This article is about finding out: What low-power PC with decent performance is best suitable for solar-powered (12v would be nice) Off-Grid-computing while respecting your privacy in an FSF-kind?
problem: it has a massive closed source GPU driver blob as bootloader. which is not what Richard Stallmann and any user fond of free non-orwellian systems would like to see.
i dunno if the ODROID (ARM Mali-T628) is any better in this respect.
If you are not using the Mali-GPU you should be FSF compatible: „Note that these components are not a complete driver stack. To build a functional OpenGL ES you need access to the full source code of the Mali GPU DDK, which is provided under the standard Arm commercial licence to all Mali GPU customers.“ (src)
I am curious if those crowdsupply.com eoma68 micro-desktop Computer Cards finally ship? (he says 15th of June 2018)
All i can say: ODROID is definately way faster than Raspberri Pi.
If you are looking for a desktop replacement – i would invest the extra bucks into a ODROID or go straight i5 laptop + 12v laptop adapter.
„Given the current situation, there is no ideal device available that would satisfy all the requirements to fully respect users‘ freedom: hardware freedom is missing and most firmwares, modem operating systems and bootroms are non-free. However, it is possible to choose a device that runs with free bootloaders and a free mobile operating system: Replicant, as well as free applications.
Privacy/security cannot be reliably achieved, but it is possible to get close to it by choosing a device that is not proven to have bad modem isolation, provides a reliable way of deactivating the modem or doesn’t feature any modem at all, in addition to running software that is as free as possible and following some general good advice.“
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Can the Raspberry be a „full PC with EXTEME Powersavings“? Yes but only with closed source BinaryBlobs loading up before anything else loads… naaaah.
maybe yes. but it needs a large binary GPU blop to boot – not OpenSource, not transparent possibly endangering your privacy.
I hope so… i would like to operate it with solar-panels and a 12V Battery! Off-Grid computing! That is why this matters!
not directly. shittt 😀
Why Richard Stallman would never buy: „The Raspberry Pi boots from its GPU and only non-free software is currently available for the GPU, even starting the machine requires a large (2MB) blob of non-free, unsupportable software“
„Generally, your best bet is to use Raspbian – which is (mostly) Debian armhf rebuilt by members of Debian for the RPi’s ARMv6+VFP2 ARM variant. Raspbian releases usually follow the corresponding Debian release but do deviate in a handful of cases for various reasons.
Be aware that the Raspbian images distributed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation contain additional packages supplied by them including updated versions of some software and the addition of non-free software including Oracle Java and Wolfram Mathematica.“
The Power – where from?
„The built-in Wireless LAN and Bluetooth and the more powerful processor mean that the Raspberry Pi 3 draws about twice the current of its predecessor when under heavy CPU load (750mA vs 360mA).“
Official Powersupply: 5v * 2A = 10Watts „it’ll keep feeding your Pi the steady 2A it needs for proper performance.“
Unfortunately – it seems like – the Raspberry Pi can not be powered by simply plugin it’s power to a PC’s USB-Port.
„The Raspberry Pi can function on lower current power supplies e.g. 5V @ 1A. However, any excessive use of the USB ports or even heavy CPU/GPU loading can cause the voltage to drop, and instability during use. The latest versions of the Raspberry Pi B+/A+/2 have a “low voltage indicator icon” to notify the user if there is a problem with the power.
If you apply power to the USB port when you Pi is off, it will not boot. However, if you apply power to your Pi via one of the standard methods (e.g. the micro USB port), then apply power to USB ports and remove the original supply, it will stay on and functional.
It should be noted that USB ports have a current limit of 500mA, so we would not recommend you attempt to supply more than this via the USB!“
„Updated following the release of the model B+, A+, Pi 2 Model B, and Pi Zero. According to measurements by Alex Eames “
B with keyboard = 1.89 W -> daily 45 Wh
B+ with keyboard = 1.21 W -> daily 29 Wh
B+ with LAN/USB chip off (no i/o except GPIO) = 0.76 W -> daily 18.2 Wh
B+ shut down = 0.26 W -> daily 6.2 Wh
A idle = 0.7 W -> daily 17 Wh
A+ idle = 0.52 W -> daily 12.5 Wh
Pi2 B at idle = 1.15 W -> daily 28 Wh
Pi Zero at idle = 0.51 W -> daily 12.2 Wh
„The Zero, A+ and B+ really offer huge improvements in the power circuitry. Wow!“
Yeah u guys gonna hate me:
and you can produce nice web-based (hardware independent) graphical outputs right on the screen…
We need more a C-kind of thing, lightweight, client-browser-sandboxed and secure scripting capabilities.
Youtube works! Firefox works! Opera works! 🙂
Next thing: What about Startup of Applications?
„LibreOffice works extremely well taking only 9 seconds to boot with the Raspberry Pi 2.“
Raspi Pros and Cons from an Open Source FSF perspective:
- Large and active community
- Low price for the capabilities offered
- The Raspberry Pi 1’s processor falls uncomfortably between the processor families that Debian has chosen to target. While Raspbian solves this to some degree an unofficial port will always give less certainty than an official one. (This doesn‘ stand anymore for the Raspberry Pi 2)
- 3D acceleration is not integrated with X or other standard mechanisms and the Raspberry Pi Foundation don’t seem to show any interest in doing so. Therefore 3D applications will require Pi specific builds.
- A binary blob used by the GPU must be present on the SD card for the system to boot.
- While some hardware documentation has been released the documentation is sorely lacking.
- While schematics are available the board design is closed and the main processor is not available for purchase by the general public.
EOMA68 – crowd funded OpenHardware project:
„The project is being developed by Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton of Rhombus-Tech and is sponsored by Christopher Waid of ThinkPenguin, a company that sells multiple RYF-certified hardware products. It is exciting to see passionate free software advocates in our community working with OEMs to produce a computer hardware product capable of achieving RYF certification. We hope that this is the first of many computing systems they are able to design and build that respect your freedom.
The Libre Tea Computer Card is built with an Allwinner A20 dual core processor configured to use the main CPU for graphics; it has 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB of NAND Flash; and it will come pre-installed with Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, an FSF-endorsed fully-free operating system.“
EOMA68 also from United Kingdom · rhombus-tech.net
- Compliant with the EOMA68 Specification
- A20 Dual-Core ARM Cortex A7, 1.2 GHz
- 2 GB RAM
- 8 GB NAND
- Micro-HDMI Interface (for 2nd monitor)
- Micro-USB-OTG (bi-directional power)
- Micro-SD Card Slot
- Pre-installed with Parabola GNU/Linux-libre Operating System
- Respects Your Freedom (RYF) Certification from the Free Software Foundation (currently in progress with no known blockers – a full refund will be available if certification is for some reason not granted)
A number of similar boards are available, generally at slightly higher prices but also usually with more powerful processors. Some examples are given below, more can be found in the FreedomBox targetted hardware list.
also check out: http://www.hardkernel.com/main/
ODROID-C1 Amlogic S805 (4× Cortex-A5 @ 1.5 GHz, Mali-450), $35 (most directly Pi-alike)
- The ODROID-C2 is a 64-bit quad-core single board computer(SBC) that is one of the most cost-effective 64bit development boards available in the ARM world. It can function as a home theater set-top box, a general purpose computer for web browsing, gaming and socializing, a compact tool for college or office work, a prototyping device for hardware tinkering, a controller for home automation, a workstation for software development, and much more.Some of the modern operating systems that run on the ODROID-C2 are Ubuntu, Android, ARCHLinux, Debian, with thousands of free open-source software packages available. The ODROID-C2 is an ARM device — the most advanced architecture for mobile devices and embedded 64-bit computing. The ARM processor’s small size, reduced complexity and low power consumption makes it very suitable for miniaturized devices such as wearables and embedded controllers.
- * Amlogic ARM® Cortex®-A53(ARMv8) 1.5Ghz quad core CPUs
* Mali™-450 GPU (3 Pixel-processors + 2 Vertex shader processors)
* 2Gbyte DDR3 SDRAM
* Gigabit Ethernet
* HDMI 2.0 4K/60Hz display
* H.265 4K/60FPS and H.264 4K/30FPS capable VPU
* 40pin GPIOs + 7pin I2S
* eMMC5.0 HS400 Flash Storage slot / UHS-1 SDR50 MicroSD Card slot
* USB 2.0 Host x 4, USB OTG x 1 (power + data capable)
* Infrared(IR) Receiver
* Ubuntu 16.04 or Android 5.1 Lollipop based on Kernel 3.14LTS
- Getting started: http://odroid.com/dokuwiki/doku.php
- STORE in Local : check it HERE
Cubieboard Allwinner A10 (Cortex A8, Mali400), $49
Banana Pi Allwinner A20 1GHz ARM Cortex-A7 Dual-Core, Pi-like improved, $45
Olimex OLinuxIno WIFI Cortex A8, €55
- A20 Cortex-A7 dual-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU and dual-core Mali 400 GPU
- 1GB DDR3 RAM memory
- 1 gigabit native Ethernet
- optional 4GB NAND FLASH memory
- SATA connector with 5V SATA power jack
- HDMI FullHD 1080p
- 2x USB Low-Full-High-Speed hosts with power control and current limiter
- USB-OTG with power control and current limiter
- LiPo Battery connector with battery-charging capabilities
- LCD connector compatible with with 4.3″, 7.0″, 10.1″ LCD modules from Olimex
- 160 GPIOs on three GPIO connectors
- DEBUG-UART connector for console debug with USB-SERIAL-CABLE-F
- 2KB EEPROM for MAC address storage and more
- 2 BUTTONS with ANDROID functionality + RESET button
- 5V input power supply, noise immune design
- Debian Wheezy 7 successful install: https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=780164
EOMA68 modules (Sampling March 2013, so not in full production yet), Allwinner A10 (Cortex A8, Mali400)
Beaglebone black omap3, $45
OlinuxIno Mini imx233 (ARM926, i.e Debian armel), €35
Upcoming devices looking promising, but not yet available for general sale.