Yet Another Beastly Candidate

“Firefly-RK3399 Plus Pre-saleBegin shipping on March 15th, 4GB-DDR3, 32GB-e…$ 239.0”
 
See Firefly Shop
Yes, Cortex A-72, little by little, are coming onto the market in a form even I can use. There are smartphones now but I want something with more I/O like this beauty. The places where it is weak are SATA a second NIC and only 4gB RAM. That’s a pity. It’s very close to what I need. I can probably fake out the NIC and SATA absences with my PCI-e cards but I’m still stuck on 4gB RAM. That’s plenty for lots of tasks but I’m wanting a system that has at least twice that and preferably four times that, 16gB. For $239 or with the optional huge (128gB) emmc card, this would make a wonderful fat or thin client for TLW or myself, but as the server, it’s still a bit thin.

I’d really consider this thing as a mobile machine to take with me when I return from wherever with my new electric car. It has two camera ports so I could record from the dash forward and towards the control panel or driver. The mind boggles as the possibilities. I could also take along a new smartphone for GPS guidance and emergency calls. This thing could help me blog on the way while resting or charging the battery of the car.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.

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76 Responses to Yet Another Beastly Candidate

  1. dougman wrote, “You still have not posted any in pastebin’s for us to glance at Pogsey, it’s the FLOSS way to do things, it’s the polite thing to do.”

    What’s the fascination with pastebin? What is the advantage over MrPogson.com? I have posted the commands here, for anyone to use.

  2. dougman says:

    You still have not posted any in pastebin’s for us to glance at Pogsey, it’s the FLOSS way to do things, it’s the polite thing to do.

  3. oiaohm says:

    https://wiki.debian.org/InstallingDebianOn/96Boards

    how very disappointing for you … it’s because no sane person would assume that a unit that supports a particular version of Ubuntu — probably “tweaked,” in your words, via various kernel environment settings — will also work sensibly with a random version of Debian.
    DrLoser Debian has a heck load of arm64 testing under their belt.
    One small discrepancy in the back-end of gcc and you are basically screwed.
    This is you making up garbage. Arm64 is not showing gcc issues and has not shown gcc issues the 32 bit versions of arm did. Arm with Arm64 sorted out the instruction set and directly did the patches in gcc upstream.

    96Boards that you can buy only one that does not work well with debian is Bubblegum-96. That is because of the GPU being powervr and major issues getting powervr drivers. Yes some atoms are not support well because they are powervr as well.

    If you look the 96Board Polar you will find it default distribution is Debian fairly much unmodified.
    https://github.com/sdrobertw/Poplar/blob/master/GettingStarted/README.md

    The reality is most embedded boards that are Linux are tested with Debian and this testing is by the maker of the cello board work.

    DrLoser arm64 uses device tree in the Linux kernel. This makes a very big difference this reduces arm64 support most arm64 hardware to only three factors.

    Kernel version because you most have a kernel version that has all the drivers the hardware need.
    Device tree file.
    Final what bootloader you have to deal with.
    On arm64 if the board is EFI and it for Linux the device tree file will be provided by EFI from the maker. Uboot boards can be levels of hell but the Linux kernel stays the same.

    The big change in the Linux kernel for Arm64 was the one kernel image system.

    Development boards are different to phones and tablets. The biggest thing in phones and tablets not supported by the mainline Linux kernel is the battery charging circuit. So mainline Linux runs until you find out battery will not charge. Next is anything with a powervr gpu. Its a rarity to find either in these prototyping boards. Since prototyping is done so much on Debian having hardware bits that don’t support Debian you really reduce your sales.

    On x86 debian most common install failures are caused by installer not containing firmware. This is not need to change kernel settings. Next biggest is fighting with UEFI to let debian boot. This is over 90 percent at this point. Then if it a laptop you get back to the same old battery circuit problems and odd ball bits of hardware.

    The reality is not hard if you look to find a Debian Linux compatible bit of hardware. If you are getting machines for free 1/10 you junk because it don’t work. But you get 9 that do work without major tweaking.

    One of the issues with ubuntu/redhat is they are not running as close to stock Linux kernel like debian. This results in hardware that is in the 1/10 that should fail in fact allowing a particular version of Ubuntu/redhat to install and then when you upgrade ubuntu/redhat it explodes in your face.

    Yes for all the advertisement as Ubuntu as a desktop linux. The major deployments are more often than not Debian due to a reliability factor cause by the way the Debian kernels are done. You don’t find Ubuntu installed on 500000+ desktops in a single government but you do find debian in those cases and there is a reason for that.

  4. The Wiz wrote, “not discontinued for lack of interest”.

    The supply of DRAMs they were using dried up for Cello. People do want to sell product but supply and demand follow predator-prey relationships sometimes. The Armada board is new to the market. I don’t know what the story is there but they say “next month”. I’m willing to give them the benefit of a doubt. All major projects tend to be early or late, rarely exactly on time. There are just too many variables. There is no lack of interest in any of them. Developers want them. DIYers want them. Screwballs like me want them. There are a lot of us. Look at Raspberry Pi. That was a tiny production stream, for a niche market at a tiny price and they couldn’t keep up with demand. They are in their third edition last I heard. People love computers. If they are small and cheap they love them more, not less.

  5. DrLoser wrote, “no sane person would assume that a unit that supports a particular version of Ubuntu — probably “tweaked,” in your words, via various kernel environment settings — will also work sensibly with a random version of Debian.”

    That’s false. When I was in my formative stages of growth in GNU/Linux, I tried several different distros and got all of them to run on every bit of random hardware I found in schools. I think there was one NIC and one printer I could not get to work with that lot and what worked in one distro worked in all of them. What didn’t work in one distro didn’t work in any of them. It’s easy to understand why. They all use the same kernel, provided by the boys and girls at kernel.org. You can theoretically make a kernel that will run on just about any hardware. Just use make allyesconfig. I usually start with a config from Debian or Ubuntu or tweak it to suit my hardware more precisely with allmodconfig or allyesconfig targets for make. That’s usually close enough until you plug in some new USB thingie.

  6. DrLoser says:

    Cello runs ARM64, if they ever produce the things.

    Fascinating how you manage to mangle a combination of the present tense and the qualified future in order not to prove your point in any way. And if you remember, I was talking about the OP board — the Firefly. Which supports Ubuntu (specifically, 16.04) and Android. Why, may one ask, does it not just “support Linux and Android?”

    Quite apart from the fact that one of your chosen manufacturers clearly sees a difference between Gnu/Linux/Debian and Gnu/Linux/Android … how very disappointing for you … it’s because no sane person would assume that a unit that supports a particular version of Ubuntu — probably “tweaked,” in your words, via various kernel environment settings — will also work sensibly with a random version of Debian.

    Debian’s codes run on ARM64.

    Codez? Ah well, let that small perversity pass. ARM64 is an architecture, Robert. There’s no guarantee that even the kernel will work on a specific implementation, let alone everything else. One small discrepancy in the back-end of gcc and you are basically screwed. Particularly since, as I have mentioned here and there, you are personally without merit or credentials in dealing with the Gnu toolchain.

    The only issue is drivers …

    Oh, well. That’s the only issue. Hardly worth contemplating. Trivial.

    Carry on then. Chuckle. It’s all good.

  7. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “Not this year. I’m budgeting for the electric car next year. Perhaps in 2018 if these smaller units don’t come to fruition.”

    Finally some sense robert Pogson. And unless it becomes dirt cheap to equip an ARM developer board at the price point you want with 8Gb or 16gb of RAM, I predict that you will be going for a solution like this one when you money frees up.

    Assuming of course that it is not discontinued for lack of interest.

  8. oiaohm says:

    Technology like Cisco UCS already does a much better job. Unfortunately, its not cheap.
    Wizard Emeritus as I said hack. UCS is that you have something on hand not that much help with EM problem hunting.

    http://www.iguanaworks.net/products/usb-ir-transceiver/

    These are not exactly cheap either particularly once you start using them with firber connected transceivers. Issue is this can be used with fairly much anything with a generic usb with lirc install because Linux support doing serial over IR. Of course these using socketed outputs allow you to use IR over fibre.

    I am sorry to say that UCS can be disrupted by EM noise. You are adding something to monitor and locate a problem and you don’t want to spread the problem. You don’t want to be putting in a large block of hardware.

    In a server farm you resort to these thing when things are badly wrong or rebuild the complete area from scratch and hope you find the noise source.

    DrLoser
    … which will almost certainly not work on the Cello, should it ever arrive, and according to the specifications of your latest ninny board (ie the one in the OP) are in no way guaranteed to work on something with a custom-built Ubuntu 16.0 OS.
    arm64 when it comes to userspace binaries is perfectly dependable in every case so far. Debian as a person with collection of over 100 different arm64 cpus and there has not been a single issue with userspace binaries. With the arm chips prior to arm64 without good standard on what has to be include debian has test results on that as well and yes you have on the older 32 arm chips of have that issue.

    Lot of the arm64 issues come from kernel side. Like transferring active threads to a incompatible cpu because the kernel did not know better. Yes attempt to transfer a 64 bit thread to a 32 bit bit only core is not going to work too well. This is not the userspace program not being workable. Its the kernel doing something to the userspace program it never should have has happened with a few arm64 kernels.

    Ubuntu 16.0 OS not worth looking at Ubuntu does not have the QA teams for arm64.

    So the only question with cello is will it have a stable kernel with drivers. If it does debian collection of arm64 will fairly much work.

  9. DrLoser wrote, “which will almost certainly not work on the Cello”

    Cello runs ARM64, if they ever produce the things. Debian’s codes run on ARM64. The only issue is drivers and I’ve shown Linux, video, audio, keyboard and mouse working just fine on Odroid-C2. Why not Cello?

  10. DrLoser says:

    DrLoser has it backwards. Debian already has code compiled for tens of thousands of standard .deb packages ready to go on ARM64.

    … which will almost certainly not work on the Cello, should it ever arrive, and according to the specifications of your latest ninny board (ie the one in the OP) are in no way guaranteed to work on something with a custom-built Ubuntu 16.0 OS.

    How far do you want to push this, Robert? How deep a hole do you wish to dig yourself?

    I referred to you earlier as an unusually under-qualified four year old. I fear I may have inadvertently insulted under-qualified four year olds.

    Boiled any good frogs lately?

  11. DrLoser wrote, “Will it ever support any version of Debian?”

    DrLoser has it backwards. Debian already has code compiled for tens of thousands of standard .deb packages ready to go on ARM64. Porting Debian GNU/Linux to any ARMed hardware is mostly about getting the kernel to boot. Once that’s done, the software will run on it. The makers of the boards usually use Android/Linux, Ubuntu or Debian GNU/Linux so Linux already runs on it. There’s no great problem getting that Linux kernel working with Debian GNU/Linux. I’m using standard .deb packages from Debian on the Odroid-C2, for instance. They run.
    Last login: Fri Jan 6 20:06:29 2017 from beast
    pogson@odroidc2:~$ cat /etc/apt/sources.list
    deb http://httpredir.debian.org/debian jessie main contrib non-free
    #deb-src http://httpredir.debian.org/debian jessie main contrib non-free

    deb http://httpredir.debian.org/debian jessie-updates main contrib non-free
    #deb-src http://httpredir.debian.org/debian jessie-updates main contrib non-free

    deb http://httpredir.debian.org/debian jessie-backports main contrib non-free
    #deb-src http://httpredir.debian.org/debian jessie-backports main contrib non-free

    deb http://security.debian.org/ jessie/updates main contrib non-free
    #deb-src http://security.debian.org/ jessie/updates main contrib non-free

    pogson@odroidc2:/etc/apt$ cat sources.list.d/armbian.list
    deb http://apt.armbian.com jessie main utils jessie-desktop

    http://apt.armbian.com/pool/ is really tiny, mostly firmware and tools for building kernels for the thing. TLW’s Odroid-C2 is a thick client with about 1100 .deb packages installed and TLW gets most of her work done on it. Most of the packages come straight from Debian. 97 are hardware-specific to Odroid-C2.

  12. DrLoser wrote, “if you cannot even begin to comprehend what has to be done to make something like LiMux work, what on earth makes you imagine that you have any right to pontificate on the cost/benefit or indeed any other part of such a vast and technical operation?”

    Of course I know what it takes to create a distro. I’ve read Linux From Scratch, for instance. That’s also why I never liked Munich’s approach of making a custom distro. That was just silly since so many viable distros exist and further, that they could have done most of what they needed with thin clients. Still, they accomplished a lot and did have the city running GNU/Linux. They contributed a lot to LibreOffice too. I thank them for that, but it certainly wasn’t necessary to make a distro that would be years behind other distros just because they could. Using thin clients would have solved most of their budgetary and driver problems quite easily and then one configuration of a cluster of servers would have been the job, an order of magnitude smaller, IMHO. Been there, done that.

  13. DrLoser says:

    Why are you talking about that?

    Because, if you scroll down, that is precisely the experience I was asking of you.

    You don’t have it. You will never have it. You are constitutionally incapable of acquiring it.

    I ask the question simply to highlight your pathetic ineptitude with the tools of your choice in the environment of your choice, even after fifteen years of trying.

    Now, I don’t object to you being an ignoramus in your chosen field. I don’t even object to you leeching off others in your chosen field who can actually get the job done. I don’t personally care whether you pay them for their efforts or not.

    That is your concern, and their concern. A bargain is a bargain.

    However, it does seem to me that your specific total ignorance in your chosen field, as so amply demonstrated here over and over again, rather disqualifies you from commenting on the choices made by, say, the IT Department of Munich.

    After all, if you cannot even begin to comprehend what has to be done to make something like LiMux work, what on earth makes you imagine that you have any right to pontificate on the cost/benefit or indeed any other part of such a vast and technical operation?

    Oh, I forgot. It’s pure mindless bigotry. Always go for the simple and obvious answer. Thomas of Ockham said that, many years ago. And it’s still true.

  14. DrLoser says:

    Both of those come with a working GNU/Linux distro and once they are released in greater numbers there will be several distros from which to choose. Why not?

    On a different, and perhaps less contentious, line of enquiry, Robert, what reason to you have for asking “why not?”

    After all, doing all the system config and QA to make sure that any particular version of any Linux distro — in fact, per definitionem, any OS at all — does not come for free.

    True, once it is done, each and every Miser in Manitoba will be able to access it for free. But that’s not the same thing. These things take effort and time. And either some nice corporation pays for that time, or an obsessive with a hard-on for that particular board … say, some retired genius in Manitoba … puts in that effort for free.

    I’ve pointed out that your OP board will be delivered (if at all) with some, quality and reliability and driver support as yet unknown, hand-cranked specialized version of Ubuntu 16.0.

    Will it support vanilla Ubuntu 16.0? You may be surprised by the answer.

    Will it support any other version of Ubuntu? Even less likely.

    Will it ever support any version of Debian?

    ROFLMAYO.

  15. DrLoser wrote, “I’m talking about the actual construction of the Gnu tool chain itself. Autoconf, automake, and the like. The important stuff that feeds configure.”

    Why are you talking about that? What does that have to do with anything? Those tools exist. I use them from time to time.

  16. DrLoser says:

    I build new kernels every other week or so and I do type the commands.

    You’re actually so deeply unqualified to discuss the ins and outs of configure/make/make install that you genuinely cannot understand what all the fuss is about, aren’t you, Robert?

    Any darn fool, even you, can type “make” on the command line. Almost any darn fool — you are possibly a gnat’s whisker or two ahead of the script kiddies here, although I bet, like them, you look up Teh Scripz on the Web — can “tweak” a build by setting an environment variable or two. I mean, most of the time you’re just flipping a flag from on to off, or vice versa.

    Hardly rocket science. Not even the sort of science that you applied when building cloud chambers.

    No, I’m talking about the actual construction of the Gnu tool chain itself. Autoconf, automake, and the like. The important stuff that feeds configure.

    Let alone having to deal with flex or bison or other Gnu tools, the existence of which you extol but the usage of which is entirely beyond your very limited “script-senile” abilities.

    As we have seen from your inability to configure a very simple declarative environment such as systemd, your level of cognitive ability when it comes to the Gnu tool chain is approximately that of a very slow, congenitally dim, four year old.

    But do carry on. All that point version kernel spinning must have some sort of Zen purpose to it.

    “I am one who is not wasting my time doing something that will make no difference to anybody’s life at all, not even my own.”

  17. Deaf Spy wrote, “millions of ARM developers will rush to this board, and implement all kernel changes that are required to run something marginally useful on it. Robert will be all good.”

    It doesn’t take millions to build a kernel for one of these boards, just a few. Usually the makers of the board or the chip get it started.

    e.g. AMD A1100 on the Cello.

    e.g. Marvell Armada 8040

    Both of those come with a working GNU/Linux distro and once they are released in greater numbers there will be several distros from which to choose. Why not? The stuff that’s FLOSS can be made to work with anything and the stuff that’s not FLOSS is made to work by the manufacturer.

  18. Deaf Spy says:

    So much for using a home theater PC board as a server when the Roku-style remote made for it shows its true intended use…

    You don’t understand. Robert’s need are not huge. His current Beast uses only 3% of its idling cores. With many cores and huge caches, this HTPC is just wonderful for our Robert. Don’t forget that millions of ARM developers will rush to this board, and implement all kernel changes that are required to run something marginally useful on it. Robert will be all good.

    Chuckle. 🙂

  19. Dylan says:

    http://shop.t-firefly.com/images/201611/goods_img/17_P_1479150321830.jpg
    http://shop.t-firefly.com/goods.php?id=17
    So much for using a home theater PC board as a server when the Roku-style remote made for it shows its true intended use…

  20. dougman wrote, “I use to pipe my command and output it to a text file, for remote analysis by other people like 15-20 years ago.”

    That has nothing to do with pastebin. Why use pastebin? I have a web-facing server for all the world to see.

  21. dougman says:

    “Why use pastebin?”

    CHUCKLE…..What a fool question.

    I use to pipe my command and output it to a text file, for remote analysis by other people like 15-20 years ago.

    Here is what I used :

    command | tee ~/outputfile.txt

    For you to ask that question, leads me to suspect that you are a liar on many aspects of what you preach here.

  22. Deaf Spy says:

    Why use pastebin?

    To share with the Community, of course, like in good FLOSS fashion.

  23. dougman wrote, “Post your work in pastebin!”

    That would be silly. I have this server. Why use pastebin?

  24. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “Its not that IR has not been used in server room down fibre before. Useful hack around a major EM noise problem. For terminal control of a server you are not needing high speed.”

    Technology like Cisco UCS already does a much better job. Unfortunately, its not cheap.

  25. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “Kurkosdr sometimes it pays not to attempt to be insulting. What Robert mentioned is what Microsoft is doing.”

    from the same article…

    “On the other hand, the simple act of walking into your server room, setting down a box or even a leaf on the wind would be likely to cause downtime. ”

    Interesting article, but hardly relevant.

  26. dougman says:

    “I build new kernels every other week or so and I do type the commands. I can put them in a BASH script if I wanted to do that. I have tweaked the configuration of the kernel to suit several different motherboards around here and some USB thingies.”

    Post your work in pastebin!

  27. oiaohm says:

    https://www.pcper.com/news/General-Tech/Microsofts-hot-new-idea-server-room-IR-lasers

    Kurkosdr sometimes it pays not to attempt to be insulting. What Robert mentioned is what Microsoft is doing.

    Suppose some big outfit has a football-field sized server-room and machine 1245 needs to reboot but is not online for the network.
    Yes this is kind of a direct reference to what Microsoft is up-to. And sucker you have jumped in boots and all.

    Its not that IR has not been used in server room down fibre before. Useful hack around a major EM noise problem. For terminal control of a server you are not needing high speed.

    http://frozentime.se/cam_trig/d70_fibreoptic.html Yes it used with cameras as well. If you do it right that on board IR is good enough to make a interlink about 20 metres in length. Normally a server board would not have it and you would plug something into usb or the like to provide it.

  28. DrLoser wrote, “You have never done this. Not even once.”

    I build new kernels every other week or so and I do type the commands. I can put them in a BASH script if I wanted to do that. I have tweaked the configuration of the kernel to suit several different motherboards around here and some USB thingies.

  29. Kurkosdr says:

    I could envision a server room that used IR as part of the control-system.

    Of course you can envision it, which is why nobody would hire you to design the control-system of a server room.

    Suppose some big outfit has a football-field sized server-room and machine 1245 needs to reboot but is not online for the network.

    What kind of mythical server is that which is not connected to the network, not even to the local LAN or WLAN? What does it do without a network? Process data fed to it from USB drives? Even so, would an IR receiver, which requires complete line of sight, be more preferable to Bluetooth or WiFi? Or Ethernet? Which have an addressing protocol and have a standard way to do a restart and can send back an OK signal unlike a plain IR receiver? Of course not. That IR Blaster is there to receive signals from a remote control from a couch 10 feet across, but if envisioning some non-existent-in-real-life scenario of IR receivers being used in server rooms helps you think this board makes a great server board and that makes you happy, go ahead. That’s the good thing about technology, a piece of technology can objectively suck for the purpose and be subjectively great. I occasionally browse the internet with an ancient HTC EVO 3D which I bought for 40 pounds on ebay (despite owning an SGS3, Nexus 4 and Nexus 5X) because I love the particular Android skin EVO 3D and the way it’s hardware looks. There are even people who browse the net with Amiga OS 4.x because they like a boing ball logo.

    So… why am I picking on you for wanting to use this HTPC board as a server? Which, I repeat, despite sucking objectively for the purpose, it will be subjectively great to you and make you happy? Because I love raining on your parade, you silly boy.

  30. oiaohm says:

    http://git.savannah.gnu.org/gitweb/?p=autoconf.git;a=blob;f=COPYING.EXCEPTION;h=469583528592cd69ac0847803b443849dcc9b1eb;hb=HEAD

    Autotools/Autoconf is one of the most common areas in a license audit to find those making closed source using in ways they should not be. DrLoser so you must like the possibility of a shot gun wedding.

    This is not knowing the topic. http://mesonbuild.com/legal.html meson is used with gnome because it does not have nasty bit of works license. At this point it should come clear why so many projects exist not using that build system that is attempted to be called standard.

  31. oiaohm says:

    Excellent. You can therefore provably substitute Jessie, released in 2015, for Ubuntu 16.04, released in April 2016. Should be a doddle, mate!
    DrLoser most large deployment of debian as desktop will have a mix of testing, stable and prior stable.

    This select a single distribution only is how to run into old hardware not working that use to work.

    “configure/make/make install” chain.
    That is the autotools chain. That is not in fact standard. Its the GNU build system is its other name. Common but not in fact standard due to how many different programs don’t in fact use autotools and use like cmake, Meson and other options instead including the Linux Kernel.

    The Linux kernel does not have configure command bit and has not for a long time. http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/SCSI-2.4-HOWTO/kconfig.html

    This is the reality Linux Kernel is not GNU so does not use the GNU build system. You either place a .config file or use make to build a tool to edit .config file or manually make your own .config file then run make with the Linux kernel.

    So a lot of things you only use make.

  32. DrLoser says:

    Ah, so you’re just here to waste our time.

    Sarcasm, subtlety, and humour — not to mention references to Lily Tomlin, Saturday Night Live, Warhol, and Campbell’s Soup — are all wasted on you, aren’t they, Robert?

    What a sad, wretched, desiccated life you have led for the past ninety years or so.

  33. DrLoser says:

    Scripts? You mean the Makefile? I could write a script, but instead …

    No, Robert. You cannot. You cannot write “a script.” You cannot write “the Makefile.” You cannot write a single component of the standard “configure/make/make install” chain.

    If Debian doesn’t do it for you, you’re as completely lost as, say, the average data entry clerk in Munich, aren’t you?

    You have never done this. Not even once.

    “Linux Geek?” Pah. Go bite the head off a chicken.

    But remember to slowly parboil a frog first.

  34. kurkosdr wrote, “You didn’t really believe I was running all those programs in the background?”

    Ah, so you’re just here to waste our time. Must be a Trumpist. That’s what Trump does, a lot.

  35. DrLoser says:

    Ubuntu GNU/Linux is derived from Debian GNU/Linux.

    Excellent. You can therefore provably substitute Jessie, released in 2015, for Ubuntu 16.04, released in April 2016. Should be a doddle, mate!

    And then you wonder why Munich had so much strife with achieving its aims. Well, wonder no more! By all means, purchase this Cynosure of all ARMs!

    Wipe it, install Debian, rinse and repeat!

    Oh, and do remember to tell us all how sensuous and emotionally fulfilling the experience was.

    We await your thrills, vicariously.

  36. The Wiz wrote, “your periodic running of scripts to spin up the latest version of the Linux Kernel is a a far bigger waste than Mr. K’s or my use of our computers.”

    Scripts? You mean the Makefile? I could write a script but instead I type the commands: umask 0022;make mrproper;rm ../*deb;patch -R -p1 < ../patch-4.4.xx;patch -p1 < ../patch-4.4.yy;make oldconfig; make -j 3 bindeb-pkg;dpkg -i ../linux-image*deb It keeps me in practice. It's not a waste. I get the latest fixes for my kernel. TOOS calls them updates. It helps improve my security because I don't need to wait for Debian to patch their kernel.

  37. The Wiz wrote, “I wouldn’t pay too much attention to anybody who thinks that any computer that does NOT run some heavy duty engineering/scientific calculations and/or not cost less than 6 figures is a real computer being used for real tasks.”

    I know I’m getting old but I can’t parse that sentence. Does it have any meaning? What’s your point? Lots of computers that don’t run heavy computations are real computers, like a recipe database for anyone’s kitchen. I once gave students the task of trying to find out the maximum they could pay Dell for a PC configured on their site. It got to over $100K but it was a real computer long before that. The first real computer I ever saw/touched was an IBM 1620, a machine with 40 digits memory capacity about the speed of early pocket calculators, that cost ~$1million. It was a real computer just as pocket calculators are real computers. I was intensely aware of some of Intel’s early offerings. They weren’t real computers because they needed external memory, system controllers, clocks and stuff off-chip, but you could assemble them into real computers for ~$1K or so. I’ve also seen rooms full of mainframes or racks of servers. They are all computers that could be useful for certain tasks but not others.

  38. Dylan, wrote, “The fact that the board has a built-in IR remote receiver pretty much shows its main focus is HTPCs rather than servers.”

    That’s like saying some humongous server is designed to be an HTPC because it runs on 120VAC and has a NEMA 5-15 line cord. I could envision a server room that used IR as part of the control-system. Suppose some big outfit has a football-field sized server-room and machine 1245 needs to reboot but is not online for the network. The IR interface could save steps. You would need a protocol that allows addressing and it works.

  39. DrLoser wrote, “doesn’t seem to support Debian, out of the box”.

    Ubuntu GNU/Linux is derived from Debian GNU/Linux. I can make any machine run either. It’s just a matter of the kernel usually and I can compile kernels or copy them. It’s all the same.

  40. Ivan says:

    Tell that to the people who preordered their Ryzen CPU

    The people that pre-order anything from AMD get the giant heaping over-priced pile of shit they deserve.

  41. DrLoser says:

    I assume you are willing to upgrade to Ubuntu 16.x, Robert?

    Because the FireFlop doesn’t seem to support Debian, out of the box.

    Never mind. We all look forwards to sometime around August or so when you suddenly realise that this thing is never going to be delivered, a la Cello.

    Or, even more hilariously, when you waste $239 on it and realise that it is totally unusable.

  42. Dylan says:

    The fact that the board has a built-in IR remote receiver pretty much shows its main focus is HTPCs rather than servers.

  43. Wizard Emeritus says:

    make that…

    “As far as Mr. R is concerned, I wouldn’t pay too much attention to anybody who thinks that any computer that does NOT run some heavy duty engineering/scientific calculations and/or not cost less than 6 figures is a real computer being used for real tasks.

  44. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “Pogson, this is Humour… Humor, meet Pogson. ”

    Robert Pogson is dead serious about his beliefs, Mr. K. as they are what he judges others by.

    As far as Mr. R is concerned, I wouldn’t pay too much attention to anybody who thinks that any computer that does run some heavy duty engineering/scientific calculations and/or not cost less than 6 figures is a real computer

  45. Wizard Emeritus says:

    ““Need for Speed”? Isn’t that a waste? Why have it “running in the background”? That’s pure waste, just heating up cores.”

    And yet I can have a large musical composition being rendered into sound in the background while I flip into my web browser to write this. Is THAT a waste? More importantly, where do you get to define what is a waste and what is not.

    If you wish to talk about waste, your periodic running of scripts to spin up the latest version of the Linux Kernel is a a far bigger waste than Mr. K’s or my use of our computers.

  46. kurkosdr says:

    “Need for Speed”? Isn’t that a waste? Why have it “running in the background”? That’s pure waste, just heating up cores.

    Pogson, this is Humour… Humor, meet Pogson.

    You didn’t really believe I was running all those programs in the background?

    It was an humorous answer to the moronic “big typewriter” comment.

  47. “I got distracted by Adobe Premiere, Cyberlink PowerDirector and Need For Speed I have running in the background.”

    “Need for Speed”? Isn’t that a waste? Why have it “running in the background”? That’s pure waste, just heating up cores.

  48. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “By all means if you want to waste energy buy the biggest machine you can find. ”

    How do we get from software to “Wasting” energy, Robert Pogson?

  49. kurkosdr says:

    hardware(dot)slashdot(dot)org/story/17/02/27/1411210/intel-reacts-to-amd-ryzen-apparently-cutting-prices-on-core-i7-and-i5-processors

    …aaand it looks like what was needed to convince Intel to bring down their inflated prices was some competitive x86 ship (aka a competitive drop-in replacement product), not ARMed unicorns and small-cheap-incompatible-with-existing-proprietary-desktop-apps-computers that would require users to retool part of their software library. Who would have thought that?

    It makes you wonder what the course of history would have been if all the effort and money companies like Mandriva, Novell and Xandors wasted onto Linux had been put to make a functional clone of Windows 95. A proprietary fucntional clone of Windows 95 sold at half the price.

    But that’s crazy talk, I know…

  50. dougman wrote, “Its not you, never was, it’s about Trudope ramming taxes down every Canadian citizens throat.”

    Nonsense. I’ve been interested in renewable energy and EVs long before I ever heard of a tax on carbon. At the very least I’ve considered ICE very inefficient for decades. I was familiar with electrical technology since the 1960s and I studied thermodynamics and nuclear physics about 1970. I’ve experienced oil-prices as low as $1.50/bbl. Governments heavily subsidized ICEs with roads and they recouped that with taxes on gasoline and insurance. Now, it’s time to do that with EVs and renewable energy.

  51. dougman says:

    With Canada’s implementation of carbon taxes, the notion of you “At some point, everyone chooses something that fits their needs more or less. I choose just enough.” is hilarious. Its not you, never was, it’s about Trudope ramming taxes down every Canadian citizens throat. You are being forced – coerced into making lifestyle changes. Next will be sugar and beef taxes.

  52. Kurkosdr wrote, “I got distracted by Adobe Premiere, Cyberlink PowerDirector and Need For Speed I have running in the background.”

    By all means if you want to waste energy buy the biggest machine you can find. Heck get ten of them or you could just turn on the stove and clothes drier and let them run all day long. At some point, everyone chooses something that fits their needs more or less. I choose just enough. It’s less expensive, probably more durable, and I don’t have to contribute as much to the pensions of rich people who don’t need my money in any case. Greed v need. I choose need. It has the added benefit that I can buy toys for all of my various passions, not just IT.

  53. Kurkosdr says:

    The small percentage of “computers” running some Microsoft application as basically a big typewriter, is tiny in terms of hardware usage and has requires little in the way of performance.

    Come again? I got distracted by Adobe Premiere, Cyberlink PowerDirector and Need For Speed I have running in the background.

  54. ram says:

    “AMD just announced a Ryzen variant at 65W (the R7 1700), and it pairs with real motherboard with tons of RAM expandability and many slots…”

    It does look interesting.

    I don’t know what the issue some people have over licensing and cross licensing is. Admittedly the present patent system is absurd, but the semiconductor manufacturers have managed to come to some kind of truce. Regardless of architecture – x86, AMD64, or ARM, ALL modern chips are based on fin-FET technology which is cross-licensed (at least) among Intel, AMD, and NVidia. All the new stuff is DESIGNED for Linux, OPTIMIZED for Linux, as the vast bulk of the market is (at the small end) Android devices (phones, tablets, TV’s …) and (at the large end) servers and clusters of servers. Most professional workstations are also Linux based. The small percentage of “computers” running some Microsoft application as basically a big typewriter, is tiny in terms of hardware usage and has requires little in the way of performance.

  55. Kurkosdr wrote, “when your RAM headroom is consumed (only 700MB headroom and no expandability? Meh)”

    What does 16gB RAM mean to you?

    Beast has 4 cores X 2.5gHz. It averages ~3% when I’m using it. TLW leaves lots of pages dancing in the browser so she gets it a little higher. The only time it’s strained is when I build kernels and I can throttle that as needed by “make -j N”. So, I could use a little less CPU if I have more storage and RAM. These other gadgets are ~4-8 X 2gHz, plenty. If I do need more in the future, I can buy a second unit when the price/performance improves. No need to lock myself into something I don’t want now. The only likely need for more CPU power would be video editing and I’m a bit old for that. I might make one more video of my travels with the Solo. No need to buy new machinery for a one time job.

  56. Kurkosdr says:

    I could get a newer CPU to use less power for sure, but then I can get less than that power for the whole ARMed system as the AMD CPU uses by itself.

    AMD just announced a Ryzen variant at 65W (the R7 1700), and it pairs with real motherboard with tons of RAM expandability and many slots, unlike the little board you are about to buy, which will will force you into a smartphone-like upgrade cycle (aka every 2-3 years) when your RAM headroom is consumed (only 700MB headroom and no expandability? Meh) or when you discover you need more CPU power. In plain English: The little ARM board covers your needs now plus a little headroom, AMD will cover you for another decade.

    I understand being disenfranchised with x86 the latest years, with Intel tweaking and repackaging practically the same basic core design and slapping a new (higher) sticker price on the chip, and AMD failing with Bulldozer (with their “terrific” idea to use 1-core-plus-half-core clusters, which barely beat a hyperthreaded core in multithreaded tasks and failed elsewhere), but you are about to exit x86 just when it’s getting interesting.

  57. The Wiz wrote, “I am sure, My dear Doctor, that the combination of resources that Robert Pogson needs to combine both his and his wife’s computing needs on a single ARM board simply is not available at the price point that Robert Pogson thinks that it should be.”

    Why is 16gB, 4-8 cores running at ~2gHz, few SATA, and two gigabit/s NICs not enough for me at a cost of $few hundred? I know my needs and Cello or Armada boards would do if the guys would just sell them.

  58. The Wiz wrote, “When are you going to spring for this…”.

    Not this year. I’m budgeting for the electric car next year. Perhaps in 2018 if these smaller units don’t come to fruition. I have a 19″ rack here. It’s mostly empty except switches. I’m sure that unit is a little noisey with high speed fans. I’d prefer to go fanless or with quiet fans. It would certainly make it easier to have enough RAM. 😉 I could go earlier if my stock portfolio grows this summer.

  59. kurkosdr wrote, “AMD’s Ryzen”.

    I used to buy AMD exclusively. It’s a decent company with good products. Beast’s CPU is from AMD. However the architecture is inefficient. Beast’s CPU runs 95W TDP. I could get a newer CPU to use less power for sure, but then I can get less than that power for the whole ARMed system as the AMD CPU uses by itself. You just can’t heat billions of transistors for just a few watts.

    At any given resolution, ARM is quite competitive and anything beyond current smartphone CPUs is about right for what I want. Some of them have 10 cores but they mostly have two or three different types of cores and shift loads amongst the types to suit the workload. I want to do some serious parallel processing. You need bigger caches and more RAM and storage to do what I want. The technology is available. It’s just hard to get it all in one package so far.

    There are lots of TV boxes, for instance, that would do except they only have no 1000base-T, one hard drive and run Android/Linux in 2gB. I want more, a few times more. It will happen. The “developer”/”micro-server” boards are getting very close. Cello would have worked but the twits could not deliver for whatever reason. Something else will come along. In the meantime, I might buy AMD again if there was a meltdown here, but not otherwise. Beast just keeps ticking but it’s motherboard is on the second edition. The chip seems more durable than the motherboard.

  60. DrLoser wrote, “TLW is in the business of being in business and of earning money.”

    As I’ve explained before, TLW is pre-retirement. She does most of her business on the Odroid-C2 in her office. The notebook is almost entirely used for pleasure/communication/browsing as she uses it in my recliner or her bed mostly. She’s away at the moment and didn’t take it with her. For serious mobile work she uses a smartphone. For serious work at home she uses the Odroid-C2. She could use the notebook but her desk is already cluttered with papers so there’s no room for it most of the time. It’s too big and unnecessary. With Odroid-C2 she has her desk, wireless keyboard and mouse, wide-screen TV, MFP, and her filing cabinets and landline. Best tool for the job and all that…

  61. DrLoser wrote, “you want a cheap “micro-server” which is nothing much more than a NAS.”

    Well, Beast is running over 200 processes (223) as I type. That’s a little more than NAS: DHCP, router, database, indexing, HTTP, NFS, netfilter, and a bunch of desktop applications. Free memory out of 4gB is only 700mB. It’s not that busy but it is a diverse environment. Total storage is 2.7 TB (500MB of databases) and and I want more… Beast has downloaded 1.6TB from the web in the last month… Beast has custom-built 7 kernels in the last month (6 for Beast and one for that pesky notebook). What NAS does all that? The CPU is a decade old but sufficiently powerful for our needs. An ARMed replacement is easy.

  62. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “Facts not in evidence.”

    My Dear Doctor, ARM servers are indeed selling. My question to Robert Pogson is:

    When are you going to spring for this…

    http://www.nextwarehouse.com/item/?2465022_g10e

  63. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “Are you sure about that, Wiz? Because I’m coming to the conclusion that a $250 board based on mobile tech almost certainly does have sufficient resources.”

    I am sure, My dear Doctor, that the combination of resources that Robert Pogson needs to combine both his and his wife’s computing needs on a single ARM board simply is not available at the price point that Robert Pogson thinks that it should be.

  64. DrLoser wrote, “something that doesn’t actually sell at all”.

    Facts not in evidence.
    “Net revenue in the fourth quarter of 2016 was $226.2 million, a 34.5% sequential increase from the $168.1 million reported in the third quarter of 2016 and 124.0% from the $100.9 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2015.”

    See Cavium Announces Financial Results for Q4 2016

    “Gigabyte has developed and is already shipping a range of Cavium ThunderX based server products to customers in US, Europe and Asia,” said, Alex Liu, Head of Product Marketing, GIGABYTE. “Our comprehensive portfolio of ThunderX-based systems is available for order and a number of customers have received production units. We are seeing strong demand for these ARM-based platforms – especially from cloud service providers. The ThunderX2 represents a leap ahead in terms of overall performance and connectivity, which allows it to address demanding next generation data center workloads such as real time analytics and deep learning. Gigabyte will continue to partner with Cavium on ThunderX2 platforms.”

    See Cavium Announces ThunderX2™

  65. Kurkosdr says:

    However, they are not good enough for Pogsey. Pogsey has higher computing standards then Google, while Pogsey waits for the unicorn ARM board that never arrives, Google builds countless server farms for a far less cost then what Pogsey expects to pay.

    Pog likes ARM because:

    1) x86 underpins the win32 ecosystem and hence is an enemy of FOSS

    2) he thinks the ARM architecture is on the verge of making computing power ever-more-affordable despite the fact there is a duopoly on ARM cores and hence those two companies have the ultimate say on how much an ARM SoC will cost (because SoCs need cores, duh)

    All of Pog’s ARM board choices (the one that actually ship anyway) are worse value for money that competitive x86 offerings. But you see, Pog thinks ARM will make his computing dirt chip and has an obligation to support them. He is yet another doofus who thinks that just because ARM allows MediaTek to reuse old cores, ARM is cheap computing. It’s not, especially when value for money is considered.

  66. dougman says:

    If AMD and Intel is good enough for Google, they are good enough for me. However, they are not good enough for Pogsey. Pogsey has higher computing standards then Google, while Pogsey waits for the unicorn ARM board that never arrives, Google builds countless server farms for a far less cost then what Pogsey expects to pay.

  67. DrLoser says:

    As far as “servers” go, Robert, and in your own completely inadequate units of measurement —

    Wintel out-sells ARM in units sold by a country mile.

    Interestingly, so would Debian/i86.

    It’s difficult not to outsell something that doesn’t actually sell at all.

  68. DrLoser says:

    They also outsell Wintel in units shipped by many miles. I like that.

    Interesting choice of unit measurement.

    Now, let us consider the matter at hand — servers. In which category I shall include “micro-servers,” a subject correctly brought up by Kurks; “data center servers,” where ARM seems to have some sort of purchase because most of the work done in Google, Bing, Azure, Facebook, etc servers is basically Map Reduce and can take advantage of massively distributed high parallelism; and Robotics.

    I don’t think you’re looking to buy a Robotics server here, Robert, but those are a big part of ARM plans going forward. And I don’t really think that the data center model is going to work for you.

    Just admit it: you want a cheap “micro-server” which is nothing much more than a NAS.

    Nothing wrong with admitting to your paltry requirements. Chuckle. It’s all good.

  69. DrLoser says:

    Of course, it doesn’t have the resources to allow you to serve both yours and the wife’s computing needs with a single cheap piece of hardware – None of the hardware in this portion of the ARM market does…

    Are you sure about that, Wiz? Because I’m coming to the conclusion that a $250 board based on mobile tech almost certainly does have sufficient resources.

    Robert blathers on about cores and RAM and wattage and so on, but let’s face it, his needs are primitive. Spin up the latest point version of the kernel every week or so, maintain a recipe database, and so on. Provided the thing has a capable IP pipe of enough heft, he can also manage this site, which seems to me to be his only real “server” requirement.

    And of course TLW will continue to use her Intel gear, because, let’s face it, TLW is in the business of being in business and of earning money.

    Whereas Robert is simply in the business of ignorant bloviating. I think this kit will do him proud.

  70. kurkosdr says:

    ARM calls Cortex A-72, server-class.

    The A-72 might be (micro)server class, but the particular board isn’t server class, but if by “server class” you mean forcing TLW to share the resources of the board with you, then I suppose by that definition, the board is “server class”.

    I hate x86 because it’s run by a monopoly

    Are you still pretending AMD’s Ryzen doesn’t exist? Are you pretending that VIA’s C4650 doesn’t exist? Are you pretending that Transmeta, Cyrix, National Semiconductor, NexGen and IDT never existed? There used to be several companies making x86 CPUs, they just got eliminated by heavy competition from AMD and Intel. VIA is about to face the same fate btw. Both x86 and ARM are served by a duopoly when it comes to cores. In the x86 world it’s Intel cores vs AMD cores with some VIA on the side. In the ARM world it’s ARM cores vs Qualcomm cores and everybody else practically out of business. The SoC business of the ARM world is not much better, as you have Qualcomm Snapdragon and Samsung Exynos in the high-end, and everybody else being a niche player. There is of course MediaTek as the “value” vendor with its updated-never drivers, but it’s a niche player. It’s basically a two-horse race between Qualcomm SoCs and Samsung Exynos. The cake is a lie Pog.

    and because it is over-priced and inefficient.
    Tell that to the people who preordered their Ryzen CPUs, and are getting workstation-class performance for 300 hundred bucks or so. Most technology enthusiasts aren’t cheapskates and are willing to pay a hunder dollars more in order to have some serious grunt under the hood to do amazing things (3D rendering and hi-res video editing). Now, about those Nexus 5 customers who bought a premium Qualcomm SoC only to see driver support go poof in such a sort time… what do you have to say Pog? And to think Qualcomm is the vendor that is “best” when it comes to updating drivers in the ARM world…

    ARM, OTOH, does not sell chips directly and lets the market decide the price of chips.

    And the market has decided to turn the whole thing into a two-horse race between Samsung and Qualcomm.

    Now Pog, I ‘ve got to give ARM credit for licensing the cores and allowing niche players like Mediatek and Rockchip to survive, but in the grand scheme of things, those vendors are irrelevant.

    The world isn’t going to abandon x86 with all it’s win32 apps, OS X apps, and high performance because Intel is an evil empire and doesn’t license the cores, especially when they have a second vendor to chose from. The current system works as long as you are not a senile old man whining about patent licensing legalese nobody cares about.

  71. Kurkosdr wrote, “It is because FOSSies know that x86 enables the rich win32 ecosystem, a major Windows advantage.”

    Nonsense. I hate x86 because it’s run by a monopoly and because it is over-priced and inefficient. ARM, OTOH, does not sell chips directly and lets the market decide the price of chips. I like that. They are allowed to have secrets. I have no problem with that. Patents on re-invented wheels, not so much. Still they are the slightest of evils compared to Wintel. They also outsell Wintel in units shipped by many miles. I like that.

  72. The Wiz wrote, “THEY ARE NOT BEING SIZED OR MARKETED AS SERVERS!!!”

    ARM calls Cortex A-72, server-class. Ditto A-57,A-53. Anything can be server-class but when you hang multiple gigabit NICs and SATA on something with a bit of RAM it can certainly serve stuff. The only question is how much can it serve. I only need a little served so they will do fine. The problem seems to be getting them to market which is hard for everyone, especially little guys. Marvell is not a little guy. They can do it. They outsource the chip. They are making money although I would not buy the stock based on SEC filings and current share-prices. My Marvell SATA controller on Beast is working perfectly.

    “Marvell Technology Group, Limited, is a producer of storage, communications and consumer semiconductor products. The company was founded in 1995 and has approximately 7,000 employees.[3] Marvell’s U.S. operating headquarters is located in Santa Clara, California, and the company operates design centers in places including Canada, Europe, Israel, India, Singapore and China.[4] Marvell is a “fabless” manufacturer of semiconductors (meaning that it is active entirely in core competencies of engineering and design, with the actual manufacturing outsourced to contract manufacturers in lower-cost emerging markets) that ships more than one billion integrated circuits (known as “chips”) per year. Its market segments include the enterprise, cloud, automotive, industrial and consumer markets.”

  73. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “For $239 or with the optional huge (128gB) emmc card, this would make a wonderful fat or thin client for TLW or myself, but as the server, it’s still a bit thin.”

    Thats because it isn’t being marketed as a server Robert Pogson. In fact with 4Gb of RAM it may even be “over” provisioned memory-wise for the market that it targets.

    Of course, it doesn’t have the resources to allow you to serve both yours and the wife’s computing needs with a single cheap piece of hardware – None of the hardware in this portion of the ARM market does, because

    THEY ARE NOT BEING SIZED OR MARKETED AS SERVERS!!!

  74. kurkosdr says:

    Also, gotta love Pog’s affection with ARM, considering it is a:

    1) Proprietary, patented architecture.

    2) There is a duopoply between ARM and Qualcomm for cores, not entirely unlike the AMD and Intel duopoly.

    But you see, FOSSies always had the “destroy x86” dream, aka the hope that if somehow x86 was made irrelevant, the app advantage of Windows would become moot, and we ‘d be happily using Java, the Clouds (HTML5+JS) or whatever the universal platform of the decade is for everything.

    The affection FOSSies have with “anything but x86” is not because of “evil Intel” (Qualcomm is even more evil, they refused to provide drivers to make the Nexus 5 work with Android Nougat, while Intel supports their SoCs for a very long time) and it is not because of “evil propietary patented x86” either. It is because FOSSies know that x86 enables the rich win32 ecosystem, a major Windows advantage. So, people should have less just so Windows doesn’t have an advantage over Desktop Linux.

  75. kurkosdr says:

    Meanwhile in new more powerful computer land:

    Please please let this be true. Even though it will only apply to desktop computers. AMD doesn’t have a plan for laptops, and Intel has such a stronghold in laptops that AMD have no chance there anyway. But even if it’s just for the desktops, it will pressure Intel to develop a whole new core instead of tweaking and repackaging, and some of it will trickle down to laptops.

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