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

Merlin Büge toni at bluenox07.de
Mon Dec 12 14:42:01 CET 2016

On Mon, 12 Dec 2016 13:18:42 +0100
Łukasz Dobrowolski <lukasz at dobrowolski.io> wrote:

> 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?

There are people who really need that performance, e.g. for
various (open source) software / hardware development. I can see your
point and I presume you don't really need such a powerful workstation --
me neither. But if you are working on big software projects, you cannot
keep pace using librebooted Thinkpads or even ARM devices I guess :/

> 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 think the novena was not really supposed to be a laptop, but rather
a mobile "hacking station". It was not targeted at the average linux
user who just wants an open laptop.

By the way there still are a few interesting projects in this lower
performance class:





  ... and of course the upcoming RISC-V stuff.

The Olimex DIY Laptop will be at FOSDEM afaik.

>From their website:
"With different main board configurations: first with ARM64 and x86
later MIPS and other architectures may follow."

That sounds promising.

Of course it's an entirely different thing than Talos.

Regarding Talos:
This may sound silly and more knowledged readers now probably smile
mildly and roll their eyes, but: Maybe it's still possible to create
some "light version" of the Talos Workstation? Maybe not with all the
features, but still based on POWER8. Maybe RE could team up with the
Olimex guys? Or RE could work together with several (professional)
volunteers to make R&D less expensive?

Some guys from 51nb recently designed an Intel i7 motherboard that fits
in an Thinkpad X61. If you'd calculate US-based R&D, maybe this would
be in the range of Talos? Or at least it would sound unlikely to
realize in the first place...



Merlin Büge <toni at bluenox07.de>

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