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Xalius

FOSDEM 2018

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I will be at FOSDEM (Bruxelles, BE) 2018 next week...

 

https://fosdem.org/2018/

 

If you want to meet up or just drop by, I will be hanging around the Pine64 booth/table in building AW and the SUNXI dinner on saturday as well as the #HSBXL ByteNight party at the Bruxelles hackerspace...

 

So who else is attending? :)

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@Igor

Are you going to FOSDEM 2019?

I'll be there. I'll make some video's there. One about the Pine64 stand, one about the RISC-V architecture. And a lot more about Linux software.
I would love to be able to interview you about the Armbian project if you would be there.
Happy holidays.

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2 hours ago, NicoD said:

I would love to be able to interview you about the Armbian project


I am there Friday evening - Monday morning. 

 

47 minutes ago, umiddelb said:

I plan to attend FOSDEM 2019, anyone else too?


See you there. :) 

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On 12/30/2018 at 9:24 PM, Igor said:


I am there Friday evening - Monday morning. 

That's great. I'll contact you a few days before to be sure we'll meet.
I've prepared some questions for you, here they are. This way you've got enough time to think about them.
 

FOSDEM 2019

Questions for Igor from Armbian
 What is Armbian? Why Armbian? Who works for Armbian/volunteers?
 When did the development of Armbian start? How did you come upon the idea?
 What's your favorite SBC? Why?
 For what kind of projects is Armbian used? Is it used a lot in industrial environments?
 What are the biggest problems you encounter with new SBC's/SoC's?
 What could board developers/SoC verdors do better to make things easier for you?
 The Armbian team has done a lot of development, how receptive has upstream been to accepting changes/pull requests? 
 How does Armbian earn money? (chance to ask for donations)
 How many downloads per month? 
 How do you see the future of SBC's/ARM-SoC's? Will RISC-V be important?
 How do you see Armbian in this future?
 What's your favorite open source program + game?
 
 Hypothetical questons. 
 If everybody stops using x86 and transitions to ARM, and Armbian becomes the no. 1 OS. Would you sell the company to make a huge profit?  Or would you keep working for it? 
 What if Armbian becomes bigger than Microsoft, and you get the chance to buy Microsoft. Would you do it?

If anybody else has got more questions, let me know. Also for the founder of Pine64, or about RISC-V or about open source software.
 

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On 12/31/2018 at 11:35 AM, NicoD said:

What could board developers do better to make things easier for you?

 

How can SoC vendors help here with support for chips, interfaces, GPU/VPU, network, etc...

The Armbian team has done a lot of development, how receptive has upstream been to accepting changes/pull requests?

What's the best approach for SoC/Board Vendors to get Armbian ported to their board/chipset?

Documentation is key for supporting a chip or board - where are the opportunities for the vendors to improve?

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7 minutes ago, sfx2000 said:

 

How can SoC vendors help here with support for chips, interfaces, GPU/VPU, network, etc...

The Armbian team has done a lot of development, how receptive has upstream been to accepting changes/pull requests? 

Good questions, I've added them. Thanks.

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2 minutes ago, NicoD said:

Good questions, I've added them. Thanks.

 

I think those two are probably the best, as it looks upstream to the HW vendors (board and SoC), as well as interaction with the upstream SW community for Linux, U-Boot, etc...

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On 12/31/2018 at 11:35 AM, NicoD said:

Will RISC-V be important?

 

I would probably drop this question, as it can get the conversation off track - RISC-V is interesting, no doubt, as is the opening up of the MIPS instruction set...

 

Will it be important - of course it will be, as will 5G-WAN and Wifi6 (802.11ax)

 

You might use that as a closer - "What are your thoughts on RISC-V?" - but I would check with @Igor there first...

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2 minutes ago, sfx2000 said:

I would probably drop this question, as it can get the conversation off track - RISC-V is interesting, no doubt, as is the opening up of the MIPS instruction set... 

That question is there because I'm also going to make a video about RISC-V there. So it fits in the "complete package" of FOSDEM.

RISC-V could become of importance in the future for SBC's. Board makers could design their own SoC's. Then they don't have to deal with the SoC vendors their choices. But I first need to see it all working well before I start truly believing in it.

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21 minutes ago, NicoD said:

RISC-V could become of importance in the future for SBC's. Board makers could design their own SoC's. Then they don't have to deal with the SoC vendors their choices. But I first need to see it all working well before I start truly believing in it.

 

I don't think the board makers would do their own chips based on RISC-V - the costs to fab a chip are very high, and most of the board vendors in the Armbian space are low margin...

 

Not saying that an SoC vendor rolls their own implementation and it goes downstream to the board vendors - it's a space to keep an eye on... and yes, it's likely we'll see a RISC-V implementation in the space at some point in time - perhaps 2020 with layout and verification challenges..

 

That being said - I think RISC-V is very important - and esp on the CN Mainland, where there is a strong desire to not be dependent on foreign IP for cores/chips, and many in CN see RISC-V as that opportunity to develop native chips that are specifically not x86/amd64/ARM based...

 

I wouldn't be surprised if the big hyperscalers in CN, like Tencent and Baidu aren't looking are server scale designs around RISC-V, it only makes sense there... and then there's always Huawei and ZTE, along with others that also have a strong desire to be independent with their efforts and be resistant to sanctions that would impact them. Huaweii, esp, is susceptible to sanctions that could impact their business, and they already have a chip division, HiSilicon - ZTE having been beat up hard and almost run out of business, would be wise to do the same...

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18 minutes ago, sfx2000 said:

I don't think the board makers would do their own chips based on RISC-V

RISC-V makes the design a lot easier, so a board vendor can design it towards what the board needs for specific uses. The SoC vendors we know now don't care about SBC's. The market is too small. So I don't think they'll ever design something specific for SBC use. Maybe there will be new smaller SoC design firms or so for this?
 

18 minutes ago, sfx2000 said:

at some point in time - perhaps 2020

When I red this I thought "what, it ain't gonna take that long". Then I realized we're in 2019.
 

I still need to do a lot of reading on this. A lot of things I don't know/understand about it. But all I hear and see about it seems very promising

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33 minutes ago, NicoD said:

RISC-V makes the design a lot easier, so a board vendor can design it towards what the board needs for specitic uses. The SoC vendors we know now don't care about SBC's. The market is too small. So I don't think they'll ever design something specific for SBC use. Maybe there will be new smaller SoC design firms or so for this?

 

And SBC vendors - they just look for the best solution to fit their needs and business plan for a certain board...

 

The cost and efforts need to verify/validate ISA conformance are extremely high, as they should be - you look at companies like Intel and AMD, qualification of a chip can take years - and same with ARM folks like Apple and Qualcomm, where they take the ARM ISA and do their own designs - the chips you see on the market now were actually done 3-4 years ago in a cadence of development.

 

And that's millions of euro's/dollars...

 

You look at SoC vendors like Allwinner, Rockchip, Amlogic - they're using IP blocks that have been pre-certified by ARM (and others) with the fabs - so each block has tapeouts for a certain geometry node and process.. Grab the ARM core of choice, the Mali GPU block, wrap it around DesignWare blocks for peripherals for UART's, GPIO, Ethernet, etc... It's like lego's or ikea furniture...

 

And to the CN side - this is all dependencies on foreign IP... whether is ARM, Intel, Imagination Tech (GPU's with PowerVR), MIPS, Oracle (ex-SUN), etc...

 

With RISC-V - that's all out the door - which makes this interesting - going back to CN, there's enough government money at the local and national level to make things happen, and enough research in the academic space, along with the industrial resources to get things done...

 

Remember the CN initiative - "Made in China 2025"

 

I'm just an observer on the industry here - not being political...but it is interesting what the mainland is doing, and worth watching...

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25 minutes ago, sfx2000 said:

I'm just an observer on the industry here - not being political...but it is interesting what the mainland is doing, and worth watching...

 

So @NicoD - you have my thoughts here, and that's why I suggested the RISC-V question perhaps as a closer... or drop it overall - and let Armbian carry a clear message - ARM isn't going away any time soon - we've got new cores coming online - from low to high end, and some of those cores will find space in the SBC realm...

 

The incoming ARM's that are interesting is A55, and A76.. A55 as this is A53 with a boost, and A76 for the big cores because of SMT from ARM directly...

 

So for the SBC space looking in - Quad A55 with 2 A76's in a big.LITTLE on DDR4 along with the Mali G52 on the high end and a move from 40/28nm planar processes to Finfet now that things are mature there, along with TSMC/GloFo...

 

Perhaps wishful thinking - but between improved IP blocks, smaller nodes, perhaps we'll see new options... I'm thinking Rockchip will be there first on the midrange... now that Hauwei/Hisilicon really settled the whole big.LITTLE thing on SmartPhone SoC's...

 

Much of the cheap SBC realm is driven from economy of the FAB front - TSMC 40nm is cheap and well proven, and GloFo 28nm planar is getting cheaper by the day as Samsung/TSMC are moving towards the really tight spaces like 14/7nm finfet, and there, prices are high and yields probably aren't where they need to be...

 

The mainland CN fabs - they're at 28nm now... and this drives a lot of things - from SoC's to RAM to NAND/eMMC/SSD's...

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