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That Open, Upgradeable ARM Dev Board Is Trying To Make A Comeback

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  • Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post
    How unexpected.


    I still think the 150k$ you're asking are a tad high tho. I know mass-producing small runs is horribly expensive, but I would have gone with a lower goal so that even if it does not cover all at 100% you still get something at all, and moving something to stretch goals to compensate.
    starshipeleven, i stopped answering you earlier because in covering 12 different forums i had to make a decision about where my time should be best spent. sorry. however what you've written above is, i feel, actually quite insightful, and a really good question. i've just written an update a couple hours ago in which i outline a bit about the decision-making process: Joshua Lifton of Crowd Supply titled it "MOQs". https://www.crowdsupply.com/eoma68/m...p/updates/moqs

    over the past few months (and in some cases years) i had to negotiate with the suppliers, many of whom have 2,500 MOQs and one even has 30,000 MOQs (minimum order quantities), because the components are only $0.13 each, it's silly for them to take an order worth only $25! i had to make a decision - a cut-off point - of 250 units. if you go down even to 100 units, the setup costs, tear-down (cleanup) costs and transportation costs for the components still remain fixed, but still have to be paid for.... you see where this is going?

    so if we were to set a lower goal, the cost per unit would be so high that i can guarantee to you that we wouldn't even get *any* pledges. we're *already* getting people saying "but it's so expensive!!!" well, dUhuuuuhh

    i've outlined the actual cost of the components (roughly) at http://rhombus-tech.net/crowdsupply/ - see section "Pledge Levels and Costs" - the laptop housing's parts (MOQ 250) are amazingly only around $166... but that's in no way the full picture. cost of getting to taiwan and back for three people (myself and my family): estimated $USD 3,600. prototyping needed before production: estimated $5,000. and so on - all of which need to come out of the available funds. we're barely going to end up with *anything* left at the end of this as it is!

    we think of comparable electronics in terms of the pricing from mass-production. because this is a laptop "housing", it equates in people's minds to a "laptop" (unfortunately a throw-away one....), people think, "i have a $300 laptop, this is $500, therefore it's "expensive!!!!!" wtf???", not realising that the NREs are enormous for a small production run. [and ignoring that this is an upgradeable design concept where that $500 is spent *ONCE*, not every few years]

    so we really really couldn't make it any smaller. also, anticipating the next question, why not make it higher? well, if we do reach stretch goal points, what i plan to do is split it into phases, so that the very early adopters receive the first kits, and they can help the next batch of people - just like with the 3d printing reprap community. if it gets _really_ big we can look at doing injection-molding, and many other things - do some of the quad-core Computer Cards that we'd really really like to include (and have been discussing and evaluating processors on here and other forums).

    hope that helps.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by unixfan2001 View Post
      I've explained this to you in the other thread.
      As of current, Firefox add-ons run inside the chrome. The chrome has, for the most part, privileged access to your system resources [...]
      Technically, root could patch binary or memory, say replacing Mozilla's key. There is no way to prevent it, except by locking boot seq and kernel and revoking root access (they had such chance in FF OS but failed it, lol). So WTF root can't add own key, like it happens in e.g. package managers? Package manager is even more critical part, it runs package's install scripts as root. I'm not okay with locked down ecosystems "for my own security". I've seen how it performs in iOS and where to Wintel is heading. My future is set to be away from locked down ecosystems, I'm pretty sure about it.

      It's why Mozilla is getting rid of the current addon system and it's also why they require signing for it.
      So they've trashed all their advantages. Nice shot, but isn't it their own leg?

      Which Qualcomm ICs were these exactly? Do you remember?
      At least I could quickly find http://forum.xda-developers.com/gala...ocess-t2697617 looking similar to what I remember and other qualcomms with cell modem probably similar to this. NB: reading this req's understanding of "secure boot" concept, etc. IIRC, Replicant devs, who care about crap-free computing consider Qualcomm absolute no-go as well. They appear to have "beginner's guide" at http://www.replicant.us/freedom-priv...ity-issues.php to give overall idea of architectures one could face and issues around. But more detailed knowledge is spread all over the places, e.g. their trac. I've never met any qualcomm device with non-locked boot loader either. Hopefully it explains why I'm better off with different SoCs.

      Heh! You sound like the kind of guy I could need for one of my lower level projects.
      Keep in mind I'm quite busy these days. If you haven't noticed I could afford visiting phoronix maybe like 2 times a week or so. As you could see I could be lagging a bit. Customers are keeping me busy and I actually have some cool stuff to chew on my own, but it got delayed in favor of customers projects. Though if your project is about Allwinner and/or Debian in embedded, it maybe not too far off the track.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by lkcl View Post
        ... because they're realistic about the fact that the factories have absolutely no clue about what they're making:
        They just glue some IP blocks together, getting it somehow working and going to sell, sell, sell. It works for them.

        if it's treacherously locked down there's absolutely no way they could do that.
        I guess they're pressed by competitors hard enough to invest most efforts into getting competitive SoCs rather than smth else. Ironically it played poor joke on some SoC mfrs like TI.

        if you've got a list in mind tell me what they are, i can go through the checklist.
        Speaking for myself I've got used to allwinners (they got 64-bit SoCs these days btw). They're cheap, widespread, relatively understood, there're plenty of boards/modules for all occasions and no obvious HW/FW crap. New SoCs got larger ROMs, I guess fuses were extended to be able to do secure boot. But has someone seen locked boot loader on these, ever? Also I have little care about 3D GPUs on ARM boards. Even my laptop ok with 2D only, I rather care about battery life and weight.

        When I've been taking a look around, i.MX (around i.MX 6) did not looked evil. It had nice peripherals and honest documentation, outlining their (overengineered) secure boot. But they've played stupid marketing games, making sata only avail on expensive high-end devices. A20 0wned MX6, delivering comparable peripherals at fraction of price, they stood no chance. Their marketing crap has killed them. IMHO bridging PC-like and embedded worlds like A20 does is a powerful combo. iMX also had Vivante GPU, there is open driver being developed, but since I do not care much about GPUs on ARM, I do not know how it performs. Then, Rockchip looks quite interesting, delivering quite powerful chips quite cheap. Obvious downsides are proprietary early boot loaders (IIRC nobody managed to get 'em to boot just SPL+uboot without blobs so far) and dodgy GPUs.

        it is... but i have to be realistic about what i can get hold of, what's available and so on, and also think ahead - take a calculated risk.
        This is somewhat true. But competition is a bitch, wasting key benefits of SoC looks like a trouble on the way. Speaking for my use cases, I care about fast networking since I xfer large files and quick solid-state storage improves desktop user experience a LOT, making system far more pleasant to use.

        i've just seen that it's in some of the newer Rockchip SoCs which is good news. i was anticipating a slow trickle-down as the hard macros from Cadence, Synopsis and Mentor Graphics and so on mature and become affordable.
        This is nice. Though still, I'm afraid these SoC going to be complicated, hence slow to bring-up, plenty of bugs and a lot of time before it works with mainline kernel and it probably going to be expensive. But I would agree it makes EOMA68 more viable even for laptops. I wonder if one could also add "extras" like ethernet & sata on additional tiny connectors without wildly violating EOMA68 requirements as temporary/hacky measures? Or it defeats your goals?

        argh i heard about how the drivers for peripherals are requiring real-time check-in online to download firmware.... argh....
        I've been eventually looking on Exynos (around Exynos 4 or 5 IIRC). And what I've seen? There were boards by HardKernel. Their guide asumed I have to DL proprietary (!!) ARM TrustZone SW signed by Samsung. WTF, seriously?! I wonder if Samsung locks down all SoCs on self these days or it just HardKernel-specific thing. Obviously I've been not in mood to get more familiar with these. Last thing I'm going to trust is proprietary TZSW.

        i take the long-term view, that modules save people money long-term, that they give people choice, and that upgrades end up being cheaper because you don't throw everything away.
        This is true in many regards. Though there're also different solutions. Like e.g. Olimex designing their task-specific boards for laptop case, using most "PC-style" peripherals SoCs have got. Does not looks bad to me as long as it happens to be open HW. So everyone could try to design board matching this enclosure using different SoC. Or, say, use their board as starting point for another application, maybe not laptop at all (if they can handle it). After all it looks pretty much like opensource is meant to work. On side note, they're designing A64-based boards in KiCad right now. Good showcase of opensource tools, eh? Not to mention looking on board made by pros is a good way to raise own skills.

        i've talked to hundreds of people personally and they really like that. you can also look up "Phonebloks" - they got 900,000 supporters and reached over 350 million people with a modular phone *concept* - not even a product! so we know that people really *really* are fed up and want modular computing appliances.
        On other hand, it is a matter of what one considers "unit". Say sometimes it could make sense to treat cpu+mem+storage as atomic unit, like larger fault-tolerant systems consider server to be atomic unit of expansion and fault tolerance. Idea of EOMA68 modules seems to be not too far from this idea. I could imagine e.g. smart house or similar control application where controller/gateway could go down with no visible effects. Because global states were shared on several more things which do not care if or why fellow gone down. Under these assumptions, perfect solution is probably called "smartdust".

        what i really want is a crap-free SoC that itself isn't crap... important to make that distinction i think
        Sure. Though definition of "crap" varies wildly. Some ppl want 20 cores at 10GHz. Or they dream little thing beating AMD's Fury. Some ppl want it to last month or two on battery. Some want it to be $1 per unit. Some ppl dream about 10GigE. Some may even want all of this at once .

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        • Originally posted by SystemCrasher View Post
          When I've been taking a look around, i.MX (around i.MX 6) did not looked evil. It had nice peripherals and honest documentation, outlining their (overengineered) secure boot. But they've played stupid marketing games, making sata only avail on expensive high-end devices. A20 0wned MX6, delivering comparable peripherals at fraction of price, they stood no chance. Their marketing crap has killed them. IMHO bridging PC-like and embedded worlds like A20 does is a powerful combo. iMX also had Vivante GPU, there is open driver being developed, but since I do not care much about GPUs on ARM, I do not know how it performs.
          yeah the iMX6 is good... except the inrush current at startup is absolutely mad - 4A or something. and the max power consumption is 4.5 watts (that's all engines full steam ahead). it's too much. oh, and the pricing is $USD 36 for the quad-core. there do exist *different* pricing schemes for china, apparently...

          i'm waiting to see what they do for the iMX8.

          Then, Rockchip looks quite interesting, delivering quite powerful chips quite cheap. Obvious downsides are proprietary early boot loaders (IIRC nobody managed to get 'em to boot just SPL+uboot without blobs so far) and dodgy GPUs.
          i _thought_ that rockchip at least on the RK3188 had completely free (libre) source? i was going to use the RK3188 it's quite nice, and Tom and Prince released PCB CAD files on the Radxa Rock forum, which is a huge advantage. i'll have to check on the bootloaders, thanks for alerting me.


          This is nice. Though still, I'm afraid these SoC going to be complicated, hence slow to bring-up, plenty of bugs and a lot of time before it works with mainline kernel and it probably going to be expensive. But I would agree it makes EOMA68 more viable even for laptops. I wonder if one could also add "extras" like ethernet & sata on additional tiny connectors without wildly violating EOMA68 requirements as temporary/hacky measures? Or it defeats your goals?
          well external SATA and external ethernet - at the other end just like we had with the original PCMCIA cards - that would be absolutely fine! if it's *inside* i.e. on a header that you have to take the case off, that's also fine. but, ethernet is RGMII not the differential pairs, so it would be necessary to put a GbE PHY down on the board (bear in mind the case is closed and sealed), then people would need to rip that off and then plug in to the socket... yuck. so more expensive and defeating the object of being "mass-volume"...

          bear in mind, the max height is 4.8mm (0.1mm thick stainless steel), the PCB is 1.2mm, that leaves 2mm on TOP and 1.6mm on BOTTOM - it's really not very much! this isn't a SBC, it's a mass-volume "simple Computer Card" standard.

          that said, if you can think of an excuse to order 250 units i can always customise what i've got


          I've been eventually looking on Exynos (around Exynos 4 or 5 IIRC). And what I've seen? There were boards by HardKernel. Their guide asumed I have to DL proprietary (!!) ARM TrustZone SW signed by Samsung. WTF, seriously?! I wonder if Samsung locks down all SoCs on self these days or it just HardKernel-specific thing. Obviously I've been not in mood to get more familiar with these. Last thing I'm going to trust is proprietary TZSW.
          yyeahhhh, i've read the datasheets: there are e-fuses involved which you can blow after uploading a custom bootloader into EEPROM: once that's in, there's NO WAY to modify it. Hardkernel use this to put a DRM signature onto the front of the u-boot 2nd-stage loader, which they *won't* give anybody.

          i stopped calling it "trust" zone, i call it "treacherous" zone. the "trust" is aimed at the vendors, *NOT* us as end-users. you can TRUST that the drug-style-pushing cartels involved in copyright monopolies loooove treacherous zone, because they can TRUST that people will not be able to run programs that they don't want you to run.

          mmm....

          This is true in many regards. Though there're also different solutions. Like e.g. Olimex designing their task-specific boards for laptop case, using most "PC-style" peripherals SoCs have got.
          not many people are aware that tsvetan made his money from selling GPL-violating hardware. he's not actually interested in anything other than making money. he put a comment up on his web site a few months ago which said, "to be honest i'm really fed up with this proprietary blob fuss, i don't understand it". i wish i had taken a screen-shot of it, because he had taken it down a couple of days later.

          tsvetan greatly embarrassed me on the gpl-violations mailing list (20,000 people) several years back by belittling the EOMA68 project as a way to divert attention from the illegal nature of his company's activities.

          Does not looks bad to me as long as it happens to be open HW. So everyone could try to design board matching this enclosure using different SoC. Or, say, use their board as starting point for another application, maybe not laptop at all (if they can handle it). After all it looks pretty much like opensource is meant to work. On side note, they're designing A64-based boards in KiCad right now. Good showcase of opensource tools, eh?
          ... except that he sells the A64 board (as do pine64) with a proprietary bootloader application, based on a GPL-violating SDK from Allwinner.

          yyeah. like i said: if he actually cared about respecting copyright law, he would have said to allwinner that he was not going to release the product until the GPL compliance issues were fixed. as he has not, we can conclude that he does not respect copyright law, does not consider it to be important, and is only interested in making money by pulling the wool over people's eyes.

          from an ethical business perspective, i remain deeply unimpressed.

          On other hand, it is a matter of what one considers "unit". Say sometimes it could make sense to treat cpu+mem+storage as atomic unit, like larger fault-tolerant systems consider server to be atomic unit of expansion and fault tolerance. Idea of EOMA68 modules seems to be not too far from this idea.
          yes. and although many people can and do say, "but there's no ADC or other stuff on EOMA68", my response to that is, "well, why are you considering doing mission-critical I/O in a general-purpose computer: you should be separating that out by using a much smaller Embedded Controller such as the ATSAM or STM32 series, and communicating via UART or USB".


          Sure. Though definition of "crap" varies wildly. Some ppl want 20 cores at 10GHz. Or they dream little thing beating AMD's Fury. Some ppl want it to last month or two on battery. Some want it to be $1 per unit. Some ppl dream about 10GigE. Some may even want all of this at once .
          yyeah i remember hearing about a head-wearable device that got fully crowd-funded. ONLY THEN did they contact a battery company and in effect said, "we'd like something that breaks the laws of physics, please. we are running an OMAP5 which eats power, and we need a battery that's 10x more powerful and more compact than anything available on the market today, because otherwise we'll either need to mount a brick onto the side of people's heads, or we can have a smaller battery that doesn't make people fall over or walk funny but only lasts about 3 minutes".

          mmmm.... yeah....

          Comment


          • Originally posted by pal666 View Post
            contemporary desktops are 3d.
            I use XFCE on my systems, it is perfectly fine with plain 2D. Furthermore, it is FAST, mostly bug-free, does not breaks my use cases all the time, does not attempt to push "superb" concepts over my head and just does what desktop environment supposed to do. Nope, I do not like KDE. I can't even connect to wi-fi AP on my laptop using their "superb" network widget since it is utterly hostile to touchpad. Gnome wouldn't let me to choose how exactly I want to shut down my laptop. Sure, it targets retards who are extremely sclerotic and can't organize their files. At least Gnome defaults suggest this.

            googlemaps is 3d. sure you can live in windows95 world, but nobody else is.
            I live in open world and enjoy by benefits it brings. So I have power of community-generated data at my fingertips. I use OSM. I have these neat 30GiB of real-world data. They are just map data. If I want it to be 2D, I render to 2D. Same for 3D. It could even be "2.5D" isometric. I could combine data sources if I need something unusual. Where your google only sees useless green rectangle, OSM shows me pathways. Big deal if one gone hiking and not a big fan of running through wilderness. Users have drawn pathways to make life of their fellows easier. Google ignores it. Not to mention I could find all bus stops 500 meters around me, no matter if there is connectivity or not. It is nice to have actual map data, not just stupid bunch of PNGs/JPGs. I've mapped few missing bus stops and marked shop building that has been closed 3 months ago as such. Google still displays it like shop, 3 months later. Good luck to visit it. I think I've told I'm using computers for navigation. Navigation is about getting informed about surroundings, preferrably in ways making life easier. Bells and whistles are really optional part of it. At least it works for me. Even on the top of mountain. Even in the fog. At least, my win95 techs do not fail me when I need 'em most.

            you can't get that i don't care. it works for my phone, it will work for my laptop.
            I think I've got it. You give no slightest fuck about benefits of opensource techs & tools, being just a plain dumb consumer. You could just stop bothering and use Intel with all their ME backdoors and UEFI crap. Honestly, if you're okay being goofied here and there, you'll have hard time to find more appealing desktops. Intel even got opensource driver for their GPUs, if that makes you happy. At the end of day ARMs were never created with classic desktops in mind. Except maybe nvidia tegras, expensive like hell and with all inherent nvidia "goodies" attached. You probably could also use win10. It supports more application and most consumers do not read EULA anyway.

            you don't understand what firmware isno
            Please tell me what firmware is, I don't want to die like a clueless noob . Oh, wait, how the hell I manage to create firmwares if I do not even know what it is? Does this trick works for faster-than-light travels?

            yeah, other than being unusable for laptop, a20 is fine.
            It is a bit slow for laptop but it could actually do as my laptop. It is not exciting. But could work for me. I've actually installed DE on some A20 and even A10 boards and it has been quite usable. Though of course it wouldn't beat Core i7. General public is better off buying core i7.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by pal666 View Post
              i care about open drivers, i don't care about some arbitrary certification
              i think it should be some kind of stupid religion or so, because I failed to detect rational thinking and attempt to achieve any goal which would make sense. I.e. "open drivers" on its own mean absolutely nothing. Put locked boot loader and good luck to change or update that driver, even if you had source. If one cares about predictable system behavior and ability to learn and change system behavior and nail down bugs, huge firmwares running side by side would be a major roadblock on this way, especially if they could access main system memory/peripherals and therefore provoke all kinds of bugs. If system is 0wned via huge bugged firmware, who is to blame? Those who put it? Lol, they do not care. But it seems some ppl fail to understand it is whole picture what really matters. Not just particular part of it.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by SystemCrasher View Post
                At least I could quickly find http://forum.xda-developers.com/gala...ocess-t2697617 looking similar to what I remember and other qualcomms with cell modem probably similar to this. NB: reading this req's understanding of "secure boot" concept, etc. IIRC, Replicant devs, who care about crap-free computing consider Qualcomm absolute no-go as well. They appear to have "beginner's guide" at http://www.replicant.us/freedom-priv...ity-issues.php to give overall idea of architectures one could face and issues around. But more detailed knowledge is spread all over the places, e.g. their trac. I've never met any qualcomm device with non-locked boot loader either. Hopefully it explains why I'm better off with different SoCs.
                a couple things to point out: 1) snapdragon devices without modem (generally apq80xy... msm89xy are the ones with built-in modem) talk to external modem over some sort of serial link, which the replicant folks (and myself) would describe as "good modem isolation".. and 2) msm7xxx is *ancient*, from an era where the application processor (ie. what runs linux) was bolted on the side, if present at all.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by SystemCrasher View Post
                  I use XFCE
                  did you miss word 'contemporary' ?
                  Originally posted by SystemCrasher View Post
                  I use OSM. I have these neat 30GiB of real-world data. They are just map data. If I want it to be 2D, I render to 2D. Same for 3D. It could even be "2.5D" isometric. I could combine data sources if I need something unusual. Where your google only sees useless green rectangle, OSM shows me pathways.
                  you are living under rock. googlemap shows 3d texture mapped buildings with real photos. maybe not in your village, try new york for example.
                  Originally posted by SystemCrasher View Post
                  I think I've got it. You give no slightest fuck about benefits of opensource techs & tools, being just a plain dumb consumer.
                  i am big opensource proponent. i just don't care about hardware implementation details. well, i like open hardware too (i bought at least three such things), but not "open" hardware with closed drivers and first hardware has to be useful.
                  Originally posted by SystemCrasher View Post
                  Please tell me what firmware is
                  i misread that line, the issue is not with firmwareness
                  Originally posted by SystemCrasher View Post
                  It is a bit slow for laptop but it could actually do as my laptop. It is not exciting
                  from statistical pov you don't exist

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by SystemCrasher View Post
                    i think it should be some kind of stupid religion or so, because I failed to detect rational thinking and attempt to achieve any goal which would make sense. I.e. "open drivers" on its own mean absolutely nothing.
                    your brain is just too weak to understand such simple things. arbitrary certification is meaningless, while open drivers allow device to be used with software of my choice and in general are technically better.
                    Originally posted by SystemCrasher View Post
                    Put locked boot loader and good luck to change or update that driver, even if you had source.
                    non-updateable driver is not opensource, you seem to be confused.
                    Originally posted by SystemCrasher View Post
                    If one cares about predictable system behavior and ability to learn and change system behavior and nail down bugs, huge firmwares running side by side would be a major roadblock on this way, especially if they could access main system memory/peripherals and therefore provoke all kinds of bugs. If system is 0wned via huge bugged firmware, who is to blame?
                    if system is owned via huge bugged hardware, who is to blame? if system is owned via huge bugged non-replaceable firmware in rom, who is to blame? from software pov there is no difference.
                    Last edited by pal666; 07-08-2016, 11:31 AM.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by pal666 View Post
                      googlemap shows 3d texture mapped buildings with real photos.
                      googlemaps hard-crashes my quad-core i5 modern laptop with 8gb RAM running a recent and up-to-date version of firefox within around 5-10 minutes of use. the amount of resources that google maps consumes is so vast and sick that i can no longer use it.

                      so, pal666 you're missing the point. look up the concept of "Good Enough Computing".

                      Comment

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