[coreboot] TALOS project short of funding goals - where to now?

Łukasz Dobrowolski lukasz at dobrowolski.io
Mon Dec 12 13:18:42 CET 2016

On 12/12/2016 03:27 AM, Taiidan at gmx.com wrote:
> The coreboot project is pretty much dead in the water without it, the only real choices for further development are either super low power crappy ARM devices or always going to be expensive IBM/TYAN POWER servers, so what do we do?
Maybe we should ask ourselfs do we really need high performance computers?

> I am wondering, how come they didn't bark up some government or corporate trees for TALOS funding? AFIAK there are various government agencies interested in secure hardware and assured computing; I have always wondered what the NSA uses for their own computing needs, maybe they paid intel for firmware source code and a system that doesn't need ME to run.
Have anybody approached goverment? They don't take initiative by themselves. I suspect that it wold be possible to get funding from EU. But there is one more problem It's US company that can just decide "We'll make POWER10 with POWER-ME".

> The way things are going: (...)
Our hope is(should be) in fully open systems like lowRISC. Invest in making them fast enough to power a basic laptop.

> It seems that so many linux people just don't really care about libre anything, (...)
Many(most) 'linux people' are 'open source' not 'free software'.

> (...) considering that the average linux sysadmin makes over $100K per year the community could have easily funded the project.
In Germany, US, France... Not in Poland, Ukraine... many hackers there.

> If I wasn't unemployed I would happily pay $5K for a high performance libre computer, but not everyone is me.
Me too. If I had work that gave me $60K a year. For me (a student in Poland) $5K is enough to live for a year.
Setting a price tag so high reduces size of the community.

> People went nuts for the faux libre purism laptop but talos gets hardly any comparative publicity/hype - why? - "We'll get intel to open up ME one day, we promise!"
Because it was viable 'solution':
	It's amd64: Everything will just work!
	It's not underpowered: It will not suck!
Maybe even more importantly: What people? I highly doubt that those were highly informed people like us.

I think that people don't believe that this would succeed. Including me.
Let me ask a different question: Why so many free hardware projects are so impractical?
Let's look at novena, it's supposed to be a laptop. But it can't be practical because of it's size.
Layout of motherboard makes it impossible to craft a comfortable chassis.
It's got built-in fpga that makes it ~$40 more expensive (In my opinion needlessly -- not many people use fpga.). [Lot's of text here].
The pros is that even I could afford laptop at this prize tag (if it wasn't a toy).

I had an idea to make a usable* laptop and talked with people from my HackerSpace.
We've given up after realizing how difficult it would be to pull it off. (We would likely be able to make a prototype but producing this is out of reach.)

* underpowered but it would be enough to browse simple sites and use ssh -- seems enough for sys admin away from stationary pc.

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