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

Mark Constable markc at renta.net
Sat Oct 29 08:16:47 BST 2011

On 2011-10-29 03:53 AM, Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote:
> > Unfortunately the core point of that
> > email, "give us something to develop on now", got buried under
> > an assertion that any device won't end up in the hands of GPL
> > tolerant western developers much under $300 retail/delivered.
>  well... let me think.... nope, it's not true.
> order 10 of these, you get them for $149 each:
>  http://quickembed.com/Tools/Shop/DSP/201105/170.html

I meant a complete netbook form factor.

>  http://quickembed.com/Tools/Shop/ARM/201007/118.html
>  http://quickembed.com/Tools/Shop/ARM/201102/164.html

The RPI will demolish both of those as viable development options.

>  but, regardless of cost or availability, i don't see what value
> placing such a device into the hands of those developers would
> actually bring to the table (see further below)
> ...
>  what exactly are you after that cannot be solved by running arm-qemu?
> (which, btw, is quite tolerable on a dual-core 2ghz xeon).

Sure, good enough to test low level boot stuff but I wouldn't be
able to exactly pick it up and take it for a spin in the real world.

"hey gandma, would you mind trying to check your email on this thing?"

>  please please for god's sake don't tell me you expect the linux
> kernel on the raspberrypi to be of any use to man or beast for any
> other ARM-based device (including one which has the exact same ARM11
> CPU).

No, not my main concern. It's what happens after the kernel calls
/sbin/init that I am most interested in. I want a cross between an
OpenWRT base OS with Qt Mobility components and a QML/HTML5 desktop.
Such a system does not yet exist, except in my head, and I'd like to
get it out of there and onto real world silicon. As it turns out the
RPI is the ideal minimum reference devel board and I expect to see
100k of them sold by the middle of next year, ie; so I won't be
alone in bringing up and testing various OS parts and will overlap
nicely with the release of Qt5 also by the middle of next year.

> ...
> there *is* no concept of "BIOS" in the ARM devices world.

Yup, I'm well aware of that which kind of leads to what I was trying
to suggest... piggyback off what other folks have already done on the
way to getting the ideal system in place... like a reasonable tablet
with a bluetooth kb/mouse, or even via the emerging RPI framework.

You seem to be tackling what 1/2 dozen paid staff and a 1/4M$ worth
of funding is needed to accomplish.

> > Perhaps it's as simple is the mandatory English-only communication
> > channels surrounding the western repositories.
>  if that were the case, then those people should just release whatever
> they have done, and let other people sort it out (who speak english).
> ...

Along the lines of bridging east and west, this could be promising...


> ...
> btw - all of this i mention not to "impress" you or anyone else (*) -
> but to underscore and emphasise why it is that i'm saying that the
> opportunity i've engineered is the way it is precisely because all
> other options - all other paths - are closed, prohibitively expensive,
> insane, or all three.

I'm sure there are plenty of lurkers, like myself, and others who
appreciate the time and effort you have put in over the last couple
of years. FWIW, my ideal product goes something like this...

. 7" touch enabled clamshell with a minimum 1280x720 16:9 res
. 95% chiclet keyboard with NO TOUCHPAD (touch screen instead)
. typical eth, usb2, wireless, bluetooth (mainly for a mouse)
. 1Gb ram but even 256Mb would do if it means the device is cheap
. down the track premium model; 3G, 1Ghtz eth, USB3, 1366x768 res

A truly portable but useful device small enough to fit in a (larger)
pocket but big enough to enjoy a movie and provide reasonable finger
space on both the screen and keyboard. Double the ram on a RPI and
wrap it in a clamshell with a 1280x720 touch screen and job done.

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