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

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  • #71
    Originally posted by lkcl View Post
    the already are - they're just proprietary. full instructions (which will work with the EOMA68-A20) are here: http://linux-sunxi.org/Mali_binary_driver
    Again you talk about using proprietary drivers on a opensource system. I still don't get why this.

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    • #72
      Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post
      Again you talk about using proprietary drivers on a opensource system. I still don't get why this.
      He does this because there is no other option (except the option to stop working on it completely). I am as angry about blobs as you are, but it is not the fault of lkcl or people like him. Its the fault of gazillions of people being not interested in open software/hardware, and the industry gives sh** about it, because they still sell enough. Few people trying the effort of developing open drivers, but reverse engineering, NDAs and lack of documentation... its all just a pain in the a**.

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      • #73
        Decent? You got to be kidding this is a grossly overpriced kit.
        oh! sorry, forgot to say (whew, so much going on) - remember this isn't something that you throw into landfill like a standard laptop just because you got a virus or it's "too slow"... you can *upgrade*. or you can buy two products and share *one* Computer Card and you've saved immediately 40% the cost of two equivalent monolithic products.

        so it saves money long-term... and that's with us doing a tiny order on a MOQ of 250 units, with associated fixed NREs on the setup and teardown of the production lines. not bad, huh?

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        • #74
          Originally posted by sverris View Post
          He does this because there is no other option (except the option to stop working on it completely).
          I know why he does and I hope he succedes (also that his master plan succedes as without a chip company onboard it will get difficult pretty soon).

          I was commenting the fact this system is supposed to get FSF approval and the lead dev tells people to run blobs on it.

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          • #75
            Originally posted by sverris View Post

            He does this because there is no other option (except the option to stop working on it completely). I am as angry about blobs as you are, but it is not the fault of lkcl or people like him. Its the fault of gazillions of people being not interested in open software/hardware, and the industry gives sh** about it, because they still sell enough. Few people trying the effort of developing open drivers, but reverse engineering, NDAs and lack of documentation... its all just a pain in the a**.
            frickin tell me about it. i've done reverse-engineering: i even have a license for IDA Pro 4.99.999 (the last one before version 5). we can apply for RYF Certification because the MALI graphics is entirely invisible (it's memory-mapped) and, because of protected memory between the linux kernel and userspace the users *CAN'T* get at it and wouldn't even know it was there. we can't refer people to the limadriver.org project because luc verhaegen had to stop working on it and take a full-time contract to be able to put food on the table. he's not very happy about this... given that people keep complaining about the lack of free MALI drivers and then DON'T PAY HIM ANY MONEY, we're left wondering "what gives?". we can *tell* people that the proprietary mali exists, and i tell people that they're entirely free to make their own assessment as to the risk of running proprietary software, but i've personally done that risk assessment for myself, and i certainly ain't running it.

            it's an odd situation, the software libre world. i was the lead developer of the reverse-engineering work on samba nt domains and later on MS Exchange 5.5. i was the first key strategic person in the free software community who fell through the cracks due to the strange disconnect between the value of work being done and the fact that the libre licenses don't have a "contract of sale" which you get in the proprietary world so that people have to give you money equal to the value of the work being done, and i wasn't the last.

            the next major person who fell through this strange reality-disconnect was the gentoo lead developer: he had FORTY FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS on credit cards before he was forced to take a job with microsoft of all people. it wasn't really until the SSL attacks and bash vulnerabilities that major companies suddenly woke up and went, "oh shit. we've been making a f***** fortune and we forgot to actually, like... y'know... give some money to the developers that our entire business model is critically dependent on, so they can pay to have proper security audits, y'know?"

            this btw is why i'm developing hardware, now, because hardware requires that people pay for it! incidentally i will always sell hardware that respects people's freedom...


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            • #76
              lkcl

              Curious. In the future, could you possibly see yourself producing custom designs for other projects or small companies (a TSMC sort of deal)?
              I'm genuinely interested in a hardware module such as this.

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              • #77
                Originally posted by unixfan2001 View Post
                lkcl

                Curious. In the future, could you possibly see yourself producing custom designs for other projects or small companies (a TSMC sort of deal)?
                I'm genuinely interested in a hardware module such as this.
                of course. it's early days yet but the idea is that these would be off-the-shelf computer cards, just like you have "memory cards" now, and anything that helps to get that concept over to people, yeah i'm up for that. which reminds me there was a team doing a tablet-like device, i should get back in touch with them... that was one custom design team i helped out in the past.

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                • #78
                  Originally posted by lkcl View Post

                  of course. it's early days yet but the idea is that these would be off-the-shelf computer cards, just like you have "memory cards" now, and anything that helps to get that concept over to people, yeah i'm up for that. which reminds me there was a team doing a tablet-like device, i should get back in touch with them... that was one custom design team i helped out in the past.
                  Awesome!

                  I work on a new, social, community driven OS that I'm hoping to unveil soon. If it ever takes off, I'd love to get into talks with you about proper hardware.
                  It would definitely need more "oomph" than the current reference design, though. My DE specifically requires hardware acceleration.

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                  • #79
                    Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post
                    I know why he does and I hope he succedes (also that his master plan succedes as without a chip company onboard it will get difficult pretty soon).

                    I was commenting the fact this system is supposed to get FSF approval and the lead dev tells people to run blobs on it.
                    No he doesn't. He said there was a driver for it, as an answer to the notion that there was none. He pointed out its proprietary nature.
                    He didn't make the driver. Also, he offers two versions, one of which does without it. We live in a world where that is quite a feat.
                    Last edited by kingu; 07-04-2016, 05:25 AM.

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                    • #80
                      Originally posted by pal666 View Post
                      allwinner is gpl violator
                      They are. And they are not very cooperative. On other hand, Linux Sunxi community is really nice. I can't readily remember any other HW platform around with comparable community. Needless to say community does their things in really nice, unscrewed ways. Without treachery and dubious crap.

                      lol, laptop for $500 without graphics. why not add $5 and use chip with freedreno support?
                      Freedreno implies Qualcomm and before expressing your valuable opinion it is really wise to check system architecture of praised SoC. Most qualcomms are backdoored to the hell, with cell modem being center of the universe. Most qualcomms are cell modems and everything else is really secondary. Cell modem boots its huge blobbed firmware first and this huge chunk of proprietary code boots secondary CPU running Linux which is a mere user interface to their fucking cell modem. Needless to say you can't even get rid of blobs because whole boot sequence is tightly locked down. So those insisting on qualcomm crap should stop bothering about all-open, RYF and somesuch anyway. If you're okay with huge proprietary firmware, it just would not do. Maybe some qualcomm things aren't like this, but most of them are extremely nasty and even open GPU driver is a very little gain when you've got SoC which if evil and fucked up to the very core of its design.

                      If you think you could do it better than Allwinner based system, feel free to do that. But you can count I will show no mercy if I'll find any fucking blob or flaw in YOUR system. Speaking for myself I could boot Completely Deblobbed System on Allwinner. With absolutely no stinky blobs whatsoever. U-boot takes control early, no calls to resident evil firmwares are made since this point. Device runs under my full control. Using mainline kernel/uboot/etc. Sure, some options are still missing. But damn, it just usual Debian Testing and it rocks :P. Without fucking 96boards, being pretty cheap and usable for all kinds of automation and networking one could imagine for Debian.

                      This said, there is at least one really stupid fail in this design. Allwinner A20 comes with native SATA (AHCI) and real gigabit Ethernet. And things like laptops are really better off using these. One could use e.g. fairly fast SSD attached to SATA for OS and so on. One could enjoy at least quick gigabit links. These are nice options for advanced users like system admins and devs who value trusted environment over glamourous graphics, etc.

                      Sure, we all want:
                      - Non-locked HW without backdoors and misfeatures.
                      - Cooperative vendor.
                      - Fully-fledged opensouce drivers, including GPU part.
                      - Good powerful hardware.
                      - Low Power.
                      - Fairly cheap.

                      But damn, it is not as simple as that. I'm afraid there is no even single SoC or CPU on the planet matching all these wishes at once. If one could live without 3D graphics, allwinner is not worst option around. Just because community did really good job. It isn't allwinner achievement at all, but come on, show us better SoCs!
                      Last edited by SystemCrasher; 07-04-2016, 12:52 PM.

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