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Re: debian on mini android pc

On Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 6:56 PM, Scott Sullivan <scott@ss.org> wrote:
> On 07/11/2012 01:50 PM, Lennart Sorensen wrote:
>> The A10 is the deceptively (or confusingly) named ARM Cortex A8 based
>> chip right?
> Correct.

 aww, scott - why stop there with one word, when an entire epithet will do? :)

 the CPU is presently done by a company named allwinner, which may be
about to undergo another name-change.  the same CPU has previously
been associated with companies named "Chiprise" as well as "Boxchip".

 exactly what the hell's going on here is unclear, but we believe the
development of the A10 (an ARM Cortex A8 CPU) may have received a PRC
(state-sponsored) Grant.  this would have covered their NREs and
development costs ($NNm), and allowed them to jump-start directly into
pricing that's normally reserved for cash-cow processors towards their
end of life.

 also what that has meant is that there is less incentive for the
Allwinner Board of Directors to play the usual stupid secretive "it's
our copyright damnit" GPL-violating games.  consequently when we asked
Allwinner for the GPL source code, u-boot source code and the compiler
toolchain, they went "sure, here you go" and threw in the android
source code for good measure.

 so a lot of people have gone "cool!" and there's quite an active
community based around this CPU, now.  unlike any other ARM CPU that's
come out of china, where significant resources have to be spent
reverse-engineering it, and people just can't be bothered with all
that when there's one company that's actively encouraging people to
work with it.

 there are still a few blind-spots: one of them is the cedarx Video
encode/decode library (that's still proprietary) but someone has begun
reverse-engineering that; the boot-loader (about a 14k binary) _was_
also proprietary but a minimalist version of that has been
reverse-engineered and its source code made available; and of course
there's the MALI jobbie but limaproject.org should take care of that,
in good time.

 also, the proprietary tools which allwinner developed which are
"device-tree like" i.e. achieve the same sort of thing as linux
device-tree but in a cooler way, have also been reverse-engineered:
amery developed some basic versions.

 so it's getting there.



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