Author Topic: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024  (Read 8838 times)

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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Preamble
So, after dropping the bombshell "we made THE definitive risc-v laptop" (see here), to raise money from pre-sales, no one saw anything ("officially released", lol), and I think the "ROMA" laptop is just another one is vaporware marketing garbage.

It's easy to think of throwing a CM4 or an RPI into a box (I've also seen wooden ones), throwing in a wireless keyboard... but what comes out is NOT a laptop!

A laptop must care about the design, in terms of ergonomics, robustness, possibility of putting it in a backpack without it breaking, rather than the commercial nonsense (e.g. mnt Reform, which is also too bloody expensive! >> 1200 euro) of wanting to make it "strange" because it is "Open{ Software, Hardware }".

When you install GNU/Linux on a Thinkpad you don't care if you don't have the firmware sources or the motherboard wiring diagram. You care more that your wrists don't hurt, and that the laptop weighs little and doesn't break easily.

However, putting Coreboot on the Thinkpad x2*0 flash (replacing the IBM/Lenovo firmware) doesn't automatically make it an "Open Hardware laptop", at most... you have opensource firmware, which launches an opensource kernel running an openssource rootfs.

Which is great, but makes sense if you want to spend little and have a more or less open system.

... wanting to work on something completely free from past legacy (Wintel), free to evolve, and for which one can have all the technical documentation without having to do reverse engineering, well ..

Simple criterion
(not considering { ergonomics, robustness, ... } )

Code: [Select]
boolean_t is_ok(x)
{
     ans = True;
     ans = ans logicalAnd x'( CPU.ISA isNot { x86, amd });
     ans = ans logicalAnd x has "{ firmware, hardware } documentaton";
     ans = ans logicalAnd x has "enough RAM and CPU speed to run { emacs, gcc, gdb, x11|twm, ... }";
     ans = ans logicalAnd x has "built-in display{ 800x600|4:3, 1024x768|4:3, ... }";
     ans = ans logicalAnd x has "QWERTY keyboard";
     ans = ans logicalAnd x has "built-in { trackpad, trackball, trackpoint, ... }";
     ans = ans logicalAnd x is "battery powered";
     ans = ans logicalAnd x is "able to work for at least 6 hours on battery";
     ans = ans logicalAnd x has "linux support";

     return ans;
}

gets this list of things, some make sense, others less (and cost too much)  :o :o :o

  • Lichee Console 4A, Portable RISC-V Development Terminal (7" (1)), see here
  • Lichee Pad Max 4A (14"),  see here
  • DevTerm (RISC-V) Kit R-01, see here
  • mnt Reform, see here
  • Olimex' Teres-v1.0 aka "A64" (we are discussing Teres-v1.5 and v2.0, see here
  • PineTab, tablet with detachable backlit keyboard, see here
    (and here the RISC-V version)
  • PineBook/Pro, see here

edit:
(1) The text console cannot be used "as is" because the LCD display is rotated. X11 can solve this problem easily.
edit2:
list[]+=PineTab

The Apple Macbook Air { M2, M3 } has full linux support now, see here), but ... but all existing documentation comes not from Apple but from reverse engineering.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2024, 09:55:47 am by DiTBho »
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Offline brucehoult

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2024, 12:42:04 pm »
> able to work for at least 6 hours on battery

That disqualifies my brand new 16" Lenovo. Maybe 3.5 hours, max.

Roma shipped in October or November 2023. I know people who have one. They're a ridiculous price for the CPU speed, but then presumably most of the price is made up of the screen, trackpad, battery, chassis etc not the CPU.

You left off PineTab-V, which meets all your stated criteria (except maybe battery life).
« Last Edit: March 20, 2024, 12:37:02 am by brucehoult »
 

Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2024, 12:48:46 pm »
You left off PineTab-V, which meets all your stated criteria (except maybe battery life).

Code: [Select]
is_ok(PineTab-V) = False;

     x has "QWERTY keyboard"; ---> False
     x is "able to work for at least 6 hours on battery"; ---> False

It's not a laptop, but rather a tablet with an external keyboard -> bad design  :o :o :o
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Offline brucehoult

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2024, 01:26:02 pm »
You left off PineTab-V, which meets all your stated criteria (except maybe battery life).

Code: [Select]
is_ok(PineTab-V) = False;

     x has "QWERTY keyboard"; ---> False
     x is "able to work for at least 6 hours on battery"; ---> False

It's not a laptop, but rather a tablet with an external keyboard -> bad design  :o :o :o

It's only a difference from whether you unfold the keyboard from the screen/CPU/battery unit, or unfold the screen from the keyboard/CPU/battery unit. The functionality is the same and meets all your previously-stated criteria.
 

Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2024, 02:06:34 pm »
no, it does not. Bult-in keyboard is a completely differnt thing in practice.
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Offline langwadt

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2024, 02:16:03 pm »
no, it does not. Bult-in keyboard is a completely differnt thing in practice.

what's the big difference?
 

Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2024, 02:17:29 pm »
here (page 1) I recommend to avoid SoCs made by Allwinner, because they not only mess things up with kernel, dts, firmware, etc., but they sometime release chips with hardware bugs, and worse doesn't even fully comply with Open Source licenses!

Rockchip is a better company, and, in my opinion, the RK3328 is decent enough to be called "better".

I said "hardware bugs" because I am working with { Neo, NeoAir } SBCs ( Allwinner ARM/32bit SoC) ... and umm, inside the SoC there is a buggy "OpenRisc" MPU, which has so many serious hardware bugs that, not only can it not be programmed in C because it requires manual programming in assembly to work-around its bugs (when it is possible, of course), but for safety it ends up that it is better to force it into perpetual iddle because if it were going crazy it could potentionally access all of the SoC's RAM with catastrophic consequences.

That OpenRisc MPU is that part - like in Allwinnder A64 (ARM/64bit SoC) used for the Teres-1 laptop - of hardware responsible for energy management, suspend, etc. It's not at all nice to have hardware bugs in such a delicate component when it comes to battery-powered mobile devices!

- -

Umm, here it is: feel free to list the best ARM alternatives. Perhaps they will be considered for the next Teres laptop.
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2024, 02:32:41 pm »
no, it does not. Bult-in keyboard is a completely differnt thing in practice.

what's the big difference?

A built-in keyboard is typically less flexible than folding ones (especially if detacable folding ones) and offers much better typing comfort, and being usually based on a wired-protocol instead of wireless one (Bluetooth) is better from both firmware and kernel perspective, as it makes the developer's life easier and doesn't even bore you with charging extra batteries.
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Offline Infraviolet

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2024, 11:55:17 pm »
The trouble is that almost no-one wants a non-x86 laptop. Virtually all the programs one is actually running on a laptop are compiled for x86, that includes Windows executables, Windows executbles that run happily under Wine and Linux native executables. With open-source software one can compile it for non-x86 hardware, in theory, but in practice this is a nightmare so all the users just want pre-compiled binaries, and pre-compiled binaries are always set up for x86. Furthermore a lot of software people actually use is legacy software, for which all they have is working executables and an installer executable, many such pieces of software have been long abandoned by their producers and source code for them may well have all been lost by the software's creators at this point. In short, for a laptop to be useful as an all round machine to most users, it must be able to run x86 compiled binaries. As a Linux user and a believer in the spirit of open-source and making-sure-one's-hardware-is-self-repairable-and-not-backdoored I can well get behind the idea of an open-source laptop, but or an open-source laptop to succeed it must support x86. If that means reverse engineering x86 before an open-source implementation can be made, then that is where such efforts need to start, without x86 support the good intentions of an open-source laptop project just cannot meet the practical needs of real users*.

*yes one might note that Apple has gone away from x86 without losing "users", but Apple users are more like fashion consumers than real geeks. Apple having moved away from x86 isn't a relevant comparison, as the trendy wants of Apple buyers are very different than the technical needs among the type of people who would be interested in an open-source laptop as a real daily driver machine.
 

Offline brucehoult

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2024, 12:31:25 am »
no, it does not. Bult-in keyboard is a completely differnt thing in practice.

what's the big difference?

A built-in keyboard is typically less flexible than folding ones (especially if detacable folding ones) and offers much better typing comfort, and being usually based on a wired-protocol instead of wireless one (Bluetooth) is better from both firmware and kernel perspective, as it makes the developer's life easier and doesn't even bore you with charging extra batteries.

Here is my PineTab-V next to a MacBook.

To answer your objections:

- the keyboard / trackpad unit is quite rigid. Perhaps I would not want to use it on my lap, but on any firm surface it is fine

- it's a little under standard key spacing, but the keys themselves are the same as on anything else these days

- There is a wired plug&socket connection to the CPU/screen unit. The KB can be detached, but you would not normally do so, instead folding it behind the screen if you want to use it as a tablet.

- there are no batteries in the KB/trackpad unit. It is powered by the tablet.

Incidentally, I virtually always use a Microsoft 850 wireless keyboard and mouse on my desktop computers. That uses a dongle plugging into a USB port and, as far as I'm aware, looks to the OS the same as wired USB KB&mouse.


 
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Offline brucehoult

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2024, 12:48:20 am »
The trouble is that almost no-one wants a non-x86 laptop. Virtually all the programs one is actually running on a laptop are compiled for x86, that includes Windows executables, Windows executbles that run happily under Wine and Linux native executables.

Speak for yourself. I have never in my life owned an MS-DOS or Windows computer [1] and I've been using computers since 1980.

Quote
*yes one might note that Apple has gone away from x86 without losing "users", but Apple users are more like fashion consumers than real geeks. Apple having moved away from x86 isn't a relevant comparison, as the trendy wants of Apple buyers are very different than the technical needs among the type of people who would be interested in an open-source laptop as a real daily driver machine.

Bull shit.

Go into any tech company where highly skilled programmers are allowed a choice of computer to use, and the vast majority choose Mac, especially if the provided machines are laptops as they typically are these days (with docking to large screen, KB, etc when you are at your desk).

This was true at Mozilla in 2009. It was true in SiFive (RISC-V CPU designer) in 2019. It's true in FaceBook and Google.

Employees at these companies aren't "real geeks"? Don't make me laugh.

[1] ok, I've owned a 24 core i9-13900HX Lenovo with Windows 11 for about the last two weeks and haven't yet gotten around to wiping that and putting Linux on it natively. But I plan to.
 

Offline Infraviolet

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2024, 01:03:35 am »
I've been on Linux with every computer I've used since 2017, nonetheless the majority of programs I use are precompiled x86 binaries.
 

Offline brucehoult

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2024, 01:17:35 am »
I've been on Linux with every computer I've used since 2017, nonetheless the majority of programs I use are precompiled x86 binaries.

The majority of programs I use on my arm32, arm64, and riscv64 Linux boards are also precompiled binaries. Binaries for Arm and RISC-V, not for x86, of course. "sudo apt install foo". Boom!

 

Offline Veteran68

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2024, 03:45:28 am »
*yes one might note that Apple has gone away from x86 without losing "users", but Apple users are more like fashion consumers than real geeks. Apple having moved away from x86 isn't a relevant comparison, as the trendy wants of Apple buyers are very different than the technical needs among the type of people who would be interested in an open-source laptop as a real daily driver machine.

This too is a myth. Have you been to many Linux conferences? My first was RedHat Summit 2013. I thought I would be in the minority with my shiny new 2012 MacBook Pro, expecting most to be running Thinkpads with Linux. But was astonished that probably 75% of attendees, including the graybeards, and about 90% of Red Hat employees, were running MacBooks with RHEL in a VM. Macs are very common in the commercial geek world. I've been to several conferences since and the trend continues.
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2024, 04:31:56 am »
Macs are also ubiquitous in the academic world.
 

Offline Infraviolet

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2024, 05:12:57 am »
"Macs are also ubiquitous in the academic world."
From my observations that's more among humanities academics, and professors who've risen to such a seniority that they don't do any actual research any more but spend all their time forced in to administrative roles for their departments. That is to say, not the sort of academics who are actually doing much hands-on technical stuff.

I'm surprised about your observation about Linux conferences though, seems pretty odd that Linux developers would prefer to have it in a VM than as their base operating system.
 

Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2024, 01:08:42 pm »
I've been on Linux with every computer I've used since 2017, nonetheless the majority of programs I use are precompiled x86 binaries.

I've been on GNU/Linux with every computer I've used since 2005, the turning point, from BeOS-v5+netbone  to GNU/Linux (kernel 2.4), on the occasion of the launch of the first beta version of Gentoo!

Since then, from PowerPC-750 to POWER9, from PXA (intel ARM) to Ampere/ARM64, from MIPS-1 to MIPS32R2 (1), but also HPPA (2), nonetheless the majority of programs I use are locally - in house - compiled sources!

When I was a student I compiled things on my laptop, or directly on the router; to compile OpenOffice on a PPC 750@400Mhz/64Mbyte ram took a week, and to compile a tool like "cmake" on an IDT MIPS32@400Mhz/64Mbyte ram took 98hours.

Today I compile whole stage1-3-4s on Qemu/$arch instances created specifically for Catalyst; here I could improve the building system, as it's a cluster of two/three Mac-Mini intel 2009  ... a modern Xeon server would be insanely better.

So I can say that it's just a matter of available computer-power, electricity and personal time (to learn stuff and maintain stuff), not only to compile things, but also to fix them, fix bugs, both in the code and in the ebuilds, or to create the ebuilds themselves, but supporting systems entirely opensource has been widely viable for ~20 years!.

(1) this was/is *very* difficult to be supported a common rootfs, as everything, including critical parts, was/is experimental, therefore untested/bugged
(2) this is *very* difficult (practically impossible?) to be supported for { llvm/clang, Go, Rust, GNAT, ... }
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2024, 01:10:11 pm »
I've been on Linux with every computer I've used since 2017, nonetheless the majority of programs I use are precompiled x86 binaries.

The majority of programs I use on my arm32, arm64, and riscv64 Linux boards are also precompiled binaries. Binaries for Arm and RISC-V, not for x86, of course. "sudo apt install foo". Boom!

which kind of binaries?
On my boss's
  • Mac-Mini { PPC, intel } cluster
  • Ampere servers
  • IBM POWER workstations
{ firmware, kernel, userspace, applications } are 100% OpenSource and/or things that we develop in house

Lucky people  :o :o :o

On the contrary, on my MacBook Air I only had commercial software, starting with FinalCut.

In Teres-1 support, as far as I'm concerned, the firmware is uboot, the kernel is linux , the rootfs is based on Catalyst, therefore derived from Gentoo/ARM64, everything is 100% open source.

On the kernel side, there's only the bad GPU issue, because turbofb doesn't work well yet, let's say it "somehow works" (closed hardware), then there's the OpenRISC issue, that little MPU that manages the "energy" matters of the SoC  and that's a long and unclear story on Allwinner's part.

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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2024, 01:14:59 pm »
To answer your objections:

ok, you convinced me. I'll add it to the list above  :-+
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2024, 01:25:19 pm »
The trouble is that almost no-one wants a non-x86 laptop. Virtually all the programs one is actually running on a laptop are compiled for x86

Umm, yup, that's a problem for things like SolidWorks and Avocet compilers.
We solved it in two ways
  • for things like SolidWorks: by purchasing an Intel rack server, with integrated KVM. Xen runs Virtual machines, one for every Windows work environment. Applications can also be used via RDP
  • for things like Avocet (DOS) compilers: by hacking DosBox for those DOS compilers that were CLI compiled.
    DosBox acts as a bridge between the host machine and its filesystem <--> DOS16 filesystem, and between conio <--> tty;
    It works very well, and compared to Wine it also works on non-x86 hosts. Obviously it has major limitations, but that's how I moved most DOS compilers to the { Ampere, POWER } servers
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2024, 04:19:14 pm »
Dunno anything about the Chinese-~MIPS64(1) laptops ...  :-//

(1) ~MIPS64 are not 100% MIPS64-ISA compliant.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2024, 05:55:30 am by DiTBho »
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2024, 04:42:08 am »


Video (not my channel, not affilated) "Unboxing RISC-V Lichee Console 4A"

Note, when you boot the kernel, the /dev/tty console is not rotated, so you have to twist your neck
This can be fixed in x11 by rotating the display via software, but that's "no-good" in product design  :o :o :o
« Last Edit: March 24, 2024, 05:53:10 am by DiTBho »
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Offline brucehoult

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2024, 09:13:48 am »
This is very hard to avoid if you're not a huge manufacturer, as virtually all such small displays are made for portrait mode devices these days. If it bothers you, set it to not display the boot messages.
 

Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2024, 11:08:35 am »
This is very hard to avoid if you're not a huge manufacturer, as virtually all such small displays are made for portrait mode devices these days.

well, I ordered just last week six 10.1" LCDs, besides being 4:3 with a classic LVDS interface they don't have that problem.
It took me two years to find them (paid 60 euro each), but so that they exist - made in 2012 - says the label stuck on the back.

Rather ... the issue is, they use neon lamp (umm typical early 2000s technology here), so they need inverter. This is the only problem, as long as I haven't yet understood how to do it (if it can be done) to make LED-backlighting.

This not only removes a ~pound of weight, but saves energy, making the final device more power efficient.

if it bothers you, set it to not display the boot messages.

I cannot solve the problem by moving the { firmware, kernel } console to the serial as I'm one of those who does not use x11 but only text console, so for me this is something that can't be solved in any way. Except fbcon directly on /dev/fb0

"fbcon" (framebuffer console) is one of my experimental things that does not require X11 to operate, but umm it's not fast, it's rather slow (worse still, software scolling ... d'oh), so ... decent but not brilliant.

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Online Nominal Animal

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2024, 12:15:07 pm »
Note, when you boot the kernel, the /dev/tty console is not rotated, so you have to twist your neck
Both uboot and fbcon support console rotation, and adding it to other drivers is not too difficult.

This review included a bootlog, which indicates this verisilicon drm driver (vs-drm) is used, and it does support rotation, but as of kernel 6.8, has not been included in the vanilla kernel yet.  The latest version of the patchset is v3, but Keith Zhao of StarFiveTech is still working on it to get it into upstreamable state.

This is very hard to avoid if you're not a huge manufacturer, as virtually all such small displays are made for portrait mode devices these days.
No.  The memory orientation of the display device is irrelevant nowadays.  This is standard systems integration work, and only requires the driver to expose the initial orientation as a module parameter.  Even the fbtft driver in staging supports rotate firmware parameter.  If you cannot stuff it in the graphics firmware (because it varies at run time), then push a couple of lines' patch upstream to expose it also as a module_param(), so it can be set by uboot etc. on the kernel command line overriding the one in the firmware.
 
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Offline brucehoult

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #25 on: March 24, 2024, 12:37:02 pm »
Good to know. I do bare metal stuff (including setting up PMP, page tables, switching modes etc) and I do compilers/JITs/emulators in user-land, but Linux boot and kernel stuff is somewhere I don't venture.
 
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2024, 01:11:45 pm »
Both uboot and fbcon support console rotation, and adding it to other drivers is not too difficult.

nice to learn  :-+

with "fbcon" I meant a userprogram I wrote myself (kernel v2.6.39 era, many years ago), but it's userspace stuff that access /dev/fb0 to manage a tty terminal with simple features, and only one 8x16 font-set.
Everything is software-driven, even the vertical scroll.

Pros: it works everywhere (even on NetBSD, OpenBSD, and XINU) there is a /dev/fb0
Cons: slow
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2024, 01:27:17 pm »
Ordered two devices for my friends (their money on my credit-card)

395.00 €, PINETAB2-10.1-inc 8GB/128GB ARM based tablet with detachable backlit keyboard      
395.00 €, PINEBOOK-14-inc  Pro ARM based laptop
000.00 €, Shipping   
----------------------------------------------------------------------
790.00 €, total

I'll move forward with the teres-1. Maybe I'll buy a RISC-V device in the second semester.
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #28 on: March 24, 2024, 02:11:13 pm »
one thing I do find annoying is when a product that is supposed to be for developers has the "unique feature" to multiplex audio port between audio headphone output and serial console debug.

you need a program in userspace to move a bloody GPIO in early-boot.
Code: [Select]
#!/bin/bash
UENV_PATH="/boot/uEnv.txt"

case $1 in

        on) sed -i.bak '/debug=/c\debug=on' $UENV_PATH
            echo "Debug on headphone port enabled. Please reboot !"
            ;;
       off) sed -i.bak '/debug=/c\debug=off' $UENV_PATH
            echo "Debug on headphone port disabled. Please reboot !"
            ;;
        *)
        echo "Unknown option! Usage: debug_switch on|off "
        esac
Why hasn't u-boot been modified to provide this service?
Why open source is always missing essential things (like a debugging console) and you always end up angry with tons of hacks?!?

How am I going to manage this?
- open the laptop
- remove the motherboard
- find the GPIO
- unsolder the contact
- wire an hardware patch (pullup/down I have to check) to make the serial perpetually enabled
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Online Nominal Animal

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #29 on: March 24, 2024, 02:33:55 pm »
Linux boot and kernel stuff is somewhere I don't venture.
Righty-o; I tend to spend more time there than I do on bare metal (except for microcontrollers) myself.  ;)

Why hasn't u-boot been modified to provide this service?
Why open source is always missing essential things (like a debugging console) and you always end up angry with tons of hacks?!?
Because systems integration is ignored, done by whoever has the time or interest with minimum time and effort spent.

I'm very serious about that.  It's the kind of field where you need a generalist to get it done right, with enough experience to know the various ways how it can be done right.  By the time you have that kind of expertise and experience, you're way out of the pay range anyone is willing to pay to get it done right.  (Granted, the maximum pay range for this is somewhere between highschool dropout and McDonalds worker, but "free" being preferred.)

It is exactly why I keep telling anyone messing with Linux to consider looking at LinuxFromScratch and writing their own example init systems, as that gives a vast majority of the experience needed.  Add a bit of kernel hacking and patch submission, and you're basically there, in my opinion.

How am I going to manage this?
Since it uses u-boot, I would use the gpio command instead.  If not supported on this hardware yet, then I would look into a patch implementing it, and pushing it upstream.

This, too, is something that should have been done by the systems integrator who put the example/default images together, being low-lying fruit and all.
Unfortunately, minimizing time to market no matter how un-integrated or incomplete the device is, is the primary goal nowadays.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2024, 02:35:39 pm by Nominal Animal »
 
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #30 on: March 24, 2024, 03:32:12 pm »
Since it uses u-boot, I would use the gpio command instead.  If not supported on this hardware yet, then I would look into a patch implementing it, and pushing it upstream.

yup, doesn't seem implemented yet (2024 Git).
U-boot has a lot of bugs here and there and I have to fix them with higher priority.

This, too, is something that should have been done by the systems integrator who put the example/default images together, being low-lying fruit and all.
Unfortunately, minimizing time to market no matter how un-integrated or incomplete the device is, is the primary goal nowadays.

bah, the Teres-1 is a product made in 2018, six years ago, still for sale for ~250-300 euro shipped with all the tools you need, which is not "cheap", especially compared to alternatives.

You have to ignore that
- the SD card release mechanism is so clunky and poorly designed that it often gets stuck and you need a screwdriver to insert or remove the SD card
(risking splitting it, scratching the shell, or doing other damages)
- the eMMC is very slow. It's a known issue, and there are plans to replace it with faster units, but they are in perpetual limbo
- there are no other USB ports, you only have *one* on the left side of the laptop.
- the SoC's network NIC is shared in a mutually exclusive way with the LCD, so either you have the LCD, or do you have the network NIC
- the serial port is shared with the sound card without having put a physical switch on the mobo.

At least take care of the basic things... instead... it's semi-abandoned, kept going by very few volunteers

And look what you find pre-installed
Code: [Select]
# uname -r
3.10.104

kernel v3  :wtf: :wtf: :wtf:

here is why I ***HATE*** everything made by Allwinner: because they release kernels in a partial way, they don't fully respect licenses, and what they release doesn't follow the standard lines, so then it takes years to take the things they do, to clean and to fix them, and bring them mainstream.

Code: [Select]
void export_gpio
(
  int gpio
)
{
  int fd;
  char buf[255];

  fd = open("/sys/class/gpio/export", O_WRONLY);
  sprintf(buf, "%d", gpio);
  write(fd, buf, strlen(buf));
  close(fd);

  sprintf(buf, "/sys/class/gpio/gpio%d/direction", gpio);
  fd = open(buf, O_WRONLY);
  write(fd, "out", 3);
  close(fd);
}
The provided tool to "enable the debug port" is ok for kernel v3, but it's deprecated stuff since kernel v5, so this stuff won't even work


I will try to fix u-boot, but not now. Now I need the serial console, and it has to work without having to depend on other matters.
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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #31 on: March 24, 2024, 06:32:19 pm »
This, too, is something that should have been done by the systems integrator who put the example/default images together, being low-lying fruit and all.
Unfortunately, minimizing time to market no matter how un-integrated or incomplete the device is, is the primary goal nowadays.

bah, the Teres-1 is a product made in 2018, six years ago, still for sale for ~250-300 euro shipped with all the tools you need, which is not "cheap", especially compared to alternatives.
Like I said, systems integration is just not something that vendors (including Olimex) or users care about.  It is like proper security: if it is not done from the get go, it will never be implemented, because you cannot just "add on" that stuff afterwards.

Physical limitations and bugs are a separate thing.

At least take care of the basic things... instead...
Don't you go there too: systems integration is just as important as choosing proper hardware for the task!
There is no "basic things first" in this type of hardware; it is either all of it at acceptable quality (including systems integration), or it is crappy.

(My criterion is: A tool that makes you frustrated every time you use it is a crappy tool.)

That said, I keep away from Allwinner hardware exactly because it is crappy.  It works for those who are satisfied with the Raspberry Pi class hardware (including dropping USB packets without notifying anything, breaking just about all protocols, because doing it correctly is too hard; instead, they just make it rare enough in software).  Suitable for hacks and one-offs, but not for an everyday tool.

I believe it is very informative to check linux-kernel and devicetree lists if support has been submitted to upstream kernels and if it has, by whom.  You'll find which SoC vendors do development and maintenance work with/for board manufacturers, which SoC developers push support into kernels concurrently or prior to boards relying on said support becoming available, and so on.  The discussions and reactions to the patches are more important than the code submitted, because those who are just doing their job and don't actually care, just dump the code and vanish.  (Or demand and whine that the code must be accepted upstream as-is, and other people will take the reigns over for maintaining it and bringing it up to spec.)

That way you also find interesting details, like how closely BeagleV Ahead matches the LicheePi 4A, so for any LicheePi U-Boot issues, the BeagleV-Ahead U-Boot Github tree ought to be very interesting.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2024, 06:34:28 pm by Nominal Animal »
 
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #32 on: March 24, 2024, 08:27:45 pm »
(the dts is another problem to solve, because there are missing parts and wrong parameters

Umm. Sooner or later I will fix everything, I am not willing to give-up!

Just ... just found that even the power connector needs a reworking after 1000 cycles

Fsk#_#&*@#$ crappy hw!)
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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #33 on: March 25, 2024, 09:46:53 am »
Don't you go there too: systems integration is just as important as choosing proper hardware for the task!
There is no "basic things first" in this type of hardware; it is either all of it at acceptable quality (including systems integration), or it is crappy.

umm, I don't entirely agree.

That way of thinking is for a product that could very well be an Apple Book Air. In that case, a company like Apple has all the internal and external resources to curate a "laptop" product that arrives "ready" for the end user.

In the case of Olimex the "product" is a "kit", which arrives in the form of a box of components to assemble, therefore it's not even the "kit" of a "finished laptop" but rather of a "laptop in development", that is, a "development board inserted into the shell of a laptop computer".

In 2018 they promised several interchangeable motherboards, that is, the possibility of choosing what to install inside the laptop chassis. However, in reality there is only one choice: that's is Allwinner A64 SoC! So, it wasn't my choice to use an Allwinner SoC in the teres1.

I would have preferred to avoid it, because I worked with Neo SBCs, which are based on their 32-bit ARM SoC. The Teres-1 uses a 64-bit ARM SoC, supposed to be better, and in practice at least the OpenRISC MPU doesn't have any of the hw-buggs found in the Neo' SoC,  anyway I found it in use with the Olimex's laptop, I had no choice here (except buy/not to buy), and when you participate "in the third row" - that is, as a spectator sitting outside the company - in the development of a product (because so it's advertized), well... what you expect is to have purchased a development board as a "product", rather than an object to "hack".

Anyway, as "develoment platform" sold as "product", there are basic things first. One of them is to provide a serial console without the need of hacking anything!

This is what pissed me off yesterday: that no one has bothered to fix the matter yet, and this wastes a lot of time, to the point of discouraging potential people willing to lend a hand and help.

-

For the next gen, the Teres-v2, I advised against using an Allwinner SoC again. here you will find the reasons in favor of one of the designers of the next version.

I hope they don't  :-//
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Online Nominal Animal

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #34 on: March 25, 2024, 03:21:42 pm »
In the case of Olimex the "product" is a "kit", which arrives in the form of a box of components to assemble, therefore it's not even the "kit" of a "finished laptop" but rather of a "laptop in development", that is, a "development board inserted into the shell of a laptop computer".
Doesn't matter.  If systems integration is not done from the get go, it will never get done.  It is like security, which has to be baked in to the design, and cannot be effectively added on top later.  By hoping that "do the basic stuff first", you are effectively saying I'll accept this level of annoyance from my tools.

To me, tools that annoy me are not worth using.  It is that simple.

In 2018 they promised several interchangeable motherboards, that is, the possibility of choosing what to install inside the laptop chassis. However, in reality there is only one choice: that's is Allwinner A64 SoC! So, it wasn't my choice to use an Allwinner SoC in the teres1.
But it was your choice to buy one anyway.  I've looked at Teres, too, and chose not to buy it exactly because of the level of annoyance I knew would ensue from Allwinner SoCs, no matter how good work Olimex otherwise does.

For reference, see linux-sunxi project GPL violations, A64, and Linux mainlining effort pages.

The best way to describe Allwinner is not "evil" or "coldly calculating"; it is "inept".

Anyway, as "develoment platform" sold as "product", there are basic things first. One of them is to provide a serial console without the need of hacking anything!
Is it?  Someone else might say the basic thing first is to have the hardware (including display) boot a linux kernel properly.  Kernel hackers say the basic thing is to get the thing to boot into first-stage bootloader with memory and buses in a stable state.  Bootloader hackers say getting memory and buses to a stable state is the basic thing, with the rest to be developed "by the community".

See?  There is no "basic things first".  You can always define one that suits your context, but you cannot expect anyone else, especially a vendor like Olimex to agree to your exact definition, so it is meaningless.  It is exactly analogous to how "best" always depends on the context, and is basically useless as a qualifier or specifier.  To vendors, "basic things first" is always the minimum that is needed to get people to buy the product.  By your act of buying it, you have accepted the definition from Olimex as to what is sufficient –– assuming we agree you weren't deceived by the description and documentation, only frustrated by the lack of progress in the last five years or more.

Some time ago, I bought Ox64 from Pine64, the maker of PineTab and PineNote tablets and PineBook and PineBook Pro laptops.  Ox64 is a Bouffalo Labs BL808 SBC in microcontroller form factor, and is specifically marketed as a development platform for actual devices, similarly how Teres is specifically marketed as a "DIY laptop" (with a pretty prominent "Intended for use for ENGINEERING DEVELOPMENT, DEMONSTRATION OR EVALUATION PURPOSES ONLY and is not considered by OLIMEX Ltd to be finished end-product fit for general consumer use" note).
I would never recommend Ox64 for anyone wanting a Linux SBC for anything except than developing their own SBC variant based on BL808 (possibly for a specific purpose having strict size constraints), or to be used as a microcontroller/RTOS devkit, or perhaps as a test platform to learn to do systems integration on.  It is very much the SBC analog of the Teres-1 laptop.

This is what pissed me off yesterday: that no one has bothered to fix the matter yet, and this wastes a lot of time, to the point of discouraging potential people willing to lend a hand and help.
I bet quite a few of those who have bought a Teres have fixed it, but haven't bothered to push the changes upstream, keeping them in their own local repositories because it suffices for their "basic needs".  You know, "basic things first".  To them, pushing the fixes upstream is something to be done at a later time when they have the spare time and sufficient inclination, because it does not belong to their "basic things first" definition.

What you are railing against, is that others do not have the same priorities as you do, and this is hindering your progress.  Unless you try hard to push your changes upstream, you really don't have a leg to stand on in requiring others to push their changes upstream either.

Aside from a couple of really-cheap SBCs I bought more for the price than anything, I do not use Allwinner SoCs.  I like Rockchip, Samsung, and TI SoCs because the designer/vendor themselves push the support into the core packages; and Amlogic because of Linux-Meson (not affiliated with Amlogic) and BayLibre (doing a good job adding more mainline support).  Rockchip in particular is making a real difference in the Linux kernel support of their designs.  (I haven't checked U-Boot support state, though.)

I'm giving you hard pushback here, because this will happen again and again: it is a human social issue, and not a technical one.  It will not change, because there is nothing to drive such a change; people will do what they do, and not contribute, because they think someone else will do it anyway so it would be waste of effort for themselves to do so.  The only thing we can do to change it, is change our own behaviour first, and then by example show exactly why behaving this way saves time/money/effort and is therefore the more effective/efficient way to do things –– and obviously to spend money only on products whose manufacturers and vendors are doing the right thing.  Anything else is just complaining about humans being humans (which I admit, is cathartic, but otherwise not useful unless a better behaviour pattern that benefits themselves too, and not just ourselves, is well known; but even then, we have to do it first ourselves).  I cannot expect "better" support from Pine64 or Olimex than what I can already see before I buy anything, because doing so is unreasonable.  For better support, I can only either join or start a new community showing how pooling our efforts will benefit everyone in the community.  And, if I do not intend any long-term commitment, how could I expect that from anyone else?  Even the vendor has already been paid.  It would be unrealistic.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2024, 03:27:46 pm by Nominal Animal »
 

Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #35 on: March 26, 2024, 08:24:26 am »
about "social issues" ... next stop will likely be people on { Youtube, TikTok, ... } telling not only retro computing enthusiasts but also open hardware laptops enthusiasts are all "masochist"  :-DD

( Jeff ... did it :popcorn: )
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Online Nominal Animal

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #36 on: March 26, 2024, 02:35:13 pm »
about "social issues" ... next stop will likely be people on { Youtube, TikTok, ... } telling not only retro computing enthusiasts but also open hardware laptops enthusiasts are all "masochist"  :-DD

( Jeff ... did it :popcorn: )
They say the same thing about people who only use hand tools for woodworking, drive single-gear bicycles, enjoy jigsaw puzzles, and so on.  When they don't personally see or feel the immediate reward, it is easier to resort to irrational beliefs than actually think it through.  Just consider how large a fraction of archaeological objects are classified as "religious artefacts", just because nobody has bothered to think or examine if they have a practical purpose.  It is the easiest way to avoid thinking it through, that's all.

I was thinking more about how difficult it is for us humans to see the bigger picture and to choose the behavioural patterns that maximizes reward over time, compared to ones that bring minimal but immediate rewards.  (In psychology, this is called delayed gratification, and is difficult to develop in the world of gamified social media where tiny immediate rewards are all that matter.)

The main reason I push back so hard and try to explain/push these things is that this (with respect to Linux, at least) is a rare case where even a single individual can make a big difference.  Everyone knows about Linus, but my favourite example is Greg Kroah-Hartman, who still helps out-of-tree developers (especially commercial vendors) upstream the support for their devices.  Plus all the stable and linux-cve-announce stuff he does.

In the embedded world, it means that a single voice pointing out how using Allwinner SoCs gives you lower initial cost but huge maintenance/development debt, compared to Intel/AMD/Rockchip/Samsung/Texas Instruments/Amlogic et cetera that may have higher initial cost but much less debt (systems integration must be considered such a debt, although volunteers can help if you can offer the beta devices at lower prices), can help others realize this, leading to companies shifting their cost calculations from initial to lifetime (at least a little bit! I'm not that much of an optimist), and that should lead to future Linux-compatible hardware becoming cheaper to maintain and develop.

I hope you and others see my logic here, and my positive/supportive intent at the root of my pushback/ranting.  :-+
 

Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #37 on: March 26, 2024, 08:21:02 pm »


this is the other Jeff. His video is... hilarious since he's collecting old Macs  :o :o :o
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #38 on: March 26, 2024, 08:30:35 pm »
I hope you and others see my logic here, and my positive/supportive intent at the root of my pushback/ranting.  :-+

You are always welcome  :D

I would love to have your convincing argumentative skills.
I simply suggested avoiding Allwinner for Teres-v2, mentioning the terrible experience I had with their 32-bit SoCs on Neo SBCs.
This is what the community lead developer of Teres-2 replied (in public):

Quote
The A64 and possibly A20/A33 are the only chips that i am using from allwinner and i consider the others an unusable garbage tbh

The A64 because it doesn't have a known vulnerability to CPU bugs e.g. spectre, meltdown, etc.. and because it's cheap and documented chip that runs libre software stack (arm trusted firmware, crust, uboot) with an exception of the FEL protocol that is proprietary, but is easily auditable and it doesn't seem to be an issue of willingness to open-source rather that open-sourcing such a thing is kinda difficult to do in a usable way as it's an integrated thing in the chip that you can't really easily change and is there as a last resort to prevent hard brick situations..

So the idea of using it for development is that there won't be any surprices that will take time out of hardware development, if i mess up traces somewhere then the chip costs ~2 EUR to replace and so it's kinda really good solution for hardware development as it provides a robust foundation to use from which we can then implement additional modules and have a transition on riscv, bcs currently i am not aware of a single riscv64 chip that is not major pita or doesn't have major issues to be used.. the TH1520 is like the least broken imho and seems to get a decent mainline, but has issues with riscv implementation https://github.com/revyos/revyos/issues/17#issuecomment-1867110963 and the NPU/GPU is currently proprietary and it's not clear if it will get open-sourced and from me trying to implement compatibility for the TH1520 in armbian it's a constant show of surprices that would take the time off of hardware development.

Another problem came up while reading some pdf: the at the moment the Teres-v1 rev 1.5 (motherboard revC) has 2GB of soldered RAM, if you want to increase it... well, the Allwinner A64 SoC doesn't address more than 3GB... that's another hw problem and/or a strong argument to convince them to avoid A64 for the next generation :-//
« Last Edit: March 27, 2024, 11:49:16 am by DiTBho »
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Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #39 on: March 26, 2024, 09:32:20 pm »
this is the other Jeff. His video is... hilarious since he's collecting old Macs  :o :o :o

Yeah, nice clickbaity title. I don't even blame, that's just the game.
 

Offline brucehoult

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #40 on: March 26, 2024, 10:24:05 pm »


this is the other Jeff. His video is... hilarious since he's collecting old Macs  :o :o :o

Ahh .. young Yearling. Is that his dad?

(I'm led to believe his name is András István Arató ... but there is a resemblance! And the guy is an EE IRL)
« Last Edit: March 26, 2024, 10:31:02 pm by brucehoult »
 

Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #41 on: March 28, 2024, 11:41:02 am »
Ahh .. young Yearling. Is that his dad?

I haven't watched enough of his video to know these details.
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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #42 on: March 28, 2024, 12:04:39 pm »
this is the other Jeff. His video is... hilarious since he's collecting old Macs  :o :o :o

Yeah, nice clickbaity title. I don't even blame, that's just the game.

Yup, part of the Youtube game.

Even when he installs ram-sticks which are NOT supported, and then complains that the mac doesn't work.
Or when he says he wants to relive the emotion of the Mac of the time (2002), and then he installs SSD.
RoFTL

Oh, but how I would like a Sonnet Tempo s/ATA PCI64/PCI-X HBA ...  :o :o :o

(and a s/ATA port inside the teres1 ... )

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Offline langwadt

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #43 on: March 28, 2024, 08:35:10 pm »
In the case of Olimex the "product" is a "kit", which arrives in the form of a box of components to assemble, therefore it's not even the "kit" of a "finished laptop" but rather of a "laptop in development", that is, a "development board inserted into the shell of a laptop computer".

does making it a "kit" avoid the paperwork of getting approvals?
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #44 on: March 28, 2024, 10:32:16 pm »
I'm not too much into vintage computing myself (I mean, in an active manner), but the last related thing I did a couple years ago was to revive a Sinclair QL, a modest, yet much rarer beast than any Macintosh.
 

Offline brucehoult

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #45 on: March 29, 2024, 12:05:22 am »
I'm not too much into vintage computing myself (I mean, in an active manner), but the last related thing I did a couple years ago was to revive a Sinclair QL, a modest, yet much rarer beast than any Macintosh.

Ahh, an 8 bit computer :-) :-)
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #46 on: March 29, 2024, 01:52:04 am »
I'm not too much into vintage computing myself (I mean, in an active manner), but the last related thing I did a couple years ago was to revive a Sinclair QL, a modest, yet much rarer beast than any Macintosh.

Ahh, an 8 bit computer :-) :-)

Sort of... not. ;D
 

Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #47 on: March 29, 2024, 01:01:34 pm »
does making it a "kit" avoid the paperwork of getting approvals?

90% so it seems  :-//
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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #48 on: March 29, 2024, 01:50:30 pm »


Quote
I spent something like 2K euro for PPC stuff, not only Apple but including 600 euro for a modded MDD/G4.
I would say, because I appreciate architecture and I like not only studying but also working on it in my spare time.

someone understood me, and liked my comment  :o :o :o
« Last Edit: March 29, 2024, 01:53:08 pm by DiTBho »
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #49 on: March 29, 2024, 02:46:16 pm »
Quote
kreyren on 29 March 20, 2024
Quote
DiTBho on March 20, 2024
Just checked, the pinetab2 uses the Rockchip RK3566 SoC

Afaik the reason why OLIMEX didn't provide the RK3399 and RK3566 is that they were very unreliable software-wise (afaik they release the chip and then rely on the community to mainline them while not providing sufficient amount of documentation?) and tsvetan not wanting to support that as the resulting mainline is often very problematic and takes long time to get implemented in a way that is acceptable in industrial settings (OLIMEX's main focus)

For me in terms of arm architecture only use Cortex A7/53/55 and consider everything else garbage due to the CPU vulnerabilities, but i plan on supporting all chips as long as the required docs to make boards for these are available or unless someone wants to do the adventure of reverse-engineering them and contributing that (that's what the SOM management is meant to be for)

This is one of the public responses, which explain the reasons for the choices made.
I'm a bit perplexed, because it seems like it's always the same problem regarding software development, documentation, etc  :-//
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #50 on: March 30, 2024, 09:53:18 am »

Called "cyberdeck" to play the usual clickbait game on YouTube, it's rather a RISC-V mini (dev?) laptop.
He said "very slow". Umm, well it's faster than my japanese PDA with an Intel PXA ARM@400Mhz.
It's rather the keyboard that sucks!
« Last Edit: March 30, 2024, 11:20:47 am by DiTBho »
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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #51 on: March 30, 2024, 03:49:52 pm »


This one, built in 2010, should make more sense if rebuilt in 2024 with RISC-V  :-//

Anyway, I need a damn GeeThree Serial Port for my Power Macintosh G4.
As I am going to remove the graphic card.
Code: [Select]
macmini2-intel /mnt/disk3/src/machine/platform/powerpc/PowerMacG4/mdd/kernel/kernel-6.6.16-ppc-PowerMac-mdd-2xG4 # ./mybuild-2024 2
[step2] compiling
kernel-6.6.16(powerpc/powermac-mdd-2xG4)
note: experimental, SMP, Zserial
toolchain(powerpc-unknown-linux-gnu:2.34.0/9.3.0)
-----------------------------------------------
checking myhost as qualified_host ... success
checking .config ... success
-----------------------------------------------
gadget_to_do(build) ... overlay/build
cleaning ................ done
gadget_to_do(clean) ... kernel/clean
app_machine=PPC7455-PowerMac-MDD-SMP, server-profile-250Hz
building kernel ...
but that stuff is so rare that when it appears on eBay it is listed for 300 euros  :-//
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Online Nominal Animal

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #52 on: March 30, 2024, 06:18:36 pm »
If one searches for rk3399 or 3566 in development mailing list subjects, it is true that many patches are submitted by others, but there are @rockchip.com devs there too, both submitting and reviewing patches.  So, I don't agree with kreyren's assessment, especially if one compares to Allwinner (provides nothing).  Intel and AMD have more developers working for them, being much bigger companies, but relatively speaking, I'm pretty happy Rockchip provides the developer support it does.  Even more would help, of course.

Having a nice keyboard and a nice IPS or similar display with wide viewing angles and preferably no dead pixels, seems very difficult in the laptop land.  Even the big manufacturers often fail in this.
 

Offline brucehoult

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #53 on: March 31, 2024, 04:42:11 am »
He said "very slow". Umm, well it's faster than my japanese PDA with an Intel PXA ARM@400Mhz.

Yearling is almost as much of an Arm (and Pi) bigot as Dr TechTechPotato (did you know he's got an advanced degree? Like half the people in the tech world don't). It's sooo slow because it's about the same as an ancient Pi 4. As if that wasn't the fastest Pi only half a year ago.

The C910 even has the RISC-V equivalent of SVE2, which no Arm SBC has -- pre-ratification draft 0.7.1 of the V extension, which is just now starting to get proper software support, with GCC14 supporting both 0.7.1 (renamed to XTheadVector) which is in a couple of billion devices, and also RVV 1.0, which is right now only available (at least in SBCs) on one board, the CanMV-K230 with a single core CPU and 0.5 GB RAM.

The problem is not the hardware [1] but that it takes time for new hardware to get good quality support upstreamed. TH1520 boards have only been out since July or so. The Pi 4 also took a couple of years to get decent support.

Heck -- it took six or seven years before the 64 bit Pi 3 got an offically-supported 64 bit OS!

[1] of course it's not as fast as the new hotness RK3588 boards in the Arm world, such as that Pi 5 that came out half a year ago (but is unobtanium) or the Rock 5 and Orange Pi 5 which have been out a year or two. RISC-V boards faster than RK3588 are due out towards the end of the year.
 
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Offline Veteran68

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #54 on: March 31, 2024, 04:52:57 am »
[1] of course it's not as fast as the new hotness RK3588 boards in the Arm world, such as that Pi 5 that came out half a year ago (but is unobtanium)

Pi 5's have been obtainable for awhile now. I just picked up another (8GB) last week when I stopped by MicroCenter here in the states. Pishop.us, where I normally buy them online, also has them in stock. If you're not able to find them, it must be a regional thing.
 

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #55 on: March 31, 2024, 05:16:49 am »
[1] of course it's not as fast as the new hotness RK3588 boards in the Arm world, such as that Pi 5 that came out half a year ago (but is unobtanium)

Pi 5's have been obtainable for awhile now. I just picked up another (8GB) last week when I stopped by MicroCenter here in the states. Pishop.us, where I normally buy them online, also has them in stock. If you're not able to find them, it must be a regional thing.

Mine arrived in late November (ordered in September). I'm just reporting what I (still) read on the interwebs.
 

Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #56 on: March 31, 2024, 05:41:23 am »
I don't agree with kreyren's assessment

I do not know. I don't understand that kreyren dude too much, and I have no other official/unofficial answers from Olimex.

It seems that the interest is close to zero, and worse still, I expected much more participation from people who develop rather than people who come to me in private and ask - "what distro do you install?" - rather than - "what patch do you use/did you write and apply to fix that issue?".

As an added value for the choice of a specific Allwinner SoC, Specter&C non-vulnerabilities were mentioned three times, which... makes no sense for me  :-//
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #57 on: March 31, 2024, 05:50:17 am »
Having a nice keyboard and a nice IPS or similar display with wide viewing angles and preferably no dead pixels, seems very difficult in the laptop land.  Even the big manufacturers often fail in this.

if we look at my Japanese handheld, it's even smaller than a mini-laptop, the keys on the keyboard are noticeably smaller, and are of the same type as those used in pocket calculators, I have been using it daily for 10 years and I can assure you that they are much less annoying to use than those of some mini-laptops.

Here they actually took the body of a 2010 product designed for Intel Atom, replaced the motherboard with something RISC_V, and reused the keyboard and then the LCD display from a tablet.

Not that it's absolutely wrong, it saves a lot of engineering hours, but for me it's wrong not to take care of primary details like the keyboard!
In fact in the comments below the video, as expected, it is pointed out that that keyboard is very uncomfortable for using the mini-laptop as an ssh network console.
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #58 on: March 31, 2024, 06:30:18 am »
Yearling is almost as much of an Arm (and Pi) bigot

A "bigot" is a person who is obstinately and/or unreasonably attached to { belief, opinion, faction } especially one who is prejudiced against or antagonistic toward a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group.

Jeff ... umm, I think he simply makes videos for money, and has sponsors who pay him and send him hardware, so he deliberately acts as an influencer with/for RPI/ARM  :-//

The problem is not the hardware but that it takes time for new hardware to get good quality support upstreamed

In the case of a laptop, you must also consider that it is not enough to "throw an SBC into the shell reused from a previous product", especially if the shell comes from a product that was hastily engineered at the time.

That is, the point is: we don't have fast hardware because we don't have mature upstream support yet. Ok, I understand, but then if we design motherboards with interchangeable SoM modules precisely to give the possibility of making upgrades without having to change the entire laptop, then... let's start by designing the frame, the keyboard, the trackpad, and the screen, and make them brilliant instead of poor!

It seems strange, but NO ONE is doing it!  :-//
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Offline brucehoult

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #59 on: March 31, 2024, 08:44:29 am »
Yearling is almost as much of an Arm (and Pi) bigot

A "bigot" is a person who is obstinately and/or unreasonably attached to { belief, opinion, faction } especially one who is prejudiced against or antagonistic toward a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group.

Jeff ... umm, I think he simply makes videos for money, and has sponsors who pay him and send him hardware, so he deliberately acts as an influencer with/for RPI/ARM  :-//

Well, yes, it's hard to say if it's true belief or financially-influenced.  Either way .. let's say less than objective.

Historically I love Arm stuff. I was playing with Archimedes in the 80s, hacking Newtons in the 90s, professionally programming ARM7TDMI in BREW phones in the mid 2000s, followed by jailbreaking and porting our BREW software to iPhone as soon as they came out (I mean weeks). I own almost every Pi ever made (I seem to be the only person with an A7 Pi 2, not A53, because I ordered one the day they were announced). I even love my Arm-based Mac.

But I think I can be a lot more objective about where RISC-V is at right now, and how fast it is catching up.

Quote
but then if we design motherboards with interchangeable SoM modules precisely to give the possibility of making upgrades without having to change the entire laptop, then... let's start by designing the frame, the keyboard, the trackpad, and the screen, and make them brilliant instead of poor!

It seems strange, but NO ONE is doing it!  :-//

You may have missed the $1500 DC-Roma, which is designed for interchangeable SoM CPU modules, but with (presumably) higher quality components around it.

The problem is if people don't want to pay $400 for Pi 3 - Pi 4 performance then they certainly don't want to pay $1500! For that money I just bought a 5.4 GHz (turbo) 24 core x86 laptop with ... well ... fairly good quality components.
 
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #60 on: March 31, 2024, 01:07:52 pm »
You may have missed the $1500 DC-Roma, which is designed for interchangeable SoM CPU modules, but with (presumably) higher quality components around it.

The problem is if people don't want to pay $400 for Pi 3 - Pi 4 performance then they certainly don't want to pay $1500! For that money I just bought a 5.4 GHz (turbo) 24 core x86 laptop with ... well ... fairly good quality components.

well, the DC-Roma is kind of legendary dogma for me ...

I opened the topic precisely because the 12 months of the announcement have expired and no one has published a Video on Youtube or a review yet.
You stated that some of your colleagues received the laptop, and I edited the topic, because otherwise I would think that it was never made, and this is what we also read on Reddit (1y ago).

For reasons that I don't understand well, Google didn't find this article, with much more recent information.

However, it is not necessary to make a case in magnesium, titanium or aluminium, all complex things, therefore expensive for small productions, and impossible (especially titanium, I have a fair amount of experience with ti-frames for bicycles) to manage without specific equipment.

Ania still studies at Tallinn University of Technology, but she designed and created the shell of a vt220 terminal in laptop-shape using laser cutting of PVC sheets, to be glued, and mounted with m3 support screws, and to be sanded with sandpaper, and painted with pantograph (she likes green paints), and a HHKB/Lite (the cheapest, with arrow keys) for keyboard..., a trackpoint disassembled from a Thinkpad keyboard and for LCD a 1024x768 VGA module with neon backlight.

It's all one solid block once assembled - "as thick as a brick" - so she uses to say, laughing, but it has just enough space to hold the HHKB kb, which is very thick but also high quality, and all the electronics comfortably.

She focused on the five things that matter
- battery, refillable styluses
- LCD, 4:3, 14"
- quality keyboard and trackpoint <--- got as second hand, 60 euro both
- space for housing the process module and enough airflow for its integrated heat-shield
- cost < 300 euro

I believe people with industrial design skills can even do better than this! Rather than taking some crappy Chinese shells and reuse them.

Which both Olimex and Lichee also did, and if you take a sample of 10 people, 8 complain about it, because, talking about the Teres1, I can assure you that it really sucks as keyboard and touchpad.

And, worst of all, neither company has plans to give the possibility to upgrade (not even with a second purchasable upgrade-premium-kit), meaning no one in the internal engineering departments cares about it, as they believe it's the community has to solve the problem!

In fact, if Ania used a laser cutting machine provied by her university, you read comments from people who wonder how to 3D print a new case, given that 500 euro hobby printers don't have enough printing area, and few, very few have C02 lasers for cutting other materials, and even fewer users have CNCs at home.

In short... the problem is precisely the attitude: selling "products", telling the various communities, for everything, starting from firmware, kernel, userspace, and mechanics, "now make do"
« Last Edit: March 31, 2024, 01:31:06 pm by DiTBho »
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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #61 on: March 31, 2024, 08:19:19 pm »


2010, MIPS laptop ...  :-//
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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #62 on: March 31, 2024, 08:37:09 pm »
if we look at my Japanese handheld, it's even smaller than a mini-laptop, the keys on the keyboard are noticeably smaller, and are of the same type as those used in pocket calculators, I have been using it daily for 10 years and I can assure you that they are much less annoying to use than those of some mini-laptops.
Yep.  It is rather telling that on the laptop I'm typing this (HP EliteBook i840 G4, ~ 6 years old) I'm on my third keyboard already, and have a fourth one ready for when I get annoyed enough by the current one.  (I only destroyed one accidentally with hot tea with milk and honey, the rest by typing.)  Second battery, too: first one puffed up enough to twist the plastic shell, shearing one self-tapping screw (the plastic surrounding the screw, not the metal screw, of course).

When I use standard keyboards, I take them apart and wash the washable parts every six months or so, because imperfect response annoys me more than having to disassemble, clean, vacuum, wash, and assemble them.  Same with HID mice.

for me it's wrong not to take care of primary details like the keyboard!
In fact in the comments below the video, as expected, it is pointed out that that keyboard is very uncomfortable for using the mini-laptop as an ssh network console.
For me, the keyboard and the display (viewing angles, performance with low-intensity backlight, no flicker, no dead pixels if at all possible) are the most important thing in any laptop or minilaptop.

The second most important thing is whether I can maintain, debug, and fix issues I may encounter with it.  I am even willing to use closed-source binary blob drivers via dkms (i.e., with a C shim, so one can relink it for custom kernels) for better subsystem performance, if I can use open source drivers for degraded performance when debugging and fixing kernel-level issues.  I prefer not to, but I will if the device otherwise suits me.
I haven't had a computer yet I could not tweak to better fit my use cases and workflow, so I fully expect and require to be able to do so in the future too.

Third most important thing is connectivity.  I want a couple of USB ports, a gigabit ethernet, and a headphone jack at minimum.

Fourth most important thing is accelerated hardware decoding for standard video formats up to 1080p, because I don't want the device to get too hot when I watch a Youtube video.

Stuff like CPU speed, amount of RAM, storage speed, et cetera only come after.  I was quite productive with an early Linux minilatop fifteen years ago, so I know what I need, and how to overcome limitations posed by limited resources.  Stuff like battery capacity and longevity is more complicated: an unreplaceable battery (glued or component-twinned, no OEM replacements available) is a strict no-no regardless of capacity, but if easily replaced (modular) and I could have one or two spares, I might accept even quite low capacity.  I don't care much about the weight, either.
 
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #63 on: March 31, 2024, 08:51:36 pm »
... something ingenious that drove me crazy: Ania designed a keyboard for a laser pantograph, designed all the silkscreening of the QWERTY keys, US layout, then used the laser pantograph in her university lab to cut things on a thin sheet of balsa wood.

This way, she made wooden key-caps for the keyboard keys, which he then glued onto each key. Damn, I tried it today – 200% better improvement!!! Both immediately to the touch and in complete comfort after 2 hours of use :o :o :o

Now I want a laptop with wooden key-caps!!!
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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #64 on: March 31, 2024, 09:29:21 pm »
That is one of the biggest reasons I like woodworking: the feel of wood, and wood-like plants like bamboo, is superior to plastics and metals.

My favourite one is Nordic birch (specifically betula pendula and betula pubescens) treated with beeswax and food-grade mineral oil mix (often called "salad bowl mix"), or just food-grade mineral oil.  (Use walnut oil or similar, if you want to tint it a bit; it is very pale wood.)  The tactile feel is superb, and by controlling the smoothness (the grit to which you sand it before oiling and waxing) you can vary it.  If it gets damaged, just sand it and re-treat.

Balsa has a specific tactile feeling too, and being so lightweight, will not add, uh, inertia? weight? to the keys, so I'm not at all surprised they yield excellent keycap tops.  Because balsa is a "porous" softwood, she should consider using mineral oil, beeswax, or a mix to make the tops cleanable (with a damp cloth).  Human fingers do emit oils anyway.  Test with a test piece first and let sit for a few days to find out how the finish affects the look and feel.

(Also: you can get an even slightly better feel by sanding the top so that it is very slightly concave, vertically, with left and right sides coming up higher than the center.  I dislike the dimples in F and J keys, but like the top concavity a lot myself, because I often "rest" my fingers on top of the keys; it's more comfortable to me.  You can do the sanding using a wooden dowel wrapped with sandpaper after cutting, or making the tops in vertical strips and routing the concave part before cutting the strip off a wider block before laser engraving.)
« Last Edit: March 31, 2024, 09:33:31 pm by Nominal Animal »
 
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Offline audiotubes

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #65 on: March 31, 2024, 09:32:47 pm »
Dunno anything about the Chinese-~MIPS64(1) laptops ...  :-//

(1) ~MIPS64 are not 100% MIPS64-ISA compliant.

The Loongson MIPS implementation is a superset of MIPS64 if I remember correctly. I doubt that anyone would ever notice the difference except if you're writing MIPS assembly and even then probably not very much.

I don't have the laptop and haven't seen one, but I have two Loongson Fuloong boxes which are almost paperback book sized boxes that are good, silent, very low power consumption boxes quite nice for server use. Been running OpenBSD on them for about 10 years I think. One is an ftp server, the other is an emulation host for SIMH VAX.
I have taken apart more gear than many people. But I have put less gear back together than most people. So there is still room for improvement.
 

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #66 on: March 31, 2024, 10:06:38 pm »
well, the DC-Roma is kind of legendary dogma for me ...

I opened the topic precisely because the 12 months of the announcement have expired and no one has published a Video on Youtube or a review yet.

Not everyone makes videos on everything they buy. I don't, for example. Youtube videos are an unreliable way of checking if something exists, especially things neither kids nor rich conspicuous consumers (who have the same motives) will be buying. But I found this in five seconds: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/IaZJNqG_nlo

Quote
You stated that some of your colleagues received the laptop, and I edited the topic,

One ex-colleague, Krste, was given one at a conference in August or September. Others in /r/risc-v preordered them like normal people and received them in ... I don't remember ... October or November?

Quote
because otherwise I would think that it was never made, and this is what we also read on Reddit (1y ago).

That was a year ago. They indeed had not shipped then. They shipped half a year ago.

Tech products, unfortunately, often don't hit their previously announced shipping dates. My confidence levels were low on this one, mostly due to their bullshit marketing materials talking about crypto or something. But they did ship, and only a few months after various JH7110 and TH1520 SBCs shipped. They were apparently planning versions with both those SoC (TH1520 as "pro") but that hasn't been seen yet and may have been a retro-fitted plan as the TH1520 was the only one mentioned in late 2022, but JH7110 is what people have received.
 

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #67 on: April 01, 2024, 01:34:55 am »
Quote
We will announce no Apple before its time.

 

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #68 on: April 01, 2024, 05:19:49 am »
Umm the Gdium Liberty 1000 laptop (Loongson-2F)
Reading at a review, it doesn't look so good
(~400 euro + S/H + importing fees, from Alixexpress/China)

Pros
+Free Firmware
+Decent keyboard

Cons
-Poor touchpad
-Sluggish performance
-Short battery life <-------------- this is a serious problem!
-Chassis gets hot <---------------- combined with this!
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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #69 on: April 01, 2024, 06:29:13 am »
Quote
We will announce no Apple before its time.

Did you know that Apple was secretly working on a "i-Car"?  :o :o :o
A failed project that couldn't be more failed, in that case they were right not to let anyone know anything
LOL  :-DD
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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #70 on: April 01, 2024, 06:56:15 am »
~MIPS64 are not 100% MIPS64-ISA compliant.

The Loongson MIPS implementation is a superset of MIPS64 if I remember correctly. I doubt that anyone would ever notice the difference except if you're writing MIPS assembly and even then probably not very much.

The history of the Loongson is very controversial.

Loongson's CPUs relied on various types of the company's LoongISA architecture { v1, v2, v3, ... } as - time by time - custom subset of the MIPS64 architecture. Such a tactic - somehow - enabled the company to preserve compatibility with programs designed for MIPS64 while bringing in its own extensions to improve performance in contemporary applications.

The problem is that "somehow" ...
Who? What? :o :o :o

I have a terrible habit of collecting prototypes and weird computers when people get bored and parking them on eBay, or when they threaten to crush them in a hydraulic press.

I took the plane and flew to Sweden to collect in person a brand-new HPPA C3750 Workstation, left in a company's warehouse. The new owners weren't willing to pack it because it's heavy (30Kg) and the original HP parcel is very big (the packaging includes approximately 40 cm of polystyrene all around a full tower chassis), so they put up an advert, not very descriptive because they didn't have the faintest idea what that computer was, but they put up photos of the box, still closed with the HP seals!

Likewise I recovered an IDT prototype of one of the very first evaluation boards (therefore with profiling and debugger heads) of a MIPS R2K! Note that all commercial applications (including the SONY Playstation1) used R3K!

Worse yet, I have a 2006 "Godson" Eval SBC(2). A card with very little stuff on it. CPU, RAM, Ethernet, and a lon that lacks those special unaligned load/store instructions that almost never serve any purpose, except when you have a misaligned address.

It's not MIPS64 but rather MIPSIII/64bit , and wasn't even supposed to come out of China, and actually remained in China until 2010, when about the same thing happened as what happened with the HP workstation (what money can do ... and I offered only 200 euro for that thing), and so, somehow it landed on my table .

It's an early implementation, and lacks the unaligned load-store instructions patented by MIPS Technologies.
It's not a problem, something like this, for different reasons, I encountered it on the MIPS4 used by SGI on Indigo2 systems, and the solution workaround is very simple: the missing instructions can be emulated by other instructions, just ... either you patch the machine layer of Gcc, or ...
Code: [Select]
mips-gcc -c -S hAllo.c -o hAllo.s1
mips-fix hAllo.s1 hAllo.s                 # intercept the assembly it generates, and replace those missing instructions
mips-as hAllo.s -o hAllo.o
Ugly, but it somehow works for those bloody MIPS-like chips :o :o :o
  • 2001-2007: MIPS-like, compatible with { MIPSII, MIPSIII } but misses unaligned load-store instructions
  • 2007-2020: LoongISA, MIPS64 compatibile, the ISA comes with extra custom instructions, very useful to speed up Qemu/{x86, arm}
  • 2021-2024: LoongArch -> wtf?!? breakup with MIPS, in-house LoongArch architecture, no more compatible(1) and it needs a dedicated toolchain
Then, after 2007 Loongson was fully MIPS64-based instead of MIPS-like, but then, I don't know why, the technical documentation (the small one in English) started mentioning "LoongISA" and "LoongArch" as if they were different ISA, and this is also what we saw in the various gcc patches, and for a few years it was synonymous with "enriched MIPS32 superset", then with the 2021 "Loongson3-5000 series" it really became something else, completely incompatible.

In Gentoo, ARCH=loong, instead of mips64, and the target tuple is "loongarch64-unknown-linux-gnu", instead of "mips64-unknown-linux-gnu".
LoongArch (>=2021 (3)) is not binary compatible with either MIPS or RISC-V, although the ISA and ABI show heavy influence of the two.
There are six ABIs defined for LoongArch, much like those of RISC-V. But for Gentoo, the profile focuses on LP64D only first, multilib support will come later.

(1) - "Loongson Architecture LoongArch has nothing to do with MIPS and other architectures designed outside of China" - say Chinese dev-guys :-//
LoongArch is divided into two versions { LA32-bit, LA64-bit }.
LA64 applications are application-level backward binary compatibility with LA32 applications, and that *is supposed to* mean LA32 applications can run directly on the machine compatible with LA64, but the behavior of system softwares { firmware, kernel, userland } on the machine compatible with LA32 is not guaranteed to be the same as on the machine compatible with LA64.

(2) all LoongArch systems are little-endian, while my dev board is big-endian, and can be set little-endian with a jumper.

(3) []={ 2K0500, 2K1000LA, 3A5000, 3A5000L, 3A5000HV, 3B5000, 3C5000, 3C5000L, 3C5000L, ... }
it can be hard to tell whether a particular Loongson chip is implementing "LoongArch" or "MIPS", especially for casual users  :palm:
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #71 on: April 01, 2024, 07:13:36 am »
Nordic birch

Perhaps we have found the right business!!!
Making kits for covering keyboard keys with good wood  ;D ;D ;D
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Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #72 on: April 01, 2024, 07:35:41 am »
Quote
We will announce no Apple before its time.

Did you know that Apple was secretly working on a "i-Car"?  :o :o :o
A failed project that couldn't be more failed, in that case they were right not to let anyone know anything
LOL  :-DD

If you know about it, that's not much of a secret.

The above quote (with a drawing) was found in an early Apple business plan for what would become the Macintosh.
 

Offline geerlingguy

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #73 on: April 02, 2024, 12:32:49 am »
this is the other Jeff. His video is... hilarious since he's collecting old Macs  :o :o :o

Yeah, nice clickbaity title. I don't even blame, that's just the game.

Yup, part of the Youtube game.

Even when he installs ram-sticks which are NOT supported, and then complains that the mac doesn't work.
Or when he says he wants to relive the emotion of the Mac of the time (2002), and then he installs SSD.
RoFTL

Oh, but how I would like a Sonnet Tempo s/ATA PCI64/PCI-X HBA ...  :o :o :o

(and a s/ATA port inside the teres1 ... )

Well... to be fair, OWC's website listed those sticks as being compatible with the MDD, and I didn't go to EveryMac to double-check the specs. They even worked, they just wouldn't boot about 50% of the time, and the other 50% one of the four sticks (randomly) wouldn't show up in System Profiler. So could just be the fact my motherboard was one of the earlier MDD revisions, and later ones were compatible with PC3200.

All's well that ends well, though, and after I looked up the actual spec on EveryMac, I ordered the right DIMMs, and they worked fine.

And regarding SSD, it's mostly so I don't have to sit for the old spinner while loading stuff up. That's the least fun part of reliving a retro experience. I still have the old spinning HDDs (with a full image taken on my NAS so I can restore to another drive if the rusty drive breaks), and can plug them in to relive the clickety clack if needed.

The bigger thing is I am trying to document all my findings with those Macs in a way where other people can learn how to do the upgrades right on the first try (for example G4 MDD build log).
 

Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #74 on: April 02, 2024, 10:40:36 am »
Well... to be fair

I as a "viewer" (user?) have every right to judge a video I watch, and that video is simply clickbait that says absolutely nothing new.
Too bad, it had potential, but for me, the only "good" part is when the other YouTubers intervene.

The bigger thing is I am trying to document all my findings with those Macs in a way where other people can learn how to do the upgrades right on the first try (for example G4 MDD build log).

There are YouTubers who have been doing it for years
and there are dedicated forums
  • 68kmla (where @ActionRetro reads and writes)
  • ...
that at least present better discussions than the bullshit I usually read in the Youtube comments(1).
I don't blame Youtube, simply it's not the platform to "discuss" anything.

also because if the public is the one who expects "entertainment", the discussions will never be on a technical level but precisely on nerd phenomenology.
Pretty like you t-shirts: uuuhh, ahhhh I recompile the kernel  :o :o :o



(1) for example, one YouTuber made a mini series of two videos to point out that the softRAID kernel built on the { ext3, ext4, xfs, ... } filesystem is totally unreliable, so "You MUST use ZFS, because ummm you must! don't be a caveman!!!", this was his message!

That's bullshit for me, and since people like me have been using SoftRAID on xfs for over 20 years (since kernel 2.6.) without any catastrophic problems, I spent a lot of time writing him two loooooong comments to point out that his reasoning didn't take into account the observation of the S.M.A.R.T. logs, plus other tricks like making a "safe" version of "/bin/cp" that checks the content checksums (md5? sha?) in userspace of both source and target, so adding in userspace a feature to a filesystem that doesn't provide content checksums in kernel space.

This, plus making backups, and periodically observing S.M.A.R.T. to be sure the HDD is not going to die.

It works. It has alwasys worked, even on HDDs that actually died. Never lost a single byte!

No dice! There is no way. Here on the forum it was enough to open a topic and everyone noticed. On Youtube my comment was ignored by the author himself, and the average of the comments was ALL about the phenomenology of how "nice" it is to get a NAS, with ZFS on it.

Worse still to this, another level of bigotry on Youtube is added by proposing to the point of exasperation "RPI" as NAS.
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #75 on: April 02, 2024, 11:36:08 am »
And regarding SSD, it's mostly so I don't have to sit for the old spinner while loading stuff up. That's the least fun part of reliving a retro experience.

You can do whatever you want with your stuff at home, but if you make videos on it, well ...

I often ride my bicycle, and I also do "historical cycling". I might be tempted to installing a 11-speed electromechanical derailleur and carbon wheels on my 1940 bicycle, which not only it has no derailleurs at all but it also has wheels with wooden rims!

If I have to go uphill I have two options:
A: stop me, and do it on foot, dragging the bike
B: stop, turn the bike upside down, remove the rear wheel, and turn it backwards, it has a 16-teeth sprocket on the right, and a 22-teeth sprocket on the left.

Of course it's very uncomfortable compared to modern bicyciles which can change metric ratios literally with one click (Campagnolo Super Record Wireless 11Speed), as well as the fact that they offer different metric ratios, making you work less hard, but ...

... but it's part of the game  :o :o :o

- - -

Now, you are telling that, without SSD, the computer is unusable because it takes 2-4 minutes to boot?

I've been using an MDD since 2005 with GNU/Linux, and I have never, I repeat never, installed one of those bloody modern SSDs!

I have a 7200rpm Seagate internal HDD 20GB, other stuff on NFS via a 10/100Mbps NIC, and it's fine for compiling and cross-compiling { m68hc11, m68k, mips-r2k, SH1, ... }, or for all the things I've been doing for  ~19 years on that computer.

Think I even wrote my PhD thesis on that computer with LaTex!

@ActionRetro has done all kinds of mods on his MDD, making ... ummm, I think 4 or 5 videos on Youtube; I remember replacing the PSU with a more efficient modern one, and this makes more sense when your original PSU dies and you don't have the budget to look for a original spare part, which costs... too much.

Note, he always did it saying that he only did it to see if, from a technical point of view (he has more hw skills), the thing is feasible or not!
Rather than that I do it to teach someone something or relive the emotion of the time!

Notice the difference in attitude  :o :o :o
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Offline geerlingguy

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #76 on: April 02, 2024, 05:28:05 pm »
Worse still to this, another level of bigotry on Youtube is added by proposing to the point of exasperation "RPI" as NAS.

The definition of bigotry is a bit lost in this discussion.

I love building incredibly dumb things with Raspberry Pi (and a ton of other tech), and learning along the way, and there's obviously an audience for that. Just like I enjoy watching videos of someone rebuild an old sailing yacht Ship-of-Theseus-style; I don't argue whether his old wooden boat is still the same boat after 98% of the material is replaced, I enjoy seeing his passion for the craft, and learning a ton about sailing, boat construction, and woodworking.

If 100 people do something better than I do (probably 99.9% of the people on this forum included), it doesn't mean there's no value in me doing it. It'd be a terribly depressing life if I said "ah, someone else has designed a PCB, I shall not ever try."

Instead, my plan is to design a PCB, which will go horribly wrong for many many attempts, and maybe someday I'll make a good one. Maybe not. But I will learn a lot, and hopefully it could inspire a few people to get into the field of EE. I think that's a good thing, so I carry on, regardless if EEVBlog users love or hate my methods ;)

Now, you are telling that, without SSD, the computer is unusable because it takes 2-4 minutes to boot?

Never said it was unusable, only that it was "the least fun part of reliving a retro experience".

And while you may love spinning rust, I know a great number of folks who upgraded to SSDs the second they came on the market, while the G4 MDD was still their primary and newest workstation, so it's not like putting an SSD inside one is destroying the very soul of what makes it tick.

If I wanted to do that, I'd replace the motherboard with a Raspberry Pi  >:D
« Last Edit: April 02, 2024, 05:35:59 pm by geerlingguy »
 

Offline brucehoult

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #77 on: April 03, 2024, 04:15:09 am »
If 100 people do something better than I do (probably 99.9% of the people on this forum included), it doesn't mean there's no value in me doing it. It'd be a terribly depressing life if I said "ah, someone else has designed a PCB, I shall not ever try."

I for one am glad that you're making a lot of videos about different things. And Christopher too (really good videos). Maybe even Gary Explains. Or maybe not.

Hope you don't mind my affectionate name for you too much.
 
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Offline geerlingguy

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #78 on: April 03, 2024, 05:14:48 am »
If 100 people do something better than I do (probably 99.9% of the people on this forum included), it doesn't mean there's no value in me doing it. It'd be a terribly depressing life if I said "ah, someone else has designed a PCB, I shall not ever try."

I for one am glad that you're making a lot of videos about different things. And Christopher too (really good videos). Maybe even Gary Explains. Or maybe not.

Hope you don't mind my affectionate name for you too much.

Ha! I've been called many things, it reminds me most of Yuengling, and that brings back good memories.
 

Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #79 on: April 03, 2024, 03:07:42 pm »
If I wanted to do that, I'd replace the motherboard with a Raspberry Pi  >:D

and that's precisely why I don't like your chanel too much.
The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow
 
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #80 on: April 03, 2024, 03:51:22 pm »
I have a YouTube channel, but I haven't uploaded any videos yet as I never consider any project "worthy" of the attention of the general public.

Well, we'll see. there are seven pending personal projects, carried out out of order in my free time. Sooner or later something will be uploaded.



This is my MDD. It never had the shells, I bought it second-hand, in very bad condition, and repaired it as best I could, paying little attention to its aesthetics.

When people complain that the fans make too much noise... now it's placed on a wooden pallet, 20 meters underground, in a sort of bunker room, while I'm on the ground floor, connected by fiber optics.

When I was a student, my mini-apartment measured 10x5 meters and had to contain a bed, a kitchenette with only induction plates and no gas burners, and a desk. I had placed the MDD in the corner of the desk, very close to the bed, and left it on at night to compile things.

Practically for four years I spent 12 hours - night and part of the afternoon - very close to those fans that everyone complains about.

Those Youtubers on YouTube who have to make their video to show how to replace the noisy fans because otherwise they absolutely can't stay near their vintage computer, ... ummm it sounds a bit like the people who claim to be "cycling enthusiasts" and then... after 20 km they complain so much that they can't help but ride ***only*** on a pedal-assisted (e)bicycle, because ... you know, with muscular pedaling... you sweat, and it's hard...

That bloody MDD has other, much more serious problems, and no one talks about it!
maybe I will, maybe not, we'll see ...  :-//
The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow
 
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #81 on: April 07, 2024, 09:50:07 am »
Yesterday I tried a Gdium Liberty 1000, 10-Inch, Netbook by EMTEC
Loongson2F@900MHz, ~MIPS64/LE by STMicroelectronics, 512MB DDR2 RAM

ummm, both the aesthetics and ergonomics need to be completely overhauled, and the keyboard was/is so terrible that it needs to be redesigned from scratch or replaced with something from the old school IBM Thinkpad.

Also, yesterday I installed a brand new battery, but after four hours working in a couple of GNU/Linux text consoles (compiling stuff), I found that the battery was at about 7%.

I wonder: modern upgrades of this old chinese-mips-based laptops from 10+ years ago?  :-//

 
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #82 on: April 07, 2024, 12:01:00 pm »

(Tadpole SPARCbook 3000ST)

in the 90s, I guess it had a price tag of ~$20000 USD
but look at details:
  • slim magnesium alloy body, military-grade, entirely metal except for the ergonomic handrest
  • ergonomic handrest!!!
  • IBM Thinkpad keyboard (IBM was an early investor in Tadpole)
  • an LCD readout of system status

this is how non-x86 laptops should be designed!

(
edit:
ummm, Tedpole was Cuipertino based, and went out of business in 2013
I can infer that making laptops the way I would like them to be made ...
... I'm afraid it's uneconomical for making good business of them
 :-//
)
« Last Edit: April 08, 2024, 08:12:24 pm by DiTBho »
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #83 on: April 08, 2024, 12:01:10 pm »
In 2014, Novena looked promising, see here.
Basically i.MX6Q ARM processor from Freescale, coupled to a Xilinx Spartan6 FPGA.

The result was very different.
Again, ugly, uncomfortable frame, too high costs, etc

Any news?  :-//

edit:
It appears that interest is close to zero
« Last Edit: April 11, 2024, 10:26:20 am by DiTBho »
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Offline DiTBhoTopic starter

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Re: non-x86 open-source-hardware laptops, let's take stock of March 2024
« Reply #84 on: April 19, 2024, 01:18:53 pm »
back to Teres1 ...

... in the very few free moments I have, when I'm not working on racing bikes, or training, so basically when it rains, I go ahead and fix a lot of things. And it really is a dud from the firmware up, at least by my standards.

I think it will take a couple more weeks to start saying "so I can actually carry it around, without the embarrassment of finding it totally useless".

- - -

The developers seem... only four... five guys in the world, and the interest (at least what you perceive from the both WEB and IRC) is close to zero, so I exchanged a few words with one of the developers who sometimes appears randomly, and he described the laptop as "not really meant to be a consumer product", and this confirms that is rather a platform to build upon or challenge project for engineers to fabricate the device from scratch.

All known, nothing new, this definition was fully expected, just then - unexpected - he also pointed outthat  "it's without OLIMEX's help for which it's very known in the OSHW community just that people don't have the required skills to use it".

I didn't expect this, that is, I thought that Olimex had a little more interest - I mean man-hours that can be allocated to their DIY-project = and that there were at least a couple of competent engineers behind it, but instead there are fewer people than I had estimated.

D'oh  :-//

- - -

So even for the next two iterations { Teres-v1.5(2024-2nd-semester?), Teres-2.0(2025?-2026?) }, I'm afraid we don't expect the popularity to change since it's basically an object (and not a product, umm formally it is and will continue  to be a "do-it-yourself kit") aimed mainly at "technicians" who already own the Teres-v1.0 and who intend to carry out the modifications.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2024, 01:22:31 pm by DiTBho »
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