[Arm-netbook] GK802 for $70

Paul Sokolovsky pmiscml at gmail.com
Fri May 24 16:55:33 BST 2013


On Fri, 24 May 2013 17:08:14 +0600
Roman Mamedov <rm at romanrm.ru> wrote:

> On Fri, 24 May 2013 12:15:20 +0300
> Paul Sokolovsky <pmiscml at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Yup, 've been fighting Embedded ARM feudalism since days of (now 
> departed) handhelds.org which Linux on PocketPCs (~2006).
> And you have your perception skewed, as I can see you in the other
> message in all seriousness suggest OpenWRT's opkg, as the package
> manager for a Quad-core 1 GHz CPU and 1GB of RAM computer with
> gigabytes of storage. 

Sure, what makes you think that "Quad-core 1 GHz" needs any special
package manager? If something runs well on 100MHz, then it runs
well on 1GHz, the opposite is not always true.

> Wake up, it's not a pocket PC from 2006, there
> is nothing about it that warrants any special "embedded" treatment.

And yet there're lot, and hopefully will be more, low-power (in both
senses) devices around. Yup, I'm kind of "grand unified" guy, and would
prefer a solution which works on any Linux system. So, paraphrasing,
there's no need for typical "desktop bloat" treatment. Obviously, it's
not the only PoV, but is worth its place under sun.

> The only thing that can be contrived as a limitation is somewhat
> slowish SD card, but nothing stops people from using an external USB
> HDD or SSD drive, if that becomes a problem (and it usually doesn't).

> I suggest that you get yourself some of these modern ARM devices to
> play with -- you may be pleasantly surprised --, rather than speaking
> about your theory of how dpkg is unusable and how opkg or whatever is
> the only viable solution because it's all "embedded" and way too slow
> to run real software.

The word "only" in phrase "the only viable solution" is your addition,
but otherwise yes, it's pretty viable alternative to dpkg (well, heck,
it was written as slimmed-down dpkg+apt replacement with as much
compatibility as can be crammed into ~200k binary) for those who needs
it. (But being aware of opkg existence and features is helpful for
almost any "embedded" Linux hacker IMHO).

As for modern ARM stuff, I grok it, no worries ;-). Not fast enough,
and neither 2+GHz/4+Gb/5400+RPM Intel boxes are, per my likes. And the
culprit is not hardware, but software.

> > 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" speak).
> Well then explain what should I do. I have a GK802 and I want Debian
> on it.
> Oh and also 10 of my friends-over-the-Internet want Debian on theirs
> too.
> This is the problem at hand that I am solving. Not some ivory tower
> "the best practices in operating systems design on the ARM platform"
> conundrum.

Cool. Again, I'm all for Debian to be runnable on as many devices as
possible. There're other alternatives still, which I though mentioning.
And well, as you remember, it started with my comments re: you saying
that just dumping rootfs image is good enough way to install stuff.
Yeah, it's all practical and everyone will use it here and there. But
that's what it is - quick hack, not ultimate way of doing. We can do
better as a community - to support wider range of devices. Nothing to
do right away - just keeping in mind that there're better ways to do it
wrt to how it was usually done before. I like Luke's idea for example -
using host to prepare installation stuff to put on device.

> NB: and no thanks, I am not willing to spend months trying to get
> into the Debian Installer or the Linux kernel port-mainlining
> development - even if I would, getting a result tomorrow vs "in 6
> months, maybe" - surely a tough choice, is it.

Yup, I no longer hack kernel (as a hobby) either - too long a way to
(real) benefits in daily life. But neither I (nor you) go for example
for dumbing-out Apple "comfort". So, just thinking that there're better
ways to do stuff is helpful - opportunity to actually hack along that
way will for sure arise ;-).

> -- 
> With respect,
> Roman

Best regards,
 Paul                          mailto:pmiscml at gmail.com

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