[Arm-netbook] Anyone here made a "TV computer"?

Bari Ari bari at onelabs.com
Mon Nov 7 17:20:11 GMT 2011

Am I missing something here or is the Allwinner A10 ARM SOC just another 
ARM SOC design that has no public docs, and with just another board 
design that green engineers are learning from?

What are the problems with doing a respin of the Freescale IMX53QSB?

or the BeagleBone?
> The BeagleBone uses a TI AM3358 ARM Cortex-A8-based microprocessor. 
> Announced on Oct 31, 2011, the main processor is available for as 
> little as $5, uses a 0.8mm ball-grid array and standard DDR2 memory, 
> making this board easier to clone than other BeagleBoard designs.
TI AM3358 ARM Cortex-A8

Are the docs not publicly available? Are the devices priced to high or 
not readily available? Open software support also appears to be 
available except for the GPU. Is this not the case?

I'm just trying to find out what is actually missing from all these ARM 

I enjoy science fiction as much as the next guy but I'm trying to stick 
with science facts here so less time is wasted on supporting future open 
ARM efforts.


On 11/07/2011 06:47 AM, Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote:
> On Mon, Nov 7, 2011 at 2:16 AM, Bari Ari<bari at onelabs.com>  wrote:
>> What exactly is the reference design? A tablet or??
>   don't know - usually they have "everything including the kitchen
> sink".  i know that the little factory in china have obtained the
> reference design, but they are incredibly busy.  also it doesn't help
> that the "Great Firewall of China" is in the way (looovely).
>> Why don't we get the hardware specs and provide better CAD files to the
>> companies making boards with them.
>   because they're only available under NDA from the SoC manufacturers,
> who are at first somewhat shocked at the factory's complete lack of
> software expertise and then "resigned" to dealing with the situation
> by entirely developing a complete design - all on their own and
> *including* the complete software package.
>   this is the situation i'm working to break them free from, by putting
> them in touch with Free Software Developers.
>   this is the situation i'm working to break them free from, by putting
> them in touch with Free Software Developers.
>   exactly why, when this situation only *prevents* the SoC
> manufacturers from selling their own SoCs, isn't clear.  i _have_ been
> explaining this to them, but even the CEOs of these SoC companies in
> China aren't actually allowed to make .. y'know... something called
> "decisions"!
>   they are effectively puppets, answering to their "superiors" (the
> money people), who flatly refuse to let them do anything other than
> what they have been dictated and authorised to do.
>   so it is a cultural thing.
>   we just have to work with the system as it is, for now, and show them
> a better way, later.
>> Part of the problem is inexperienced
>> hardware 'engineers' generating some pretty awful boards that almost
>> work.
>   yes.  that's usually the smaller factories, and they usually succeed
> only with things under 400mhz.  that's why that Skytone Alpha 400 took
> off so well: Ingenic sold something like 25 million jz4740 CPUs before
> MIPs caught up with them and went "oi! license! naoooww, sunshine" :)
>    luckily, these guys in the little factory i have access to aren't
> inexperienced [they just don't have any software expertise].  my
> friend adam however can tell you some interesting stories about the
> continuous cycle of experimentation he's witnessed :)
>> Why put all this software effort into buggy hardware when we could
>> also provide board stuffers with solid design files?
>   there is more than one way to skin a cat, bari.  there is
> "experienced design" and then there is "rapid incremental design".
> there's a beautiful description in "A Young Lady's Illustrated
> Primer", aka "The Diamond Age" by Neal Stephenson, in which
> nanotechnology is used to seek out the missing copy of the Primer
> (ultra-high-grade nanotechnology book).
>   Dr X's nanotes are varied, often fail, but are so numerous that it is
> obvious that they are designed by genetic algorithms and by
> trial-and-error.
>   the Neo-Victorians nanotes are clearly "engineered".  clinical,
> calculated - and yet also fixed and rigid.
>   we _know_ that evolution works, and we know that when evolutionary
> algorithms are put into a fast spin cycle, the results are staggering.
> read Ian Macleod's sci-fi books for references to the "Fast Folk",
> where people are run inside "nanotech soup computers" that run 1000s
> to 10s of 1000s of times faster than "real time".  eventually, they
> evolve into a civilisation that discovers how to manipulate the
> universe so that they can break out of the box.  the scientists,
> knowing when roughly this will happen, nuke the box each time
> destroying the nanotech computer "soup" before the civilisation within
> it can reach that point (singularity).  civilisation genocide,
> described casually "in passing" in this way, in later books, because
> an entire book was dedicated to the subject some years ago (when they
> _didn't_ nuke the nanotech civilisation and it broke free), earlier in
> the series.
>   and, in china, the factory PCB costs are cheap.  they can operate on
> a fast spin-cycle.
>   it's messy but _one_ of them - like brownian motion - occasionally
> pops to the surface.  the point of keeping an eye on all these
> factories is to catch the one that actually does a decent job,
> snapshot their designs and put them into mass-production *before*
> brownian motion sucks them back down, randomly, into the genetic soup.
>   l.
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