posted by David Adams on Thu 29th Oct 2015 04:53 UTC
IconAndrew “bunnie” Huang & Sean Cross tell, in great detail, how they created the Novena laptop, using solely open source software and hardware. For anyone familiar with or even interested in how computers really work, it's quite a gripping tale. I believe their work could have lasting beneficial effects on the hobbyist computing and open source communities. Even though it's published in a trade journal for professional electrical engineers, the article is accessible, even rudimentary at times. They faced some considerable obstacles, such as a lack of driver support for their GPU. Fortunately, "the user community behind Novena is trying to create, through reverse engineering, open-source drivers that would allow the built-in GPU on the i.MX6 chip to render graphics directly." Most interesting feature: "a field-programmable gate array (FPGA), a type of processor chip that can be reconfigured by its user to change the chip’s specs and capabilities. Basically, this reconfigurability allows the chip to do things in hardware that would otherwise have to be done in software." Also, two ethernet ports.
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