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Re: Debian GNU/Linux on tablet hardware

On Friday 28 Oct 2011, Rob van der Hoeven wrote:
> On Fri, 2011-10-28 at 14:37 +0000, Phil Endecott wrote:
> > Rob van der Hoeven <robvanderhoeven <at> ziggo.nl> writes:
> > > > > I think the hardware of this tablet can also be used as a server or
> > > > > desktop computer. The tablet is mass produced and very cheap (i got
> > > > > mine for 149 euro).
> > > > 
> > > > For that price, to make a server, I would rather buy a loco board or
> > > > any other development board
> > > 
> > > These boards are not mass produced which makes them relatively
> > > expensive.
> > 
> > The i.MX LOCO board, the OMAP panda board, and some of the others cost
> > about the same as your tablet.
> Panda board has very nice specs.
> > > Hardware that is not mass produced has some other issues,
> > > namely availability and vendor lock-in
> > 
> > You think that your tablet is going to have better availability and less
> > lock-in than a board from Freescale or TI?  That seems unlikely to me. 
> > Look at the BeagleBoard; it would be hard to find any smartphone or
> > tablet device that has been available for as long as that has.
> The FreedomBox project is looking for very cheap hardware. This hardware
What about the shortly to be released Raspberry Pi?

> exists today, but it is used for running Android. It would be very nice
> if we could liberate this hardware and use it for our own computing.
> Beagle board and Panda board are very nice but i don't think they will
> become cheap enough for the FreedomBox (one monopolistic manufacturer,
> low volume - "only" 8900 Panda boards sold)
> If the FreedomBox would use a popular SoC then the manufacturer of the
> motherboard seems less important to me. All the major functionalities
> for which drivers are needed are on one chip. We could simply switch to
> an other board with the same SoC and still run our software (maybe with
> some minor adjustments, please correct me if i am wrong...)
> > > I think it must be possible to buy an android motherboard for just a
> > > fraction of the price that i paid for my tablet.
> > 
> > Why do you think that?  I have personally never seen an "Android
> > motherboard" offered for sale at all, let alone for a low price.
> You find out the manufacturer of the motherboard inside a tablet. Then
> you contact this manufacturer and say: Hi, i know you are making 10000
> motherboards for Yarvik, if i were to order 1000 of these boards what
> would the price be? I think the manufacturer will be happy with an extra
> order. Mass produced boards are well tested (the manufacturer simply
> can't afford mass problems) and cheap.
> > > Why is relying on
> > > hardware with a SoC such a bad idea? If the SoC is popular it will not
> > > go out of production for a long time.
> > 
> > No, that's not how it works.  Both popular and unpopular chips are
> > replaced on a schedule that's determined by advances in manufacturing
> > technology.  This also applies to the consumer products that are made
> > from them: even if a device is popular, it will soon be replaced with
> > something that is faster and cheaper.
> Not quite true i think, especially for SoC. My FreedomBox has an Marvell
> 6281 (Kirkwood) SoC inside. This chip has been around for a long time.
> You are right for non-SoC boards, they can more easily change for
> example the graphics chip and spoil our fun.
> Regards,
> Rob van der Hoeven.
> http://freedomboxblog.nl

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