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Handhelds GUI Open Source Linux

New Handheld Computer Is 100% Open Source 195

Posted by kdawson
from the small-wonder dept.
metasonix writes "While the rest of the industry has been babbling on about the iPad and imitations thereof, Qi Hardware is actually shipping a product that is completely open source and copyleft. Linux News reviews the Ben NanoNote (product page), a handheld computer apparently containing no proprietary technology. It uses a 366 MHz MIPS processor, 32MB RAM, 2 GB flash, a 320x240-pixel color display, and a Qwerty keyboard. No network is built in, though it is said to accept SD-card Wi-Fi or USB Ethernet adapters. Included is a very simple Linux OS based on the OpenWrt distro installed in Linksys routers, with Busybox GUI. It's apparently intended primarily for hardware and software hackers, not as a general-audience handheld. The price is right, though: $99."
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New Handheld Computer Is 100% Open Source

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  • by Pojut (1027544) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:48AM (#32458318) Homepage

    Emulators, remote desktop control, a nice little side companion for reference while playing Video Games/MMOs, etc...

    • by jgagnon (1663075) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:49AM (#32458336)

      It would be a LOT more useful for remote desktop if it had built-in networking. /sigh

      • by Weezul (52464)

        I'll stick with my N900 thank you very much.

        • by Verdatum (1257828)
          N900 isn't 100% open source, but at least they're striving to continue opening as much as possible. And yeah, I'm perfectly happy with mine too.
      • I'm a touch befuddled by the severely limited RAM. Shoving in an SDIO wifi card is a doable upgrade. Upping the RAM would pretty much involve breaking out the rework station. How much could it have possibly added to the price to go to 64 or 128MB?
        • by jgagnon (1663075)

          Agreed... this thing is lacking is some very basic ways by the standards of today, especially considering how cheap many components are.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            From having done a fair amount of fiddling with the NSLU2(266MHz ARM, 32MB RAM, 8MB onboard flash, 2 USB 2.0 ports(with the ability to hack another couple on) 1 10/100 ethernet) RAM ended up being the big kicker for a lot of applications.

            With USB, you can trivially add terabytes of mass storage(or in the case of this portable, SD cards up to 32 gigs are cheap), and the onboard 8MB is enough for a kernel and initrd; but if you start swapping into a swapfile located on a USB HDD, your performance will tank
        • by quenda (644621)

          32MB is plenty. It comes with a choice of Slackware, Yggdrasil or MCC Linux.

      • by Zerth (26112)

        It is rather embarrassing, considering the Zipit has similar specs, wireless, and only costs $50.

        Slightly less Free, though.

  • Open Pandora (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kiberovca (524346) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:51AM (#32458368)
    What about http://www.open-pandora.org/ [open-pandora.org]? It's a much better device than this one, has all of the stuff mentioned, and more.
    • Re:Open Pandora (Score:5, Informative)

      by tepples (727027) <<tepples> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:53AM (#32458396) Homepage Journal
      Pandora's PowerVR GPU is proprietary.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by FlyingBishop (1293238)

      The Pandora hardware is closed once you get to the level of individual chips, though it's not that big a deal for someone trying to build one.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        The Pandora hardware is closed once you get to the level of individual chips, though it's not that big a deal for someone trying to build one.

        Since when did you or anyone here own a chip foundry? You statement is pure fluff. You are getting sucked in by the word "open". You might not like the whole concept of "profit" but without a profit motive and some semblance of even temporary exclusivity, no competent company will ever develop an innovative product. Hiring real talent requires money and despite what everyone says, most techie people will not produce the same kind of quality on an open source project as they would on a closed source one wher

        • Re:Open Pandora (Score:4, Interesting)

          by spazdor (902907) on Friday June 04, 2010 @10:36AM (#32459084)

          With a closed product, the employees have some incentive to come up with the best possible product because bonuses could hinge on good sales and because any team member could get rewarded even more if they came up with a brilliant innovation which set the product apart from the field.

          Dan Pink says it doesn't work that way:
          http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html [ted.com]

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by psbrogna (611644)
          I disagree with the assumption that only commercial software can innovate. Like Walt Disney "borrowing" fairy tales, commercial software often "borrows" from open source code. For example: ftp, rcp and rsh in Windows originally were ported from BSD. And how about all the hot features from FOSS web browsers being imitated by commercial browsers? Or KDE 4 features finding their way to Vista & W7?
          • by hedwards (940851)
            To be fair had MS not been so far behind they would've had other options available.
          • For example: ftp, rcp and rsh in Windows originally were ported from BSD

            Well defined commmand line tools?

            And how about all the hot features from FOSS web browsers being imitated by commercial browsers?

            I'm not aware of any. Most web browsers rip off Opera, but...

            Or KDE 4 features finding their way to Vista & W7?

            I'm not sure which features you mean. But the following point, which is unrefuted, is GP's point: Open-source can develop well-defined things, little things, or stuff designed by committee. No

        • Re:Open Pandora (Score:5, Insightful)

          by horza (87255) on Friday June 04, 2010 @11:35AM (#32459806) Homepage

          You might not like the whole concept of "profit" but without a profit motive and some semblance of even temporary exclusivity, no competent company will ever develop an innovative product.

          That's a bit ironic posting on Slashdot (one of the first public blogs which gave its source away, not initially written for profit), read in a browser (not written for profit), all via the web using HTML over HTTP (again not written for profit). There are plenty of other innovative products not initially written for profit (Napster/Kazaa/BitTorrent spring to mind).

          Hiring real talent requires money and despite what everyone says, most techie people will not produce the same kind of quality on an open source project as they would on a closed source one where they are getting paid a lot of money.

          You are confusing quality with speed of development, and time with money. No matter how good the techie, he still has to put food on the table. If his OS project isn't paying the bills then he has less time he is able to devote to it. You can easily flip the argument around and say an OS project is always going to come up with the best possible product because he has no time limit whereas a commercial product has a deadline to get out of the door. Both arguments are false, as each has its own unique set of constraints.

          One of the major downfalls of all of those "open" initiatives is that, once you go beyond basic things like a web browser with an well established UI paradigm or core services, the design by committee effect drags down not only innovation but quality of the end product.

          I do not believe this to be true. A good leader with a clear vision and realistic project management will lead to a successful end product. Linus Torvalds has managed to create a superior operating system to Microsoft, who employ thousands and pay very well. There are plenty of examples where OS are clear winners and others where proprietary are clear winners (eg Photoshop).

          Ultimately the problem is not about money but rather a herd mentality in open source.

          Oh please, that is nothing to do with open source. Any time there is a successful proprietary product there are always clones. Most of them pretty bad. If you want to look at herd mentality, look at all the proprietary developers flocking to write for the iPhone despite the fact their product may get canned by Apple for absolutely no reason.

          With a closed product, the employees have some incentive to come up with the best possible product because bonuses could hinge on good sales and because any team member could get rewarded even more if they came up with a brilliant innovation which set the product apart from the field.

          I've worked as a programmer most of my life, and I've always had a fixed salary. Share options sometimes, but that's not the same as a bonus. Possibly myself and my colleagues are exceptions, but the biggest motivator for the people we see around us is the risk of getting fired.

          I am not arguing against that money motivates some people, but do not agree with the supposed inherent flaws you see in open source vs closed source.

          Phillip.

          • That's a bit ironic posting on Slashdot (one of the first public blogs which gave its source away, not initially written for profit), read in a browser (not written for profit), all via the web using HTML over HTTP (again not written for profit). There are plenty of other innovative products not initially written for profit (Napster/Kazaa/BitTorrent spring to mind).

            Slashdot makes money off traffic, not their source code. Their value is in the community.

            My browser was written for profit.

            HTTP, and the intern

            • by horza (87255)

              When Slashdot first started, I doubt they expected to snowball into such a popular online magazine. Their growing pains testify to this. The moderation system, then meta-moderation, weren't driven by customer demand but by wanting to try out cool new ideas.

              I presume you are using Opera, but most of us are using browsers that are free of charge. HTML was developed by Tim Berners-Lee whilst at CERN (not government related), and HTTP was a standard developed by a volounteer organisation called the IETF (of whi

        • Re:Open Pandora (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Lumpy (12016) on Friday June 04, 2010 @11:44AM (#32459908) Homepage

          Nice MBA degree you have there, too bad it's content is based outside of reality.

          Open Source happes everywhere. Even medical fields.

          Places like the Van Andel Institute are working to cure cancer and they attract the top of the crop doctors and researchers.... Not because they pay them insane amounts of money, but because they are working towards a goal that helps humanity.

          In fact everywhere you will find the best of the best doing things for FREE. The ones that dont are never the Best but people who claim they are or try to act like they are.

          Open source built and is running the internet. You think Microsoft would have been able to pull this off all for profit only? not a chance.

          • by MightyYar (622222)

            The ones that dont are never the Best

            You had me up until that statement.

            Different people work for different motivations. Some talented people are genuinely altruistic and will work for peanuts, so long as their work is fulfilling to them personally. Sometimes talented people are purely driven by the almighty dollar. Most talented people have some mix of drivers. The fact is that if you take away a profit motive, you will lose some talent. The more profit you remove, the more talent goes away until you are left with just idealists with some oth

          • Open source built and is running the internet.

            Sure, as long as you ignore the vast amounts of proprietary switches, routers and other hardware that powers the Internet.

      • by Dracker (1323355)
        Reverse engineering and building one? Good luck with the analog nubs, those were specially designed just for this device, and have proprietary drivers.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Apparently you can actually order this device and get one, unlike the Pandora, where you have to apply to be a member of their club and then wait expectantly for your hardware. I'd like to buy a Pandora, but I have to be able to order one from stock on hand before it gets to be referred to as a retail product.

    • Re:Open Pandora (Score:4, Informative)

      by Dracker (1323355) on Friday June 04, 2010 @10:16AM (#32458770)
      I know a lot about this device. I preordered one Sep. 30, 2008 and am about to receive it as they are finally shipping them.

      There are a few problems with this device for thr purposes of a "100%" open source platform
      -Philosophical: It's not 100% open. There are no blueprints available, and proprietary chips and interfaces (SD card reader, etc) inside. Furthermore, while the OS is open source, some drivers (wifi, analog nubs) are not.
      -Practical: Even though they're finally in production, you'll probably have to wait a year to get yours if you order now. There are no large scale factories assembling them, it's done by the team behind the product (just a few guys) and any volunteers they can muster.

      While an interesting device (and certainly one you can do a lot more with than the Qi) it's not really appropriate for a conversation about available 100% open devices.
      • I pre-ordered back then too, then got fed up of waiting, cancelled my order, and bought a PSP. Which I don't really use. Ahem. I still might buy a Pandora when they actually get some spare stock.

        Though I have another idea of something I might actually make use of rather than just having another toy lying around: buying an iPad, jailbreaking it, installing a bunch of emulators and oldskool point'n'click adventures (since they're about the only type of game I'd want to play on a touchscreen-only device).. tha

        • by hedwards (940851)
          That's a bit odd considering that the iPad costs about double the Pandora and lacks any way of playing many games. Personally I'm curious how one would play old NES games without buttons. But then again I'll be getting my Pandora soon.
      • Re:Open Pandora (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Tacvek (948259) on Friday June 04, 2010 @11:51AM (#32460004) Journal

        The idea of the Qi project is to have 100% open hardware, but I agree that not everything is open.
        If it were 100% open hardware the following would need to be met:

        • the Verilog or VHDL for any chips, would be included
        • as would the exact masks used to manufacture the chips, including the memory chips
        • Full specifications sufficient to fabricate the plastic shell, lcd, and any other component used would be included. They must be detailed enough that anybody familiar with fabricating that type of component could theoretically produce an indistinguishable product
        • The PCB files would be included
        • I would permit them to omit including instructions for simple well known components like widely available resistors, capacitors, and even LEDs, as long as the requirements for those parts are sufficiently specified, such as value, tolerance, mounting standard, wattage (for resistor), and information about required shape, and and the specific maximum current, and voltage drop for the LED. (There are for example multiple kinds of green LEDs, which have different voltage drops and current requirements, so they are not all inter-compatible).

        While I'm sure they have included at least some of that, I doubt they have included all of it. Particularly, I find it very hard to believe that instructions sufficient to recreate the LCD were included. I also tend to doubt that semiconductor masks for all used chips were included, even if they included the VHDL/verilog.

    • by sootman (158191)

      One big strike against Pandora: You can't actually get one. [open-pandora.org]

      Since the Pandora is a project started by only a few people (and it isn't even out yet), you can't buy it at any online stores! As the first batch is currently produced and shipped, pre-orders will be available at www.gbax.com, shop.gp2x.de or www.gp2xtr.com soon.

      Please check back regularly to find out when preordering for the second batch starts.

      Other than that </snarky> it does sincerely look pretty cool. What do Pandoras cost? $99 for the new one is cool, and the lack of WiFi is made up for (at least to me) by ready acceptance of WiFi cards. But the Pandora does have a much better screen.

  • by Annirak (181684) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:52AM (#32458382)

    MIPS is not open source. MIPS is a proprietary, licensed technology.

    There are a few OSS processors out there, but they're pretty rare. One example is the xr16 [fpgacpu.org].

    • by tepples (727027) <<tepples> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday June 04, 2010 @10:27AM (#32458940) Homepage Journal

      MIPS is a proprietary, licensed technology.

      A microprocessor can be covered by three different proprietary rights: trademark, mask work, and copyright. Trademark is easy: "The XXX CPU is compatible with a useful subset of MIPS-I user-mode instructions." Mask work is similar to copyright and is worked around in the same way: design your own CPU based on the ISA description rather than copying from a microscopic photo of the existing CPU. As for patents, someone went down the claims in the patents for the MIPS-I architecture and found prior art for 99 percent of them. Hence Plasma [opencores.org].

    • Not to mention that the RAM and Flash among other pieces of the computer are all also most likely covered both patents and are proprietary.

    • MIPS is not open source. MIPS is a proprietary, licensed technology.

      You forgot one other glaring closed-source technology used in the product: matter. We're still trying to crack the DRM on this stuff.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by maitas (98290)

      SPARC T2 has is 100% GPL Verilog.

  • I thought the MIPS architecture was a licensed design... surely you can't call something 100% open source if even one component has to be licensed, can you?
  • Lemote Yeelong (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The Lemote Yeelong is also all open-source

      http://www.lemote.com/en/products/Notebook/2010/0310/112.html

    and it has better specs than the Ben NanoNote.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      That's pretty nice. How much and where can I order one?

    • by Hatta (162192)

      I found it [freedomincluded.com]. At $450, it's not quite in the same market as this thing. Worth it if you're Stallman [flickr.com], but not for the rest of us.

    • by TeknoHog (164938)

      It is a complete netbook, with a HD/SSD and a DDR2 SODIMM, so it's not really comparable if you want a smaller handheld. But at least it is Free as in GNU/RMS [stallman.org].

      (I have no affiliation with this company [tekmote.nl], but it seems to be the only professional-looking vendor I have found so far.)

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      That is a older MSI laptop. I have one of those that has MSI blased all across the top of it and the Bios boots saying MSI.

      It looks 100% identical to a 5 year old mini laptop I bought from newegg.

  • SD card? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:58AM (#32458472)

    The SD Card Association says:

    If your company is planning to manufacture or have manufactured SD host products (eg. cell phones, cameras or computers) or SD ancillary products (eg. adapters or SD I/O cards), your company is required to:

          1. Join the SD Card Association and
          2. Enter into a Host/Ancillary Product License Agreement (HALA)** with the SD Card Association and the SD-3C, LLC. Latest Revision: December 12, 2009

    I suspect that interface standards are probably the biggest barrier to doing a totally copyleft product. You can't lose them if you want a practical product, and can't keep them if you want complete IP release.

  • by Toe, The (545098) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:58AM (#32458492)

    Yeah, but if you want to run anything on it, you have to get approved by the Free Store. The draconian linux overlords will reject anything that isn't 100% free, open, copyleft, and blindingly geeky.

    • Yeah, but if you want to run anything on it, you have to get approved by the Free Store. The draconian linux overlords will reject anything that isn't 100% free, open, copyleft, and blindingly geeky.

      You've described the policy of the "main" components of Fedora, Debian, and Ubuntu repositories. (For example, see the descriptions of Ubuntu components [ubuntu.com].) But because the operating system is free, you are free to add additional repositories, such as non-free and contrib (Debian) or restricted and multiverse (Ubuntu). Blocking the user of a consumer product from adding repositories would be tivoization, which GPLv3 prohibits.

    • by mounthood (993037)

      Yeah, but if you want to run anything on it, you have to get approved by the Free Store. The draconian linux overlords will reject anything that isn't 100% free, open, copyleft, and blindingly geeky.

      "RTFM" is all the rejection letters say. Not even any guidance about what to change!

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Yup. That's why we dont have Nvidia and ATI video card drivers.

      Damn I wish we could use Nvidia and ATI cards. as well as Intel cards and chipsets...

      CURSE YOU LINUS!!!!!!!!!

    • by sootman (158191)

      So, porn is OK then?

  • iPad? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheOV (1640259) * on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:59AM (#32458506) Homepage
    I don't think this device deserves to be compared to the "iPad and imitations thereof" - A) it's not a tablet; B) it's far less powerful; C) it doesn't even have any built-in network capability, which is what the iPad and its following are intended for; and D) it's horribly ugly. That being said, it looks like an excellent little device to hack on, and a big bonus is that it has USB ports! I may actually pick one up one of these days.
    • I don't think this device deserves to be compared to the "iPad and imitations thereof" - A) it's not a tablet; B) it's far less powerful; C) it doesn't even have any built-in network capability, which is what the iPad and its following are intended for; and D) it's horribly ugly. That being said, it looks like an excellent little device to hack on, and a big bonus is that it has USB ports! I may actually pick one up one of these days.

      Agreed. Although I had mod points, I decided to post in agreement instead. This product bares more resemblance to the Atari Profile than it does the iPad. Ok, to be fair, it bares some resemblance to the Toshiba Libretto but the Libretto is probably much more powerful and functional despite being a very old product.

      This product will not sell well. I would be surprised if it even sells 4000 units. I remember everyone hyping up the JooJoo tablet but it only sold 4000 units initially and many of those were r

      • by cynyr (703126)
        part of the joojoo thing was the fall out of the the techcrunch guy and the now owners of the joojoo. I know it left a sour taste in my mouth. I think both were being dumb about it.

        The big issue with this device for me is lack of anything that resembles a decent screen. I have a 10.6" 1280x768 screen(http://www.greenfly.org/fujitsu/) from 2003. Why why why can't i get better than that on the 2010 iPad? surely the cost of producing LCD screens has gone down in the last 7 years? lack of networking also makes
      • Hey thanks man, didn't know that was out yet - and I've just read that you can install Ubuntu on it rather that stick with the customised version.. £200 cheaper than an iPad too - I'm going to get one :)

    • I wonder if kdawson gets a cut or just posts what he's told to post.

  • Ugh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TyroneShoe (912878) on Friday June 04, 2010 @10:11AM (#32458674)
    "While the rest of the industry has been babbling on about the iPad" the geeks have been babbling about any random piece of vaporware that is remotely flat and meant to be touched as the next "killer"
    • by dn15 (735502)

      "While the rest of the industry has been babbling on about the iPad" the geeks have been babbling about any random piece of vaporware that is remotely flat and meant to be touched as the next "killer"

      My thoughts exactly. The post seems a bit confused – it starts off with a slight slap-in-the-face to the iPad but concludes with a statement that this device won't have broad appeal beyond hackers. It doesn't make sense to compare those two any more than it makes sense to compare a motorcycle and a dump truck. They both have wheels and an internal combustion engine, but the similarity ends there.

      • by PRMan (959735)
        And comparing GIMP to Photoshop differs how? Unfortunately, this type of thing is very typical of Linux fanboys.
  • by JThaddeus (531998) on Friday June 04, 2010 @10:19AM (#32458822)
    For what I want, this is the right track. I'm not interested in paying several hundred dollars for something that binds me to Amazon or Barnes & Nobel or Apple or whomever. I learned that lesson from having an iPod. It was a generous Christmas gift and I get a lot of use out of it, but managing it in my Linux-only world is a pain. My idea for an e-book reader is something I call Gutenberg friendly: It has what I need to download and display text, HTML, PDF, and Postscript files that I might download from Project Gutenberg or other open sites as well as software manuals. That and a $100 price tag could win me over to the e-book world.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by dunkelfalke (91624)

      Get a used Toshiba E800, the device is very good for reading and quite cheap.

    • by b0bby (201198)

      My idea for an e-book reader is something I call Gutenberg friendly: It has what I need to download and display text, HTML, PDF, and Postscript files that I might download from Project Gutenberg or other open sites as well as software manuals. That and a $100 price tag could win me over to the e-book world.

      For $150, I'm tempted by the Sony e-reader. Sony does have an e-book store, but they seem to be the most open e-readers out there & usable under Linux. If/when my ancient Palm Tungsten dies, it'll be between the Sony or a Touch for a replacement - I mostly use it for reading, but the PIM features are still handy.

    • My idea for an e-book reader is something I call Gutenberg friendly: It has what I need to download and display text, HTML, PDF, and Postscript files that I might download from Project Gutenberg or other open sites as well as software manuals. That and a $100 price tag could win me over to the e-book world.

      Walgreens has the delstar for $99. About five weeks ago, newegg was selling the ectaco jetbook-lite for $99 (now $119), and sears was selling the similar aluretek libre for $99. I bought a used ipod touch for $85, which is an okay ebook reader.

      Seems like we're getting there. I think that, within the next few months, $99 ebook readers will be common.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        all of which are 100% useless at reading anything but a epub file.

        PDF on all those suck horribly. so unless you are only using it for casual reading they are useless.

        I've tried all them, they suck. I'm hoping that android will get a decent pdf reader by the time the android based readers come out...

        I dont want to be stuck with my only choice being a n iPad.

    • I learned that lesson from having an iPod. It was a generous Christmas gift and I get a lot of use out of it, but managing it in my Linux-only world is a pain.

      Dude, Rockbox [rockbox.org]. I wouldn't even use my iPod (5.5g - 30GB iPod Video) if it wasn't for that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cdrguru (88047)

      I own a Kindle. It is completely unsuitable for displaying PDF documents that have not been customized for the screen dimensions. As is every other eBook reader out there, because you cannot see a full page and there is no good way to zoom and pan quickly. Unless of course you have an LCD display, which then makes it useless for reading other materals.

      Same goes for Postscript - after all, PDF is a subset of Postscript.

      Some eBook readers display a special eBook version of PDF which is designed specificall

      • by narcc (412956)

        Same goes for Postscript - after all, PDF is a subset of Postscript.

        PDF is neither a subset nor a superset of Postscript.

    • FYI, I've found that my Barnes & Noble Nook works very well with stuff downloaded from Project Gutenberg, and the only computer I've hooked it up to so far is my Ubuntu laptop. It also features access to Google's free book collection through B&N, although those have a lot more text issues. I haven't done much yet with Calibre to transform other files to ePub yet, but it should handle text, HTML, and PDF.

      No eInk reader will handle software manuals well, since flipping back and forth is far too t

  • At $99, I can buy one with low expectations and play with it... much better than the ZL-5000 or the other 20-ish handhelds I've had over the years, but never used regularly. I'm just a sucker for gadgets like this. I think I'll use it to control the rotary table on my mill until I get CNC set up... Erik
  • This could be the silver bullet for all the HTPC (ie. XBMC) enthusiasts out there looking for a remote! I know that's how I'll justify my order.
  • by BitZtream (692029) on Friday June 04, 2010 @12:50PM (#32460824)

    Did I miss that part?

    You can go ahead and mark me as a troll, I am. I never expect any 100% OSS or 100% closed/proprietary device. I care far more about getting a device that does what I want than putting retarded artificial constraints on something in order to stick it to the man or promote an agenda.

    Well, I'll do anything to screw with people who don't make rational decisions.

  • It seems ridiculous to have left out WiFi and even wired ethernet, and then suggest that a user waste the SD slot with a pricey SD WiFi card, when it could have been built into the device for so little and kept the slot available. No thanks, I'll pass.
  • by X86Daddy (446356) on Friday June 04, 2010 @02:03PM (#32462016) Journal

    The Zipit Z2 [zipitwireless.com] is easy to flash with Linux, has a MiniSD slot for additional storage, built in Wifi, Querty backlit keyboard, 320x240 screen, 312MHz ARM chip.

    People making custom distros for it have already managed to cover all aspects of the machine's hardware... lid switch, backlight adjustments, etc... I bought mine on clearance at Target in October, and it's an adequate pocket Linux box for me while I wait for my Pandora [openpandora.org]. Here's a sampling of what people are doing with it:

    http://zipit.rootnexus.org/ [rootnexus.org]
    http://hunterdavis.com/archives/category/zipit-hacking [hunterdavis.com]
    http://www.irongeek.com/i.php?page=security/zipit-z2-hacking-userland-side-track [irongeek.com]
    http://www.karosium.com/2009/07/zipit2-clock-email-twitter-monitor.html [karosium.com]
    http://www.openzipit.org/ [openzipit.org]
    http://www.hak5.org/?s=zipit&x=0&y=0 [hak5.org]

  • NOT ENOUGH RAM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Friday June 04, 2010 @02:06PM (#32462052) Journal

    Repeated: NOT ENOUGH RAM. I have a Zauraus 3100. It is actually a rather similar machine. 400MHz ARM, 64MB RAM, 32GB flash disk (aftermarket mod), Wifi in the CF slot. Overall rather similar. Naturally a lot more expensive, predating this machine by 5 years, but similar nonetheless.

    Sadly, 64MB RAM is rather low these days. Once upon a time, it could run firefox acceptably, if a little slowly. These days not so much. Sadly more and more websites, especially ones related to signing up for (even free) wifi services seem to be allergic to <a href= and insist on using pointless javascript. This means your choices in browsers is somewhat limited even if you only intend to access rather static content.

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