1. 23
  1.  

  2. 3

    A very welcome development.

    I am hopeful this will translate to support for the imminent very cheap first wave of SBCs based on Allwinner D1.

    These will not have much RAM, and the likes of Linux will crawl on them. If alternatives work any better (as should be the case), this will help build understanding of Linux not being the “end it all” in OS design, a silly mentality that’s nonetheless widespread.

    1. 3

      I suspect that attitude has a lot to do with software (mostly browsers, but other things as well) being available on Linux. Last I checked, Haiku is stuck on some ancient version of Firefox. To me, and most other people, I suspect, that relegates to it “toy operating system” status. It’s a very impressive and fascinating toy, but a toy nonetheless.

      1. 1

        Favorite piece of software not available

        “toy operating system” status

        I disagree, but that’s fair. We don’t all see the world the same way. That is a good thing.

        1. 4

          Characterising a modern web browser as ‘someone’s favourite piece of software’ is a bit misleading. For a desktop operating system, you can work around pretty much everything except a modern browser being available.

          1. 2

            Sure, but it’s not the OS developer’s fault that web standards got so complicated or that those who make browsers do not care about operating systems that aren’t already mainstream.

            Branding these unfavored OSs with Toy status isn’t just insulting these efforts to advance the field, but also defeatist: A VM, or a remote desktop or VNC client connected somewhere with a web browser will make do. I am not alien to doing this, and it ends up being quite survivable. This is how web browsing was done on e.g. Genode, until they got a port of a webkit-based browser running.

            For that matter, you’d have to give up on RISC-V too (and call it a Toy ISA), as even if you were to run Linux on a RISC-V processor, Chrome/Firefox aren’t running, yet.

      2. 2

        I’ve had access to a 1.0 GHz D1 Eval Board with 512 MB for a couple of weeks. With just people ssh’ing into it there is plenty of free memory:

        Tasks:  70 total,   1 running,  69 sleeping,   0 stopped,   0 zombie
        %Cpu(s): 40.9 us, 59.1 sy,  0.0 ni,  0.0 id,  0.0 wa,  0.0 hi,  0.0 si,  0.0 st
        MiB Mem :    488.3 total,    199.0 free,     36.7 used,    252.7 buff/cache
        MiB Swap:      0.0 total,      0.0 free,      0.0 used.    440.4 avail Mem 
        
          PID USER      PR  NI    VIRT    RES    SHR S  %CPU  %MEM     TIME+ COMMAND   
          729 root      20   0  199984   2496   2088 S  84.2   0.5   2845:18 tt        
        23793 sipeed    20   0    5152   2544   2004 R  10.5   0.5   0:00.05 top       
            1 root      20   0    2092    600    212 S   0.0   0.1   0:07.89 procd     
        
        sipeed@MaixLinux:~$ uptime 
         07:35:09 up 2 days, 22:52,  2 users,  load average: 2.16, 2.15, 2.10
        

        For command line use it’s fine with 512 MB. I expect for basic X with emacs, xterms etc that would be fine too. Of course a real web browser would eat RAM and you’d want a $50 board with 2 GB (my guess) not a $10 or $12 board with 256 MB or 512 MB. Those will be excellent competitors to the Pi Zero.

        1. 1

          Those will be excellent competitors to the Pi Zero.

          Depending on power efficiency, they should compete well against Pi 1 and Pi 2, which I understand are still being made.

          These boards are the better Raspberries in many regards, such as their reliability (they are very mature and well understood by now) and power draw.