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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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 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 Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: I'm almost excited
by AnyoneEB on Wed 25th Feb 2009 04:24 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: I'm almost excited
by psychicist on Wed 25th Feb 2009 16:30 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 Parent Score: 2

RE: I'm almost excited
by navaraf on Tue 24th Feb 2009 19:42 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 Parent Score: 2

RE: I'm almost excited
by flypig on Tue 24th Feb 2009 20:09 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 Parent Score: 4

RE: I'm almost excited
by DeadFishMan on Tue 24th Feb 2009 23:16 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 Parent Score: 2

RE: I'm almost excited
by lemur2 on Wed 25th Feb 2009 02:18 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 Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: I'm almost excited
by lemur2 on Wed 25th Feb 2009 03:58 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 Parent Score: 2

RE: I'm almost excited
by atriq on Wed 25th Feb 2009 16:01 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 Parent Score: 1