[Arm-netbook] GK802 for $70

Paul Sokolovsky pmiscml at gmail.com
Fri May 24 10:15:20 BST 2013


On Fri, 24 May 2013 09:23:39 +0600
Roman Mamedov <rm at romanrm.ru> wrote:

> On Fri, 24 May 2013 03:19:58 +0300
> Paul Sokolovsky <pmiscml at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Really? Aren't there thousands models of tablets and phones and
> > hundreds of sticks, each of them definitely based on dozen of SoC
> > types and different - availability, number and size - of screen,
> > keys, ports (hundreds of variations for sure)?
> We are talking about an OS or an installer for the GK802.
> There are not thousands of models of GK802.
> Until the support for iMX6 (and also e.g. the A10) is fully included
> into the mainline kernel and u-boot, there doesn't seem to be a way
> around "one installer or OS image per SoC".
> And unlike even the A10 with MK802/Mele/Cubieboard/MiniX/etc, GK802
> is in an unique position of there being basically the only popular
> and widely available device based on that SoC, the dev community even
> chose to uses the moniker "imx6-dongle" to refer to what's it's all
> about.

I guess by now it's fair to say that iMX6 dongles failed to win
market opportunity when they were first 4-core device appearing, and
now they definitely lose to new generation of Chinese 4-core SoC. So,
soon "unique" GK802 will be yet another exhibit in old computer museum,
I'm sure everyone who's around long enough has pretty good collection

> > Then you'll be doing a "dance" with a new device. Actually, for ~30
> > years of ARM embedded device mainstreamicity, thousands and
> > thousands of people contaminated internets with "easy to install
> > images" for "one" device. First problem is that noone knows what's
> > inside. Well, actually by now everyone knows what's inside - dirty
> > hacked-up unmaintained crap, also likely viruses and trojans which
> > steal your money and record your home porn. Second problem is that
> > they're easy to install only in their authors' imagination, because
> > there're always undocumented, presumed, untested stuff, which other
> > folks can't figure out or reproduce.
> I suggest that you spend your energies on improving that situation,
> rather than on paragraphs of such energized trolling of mailing
> lists  o/

Yup, 've been fighting Embedded ARM feudalism since days of (now
departed) handhelds.org which Linux on PocketPCs (~2006). Here's a
project to develop a Linux installer for an (as much as possible)
arbitrary device with at least 256x256 screen and at least 2 buttons:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/ramdisk-rescue/ (2006).

The problem that individual efforts won't help, until entire community
understands that it's *not ok* to produce "Debian installers" for
laptops of exactly 14" size with white lid and serial number
containing letters 'A' and 'T' (That's direct translation of "We are
talking about an OS or an installer for the GK802." to "non-embedded"

> > Btw, is that only me who thinks that dpkg is bad choice of a package
> > manager for embedded system?
> ...yes? :)

Well, never goodled for that, but nope, I'm not the only one who thinks
that dpkg has got a problem:


> > On my x86/SATA harddrive installing a 1+Mb
> > package means horrible disk thrashing and of course
> > throttling/locking up any other activity in the system. What to
> > expect on low-performance embedded system? 
> 4-core ARMv7 is not exactly low performance already, and please for
> the love of god stop using that word ("embedded"), it's typically an
> excuse for all sorts of crap and lack of functionality. 

Exactly, I'm using the word in that very same sense - people call stuff
"embedded" and take that as an excuse to do kludgy stuff to it, as if
there're no existing best practices.

> This "embedded" device is more powerful than desktop computers from
> let's say 10 years ago. And guess what, Debian existed and worked
> more than fine for people on those computers back then.

It depends on the definition of "fine". I love the idea of having
"default" distro to install on any device, and Debian fully deserves
that, but "fine"?.. IMHO, state of Linux on ARM (MIPS too, yeah) was
always crappy, and good changes are too slow - vendors still care only
about one device to drop to market, and community takes a lure of that
"one" device (different for each person out there of course). Folks who
saw 2-3 generations of such "one" device, get tired of that and give up
(except for maybe occasional weekend hacks and yeah, "trolling").

> -- 
> With respect,
> Roman

Best regards,
 Paul                          mailto:pmiscml at gmail.com

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