Linux Consolidates Support For Beast IV

See [PATCH v5 11/12] arm64: dts: marvell: add sdhci support for Armada 7K/8KIt’s great to see that Marvell’s ARMed stuff is being pushed upstream to Kernel.org to support their new product which should be available soon to power ARM64 developers and guys for a need for a small server, like me. 😉

My new server which will have the designation, “Beast IV”, will deviate from a long line of AMD products (Athlon, Athlon 64 single core, Athlon 64 quad-core) to an ARM-based developer board from Marvell, the ARMADA 8040 Networking Community Board. It will have sufficient power and resources to run a few hundred processes: my desktop, my NAS, my web-server, my databases, and network infrastructure from the ISP to my LAN. It may not be the most powerful Beast ever but it will use half the power of Beast III and use the later DDR4 with ECC, USB3 and SATA3 technology at half the nanometres. The motherboard has multiple gigabit/s+ NICs too. Apart from still needing a fan to keep cool, it’s nearly perfect for my needs and (at my age) may well be the last motherboard I ever buy.

Shipping soon, I hope… 😉

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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17 Responses to Linux Consolidates Support For Beast IV

  1. Deaf Spy wrote, “People work, you get is for free, what’s more fair than that?”

    You forget that the folks who tweak the drivers/firmware also get their products/services out to the market and they get use of all of */Linux for $free. That’s quite a bargain, say ~$50 per unit coming their way for nothing.

    Also, “why the warranty is only two weeks?”

    I repeat. The warranty is on the transaction. Does the customer get a working unit? Is the customer happy? Deal is done! Lots of warranties have a 30-day clause where returns are readily accepted and so forth. Folks who buy these things are price-sensitive. If they don’t pay for a 5 year warranty they are happy. I’m happy. Stuff works.

  2. Deaf Spy says:

    It’s perfectly fair

    Of course. People work, you get is for free, what’s more fair than that?

    You can’t spread FUD successfully for something so clear and simple.

    Then why the warranty is only two weeks?

  3. Deaf Spy wrote, “Once again you expect someone else to get the hard dirty work and you get it for free. But, once again you fail to understand that “similar” doesn’t equal “works for all”. Finally, a kernel fix may not always fix a firmware issue.”

    That’s the wrong calculus. Everyone gets all the kernel’s code to use. Everyone gets all the tweaks. It’s perfectly fair. If the firmware works on day one, it’s quite likely to work indefinitely. The firmware for this gadget had better work if the makers want to sell gadgets. It’s pretty simple. You can’t spread FUD successfully for something so clear and simple.

  4. Deaf Spy says:

    Let’s say all the tweaks are sent upstream to kernel.org and a bunch of the kernel boys and girls actually use similar units.

    Once again you expect someone else to get the hard dirty work and you get it for free. But, once again you fail to understand that “similar” doesn’t equal “works for all”. Finally, a kernel fix may not always fix a firmware issue.

  5. dougman wrote, “Pogsey, you travel a lonely road with your way of thinking.”

    It’s OK. I’m Canadian. We have space and we don’t go crazy rattling around in it. I’ve been in places so remote the next human habitation might have been 50 miles away. It’s all good. One learns to be self-sufficient and resourceful.

  6. dougman says:

    “OK, suppose the thing fails under warranty. Am I going to wait for them to make another and ship it to me from China?”

    Amazon Prime is two-days, if you pay a few dollars more you can get it next day. My NAS boards are Supermicro – X9SCL/X9SCM using an Intel i3 processor. Amazon and Newegg have both in-stock. I rather just purchase a new board. China can kiss my ass.

    Pogsey, you travel a lonely road with your way of thinking.

  7. dougman wrote, “To use such such a statement, arms akimbo to reinforce your position that “warranties are worthless” is ludicrous at best.”

    OK, suppose the thing fails under warranty. Am I going to wait for them to make another and ship it to me from China? We’re talking weeks of no service. TLW would not accept that. I would replace the functionality more or less the same day or I might be deprecated. The warranty is useless to me. It accomplishes nothing to the goal of keeping IT working here. Some warranties ask for a transaction to permit shipment back to the maker at the maker’s expense. With couriers the to and fro could take a week. I would not expect that kind of service from this maker so my expense might be ~$100 for freight/customs clearance/taxes if not more. Then I might have to get off my butt and visit Canada Customs to expedite matters. No way I’m going to do that for one small part. Further, if the thing proved unreliable in this way, why on Earth would I want it back in my system?

    You guys are pitiful. You have no idea what matters in the real world. All that matters is that stuff works. I can do that. I can do that for the least cost or for freedom from Wintel. It’s all good and not your business.

  8. dougman says:

    “Warranties are almost worthless for folks used to living at remote fly-in places as I have.”

    Pogsey, you are failing to comprehend that the majority of the civilized world does NOT live in remote fly-in places. To use such such a statement, arms akimbo to reinforce your position that “warranties are worthless” is ludicrous at best.

  9. DrLoser wrote, “let’s say you need a firmware upgrade for a “product” with a designed lifetime of two weeks.”

    Let’s not say that. Let’s say all the tweaks are sent upstream to kernel.org and a bunch of the kernel boys and girls actually use similar units. I’m fixed for years to come. In my whole life I’ve only updated firmware out of tree once or twice. Once for a router, I think, the one that today is too slow for my ISP. No amount of new firmware will fix that. Another time it was for one of the TVs. The maker took care of that. I don’t know what it was about. I don’t think I’ve ever reflashed a motherboard and these embedded thingies keep the firmware on the same device as the software so it’s quite accessible. No special tools needed. I don’t think any of the manufacturers are hostile to Linux/FLOSS because most of their users use Linux also, so it’s in their interest to keep kernel.org appraised. In a few years the product may be deprecated but it may take years more for kernel.org to lose the firmware. I’m OK with that. I don’t need more players in my IT. I like to keep it simple.

  10. DrLoser wrote, “You are buying, for want of a better word, a “product” built by somebody who doesn’t actually believe the thing will survive being taken out of the box.”

    Clearly, the warranty is on the transaction, not the unit. Both parties of the transaction care about mutual satisfaction. After that, the maker is planning to move on to new products and the buyer may well do that too. I plan on keeping my unit doing its limited and well-defined role for many years and I don’t need a warranty to make that plan. If it should fail, I can always get something else. It’s not a risk that I care about. I’m old. I could die of stroke/heart-attack any time. When I’m gone no one is going to worry about a warranty I did not obtain on equipment that just sits there mildly warm doing its job. I can afford the risk of the thing being DOA even. It’s not that huge a sum and I have a steady income from my pension whether I work or not or whether the device still works. I just don’t care about that. If I were more concerned I could buy several and lash them up in an automatic fail-over cluster. I’m not going to do that.

  11. DrLoser says:

    I personally would have serious problems with a vendor who only gave a 14 day warranty on a multi hundred dollar purchase.

    Well, that is because you are rich beyond the wildest dreams of Pog, Wiz.

    There are degenerate alcoholics on their last legs out there on the mean streets of Harare, surviving on less than $2 a day and a diet of liquidized boot polish, who would have serious problems with that sort of warranty on a can of boot polish.

    But then again, those people don’t typically slowly parboil frogs to keep themselves sane. Perhaps they should follow Robert’s example.

  12. DrLoser says:

    In re the wise comments by both Dougie and the Wiz (an interesting concordance, I think): let’s talk cost/benefit.

    You can’t really get away with cost/benefit on this one, Robert. You typically resort to what is effectively a division by zero — which is to say, if the cost is zero, the cost/benefit doesn’t matter. (And you ignore the fact that the cost is never zero, but that is extrinsic to the present case.)

    As the Two Wise Men have pointed out here, there is a clear cost to buying a motherboard with a two week warranty. Let us examine this cost in two parts:

    1) In fifteen days, you are potentially screwed. The cost of this potential screwage is whatever you paid for the thing in the first place. That is major screwage. A three year amortization period doesn”t even come close.

    2) You are buying, for want of a better word, a “product” built by somebody who doesn’t actually believe the thing will survive being taken out of the box. Obviously. The warranty is quite clear about this. But, let’s say the “product” does survive. For, say, six months.

    Goody. Now, let’s say you need a firmware upgrade for a “product” with a designed lifetime of two weeks.

    Oops, SOOL. I so enjoy watching an abject miser doing what he does best.

  13. The Wiz wrote, “I personally would have serious problems with a vendor who only gave a 14 day warranty on a multi hundred dollar purchase.”

    Warranties are almost worthless for folks used to living at remote fly-in places as I have. Buying a $300 board is a risk but of all the failure modes possible I can’t think of any that would happen on day 14 and not on day 3. MTBF of lots of stuff like this is hundreds of thousands of hours. It doesn’t get hot. It doesn’t move. It just sits there conducting electricity. Would you worry about a warranty on a painting, a set of China, or a hammer? I wouldn’t. That’s the last thing I would consider for such items. Price/performance is about all that matters to me.

    Another thing… If this thing did die too soon, what are the odds that replacing it is the last thing you want to do? I would want to buy the latest/greatest thing on the market, move over my network and storage and reboot. It is a concern that Beast IV will be a key element of my system but it’s not critical. If it were to fail, I could shift TLW’s files to a local file system on some other device, use a different router (which arrives this week), and carry on without some of the less-essential services until it’s replaced. I have more flexibility than someone in business or with a gazillion users hanging on my every effort. TLW is my main customer. If she’s happy, I’m OK. She just needs her files and Internet access.

  14. DrLoser says:

    Bye bye, Cello, we hardly knew thee.
    Though, of course, there has been a considerable amount of bleating over the last … what was it … eighteen months?

  15. Wizard Emeritus says:

    Robert Pogson, if the motherboards infant mortality date happens to be on day 15 of its use, without a warranty you are at the mercy of the vendor, which more often than not leaves you SOL. I personally would have serious problems with a vendor who only gave a 14 day warranty on a multi hundred dollar purchase.

  16. dougman wrote, “Most motherboards I have found, retain a three-year warranty. Why would you build a server with such a board? You’re an IDIOT!”

    Ever heard of infant mortality? That’s the most likely failure mode of such a motherboard, some defect in manufacture that shows itself in shipment or thermal cycling. I’ve rarely had any such device fail for years afterwards if it wasn’t DOA. I’m not an idiot for making a choice based on other priorities. I often don’t even ask for a refund on failed equipment simply because the cost of the transaction and freight may be more expensive than the part. I accept that the world is not perfect and that things fail. It’s not in anyone’s interest to ship unreliable stuff. That’s good enough assurance for me.

  17. dougman says:

    Regarding the Armada board. Are you kidding me?…two-week warranty??

    https://www.solid-run.com/terms-conditions/

    Most motherboards I have found, retain a three-year warranty. Why would you build a server with such a board? You’re an IDIOT!

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