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

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  • #31
    But you don't get the housing, rather only the 3D printer plans for the laptop housing
    noooOoo.. they're available *now*. it's *always* been a GPLv3+ libre-licensed project, you can get full instructions and a link to the git repository here:
    https://www.youmagine.com/designs/li...-laptop-design

    so you could even make your own laptop using completely different hardware if you wanted to. use your own devboard - whatever.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by lkcl View Post

      physically disabling no, but it turns out that because MALI is memory-mapped and the linux kernel divides memory into physical ram and virtual ram (where userspace only has access to virtual ram), you LITERALLY cannot even SEE the proprietary GPU from userspace - end of story.

      the average end-user (and the FSF's criteria are designed for the average end-user **NOT** for the technically-literate people who can make discerning well-informed decisions) therefore won't even know it's there. so, we stand a good chance of successfully getting an "exemption" because of this.

      if on the other hand this was an intel processor, where the average end-user could do the GUI-equivalent of "lspci" and "oh look, there's this funny-named proprietary GPU, i wonder how i enable that?" and off they go installing proprietary software and get themselves into all sorts of trouble as a result, that *would* be something we just wouldn't bother applying for because we know damn well we wouldn't get RYF Certification for it.

      ... make sense?

      I'm not 100% sure that it would be off the table. The RYF or "Respect Your Freedom" certification does not necessarily mean you can't get it if there is a problematic component such as the Mali 400 graphics chip or similar. The FSF did certify a product with a modem dependant on proprietary software. Factors that went into this were the likelihood of a user installing the proprietary software.

      Now I actually have a unique perspective on this issue being the CEO of ThinkPenguin, Inc and in the business of selling freedom friendly hardware to GNU/Linux users. We sell a lot of dial-up modems. It's one of the more popular items in our catalog. In fact we have more people buying dial-up modems than people buying or asking for 3D accelerated graphics cards. Whether or not that satisfies the FSF's concerns or not I don't know. However I doubt there is anyone in a better position to evaluate the likelihood of users installing proprietary software for these components than me. I don't believe that 3D accelerated graphics is as important as many people into gaming think it is for the average user. The average user does not need 3D acceleration provided the desktop environment and applications that are included do not depend on it. The other thing is that the reality is serious gamers do not use GNU/Linux. Steam has done a lot to bring gaming to GNU/Linux, for better or worse, but at the end of the day the best your likely going to find is more casual gamers gaming on GNU/Linux.

      What is more important than 3D actually is video. Without video acceleration there are likely problems people will run into. Fortunately there is sufficient support for this where said support is critical. That is mp4. Other formats will work via the main CPU. It's not perfect, but adequate for the time being. There is a proof of concept as well for 1920x1080 although the laptop only has a standard 1336x768 screen anyway. Ultimately such issues can be dealt with in the future.

      The main thing to remember about this project is that it's not the CPU cards that are available today which matter. The main thing is that we'll have a modular design that can help us move things forward. You won't find a ARM laptop without a non-free wifi chip for example and if we're going to free ourselves of proprietary bits we need a design and standards that can be adapted easily. We have more issues that are coming and to overcome these issues we need to gain control over the entire design and manufacturing processes. If we simply build off reference designs for which we have little to no control over and they remove critical functionality it's over. Everybody might as well give up and go home.

      Examples of problems: Most of the leading retailers of laptops including HP, Dell, Lenovo, Sony, Apple, and Toshiba are adding digital restrictions to the M.2/Mini PCIE slots or 'wifi card slot'. This means that unless you get a laptop with a properly supported wifi card you won't be able to utilize wireless on GNU/Linux. What is worse is that there is a trend to integrate more and more stuff into the SOC. Wifi is beginning to be integrated into laptops, desktops, and mini computers (think Raspberry Pi devices). Intel doesn't even have a sixth generation mini PC (ie the NUCs) without integrated wifi. Graphics are another great example. Graphics have been integrated on the motherboards for years and now it's going into the CPUs (Intel) and SOCs (ARM, etc).

      If we don't try to gain a foothold over these issues we're not going to have systems that run well or even run at all. We're already stuck with 802.11ac. All of the 802.11ac chips are dependant on proprietary software of which has resulted in loss of critical functionality. We can't add things like mesh networking support for Atheros 802.11ac because Atheros has moved the majority of the critical parts from the driver into firmware and has then refused to release the source code to the firmware. I have personally worked on getting the code released for ath9k-htc (which is for the newer Atheros 802.11n USB wifi chips), but it doesn't happen in a vacuum. It requires the right set of circumstances to be present and one to get there foot in the door or otherwise have the resources to give these companies and incentive to release code. We lost that with a change in management on top of the loss of two key free software advocates @ Atheros.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post
        Are you seriously believing in this shit?

        I mean, seriously.

        Raspberry Pi.
        You don't seem to get the point of this project. It's a starting point to bring control over the hardware back to the community. We can do much more given the time and resources.

        The Raspberry Pi is a horrible comparison. It's not designed for end-users. It's designed to be a teaching tool, but it's not even a great one at that. It's buggy, performs poorly, and is designed around proprietary bits that have caused all sorts of problems. If you want to give kids a device to play with it should be hackable. You should have the complete set of corresponding sources. To give them a device with a preconfigured toy environment to play in and then say you can't do anything more... well, that's a shame.

        Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post

        Which is nice if you have something decent to put in. Issue is, you don't as you aren't a major OEM, and using crappy SoCs isn't going to help you get much traction because Openness isn't going to cover the fact that there is still pretty shitty hardware in that module.

        What I would do is making a new standard that I can fit the most pre-made SoM boards into, then make a bunch of adapter boards, that accept a specific SoM and allow to mount it in your laptop chassis/board/whatever.

        There are five zillion SoM boards that can be integrated, like the ones used in Hummingboards here https://www.solid-run.com/freescale-.../hummingboard/
        the wandboard's http://www.tgdaily.com/hardware-feat...goes-quad-core

        And I'm using those as example as the GPU has some kind of open driver for it.

        Try do do something like this next time.
        Your skipping an important step with these suggestions besides the fact a lot of this stuff is hostile to the objectives of this project. Those objectives being a freedom respecting ecologically friendly modular computing technology standard. You don't shoot for a high end high performance card when the majority of people have a limited budget to which you can appeal. To achieve success you need designs and price points that can achieve mass appeal. If you don't reach the numbers you need you will fail. That means inexpensive options. The desktop is the low cost option. The laptop is a bit more, but still within reason for a sizeable percentage of people. If we went with a higher end SoC in the first card it would not only have been problematic from a mass appeal stand point, but also from a freedom-stand point. This design and card is actually much better than the Raspberry Pi. It has an SoC that is 2 1/2 times faster than the Raspberry Pi. It's also not as broken, buggy, or problematic as what came out of Bradcom with the Raspberry Pi project.

        There are also problems with the majority of devices your suggesting to build off when it comes to source code. We generally don't get a complete set of corresponding source code and there are many limitations due to proprietary drivers and firmwares. The situation is actually getting worse. We need new freedom-respecting modular designs that aren't built off stock reference designs from other companies.

        What you get here is an NSA/ GCHQ / other government agency free backdoor-free design that we have complete control over and can be upgraded easily. Presuming we succeed then we will work on 64 BIT quad-core card with significantly more ram, etc. And because we have succeeded with a low cost option previously users won't have to spend a fortune to upgrade. They can simply swap out the lower cost card with a much faster higher performing card that is more competitive with other ARM and X86 systems. They can then proceed to move those lower spec cards into other types of devices such as routers.
        Last edited by thinkpenguin; 07-02-2016, 06:48 PM.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by thinkpenguin View Post
          The average user does not need 3D acceleration provided the desktop environment and applications that are included do not depend on it.
          So, we are talking of XFCE, LXDE/qt, Enlightnment (with more limited functionality), and MATE.
          Thanks Obama for not including the DEs that don't look like 90s.

          The main thing to remember about this project is that it's not the CPU cards that are available today which matter.
          Yeah right, another project that ships a turd and then tries to say "but it's a module!".

          No. Quit saying this shit and covering it with good words about the Good Battle that must be fought.
          I can get behind the rethoric, but I'm not buying turds for rethoric, it sends the wrong message.

          Give me something I can use NOW or GTFO. That thing is going to run worse than the Pi-Top, the laptop with a raspi 3 inside. WORSE. And it costs more.

          We have more issues that are coming and to overcome these issues we need to gain control over the entire design and manufacturing processes.
          First issue is money and self-sustainability. If you started easier by making a adapter for some of the 3 zillion SoM there are out there, like for example Freescale's that have DECENT quadcores and a GPU with a open driver (working 2D, 3D needs more work), you could start selling that like cakes, and then you could introduce better stuff once the wheel was already turning.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post
            So, we are talking of XFCE, LXDE/qt, Enlightnment (with more limited functionality), and MATE.
            Thanks Obama for not including the DEs that don't look like 90s.

            Yeah right, another project that ships a turd and then tries to say "but it's a module!".

            No. Quit saying this shit and covering it with good words about the Good Battle that must be fought.
            I can get behind the rethoric, but I'm not buying turds for rethoric, it sends the wrong message.

            Give me something I can use NOW or GTFO. That thing is going to run worse than the Pi-Top, the laptop with a raspi 3 inside. WORSE. And it costs more.

            First issue is money and self-sustainability. If you started easier by making a adapter for some of the 3 zillion SoM there are out there, like for example Freescale's that have DECENT quadcores and a GPU with a open driver (working 2D, 3D needs more work), you could start selling that like cakes, and then you could introduce better stuff once the wheel was already turning.
            If you think you can do a better job then fork it. I have in my hands the prototype and can say it's already a lot better than what you are proposing. I have a pi-top and there are major issues with it. While it sounded good, the thing does not have a usable keyboard. The laptop is extremely thick and so on. What you think is a good idea doesn't work well in practice and I'm confident that this is a great start to solving some of these problems. There is also progress is the various areas that people are complaining about. It's not always know because you only hear about the problems and never the solutions or positive developments.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post
              It seems cost was an issue.
              they could save few bucks more by not including cpu
              Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post
              None gives a fuck about that
              several people in this very thread do

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              • #37
                Originally posted by thinkpenguin View Post
                You don't seem to get the point of this project. It's a starting point to bring control over the hardware back to the community. We can do much more given the time and resources.
                Which you won't get because this hardware is a turd.

                The Raspberry Pi is a horrible comparison. It's not designed for end-users.
                No it is exactly designed for the type of users that will be the most likely market niche of such a product of yours for a long while, so you can skip some protections for the first generations of hardware.

                It's buggy, performs poorly, and is designed around proprietary bits that have caused all sorts of problems.
                I just wanted to say that the fact that raspi is sold as a bare board hasn't hampered its sales by much.

                Your skipping an important step with these suggestions besides the fact a lot of this stuff is hostile to the objectives of this project. Those objectives being a freedom respecting ecologically friendly modular computing technology standard.
                Which will not go anywhere if the only hardware running it is a turd from the start.

                You don't shoot for a high end high performance card when the majority of people have a limited budget to which you can appeal.
                Yeah, but trying to sell a turd for FAR more than it is worth isn't going to be a good idea either.

                This design and card is actually much better than the Raspberry Pi. It has an SoC that is 2 1/2 times faster than the Raspberry Pi. It's also not as broken, buggy, or problematic as what came out of Bradcom with the Raspberry Pi project.
                This is 2016, not 2012. Raspi 3 laughs at this and is mostly opensource now.

                There are also problems with the majority of devices your suggesting to build off when it comes to source code.
                http://opensource.freescale.com/
                and there are also datasheets.

                And there are also open SoMs here http://www.imx6rex.com/

                open GPU driver for them is here https://github.com/laanwj/etna_viv

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by FLHerne View Post
                  The problem, for both this and the Pyra, is getting SoCs in the required quantity of ~4000 when the manufacturers want to sell in hundreds of thousands
                  there is business opportunity here. buy 100k and sell in 25 parts

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by pal666 View Post
                    they could save few bucks more by not including cpu
                    Don't be an idiot, they already told you why they cannot above.

                    several people in this very thread do
                    And I already called them loonies as if the FSF does not care, they shouldn't either.



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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by thinkpenguin View Post
                      If you think you can do a better job then fork it.
                      The hell I fork? your contracts with chinese manufacturers? Your budget?

                      This is electronics hardware, I cannot just copy blueprints as I need more than a compiler to make them.

                      I'll see if I can fit the im6 rex into a custom baseboard that can fit in a module for your system, but that's not much more I can do.

                      I have in my hands the prototype and can say it's already a lot better than what you are proposing.
                      Yeah, and I have a random board powered by a A20 and a raspi 3, and the latter nukes the former on anything you care to think about.

                      What you think is a good idea doesn't work well in practice
                      I'll take your word for that, yeah right.

                      There is also progress is the various areas that people are complaining about.
                      Please tell me more.
                      The only area we are (really) complaining about is Mali GPU. Are you opensourcing it? I doubt it.
                      Last edited by starshipeleven; 07-02-2016, 08:01 PM.

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