Hardware meeting report

On June 13th, we had our first hardware meeting about the components selection with the hardware producer. There are still a lot of pending points but the discussion was quite positive as a first approach.

Our team during the hardware meeting

Our team during the hardware meeting :)

 

There were some agreements in terms of what technologies to use, to discard or even the ones that needed to be followed and investigated further.

We were discussing about the use of a southbrige chip, like the AMD one or some other different chips to manage USB3, USB2, SATA2/3, or even U.2

To make it clear, we are are trying to select chips that permit us to design an Open Hardware motherboard (chips having an NDA that limit less this idea). Moreover, we want components that are well supported by GNU/Linux and other OSs.

After the conversation, we agreed the next tasks to achieve which are the following:

  • Review Power TDP for parts
  • Review cost for parts
  • Select additional parts
  • Check southbridge technologies and select one from the two proposed
  • Check sata3 chips
  • Obtain a complete list of components

 

Which software do you want for the GNU/Linux PowerPC Notebook?

Following our will of transparency reporting our activities, we do a fast review of the last month and what is coming next.

The first thing we want to say is  that we recently requested your help through the forum to choose the core set of applications available on our Linux distribution. We proposed an initial list grouped by the type of application and now we have some new suggestions that we are considering. As you can imagine, in our listing appeared well known software like LibreOffice, Iceweasel (Firefox), Gimp, Transmission, Calibre … We invite you to visit the forum and give your suggestion in the dedicated thread.

Iceweasel is in our software list

Iceweasel browser

Regarding the initial funding, we recalculated the amount to raise, placing it at 55000 €. The increase is due to the expenses that we expect to certify the product. The objective is still to collect this sum before September 2016. So the crowdfunding will cover the design( that we will publish with an Open Hardware license ), the production of five prototypes and the certification process.

As we said some time ago, to get the crowdfunding phase launched we need to establish ourselves as an organization. The chosen form is a non-profit organization created in Italy. We are currently in the process of establishing the organization and we hope to close this issue later this month. Once established, we will notify and invite anyone who wishes to become a member. This will also help the project as it will provide funds for small expenses like hosting our website, presentation materials such as flyers, etc. More details will follow soon.

Alongside this month we will continue with the discussion on the hardware components to use. We have a list of possible components but we need to pick the right one in each case. Moreover, this kind of decisions depend on the format of the chassis. It is quite possible that this last requirement will be clarified very soon but we cannot guarantee anything yet. Once again we invite you to participate in the hardware forum to give us your opinion.

Finally, as someone asked in our forum, we want to inform you about our presence in social networks. You can find us on the following sites:

And that’s all for now. Remember that any opinion or idea from you will help our community. Subscribe to our newsletter, if you have not already done so, and visit our forum.

http://forum.powerpc-notebook.org/

The power of a team: the PowerPC team

GNU/Linux PowerPC notebook team

The power of the GNU/Linux PowerPC notebook team

It’s been over a month since our previous post so it’s time to report about our activities. Basically,  we are working on the same issues we discussed in the previous news. Anyway, in this PowerPC Notebook project update, we will try to go over all the areas that we are working on, just because our idea is to be as transparent as possible.

Status of the GNU/Linux PowerPC notebook project

Firstly, regarding the creation of an organization, we have evaluated to establish a foundation but the cost is too expensive for us. We have also tried to get the protection of an existing organization but, sadly, we have not been answered. Finally the most suitable and fast solution for us is to register a non-profit association in Italy. This association will promote the funding campaign for the motherboard design and prototypes.

On the hardware side, we have a first list of components to be used in the notebook. We are evaluating their suitability to our needs and also choosing them according to how much open they are. We still have to keep working on this, discarding some elements and adding new ones. We are doing this in collaboration with the designer of the motherboard.

Our software team remains in contact with the Debian community but again we move slowly and we need more feedback to be able to focus our efforts. The software team is thinking about an alternative approach to streamline this task.

Finally, we have to talk about obtaining a chassis for our laptop. In this case we can say that we are contacting several companies that supply barebone notebooks and some other laptop producers. Here again we must say that we are waiting for responses. Our preferred option would be to obtain the help of Iameco. We love its chassis and case concept for ethical reasons. The Iameco laptop is produced  using recyclable materials and producing a minimal carbon footprint. We would love to design our motherboard to fit one of its chassis.

Our spirit

In short, all the community  groups  are working hard and some progress has been achieved by all of them. In addition, our community continues to grow daily. We have new volunteers for translation, dissemination of our messages and for the computer software. Some of our new members apologize in advance for not having much time, we answer always saying that we are volunteers, we are moved by our principles and we try to  reach our objectives enjoying the project with passion and enthusiasm. If you miss the days when computers had more personality, join us and help us recover the spirit of the pioneers of computing.

Selecting components for the GNU/Linux PowerPC Notebook

Selecting the components

As we said in the previous article we are working on the creation of the crowdfunding campaign. Things are not so easy because we have to organize ourselves and this action requires to set many things but, we are on it and we feel that it could be started soon. To better understand everything, the crowdfunding campaign will provide the required resources to design the motherboard and to produce five prototypes that will be tested and used by our developers to write drivers and adapt the OS.

selecting components for the GNU/Linux PowerPC Notebook

 

In the meantime we have continued the conversations with the hardware producer and we are in the process of selecting the components to be used in the motherboard. After that, this company is going to start with the motherboard design. This means that we have created a work-group that includes our hardware specialists and our partner company.

We expect to have more detailed news in a few weeks.

We need you!

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

  • Crowd-funding: someone with experience on this kind of campaigns.
  • Open hardware: a person to provide knowledge in this kind of projects.
  • Notebook case and chassis: we need to contact a notebook case supplier.
  • Spread the idea: we want to have more collaborators and news letter subscribers.
  • 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.

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.

Join us and strengthen the PowerPC Notebook Team. Subscribe to the newsletter.

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

Join and strengthen the PowerPC Notebook Team. Subscribe to the newsletter.

 

Let’s Spread GNU/Linux PowerPC Notebook Project

Saturday 14th March I have presented to everybody our GNU/Linux PowerPC notebook project at “Fa’ la cosa giusta!” – The national fair of conscious consumption and sustainable lifestyles (Italy) 12th edition, Milan, 13-14-15 March 2015 – more info about “Fa’ la cosa giusta!”

Fa' La Cosa Giusta - GNU/Linux PowerPC Notebook presentation

“Fa’ La Cosa Giusta!” The national fair of conscious consumption – Stand “Informatica Solidale”

I was there trying to recruit volunteers for the PowerPC Notebook project; inform the wider Computer and FOSS community about the projects existence.

When I was arrived at our little stand there was people in the morning that already have searched me about our project ( I have informed some others “solidarity based purchasing group” about that and even thanks to my blog deliriotecnologico ). There was already one person that waiting me at the stand.

I have stopped many people walking around the fair of conscious consumption asking them: “Do you use free sotware?Do you Linux? Do you use Ubuntu?” if they answer me that that use or want to use it I have started talking about our project.

I have invited  people to subscribe to our newsletter and collaborate with us, I have found many interested people, and eleven of them have signed directly the subscription to our project.  Over that with the friends of “Joomla Lombardia” and “Informatica Solidale” association we are agreed to continue to collaborate together in relation to  spread our project. I’m very happy and grateful about the people feedback, interest and collaboration,  and I know if I had been more days at the fair definitely other people that just added to the project, so there are many more people interest than our possibility to arrive to them 😀

In the fair there was even a space of Green Makers with many fablabs and tech projects, I have talked with some makers to present our projects inside fablabs or other tech space, and with some of them we are agree to present soon our “GNU/Linux PowerPC Notebook project” and its technological solidarity based purchasing group.

I propose to organize everywhere initiatives to publicize the project that we are building a solidarity based purchasing group to pay an innovative manufacturer and designer (through some commission) to build a GNU/Linux PowerPC notebook, so let’s Spread GNU/Linux PowerPC Notebook Project. Continue reading

GNU/Linux PowerPC Notebook at “Fa’ la cosa giusta!” fair of conscious consumption

This saturday 14th March I will present to everybody our GNU/Linux PowerPC notebook project at “Fa’ la cosa giusta!” – The national fair of conscious consumption and sustainable lifestyles (Italy) 12th edition, Milan, 13-14-15 March 2015 – more info about “Fa’ la cosa giusta!”

Fa La Cosa Giusta - The national fair of conscious consumption and sustainable lifestyles

Fa La Cosa Giusta – The national fair of conscious consumption and sustainable lifestyles

I will be in the “padiglione 4” of Fieramilanocity, Peace and Partecipation, stand PP06 inside the stand of “computer solidarity” (Informatica Solidale) association.

I will be there trying to recruit volunteers for the PowerPC Notebook project; inform the wider Computer and FOSS community about the projects existence, I will provide updated information about how my endeavors go and I hope this time I will take more photos :D

We have opened a new board, Public physical Presentation , on the forum where everyone can share information about events where the GNU/Linux PowerPC Notebook project makes an appearance or is mentioned. Continue reading

debian ppc64 and Fedora ppc64 for PowerPC Notebook

As you can see from the updated about page you now know who are the people which are working on this project. More people are still being contacted right now and soon you will know them.

fedora

Fedora ppc64 on PowerPC Notebook

Peter Czanik talked with many people about this project at FOSDEM 2015 as he wrote on the forum and even at DevConf.cz where the Fedora/RHEL PPC team promised to help if needed to make Fedora run on our PowerPC 64 bit Notebook.

Anyone that wants to help with Fedora ppc64 please contact us or subscribe to the newsletter and you will receive the survey “how to take part to the project.”

Tux-Debian

Debian ppc64 on PowerPC Notebook Continue reading

New PPC Notebook Forums and a lot of interest

Dear Friends of the PPC Notebook,

There has been a lot of interest in this project with more than more than 140 individuals subscribing to be part of this movement to produce a modern PowerPC notebook computer.

Many of you who have subscribed have filled out the questionnaire e-mailed to you, and a sincere thank you for this first contact. We ask that you give us some time to sort through the information sent to us, we will get back to you soon.

Thank you to those who have began the process of translating the website into several languages (i.e. French, German, Italian, Portuguese, English, etc.). This is an important step in the project as it will allow us to reach out to the FOSS community as a whole, as well as bring more credibility to the project.

We have a long road ahead of us before this projects goals are reached, but we are very committed to making a PPC notebook a reality. A huge thank you to those who help make this project work.

New Forum Online!

The GNU/Linux PowerPC Notebook forums are online and active. Some of the community have already registered and everyone is invited to join us at http://forum.powerpc-notebook.org

Happy New Year!

2015 is going to be an important year for this project.

“The PowerPC Notebook team”

P.S. – Keep your eyes on the About pages for each localization as they will be updated with the names of those team members who have contributed already.

Presentation slides used at Linux Day 2014

In the morning of October 25th I presented our project to the students participating at Milan’s LinuxDay, while during the afternoon I repeated my speech in front of everybody else. The presentation was so popular that there were more people than seats and a few had to stand to attend my speech.

The aim was to explain what PowerPC is and to show how Free Software is not bound to a particular CPU architecture. The slides used during the presentation were written for everybody, even for people who know nothing about PowerPC.
Below two pictures taken during and after the presentation.

Linux Day 2014 Open Source PowerPC notebook presentation

Linux Day 2014 Open Source PowerPC notebook presentation

Continue reading