Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 22:14

Eric Schultz presented a very important update on the status of the FCC free software operating system ban. A quick overview of the situation is that The FCC has been working to undermine the ability of manufacturers to ship entirely free software on routers and computers that utilize the 5Ghz spectrum. All modern wifi chips are moving to 5Ghz and in order to comply with new FCC rules manufacturers have little choice but to lock down the operating system. Eric Schultz has been actively involved in campaigning against these rules and has represented the community on a board that was to advise the FCC on the variety of issues stemming from some of these new rules and proposed rules. Watch the presentation to find out how President Trump has indirectly undermined these efforts in the process of disbanding what might have otherwise been an unnecessary 'Cyber Security' advisory group.

Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 00:58

LinuxFest Northwest is the longest running, largest open source conference in the Pacific Northwest. Home to over 80 sessions and 50 exhibitions over two days. Speakers from all areas of tech, and talks covering the full gamut of experience, from newbie to guru will be there.

Come for the code, stay for the people! Northwest has awesome attendees and electrifying parties. Check out the robotics club, the automated home brewing system running on GNU/Linux, or the game room for extra conference fun.

The 2017 event will be held at Bellingham Technical College in Bellingham, WA on May 6th & 7th. Are you attending? If so stop by our booth and say hi!

Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 00:54

LibrePlanet is an annual conference hosted by the Free Software Foundation for people who care about their digital freedoms, bringing together software developers, policy experts, activists, and computer users to learn skills, share accomplishments, and address challenges facing the free software movement. LibrePlanet 2017 will feature programming for a wide range of ages and experience levels.

We hope to see you at LibrePlanet 2017, March 25-26 in Cambridge, MA.

Register now to join us at MIT Cambridge, Massachusetts for LibrePlanet 2017 March 25-26!

Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 00:52

Are you in Southern California? Here is your chance to check us out in person. We'll be attending the Southern California [GNU]Linux Expo March 2-5, 2017 at the Pasadena Convention Center. We'll be bringing along a sizeable portion of our online catalog and showing off the latest in free software tech. From 100% free mini VPN routers, wifi cards, and computers to privacy enhancing hardware.

As the first-of-the-year [GNU]Linux and Free Software expo in North America, SCALE 15x expects to host more than 100 exhibitors this year, along with nearly 130 sessions, tutorials, and special events.

Register now to join us at SCALE 15x

Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 23:35

Hosted by the Free State Project, a movement that has attracted over 20,000 liberty activists to the state of New Hampshire for the purpose of building a freedom loving society, Liberty Forum is New Hampshire's premier liberty­ oriented conference. Over the past ten years, the conference has developed a reputation for attracting distinguished speakers from across the globe to discuss pro­-freedom topics. This year's keynote is being led the founder of the first Pirate Party: Rick Falkvinge.

Liberty Forum provides attendees the opportunity to discover New Hampshire and find out what its like to move to a place where there are other like-minded people. It also provides a taste of the many benefits of socializing, networking, and working with a dedicated group of activists. Attending Liberty Forum is oftentimes the "clincher" to becoming an FSP participant. In March of 2016 we took on the challenge and moved our main offices to Keene, New Hampshire. For those who moved with us it ended up being a great decision.

Some of the topics of the past have included: 3D printing, asset forfeiture, cryptography, computer security, whistle blowing, free software activism, counter surveillance, anonymity on the internet, and anonymous digital currencies.

This years event will be held Feb 2nd - 4th, 2017 at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, NH.

Stop by our table and check out some of the technology that'll help enable you to protect more of your privacy, freedom, and security.

Register for Liberty Forum 2017 now!.

Sunday, October 2, 2016 - 19:41


Join us in Raleigh and The Research Triangle, the epicenter of innovation, technology and free software, and home to one of the most sophisticated audiences on earth.

We'll have a table at All Things Open. Come check out our product catalog and take home a free Tux while you are at it.

The event is being held October 26 - 27 in Raleigh, NC.

For more information check out the All Things Open web site.

Sunday, October 2, 2016 - 19:18

Ohio [GNU]LinuxFest 2016 will take place on October 7 and 8th at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio.

Join us on Saturday in the expo hall.

Visit the Ohio [GNU]/Linux web site for more information.

Monday, August 1, 2016 - 21:35

The FCC has attacked TP-Link's non-compliance with new FCC rules despite being mostly in compliance via a total lock down. This has caused the lock down situation to go from bad to worse. While this is being sold in the media as FCC doing good by forcing companies to cooperate with the open source community it's actually undermining the communities values and ability to get a complete set of source code upstream for *any* modern devices. It's not acceptable that we should have to lock down the main firmwares, but it's worse to ask manufacturers to lock down specific wifi firmwares only.

Here is what the FCC says:

"the Commission required . . . device software that controls the RF parameters that ensure compliance with the Commission’s technical rules for preventing harmful interference must be secured. The purpose . . . is to prevent modifications to the software that could, for example, . . . enable tuning to unauthorized frequencies, increased power above authorized levels, etc. The rule is not intended to prevent or inhibit modification of any other software or firmware in the device, such as software modifications to improve performance, configure RF networks or improve cybersecurity.”.

As a result of the FCC settlement TP-Link will not lock the entire device (on at least some routers), but critical components instead. This is dangerous because it will prevent us from gaining access to the complete set of source code needed to add functionality (like proper mesh networking support), fix bugs, and ensure that devices are not compromised or bugged by national security agencies.

Prior to this users with sufficient technical knowledge could at least technically unlock most wireless routers provided they had the right tools. If users can build the source code for these select wifi firmware components themselves the companies that lock down just the wifi firmware will no longer be in compliance. Before a user would have to go to greater lengths to unlock the router first, but it probably wouldn't jeopardize things as it would theoretically be a user taking extreme measures (even now you can through modification cause a router to go out of compliance). If the release of code will jeopardize companies compliance with FCC rules the companies designing these chipsets will not be able to release said code. Period. Even if we ship a router that is locked such that there is no simple way to update the firmware no company designing chipsets will release the code for key wifi firmware components as it would risk putting there other customers products into non-compliant states.

Monday, July 18, 2016 - 18:11

HOPE 11 will take place on July 22, 23, and 24th, 2016 at Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. H.O.P.E. stands for Hackers On Planet Earth, one of the most creative and diverse hacker events in the world. It's been happening since 1994.

Join us for three full days and nights of activities, including more of the provocative and enlightening speakers that the HOPE conferences are known for. Featured speakers have included Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Kevin Mitnick, Richard Stallman, Steve Wozniak, and William Binney, amongst others. This years keynote will be Cory Doctorow.

We will also have a special guest with us @ the ThinkPenguin table. Luke Leighton, the lead developer of the EOMA68 standard, and a completely Libre laptop and desktop housing design, and the Libre Tea Computer Card. These components make up the first 100% free software modular computers. Not even the keyboard controller, bootloader, or CPU require any proprietary bits. We will have with us an earlier 3D printed prototype of the laptop housing, desktop housing, and Computer Card.

Visit the HOPE 11 web site for more info

Sunday, July 10, 2016 - 14:45

Question: Has Your Computer Got a Backdoor?
Answer: Almost Certainly!
In 2009 and 2013, two US companies (Intel and AMD) introduced malicious functionality into their processors. These processors are used in every mainstream desktop and laptop computer.
On Intel systems, this functionality is in the Intel Management Engine Firmware.
What is the Intel Management Engine more specifically? The Intel Management Engine consists of an independent CPU that runs a proprietary piece of software. This software is responsible for a variety of system functionality such as power management. Some of the functions are important to the workings of the machine. Other functionality is not.
The problem is that Intel and AMD have been uncooperative in releasing the complete set of corresponding source code to this component. This means that NO ONE can check the integrity of the software running on it, and manufacturers are prevented from designing truly secure computers. As a result, EVERY SYSTEM IS COMPROMISED out of the box.
This is extremely dangerous. We know that this software contains remote access functionality and could be utilized by governments and criminal groups to gain unauthorized access to any machine they like. Thanks to gag orders and other financial incentives, these companies cannot tell us about such backdoors even if they wanted to. They have to say, and have been saying 'no such backdoors exist'. They are under threat of imprisonment if they do not comply.
Backdoors are Hidden in Plain Sight...
The remote access features of Intel and AMD's CPUs are billed as a feature for system administrators. In reality, these features are nothing less than backdoors hidden in plain sight that we cannot disable, remove, or even examine for security reasons.
...And Propriety Code Hinders Searching for Vulnerabilities
Additionally, even if we somehow could determine that there is not a backdoor, there is still a threat posed by the proprietary nature of the code. Currently, it is impossible to do a proper security audit of any mainstream computer. Any security vulnerabilities that are found by other nation states or criminals can be exploited without the knowledge of the public. 
If we had the sources and a proper security audit could be performed, we would at least have a chance of locating these vulnerabilities and fixing them. However, Intel and AMD not only prevent us from easily working out what is on the backdoor processor, but we could not put our own reverse-engineered code on it because of the secret keys.  
We have already observed numerous backdoors, exploits, and other malware shipped in routers, phones, computers, and other devices. These backdoors have been inserted into proprietary components. 
Solution? A New Computing Standard to Help Address Backdoors: EOMA68
To overcome this GLOBAL SECURITY CRISIS, we need a new standard that allows us to build devices off of CPUs and other chipsets where we have the complete set of corresponding source code, thereby handing back control to users.
This has been extremely difficult because of the way computers and other technologies are traditionally designed and developed. With so much unwanted stuff being integrated into key components, it has been challenging to come up with the components necessary to build laptop and desktop computers without hardware backdoors.
Think Penguin has been sponsoring development of the EOMA68 Computing Standard in view of the urgent need for a long-term solution. EOMA68 is a modular Creative-Commons-licensed standard that enables us to easily adapt computer designs when companies designing key components become hostile to free software. For example, with EOMA68, if one company refuses to release source code, the design allows for easily switching to a different CPU. Prior to the EOMA68 Computing Standard, it was extremely expensive to switch from one line of CPUs to another (and often the whole design would need to be scrapped). 
What is an EOMA68 Standard Computer Card? 
The EOMA68 standard is being used to make tiny computers that fit in the palm of your hand. Using the legacy PCMCIA of the 90s, it can be slipped into your wallet. Just like memory cards, EOMA68 Computer Cards can be easily plugged into many kinds of devices. However, EOMA68 Computer Cards are the CORE of the computer. They contain the core components like CPU, RAM, video output connectors, USB ports, and similar. You simply plug in your own screen, keyboard or mouse.
Initial Offerings: Micro Desktop and 3D Printed Laptop Housing
The inaugural line of EOMA68 computing devices is now being offered to the public through Crowd Supply (HERE), a crowd-funding website that has been particularly supportive of innovative high tech products.
The beauty of a Computer Card is that one card gives you multiple options. Stick it into the Micro Desktop Housing, and you have a desktop unit that you can connect to your monitor, keyboard and mouse. Remove it from the Micro Desktop Housing (easily done in SECONDS) and pop it into the 3D Printed Laptop Housing...and presto! You now have a laptop! The 3D Printed Laptop Housing contains a screen, keyboard and touchpad. 
Just Pop in a New Card to Upgrade
In the future, the same EOMA68 Computer Card could be inserted into other products being developed including Tablet Housing, Router Housing or similar. EOMA68 not only allows for maximum flexibility, but also simple upgrades. Want to upgrade the processor? Just pop in a new Computer Card for around US$65. Done!
One of the first Computer Cards being offered is called the Libre Tea Computer Card because it is not dependent on any proprietary bits for core functionality. This gives it the potential to be used in a secure, freedom-friendly computer design. In addition, neither the desktop nor laptop housing are dependent on any proprietary software. And as the name implies, you can make new parts for the 3D Printed Laptop Housing if you accidentally crack a corner or just want to swap colors. 
If you are interested in a safer computing environment, please check out the EOMA68 Crowd Funding page and support our effort to gain back control over our devices:
Earth-Friendly EOMA68 Computing Devices