD1981NL

NES Classic Edition runs Linux

Nintendo’s NES Classic Edition is a mini version of the original NES released back in 1985. It sells for $59.99 and it turns out that it runs Linux. Yes, Nintendo is apparently using Linux in its new retro videogame console.

Joey-Elijah Sneddon reports for OMG Ubuntu:

It’s cute, cheap and comes with 30 NES games pre-loaded. You also get everything you need right in the box, including a control pad and a HDMI cable.

The NES Classic is the nostalgic must-have for gamers of a certain age this xmas, especially for those who grew up gaming on the console but no longer have the space, patience or money to have the real deal.

The NES Mini is built around a (rather typical) Allwinner single-board computer with a quad-core ARM Cortex-A7, 256 MB of RAM, and 512 MB of NAND Flash.

The NES Mini appears to run on Linux, too. All the requisite open-source licensing information pertaining to this is accessible from the console’s in-game help menu (but is not yet on Nintendo’s Open Source webpage).

More at OMG Ubbuntu

There’s a great YouTube video of the NES Classic Edition in action that shows you the open source information on the system’s legal notices menu. The video will also show you what some of the games look like in action including Kid Icarus, Ghosts and Goblins and others.

From what I saw in the video, Nintendo has done a terrific job in bringing its classic NES games alive again for games of all ages. The NES Classic Edition should be a big seller for Christmas gift buyers.

Here's the video:

Reviews of the NES Classic Edition have started to come in from around the web, here are some you should read if you are thinking about buying one:

Digital Trends: The NES Classic Edition is a $60 ticket back to your childhood

GameSpot: Now you’re playing with power (again)

Gizmodo: The NES Classic Edition Is Everything You Want It to Be

Destructoid: Play with power…again

The Verge: The NES Classic Edition is dead simple — and that’s why it’s great

CNet: Mini NES Classic is your childhood in a brilliant little box

IGN: Nintendo’s wee console is lovely, but its painfully short controller limits how you can play it

Many gamers are looking forward to the release of the Nintendo NES Classic Edition and some of them shared their thoughts on a thread in the Nintendo subreddit:

Dicethrower: “I really hope they come out with a classic SNES too.”

Goldcobra: “Considering the name is Nintendo Classic Mini: NES, I’d expect there to be other Nintendo Classic Mini’s in the future, and the SNES would be an obvious choice for Nintendo.”

WorkPlaceWatcher: “The hardware that the Classic Mini: NES has is actually more powerful than the New 3DS and the Wii, so it has power to spare. So Nintendo could have bought up a lot of these boards to reduce manufacturing costs and could use the same hardware in a SNES classic.

Some folks have even said it’s powerful enough for N64 emulation, too.”

FalconsFever: “I just wish that they didn’t pull that stupid move of only having a 2.5 foot corded controller.”

NefariousJoe: “Are you telling me that sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the tv is the part of the 80s gaming experience you don’t want to replicate?”

Biggie101: “If nothing else, this will be perfect for playing at my Computer!”

YAOMTC: “The button to take you back to the home menu is on the console, rather than the controller, so they didn’t want the console to be too far away. It would’ve made more practical sense to put it on the controller, but I guess they didn’t want to change its design at all. Besides the cord. ”

Aitrus233: “As a guy with a Wii and Wii U already full of every NES game I want, not to mention emulators, I still kinda want this. It’d be pretty sweet for parties to just bring an entire mini NES that has a chunk of games already on it, and in an easier to manage package. With the Wii and Wii U, I’m bringing Wiimotes, the Game Pad screen, and Classic Controllers. With this, it’s a pretty tiny system - I think smaller than a Wii - with just two controllers.”

Ki700: “Knowing Nintendo’s recent history of stocking items in high demand, I wouldn’t wait to pick one up. I’m going an hour before my EB Games opens because I’m not willing to miss out on this.

A good example is the GameCube adapter for the Wii U. They didn’t make nearly enough, so they sold out in something like 15 minutes. Nintendo then took way too long to restock them, and then they yet again sold out in minutes. Don’t try your luck with this, just get one on Friday.”

Dannygno2: “They really knocked it out of the park with the packaging, looks super retro.”

More at Reddit

DistroWatch reviews FreeBSD 11.0

Linux is not the only game in town when it comes to open source computer operating systems. FreeBSD is also a viable option for certain users, and now DistroWatch has a full review of FreeBSD 11.0.

Jesse Smith reports for DistroWatch:

There were definitely some attractive features in FreeBSD 11.0. I especially enjoyed the changes to the system installer. The ability to set up UFS and ZFS through a series of guided steps was a welcome feature. I also really appreciate that the installer will allow us to enable certain security features like PID randomization and hiding the processes of other users. Linux distributions allow the administrator to set these options, but they often require digging through documentation and setting cryptic variables from the command line. FreeBSD makes enabling these features as straight forward as checking a box during the initial installation.

I also like how pkg has progressed. I think it has become faster in the past year or two and handled dependencies better than it did when the new package manager was introduced. In addition, FreeBSD’s documentation is as good as ever, though I feel it has become more scattered. There were times I would find what I wanted in the Handbook, but other times I had to switch to the wiki or dig through a man page. The information is out there, but it can take some searching to find.

Perhaps my biggest concern though while using FreeBSD 11.0 was that I could not update the base operating system, meaning it would be difficult to keep the system patched against security updates. Even once I had manually created a /boot directory to fix the boot environment creation issue, freebsd-update and freebsd-version continued to fail to detect the running kernel. This leaves the system vulnerable and means our best chance for keeping up with security updates is to manually install them from source code, not an ideal situation.

ll in all, FreeBSD 11.0 does have some interesting new features, but it also has several bugs which make me want to hold off on using the operating system until a point release has been made available to fix the existing issues.

More at DistroWatch

5 Linux terminal commands every new user should know

The terminal in Linux is an incredibly powerful tool, but it can also be quite daunting to newcomers. Fortunately, PCWorld has a helpful overview of 5 terminal commands that every new Linux user should know.

Alex Campbell reports for PCWorld:

I’m a big fan of the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion. One of the quotes from it that stands out in my head is, “Man fears the darkness, and so he scrapes away at the edges of it with fire.” For newcomers to the world of Linux, the black screen of the terminal can seem like a deep, foreboding darkness, which is desperately replaced by a GUI whenever possible. It doesn’t have to be that way.

A graphical user interface makes modern computing more enjoyable and easier to use the majority of the time. After all, placing an Amazon order using a text-mode browser in a terminal sounds like an over-enthusiastic exercise in masochism. We like our GUIs and graphical browsers, but there are times when you’ll find yourself in the world of the command line. Like any new tool, knowing a few basics can keep your blood pressure in check when a GUI fails to start, or you need to perform maintenance.

For starters, here are five commands you should become comfortable with as a Linux user.

1. sudo

2. Your package manager tools (yum, apt, or pacman)

3. systemctl (Systemd)

4. ls

5. man

More at PCWorld

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