A80-OLinuXino OSHW 8-core Linux computer development begins

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Allwinner is about to release soon (end of this month hopefully) datasheet and info about their new 8-core monster processor with 4x Cortex-A15 + 4x Cortex-A7 and here we go and start preparing what to include in the new A80-OLinuXino.

We would love to hear your feedback and recommendation what do you think is important as value and “to have” on board, here are the major features (taken from Allwinner site) :

  • DDR3  standard 2GB, optional 4GB
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • optional NAND Flash 4GB
  • SD cards x4 possible
  • USB-OTG 3.0
  • USB hosts x2 2.0
  • MIPI camera interface
  • real ADCs x2
  • PWM
  • UART x7
  • I2C x7
  • SPI x4
  • I2S
  • LCD

Unfortunately A80 have no audio on chip so external codec is necessary if you want to have Audio connector how important is this if we already have audio on the HDMI connector?

If we go in to LIME form factor route we have to look just for the bare minimum of connectors due to the space limitation, if we go in max features direction the board will become big and expensive.

Let’s the wishes begin :)

When One Project can be named Open Source Hardware?

what-is-open-source-hardware

OSHWA released this nice set of pictures which to easily explain when you can name your product OPEN SOURCE.

Arduino made Open Source more than movement, it’s huge community of people who share and learn together.

Now Open Source is buzz word and many want to ride the wave and use for marketing without complying with the requirements.

If you look on the web there are tons of articles naming Raspberry Pi, Cubieboard, Wanda board and all other thousands of closed source hardware “open source something” boards. Playing with the words like: open source community board, open source Linux board etc. etc.

Most of the articles are made this way non intentionally but just due to ignorance, as the authors just re-produce what they have read on the vendor web sites without making efforts to read OSHW definition and to learn what is necessary to be opened to call one board (hardware) open.

Some sites plain mislead their visitors that offer Open Source Hardware like:

CUBIE

Other remove the Open Source Hardware text from their web but still keep it in the meta description cheating Google when one look for real opensource boards :)

wanda

Even in linux.com have article named “Top 10 Open Source Linux Boards” where out of the 10 quoted board just one Beagle Bone is three are Open Source all others are closed source hardware boards.

No, it’s not enough for one hardware to run Open Source software to name it Open Source as well, nor it’s enough to have schematic in JPEG, PDF, Gerbers etc derivative files from the sources.

For one board (hardware) the sources are the CAD files, no matter with what product they are made. From these CAD files you can study, modify, learn, make. From the schematic in PDF you are missing essential information – how the PCB is layout, nor you can MODIFY the design. From the Gerbers you can make particular version of the board, but you still can’t modify it, it’s like to release compiled binary from the sources – you can use them but hard to modify.

To name your product OPEN SOURCE you should allow people to: Study, Modify, Distribute, Make and Sell. Some designs release even the CAD files but do not allow derivative work or commercial use, they also are not OPEN SOURCE no matter that release the CAD files, because they cut your rights to Modify, Make and Sell.

ohs

 

All these games with the fake “open source” hardware projects must have pissed Massimo Banzi (one of Arduino co-founders) too, who recently spoke about this:

massimo

 

Friday Free Board Quiz – Week #93 prize is A20-OLinuXino-LIME

A20-OLinuXino-LIME-1

A20-OLinuXino-LIME is Low Cost EUR 33 Open Source Hardware Linux Computer with credit card size. It runs Arch, Gentoo, OpenWRT, Debian, Tizen, Ubuntu, Fedora Linux distributions.

Android 4.2.2 also is available.

100 Mbit Ethernet, HDMI, SATA, LiPo charger with step up convertor allow this board to run for hours from small LiPo 3.7V battery, 160 GPIOs are available for the user with many functions like Audio in/out, camera interface, I2C, SPI, etc.

To participate in the Quiz is enough to Re-tweet the Twitter Quiz announcement message.

To double your chances you have to answer the Quiz question :)

Today we will post on Twitter our question.

You have time to re-tweet until Monday 14th of July.

In Monday we will count  the correct answers and ask random.org to generate random number in range then announce the winner and ship the board by airmail.

Good Luck!

A20-OLinuXino-LIME Dual Core Cortex-A7 Open Source Hardware Board for EUR 33 in stock

A20-OLinuXino-LIME-1

A20-OLinuXino-LIME is same as A10-OLinuXino-LIME but with Dual Core Cortex-A7 processor.

The result is A20-OLinuXino-LIME works x1.9 times faster than A10-OLinuXino-LIME but consumes 30% less power. All other functionality is same. Android 4.2.2 and Debian Linux images are ready.

A20-OLinuXino-LIME-4GB is the version with 4GB NAND Flash.

 

OLIMEX is approved to have Open Source Hardware stand at FOSDEM 2014

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FOSDEM is the biggest Open Source event in Europe. With lot of presentations, talks and workshops it is worth to visit. We wanted to have stand there where to present OLinuXino and all other OSHW boards we do, so applied for stand and today we got e-mail that our request is approved :) yay!

Another good news is that Olliver Schinagl will have talk about Allwinner SoCs at FOSDEM named: The most opensource (friendly) SoC :)

Qt5.2 running on A13-OLinuXino-WIFI OSHW Linux computer

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Miroslav Bendik posted again nice video with Qt5.2 running on A13-OLinuXino-WIFI and A13-LCD7″TS

 

 

New Product in Stock: MOD-HMC5883L Digital compass with UEXT connector

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MOD-HMC5883L is new Open Source Digital Compass breakboard. It comes with UEXT connector and cable so you can connect it to any of our development boards which have UEXT connector, but if you want you can use it also with breadboard as all HMC5883L signals are available in two rows at 0.1″ step on the two sides of the PCB.

MOD-HMC5883L is with 12 bit precise ADC and allow you to measure north with 1-2 degree error.

The board is in stock and cost EUR 9.95

Demo code for OLinuXino in C and Python and for Arduino, MAPLE, Pinguino will be available on our web, the Eagle CAD files and schematic is also there.

What licensee to choose for Open Source Hardware?

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Last few years we do a lot of OSHW and in my talk at OpenFest I explained my motives why we do it.

I see many people are encouraged to do OSHW, but hesitate what licensee to use.

I know how hard for me was this stuff as well at the beginning so I want to share my experience.

There are tons of licensees for OSHW now, many of them quite confusing if you have no law background.

For instance I did my best to understand what is the difference between Cern OSHW and MIT license but failed and most important I wanted to do something interesting instead to lose time reading this boring stuff!

In other hand everybody hesitates – these licenses may be important, what if I open my design?

Will I do any return of the money I put in it at all or thousands of Chinese better equipped factories will start producing my product leaving me with bunch of components in stock?

Do not worry my friends, to make something requires money and unless these volumes hit thousands you will be far away from these factories radar. Opening your design will just add more value to your project in the eyes of your customers as they will have better documented product which they can improve, modify and learn from.

If your design hit thousands sales you are not protected from being copied anyway – just look what happend with Cubieboard they got popular and one of their distributor Iteduino released similar design no matter Cubieboard is closed hardware.

So bottom line is: they will copy you no matter if you are open or closed hardware, probably Iteduino team hired same engineers who Tom Cubie hired for Cubieboard design.

So back on the topic of the licensees, under what licensee to release your OSHW?

My experience with OLinuXino is that no matter under what licensee you open your design, everybody will abuse it shamelessly, so you should not care too much.

Do not get me wrong, our OLinuXino sale are great, and these are one of our most popular products, but there are hundreds of derivative designs based on OLinuXino now made by commercial companies which neither give credits to Olimex (as our licensee require) neither contribute back, not even mention that their design is based on ours.

How do I know this? I know, because some of them are bold enough to send us derivative work made from OLinuXino for quote on manufacturing … :)

Some even do not do any changes than to replace silkscreen with their company name instead Olimex.

And there are some which ask US to replace our name on the OLinuXino boards with theirs :) and promise to order XXX pcs if we do so.

So the bottom line is – if you want to give away just do it and do not search anything in return.

Open Source is state of mind, no matter what you write as licensee terms they will be abused and if you want to spend your money to lawers good luck, but what is the point to spend some money to force someone who replaced your name on the silkscreen to bring it back ?

Few days ago I spotted WTFPL licensee http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WTFPL and I love it!

I think this is the most appropiate licensee for OLinuXino and we will release A10-OLinuXino-LIME under “Do What the Fuck You Want to Public License” and all application software around it (obviously Linux will be under GPL ;) )

Now example of bad choosen OSHW licensee: Today I read great news that imx6 SOM module is released as OSHW (http://www.cnx-software.com/2013/11/19/imx6-rex-open-source-hardware-som-designed-to-teach-schematic-and-pcb-layout-design/).

I said to myself – great job, finally there is something non trivial released as OSHW, but the initial euphoria was waived by the ridiculous licensee they have choosen: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported

WTF? No commercial use? No derivative work? Why? Guys are you serious? Based on our 18 months OLinuXino experience I can bet with you that everybody will abuse your terms and you will not be able to do anything to change it, so why did you choose this ridiculous licensee? It just make you look ridiculous and half confident in Open Source spirit and ideas?

Open source is state of mind – either do it either not! But please don’t do it in such shitty halfway matter. This just shade your great intention to share you knowledge with the others.

Better close the sources of the SOM rather to release it under these ridiculous terms which everybody will abuse.

Second fail – CAD files are made with Altium – how many contributors who will spend EUR 6000 for CAD product do you expect?

It’s really most weird OSHW project I’ve seen.

Parallella $99 Supercomputer is now Open Source Hardware!

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Parallella is $99 16-core supercomputer which was funded by successful by Kickstarter campain http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adapteva/parallella-a-supercomputer-for-everyone

On June 29th they opened their hardware on GitHub http://www.parallella.org/2013/06/29/parallella-open-source-hardware/

https://github.com/parallella/parallella-hw

Now everyone can look and learn how this supercomputer was made, the schematic, the board files, the Verilog sources for the FPGA on board all is open and you can view.

Kidos to the guys at Parallella for joining OSHW :)

A13-OLinuXino-MICRO first prototypes are ready

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Here is the first look at A13-OLinuXino-MICRO assembled prototypes.

It took a lot of time as our assembly machines are overloaded and we run them on two shifts to meet the demand for our development boards, so the blank PCBs were made and sitting for two weeks waiting on tail for the assembly window.

What we have here is:

- A13 Cortex-A8 processor running at 1GHz
- 256MB of DDR3 RAM
- USB host
- USB-OTG
- VGA output 800×600 @ 60 Hz
- SD-card
- Audio Out for headphones
- LCD connector
- GPIO connector 1 and 2
- UEXT connector
- 100×85 mm

The goal is to release A13-OLinuXino-MICRO in production at EUR 35 retail down to EUR 28 for 50+ pcs OEM order.

For those who will say that 256MB is small amount of memory I would say that we run pretty amazing stuff now even on iMX233 with 454Mhz processor and 64MB RAM, so with x4-6 times faster processor and x4 times more memory lot of projects could be complete in Linux. Well, we will probably not run Andoriod 4.0 nor Open Office and Ubuntu with Chrome, but for this purpose it A13-OLinuXino-WIFi where you have double the RAM and 4GB NAND flash disk.

MICRO have no Ethernet by default but supports MOD-RTL8188CU WiFi adapter and the AX88772B USB to wired LAN adapters which will be for sale next month.

We try the SD card with the Debian image and as expected the bootloader starts then the kernel stops as there is no enough memory. So the goal now is to disable MALI400 and the GPU which alone take 200MB :) and to make kernel which fits in smaller footprint.

We assembled few of these and the first who report that disabled the Mali and GPU and managed to ran Linux-Sunxi in 256MB will get one of the first assembled MICROs :)

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