[linux-elitists] What comments, hints, tips, pointers have you kind folks out there about PengPod ?... with regard to these exchanges

Don Saklad dsaklad at gnu.org
Sat Sep 14 11:39:41 PDT 2013

Thank you Rick Moen !... I'm grateful. The perfection of your understanding brings a tear to my eye.

     What comments, hints, tips, pointers have you kind folks out there about PengPod ?... with regard to these exchanges at
          Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> writes:
          Why is a raven like a writing desk?

          Best Regards,
          Rick M.
          (who is neither Martin Gardner nor Cecil Adams)

IamA founder of PengPod a company offering Dual booting Android/GNULinux Tablets AMA! (self.IAmA)
by garbagechuteflyboy
I'm a software engineer and founder of PengPod a small start up offering GNU/Linux on Tablets along with Android. I'm here to talk about our second product and our experience promoting open source software.

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Will the PengPod be shipped with binary drivers for the PowerVR SGX544? I'm hoping to run Gnome Shell on the device if supported.
As for kernel support, will it be dependent on the provided source of the manufacturer? Or will this be inline with the Linaro releases? As my first point would rely on what the situation is with source.

Is the PowerVR SGX544 GPU going to be an issue for installing alternative distributions? I believe it does not have an opensource driver.

Did you consider a SoC with GPU with better open source support, like eg Mali (limadriver)?

I'm curious about the Arch image and customization for somebody completely new to Arm and mobile devices, but not Arch itself. Where does the kernel live? Is there already a separate /boot, / in a sense and where are the params stored?
For my first tinkering project I was thinking of trying to setup a dm-crypt with LUKS. I'm guessing some mixture of setting up a loopback device to the image on my workstation and qemu to prep the image. Do you think this is doable? Are there instructions for setting up a work environment before the tablets release?
Bonus points for information on 

if the security system support for AES would provide acceleration for that and if a passphrase could be passed without an external keyboard, but I expect the external keyboard to be required.

About arch, the kernel is housed in an initrd that loads, setups up the nand driver then mounts the rootfs and switches over. The rest of the drivers are in the rootfs.
I'm not 100% but it sounds to me like you want to encrypt the root system right? I think that would work fine, you would just need to add whatever handles the initialization into the initrd. One thing to consider, my understanding is the only way the encrypted partition is really secure is if it cannot be viewed unless you supply a password (not stored anywhere on the sytem) to allow it to decrypt. So you would need to bring over the display drivers and touch screen driver and some basic display program to enter in that password at boot, I would think. You could look at something like TWRP 

as a staring point maybe. I couldn't get it to build and focused on CWM as a base for our bootloader.
Seems like someone had looked into it and while there is supposed to be hardware encryption support, there is no actual driver anywhere for it. The same person was talking about implementing it for the A10. Generally with Allwinner the silicon doesn't change that much and the driver would be portable.

I'll try and check back later to see if any more questions show up. Thanks for your questions theszak and nathanpc

Looks like something bad happened to your comments: 

I dont know whats going on but when I viewed from my phone I saw the same thing. This is my actual account. I posted on our Marketing directors account at first because it wouldn't let mine create the AMA.
Hopefully you can see these comments.

If the IndieGogo campaign fails, are you guys going to sell it in your website? (I really want one)
Also, why are all the older models out of stock in the web site? Any plans to restock?

They aren't out of stock by choice. We paid for more stock about 2 months ago and after lots of delays finally discovered they weren't available anymore. So we were as surprised by this as everyone else. We had hoped to have them available until the PengPod 1040 devices were in hand.
Without the crowdfunder I don't think we are going to have the capital to place an order for the 1040. We are talking to one potential investor but he is likely to be strongly influenced by the results of the crowdfunder as well.
Our new, higher quality supplier offers the best GPL compliance we have seen but also has a high minimum order.
We had actually looked at another good supplier with a lower minimum. They had quality devices, not quite the same specs and a little lower price.
Right away though we got caught in the classic closed source trap. They had touch controller and nand chip we had not seen before. We requested source to build it ourselves both so we could fix it in Linux and to be GPL compliant when we resold.
After a lot of promises that never panned out we realized they either didn't have the code or didn't really intend to give it to us. So we stuck with the vendor we have seen release source in the past, consistently. We have wasted a lot less development time since.

How obsolete is my PengPod1000 ?

Well the manufacturer has stopped making them with the single core A10 chip.
The good news is the work on the arms rootfs that we do is pretty portable. So as we prepare new things for the PengPod 1040 a lot of it will work for the 1000 and 700 as well.
We are actually pretty close to a working mer/NemoMobile setup for the PengPod 1040 and the only things that should be needed to switch that to the 1000 would be a fresh build of libhybris and the mali binaries, I think.

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