Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 24th Feb 2009 18:22 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems Chip company ARM is prepping to make its move into the netbook market, and now it has shown off a few prototype designs that really show off the benefits of using the ARM platform: thanks to passive cooling, no fans are required, enabling ARM netbooks to be much thinner and lighter than their Intel counterparts. Thanks to ZDNet, we have a nice video overview of these ARM netbooks - as well as a few very tiny ARM desktop machines.
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its about time
by poundsmack on Tue 24th Feb 2009 18:30 UTC
poundsmack
Member since:
2005-07-13

Go go RiscOS laptop!

but seriously its been a long time comming.

Reply Score: 7

RE: its about time
by epistaxsis on Tue 24th Feb 2009 21:50 UTC in reply to "its about time"
epistaxsis Member since:
2006-09-10

Go go RiscOS laptop!

but seriously its been a long time comming.


heh :-p

Although the idea of RISC OS devices using modern ARM processors is being worked on:

http://www.riscosopen.org/forum/forums/5/topics/166

OK this is very very early days but...

I will be buying some sort of ARM powered netbook as this eeePC is a bit *too* chunky for my liking once you've bolted on the necessary battery :-(

I am still annoyed at the video performance of these chips for desktop use - basic HD just isn't good enough today...

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: its about time
by poundsmack on Tue 24th Feb 2009 22:43 UTC in reply to "RE: its about time"
poundsmack Member since:
2005-07-13

great find. I see they are using a BeagleBoard ( http://beagleboard.org/ )for their dev hardware, I might jump onto this as I am farmilliar with the board myself (having written a WinCE BSP for it's previous revision). Thanks for teh link!

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: its about time
by epistaxsis on Tue 24th Feb 2009 23:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: its about time"
epistaxsis Member since:
2006-09-10

As I said, early days.

I should have posted a URL for the hardware - thanks for doing this.

It is nice to see a dev board such as this for sale so cheaply and so readily available!

I will be ordering one myself in a few weeks for the purpose of breaking (sorry, testing ;-) ) the port.

Any constructive help you can provide would be great.

Reply Score: 1

Windows
by dimosd on Tue 24th Feb 2009 18:35 UTC
dimosd
Member since:
2006-02-10

Sounds good. It should give some competetion to Windows based netbooks

Edited 2009-02-24 18:36 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: Windows
by darknexus on Tue 24th Feb 2009 18:53 UTC in reply to "Windows"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

True, as this is one platform Microsoft won't be able to dominate simply by giving away XP.

Reply Score: 10

RE[2]: Windows
by poundsmack on Tue 24th Feb 2009 19:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Windows"
poundsmack Member since:
2005-07-13

instead they can use WinCE. MS has been developing for teh ARM architecture for years, and WinCE 7 is going to be poised for netbooks as well as phones (and embeded stuff, but thats not important right now).

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Windows
by arpan on Tue 24th Feb 2009 20:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Windows"
arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

I'm not sure it is going to be that easy for MS.

Windows is used on x86 netbooks because it is useful to be able to run a lot of windows software.

But since WinCE can't accomplish that, what is the advantage? Why would you pay MS for that, when Google would probably be happy to adapt Android for a netbook. Or else, Nokia's tablet. Or Ubuntu. There are many options here that are more powerful that WinCE. Does WinCE even support the resolutions that netbooks would have?

And since WinCE is so cheap, would MS be willing to give up the Windows licence fees for the pennies that they would get from this?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Windows
by poundsmack on Tue 24th Feb 2009 20:35 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Windows"
poundsmack Member since:
2005-07-13

and thats where WinCE is going to have its biggest issue. Linux has a huge software repository and ARM distro's that run fairly well. Google will do anyhting to get there OS out there as well. WinCE on the ARM notebooks would be for fairly specialized aplications, while Linux makes sense for everything else. But I do want to see MS's upcomming WinCE 7 on these kind of devices, if for nothing else than to keep MS inovative (i know oxymoron right?)

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Windows
by flanque on Tue 24th Feb 2009 20:41 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Windows"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

I'd like to see this them continue just for the sake of competition.

It's great where all of this is going in terms of competition and innovation.

Reply Score: 2

Price point?
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 24th Feb 2009 18:42 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

I've been severely disappointed with the pricing of most netbooks. They haven't been significantly discounted from low end notebooks. I'm hoping that arm based netbooks will be cheaper as well. Something around US $200 would be great.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Price point?
by NiceGuyEddie on Tue 24th Feb 2009 21:05 UTC in reply to "Price point? "
NiceGuyEddie Member since:
2006-03-22

In the video he suggested a price point range of $199 to $300.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Price point?
by bnolsen on Wed 25th Feb 2009 01:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Price point? "
bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

They need to slide that down to $150 to $250 for this to work. Or else the $199 model will have to have a similar feature set to a current gen $349 atom based model.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Price point?
by umccullough on Wed 25th Feb 2009 01:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Price point? "
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

They need to slide that down to $150 to $250 for this to work. Or else the $199 model will have to have a similar feature set to a current gen $349 atom based model.


Perhaps I heard wrong, but I thought the guy in the video did say $199-$250

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Price point?
by umccullough on Wed 25th Feb 2009 01:26 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Price point? "
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

Perhaps I heard wrong, but I thought the guy in the video did say $199-$250


Ah, first he says $200-$300 - and then at the end he says $199-$250 - so I guess that means $199-$300 is accurate ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Price point?
by NiceGuyEddie on Wed 25th Feb 2009 01:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Price point? "
NiceGuyEddie Member since:
2006-03-22

Well, the decent battery life (~8hrs if I remember correctly) would make me consider one over the current offerings.

Reply Score: 2

I'm almost excited
by pooo on Tue 24th Feb 2009 19:08 UTC
pooo
Member since:
2006-04-22

What about flash and skype? I hate to pull out two binary blobs as reasons not to support such a cool device but my reality is that I use both of these every day. Also, are all the same codecs going to work? win32 codecs, etc? NDIS wrapper? Do these things integrate bluetooth and webcams?

Reply Score: 1

RE: I'm almost excited
by darknexus on Tue 24th Feb 2009 19:23 UTC in reply to "I'm almost excited"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Well, if they're integrating Wifi, as they most likely will, what would you need ndiswrapper for? I'm actually asking, not ridiculing.
As for flash, I think the best you could hope for at the moment is use of Gnash or Swfdec, though Adobe might eventually port their implementation to arm. I wouldn't count on Skype at all, however, they're not even interested in compiling their Linux application for 64-bit. This doesn't speak well to their willingness to port it to Linux/ARM.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: I'm almost excited
by AnyoneEB on Wed 25th Feb 2009 04:24 UTC in reply to "RE: I'm almost excited"
AnyoneEB Member since:
2008-10-26

The Nokia n810 (ARM/Linux-based internet tablet) comes with Flash and Skype, so ARM Linux versions of both exist.

ndiswrapper/w32codecs require x86 (or x86 emulation), but I am not sure how much the codecs are actually needed. I have not tried much, but mplayer on my n810 has yet to have trouble with any video I have thrown at it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I'm almost excited
by lemur2 on Wed 25th Feb 2009 05:21 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I'm almost excited"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

The Nokia n810 (ARM/Linux-based internet tablet) comes with Flash and Skype, so ARM Linux versions of both exist. ndiswrapper/w32codecs require x86 (or x86 emulation), but I am not sure how much the codecs are actually needed. I have not tried much, but mplayer on my n810 has yet to have trouble with any video I have thrown at it.


NDISwrapper is not required for any chip that has a "native" Linux driver. Atheros and Intel are the best here, Ralink also to a lesser extent.

VLC plays everything other than RealPlayer formats. The same is true of FFmpeg. w32codecs are no longer needed on Linux systems.

The Nokia N810 even has a KDE 4.2 desktop port:

http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/02/kde-42-and-koffice-...

There is no need on ARM for x86 emulation.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I'm almost excited
by psychicist on Wed 25th Feb 2009 16:30 UTC in reply to "RE: I'm almost excited"
psychicist Member since:
2007-01-27

I read a press release a while ago that Adobe were going to port their Flash 10 Linux player to ARM, so I think that's not much of an issue. I'd like to see one for MIPS(EL) too or fix Gnash to make it build and function correctly on that architecture.

I don't have much hope for a Skype port, but binary translation support in Loongson 2G/3 will probably make the x86 release run acceptably. Couldn't such support be added to some ARM cores as well?

Reply Score: 2

RE: I'm almost excited
by navaraf on Tue 24th Feb 2009 19:42 UTC in reply to "I'm almost excited"
navaraf Member since:
2005-07-08

win32 codecs, etc?


Possibly, but not without a lot of effort. Certainly it wouldn't be good idea to run codecs under processor emulator (or binary translator like QEMU).

NDIS wrapper?


Nope. There's no point in using it though when the devices are built to run Linux and so the hardware is chosen appropriately.

Do these things integrate bluetooth and webcams?


Yes for webcams, bluetooth probably too.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I'm almost excited
by flypig on Tue 24th Feb 2009 20:09 UTC in reply to "I'm almost excited"
flypig Member since:
2005-07-13

What about flash and skype?


Both Flash 9 and Skype are available for the Nokia N810, which runs with an ARM11 core. If the market for ARM-based netbooks is large enough it's not impossible to imagine they'd be made available for them. After all, Skype would complement these kinds of devices well.

I'm really hoping ARM netbooks take off. I'd love to have something with this form factor that will run for a decent length of time.

Reply Score: 4

RE: I'm almost excited
by DeadFishMan on Tue 24th Feb 2009 23:16 UTC in reply to "I'm almost excited"
DeadFishMan Member since:
2006-01-09

What about flash and skype? I hate to pull out two binary blobs as reasons not to support such a cool device but my reality is that I use both of these every day. Also, are all the same codecs going to work? win32 codecs, etc? NDIS wrapper? Do these things integrate bluetooth and webcams?


Flash might be a problem but one might try to get by with Gnash and swfdec. Who knows? This might be what it takes to get Adobe to port their Flash player to the ARM platform or at least help out the open source efforts by releasing some more specs so that the OSS developers can bring theirs up to snuff.

NDISWrapper? Why?

There are some SIP-to-Skype gateways already out there - although I haven't used one, so I can't attest how well they supposedly work - that will probably make Skype less of a problem in the foreseeing future.

Windows codec are not strictly required anymore as ffmpeg is about to catch up with most of the codecs available out there. Stuff like XviD, DivX, Matroska, H264 are more or less "OSS" anyway or can be easily ported to any platform and MPlayer can play pretty much anything that you throw at it. Seriously, other than the crappy Real codecs, you hardly need the w32codecs these days.

Taking these out of the equation, and you have literally thousands of software offerings at one's fingertips thanks to the OSS huge catalog of software that can be ported to other processor architectures quickly.

And the best of all is that Microsoft will not be able to simply dump XP and take over this market like they did with the previous generation of netbooks, so for the first time in like, forever, the playfield will be more or less even. They can try to push WinCE or some other embedded thing but they will not have the massive software catalog that XP enjoys feeding their bottom line.

I can personally see people going in droves to purchase this thing. The prince point sounds about right, the performance is not bad - seriously, I used to get by with a lot older rig until recently - the thing seems to be able to display 720p videos decently and nobody can seriously argue against the battery life. This is a keeper!

Edited 2009-02-24 23:23 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: I'm almost excited
by lemur2 on Wed 25th Feb 2009 02:18 UTC in reply to "I'm almost excited"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

What about flash and skype? I hate to pull out two binary blobs as reasons not to support such a cool device but my reality is that I use both of these every day. Also, are all the same codecs going to work? win32 codecs, etc? NDIS wrapper? Do these things integrate bluetooth and webcams?


Flash -> gnash
Skype -> Skype for Linux
win32codecs -> ffmpeg
NDIS wrapper -> native Linux wireless driver (eg atheros, intel)
bluetooth -> bluez
webcam -> yes indeed.

No need for any binary blob drivers on Linux any longer. Not saying that every single hardware device has open source drivers ... but if ARM are building a non-x86 netbook it would be utterly stupid of ARM to include a chip that had only an x86 binary driver available when there are plenty of other chips to choose from that do have native Linux drivers ...

In fact, a company such as Atheros recently went to considerable lengths to ensure their chips had open source drivers, even going to the extent to hire developers to write said drivers, precisely so that Atheros chips would be able to be considered for use on machines such as these ARM netbooks.

There is a big market out there (especially embedded devices, servers and supercomputers) these days for anything that can run Linux.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: I'm almost excited
by lemur2 on Wed 25th Feb 2009 03:58 UTC in reply to "RE: I'm almost excited"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

There is a big market out there (especially embedded devices, servers and supercomputers) these days for anything that can run Linux.


Speaking of which ... here is a server machine, that is also an embedded device, that runs Debian:

http://www.tgdaily.com/html_tmp/content-view-41525-136.html


It is built right in to the wall plug!

I have no idea what architecture it actually is, but I don't think it is x86.

Anyway ... once you have the basic build environment set up, and you can successfully cross-compile the kernel, then given that Debian is all about having the source code available, it means that all 26,000+ Debian packages should be available to your port almost straight away (once the initial work is done).

That type of thing is the whole POINT of having the source code. One can port it.

Incidentally ... Debian's collection of 26,000+ packages is perhaps the biggest SINGLE collection (as in, all in the one place) of source code on the planet, wouldn't it be?

Edited 2009-02-25 04:02 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I'm almost excited
by transputer_guy on Wed 25th Feb 2009 05:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I'm almost excited"
transputer_guy Member since:
2005-07-08

<
http://www.tgdaily.com/html_tmp/content-view-41525-136.html

It is built right in to the wall plug!
>

Or just go to Marvell.com

That link is almost as interesting but for a variety of other uses, embedded controllers and what not. The ARM netbox version shown in the article though is a bigger more capable device. If $200 buys a netbook, I wonder what a netbook without the KB & LCD will cost. Thats something I could slap on the back of any monitor. The Marvell link gives a $50-$100 netbox inside the power brick but probably less capable in some way. It is an ARM chip architecture combined with many other PC components on a single SOC (system on a chip). It even says 512MB of DRAM inside, but I bet that is off chip but packaged as bare dice on femto sized board. It has no video, just 1 Gb network and 1 USB2 port, period.

Question
Does Ubuntu/Linux support any of the USB->VGA adapters out there? And if it does, would that only be for a second head rather than the only head?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: I'm almost excited
by lemur2 on Wed 25th Feb 2009 05:28 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I'm almost excited"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Or just go to Marvell.com That link is almost as interesting but for a variety of other uses, embedded controllers and what not. The ARM netbox version shown in the article though is a bigger more capable device. If $200 buys a netbook, I wonder what a netbook without the KB & LCD will cost. Thats something I could slap on the back of any monitor. The Marvell link gives a $50-$100 netbox inside the power brick but probably less capable in some way. It is an ARM chip architecture combined with many other PC components on a single SOC (system on a chip). It even says 512MB of DRAM inside, but I bet that is off chip but packaged as bare dice on femto sized board. It has no video, just 1 Gb network and 1 USB2 port, period. Question Does Ubuntu/Linux support any of the USB->VGA adapters out there? And if it does, would that only be for a second head rather than the only head?


Wouldn't it be better to just run VNC on the server brick?

VNC implements a "virtual X" service on the embedded device, such that it actually uses the remote client Xorg server to provide the screen, render the graphics and provide the keyboard and mouse. This is all done via the gigabit ethernet interface, rather than the much slower USB interface.

http://www.tightvnc.com/

"TightVNC is a free remote control software package derived from the popular VNC software. With TightVNC, you can see the desktop of a remote machine and control it with your local mouse and keyboard, just like you would do it sitting in the front of that computer."

... Of course, being Linux, you could always just use the command line via ssh ... boring, I know, but it does work.

Edited 2009-02-25 05:31 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: I'm almost excited
by transputer_guy on Wed 25th Feb 2009 06:21 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: I'm almost excited"
transputer_guy Member since:
2005-07-08

VNC would be fine for remote use of the Plug computer say in sensing.

I was really thinking more along the lines of Plug computer plus some modest human interface (KB+screen) running through USB. With off the shelf parts that means using a generic USB->VGA adapter an unknown quantity for me. With OEM parts, more appropriate parts might be available but probably more cost. Its not like you see electronics stores like Fry's in most places to look for odd stuff. Looking forward to opening one of these up and tinkering.

Still does Linux even work with a USB-VGA device?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I'm almost excited
by steve_s on Wed 25th Feb 2009 20:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I'm almost excited"
steve_s Member since:
2006-01-16

A bit of research and you'll find that wall-plug computer is based on Marvell's Sheeva platform, which is ARM compatible.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: I'm almost excited
by lemur2 on Thu 26th Feb 2009 00:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I'm almost excited"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

A bit of research and you'll find that wall-plug computer is based on Marvell's Sheeva platform, which is ARM compatible.


I found plenty of references to the Sheeva platform, but none of them mentioned it being ARM compatible. I had thought it might be ARM based rather than x86 ... but nothing in my quick look actually said so.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I'm almost excited
by atriq on Wed 25th Feb 2009 16:01 UTC in reply to "I'm almost excited"
atriq Member since:
2007-10-18

http://www.notebooks.com/2009/01/07/new-generation-of-netbooks-199-...

Based on this, it looks like they already have adobe on board for flash.

Edited 2009-02-25 16:02 UTC

Reply Score: 1

v Comment by mnem0
by mnem0 on Tue 24th Feb 2009 19:09 UTC
Perfect Price
by Rokurosv on Tue 24th Feb 2009 19:51 UTC
Rokurosv
Member since:
2009-02-24

I think the price range is just right for something to do the basic browsing/social/streaming activities. I was thinking of purchasing one in August, hope the release date is around that time. The netbook market just got a lot more interesting

Reply Score: 3

Haiku anyone
by transputer_guy on Tue 24th Feb 2009 20:49 UTC
transputer_guy
Member since:
2005-07-08

Is there any thing to stop Haiku from getting recompiled to the ARM?

Sure it would lose all the old non source apps, but it would be quite neat to see this. I am am not even sure if endian is the same way around as x86 or if that can be worked around if need be.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Haiku anyone
by umccullough on Tue 24th Feb 2009 21:11 UTC in reply to "Haiku anyone"
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

Is there any thing to stop Haiku from getting recompiled to the ARM?

Sure it would lose all the old non source apps, but it would be quite neat to see this. I am am not even sure if endian is the same way around as x86 or if that can be worked around if need be.


You don't just "recompile" an entire OS for another architecture...

So, what's primarily stopping it from happening is a GOOD motivated developer with the know-how and time to port it...

Otherwise, the topic has popped up on the Haiku mailing lists numerous times in the recent years, with a couple of interested persons who would like to work on it when they get a chance, but nobody actually doing anything yet (unless they're doing it in private and are keeping a good secret ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Haiku anyone
by transputer_guy on Tue 24th Feb 2009 21:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Haiku anyone"
transputer_guy Member since:
2005-07-08

Of course it isn't trivial to "just recompile an OS", we all know that, and further we know the developer body count is way on the low side to even consider it seriously at least for some time.

Then again Unix did just get recompiled onto untold number of cpus once the host layer was retargeted. I recall that Unix only had a few K lines of assembler per target, the rest of the C code was usually quite portable ignoring endian issues, but that was before OSes got really complex.

Even in Be days, BeOS also got retargeted from the Hobbit chip to PPC and then to x86 and quite quickly too, but they also had manpower resources and strong incentive to do so.

This was really a hypothetical technical question, is there anything fundamentally wrong with the ARM to stop this even getting considered, like lack of suitable MMU perhaps? I imagine NewOS would have to be moved first. In the mean time I'll look for a suitable Atom netbox.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Haiku anyone
by umccullough on Tue 24th Feb 2009 21:56 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Haiku anyone"
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

I imagine NewOS would have to be moved first.


I'm not sure that would matter any more - Haiku has deviated quite a bit from NewOS... Making it cumbersome to try and re-sync with the NewOS codebase in the future.

Not to mention, last I asked Travis about the future of NewOS on IRC, it sounded like he was considering taking it in a somewhat different direction if he started hacking on it again.

Haiku definitely has arch-specific areas that can be "swapped" - there currently is x86, PPC, and m68k specific stuff in various areas of the kernel. Also along with a new arch, comes new platforms for booting, drivers, etc. For example, Haiku's PPC port supports OpenFirmware, m68k supports Atari Falcon (i think?).

For a synopsis, you might start in the repo here:

http://dev.haiku-os.org/browser/haiku/trunk/src/system

and start drilling down to see what the various kernel bits are that may need porting.

As you said, the number of devs is low - right now there are enough to keep progress moving forward toward an Alpha x86 release - I'm not sure I'd like to see many of them start focusing on another arch entirely at the moment.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Haiku anyone
by bibe on Wed 25th Feb 2009 21:23 UTC in reply to "Haiku anyone"
bibe Member since:
2005-07-09

Yes i agree, a reasonably stable Haiku would be a dream on this machine, if it's multimedia capable as BeOS was. A lightweight and fast graphic stack combined with such a sweet thin Netbook. The huge X Server seems out of place. Still, I don't dare to get my hopes up.

Edited 2009-02-25 21:23 UTC

Reply Score: 1

mbharat
Member since:
2008-06-19

I recently bought an emachines D620 with AMD 2250e 22w low power processor. It came preinstalled with vista basic, but is dog slow. XP also didn't cut it, even after paring it down to bare bones. Suse 11.1 with Xfce ran well. So for these arm machines, I think, they made the right choice with ubuntu.
They can further increase the batter life or performance by recoding the power hungry applications. From my experience with porting video codecs to ARM processors, they can easily get 20-40% boost in performance. They can also cut down any background services not needed in a netbook. This will boost short term acceptance.

Reply Score: 1

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

There is also largely inefficient parts of the components that make up the Linux desktop - HAL and its constant polling as one example of this. There are various parts of the GNOME desktop like this as well, so it isn't just 'bloated' applications but also components that need to be rethought when it comes to communication - replacing the polling method with one where by information is sent from the source rather akin to something of kqueue.

Reply Score: 2

epistaxsis Member since:
2006-09-10

I will be buying one of these machines when they come out in th UK.

It will be interesting to see what they have managed to do with ubuntu and its (or is this a more general *nix problem?) system resources issues (i.e. it needs *lots* <-- OK from what I have seen in the x86 versions...)

So I agree with you there will hopefully be some *serious* optimisations coming

Edited 2009-02-24 23:20 UTC

Reply Score: 1

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I will be buying one of these machines when they come out in th UK.

It will be interesting to see what they have managed to do with ubuntu and its (or is this a more general *nix problem?) system resources issues (i.e. it needs *lots*


My main concern is that when this is released and Ubuntu does come to ARM, there will only be a small subset that is provided to ARM based processors. I've seen distributions come out before and claim support for a given platform only to find that when you go into the repository that there are packages missing that are available for the x86 counterpart. For Ubuntu on ARM to really take off, it needs to be treated as a first class citizen along side x86 - and that means that when x86 get OpenOffice.org, the ARM distribution gets it too; when an update is provided for the x86 version, ARM customers receive it straight away.

As for the power management; the kernel itself is incredibly efficient and the power management features are being rapidly added all the time. The problem is the niceties that sit onto of all that in user space such as HAL. I remember when HAL first came out I was asking myself the same questions (that was being discussed in the Vector Linux article responses) when it came to the method in which it was detecting hardware and whether on a large configuration with a lot of devices - whether it would scale well and not become a processor hogging burden.

There was issues also raised about a number of other GNOME component such as gstreamer and many more in reference to how 'chatty' they were with other components and thus keep waking up the CPU from the low powered state. With that being said, however, until they can come up with a SSD that dumps the power hungry controller and can sit on the PCI bus (like the one Wozniak is involved with) - the full potential of these devices won't be realised.

We can all talk about one or two components but the battery power wastage is an accumulation of a number of different components coupled with software never designed to keep CPU (and other components) usage to a minimum and use as little memory as possible. All operating systems are going through the same natural reassessment of their code - but the benefit the opensource community have is that there are a huge number of people with differing configurations (developers and users) which allow maximum sized test base with a transparent development process which can accelerate development. So I am hopeful to see some major leaps in the Linux world.

Edited 2009-02-25 04:47 UTC

Reply Score: 4

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

With that being said, however, until they can come up with a SSD that dumps the power hungry controller and can sit on the PCI bus (like the one Wozniak is involved with) - the full potential of these devices won't be realised.


UBIFS is now a part of the Linux kernel.

http://www.inf.u-szeged.hu/sed/ubifs

As for the power management; the kernel itself is incredibly efficient and the power management features are being rapidly added all the time. The problem is the niceties that sit onto of all that in user space such as HAL. I remember when HAL first came out I was asking myself the same questions (that was being discussed in the Vector Linux article responses) when it came to the method in which it was detecting hardware and whether on a large configuration with a lot of devices - whether it would scale well and not become a processor hogging burden.

There was issues also raised about a number of other GNOME component such as gstreamer and many more in reference to how 'chatty' they were with other components and thus keep waking up the CPU from the low powered state.


AFAIK, KDE at least is addressing this issue:
http://www.kde.org/announcements/4.2/desktop.php
"Another benefit for mobile users is that power usage has been reduced all throughout the KDE software. The frequent wakeups from the core applications like Plasma and KWin have been eliminated, making sure you get the most from your battery.

Besides these improvements, PowerDevil introduces a new way of managing power. Instead of being a separate tool, PowerDevil is an integral part of KDE."

Reply Score: 3

DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

I can attest to KDE 4.2 being friendlier on battery life; I use PowerTOP and used to get 80-something wakeups per second from knotify4; now with KDE 4.2 I get 3 wakeups per second. knetworkmanager is still a problem with 12 per second, but I can verify they're working on things.

The biggest sources of wakeups now are Firefox (probably the Flash plugin) and the keyboard and mouse.

Reply Score: 2

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I can attest to KDE 4.2 being friendlier on battery life; I use PowerTOP and used to get 80-something wakeups per second from knotify4; now with KDE 4.2 I get 3 wakeups per second. knetworkmanager is still a problem with 12 per second, but I can verify they're working on things.

The biggest sources of wakeups now are Firefox (probably the Flash plugin) and the keyboard and mouse.


I'm running ArchLinux right now but given that there is no kde network manager appliet along the lines what is provided in GNOME (gnome-network-manager). I'd love to run KDE 4.2.0 but for me it isn't 'there yet' - maybe 4.3 will be the time I'll move back to KDE.

Reply Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"I can attest to KDE 4.2 being friendlier on battery life; I use PowerTOP and used to get 80-something wakeups per second from knotify4; now with KDE 4.2 I get 3 wakeups per second. knetworkmanager is still a problem with 12 per second, but I can verify they're working on things.

The biggest sources of wakeups now are Firefox (probably the Flash plugin) and the keyboard and mouse.


I'm running ArchLinux right now but given that there is no kde network manager appliet along the lines what is provided in GNOME (gnome-network-manager). I'd love to run KDE 4.2.0 but for me it isn't 'there yet' - maybe 4.3 will be the time I'll move back to KDE.
"

Most KDE4 implementations use this:

http://linuxappfinder.com/package/knetworkmanager

... but you can still use gnome-network-manager if you like.

Or alternatively, Arch uses Wicd doen't it?

http://www.wicd.net/
http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Wicd

OK ... look at this:

http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/NetworkManager
"Note: As of 9/2/08, knetworkmanager is no longer mantained in any Arch official repositories in binary form. You can use knetworkmanager3 or knetworkmanager from AUR instead."

OK, so it is an Arch issue, not a KDE 4.2 issue.

So where is your problem?

BTW, if you want Arch and KDE 4.2, have you checked out Chakra?

http://chakra-project.org/about.html

Reply Score: 3

Disposable????
by kragil on Tue 24th Feb 2009 20:55 UTC
kragil
Member since:
2006-01-04

The way I see it these kind of devices will last much longer than traditional Desktops/Laptops because they don't have any moving parts.

I say it again. PCs are getting to the point where they are like TVs. You buy one and it will last you a long time because we see software becoming faster and demand for computing power to stagnate.

For _normal_ consumers 4 core systems make no sense when browsers compile JS code. (IMHO slow browsing was the biggest upgrade incentive in the last few years.)

PS. Just buy with a replaceable battery

Reply Score: 2

RE: Disposable????
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 25th Feb 2009 06:34 UTC in reply to "Disposable????"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Really? Slow browsing? It boggles the mind.

Reply Score: 1

Neat
by kaiwai on Tue 24th Feb 2009 21:05 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

Although I do think it is naive by some people that you just go off, recompile - and voila, you can start hitting the ground running. As seen with the various distributions of Linux, it isn't that simple.

With that being said, however, if significant mindshare does get behind it - I'd love to see not only ARM based netbooks but also ARM based desktops as the gentleman in the video showed - although I do believe it should come with minimum of 1GB.

The benefit with the constrained memory is this - since the memory isn't easily upgradeable for end users, the demand for, 'just upgrade' won't wash. End users will start demanding that the applications can run on their low powered devices and vendors will finally be forced to produce software that is lean and efficient.

Even in the world of Linux there isn't a lack of bloatware - I moved (on my Acer Aspire One) from Windows XP to OpenSUSE Linux 11.1 to Arch Linux 2009.2 (plus updates) and my memory usage dropped from 265MB to 245MB then to 179.5MB. So there is definate room for improvement not only in the proprietary world but also the opensource world too.

Edited 2009-02-24 21:06 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Tue 24th Feb 2009 21:46 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

Seems funny how we’ve been heading in one big circle - from _the_ Netbook, to Netbooks now. (Slim, fanless, small ... POWER! HEAT! ... slim, fanless, small)

The netbook craze is just a reiteration of the PDA craze in the late 90's, and whilst we’ve got HD video, full colour and Firefox now, I can’t say all that much has changed.

Edited 2009-02-24 21:48 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Kroc
by arpan on Tue 24th Feb 2009 22:03 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

But doesn't that mean everything has changed.

The PDA of the past were awkward, and limited. They could not use the web easily.

These netbooks can potentially do everything that a simple user would need: Internet and all that comes with it (email, chat, Facebook, Skype....), Word Processing and other office functions, Video & Music. Current netbooks can handle photo editing and related functions. And they will become more powerful.

The only reason to have a more powerful system would be for advanced use (large screen, Video editing etc.)

I probably would never buy a netbook (for mobile usage an iPhone or Android phone is sufficient), as I would always need a more powerful system for design & development, but it would defintely be enough for my Mom & Dad (for office & communications) and my sister, who's an accountant. They would have no need for anything else.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by arpan on Tue 24th Feb 2009 22:07 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

I should add that my Mom uses my old computer (my old eMac) with a 1GHz processor and 1 GB RAM. It is sufficient for everything she uses, including over 10000 photos she has on it. Most current netbooks would be atleast as fast.

Of course that old computer has an excellent 17" screen, and a really good keyboard, both of which will not be matched by any cheap netbook.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by Kroc
by lemur2 on Wed 25th Feb 2009 02:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I should add that my Mom uses my old computer (my old eMac) with a 1GHz processor and 1 GB RAM. It is sufficient for everything she uses, including over 10000 photos she has on it. Most current netbooks would be atleast as fast. Of course that old computer has an excellent 17" screen, and a really good keyboard, both of which will not be matched by any cheap netbook.


My son is currently a uni student, and he recently bought a netbook because of its ultra-portability. He can use it at Uni and the small screen and keyboard is not too much of a price to pay in return for the portability.

When he gets home, however ... he just plugs it into the mains to recharge, and he plugs in a USB mouse and an external LCD monitor ... and he now has two screens, one of which is large enough to be no compromise. He doesn't bother with a bigger keyboard though.

His cheap netbook is now perfectly fine to use for doing homework assignments and papers.

Reply Score: 2

Wrong price
by peskanov on Wed 25th Feb 2009 00:08 UTC
peskanov
Member since:
2006-01-15

The price and features are just wrong, imo. I work in a close field and I know how ARM SOCs operate; I am pretty sure if you open one of those netbooks you would amazed about the small footprint of the board, and the small quantity of components (compared to an ASUS for example).

Also, for some reason these guys tend to reduce the size of the SSD drives to the minimum...for Jesus sake, 16 GB cost little more than 30$! People use their laptops to hear music and see movies and series while travelling. Are those marketers blind or what?

They could be easily selling a capable computer for little more than $100 and flood the market, yet still choose short-sighted policies...we need an equivalent of yesterdays Commodore: cut the crap & sell what the market really needs CHEAP.

Reply Score: 2

I want one!
by abraxas on Wed 25th Feb 2009 02:19 UTC
abraxas
Member since:
2005-07-07

I want one of these for development. You could setup a develpment environment on one of these and leave cross-compiling for ARM in the dustbin of history.

Reply Score: 2

very intriguing
by DigitalAxis on Wed 25th Feb 2009 02:46 UTC
DigitalAxis
Member since:
2005-08-28

Well, considering my issue with non-x86 processors has been the lack of availability of software (sure, most of it will be there, but what about those one or two programs you really want that turn out to not compile?) I will be very interested to see how much of Ubuntu's software repositories actually works on these ARM machines; they seem to otherwise be exactly what I'm looking for, decent keyboard still an issue.

Edited 2009-02-25 02:49 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: very intriguing
by lemur2 on Wed 25th Feb 2009 03:19 UTC in reply to "very intriguing"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Well, considering my issue with non-x86 processors has been the lack of availability of software (sure, most of it will be there, but what about those one or two programs you really want that turn out to not compile?) I will be very interested to see how much of Ubuntu's software repositories actually works on these ARM machines; they seem to otherwise be exactly what I'm looking for, decent keyboard still an issue.


"Ubuntu's software repository" is actually Debian's. Ubuntu takes a snapshot of Debian, adds bits and pieces, tests the result, and releases it every six months or so, and maintains repositories for that "functionality freeze" for a number of years after release.

In contrast, Debian is more of a "rolling release".

Anyway ... if you want to check out how much of Debian works on ARM, you might start here:

http://www.debian.org/ports/arm/

It basically claims that four ARM sub-architectures are fully supported.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: very intriguing
by DigitalAxis on Wed 25th Feb 2009 16:22 UTC in reply to "RE: very intriguing"
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

I'm reassured to see that they say the four ARM architectures (none of which appear to be Cortex-A8 or A9 based, but I don't know what I'm looking for) are "fully supported". If they truly do have the complete Debian software suite (and if Canonical exposes all of it to end users) then I'm sold.

Reply Score: 2

I've been waiting for this...
by UltraZelda64 on Wed 25th Feb 2009 06:46 UTC
UltraZelda64
Member since:
2006-12-05

And I'm impressed so far. It's pretty cool that those things can be so thin and can do just fine without a fan, *while* delivering the battery savings I expected. Combine with some kind of solid-state storage, and there goes any kind of noise whatsoever. The *only* thing that can make it better, in my opinion, would be BlueTooth support, if only to support a portable, wireless mouse (and possible touchscreen capabilities in the future). I can't wait to find out more about these. And hopefully it causes more distros to release ARM versions of their, well, distros... I think non-x86/x86_64 versions are a bit too lacking right now.

Unfortunately, I don't think netbooks are quite at the place I want them, especially when it comes to storage space (with SSD), so I'll probably wait a generation or two to buy one myself.

Edited 2009-02-25 06:47 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: I've been waiting for this...
by jal_ on Wed 25th Feb 2009 09:08 UTC in reply to "I've been waiting for this..."
jal_ Member since:
2006-11-02

The *only* thing that can make it better, in my opinion, would be BlueTooth support


With the tiny Bluetooth USB 'sticks' currently available, this shouldn't be a problem, right?


JAL

Reply Score: 1

UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

IMO it'd be better built-in, to have the USB slots available for external storage, such as a USB thumb drive and/or maybe an external hard drive. Plus, if it's built-in, it'll no doubt be well-chosen hardware in the first place, and work well with Linux. And one less thing to pop out and lose.

Although I'm not sure what the state of Bluetooth in Linux is currently, since I have no need for it on a desktop (and no reason to pour more money into this old machine that just needs replaced). If it's nothing like the WiFi mess and is likely to work no matter what Bluetooth device is used, good. If not...

Reply Score: 2

atriq Member since:
2007-10-18

I can't speak for everyone, but I have an internal bluetooth module in my xps m1330 and a kensington usb adapter.

In Arch (i686 and x86_64) at least, both "just work" when the bluetooth daemon is enabled.

Reply Score: 2

price
by Darkness on Wed 25th Feb 2009 09:13 UTC
Darkness
Member since:
2005-08-27

200-250$ in US so they will probably just ask 200-250 euro in Europe to make more money, just like a lot of other companies do ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: price
by WereCatf on Wed 25th Feb 2009 09:38 UTC in reply to "price"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

200-250$ in US so they will probably just ask 200-250 euro in Europe to make more money, just like a lot of other companies do ;)

Yeah, it sucks that the companies usually convert dollars straight to euros with 1:1 ratio.. Still, I would definitely pay 200 euros for one of those ARM netbooks. It's got everything I need in a small and silent package, and it being non-x86 compatible does not hinder me in the least. None of the apps I'd run on one of those is architechture dependant, so... ;)

Now, just bring those damn things over to Finland, god dammit! ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: price
by dagw on Thu 26th Feb 2009 10:10 UTC in reply to "RE: price"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

Yeah, it sucks that the companies usually convert dollars straight to euros with 1:1 ratio..

Sales tax. Euro price minus euro sales tax is pretty close to USD price, which is basically always quoted without sales tax.

But yea, Either way I'd happily pay 200-250 euro for one of these.

Reply Score: 2

Can't wait
by viton on Wed 25th Feb 2009 13:02 UTC
viton
Member since:
2005-08-09

This is definitely the netbook that worth buying.

Edited 2009-02-25 13:03 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Size and Graphics
by vermaden on Wed 25th Feb 2009 20:31 UTC
vermaden
Member since:
2006-11-18

Small netbooks are usless to me, the 9-10 inch size screen, no, I do not want to buy a bigger calculator.

It would be great to see 12-13" ARM based notebook/netbook.

Also there comes problem with graphics drivers (both for Atom and ARM), for example Poulsbo with Atom Z series is great if it comes to power consumption and decent graphics (as for that kind of device) but open source driver is joke currently.

I am also curious what graphics ARM based notebooks/netbooks will use ...

Reply Score: 3

RE: Size and Graphics
by epistaxsis on Thu 26th Feb 2009 18:21 UTC in reply to "Size and Graphics"
epistaxsis Member since:
2006-09-10

I am also curious what graphics ARM based notebooks/netbooks will use ...


If you ignore my ramblings on this thread and read Simon Wilson's comments this might help:

http://www.iconbar.com/forums/viewthread.php?threadid=11046&page=1#...

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Size and Graphics
by vermaden on Sat 28th Feb 2009 12:34 UTC in reply to "RE: Size and Graphics"
vermaden Member since:
2006-11-18

If you ignore my ramblings on this thread and read Simon Wilson's comments this might help


Why would I ignore you?

.. and thanks for the link.

Reply Score: 2

Embedded devices and Linux
by lemur2 on Thu 26th Feb 2009 01:58 UTC
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

Since this thread had a bit of discussion about ARM, embedded devices in general, and running of Linux within those ... it would appear that the Tom Tom in-car GPS devices use Linux:

http://www.techflash.com/microsoft/Microsoft_sues_TomTom_over_paten...

http://opendotdotdot.blogspot.com/2009/02/has-microsofts-patent-war...

... and that we just may now be beginning to see Microsoft try to launch patent FUD campaign against companies trying to use Linux in their products.

Interesting to see how this one turns out.

Watch out, digital camera makers!

Edited 2009-02-26 02:01 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Embedded devices and Linux
by dagw on Thu 26th Feb 2009 10:15 UTC in reply to "Embedded devices and Linux"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

Watch out, digital camera makers!

What makes you think that the major digital camera makers don't have all necessary licenses? And either way this patent seems to cover the use of long file names. I've yet to see a digital camera that doesn't save its files using 8.3 naming scheme.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by tombstoner
by tombstoner on Thu 26th Feb 2009 12:23 UTC
tombstoner
Member since:
2009-02-25

I will buy one It's just what I have been waiting for.

Reply Score: 1

A4 rises from the Ashes?
by quatermass on Sun 1st Mar 2009 00:08 UTC
quatermass
Member since:
2005-08-03

I wonder how many remember the first ARM-based 'netbook' - The A4 laptop made by Acorn?

So named as it was the size of a A4 sheet (if not the thickness!).

I do as I still own one of the prototypes - S/N 004 IIRC.

Anyone who wants it - get in touch. :-)

Edited 2009-03-01 00:12 UTC

Reply Score: 1