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Live Interview: Luke Leighton of Rhombus Tech 68

Today we're doing a live interview from 18:30 GMT until 20:30 GMT with long time contributor Luke Leighton of Rhombus Tech. An advocate of Free Software, he's been round the loop that many are now also exploring: looking for mass-volume Factories in China and ARM processor manufacturers that are truly friendly toward Free Software (clue: there aren't any). He's currently working on the first card for the EOMA-68 modular computer card specification based around the Allwinner A10, helping the KDE Plasma Active Team with their upcoming Vivaldi Tablet, and even working to build devices around a new embedded processor with the goal of gaining the FSF's Hardware Endorsement. Ask him anything. (It's no secret that he's a Slashdot reader, so expect answers from lkcl.)
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Live Interview: Luke Leighton of Rhombus Tech

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @02:30PM (#42252643)

    Let us know they're coming ahead of time... and I mean days, not minutes.

  • by lkcl ( 517947 ) <> on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @02:40PM (#42252765) Homepage

    You hear a lot of horror stories about unscrupulous factories stealing the basic IP from smaller customers. Is this something you're concerned about, and how would you deal with it if it did happen?

    well, to be honest, i mean, what exactly are they going to "steal" here? think about it: linux is more expensive than windows because the number of CDs that it goes onto is greater. and if they "steal" the source code, and try to "hoard" it? congratulations to them: they just cut themselves off from community resources! so i'm really not that concerned about the software, although it's both hilarious and often frustrating to watch them try.

    with the EOMA projects, however, it's a different matter: not because it's "stealing" per se but because of the risk of non-interoperability. i've posted about this before, about my uncle (anthony pickford) who used patent law to protect against dangerous copy-cat medicines [which were killing people - literally]. so we've followed his example, and have submitted 3 patents. patents tend not to go down too well in amongst the free software community - myself included - so i made them as extreme as i possibly could, on the grounds that i hope like hell that any companies which we ever need to go after will actually complain enough to get the patent system itself limited or shut down.

  • by lkcl ( 517947 ) <> on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @02:56PM (#42252919) Homepage

    Sadly it seems like SOC development outpaces your ability to actually put it into a platform. Is this still going to continue for the foreseeable future?

    good question! this first one was always going to be the hardest. it's taken.... almost a year to eventually find all the parts and suppliers. Mid-Mount HDMI was a bitch to track down. we'll still need to do the PCMCIA casework, and so on, which will need $6k for the endplate to be modified.

    once that first one is done, however, we'll not only have pre-established relationships with all the suppliers, but we'll likely already have spare stock of some of the parts, *and* have the schematics to be able to cut/paste to create the next one, and so on and so forth.

    so i fully expect subsequent cards to be vaaastly quicker development time. but, even there, it depends on the level of cooperation of the SoC vendor. if they don't provide EVB schematics, we can expect the PCB development to take longer. etc. etc.

    remember - this is a project which will be going for at least the next decade. we're just getting started.

  • Slashvertisements (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WoOS ( 28173 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @03:05PM (#42253007)

    So first we get an report on the near completion of the EOMA board []. Three months later, before it has time to prove itself (how many have been sold?), lkcl (probably Luke Leighton) gets into the limelight again with a seemingly not so well thought out proposal to build his own microcontroller []. Standard quote of lkcl (paraphrased): "I don't know nothing, so I can't discuss how to overcome that well known restriction.". And now, a week later, an - bascially unannounced and unprepared - interview with this self-declared revolutionary.

    All to give more spotlight to Rhombus Tech,

    This is not News for nerds. This is product placement.

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