Just run Ubuntu on new machines such as the Mele A1000 or the MK802 micro-PC.
A fully-fleged desktop PC, with full desktop software, (less monitor and keyboard) for $70 per seat.Powered by a 1 GHz Allwinner A10 ARM Cortex-A8 processor, the Mele A1000 should be noticeably faster than the Raspberry Pi, which has a 700 MHz ARM11 chip.
While the Mele A1000 is described as a TV box, it’s basically a little ARM-based computer with HDMI, VGA, USB, and Ethernet ports, as well as support for an external SATA hard drive.
Now for the most interesting part (if you happen to be a free software enthusiast): The folks at Rhombus Tech have been working on a free and open source platform based around the Allwinner A10 chip.
The project is entirely GPL compliant, and the goal is to work with a Chinese company to produce a PCMCIA-sized computer which is capable of running Linux-based software without any proprietary, closed source drivers. Rhombus Tech hopes the platform can be used in all sorts of devices including tablets, notebooks, desktop PCs, and in-car systems. Theoretically the price could be as low as $15 per unit… assuming an order size of 100,000. Right now the cost is higher.
But thanks to the efforts of the folks at Rhombus Tech, developers have access to all the drivers needed to make use of any device with the Allwinner A10 processor, and that includes the Mele A1000.
Here is another:
These $70 micro PCs both use the AllWinner A10 Cortex A8 ARM processor with the MALI400 GPU. They both use minimal power yet have enough grunt to run desktop software and decode and render 1080p video.Featuring a single-core 1.5GHz AllWinner A10 Cortex A8 ARM processor, Android 4.0, 512MB of DDR3 high-capacity memory, and WiFi connectivity, the MK802 is now available on Aliexpress for $74 including free shipping to the United States via China Post.
With a MALI400 graphics processing unit, the device from Chinese brand rikomagic features 4GB Flash storage, a microSD slot, and two USB ports: one full-sized and one micro, according to CNXSoft. Video output is via 1080p HDMI--an HDMI cable needs to be added separately--and users can tap either an Android virtual keyboard or add a wireless mouse and keyboard.
Perhaps best of all is that users can run Ubuntu, Debian, or another Linux distribution of their choice via microSD card.
A company with generic office-type IT needs can potentially set up their entire IT infrastructure based on this type of hardware at perhaps only 5% of the cost-per-seat of a Windows 8 solution. Maintenance? Pffft ... if a box breaks, get a new one ... here, have a spare as well. OS corrupted? Here, plug in this new SD card.
Very nice desktop software. Excellent.
This solution would also be ideal in an educational setting.
Last edited by hal2k1; 06-27-2012 at 10:17 AM.
Not all users are power users. For mundane office or educational desktop usage, this machine is perfectly adequate. The killer feature is that you can have twenty or thirty for the price of a single Windows 8 machine with equivalent desktop software capability. Kit out the entire class of students for the price of just one Windows 8 machine. No licence hassles whatsoever. No viruses are written to attack this platform ... absolutely none. Extreme low price means throwaway hardware which in turn means no need for expensive maintenance. Ultra low power usage. Unbeatable.
Very nice desktop software. Excellent.
Last edited by hal2k1; 06-27-2012 at 11:12 AM.
And to answer your question... I don't know. I don't know that any of us truly knows. I think there's an underlying assumption that releasing such documentation is easy and cheap. It might be... it might not be. It's hard to know for sure without being inside the company and having all of the information. It could be something as simple as their API is so embarrassing that they don't want anyone to know about it. (srs) But I'm assuming that NVIDIA is a rational company motivated by rational reasoning.
It could be that they're working on something now... and don't intend to promise anything publicly until they can follow through. Look how long it took to open source Solaris, even after everyone from the CEO down to the janitor and everyone in between was on board with the idea... it still took forever to navigate through the sea of legal nightmares. In theory, opening up specs would be far less resource-intensive... but you still have all the legal shenanigans that you have to walk through. And lawyers are much more expensive than programmers. (You could probably contract 4 programmers for every 1 lawyer.)
But again... what is the end game? What does opening up the specs get us? A better nouveau? Ok... a better nouveau is nice... and the kernel devs would be all smiles. But for an overwhelming majority of us NVIDIA end-customers, a better nouveau doesn't help us. So NVIDIA would spend resources that ultimately would make kernel devs happier, extend an olive branch to the open source community, but in the end won't at all help those of us who forked over hundreds+ to buy their product. How is that fair to us? What do the kernel devs intend to do to make Linux work better with binary blobs, for those of us who require them?
Last edited by johnc; 06-27-2012 at 12:13 PM.
Either that or simply contine to use the proprietary blob NVidia is supplying, not that it exists at all to cater for you as an desktop end user but it's available for you still. Just don't expect NVidia to provide anything directly aimed at the desktop/laptop space for Linux, they won't because they don't give a shit about the Linux end user desktop.
So please johnc, you can stop trying to 'rally the troops' around providing a better situation for binary blob drivers on Linux, it's not going to happen (thankfully!), those few blobs that remain are the last of a dying breed. All I can say is good f***ing riddance, I want to be able to use the hardware I buy in any OS I like (which goes beyond Linux aswell) and not be artificially locked-in on certain platforms due to companies refusing to release the 'secret sauce' necessary to implement drivers which can be ported to any platform.
Snappy comeback... of course it's not as if you had any arguments to begin with.
It's not worth the time.
If you ever get frustrated with nouveau, you can always switch over to the AMD open source driver. I'm sure it's on-par with Catalyst, if not better in every way.