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TERES I DIY Open Source Hardware and Software Hacker-friendly laptop is complete (olimex.wordpress.com)
96 points by buserror on Feb 2, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 31 comments

As a owner of a novena laptop, I'm always happy to see other OSHW laptops.

Though the thing with the TERES-I is, it just doesn't seem to be made for daily use. There is only 1GB of RAM, no (m)SATA, the eMMC is rather small and the only expansion seems to be a uSD card. Even something like the eMMC modules the people from hardkernel put on their boards would up the usability quite a bit. I'd love to like it, but I'll have to continue searching for something 64Bit ARM I can just toss into my backpack to play and tinker with on the go.

I just read through the assembly instructions (it's delivered in kit forms, looks like a great adventure to put together) and didn't see any mention of an eMMC module.

I guess that means it's pre-soldered to the motherboard, and the TERES-PCB1-A64[1] spare part page does list it. So, perhaps not super-easy to upgrade that, then. :/

[1] https://www.olimex.com/Products/DIY%20Laptop/SPARE%20PARTS/T...

I could not find anywhere what binary dependencies this has, and I would be very curious about that since it is advertising "Open SOurce Software".

Looking at the specs, it looks like the SoC is an Allwinner A64. Looking up how open source friendly the A64 is lead me to this:


From there:

"In the current A64 SDK, lots of blobs are included in kernel and U-Boot, including the critical DRAM code and the important HDMI code. "

Does anyone know how true that is?

The offical SDKs from manufacturers basically always contains blobs and forks - then the community fixes it over time. But A64 is still heavily work-in-progress, it seems: http://linux-sunxi.org/Linux_mainlining_effort#Status_Matrix

This might shed some light on the software side of things: https://github.com/OLIMEX/DIY-LAPTOP/tree/master/SOFTWARE/A6...

It's still full of blobs, so a no-buy I guess.

I'm really excited for the first laptop to ship without blobs. These... I can run a system full of blobs already, I just have to buy any laptop on NewEgg or whatever and put Linux on it.

I'd guess this is funding the people writing the drivers and software to replace those blobs

I can't find any evidence supporting that.

It's cool that the PCB is open, but to me the software on the chips is a lot more important.

I can't check the schematics on the phone but does it really lack any GPIO expansion connector?

The main reason I built a DIY-laptop-like-contraption[0] was to have a self-contained box with various low level interfaces conveniently accesible.

0: http://wot.lv/my-take-on-a-custom-laptop.html

I want to buy one and like it, but 4GB is not much when you're using git and flitting around different projects on github.

Otherwise the limitation would be a good thing, in forcing me to back up early and often and not waste my time with videos and picture memes.

At first I thought you were talking about RAM and thought you were crazy. Can anything run with 4GB storage? Why is it so small? Can it be upgraded?

Oh, my, pass the Geritol.

I remember having to contend with a 5MB storage quota in school.

My fraternity had to impose a policy of not discussing contentious things over email at the end of a semester, so people's quotas would not fill up with flamacious threads.

1GB is enough to store the entire keyboard&mouse input record of a human lifetime. If you;re not editing pictures, video, or audio, then there's only one reason why your 4GB of drive space would fill up so quickly: git.

But if it's easy to upgrade the eMMC storage, then it's all moot. Move up to 16GB, and you can run git clone with abandon again.

Young whippersnapper. I remember when a 170K floppy for storage was a huge improvement, because at least it was random access...

.. listed as "out of stock", so either you've all already bought one or they're not quite released yet. Still, a nice piece of kit at a very reasonable price.

It's just not quite released yet. They still need to sort out the software, but the hardware is finished: https://olimex.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/teres-i-do-it-yourse...

It actually looks really sleek.

This is really cool, I wonder if they will offer a prebuilt one too. If so, I will buy one immediately.

I am really fat fingered so I guess I would break something during the assembly.

The price is also excellent although I wish it had more RAM/storage.

You could (well couldnt, all listed out of stock) have this, or Lenovo X220 with IPS screen Edit: with 8GB ram and 32GB mSata SSD, still <240Euro.

But an X220 wouldn't be open-source. That's kind of missing the entire point.

it would with coreboot


+ https://github.com/hamishcoleman/thinkpad-ec for EC sourcecode

besides Allwinner A64 = tons of binary blobs, often containing gpled code and openly violating open source licenses

> it would with coreboot

Not really. This is built using open-source hardware as well as software.

which part of Allwinner A64 SoC is open? Do you mean the open source code Allwinner packaged into their binary blobs loaded into black boxes on the chip (like image coprocessor)?

Meanwhile I have full X220 schematic + boardview, EC (system management controller) source code (dissembled, but still), full bios source, and the best build quality money can buy right now (1).

(1) some might argue Apple, but those people dont repair laptops ;-)

> which part of Allwinner A64 SoC is open? Do you mean the open source code Allwinner packaged into their binary blobs loaded into black boxes on the chip (like image coprocessor)?

I'm just going by their claim that the hardware is Open Source. I definitely agree that their blobs make this claim not really true.

So your claiming that the x220 has fully open hardware? source for that?

"fully open hardware" is a loaded misleading term, Just look up the mess open hardware logo is in, and different people involved trying to salvage it. Dave Jones/eevblog has some 1 hour long rant videos about it, he even redesigned this logo with some additional stipulations.

The fact is you can get full(1) hardware documentation for X220 and know what every single resistor/transistor/capacitor is doing. This part is easy. Thanks to hardcore hackers we also have full source of embedded controller firmware, meaning we control every aspect of this laptop. Here is an example Lenovo X230 repair showing off power of existing documentation http://imgur.com/a/V5FjN

On the other hand we got this olimex abomination with 5 year old phone specs, load 3 tabs in Chrome and you are running out of 1GB ram.

(1) The only thing missing for building your very own X220 are pcb layout files.

I'm not saying that the above is a great machine, nor is it fully open-source. But that's the goal.

And unless I'm mis-understanding you... Just reversing a lot of the X220 doesn't make it open source.

Lenovo diagrams are not reverse engineered, those are original manufacturer documentation, with notes, diagnostic info etc.

Oh, interesting, I did not know that. Then what prevents this from being considered open-source?

nothing? open hardware badge is a big ball of mess with people using it whatever the way they want. Initially it was a great idea, but life finds a way :)

Open Source Hardware Explained - EEVblog #195 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0HOgcbtmws

EEVblog #333 - Unwritten Rules of Open Source Hardware https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOUaoLjrNPo

and finally EEVblog #921 - Open Source Hardware Problems Solved! (except he doesnt solve anything) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wrSXCBdalc

This open source hardware requires closed source blobs, so in the end there's not much point in it.

I don't disagree with you, but that doesn't detract that the hardware is open-source.

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