Prototypes ready, let’s proceed to test them.

Finally, the three prototypes are ready as you can clearly see from the pictures below.

The resulting cost of each prototype resulted in 1200 euros (without VAT) higher than what was initially planned due to the global shortages of electronic components that have skyrocketed prices of some important chips. So, more donations are needed to fund these 4392 euros more (1200 x 3 + 22% VAT).

Powerboard Tyche, bottom side.
Powerboard Tyche, top side. The visible biggest gray chip is the CPU NXP T2080 Power Architecture CPU.

Now the Hardware Tests stage has started, but prior to that we still need to solder the HDMI connector that has arrived too late to be included during the production phase.

Soon, our Open Hardware motherboard called “Powerboard Tyche” will be inserted in its notebook body chassis for starting the multiple hardware tests.
Below, you can see a picture of the old dummy PCB used for testing how to fit in the notebook.

Slimbook Eclipse Notebook
The external view of the Notebook body

The notebook specifications are the following:

  • CHASSIS: Slimbook Eclipse notebook case 15,6”
  • CPU: NXP T2080, e6500 64-bit Power Architecture with Altivec technology
    • 4 x e6500 dual-threaded cores, low-latency backside 2MB L2 cache, 16GFLOPS x core
  • RAM: 2 x DDR3L SO-DIMM slots
  • VIDEO: MXM3 Radeon HD Video Card (removable)
  • AUDIO: C-Media 8828 sound chip, audio IN and audio OUT jacks
  • USB: 3.0 and 2.0 ports
    • 1 x Gigabit ethernet RJ-45 connector
    • WiFi connectivity
    • Bluetooth connectivity
  • POWER: on-board battery charger and power-management

Powerboard Tyche PCB source

This work was made using Mentor Expedition and it is ready and uploaded into our repository with all reported issues fixed, including issue number 5, the last one corrected . Thanks to our collaborators we are able to export this work using Altium form so the next days we will publish it and we will try to convert it to Open Source Kicad format ( and probably loosing something in the conversion process) . In our older post we have give more details regarding the PCB sources.

  1. Slimbook Eclipse Notebook

    Pre-certification and CE certification

    €15,017.70 donated of €12,500.00 goal

Prototypes in production despite heavy chip shortages

We were supposed to start the production of the laptop prototypes at the end of last September but we stumble upon skyrocketing prices, especially regarding four fundamental chips. We had no other choice but to pay those incredible much higher prices, the only alternative would have been to stop all our activities.

We are glad to inform you that this week the prototypes production has started and – finger crossed – we are expecting them to be ready in the beginning of November. The following are the four fundamental chips and their actual cost:

  • Marvell Sata 3 controller 88SE9235A1-NAA2C000, around 130 euro per piece + VAT, 1 per PCB, total 3 pieces
  • TPS544B20RVFT 4.5-V to 18-V, 20-A synchronous SWIFT™ buck converter with PMBus programmability and monitoring around 550 euro per piece + VAT, 1 per PCB, total 3 pieces
  • 6-port, 12-lane, PCIe 2.0 Packet Switch PI7C9X2G612GP – Diodes around 250 euro per piece + VAT, 1 per PCB, total 3 pieces
  • Surge Suppressors 100V OV, UV, OC and Reverse Supply Protection Controller with -50mV Reverse Threshold LTC4368IDD-1#PBF around 100 euro per piece + VAT, 1 per PCB, total 3 pieces

The HDMI connectors (2041481-1) were completely impossible to find on the market in a reasonable amount of time. After long research, we could finally solve the problem thanks once again to the kind support of Slimbook, they will soon send us three connectors, one for each prototype.

Considering all chips, the cost of each prototype resulted 1200 euros higher than what was initially planned, 3600 euros more ( + 22% VAT) considering all three prototypes currently in production. You may find more information about these three prototypes in the post of July 2022 and May 2022.

As already stated in our post back in July, we are still asking you to continue donating as to help us supporting the dramatic increase in the actual costs we personally anticipated to proceed with the production. You may continue use the current campaign to donate.

  1. Slimbook Eclipse Notebook

    Pre-certification and CE certification

    €15,017.70 donated of €12,500.00 goal

Our presence for October-November in Free Software and IT events

We have planned our next speech at the LinuxDay in Milan (Italy) on the 22nd of October.

We are at NXP Technology Days in Milano on 27th October with our exposition, we are very glad for this opportunity that NXP has given us.

We hope to first show at least one prototype at the SFScon – Free Software Conference – on the 11th of November in Bolzano (Italy) in the occasion of our next speech.

Ready for Prototypes production with reworked PCB design with all available components

Image by Dmitry Abramov from Pixabay

AMD MXM video cards in our hands!

As we have already published in July’s post, our AMD retailer informed us that the new MXM video cards will not be available. We have selected a manufacturer that still produce and sell affordable MXM AMD based video cards (Type A – size 82mm x 70mm) .

At the moment, AMD open source drivers are better than NVIDIA ones, so in our opinion it is the best option for GNU/Linux and the unique solution to support Amiga OS derivates. Then, even if it is easier to find NVIDIA MXM Video Cards ( Type A) we are still preferring to use AMD MXM video cards.

As a consequence, we have ordered and received two MXM AMD E9174 video cards with 4GB RAM, actually is the only option available as the 2GB version is not available anymore.

Main Features
AMD Embedded Radeon E9174
Supports DirectX 12, Vulkan, OpenGL 4.5, Open CL 2.0
MXM 3.0 Type A
Support for 5 outputs
128-bit width, 4GB, GDDR5 Memory

They are ready to be tested with our prototypes. We have spent 780 dollars ( 360 each) and 185 euro of import Tax. It was possible to buy them thanks to the last donations that surpassed the goal of the dedicated CE Certification donation campaign so, thanks again to all donors

Published Powerboard Tyche PCB reworked source

Finally, the reworked PCB design source of Powerboard Tyche with the updated available components is ready ( in older posts you can go more deep about “our” electronic components shortage issues). This work was made using Mentor Expedition and it is ready and uploaded into our repository with all reported issues fixed, including issue number 5, the last one corrected . Thanks to our collaborators we are able to export this work using Altium form so the next days we will publish it and we will try to convert it to Open Source Kicad format ( and probably loosing something in the conversion process) . In our older post we have give more details regarding the PCB sources.

Inside Output folder you can find many interesting files easy simple viewable like the “the plot separate sheet” CAM350/DFMSTREAM and the Motherboard Assembly TOP and BUTTOM.

As a conclusion now we have everything to produce and make the hardware tests in September.

Rework of the Powerboard Tyche schematics done and published

As you know, we were having troubles to find a few components in the market, not only because of their availability, but also due to the increased price. After extensive research, the designer replaced the unavailable components. Unfortunately, we were forced to buy a few components with a premium.


from TCA6408ARGTR 8-bit translating 1.65- to 5.5-V I2C/SMBus I/O expander to  PCA9539 16-bit I2 C-bus and SMBus low power I/O port with interrupt ( Page 15 pdf schematics)

from TPS56637RPAR Buck Switching Regulator IC Positive Adjustable 0.6V 1 Output 6A 10-PowerVFQFN with RT6222DHGJ6F Buck Switching Regulator IC Positive Adjustable 0.6V 1 Output 2A SOT-23-6 Thin, TSOT-23-6 ( Page 38 pdf schematics)

We remain stuck with a few overpriced components:

  • Marvell Sata 3 controller  88SE9235A1-NAA2C000
  • TPS544B20RVFT 4.5-V to 18-V, 20-A synchronous SWIFT™ buck converter with PMBus programmability and monitoring

The designer of the PCB should complete the work within the next two weeks and after that we should start producing the prototypes. Meanwhile, we have published the new schematics including the new components in our repo in pdf format and with ORCAD source.

And lastly, our AMD retailer informed us that the new MXM video cards will not be available. There are other manufacturers producing MXM cards based on AMD GPUs, we are evaluating quotes from different producers.

We are still welcome more donations!

Even after completing the current goal, we are leaving the campaign open to help reaching our next milestone.

Our upcoming goals are:

  • to buy a few MXM Video cards for the prototypes. We need new quotes, because AMD has stopped selling MXM cards, so we are already in contact with other manufacturers, next days we order it.
  • to redesign the heat pipes, as they will differ from the original specifications of the Eclipse Notebook.

Only if needed:

  • pay some work on u-boot configuration

Worst case scenario:

  • make a new version of the prototype.
  • any other unforeseen challenges.

We will refine the scope of the upcoming donation campaign once we have a clearer view of the situation as it develops: production of the prototypes, hardware tests, CE certifications. Meanwhile, we will leave our current donation campaign opened.

Powerboard Tyche rework completed by June

Motherboard final name

In October 2020, we asked the community to join our forum and submit their suggestions to name our motherboard. The discussions were intense, and the suggestions were very diverse, covering everything betweeh mythology, fauna and flora, literature, music and technology.

We kept the pool running for a year, until we reached the threshold of 1000 votes. Check the final results here. After an inicial parsing of the suggestions by the core team, we realize that it’s incredibly difficult to name something. =)

Statue of Tyche, goddess of fortune At the stunning Archeology Museum in Istanbul, Turkey

Among the suggestions, we got Bellatrix (a star or a Harry Potter villain, depending on where you come from), Overture (a musical motif of energy and character), Phoenix (that could also become a mascot), and others…

After a few rounds of reminders, in the March 2022 Power Progress Community meeting we decided to mix the first name selected on the public vote and the third because the first and second alone were too generic, so the composed name of the board is POWERBOARD TYCHE.

The POWERBOARD name is self explanatory. Tyche is the Greek Goddess of Fortune, to whom good and bad events could be atributed. Initially, however, her role was to bring positive messages to people. Her Roman equivalent is Fortuna.

We look forward to seeing our POWERBOARD TYCHE powering our notebooks and other devices soon!

Encryption Software

Since 2018, we’ve been in contact with , who created the Post-Quantum-Cryptography library. Particularly, we’ve been in touch with Stiepan, a Free Software and PowerPC enthusiast, who is now Chief Executive Officer of the QRCrypto SA. They would love to see PowerPC running their Post-Quantum Encryption software. We want to see it running on our PowerPC Notebook.

In 2018, they made a donation for our Electrical Schematics Donation Campaign and now they want to help us again by supporting the last mile of Donation Campaigns.

We are very grateful for their commitment to our project

Rework of a part of the mobo and situation of the components

We were waiting for the two ordered MXM AMD video cards, but the distributor informed us that they were forcefully EOF ( End of Life) due to the end of GDDR5 production. Moreover, the merge of AMD and Xinlinx is delaying the production of the new video card with GDDR6.

As you know, we were having troubles to find a few components in the marked (listed below) not only because of their availability but also due to the increased price. After an extensive research, the designer was able to identify the replacement components.

Below, a detailed list of unavailable or extremly expensive parts that the designer is replacing with other readily-available components:

  • 1 per pcb Transistor: NPN; BSR17A bipolar; 40V; 0.2A; 0.35W; SOT23 – ON SEMICONDUCTOR > 3100% cost increase from 0,5 euro to 16,50 euro per piece
  • 4 per pcb Field Effect Transistor –NDC7002N MOSFET 2N-CH 50V 0.51A SSOT6 – ON SEMICONDUCTOR : >1100% cost increase from 0,50 euro to 6,5 euro per piece
  • 2 per pcb MOSFET N-CH 100V 60A PPAK SO-8 SiR870DP – Vishay Siliconix > 3250% cost increase from 1,53 euro to 50 Euro per piece
  • 1 per pcb Parallel NOR Flash Automotive Memory MT28EW01GABA1HJS-0AAT – MICRON > 3250% cost increase from 13 euro to 423 euro!!!
  • 1 per pcb IC EEPROM 256KBIT I2C 1MHZ 8SOIC AT24C256C-SSHL-B – Microchip Technology > 1000% cost increase from 0,29 euro to 2,5 euro
  • 1 per pcb 24-bit translating 1.65- to 5.5-V I2C/SMBus I/O expander TCA6424ARGJR – Texas Instruments Not Available
  • 1 per pcb 24 MHz XO (Standard) LVCMOS Oscillator ASFLMB-24.000MHZ-LC-T – Abracon LLC – Not Available
  • 1 per pcb I/O Controller Interface IC HI-PERFORM LW PWR SM FOOT USB 2.0 HUB USB2514-AEZCNot Available
  • 1 per pcb Two-Lane PCIe 2.0 to Four-Port 6 Gbps SATA I/O Controller 88SE9235 – MARVELL – 980 euro!!!!!!!
  • 1 per pcb 6-port, 12-lane, PCIe 2.0 Packet Switch PI7C9X2G612GP – Diodes – 700 euro!!!!
  • 1 per pcb Power Switch ICs FDC6331L – onsemi / Fairchild – >3300% cost increase from 1,25 to 41,6 euro
  • 1 per pcb Switching Voltage Regulators 4.5-18V 20A SWIFT TPS544B20RVFT – Texas Instruments – 90 Euro!!!
  • 6 per pcb Switching Voltage Regulators 4.5-V to 28-V, 6-A TPS56637RPAR – Texas Instruments – > 10000% cost increase from 3 euro to 344 euro per piece ( 6 piece = 2.064 euro!!!)

Previously missing in February, but now available again

  • 3 per pcb IRLML6346TRPBF – N-Channel 30 V 3.4A (Ta) 1.3W (Ta) – Infineon Technologies
  • 2 per pcb 403C11A24M00000 24 MHz ±10ppm Crystal 10pF 60 Ohms 4-SMD
  • 7 per pcb MOSFET – DMN3730U-7 N 750mA 30V POWER MOS – Diodes
  • 9 per pcb Trans MOSFET – SI4925DY P-CH 30V 5.3A 8-Pin SOIC – ON SEMICONDUCTOR

The designer is replacing these components with new ones available currently and having an affordable cost in the market. Consequently, there’s extensive rework of the electrical schematics and of the Printed Circuit Board design. The new PCB design should be ready in June 2022. In the meantime, the designer is ordering the new components. When we receive them, we should have everything needed to produce prototypes.

Our speech on LibrePlanet 2022

In March 2022, we attended the LibrePlanet 2022 and followed many interesting talks.

LibrePlanet 2022: “Living Liberation” was a resounding success. Participants socialized using our online conference space, LibreAdventure, and created beautiful things in Minetest. Stalwart and Supporter level attendees joined the LibrePlanet after-party with staff and board members, which was a blast. Both Saturday and Sunday featured a wide range of speakers covering how nearly every topic you can think of relates to one common concept: free software.

Our talk was titled “Why we feel it is a liberation experience to take part to the Open Hardware PowerPC Notebook project,” and was presented at the LibrePlanet 2022 by Roberto Innocenti.

This talk illustrate the reasons and motivations that made Open Hardware PowerPC Notebook undertake the challenge of designing a PowerPC based notebook from scratch — one that is fully compliant with the Open Hardware principles and based on GNU/Linux — and what we are learning from it.

Pre-certification and CE certification Campaign Launched

Thanks to our supporters we did it again!

Thanks to another significant donation made by Wiktor Glowack, the previous donation campaign to finance the Hardware Test reached its goal on the 27th of January.
Thank you very much, Wiktor!
We are very happy to have found such a generous contributor, his support will benefit the entire PowerPC and open computing community.
We will strive to do anything required to achieve the final goal: providing the community with the most powerful, fully Open Source, and production-ready PowerPC laptop motherboard.

As soon as the prototypes are ready, we will transfer the money collected from the campaign targeting the Hardware Tests to ACube Systems, the company we selected in this challenging journey to make a PowerPC notebook.

At the moment, we are on hold on the production of the three prototypes because of still missing electronic components. This is most unexpected as we thought we would be ready by now. However, we still have the plan to carry out the hardware tests immediately after production, and right after that, we will publish an updated version of the motherboard schematics on our GitLab repository.

The campaign we launch today has the goal to finance the pre-certification and CE certification, a compulsory requirement for any electronic product being sold within the European Economic Area. The CE marking means that the manufacturer or importer affirms the good’s conformity with European health, safety, and environmental protection standards (see Wikipedia).

The financial target of this new campaign is 12500 euros (around 14128 USD).

  1. Slimbook Eclipse Notebook

    Pre-certification and CE certification

    €15,017.70 donated of €12,500.00 goal

VICE v3.60, the C64 emulator, is available for PowerPC 64bit Big Endian

Thanks to our fellow member Roberto Guardato any user of the Debian Linux PowerPC 64 bit Big Endian may play Commodore 64 games using the recently released version 3.60 of the VICE emulator.

This is line with our commitment to maintain an updated version of VICE available for PPC64 BE from our repository at

A screenshot of VICE running on a MacPro G6 under Debian Linux PPC64 Big Endian.

December 2021 updates – facing electronic components shortages

Image by Dmitry Abramov from Pixabay

At the beginning of December 2021 we received an update about the required electronic components that are still missing. We have a total number of 22 missing components, and some of them are present on the board multiple times such as the MOSFET (see

Below a detailed list of the missing components in more pieces:

7 per pcb MOSFET – DMN3730U-7 N 750mA 30V POWER MOS – Diodes

9 per pcb Trans MOSFET – SI4925DY P-CH 30V 5.3A 8-Pin SOIC – ON SEMICONDUCTOR

4 per pcb Field Effect Transistor –NDC7002N MOSFET 2N-CH 50V 0.51A SSOT6 – ON SEMICONDUCTOR

3 per pcb IRLML6346TRPBF – N-Channel 30 V 3.4A (Ta) 1.3W (Ta) – Infineon Technologies

2 per pcb 403C11A24M00000 24 MHz ±10ppm Crystal 10pF 60 Ohms 4-SMD

We have in the missed components even few bigger chip in the list from the more expensive and complex 

  1. Marvell 88SE9235 Sata3 controller (Two-Lane PCIe 2.0 to Four-Port 6 Gbps SATA I/O Controller)
  2. Lattice LCMXO256C-5TN100C FPGA – series Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) LUTS 78 I/O
  4. NXP Semiconductors  PCAL6524HEAZ    Interface – I/O Expanders PCAL6524HE

The other missed components:

B340B-13-F D12
DF13E-40DP-1.25V(51) J20
SLC1175-271MEB L58
S25FL256SAGMFI000 U9
AT24C256C-SSHL-B U30
FDC6331L U54
LTC4368CDD-1#PBF U81

While ACube Systems is looking for 22 missing components contacting various distributors, we at the Power Progress Community, are trying to help searching these components. The main problem we are facing is not finding each component, the problem is the estimated delivery we are facing that most times is six month or more. For this reason we are evaluating to replace some of the components in order to get a more reasonable delivery time. In case you want to help out carrying out this task, you can the effort and conatct us.

QEMU at full speed with KVM on the NXP T2080 CPU

Thanks to Fabiano Rosas, Cédric Le Goater and Zoltan Balaton (see discussion at it is now possible to launch virtual machines at nearly native speed with QEMU on our NXP T2080RDB development kit, that mount exactly the same CPU as in our laptop.

This great achievement is possible thanks to the support of KVM ( that allows the virtual machine to directly use the CPU without the need to spend time emulating it.

KVM support for PowerPC Book3e e6500 CPUs will be first introduced starting with the linux kernel 5.16+ and with the next version of QEMU, most probably v7.0. If you want to try it now, you should get the release candidate of the kernel 5.16 and compile QEMU yourself from the GIT master branch

We successfully compiled the upcoming kernel and QEMU and then tested some virtual machines running Linux for PowerPC 64 bit in Big Endian mode. Below you can see a screenshot of QEMU running three virtual machines with KVM activated. The host system is our NXP T2080RDB devkit that runs Debian SID PPC64, then there is a VM with Debian SID PPC64 (bottom-right), then OpenSUSE Tumbleweed PPC64 (bottom-left), and finally VOID Linux PPC64 (top-right).

Please note that the KVM support to the e6500 PowerPC family is still in progress, so it may need some tweaking before it may be considered reliable.

Video of our last talks – October and November 2021

Open Power Summit 2021 NA

Prepare yourself to switch computing to Open Hardware Power Architecture

Open Hardware through Open Power SBC

PPC64 Open Hardware Notebook prototype around the corner

An NXP T1040 Based Single Board Computer

LinuxDay Online 2021 – Italy

Quando la comunità produce un portatile Open Hardware

SBC Open Power / Open Hardware

Hardware Test Campaign Started – Let’s join the group

Thanks to our supporters we did it again!

The donation campaign for financing three prototypes reached its goal on Sunday the 24th of October  with a surprising final rush thanks to the biggest donation ever received that made us jump on our chairs when we saw it. Thank you all, and especially many thanks to Wiktor Glowacki!!

We transferred the money collected with the campaign to ACube Systems, the company we selected in this challenging journey for making a PowerPC notebook. At the moment we are facing some delays due to the electronics industry supply-chain difficulties (see our post about it), and ACube is currently waiting on the last few electronic components in order to finally build the three boards.

We are now ready to launch the next donation campaign for financing the Hardware Tests with a target  of 14000 euros.

The new campaign starts today, and the donations will be transferred to it. Our hope is to conclude this new campaign less than 10 months, but it will largely depend on your support.

Right after testing the three prototypes, we will publish an updated version of the electronic schematics on our GitLab repository so that the publicly available design will be an extensively checked version.

We are relatively confident that the donations will speed up once we will be able to publicly show the physical prototypes, as that should help people to believe more and more in the project.

We remind you that after this new campaign meant to perform the necessary hardware tests, the next campaign is for the CE hardware certification with a target of 12500 euros, and then we are finally done: ready for mass production!


A group of experts to configure U-Boot

The new donation campaign will support the work carried out by ACube Systems together with its hardware designer for the Hardware Tests.

On our side, we will strive to contribute to the development process by working on the U-Boot bootloader. This task is quite urgent, and we are currently setting up a core group of volunteers with some U-Boot knowledge and device trees required to initialize the hardware.

As stated in a post published in 2018, we have had some experience configuring U-Boot when we set up  our Development Kit, the NXP T2080-RDB. Our configuration was based on the legacy U-Boot version originally provided with the Development Kit (QorIQ SDK v2.0-1703).

An example of the problems we are facing is that our current build of U-Boot does not initialize the video card, so the only way to interact with U-Boot is via a remote serial terminal. This problem must be solved to improve the overall usability of the motherboard.

You may have a look at the steps we followed while tweaking with U-Boot on our wiki, and on the comprehensive and detailed documentation from our association website. 

Below you may find a  commit made in 2018 to the original U-Boot that was built back in 2017 that was provided with the NXP SDK v2.0-1703

The plan is to start working on the latest U-Boot release (2021-10), we are in doubt whether to start from the U-Boot official mainline repository or, alternatively, from the U-Boot QorIQ repository. Any advice about what is the best choice is mostly welcome (please, add a comment to this post).

Below you may find a link to what we worked on back in 2018 in order to boot Linux on the NXP Development Kit T2080-RDB


A group of experts for building the kernel

Anyone willing to help in this area should test any new release of the Linux kernel to identify any changes that may prevent the use of an NXP T2080 CPU based platform such as our notebook motherboard.

Unfortunately these tasks require a direct use of a hardware mounting the very same CPU used in the notebook motherboard and we are unable to provide access to our NXP T2080RDB to anyone. While we wait for the prototypes to become available there is little we can do in this area, but nevertheless, if you are interested helping out here you may start investigating the differences between the Book3e and Book3s PowerPC families, keeping in mind the T2080 belongs to the Book3e family, and specifically to the NXP e6500 variant. The main Linux kernel developers mailing list is 

At the moment we successfully tested and used kernels up to 5.12.x on our NXP DevKit T2080RDB, but we are unable to run later kernels starting with version 5.13.x, the kernel simply refuse to load. The cause is currently under investigation.
If you are willing to help us here, please contact us and we will try to grant you access to the T2080RDB.

This is the GitLab page where we keep track of the kernels tested on the DevKit


Work required to fix KVM for e6500 cores

By O.T.S.U. –,
CC BY-SA 3.0,

A different area but closely linked to the kernel, is the support to the KVM, the Kernel-based Virtual Machine that does not currently work in our tests with the T2080RDB. This is a must-have feature as it allows the user to manage virtual machines running at nearly native speed because they do not need to emulate the CPU because KVM is able to use the host computer CPU directly.

Screenshot taken by Christian Zigotzky on his AmigaOne X5000 (CPU NXP P5040, PPC64, Book3e, e5500) with a working QEMU+KVM.

We are quite confident that with a relatively small effort it could work because there are people using KVM on a very similar CPU, the NXP P5020, which is a Book3e CPU, specifically the e5500 variant, the previous generation NXP CPU. You may have a look below at the results achieved by Christian Zigotzky on his AmigaOne X5000, a computer currently being sold by A-Eon and based on the NXP P5020 or P5040.

These are the relevant mailing list about respectively QEMU and KVM on PowerPC:

A group of experts on endianness issues

Another important task that we plan to carry out while the prototypes are being made available, is to coordinate people that are able to identify and fix issues preventing Linux distributions for PPC64 (Big Endian or simply BE) such as Debian, VOID or MintPPC from working on the motherboard. Other Linux distributions such as Ubuntu (last supported version 14.04) or Fedora (last supported version 28) abandoned the PPC64 a long time ago, it would be great to have them supported again, but that is way too ambitious at the moment.

The plan is to identify which software has problems on our NXP T2080 CPU, most probably due to endianness issues, identify the required set of changes in the source code, and then submit a patch to the maintainers of the software. The problem we are facing here is that the vast majority of modern software is meant to work on Little Endian CPUs only and most of the time developers do not test their software on any Big Endian platform, also because they are becoming a quite rare piece of hardware nowadays.

As having access to one T2080RDB only could be a problem, we can say that in our experience the NXP T2080 CPU behaves quite similarly to the G5 CPU (PowerPC 970), the last commercially available 64 bit CPU with Altivec used by Apple on their line of PowerPC based Macs. If a software works well on the G5 there is a very good chance that it will work well on the T2080 too. Sure, the T2080 is quite less power hungry with respect to the G5, but the G5 would be the perfect companion for carrying out the investigation while our notebook motherboard becomes available to purchase. Another difference with respect to the G5 CPU to keep in mind, is that the T2080 belongs to the Book3e CPU family where the “e” stands for “embedded”, whereas the G5 is a Book3s (aka sPAPR) CPU, see this page for an schematic explanation of the PowerPC families ( A more detailed explanation of the characterics of the Book3e CPU family is available here

We would suggest to anyone interest in helping on the job to get their hand on a PowerMac G5 possibly mounting any RadeonHD video board, and install the PPC64 big endian version of Debian (

An additional expertise we are looking for is anyone with some knowledge on how to tweak software in order to enable Altivec support, a single-precision floating point and integer SIMD instruction set that would greatly improve the user experience when supported. 

In the past few years we identified quite a few key software areas potentially affected by endianness issues that may heavily impact the everyday use of the platform, but three areas are in our opinion the most relevant ones.

  • Anything related to driving modern AMD Radeon GPUs. We selected AMD GPUs to use in conjunction with the  notebook motherboard, as overall these cards seem to behave quite well when used in a big endian environment. The problem to face here is that any update on anything related to driving these video cards may cause errors preventing any video output, for example updates on the kernel, on X11, Mesa for 3D software, and more recently Wayland or Vulkan. As an example, a recent update of Debian SID for PPC64 suddently broke something and now we cannot start any X11 session on any RadeonHD we tried, the cause is under investigation.
  • Video hardware acceleration is also a target that must be investigated, so we would need someone able to deal with problems related to AMD Radeon specific technologies such as Unified Video Decoder (UVD), Video Code Engine (VCE) and Video Core Next (VCN). Software using these technologies that must be carefully investigated are VLC, mplayer, and the video decoding part of web browsers in order to let them play videos at full speed because the CPU is not powerful enough to decode FullHD or 4K video streams.

Prototypes Updates and next Talks – October 2021

Prototype delays due to electronic components shortages

As already stated a few times, we are still victims of the electronics industry supply-chain difficulties. Back in July, we informed you that “98% of more than 2000 components are now secured and will be delivered on time. The hunt is still ongoing for the remaining forty components left, and finding them is crucial not to miss the October deadline.”Some of the power management components are currently unavailable, so the electronic designer had to search for their replacements. Soon we will publish the resulting updated PCB design reporting all new components. The production factory has not yet received all the required components that we already ordered, and there are still that so far cannot be found anywhere on the market. In particular, we are facing problems getting the HDMI connector (part number 2041481-1) that could fit inside the Eclipse notebook chassis. If you are able to help us find such a connector, please contact us. We are urgently looking for 3 pieces of this connector for the 3 prototypes. Additionally, we are also looking for a solution for the larger batch production.

Unexpected increase of 1000 euros for the prototypes

We are very happy about the generous participation of all donors that allowed the prototype campaign to exceed 90% of the final goal. Thank you very much!

During our surveys on the electronic markets last September, we observed a skyrocketing increase of the prices. We are a group of hobbyists that have zero power to sit down and bargain with electronic companies. Even the well established Raspberry Pi foundation was forced into increasing their prices (see

As a result, every prototype increased its final cost by around 300-320 euro including 22% local VAT, for a total amount of 1000 euros including PayPal fees for the three prototypes. Long story short, we have to increase the campaign goal from 12500 to 13500 euros.

We currently cannot tell if the market prices will go back to lower prices, and, moreover, when the current electronic components shortages will be finally over. We all hope that the situation will get better by the time the full batch production starts.

Now, the bright side of the overall situation is that being forced to wait for electronic components is quite compatible with the slow pace of our donation campaign, so please, continue donating!!

MXM Video Cards

You may get an idea of the current electronic shortages by the fact that we ordered an AMD Radeon E9172 MXM GPU (approximately 295 EUR with VAT) and an AMD Radeon E9174 MXM GPU (approximately 380 EUR with VAT) back in May 2021. Well, the expected delivery date is 27th of November 2021!

At the moment, the cost of the three MXM cards needed for the prototypes are not covered by the donation campaign, but we ask your financial support for those cards also.

In the meantime, we had the chance to buy an ATI Radeon HD4650 1GB DRR3 MXM 3.0 card and, thanks to the kind donation by Stefano, a new collaborator from Italy, we have now two AMD FirePro M4000 GDDR5 1GB MXM 3.0A cards.

ACube Systems, our partner taking care of building the prototypes, has also purchased a PCI to MXM adapter. The adapter will allow us to test MXM cards before we have the prototype ready, as it will be used in conjunction with the motherboard “Sam460ex” made by ACube Systems. Tests will be performed under AmigaOS 4.1, a native PowerPC operating system.

Switch to the Cern 2.0 License under evaluation

We are currently evaluating the possibility to upgrade our Open Hardware license from Cern 1.2 to 2.0.

The first thing we noticed was that the second version is split into three variants called Strongly Reciprocal (S), Weakly Reciprocal (W) and Permissive (P). Basically, all three documents are structured in the same manner and, indeed, some sections are identical. The main differences are found in sections 3 Copying, Modifying and Conveying Covered Source, 4 Making and Conveying Products and 5 Research and Development (which does not exist in the Permissive license). The changes that can be found comparing one document to another also imply different concepts to be explained in section 1 Definitions. Most terms that appear on more than one document have the same definition. Important exceptions to this are 1.1 “License” which refers to the exact variant of the license on each document and 1.7 Available Component which is not exactly the same on R and W (and can’t be found on S)

As we understand, the variant should be chosen depending on the restrictions related to the components (Available Components) and additional parts that could be added by the Licensee (External Materials). OHL-S specifies that all “the Complete Source is the Covered Source” and any modification should be distributed using the same license. On the other hand, OHL-W allows the inclusion of External Materials, which means that you can add some parts to the design using a different license. Finally, the Permissive license does not mention anything about Available Components and External Materials but allows to make or publish a Product only including all the Notices of the Licensor.

To better understand the differences, the examples provided in the Open Hardware repository FAQ page are quite explanatory:

What are all these suffixes?

In the software domain, there are three generally acknowledged licensing regimes for free and open source software: permissive, weak copyleft and strong copyleft. There are tastes and use cases for each option, and the same happens in hardware. We use the word “reciprocal” instead of “copyleft” because the underlying rights in our case are not restricted to copyright. So, when you use the licence, you need to add a Notice to your designs with one of the three following suffixes: S, W or P:

  • CERN-OHL-S is a strongly reciprocal licence. For example, if you release HDL files under CERN-OHL-S and then somebody uses those files in their FPGA, when they distribute the bitstream (either putting it online or shipping a product with it) they need to make the rest of the HDL design available under CERN-OHL-S as well.
  • CERN-OHL-W is a weakly reciprocal licence. For the example above, if you release your part of the design under CERN-OHL-W, somebody who distributes a bitstream which includes your part does not need to distribute the rest of the design files as well.
  • CERN-OHL-P is a permissive licence. It allows people to take your code, relicense it and use it without any obligation to distribute the sources when they ship a product.

Compared to this second version, OSHL v1.2 does not include “Available Components” and “External Materials” terms, making it difficult to establish a direct relation with any of these variants. This makes us think that it is probably more similar to OHL-S.

Regarding the Disclaimer section, which is the one that protects the Licensor from legal issues and warns the Licensee about his responsibility, both versions have a very similar writing. Version 2 is slightly more detailed specifying that “The Licensor shall, to the maximum extent permitted by law, have no liability for […]” while the previous version did not mention the limits created by law. In any case, we think these limits are oblivious and the meaning of the Disclaimer section is equivalent.

Again, to compare OSHL v1.2 and OHL v2 we can make use of one question in the FAQ section:

I am a user of CERN OHL version 1.2. What are the main changes introduced by this new version?

Version 2 of the CERN OHL improves on version 1.2 in various respects:

  • The new version comes in three variants: strongly reciprocal, weakly reciprocal and permissive. Reciprocal licences stipulate that changes to a design must be fed back to the community, for everybody to benefit from them. Permissive licences do not impose this condition. In this way, CERN OHL v2 caters for the different collaborative models currently used in Open Source Hardware projects.
  • In the reciprocal variants, it is very important to clarify the scope of reciprocal obligations. By introducing the concepts of “Available Component” and “External Material”, plus the already-existing concept of “Product”, the new version makes a special effort to clarify what sources should be shared in both the -S and -W variants.
  • CERN OHL version 1.2 included a patent licence, i.e. a promise by the licensor that (s)he will not sue a licensee for patent infringement as regards the design licensed under CERN OHL. Version 2 adds a reciprocal clause for this patent licence: if a licensee sues a licensor for patent infringement, (s)he loses all the rights granted by the licence.
  • In licence 1.2 we did not make a special effort to cater for Hardware Description Language (HDL) development as used in Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) and Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) design. As we became convinced that there was no appropriate reciprocal licensing regime for HDL, we made sure that CERN-OHL-S and CERN-OHL-W can provide a good solution for FPGA and ASIC designers with a reciprocal mindset.
  • Version 2 makes a special effort to maximise the chances that the recipient of a physical product will get access to the design files for that product. It does this by granting the licensor the possibility of embedding a URL or another reference in the object itself, and establishing that downstream licensees should respect that notice and update it as applicable if the design is changed.
  • The new version provides a grace period of 30 days for licensees which infringe in terms. If they come into compliance within 30 days after receiving a notification from the licensor, their rights are reinstated. This is meant to help with cases in which a licensee infringes the terms of the licence inadvertently.

We are still studying which alternative is better from OHL-S, OHL-W and OHL-P. The decision should take into account how free we want the licensees to be when producing or modifying our design.

Join our Talks at OpenPower Summit 2021, Linux Day Online Italy 2021 and the Sfscon 2021

For more news and updates about our project and future plans, join our talks during:

Linux Day 2021 Online (23rd October 2021 3 PM CEST) “When the community produces an Open Hardware laptop”  in italian .

At the OpenPOWER Summit NA 2021 (28th October 2021 at 2.45 Central Daylight Time (CDT), UTC -5 ) “Prepare yourself to switch computing to Open Hardware Power Architecture”

At the PPC64 Open Hardware Notebook prototypes around the corner (12th November 2021 2.30 pm CEST).

Hurry up, vote for the motherboard name!

As of the 22th of October 2021, we’ve reached 987 votes out of the 1000 required to take a final decision on the motherboard name. We would like to close the pools as soon as we have reached that number to start working on the drafting of logos and other communication materials.

Freedesktop-sdk merge requests to support PPC64 Big Endian

Thanks to Charles and Manuel, members of our software team, we have submitted a merge request to Freedesktp-sdk with a patch to allow the compilation on PPC64 Big Endian. That was a major achievement and an enormous effort by our volunteers. A very good job guys! Thank you!!

Our ppc64 Be branch of Freedesktop-sdk.

Freedesktop-sdk was going to stop supporting the PowerPC architecture due to the lack of a builder . The situation has now changed, and we are now very happy to inform that even thanks to help from OpenPower members ( from OSUOSL), in terms of updates and improvements to the ppc64le branch of freedesktop-sdk.

Prototypes available in October 2021

15.07.2021 An evening on the theme of POWER & PowerPC

In less than 3 days, Roberto Innocenti, president of the PowerProgressCommunity, will speak at the Open Source Specialist Group’s July Virtual Event on the POWER ISA and PowerPC based hardware, discussing details of our project. The talk will be co-hosted by Ganesan Narayanasamy, one of the leading figures in OpenPOWER and IBM researcher, and by Arjun Nag, who will comment on the concept of Silicon Tape out using OpenPOWER cores.

The event is scheduled to take place between 6:30pm and 9:00pm, CEDT, on the 15th of July. No registration is required. You can join the event using this link.

For more information, please consult the event web page.

It’s time to vote on the name of our motherboard!

We’ve reached 259 and more votes ( 12-07-2021) out of our target of 1000. Your contribution to the future of open computing is very important! Let your friends know and join our warm and welcoming community. Everyone can contribute to our multidisciplinary teams.

This poll is no longer accepting votes

Vote the best names for our PowerPC Notebook motherboard
1019 votes · 1172 answers

For more information on the origin of the current candidates, go to our previous post.

Prototypes available in October 2021

Thanks to 72 donors we just reached 64% of the current donation campaign for the prototypes that corresponds to about 8000 euros, and we still have to collect 4500 euros to reach the final goal of 12500 euros.

ACube Systems have selected the assembly line for the production of the prototypes.

We have more than 2000 electronic components in our motherboard, and due to the current global shortages of electronic components it was quite a difficult task to order all of them so that they could be delivered in time for production of the prototypes that is fixed for October 2021. After  tireless work of the guys at ACube the 98% of the components is now secured and will be delivered on time. The hunting is still ongoing for the remaining forty components left, and finding them is crucial not to miss the October deadline.

Design new Heatsink pipes

We have started to address the design and production of the new modified heatsink pipes which are different from the original pipes provided with the Slimbook Eclipse. A proper passive heat exchanger is vital as our PowerPC Motherboard is mounting an MXM video card that is quite different in shape from the original x86 motherboard that had the video chips mounted directly on the board.

Three AMD MXM-A video card needed for prototypes

We are still investigating how we could collect the additional funding required to pay for three MXM-A 3.0 type A (82 mm x 70 mm) that have a maximum power consumption of 55W. These video cards are fundamentals and we must get them by October as we must carry out the mechanical tests to check to find out that they properly fit inside the prototypes.

FabMaster PCB export for Kicad

As suggested by the guys at KiCad, we requested the PCB Designer to export the PCB design from the native Mentor Expedition format to the FabMaster format, as such a format should be supported natively by KiCad.

This is an alternative approach with respect to the previous process we followed to generate the KiCad files that we published in our repository, a process that consisted in a double passage conversion, first loading and exporting the files in Altium, and then loading and exporting them using Kicad. 

In fact, KiCad has an importer module dedicated to FabMaster meant for the board only, and the result of this module is quite important as it should be useful to analyze and check the level of the import accuracy and reliability of the Altium importer module. We are being told by the KiCad developers that the result produced by the Altium import module should generate better results with respect to the FabMaster importer as it is a more recently developed component.

The PCB Designer is currently carefully checking the FabMaster export generated by Mentor Expedition and as soon as he provides us this format, we will publish it and then proceed to import it in Kicad and publish the final result in our repository.

PCB Dummy board for exposition

We produced three dummy versions of the PCB motherboard in order to perform an extensive check of the PCB design. These boards were fundamental as they allowed us to identify a few minor issues that are now solved and were related to the positions of the holes in the PCB used for the screws for attaching the board on the chassis. Now that all mechanical aspects are solved, we asked to get one of these PCB dummy boards so that we can show it on various occasions, hopefully during a physical event, if the pandemic gives us a break.

Are you willing to help?

Being part of a challenging project like this one for building an open hardware motherboard for a laptop is an amazing experience, you understand the underlying complexity of every step, you will meet new people, volunteers from other projects, and discover how much passion people working in companies devoted to open source ar putting in the effort, and everyone involved is willing to help to progress the work. You may consider joining too and contribute your actual skills and may focus on those activities that interest you the most.

The Best PowerPC distros in 2021

Diego Asturias, from, posted an article on the best Linux distros for the PowerPC, covering everything from old Debian releases to MintPPC and Fienix, and bits and pieces of history. The list is very extensive and will surely help you keep your old (and new, for the lucky ones) PowerPC workstations and laptops productive and useful until our laptop is out.

Check also the linked interview with Casey Cullen, the developer of Fienix and a very active supporter of our community.

Troubleshooting QEMU on Book3e e6500

Nowadays virtualization is key in multiple activities both in a development and a production working and hobbyist environment. QEMU is one of the most widely adopted tools when it comes to emulating a completely different architecture, and moreover, it does support the PowerPC architecture.

We wanted to test QEMU in order to recreate a system having precisely the same CPU as the one selected for our PowerPC notebook, the NXP T2080.

Before diving on the issues we encountered with QEMU, we should first explain that the PowerPC architecture is subdivided in two families: Book3s, where the “s” stands for “server”, and Book3e, where the “e” stands for “embedded”. IBM and Freescale (now NXP) made their own lines of Book3s and Book3e chips, but each company introduced some peculiar characteristics, so our CPU falls in the Freescale branch of the Book3e implementation.

To make things even more complicated, each company built multiple generations of these chips, and introduced new features in each new generation. As a reference, Apple used in all of their PowerPC line of computers Book3s CPUs only, whereas Book3e were mostly used by embedded manufacturers, as these CPUS were especially good for networking and avionics appliances. Despite Book3e being meant for the embedded market, some personal computers ended up on the market based on these CPUs and some of the computers are still made today and you can actually buy these systems now. There are two companies making these computers, A-Eon that sells the AmigaOne X5000 which is based on the Cyrus+ motherboard mounting the NXP P5020, and the other company is ACube Systems that sells the AmigaOne 500, a system based on the Sam460ex motherboard mounting the AMCC 460ex.

The NXP T2080 contains the last and most advanced Book3e core ever designed by Freescale, a 64bit CPU based on the Power ISA v.2.07 specifications. The core was named “e6500” by Freescale and with respect to the previous generation named “e5500”, it introduced the multithread, so that each physical core corresponds to two logical cores, and re-introduced Altivec, a single-precision floating point and integer SIMD instruction, that was lacking in their previous generations.

A clear overview of all PowerPC families and their corresponding cores variants is available at

The latest available QEMU version is 6.0 and it does support the emulation of the Book3e CPU family, named “ppce500 platform” in the documentation, and it does support e6500 cores as well.

To test QEMU we compiled a recent Linux kernel (5.12.10) that works just fine on a real computer based on the NXP T2080RDB that we use for testing this platform ( The kernel is available here (

As the T2080 has 4 of these e6500 multithreaded cores, there is a total number of 8 logical cores, so to create a similar configuration using QEMU with 1GB of RAM, no graphical output and the provided already compiled kernel we launched QEMU with the following command

qemu-system-ppc64 -M ppce500 -cpu e6500 -smp cores=4,threads=8,sockets=1 -m 1G -nographic -kernel book3e_e6500_kernel_5.12.10

Up to this point the emulation seems OK and it works as expected.

Unfortunately it all ends here, because once you enable a graphical output and try to mount a real linux partition, QEMU suddenly crashes.

In the example below we use the 64bit ISO provided by Debian found at

qemu-system-ppc64 -M ppce500 -cpu e6500 -smp cores=4,threads=8,sockets=1 -m 1G -device VGA -serial stdio -kernel book3e_e6500_kernel_5.12.10 -append "root=/dev/vda1" -drive file=debian-10.0-ppc64-NETINST-1.iso,media=cdrom,if=virtio

For those of you that want to try launching an hdd image with Debian already installed, first download the qcow2 hdd image file (1.2GB) from and then the kernel from then launch QEMU with

qemu-system-ppc64 -M ppce500 -cpu e6500 -smp cores=4,threads=8,sockets=1 -m 1G -device VGA -serial stdio -kernel book3e_e6500_kernel_5.12.10 -append "root=/dev/vda1" -drive file=hdd_debian_sid_ppc64_basic.qcow2,media=disk,if=virtio

QEMU doesn’t go very far, and is unable to end up with a usable system.

In order to investigate if the situation could be solved we submitted the problem to the QEMU-PowerPC development mailing list, and thanks to the kind support of Zoltan BALATON ( we did had an answer explaining the problems that must be solved and that someone has to implement in QEMU.

Thanks to other contributors to that mailing list the issues were later on more investigated. Sadly there is no company left actively (financially) supporting programmers developing and fixing software for these PowerPC CPUs, so we are in the hands of volunteers that kindly spend their spare time to support the platform, very much like what we actually do with the hardware parts.

In addition, we explored the possibility to enable KVM emulation on a real e6500 CPU using our NXP T2080RDB, as this could lead to a nearly native emulation speed. Sadly, once QEMU is launched in KVM mode, it ends up hanging and eating up all CPU in an endless loop of kernel exceptions, making the entire system unresponsive, and forcing the user to physically reset the system. After contacting the QEMU PowerC mailing list again, we were told that such a behaviour comes as no surprise, as KVM on Book3e is poorly and only partially implemented (source Zoltan BALATON). Luckily enough, after posting this other issue on the QEMU PowerPC development mailing list ( Fabiano Rosas answered trying to explain what could be wrong in QEMU, and offered to post on the KVM PowerPC development list ( the issue.

We really hope that a viable solution enabling both full emulation (slow) and KVM emulation (much faster) could be found soon, so please, if you are able to provide some help on the matter do not hesitate contributing to the above mentioned mailing list.