[Arm-netbook] Campaign Schedule and Future Sales/Products

Paul Boddie paul at boddie.org.uk
Mon Jul 16 13:00:00 BST 2018

First of all, thanks for taking the time to reply to my questions!

On Monday 16. July 2018 04.38.34 Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote:

[Campaign schedule]

> Yes. Mike is being extra cautious, hes ordered the full set of components
> now for 1000 cards and 500 mds.

This is good to know! I imagine that the other offerings, principally the 
laptop, are on hold pending further development, however.


> > Meanwhile, I noticed that the matter of future sales and products arose in
> > another thread, with the intention being expressed that others will be
> > producing and selling boards in future.
>  More that as the certification mark holder i cannot sell at all to anyone
> period and so that automatucally means someone else has to.
> I can barely get away with treating people here as engineering assistants
> or something like that.


> > "We need your backing for this project and the current Computer Card
> > before we can be in an established financial position to properly evaluate
> > and bring you these faster Computer Cards."
> > 
> > https://www.crowdsupply.com/eoma68/micro-desktop/updates/product-roadmap


> We as in all of us who want this project to succeed. However also i am
> taking a liberty and indirectly speaking on behalf of thinkpenguin.

I suppose this makes sense. My impression is that since ThinkPenguin is 
involved, it was a vehicle for them to assess the viability of the exercise 
for things that they might sell in the future.

So, "we" in the specific context of the campaign seems to mean "you and 
ThinkPenguin" (as one would expect), even if in the wider context it means a 
group of other people, too. I only note this because the outcome of the 
campaign only immediately changes the "financial position" of the broader 
group in saving them the costs of having to prove the concept themselves.


> > Although "the point about the A20 running out of time" [1] has been made
> > repeatedly since the start of the campaign (this quote being from March
> > 2017 in the context of suitable NAND ICs), might it be envisaged that the
> > design files be released for the A20 card to perhaps *stimulate* the
> > project's development and stability after this campaign concludes?
> Basically yes however the files will need to come with an agreement that
> recipients shall respect the Certification Mark which takes absolute
> precedence over and above the GPL.
> Complicated.

I think that any approach that keeps the design licensing "clean", whilst 
upholding the liability protection you need with regard to the "brand", would 
be acceptable. But I don't profess to be able to tell you what you need to do.

> > Has there been any constructive interest from anyone to produce more
> > boards using this design?
> A couple of companies approached me, also thinkpenguin have always wanted
> to stock them.

OK. This is very reassuring. From what you have said above and earlier, these 
companies will have to take control of the production and retailing. I guess 
that ThinkPenguin, as being part of this campaign, are in a position to do 
just that without any awkward contractual complications.


> > Another thing I found myself considering is the matter of the other cards
> > mentioned during the course of the campaign. If they are not going to be
> > offered via future campaigns, will they be offered by existing partners
> > or collaborators? For instance:
> > 
> > http://rhombus-tech.net/ingenic/jz4775/
> > http://rhombus-tech.net/rock_chips/rk3288/
> > http://rhombus-tech.net/nexell/s5p6818/
> The 6818 is a tough one. The 3288 i still have to get 2 of the 4 drams
> recognised. Rockchip are under NDA with the DDR initialisation so cannot
> help. The 4775 i need to replace the 24mhz xtal.

I don't want to speculate unnecessarily here, but I suppose that those 
interested parties mentioned above must have a route to acquiring the rights 
to produce boards based on these other designs.

Indeed, I think this is the core of the confusion: you apparently cannot 
routinely make and sell the cards while at the same time being the custodian 
of the certification mark. So, people like me might wonder what all these 
boards are good for.

But it seems that you might be in a position to produce designs that others 
can make and sell, albeit doing so in a distinct role from that of custodian. 
Obviously, others might make their own designs eventually, but a selection of 
initial designs that others might be able to acquire helps to prove the 

I hope that this is a reasonable interpretation of the situation. Apologies if 
this has just restated something that was already obvious to most people.


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