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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 6:22 am 
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Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:58 pm

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Roma, ITALIA
Hercules, a subsidiary of Guillemot Corporation, announced two new eCAFÉ netbooks based on Freescale i.MX515 @ 800 Mhz (ARM Cortex A8) that run a custom Linux distribution and feature a dipswitch for flipping to other user-loaded Linux or Android operating systems:

http://www.cnx-software.com/2011/04/01/ ... ing-linux/


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:32 am 
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Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:48 pm

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ppc.addon wrote:
Hercules, a subsidiary of Guillemot Corporation, announced two new eCAFÉ netbooks based on Freescale i.MX515 @ 800 Mhz (ARM Cortex A8) that run a custom Linux distribution and feature a dipswitch for flipping to other user-loaded Linux or Android operating systems:


I read about these several weeks ago. I much prefer the look of the Smartbook, even though the Hercules netbooks have an ethernet port and HDMI out.

What I would like to know is if they actually have a working and decently-performing accelerated graphics stack. They're using basically the same exact hardware as Genesi, and look to be running an Ubuntu derivative.

The lack of usable video acceleration is one of the Smartbook's few sore spots, considering what the hardware is capable of.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:57 pm 
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Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:11 am

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To me it looks already dead, because they don't have a target market.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:58 pm 
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Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:48 pm

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johnson wrote:
To me it looks already dead, because they don't have a target market.


On what do you base this assertion? It seems pretty clear that their target market is users that need a machine capable of light internet browsing and audio/video playing.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:09 pm 
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Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:11 am

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niemau wrote:
johnson wrote:
To me it looks already dead, because they don't have a target market.


On what do you base this assertion? It seems pretty clear that their target market is users that need a machine capable of light internet browsing and audio/video playing.


keyboard is not accessible - this rules out daily usage
no community (page) - this rules out usage as a test platform

And the necessary repositories for drivers and kernel images don't exist either. Or any way to recover from a botched system.

I could write about a lot of other things, but there are just too many problems for too few usages and the ones I listed are already deadly.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 3:04 am 
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Fri Sep 24, 2004 1:39 am

78

Central Europe
johnson wrote:
keyboard is not accessible - this rules out daily usage
no community (page) - this rules out usage as a test platform

And the necessary repositories for drivers and kernel images don't exist either. Or any way to recover from a botched system.


Unlike the Efika MX Smartbook, these products are currently not available. It is entirely possible that, except for the keyboard, the listed issues will be addressed until you can actually buy them.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:52 am 
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Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:48 pm

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johnson wrote:
keyboard is not accessible - this rules out daily usage
no community (page) - this rules out usage as a test platform

And the necessary repositories for drivers and kernel images don't exist either. Or any way to recover from a botched system.

I could write about a lot of other things, but there are just too many problems for too few usages and the ones I listed are already deadly.


I agree regarding that keyboard. It's pretty much a trainwreck.

However, with an unreleased product like this, I'm not sure how or why you would assume there would be the same kind of developer community or user forums available as there are behind the Efika MX. For that matter, there are several references made about some sort of "DIP switch" that would allow a user to install Linux or other other operating systems on the hardware. This is a pretty good indication that there is every intention on the part of Hercules to provide images of system software and allow the installation of other OS.

And, considering how similar the hardware is to the Smartbook, it's not difficult to envision a lot of overlap between the development communities. When it comes down to it, it's not Genesi vs. Hercules. The platform is Linux on i.MX. It's not like there's anything stopping anybody from developing for that device right now.

I don't think the device is particularly remarkable or appealing, but there certainly is a target market. You'll likely see the missing support infrastructure once the device is launched.

EDIT: Not to mention, on the OP's linked article there is even the following quote:
Quote:
The company also claims as dedicated online portal with forum, developers section, etc… It is not available for now, but a “community” section is reserved on http://ecafe.hercules.com for this purpose.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 2:41 pm 
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Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:11 am

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niemau wrote:
johnson wrote:
keyboard is not accessible - this rules out daily usage
no community (page) - this rules out usage as a test platform

And the necessary repositories for drivers and kernel images don't exist either. Or any way to recover from a botched system.

I could write about a lot of other things, but there are just too many problems for too few usages and the ones I listed are already deadly.


I agree regarding that keyboard. It's pretty much a trainwreck.

However, with an unreleased product like this, I'm not sure how or why you would assume there would be the same kind of developer community or user forums available as there are behind the Efika MX.


I didn't say there will be one available, I said it's useless without one. If everything Linux related were upstream on kernel.org and freedesktop, then it wouldn't matter and Hercules could sell their system whatever way they want and people could buy it as long as they have full access and could install what they want on it. Then the only reason for a forum would be basic support (which is the most efficient way to give answers to lots of people and thus the logical choice).

niemau wrote:
For that matter, there are several references made about some sort of "DIP switch" that would allow a user to install Linux or other other operating systems on the hardware. This is a pretty good indication that there is every intention on the part of Hercules to provide images of system software and allow the installation of other OS.


This is an ugly one off solution and my experience tells me that they will have a lot of problems later. They will probably also have their custom kernel and driver repository for Ubuntu. I bet the people at Genesi or similar companies would be happy to get rid of their custom kernel, installer, driver and repository rather today than tomorrow. It's hard, error prone and not very efficient and there is no real help from anybody. I don't see how Hercules will do any better with these prerequisites.

niemau wrote:
And, considering how similar the hardware is to the Smartbook, it's not difficult to envision a lot of overlap between the development communities. When it comes down to it, it's not Genesi vs. Hercules.


Are you saying that if you need HDMI on ARM go with Hercules, else go with Genesi? That's kind of a nobrainer. And Genesi is already working on their second generation, they have already learned from their mistakes (hopefully). 7 months ago. But even if not, I can evaluate the Smartbook right now. I can't evaluate the eCafe. If asked right now to decide between the two I would clearly go with the Smartbook. And Hercules doesn't have much time to bring a Smartbook clone out. My guess is that it will be a failure if they don't show anything in the next 3 months with much more substance and deliver in the next 6 months for the simple reason that the hardware will be totally outdated (or they are planning the $100 netbook).

niemau wrote:
The platform is Linux on i.MX. It's not like there's anything stopping anybody from developing for that device right now.


Even if the Linux user cares about the hardware architecture, Linux is the same on any hardware, so nobody will develop for the i.MX, but the ARM netbooks will get the benefit from the development on all netbooks, be it x86, ARM or maybe MIPS in the future. If not, then something is broken.

niemau wrote:
I don't think the device is particularly remarkable or appealing, but there certainly is a target market. You'll likely see the missing support infrastructure once the device is launched.


If they can't show support yet already, why should I think they will be able to show it later? Hercules is already dead behind.

niemau wrote:
EDIT: Not to mention, on the OP's linked article there is even the following quote:
Quote:
The company also claims as dedicated online portal with forum, developers section, etc… It is not available for now, but a “community” section is reserved on http://ecafe.hercules.com for this purpose.


It's an empty page with the hercules default layout. Remarkable ressources where spend.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 3:13 pm 
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Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:48 pm

13
You seem to be very defensive about all of this.

johnson wrote:
I didn't say there will be one available, I said it's useless without one.


I know you didn't say there will be one. That's exactly the problem. The product isn't even released yet, and they say there WILL be one. So, basically, you're complaining about something that simply hasn't happened *yet*. For that matter, it's not like this forum is exactly brimming with activity, either.

johnson wrote:
This is an ugly one off solution and my experience tells me that they will have a lot of problems later.


Time shall tell, I suppose. We don't know what their solution entails yet. You make waaay too many assumptions about their unreleased product and their corresponding support infrastructure.

johnson wrote:
They will probably also have their custom kernel and driver repository for Ubuntu. I bet the people at Genesi or similar companies would be happy to get rid of their custom kernel, installer, driver and repository rather today than tomorrow. It's hard, error prone and not very efficient and there is no real help from anybody. I don't see how Hercules will do any better with these prerequisites.


There is no point in debating you on this. They haven't released anything yet. It's kind of silly to make any assumptions about their development plans or chance of "success", or even how they would define the success of this product. It's a cheap ARM netbook. Let's just see how they play their cards before we jump to any more conclusions.

johnson wrote:
Are you saying that if you need HDMI on ARM go with Hercules, else go with Genesi?


I actually haven't said much of anything. Just that it's sort of silly to speculate on an unreleased product. I personally have no interest in the eCafe at all. I just think it's kind of silly to write it off based on assumptions.

johnson wrote:
And Genesi is already working on their second generation


I'm very excited to see what they release!

johnson wrote:
My guess is that it will be a failure if they don't show anything in the next 3 months with much more substance and deliver in the next 6 months for the simple reason that the hardware will be totally outdated (or they are planning the $100 netbook).


I never said it was going to be a success, and don't really care either way.

johnson wrote:
niemau wrote:
The platform is Linux on i.MX. It's not like there's anything stopping anybody from developing for that device right now.


Even if the Linux user cares about the hardware architecture, Linux is the same on any hardware, so nobody will develop for the i.MX, but the ARM netbooks will get the benefit from the development on all netbooks, be it x86, ARM or maybe MIPS in the future. If not, then something is broken.


Ugh.

johnson wrote:
If they can't show support yet already, why should I think they will be able to show it later? Hercules is already dead behind.


Behind WHAT??? It's not even released yet; there's nothing to support!

johnson wrote:
It's an empty page with the hercules default layout. Remarkable ressources where spend.


Of course it's an empty page! There's nothing to support yet! If it's still blank when the product launches, then maybe you will have a point.

I don't understand why you're so obsessed with pointing out the flaws of a product that isn't released yet. This doesn't have to be a Genesi vs. Hercules debate. The two Smartbooks will be more like siblings than competitors. They're using nearly identical hardware but the two companies have different markets in mind.

It just seems like you're being very cynical for no good reason.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 4:21 pm 
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Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:11 am

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niemau wrote:
You seem to be very defensive about all of this.


Maybe I am, Maybe I am not.

niemau wrote:
johnson wrote:
I didn't say there will be one available, I said it's useless without one.


I know you didn't say there will be one. That's exactly the problem. The product isn't even released yet, and they say there WILL be one. So, basically, you're complaining about something that simply hasn't happened *yet*. For that matter, it's not like this forum is exactly brimming with activity, either.


Obviously the product will maybe see the light of the day, maybe not. I never said they will do it, but what problems I can see if they try to. If you don't care, then stop caring.

niemau wrote:
johnson wrote:
This is an ugly one off solution and my experience tells me that they will have a lot of problems later.


Time shall tell, I suppose. We don't know what their solution entails yet. You make waaay too many assumptions about their unreleased product and their corresponding support infrastructure.


These aren't assumptions, they are facts. Just because you have no clue how development works on ARM, doesn't mean that they are assumptions. For a fact, the only thing widely used as bootloader for Linux on ARM is u-boot, where every manufacturer tweaks the thing with custom hacks to their liking. What else than one off can that be called? The same for the drivers and kernels. How much of that is going to change about that in the next months with the current grop of ARM CPUs? There is no way that a generic solution like PCI will appear on ARM in the next months and be backported to A8, so the manual tweaking and customizations are necessary. It can't be changed. Well, at least not in the time frame the eCafe can hope to stay relevant.

And if you think I made this up, you should read some hardware specs and the problem ARM has in mainline kernel with exactly that. Or think about how much fun it is to use u-boot, where one wrong move can brick your system.

niemau wrote:
There is no point in debating you on this. They haven't released anything yet. It's kind of silly to make any assumptions about their development plans or chance of "success", or even how they would define the success of this product. It's a cheap ARM netbook. Let's just see how they play their cards before we jump to any more conclusions.


I just need to look at other companies with embedded hardware running linux, the way it works and the possible problems are always the same. And Hercules hasn't shown that it is any different.

niemau wrote:
johnson wrote:
If they can't show support yet already, why should I think they will be able to show it later? Hercules is already dead behind.


Behind WHAT??? It's not even released yet; there's nothing to support!


Think again. How will they build up any interest if they have no support yet? Are you interested in buying from a company which shows no dedication to what it does when it is about a niche product? Look at the product for a second: It's a hacked together Linux on ARM with binary drivers on a custom u-boot written by a 3 man team in their spare time between developing the hardware and doing business! How is this going to end in a good way if there is no dedication visible?

niemau wrote:
I don't understand why you're so obsessed with pointing out the flaws of a product that isn't released yet.


Well, this is the news thread about said product. Seems to be on topic. If you don't want to talk about it, don't post. And I like to analyze, so...

niemau wrote:
This doesn't have to be a Genesi vs. Hercules debate. The two Smartbooks will be more like siblings than competitors. They're using nearly identical hardware but the two companies have different markets in mind.

It just seems like you're being very cynical for no good reason.


I don't care if the Smartbook and eCafe will be best hugging brothers or beat each other into a bleeding mess, fact is that in the current situation the eCafe is dead on arrival.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 6:40 pm 
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Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:48 pm

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johnson wrote:
These aren't assumptions, they are facts. Just because you have no clue how development works on ARM, doesn't mean that they are assumptions.


Wow... just wow. You clearly have nothing that resembles reading comprehension. It's almost as if your replies aren't even toward the things I'm saying... It's like you're having an imaginary conversation with somebody else.

Let's rewind for a second and look at your first post... why did I originally respond to you:

johnson wrote:
To me it looks already dead, because they don't have a target market.


But they clearly DO HAVE a target market, based on the marketing materials plastered all over their sites. THAT is what I responded to. You have since gone on a ridiculous and pointless diatribe about development on ARM that I was never arguing to begin with. It is, quite frankly, moronic that you can't see how ridiculous you look right now.

You also made misguided assumptions about Hercules' support. Here, you said:

johnson wrote:
no community (page) - this rules out usage as a test platform

And the necessary repositories for drivers and kernel images don't exist either. Or any way to recover from a botched system.


But guess what? They DO have a planned community portal. And even though there are no repos online yet, OF COURSE nothing is available yet! The product isn't launched yet! Why the hell would there be???

You essentially have no credibility because you're making assumption after assumption in an argument that only YOU are instigating.

I highly recommend you re-read this thread and get a handle on just how scatterbrained you sound.

You're being defensive and exceptionally rude for no reason at all. Your assertion that I have "no clue" how ARM development works only serves to illustrate that YOU have "no clue" what I was talking about in the first place.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 3:34 am 
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Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:11 am

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niemau wrote:
Let's rewind for a second and look at your first post... why did I originally respond to you:

johnson wrote:
To me it looks already dead, because they don't have a target market.


But they clearly DO HAVE a target market, based on the marketing materials plastered all over their sites.


I see, we misunderstood each other. You thought that I meant that they didn't know to whom they are catering. But what I mean with target market is that nobody will be dumb enough to buy it for daily use, except they love to torture their hands. I know you said that there could be a market for "light" internet usage, but I don't see a reason why somebody would get a whole netbook if they could fit a smartphone in their pocket. They also cater it to social media people, but I don't see how they are light internet users.

From that I deduced that the only other market they could be successful in is developers on Android or Linux, but from what I see, they didn't do the necessary steps to be successful there either and are now running out of time.

niemau wrote:
You also made misguided assumptions about Hercules' support. Here, you said:

johnson wrote:
no community (page) - this rules out usage as a test platform

And the necessary repositories for drivers and kernel images don't exist either. Or any way to recover from a botched system.


But guess what? They DO have a planned community portal. And even though there are no repos online yet, OF COURSE nothing is available yet! The product isn't launched yet! Why the hell would there be???


I wrote this because that would be necessary to cater it to developers. As a developer I obviously want proof that the people supporting it can do their job. And that means proof before I'm buying it. And just saying they have one planned isn't any proof.

And that is why I don't think they have a "target market", for the simple fact that nobody will buy it.

Edit: actually, I don't know what you mean with light internet usage.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:58 pm 
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Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:11 am

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I checked how I use the keyboard on the smartbook a bit more and have to take back the statement that the keyboard on the eCafe is definitely unusable. I don't know if it really is, but I would need to test it to find out.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:37 am 
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Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:58 pm

30

Roma, ITALIA
there is this one too:
Sharp Netwalker PC-Z1

it remember me the wonderful PSION devices...


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:31 pm 
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Genesi


Tue Feb 07, 2006 4:49 pm

145

San Antonio, TX
I like the Sharp, however at 5" and source code missing (apparently the people who are working on it in the open source world are basing off our kernel); I'd hardly call it a competitor. I wouldn't mind owning one, however last I knew they weren't available outside of Japan. Perhaps that has changed recently, and if so, point me to the site so I can buy one!
Steev Klimaszewski, Genesi USA Inc.
Senior Software Engineer


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