Quoting bunnie’s forum post:
It’s not quite got the specs to make a decent laptop — it’s missing graphics and SATA. The effective performance of a system built around this would feel much more sluggish than a Novena, which means it’ll be tough to use on a daily basis for productivity work. It does have tagged memory and minion cores, which means it’ll be great for security and some types of I/O; but there is no integrated Ethernet controller, so application in network stacks is limited. It is also going to be the first open-to-the-RTL processor you can buy, so maybe despite the limitations some people would prefer to use it as a primary computing solution, but wondering if there aren’t other niches this can occupy.
IEEE Spectrum has a nice story on the Novena, by Bunnie Studios, an Open Source Hardware-based laptop. The article itself is co-written by Andrew “bunnie” Huang, and Sean Cross!
OEMs, take note: we want more devices like this!!!!
One problem with being a small hardware vendor is keeping supply in stock. Bunnie Studios’s Novena, or Purism’s Librem, or Inverse Path’s USB Amoury, all IMO 3 leaders of the Open Hardware movement, are all currently in stock, or are restocking, or have a few left. Novena has a handful of laptops remaining, Librem v2 has a few days remaining for current funding program, and USB Armory is getting restocked. To paraphrase an open source term, for open hardware use: “Buy early, buy often.” 🙂
Crowd Supply, the crowfunding platform for Open Hardware OEMs, was blessed this week by RMS and the FSF. Crowd Supply has helped new hardware startups and “Micro OEMs” like Bunnie Studios’ Novena, Purism’s Librem, and Inverse Path’s USB Armory.
“The FSF has selected Crowd Supply as its preferred crowdfunding platform, and will recommend Crowd Supply to hardware and software creators looking to crowdfund, sell or purchase products online. And third, Crowd Supply and the FSF will work together to promote and launch new software and hardware products that adhere to FSF’s guiding principles, with the first project to be announced soon.”
I am *VERY* eager to see more startups creating Open Hardware-based systems! I am looking forward to a few years from now when RISC-V-based devices start showing up on CrowdSupply…!
Going further, the FSF and Linux Foundation need to proactively start building the missing components, not waiting for Intel/ARM and OEMs to create Open Hardware, there’s little motivation for them to change their ways and their IP policies. The FSF needs to — first define, then… — fund Free Hardware, if they’re going in a separate direction from OSHWA’s Open Hardware. Personally, I wish the FSF would partner with OSHWA and focus on Open Hardware, instead of splintering the few non-closed hardware resources/efforts/funds.
Earlier this week, bunnie Huang, creator of Bunnie Studios and the open hardware-based Novena system, created a video on YouTube that helps remind people about how closed phone-based computers are, how little options consumers have, and the need for more openly-available (unlocked), Open Source Hardware, firmware, and software options, for the community to be able to drive things, not just a handful of corporations.
“The phone lies at the foundation of 21st century human (and non-human) communication, and shapes these exchanges for the hand, for the eye, and in the mind. The video was created by bunnie huang and Kevin Slavin.