Please follow the free software path for all new products

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Please follow the free software path for all new products

Unread postby ujsrwidc » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:59 am

Here are "my ideas" about the new products from odroid.

Recently its sad to see, that the C0/C1/C1+ cant be used in professional/security related situations with any internet access and working hdmi because of the outdated and discontinued Linux kernel 3.10 and all the closed source blobs that run only on this old kernel. There are at the moment over 50 critical Bugs inside the since end of 2017 unsupported 3.10 kernel. More about that here: viewtopic.php?f=114&t=26992&p=237287#p237270

There is recently no free software implementation for Amlogic devices for their boot/init state. Thats sad and it would be great if someone could implement that because otherwise there are huge problems running modern and secure software. This is explained in more detail here: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=32536&start=300

It would be sad to see future devices produced by odroid based on closed source plattform because this sadly mean in most cases in a commercial driven world, the hardware would die because at some time the OEM would stop supporting it. We see this even on x86 devices. For example a very famous thing is the Meltdown and Spectre bugs by intel in their microcode. Intel have released microcode updates - but not for some hardware that is even about only 7-8 years old and still really powerfull - most modern games could be played when combined with modern GPU! Now i have a over 3ghz fast quadcore CPU that could never run secure Java Script and so on. A "typical" user cant use such computer in a secure manner any more. Happily this chipset that can run the quadcore is based on the Intel ICH chipset platform. This can get the Intel Management Engine crap removed FULLY by setting a bit in the descriptor bios part you build for coreboot. If this were not possible, then we would have the second situation also valid on the ICH chipsets:
Intel core i series up to 3th series like for example a Thinkpad T430. All those devices today run with broken Intel Management engine. They get microcode updates, yes. But the Management engine dont get fixes. Intel just said no. And this management engine cant be fully removed on the newer PCH (instead of ICH) chipsets. Intel have build in a 30 minutes shutdown-timer-crap. So if you boot up your system with just free software, then the system shuts down FIRST after 30 minutes. Intel, i hate you for this crap! When you stop supporting something, then release the last state to fully free software! Everything else should be illegal! You create with your company-will electrinal waste - for your profit. Because you block people of being able to fix their systems because of this crap. Stop that!

Odroid now releases a new platform based on Intel: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=32536 PLEASE DONT DO THAT! Dont release this. Please not!

Just take a look into the path the free software world is going. The company purism have looked around what is the most free system and then announced that the NXP i.mx platform ist the most free one for now. Now they build their new phone around the fresh NXP i.mx8 chipsets. An other company in europe have also start this task but some time longer ago. They are building now their new phone around the NXP i.mx6 . Thanks to the freedom NXP provides, also many ebook reader can run on fully free software: https://hackaday.com/2018/07/25/hope-xi ... e-readers/

If you want more power, for a desktop like platform, then go the RISC-V way. The SiFive boards with RISC-V that you can get recently are really expensive (about 1000$ - https://www.crowdsupply.com/sifive/hifive-unleashed ). Odroid could be a company that make the cheap RISC-V boards. And you can even make your own chips thanks to full freedom by RISC-V open design. You dont have to order those from a terrible company like allwinner.

And thats now the next point. Its really sad to see a big community around terrible companys products. Broadcom runs on their Raspberry-Pi crap some closed source ThreadX below the whole thing and broadcom just care about cash. Yes, they hired a opensource developer for their GPU, but this is just because they can make so much money out of that. Thats just a calculation on the management part. That is not "we love free software and want a free world full of freedom".

Allwinner is a crap company that is still alive because no one have sued them properly. They dont care about free software. They dont care so much about free software that they even ignore free software licences. GPL? Copyleft? They dont care. They just want to make money. Its sad to see that this people here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gpl-violations.org have not sued allwinner for their ignorance. The people from gpl-vialations.org have sued in the early 2000s a german router board company. Thanks to this legal fight we have now https://github.com/Freetz/freetz .
Allwinner have to be sued so that their chips get cought and distroyed or something like that (so that allwinner looses much money for violation GPL) at the border of the countries that have working law: https://worldjusticeproject.org site 22&23 in this PDF: https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/d ... tion_0.pdf

Thats my "idea" so far. Just look at "the whole thing" when doing something. You probably want that the generation you are is not one of the last one on this planet to see the huge amount of living animals and the different amount of plants that are existing on this planet. Cash is something digital today. Dont care that much about cash. In all good working countries (you have the list above) you would probably not die. Instead of that when you dont have a job you can start a project here like he did. Now there is free software acceleration video for 4K for the Odroid-C2 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF6i19oscqg

I hope i would see i.mx and risc-v board from odroid in the future.
Last edited by ujsrwidc on Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Please follow the free software path for all new product

Unread postby mad_ady » Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:01 am

What you're saying is very idealistic (and in principle I support you fully), but you must remember that Hardkernel is a business with monthly salaries to pay. They must make their decision on products that sell well, otherwise they go bankrupt. So this ideal way of thinking may not be easily sustainable by a company - though it seems to have worked for Elon Musk :)
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Re: Please follow the free software path for all new product

Unread postby rooted » Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:50 am

It hasn't worked for Elon Musk yet, Tesla had bled cash since the beginning. Just because they recently became profitable it doesn't erase all the losses ;)

Asking Hardkernel not to release a device they have spent well over $100,000 developing is a ridiculous notion. You have great ideas but this is the real world, not an imaginary place where money doesn't matter. Only someone wealthy could think like this, someone who has never went hungry, never had their utilities shut off from lack of payment, never had to decide do they buy gas to get to work or food. Money is important to those who have none.

You have to think larger.
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Re: Please follow the free software path for all new product

Unread postby ujsrwidc » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:05 am

And thats why a company named TechNexion that produce just free NXP i.mx boards would go bankrupt when google choose them as the main supplier for producing the android iot (internet of shitty things in nearly all cases) development boards?
And the people who work for TechNexion and say to the public that they believe in OpenSource, support GPL and know free software is the way to go, this people are doing the wrong thing and would loose their job the quickest? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIWyYeFndl8&t=148s

I dont think the odroid customers are stupid. Explain them why you dont take amlogic any more - for example because of their missing mainline support and fully free RAM and system initialization.

Did you think MediaTek is a company that would live much longer with this terrible company philisophy of releasing ONCE closed source drivers and never release updates or at least as possible?
Fairphone have develop their first phone without exactly caring much about the build in chips and free software. They had only focus on the fair produced materials. If you talk in personal with the CEO he is still little ashamed about that crappy MediaTek chip they put into https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairphone_1 . He liked to build a phone that last and forgot the software updates thing.
Now he supports with fairphone 2 the LineageOS developers. I think the Fairphone 3 would be a i.mx based phone if beeing produced in some future. If just in some years, then probably a RISC-V based cpu they try to create themselves with fair materials in their own company. That gets then possible thanks to the fully open hardware and software design of the RISC-V architecture. And maybe they got then the most fair produced RISC-V chip producer and then you can buy your singleboard computers from them. Or Odroid can start producing their boards at fairphone and then say to all customer "we care about nature and people". Did you think all people would say "go away, i want to save 3 euro and destroy the planet"?

Most customers dont know what they are using. If you tell them its crap and explain it properly so that they understand that, they afterwards ask you if you can show them the better solution.

Because here now two people for some reason mentioned Tesla, no tesla is not a good example. I explained it partly here: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=32536&p=237283&hilit=sono#p237283
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Re: Please follow the free software path for all new product

Unread postby ujsrwidc » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:20 am

rooted wrote:You have great ideas but this is the real world, not an imaginary place where money doesn't matter. Only someone wealthy could think like this, someone who has never went hungry, never had their utilities shut off from lack of payment, never had to decide do they buy gas to get to work or food. Money is important to those who have none.

You have to think larger.


You can fully live without money. For kind of fun and exploration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S124o3aFNAg (you can watch his whole channel, its full of examples)
Or because you care about nature, you and dont want to use shitty electricity produced out of coal and many other correct ideas. Just search for a person named: Marius Diab

If you like money for some useless case, then start trading financial products. With high intelligence you can earn quickly much money. Or use your intelligence to solve puzzles from rich people. They throw away millions just for fun to see if someone was so intelligent to solve their puzzle: https://bitcoinchallenge.codes/

I dont believe i have to think "larger". There cant be endless growth on this planet. Its extremely fun to live out of nothing. Try it out for a month or a year.
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Re: Please follow the free software path for all new product

Unread postby rooted » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:24 am

ujsrwidc wrote:Try it out for a month or a year.


I know those who have tried it for their entire lives.
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Re: Please follow the free software path for all new product

Unread postby crashoverride » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:55 am

ujsrwidc wrote:Also the Amlogic devices cant run on fully free software by default.

There is nothing in hardware that checks if a program is fully free software or not. Amlogic can run on fully free software, but nobody has published any. The distinction is particularly relevant at this point as open source is currently facing a shortage of developers that have the skills to author code at this level. Its the same story as everything else (like the GPUs used in the referenced iMX8 chips): its closed source until someone produces some open source for it.

ujsrwidc wrote:PLEASE DONT DO THAT! Dont release this. Please not!

Freedom ("free") also means that individuals are able to make choices for themselves based on what is relevant to them. If a product does not meet your ideals, philosophy, religion, etc, then simply don't buy it. Why is it necessary that nobody have it just because you don't think they should?

ujsrwidc wrote:If you want more power, for a desktop like platform, then go the RISC-V way.

RISC-V is an open Instruction Set Architecture (ISA). Silicon chips implementing RISC-V are not required to be open and often contain proprietary, closed IP. Furthermore, implementors are "free" to add custom instructions sets to perform any function they link. For example, it would be possible to include the Intel Management Engine as in ISA extension or implement undocumented "backdoor" instruction sequences at the silicon level.

---

Given the dire situation open source faces in recruiting and retaining new highly skilled developers to author and/or maintain code, I much prefer the binary blob and vendor drivers. Amlogic in particular provides a vastly superior implementation of support for its display controller and video engine hardware than open source has produced to date. I will happily take a binary blob that works completely today over the possibility of something open source that almost works five years from now just to be abandoned when the developer loses interest. Just because something is open source, there is no guarantee it will continue to be maintained and/or usable.

The above represents my opinion as an open source developer. In parting, you should probably be more concerned about the closed source keyboard attached to your computer. It has knowledge of all your passwords and is free to record your keystrokes. It is also typically the least secured part of any system.
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Re: Please follow the free software path for all new product

Unread postby tkaiser » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:23 am

ujsrwidc wrote:Allwinner is a crap company that is still alive because no one have sued them properly. They dont care about free software. They dont care so much about free software that they even ignore free software licences. GPL? Copyleft? They dont care.


So what? They are a hardware company and the hardware they push out can run with FOSS (years later... since Allwinner as a company still doesn't upstream their code). All thanks to a very strong open source community called linux-sunxi who reverse engineered DRAM initialization and do driver support from scratch so that Allwinner SoCs unlike most other ARM SoCs around can boot without any BLOBs.

If you're after 'free software' as you call it, ironically Allwinner hardware is one of the few choices... (disclaimer: me being a (former) member of linux-sunxi and Armbian communities only interested in energy efficient server use cases and don't giving a sh*t about anything graphics or desktop related)
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Re: Please follow the free software path for all new product

Unread postby ujsrwidc » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:48 am

crashoverride wrote:
ujsrwidc wrote:Also the Amlogic devices cant run on fully free software by default.

There is nothing in hardware that checks if a program is fully free software or not. Amlogic can run on fully free software, but nobody has published any.

You are fully right. I changed the first post so that this is not misunderstood.

crashoverride wrote:
ujsrwidc wrote:PLEASE DONT DO THAT! Dont release this. Please not!

Freedom ("free") also means that individuals are able to make choices for themselves based on what is relevant to them. If a product does not meet your ideals, philosophy, religion, etc, then simply don't buy it. Why is it necessary that nobody have it just because you don't think they should?

I know what you mean. But Nvidia is producing for example ASICs that run only with their signed blobs. Such blocking of freedom to do what you want to do with your hardware should be illegal. Or at least there have to be some fee from the government that makes such things not profitable.

crashoverride wrote:Silicon chips implementing RISC-V are not required to be open and often contain proprietary, closed IP. Furthermore, implementors are "free" to add custom instructions sets to perform any function they link. For example, it would be possible to include the Intel Management Engine as in ISA extension or implement undocumented "backdoor" instruction sequences at the silicon level.

Yes, i know that such implementations are possible. Like this hidden intel management engine shutdown switch build in by probably the NSA into the Intel ME so that they can use those devices by themself. Its not fully known what else is still hidden inside the other parts of the ME. Such hiding in the specs or in the software have to stop.
I also know there are backdoors possible that are produced into the hardware itself. With opensource software those have always to be inside the hardware and cant be any more into the software when the world follows the basic rules of https://reproducible-builds.org/
This would be the beginning of freedom. From there on there can then be spend time into making the hardware more and more free.

crashoverride wrote:Given the dire situation open source faces in recruiting and retaining new highly skilled developers to author and/or maintain code, I much prefer the binary blob and vendor drivers.

I fully dont support this idea. If i have an extremely old phone that runs with as much free software as possible that is mainlined, i wont switch to a "fancy" new phone because its fancy. For me its fancy to know that the every single bit i use come out of my GCC. I would be so proud to such a "fancy" phone.
https://media.ccc.de/v/dg-88
https://media.ccc.de/v/ASG2018-164-runn ... hics_stack

crashoverride wrote: will happily take a binary blob that works completely today over the possibility of something open source that almost works five years from now

I wont. For me the more non-free thing simply dont exist. I want to go further into more free software. I dont want to go backwards just because something is "new". I dont care about "new". There is more then enough "new" in free software i can play around with this days. I get for example every few weeks a new shiny linux-libre kernel i can play with.

crashoverride wrote:In parting, you should probably be more concerned about the closed source keyboard attached to your computer.

Nope, i know my IBM Model M good and it have no closed source software in it.
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Re: Please follow the free software path for all new product

Unread postby ujsrwidc » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:02 am

tkaiser wrote:So what? They are a hardware company and the hardware they push out can run with FOSS (years later... since Allwinner as a company still doesn't upstream their code). All thanks to a very strong open source community called linux-sunxi who reverse engineered DRAM initialization and do driver support from scratch so that Allwinner SoCs unlike most other ARM SoCs around can boot without any BLOBs.


I know your point. Its just not fair. NXP spends much effort into getting the things right. If i then buy a Allwinner chip when both can run fully free at exact same amount, then really i would feel bad. When someone is really willing to provide freedom to his users, you cant then just buy from the other company that gives a sh*t at users freedom and at free software copyleft licenses. Its like being angry at apple about too expensive phones but the best sold device apple see is then always the most expensive one. Of course they would make the products more and more expensive - the customers buy it so that probably mean this is the way to go.
And thats a bad sign. I wont buy allwinner to create a bad sign. I would buy a from "the good guy" to support "the good ones".

I am happy to write again here with you. Can you tell something about the Rockchip and TI OMAP chips in case of being able to run on free software at this moment?
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Re: Please follow the free software path for all new product

Unread postby tkaiser » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:22 am

ujsrwidc wrote:Its like being angry at apple about too expensive phones but the best sold device apple see is then always the most expensive one. Of course they would make the products more and more expensive - the customers buy it so that probably mean this is the way to go.


Seriously? With Allwinner it's quite the opposite. Maybe they're the leader at the 'race to the bottom'. And I think you do not understand how this business works. Allwinner does hardware and they fulfill the needs of Android device vendors who need to sell their stuff as cheap as possible.Just like the majority of other ARM vendors they only care about Android and driver support being ready 'now'. They even implement cool features for the customers of their customers called 'Android users' who desperately want to 'root' their device. Allwinner delivered... and as soon as they opened up their code on Github this happened: https://forum.armbian.com/topic/1108-se ... i-h3a83th8

And it's almost the same wrt their GPL 'reputation'. If Luc and Michael weren't no-one would talk about Allwinner and GPL violations today (Luc is known as libv and also a former linux-sunxi guy who tried to force Allwinner to be GPL compliant https://linux-sunxi.org/GPL_Violations and Michael is the guy behind a media outlet called Phoronix who spread 'the news')
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Re: Please follow the free software path for all new product

Unread postby ujsrwidc » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:08 am

I dont know if my example was really clear. I mean it like this:
1) lets say general people dont like spending much money on something
2) apple ask for high prices and the most expensive device is the most sold one.
3) this tell apple making more expensive is the way to go to earn more money

The way to go for all the people if they would like to not pay that much have to be not to buy the expensive device. If the expensive device is then a loss for the company, they would in most cases stop producing it and produce more cheap devices.
When everyone stops buying microsoft preinstalled devices and everyone just ask for a linux prieinstalled notebook without a microsoft licence on/in it, that would change the world just few weeks later.

Yes, i know allwinner prices are oriented at the lower end. The example with the price was just an example how to steer the economy. It was not a starting point for price-talk of products. Sorry if it was not that clear.

Allwinner after they have seen that the press and thus some customers are mad at their GPL ignorance, they had to follow "the needs of the customers" and release the sources to confirm the GPL licence. The opposite happened - they start hiding their GPL ignorance even more. This is a terrible character sign of grown people. Its like seeing a child stealing something and the child sees that someone have seen that and then directly starts hiding the stolen thing behind its back. Grown people say "sorry" and give it back instead of hiding it behind their back. In the allwinner case providing the required sourcecode to confirm the GPL licence and making a sorry-donation to for example ffmpeg would be the way to go for the company.
Afterwards they changed things and still dont release the violated part. This can be seen here:
https://linux-sunxi.org/index.php?title ... on=history
Libv wrote "Allwinner should never have shipped them to begin with, and is therefor still in violation. Please provide the source code for the offending binaries" "Whether you are in violation in future products is irrelevant, you were in violation in the past. Cough up the code of the past.". I quote this for the people who dont know this. I think tkaiser know all of that.

Is this part of your text "Allwinner does hardware and they fulfill the needs of Android device vendors [....] Allwinner delivered... and as soon as they opened up their code on Github this happened:" sarcasm i dont get? This is the proof why the code had to be open from the first minute and proves the basics of the points i am talking here about. This is also a nice example why the writing of the user in this forum, crashoverride, ( " I much prefer the binary blob and vendor drivers." ) is always a terrible thing and everything should be as open as possible and new/other products you switch to should provide more and more freedom instead of less freedom.
After my bad experience with intel microcode and intel not providing fixed microcode, i want to switch away from them. Thats why i am now reading and asking much about all other chips as possible to understand if there is something more free for future usage. As written i would love to see RISC-V all over the world to finally solve this microcode issue.
tkaiser, it would be great if you could tell something about Rockchip (for example Asus Thinkerboard) and TI Omap (for example BeagleBone Black). Thanks!
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Re: Please follow the free software path for all new product

Unread postby mad_ady » Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:12 pm

You see, this is a clash between an idealist point of view and a realist one. The idealist is like a university professor, telling you how things ought to be done and why. The realist is like an engineer - taking what is available and tweaking it until it works.

No approach is perfect and none can survive only by itself, but a blend of the two is beneficial and keeps moving things forward.

When everyone stops buying microsoft preinstalled devices and everyone just ask for a linux prieinstalled notebook without a microsoft licence on/in it, that would change the world just few weeks later.

Wasn't 2001 supposed to be the year of the Linux desktop? Back then KDE had more bells and whistles than XP.
You need to change the world's perceptions to achieve your goals. Good luck with that, but I'd say if you can do it there are more important things to discuss (climate change, education, alternate fuels, basic income, etc) to make the world a better place...
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Re: Please follow the free software path for all new product

Unread postby ujsrwidc » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:35 am

mad_ady wrote: but I'd say if you can do it there are more important things to discuss (climate change, education, alternate fuels, basic income, etc) to make the world a better place...

Thats always a terrible thing to say. When you see someone trying to do the right thing you just tell him "there are other things i think that are more important". Yea, great. What do you thing would that do? Probably nothing. You just demotivate the people from doing their good thing.
I am working on climate change for years. I am writing to wikipedia for years for educating the people that want to learn, i am using no fuel, i am against basic income - you should get free enviromental friendly(of course no fuel out of oil) transportation and so get the ability to do whatever you like in your life.
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Re: Please follow the free software path for all new product

Unread postby rooted » Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:06 am

ujsrwidc wrote:
mad_ady wrote: but I'd say if you can do it there are more important things to discuss (climate change, education, alternate fuels, basic income, etc) to make the world a better place...

Thats always a terrible thing to say. When you see someone trying to do the right thing you just tell him "there are other things i think that are more important". Yea, great. What do you thing would that do? Probably nothing. You just demotivate the people from doing their good thing.
I am working on climate change for years. I am writing to wikipedia for years for educating the people that want to learn, i am using no fuel, i am against basic income - you should get free enviromental friendly(of course no fuel out of oil) transportation and so get the ability to do whatever you like in your life.
You misunderstood what he said.

He said if you have the power to change world views it would be better spent on larger issues, this is true if you had that power.
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Re: Please follow the free software path for all new product

Unread postby tmihai20 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:04 pm

This idea would really work in a world that does not depend on money and the likes of them. When the majority of the world uses money, what we are doing is not enough. When people would not need money or they would stop using money, then initiatives like the one from TechNexion would really be successful. You are also comparing companies like Nvidia and Tesla with a small company like HardKernel. Big companies can withstand to bleed some money because it makes those companies look good. It is cheaper than PR.

Regarding what mad_ady said, that there are better things to focus on, with all due respect, if we make our planet uninhabitable or we would have to pay for any kind of water or for breathing, then all this is for nothing.

You are also talking about freedom. Most people will not know what to do with freedom. Most of the laptops in local stores are delivered with some form of Linux, but people do not care or do not want to use it. All they know is Windows, even if they could even use a Chromebook for most of the things they are doing. Having the right to choose does not mean that they will choose the right thing. Most of them are not even informed. I always said that if games were developed to run natively on Linux, Windows would not have been so popular as it still is now.

One more thing: a colleague has done a test once. He installed Linux on his home laptop, that was used by his mother as well. She realized that she was not using Windows only after opening an Office document. She called him to tell him that Office looks weird. He had installed a theme that made Ubuntu look like Windows too. I think he installed Windows afterwards because he needed some Windows only tools (he was in college back then).

It is too late to implement what you are saying now with H2. Also having a new revision of H2 just because of this would not be fair to users that bought the first revision (the early adopters like me, most likely). They could do it with the next device (again, probably not N2, because development takes a few years).
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