Towards a crowdfunding campaign

The GNU/Linux PowerPC notebook community will launch a crowdfunding campaign soon. After some unsuccessful contacts between the notebook manufacturer and a potential financing partner, it seems that the best option to fund the project is to start a crowdfunding campaign. The community is about to decide which is the best option to achieve this and identifying the members to lead this action. In addition, the manufacturer will send all the suitable information required to describe the final product. This means that the estimated date to produce the notebook will be the end of 2016. Before that, at least 5 prototypes will be delivered to the community for software adaptation and beta testing.

We are working on the software

Regarding the software, there is an agreement to use Debian GNU/Linux as a primary distribution. This does not exclude other possibilities, as an example Fedora community is open to help to port their Linux flavor also.

Our developers are analyzing which are the main software challenges to be solved. Some of them are:

  • To provide a proper 3d acceleration. Radeon cards support seems to be the best alternative.
  • To improve some functionalities such as web videos, Java plugins and specific software that is reported to work but is not usable at all.

Moreover, this group is working on a Debian64 image installer using grub2 and booting the 64bit kernel, we have 10 people about to start on packages set up and two more developers scheduled to start the gfx driver development at January 2016.

If you want to contribute in this area the project needs people ready to start working as soon as possible, especially on ppc64 package maintenance and testing.

Hardware updates

As said on previous articles, the CPU will be based on the e6500 core that provides ALTIVEC technology and PowerIsa 2.07. The GPU will be most probably AMD/ATI based, making use of a mxm connector.

Currently some of our developers are working with a Freescale T2080RDB development board donated by Freescale. The board is very useful in order to test u-boot, PCIe video card output and try to boot Debian.

Freescale T2080RDB development board
Freescale T2080RDB development board

Join us

Currently, we are 50 collaborators participating in the project and trying to probe/reach universities, online communities and local groups. We define ourselves as a Solidarity/Ethical/Passion driven community. We promote a Positive and Humane relationship between collaborators, and advocate giving people a choice to run GNU/Linux on different hardware platforms.

By definition, our project is attracted by the Free and Open software and hardware movements. Our aim is to keep the price as low as possible to attract interested developers, while staying financially responsible.

We are looking for people to participate mainly but not only in this areas:

software work-group: PowerPC GNU/Linux applications optimization (test GNU/Linux application packages, give feedback or fix the errors), distro porting (U-boot, etc), push sources to mainstream branches and package maintenance.

crowd-funding: someone with experience on this kind of campaigns

spread idea: we want to have more collaborators and news letter subscribers

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15 thoughts on “Towards a crowdfunding campaign

  1. You should think of the best graphics card choice if you plan to produce a laptop that is fully free and has the potential to be endorsed by the FSF. I may be wrong but I think that only Intel graphics are fully supported by free drivers. Nvidia and AMD both have proprietary drivers. Most of these cards will need binary blobs to run.

      • Since you’re offering people to research this, that means the project itself hasn’t already? So the project is talking about using Radeon but without first having the proper research done to understand that they need proprietary software for 3D acceleration? (And: With newer kernels, proprietary stuff is needed for it to work AT ALL.) has a small discussion. The idea behind that patch is to at least try to make it so that the Radeon module doesn’t fall over and die when the proprietary junk isn’t there, but that doesn’t address the full problem (3D.) And so, Radeon is not a good choice if you want hardware acceleration of 3D graphics. Maybe not even a good choice if you want video that works at all.

    • I don’t think any work has been done on porting Intel drivers to PPC arch. Xorg’s radeon driver without the non-free firmware component cannot run proper 3D acceleration. When the non-free component is installed 3D acceleration works perfectly for almost any task, and performance very comparable to the commercial radeon driver. I’m not sure how much room there is for compromise, but I’d advocate for a more pragmatic approach by accepting non-free firmware when it is absolutely necessary to produce a reliable, quality product. The user could choose not to install the non-free component if they have a more idealistic approach. Alternatively, if using any non-free software is seen as absolutely unacceptable, I’d recommend going with a nVidia card and using the nouveau driver. It is completely free and provides 3D acceleration, but performance is no where near commercial driver quality and there are bugs. For example, Xorg’s radeon driver with the non-free firmware can run many games and 3D modeling that nouveau cannot.
      My experience is in running Debian on a PPC970MP machine with a Radeon HD 5450 and non-free firmware installed. I’ve also tried nouveau using a nvidia GeForce 6600.

  2. I would love to help with a Gentoo based distro, and optimise that for the specific CPU (or even give a profile based option or something similar for several different CPU’s), however that would obviously require some hardware access (preferably local, but could probably largely be done remotely). Let me know if you’re interested!

  3. Using an ATI/AMD video card will help you by allowing the possibility of adding a few thousand AmigaOS4.1FE and MorphOS3.9 (soon to be version 3.10 released). AmigaOS4.1FE has zero laptop or netbook hardware to run on currently, except for running it emulated on x86/x64 hardware with some severe limitations, so I hope that you will go forward with this project, but keep the option of AmigaOS4.1FE and/or MorphOS3.9/3.10 ported to your new PPC laptop, when it is finally produced and manufactured.

    You might have as many MorphOS, and/or AmigaOS4.1FE supporters and buyers, as you have from the Linux community, as I believe that most Linux users prefer cheaper and higher performance x86/x64 hardware. Please keep your project compatible with AmigaOS4.1FE and MorphOS3.9/3.10, if possible.

  4. i am interested to do development starting on the T2080RDB board asap. but the costs USD1440 is a slight steep for me. my affordable price will be USD600 or so. someone can help me negotiate to get the developer’s price from Freescale? i do have the PPC440GX board (2 piece) with me though….but not sure if it is of any use?

  5. I guess you already know about the libreboot-project, but otherwise that seems like a perfect fit for this project as they are looking for other cpus than intel and amd to run on. Looking forward to a ppc.notebook!!

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