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Cannonlake-Powered Chromebook "Zoombini" Added To Coreboot

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  • Cannonlake-Powered Chromebook "Zoombini" Added To Coreboot

    Phoronix: Cannonlake-Powered Chromebook "Zoombini" Added To Coreboot

    By the end of the calendar year Intel has reiterated the first 10nm Cannonlake devices are expected to market. It's looking like among the first Cannonlake designs will be a new Google Chromebook...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...ni-In-Coreboot

  • #2
    It's weird that ARM vendors never made a serious push into Chromebooks.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by johnc View Post
      It's weird that ARM vendors never made a serious push into Chromebooks.
      I think you mean it's weird that Chromebook vendors never made a serious push into ARM. In which case, I agree. Unencumbered by Windows, BIOS, or other legacy compatibility issues, ChromeOS on ARM seems like a compelling choice. As the owner of an intel i3 Chromebook (running Fedora) however, at the time I bought it, the i3 based Chromebooks were the fastest and most full featured. The ARM models were all positioned as lower tier models.

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      • #4
        I guess it was hard for ARM vendors to compete with Intel providing the manpower that Intel provides to Chrome OS development.

        However, currently the focus seems to shift back to ARM Chromebooks (e.g. Samsung with the RK3399 based Chromebook Plus), because Android apps run better on those.

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        • #5
          Still waiting for that Volkswagen of portable laptops that is fully Linux-compatible, longterm supported (open enough HW), optionally user-upgradable (SSD, RAM, modular enough etc.), affordable in its netbook/chromebook base configuration and obviously without the microsoft tax.

          Google has for internet-years been in a position to do it, but you've so far chosen to glue and solder down components and make the user jump through hoops just to run full Linux system.

          Hey Goog behemoth, Linux was crucial for making you guys rich and powerful so how about making that next chromebook of yours just moddable enough that us full-time Linux users can buy your Google-garden ware (thus adding to your economies of scale) while running a full Linux distro (of our choice) on it? You save on glue and solder, it's a win-win without gates in the equation, we'll buy millions of them and you get some peace of mind.

          Okay? Choose not to? Do let us know.

          We'll find out soon enough of course.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by misGnomer View Post
            You save on glue and solder, it's a win-win without gates in the equation
            So how should components be connected to each other? If memory and storage aren't connected by solder they need to be connected through sockets.

            Sockets are more expensive: They have part costs, they also need to be soldered down (and potentially glued to deal with mechanical strain), they reduce performance (those connectors mess up the signal) and you'd probably expect such a device to freely accept whatever part is mechanically compatible with the socket (or otherwise complain loudly, again) - which increases compatibility testing efforts by one or two magnitudes.

            On the other hand there's significant effort spent on making these boxes moddable on the software level (down to firmware), while keeping some of the desirable properties of appliance (which is their main sales pitch and actually drives sales. "Linux hackers" typically don't, as can be seen by all the failed kickstarters). There's firmware (in case of some ARM boards, AP and EC firmware is completely open source) and the write-protect screw makes it _always_ replaceable while balancing the needs of "appliance customers" who want to be reasonably safe and "hacker customers" who want to be able to control the box.

            It would be much, much easier to build a Tivo-like Chromebook where you can't replace a single bit of the OS (or firmware - where's another PC with that level of support out of the gates?). Not doing so was a deliberate decision.

            (insert obligatory "not speaking for the company" disclaimer here)

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            • #7
              pgeorgi, those are valid concerns, but I'm fairly certain any potential contact and signal issues can be overcome through thoughtful engineering and in any case I wasn't really pining for the proprietary appliance fjords but for something user-serviceable, i.e. user- and environment-friendly.

              Do I or anyone I know absolutely need another millimeter and another few grams shaved off my gear, knowing that after a couple of years it's likely to end up in the landfill, or would we accept just a slightly heftier device that can actually be serviced or upgraded?

              I accept that my feeble rant is slightly off topic, but here is Google adding Coreboot support to their next mass-produced chromebook (yay!) and yet they're choosing to ignore some pretty major sustainability issues.

              Since Google's main business is picking and monetizing their customers' brains while they also happen to be in the hardware design and manufacture business they should be in the position to create durable devices instead of adding to the unsustainable planned obsolescense.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by misGnomer View Post
                Do I or anyone I know absolutely need another millimeter and another few grams shaved off my gear, knowing that after a couple of years it's likely to end up in the landfill, or would we accept just a slightly heftier device that can actually be serviced or upgraded?
                Going by current trends, clearly the former. Thinness is all the rage for some time now. You and I may find it silly (and I do, very much), but unfortunately for us, we're a too small minority.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by misGnomer View Post
                  Still waiting for that Volkswagen of portable laptops that is fully Linux-compatible, longterm supported (open enough HW), optionally user-upgradable (SSD, RAM, modular enough etc.), affordable in its netbook/chromebook base configuration and obviously without the microsoft tax.
                  Most Intel-only or AMD-only laptops (i.e. no dual-graphics) and enough AMD dual graphics ones fall into this category, and many are available with freedos preinstalled (i.e. no MS license) or you can select a "no OS version" (like for example from sites like pcspecialist that sell rebranded Clevo laptops configured to your choosing)

                  Google has for internet-years been in a position to do it, but you've so far chosen to glue and solder down components and make the user jump through hoops just to run full Linux system.
                  Linux desktop support is not a target for ChromeOS devices, while making cheap end-user devices is.
                  So they solder down stuff that most users won't really need to change anyway.

                  Hey Goog behemoth, Linux was crucial for making you guys rich and powerful so how about making that next chromebook of yours just moddable enough that us full-time Linux users can buy your Google-garden ware (thus adding to your economies of scale) while running a full Linux distro (of our choice) on it? You save on glue and solder, it's a win-win without gates in the equation, we'll buy millions of them and you get some peace of mind.
                  Soldered down components and glue are cheaper, Linux desktop users are too low to be taken into account even for ChromeOS, and as said above you can get a good linux-friendly laptop relatively easily already.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by misGnomer View Post
                    Do I or anyone I know absolutely need another millimeter and another few grams shaved off my gear, knowing that after a couple of years it's likely to end up in the landfill, or would we accept just a slightly heftier device that can actually be serviced or upgraded?
                    ChromeOS devices are targeted at end-users that would be unable to do any meaningful upgrade (seriously, it's an OS where the only thing you can use is a web browser, people that only need that are very basic), so adding costs for servicing or upgrading is unjustified.

                    And you probably missed this, but most devices with ChromeOS won't really get obsolete nearly as fast as a PC, as they only run Chrome in there (or maybe in the future some Android apps) and even the crappiest Chromebook has 2 GB of RAM, which is plentiful for just Chrome.

                    Also, to the contrary of linux, the Chrome running in there is wired to use hardware acceleration for all it can possibly use it, so even if the hardware is not great it would run much better than it would run on Linux desktop.

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