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Re: Good ARM board for Debian?

On Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 4:43 PM, Jerry Stuckle <jstuckle@attglobal.net> wrote:
> On 12/23/2013 2:24 AM, Luc Verhaegen wrote:
>> On Sun, Dec 22, 2013 at 11:09:39PM -0500, Jerry Stuckle wrote:
>>> Let's try this again.  I'm still looking for a good ARM board for
>>> Debian.  I thought the Olinuxino A10s board would work until I found out
>>> recently that Allwinner has stopped making the SDK as of last February.
>>> No more updates for Linux, and it looks like this chip is going by the
>>> wayside.  We need one which will be around for a while.
>> Wow, what world do you live in?
>> A world where cheap chinese manufacturers actually support their
>> hardware? Where they make full software available for many years? What
>> world is that?
> Luc,
> I live in a world with commercial products where costs must be controlled to
> remain competitive.  This includes not only the cost of parts now, but the
> cost of having to redesign when something you are using becomes unavailable.

 unfortunately, what luc is pointing out is that the requirements that
you've set, whilst being extremely common, are in fact mutually
exclusively incompatible.

 the people who make low-cost SoCs that you're expecting to buy don't
make them for you - or in fact any of us here on debian-arm - they
make those $5 to $7 SoCs to sell *immense* numbers of tablets,
tablets, tablets and yet more tablets... in china.  the rest of the
world - which is 1/10th the size as a market - is almost an

 the hilarious thing is that not even the chinese fabless SoC
companies themselves realise this.  allwinner made the A31 a year ago,
it was quad-core, it had MIPI, it had DisplayPort, it had all the
fantastic bells and whistles, had faster graphics (PowerVR 545MP),
ticked all the boxes... but because it was $19 and targetted at
SuperTablets (with 2560x1800whatever displays) that is *automatically*
outside of mainstream chinese markets.... Rockchip did pretty much at
the same time a 28nm quad-core $12 lower-cost SoC with slower graphics
(still MALI 400), and wiped the floor with them.

 but even rockchip are not immune to the "supernova SoC" effect.  that
amazing 28nm $12 quad-core SoC - which is only sold to clients with
good engineering resources (of whom there are extremely few - tom
cubie's team is one of them) or it's sold with "full support" services
to a handful of chinese tablet-tablet-tablet-tablet makers who have
proven that they can shift 100k units - will be viewed with increasing
unease by potential ODMs because of its age [under 9 months!].

there *will* be something better coming out...  always... and the
moment it does, you're screwed.  but there *is no other way* to get
access to these low-cost SoCs!

... except with EOMA68.  the exact scenario that you face, jerry, is
why i designed EOMA68.  it's there to provide people like you [1] with
access to the latest low-cost SoCs, yet using only a subset of
functionality of each SoC, such that the base-board *has* to be
designed to accommodate a long-term strategy where the SoC *does not

does that make any sense?


[1] the situation is compounded by software license violations.  i
have a friend who has an engineering firm in australia.  he wants to
do a low-cost WIFI product.  you'd think that it would be possible to
buy a tablet, strip it down and put the PCB into a great wall-mounted
product, make a lot of money, right?  wrong.  he has a stack a METRE
HIGH of rejected tablets - all of them low-cost - which tells him
before he's even started that he's out of business.  why? because
*every single one* of them is GPL-violating and the factories don't
even have the source code.  i'll say that again: NOT EVEN THE
FACTORIES have the source code: they were supplied with GPL-violating
binary-only images by a 3rd party intermediary design house.  by
contrast, because i am a software libre advocate, no EOMA68 CPU Card
will receive Certification, no SoC will even be *considered* unless
the GPL and all other software licenses are properly respected.

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