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KDE Handhelds

EOMA-68 Based KDE Vivaldi Tablet Engineering Boards Ship 33

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the better-living-through-modular-hardware dept.
sfcrazy writes "Aaron Seigo, a lead KDE developer, says that the ambitious KDE tablet Vivaldi is shipping to the team for quality testing. Seigo writes on his Google+ page, 'A great start to the week with a warm, sunny, quiet Monday. Well, almost quiet. The first Vivaldi tablets, new dual-core engineering boards and the custom EOMA68 developer workbenches we commissioned have all been shipped out. Don't get too excited: the tablets are pre-certification (EC/FCC) and are on their way to us so we can verify the Q/A targets we set out. Still ...'" It looks like long-time reader lkcl's EOMA-68 initiative is working out; in related news the first batch of Allwinner A10 EOMA-68 cards is shipping to the "...20 Free Software developers brave enough to take one of these at this very early phase." Update: 07/23 17:16 GMT by U L : Correction from lkcl: the first batch of EOMA-68 cards are actually using the Allwinner A20, a bit of an upgrade from the original design.
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EOMA-68 Based KDE Vivaldi Tablet Engineering Boards Ship

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  • by Bovius (1243040) on Monday July 22, 2013 @06:01PM (#44356143)

    In the international waters off the coast of Nigeria today, the scourge of modern technology struck again, as the malevolent tendrils of the EOMA-68 entity claimed another civilian freighter. Witnesses claimed they could hear the eerie sounds of Vivaldi's Four Seasons emanating from the amorphous ropes of wires and circuitry. Within hours, the ship's hull was cannibalized and added to EOMA-68's writhing mass. Officials are demanding a unilateral military response from the UN and neighboring allies.

    Seriously, "Boards Ship" was not the best turn of phrase to use there. I got a kick out of it, though.

    • by steelfood (895457)

      Yeah, I was wondering why a bunch of tablet engineers decided to get on a ship. If anything, the lawyers, salespeople, and MBA's are supposed to be boarding first.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        Yeah, I was wondering why a bunch of tablet engineers decided to get on a ship. If anything, the lawyers, salespeople, and MBA's are supposed to be boarding first.

        your usual ship has 500 tablets on the tables, or they might be smuggling some viagra tablets.

    • by mako1138 (837520)

      "Boards ship" sounds fine to me, but I'm a hardware guy.

      The more serious problem is that EOMA-68 doesn't appear to have anything to with the Vivaldi hardware [liliputing.com]. I mean, does a tablet with a removable CPU card make any sense whatsoever?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yes. It does make sense.

        Tablets are great, right? You figure out what size you want, what extra features (dockable keyboard ala Asus Transformer, Wacom stylus, etc.), and you're set for years -- we've finally got good enough resolutions (1920x1200, 2048x1536, and higher) that future screen kicks aren't real compelling upgrade motivators. The only reason you'll upgrade is more CPU/GPU/RAM muscle, so it makes sense to let you buy a new CPU card when the next gen SoC comes out, and upgrade your existing tablet

      • by Peter H.S. (38077)

        I mean, does a tablet with a removable CPU card make any sense whatsoever?

        Perhaps not for the average consumer, but for the tinkerer it sounds fun; use a A10 ARM CPU card for long battery times (e-reader etc), or a AMD T40E 64-bit x86 dual-core CPU with on-board Radeon 3D graphics (r600) for maximum performance (serving video, ethernet sniffer, games).
        A I understand it, the EOMA-68 CPU card standard means that the same board potentially can be used in different devices, NAS, tablet, netbook, PVR etc. So it

      • by lkcl (517947)

        I mean, does a tablet with a removable CPU card make any sense whatsoever?

        ah you've heard of the openmoko and the openpandora, then? how long did their designs take, and did the components go end-of-life in one case before they'd completed the design? :)

  • by KugelKurt (908765) on Monday July 22, 2013 @06:59PM (#44356621)

    A handful of KDE developers decided to found a startup together. Vivaldi is their personal for-profit project. And quite frankly: They suck at it.
    Plasma Active works just fine on quite a few Android tablets already (eg. Nexus 7).
    Since Win8 there are also quite a number of x86 tablets on the market. Plasma Active should also run on them with a regular Linux distribution.

  • Looks interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Peter H.S. (38077) on Monday July 22, 2013 @08:01PM (#44357059) Homepage

    I would certainly like a tablet with full Linux support, especially with KDE Plasma. Never heard of the "EOMA-68" standard before, but it looks intriguing . Not sure why they specced 10Mbit ethernet support as mandatory minimum for the CPU card. 10Mbit networks must be very rare these days, and the cheap misers who still operates them are unlikely to purchase a tablet. Am I missing something?

    Anyway I like the CPU card concept, but I hope the tablet will have GPS, and accelerometer, gyroscope, (digital) compass, or else it has to be cheap.

    • Re:Looks interesting (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 22, 2013 @08:35PM (#44357261)

      I would certainly like a tablet with full Linux support, especially with KDE Plasma. Never heard of the "EOMA-68" standard before, but it looks intriguing . Not sure why they specced 10Mbit ethernet support as mandatory minimum for the CPU card. 10Mbit networks must be very rare these days, and the cheap misers who still operates them are unlikely to purchase a tablet. Am I missing something?

      Well, the big philosophical idea is that ANY EOMA-68 CPU card slots in ANY EOMA-68 machine (note that EOMA is not entirely, or even primarily about tablets -- that's just the first hardware product using it), and works. That's why Luke (aka lkcl) is quite adamant there are no "optional" features in the spec -- the only exception is for interfaces (e.g. USB, 10/100/1000-BASE-T) that can fully autonegotiate in both directions, so that there's neither a slow-machine/fast-cpu-card, nor slow-cpu-card/fast-machine case where it becomes incompatible. So you can have 10-only (not likely, but hey, we'll allow it), 10/100 (likely on low-spec SoCs, or when an SoC has no ethernet, so we fulfill the ethernet requirement with a USB-NIC), or 10/100/1000 (high-spec SoCs).

      As for specific machines that would be apt to need 10Mbit, and fail with a 100/1000 only CPU card -- think of a router for a domestic DSL connection (or a "plug-computer" like pogoplug serving this role. Most DSL modems over a certain age are strictly 10Mbit.... if the standard doesn't require every CPU cards to be able to negotiate down, you'll either need to:
      [A] supply your own 10Mbit NIC (hanging off the USB interface like the Raspberry Pi)
      [B] supply your own 10/100 autonegotiating switch
      (either of those drives up BOM substantially) or
      [C] break compatibility by making it work with only those EOMA-68 CPU cards that happen to support 10Mbit
      (which inevitably frustrates users who try to swap a seemingly-compatible CPU card in, and find it mysteriously stops working...)
      None of those is really winning, agreed? So we either split the standard for plug-computers and everything else (meaning when you upgrade your netbook or tablet, you can no longer slot the old one in a cheap plug-computer to run as e.g. "home server and router"), or we require 10 Mbit as the minimum -- which isn't really hard to meet, anyway...

      • by Peter H.S. (38077)

        Of course, old DSL routers and similar. I was thinking too much in traditional network wiring. I can see the reasoning now for speccing 10Mbit as a mandatory minimum, and it probably more or less free to implement if you are going for a 100/1000Mbit nic anyway, so why not be compatible with even corner cases.

        I must say, I think EOMA-68 looks very intriguing, it would be exceedingly cool if more devices was made that way.

      • by lkcl (517947)

        Well, the big philosophical idea is that ANY EOMA-68 CPU card slots in ANY EOMA-68 machine (note that EOMA is not entirely, or even primarily about tablets -- that's just the first hardware product using it), and works. That's why Luke (aka lkcl) is quite adamant there are no "optional" features in the spec -- the only exception is for interfaces (e.g. USB, 10/100/1000-BASE-T) that can fully autonegotiate in both directions, so that there's neither a slow-machine/fast-cpu-card, nor slow-cpu-card/fast-machine case where it becomes incompatible.

        yup. that's about the long and short of it. although it's at first consideration a complete pain for system designers on both sides of the interface - a nuisance for CPU Card designers because they have to substitute extra ICs such as USB-to-SATA in cases where they pick a SoC that doesn't have SATA - and bewilderment for I/O Board designers because why would they use a CPU Card in e.g. a tablet that has features they don't need such as Ethernet?? - the alternatives are absolute chaos.

        the advantage: you c

    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      Right now EOMA-68 is trying to get off the ground with some basic low cost Allwinner based designs to build tablets, laptops etc around. Once those work (which is pretty close) we'll see some beefier cards. I can't wait for the tablets to become available, and then an A15 EOMA-68 board some time later.

  • by lkcl (517947) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @02:20AM (#44358821) Homepage

    the A10 is out-of-date so we're using the pin-compatible A20 instead. dual core ARM Cortex A7.

  • the micro-engineering board being referred to is this:
    http://rhombus-tech.net/community_ideas/micro_engineering_board/ [rhombus-tech.net]
    that's what's being shipped. although the tablet itself using rapid prototyping for the casework shouldn't be too far behind.

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