[Arm-netbook] arm-netbook Digest, Vol 90, Issue 26

Pičugins Arsenijs crimier at yandex.ru
Tue Jan 23 18:11:55 GMT 2018

>  you will learn a lot from the task that you envision, arsenijs: if
> the reverse-engineering of the eeepc is that far along it takes care
> of many of the tasks on the list and yes, 6 months would not be an
> unreasonable estimate for the remainder.
>  please however be under no illusion that, even at the end of all that
> effort, which if well-documented will be extremely valuable in its own
> right and on its own merit, you are still presenting people with the
> task of *hand-disassembling* a pre-existing system, that the number of
> people who will be interested to do so will be at most 100 in the
> world, and that bang-per-buck wise the effort spent has an extremely
> low *actual* environmental benefit compared to designing and building
> a system that's *actually* intented - from the start - to be
> eco-conscious.

While I do agree that making a EOMA68-based EEE is a fun and educational project
and all people participating and watching will learn a lot, I believe that
re-building a small (and, in a way, iconic) netbook is very important for the
EOMA68 project - and this is the main reason I'm ready to spend time on it (it's
not like I have too much free time =D ).

First of all, it shows that EOMA68 is a mature and thought-out platform that
actually allows people to be more eco-friendly, and allows people to reuse their
old laptop hardware with a simple, modular, EOMA68-based motherboard (even if
this is not the direction you're planning to go). This is in contrast to all the
vaporware platforms that claimed everything they could, only to never deliver:
here, this is an EOMA68-based device that shows how EOMA68 enables people to do
more ethical decisions and restores old hardware, this is not some closed-source
project done by university students that will then fade into oblivion, and not a
Kickstarter campaign that overpromised and then delivered a product that you
can't actually use for its goal!

If done right, it will also serve as an "EOMA68 example hardware project" of
sorts. If we publish schematics, PCB designs, assembly instructions, device tree
overlays etc., it can easily show people: "Oh cool - they've breathed life into
a legendary netbook, did some simple electronics, wrote great blog posts, and
it's even future-proof! Hey, I can use this EOMA thing as a base for my own
project, too!" If people are getting interested in this, this is a real chance
for EOMA68 to be more popular among tinkerers. It might not be your target
audience, but it can be a great one to have behind your back, and you might like
selling some more hardware.

On top of that, Asus EEE 701 was an important milestone in the history of
computers. It was the first truly popular netbook, and a good business decision
that was copied by multiple companies after Asus did it (and I'm sure they
continued to cash in on the EEE brand for a long long time after the 701 was
released). It was also famous for its modding capabilities - people were putting
touchscreens, FM transmitters, HDDs and god knows what in it (usually with lots
of USB hubs connecting everything). Hell, one of my first projects in
electronics was trying to build a dock station for my EEE 1001, I didn't succeed
but I did learn a fuckton of things. So, in a way, EEE is a symbol of small but
powerful portable computers (that are extensible, too), and it still has a
fanbase that's nostalgic about it. Getting associated with that symbol is great
publicity - again, it might not be the publicity that the project is aiming for,
but it's great publicity nonetheless.

I won't even mention some things like "EOMA68-based EEE is an EEE, but *libre*",
"first EEEs were shipped with Linux and it matters", and other small but nice
points. Also, if some people are interested, I wouldn't have any qualms about
selling conversion kits with a decent margin and donating part of the revenue to

Undoubtedly, I'm biased, mostly in a way that I loved EEEs while I used to use
them as my primary PC (2011-2015, I believe), and I'd love to get an
EOMA68-based netbook, especially if it's a EEE! So, there might be problems with
my reasoning =D When you're making long-term plans for EOMA68, I'm sure you have
thought of commercialization and why it's important. My idea doesn't really
allow for commercialization, indeed - it's not quite a project you can sell in
thousands, neither it is easily manufacturable, it's mostly showcasing EOMA68
and promoting it. Plus, I have no idea about the EEE trademark which was,
undoubtedly, filed by Asus. I actually have registered a domain name already,
"eeeoma.tk" (from a free domain name registrar), the name seems suitable but I'm
not sure we can use it. But then, there's somebody that can sue me for
"ZeroPhone", too!

To sum up, I think that making an EOMA68-based EEE an important project that can
help EOMA68 become more popular, and I can get behind it - I can't do most of
the things that could help EOMA68 (and what I can do, wouldn't be efficient to
assign to me), but if I can work on something that I can do and I'm actually
driven to do (and benefits me, too), I'll be more than happy to help. While this
is not the main direction that EOMA68 will go, I believe this is an easily
recognizable goal that will help EOMA68 get more recognition and respect.


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