[oshug] An other free platform ?

Roland Laurès roland.laures at gnuside.com
Mon Oct 1 23:20:36 UTC 2012


I'm new here, I worked before only in the proprietary world. I started to think about a project in my new company (called Gnuside) that could increase the open source hardware world (not meaning it will be a huge advance, but it will (I hope) contribute) :

We are about to design a hardware containing those general characteristics :
 - a ~1GHz dual-core CPU (here is he main node of my question)
 - 1 or 2 GB of DDR2/3
 - 16 GB of flash for the system
 - SATA controller (which will be populated by 2 hard-drives in the public delivered release)
 - 2 or 3 ethernet 1 Gbps ports
 - COM port
 - a programmation/debug port.

Why I'm talking about that ?

We plan to put a Freescale processor of the family of P102x, from what I heard this processor has it's documentation available for everyone, and seems a good choice for an open source hardware platform. From what I heard ARM processors which are in the center of many open source hardware platforms are not that easy to use for open source community. Are PPC better ? I was at first thinking about the future T2080 which put back the Altivec solutions and a new architecture and packet engines that seems promising, but everything about them are under NDA. Even if this could be circumvented by writing some open source test programs around the basic functionalities of the CPU, would it be a big problem for the community ?

What do you think about all this ? I'm asking that to better know how to manage an open source hardware project, without messing things up.


Roland Laurès

PS: The project using this platform will be Firstbrick and has a hardware and software part, and I'm managing the hardware part.

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