[Arm-netbook] Debian GNU/Linux on tablet hardware

Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton lkcl at lkcl.net
Sat Oct 29 05:19:19 BST 2011

2011/10/29 Philippe Clérié <philippe at gcal.net>:
> On Friday 28 October 2011 14:33:08 Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote:
>> i can, if you prefer, use a site like "pledgebank.com" - that might
>> help people to understand that i'm not asking people for a
>> "committment to buy".  i'm asking people if they would be *willing* to
>> commit to buying, if a certain threshold of other people also publicly
>> made the exact same committment.
> At the prices you are talking about I am willing to commit to buy.

 fantastic to hear, philippe.

>  I have a
> couple of questions though.
> 1- I am not clear on the design you have in mind. Personally, I have three
> use-cases: router, NAS, sound server (not Media server, I don't care about
> video). I don't necessarily need them all in one system. Does your design
> cover these uses?

 short answer: yes.... depending on what performance you're expecting.

 the limit is actually due to having to pick "lowest common
denominator" interfaces for the EOMA/PCMCIA "meta-interface" aka

 but, the thing is that the "Lowest Common Denominator" is actually
incredibly high.  not "mad" high, but still damn good.

 * 10/100 ethernet has been around for... forever
 * USB2 has been around for over a decade
 * SATA-II likewise - decade.
 * I2C i don't even know
 * 24-pin RGB/TTL you don't care about, but it's there.

now, on *some* SoCs, there is no SATA-II port on-board, so this has to
be done with a USB-to-SATA converter.  according to some quick google
searches (and based on empirical observation of these "Set-Top-Box"
style CPUs), the Chiprise aka BoxChip aka BMorn aka AllWinner CPU
_should_ have on-board SATA-II....


yep, all signs so far are that it's a built-in SATA-II.  i'd fall off
my chair in shock if it doesn't have 10/100 Ethernet

(that's the best i can do without having access to the datasheet
because this is a STB-style CPU, they just... don't... hand... out...
datasheets... plus despite all the names, we can't find the real
company or its web site, in order to call them!  the factory's on the
case, they'll get them - eventually - even if it's by word-of-mouth
inside china).

> 2- I presume that you are talking about committing to quantities of one or
> two systems.

 yes, that's right: it'll be a 1-or-2 price but that 1-or-2 price will
still be lower by virtue of being part of a "group order".  this is...
unavoidable, but i think you'll find that even "worst case" it'll
still be well below any cut-off point you might have in mind [except
possibly the situation where only 10-20 units are wanted - then yep,
the sums definitely don't add up, go figure].

 issues like putting into boxes that would get split at customs (to
save a bit of $), well... the percentages aren't entirely worth it,
because the value of the goods is so small as in _legitimately_ so
damn small not "let's put a fake value on the goods" small, it's...
yeah, hardly worth doing.  if there were 500 units shipped world-wide,
now that's a different story.

> Could you please confirm? I really just need a couple of very
> low power systems that I can setup and forget!


 yes, i do mean 1 or 2.  the weight's going to be tiny (please, _do_
source your own PSU, it's just not worth putting one in the box and
paying extra for the size and the weight), the price low so the amount
of customs duty is going to be low as well.

 actually, my major concern is that customs in each country won't
_believe_ it's a fully-functioning computer with a replacement value
so damn small, it'll get "red flagged".  it's probably a good idea
that this is pre-empted, and a letter put on the outside of each box,
for Customs to read.

 btw... from experience: anyone in the UK, yes you can risk using
ParcelForce, if you don't mind that they charge a £13 flat-rate
"handling" fee on VAT collection.  bastards.  you would do well to
follow the advice of this guy.  by following it you can successfully
tell ParcelForce to get stuffed, _and_ still get the goods:


there are also additional posts on that forum where Fedex have passed
over collection of "their" quotes fee quotes to Debt Collection
Agencies, but a simple letter to the DCA involved, stating that there
is no contract between Fedex and yourself regarding this "fee",
results in the DCA involved giving Fedex absolute hell for wasting
their time.

the important thing is to dispute the fees, immediately, and go from
there.  there's some empirical evidence to support the hypothesis that
ParcelForce actually _delete_ the invoice (like, literally wipe the
SQL entry) from their database if you cause enough fuss.  this has me
sufficiently alarmed to entertain the possibility that ParcelForce may
actually be committing fraud, or their Directors prosecuted for

> I've had occasion to deal with people who deal with Chinese manufacturers,
> but in fields far removed from electronics. What you describe does sound
> familiar.

 mwahhhh :)

 i ain't got to the bit about having to send some along to check that
the containers don't contain bricks, yet *lol*.  i know someone who's
quite happy to go to china and literally kick their desks over until
they refund the money, if that happens, but it generally only occurs
on the really really big orders (otherwise it's not worth the thieves
time!).  it'd serve them right for employing chinese shipping agents
who thought it was ok to embezzle from gwailo foreigners.  but, yeah,
that only happens if you use untrustworthy shipping agents.  the
lesson here is: don't use untrustworthy shipping agents!


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