×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Update: Raspberry Pi-Compatible Development Board Cancelled

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the not-so-fast dept.

Hardware Hacking 165

An anonymous reader writes "Anyone who might have been interested in the miniature Raspberry Pi compatible board mentioned here a month ago should know the board has been cancelled due to problems sourcing the Broadcom SoC. Given the less than welcoming response from the rpi community to the board's release, there is speculation as to why Hardkernel is having trouble buying the chip.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Broadcom... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47795769)

... need i say more. Who in their right mind would make anything with a broadcom chip.

Re:Broadcom... (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about 3 months ago | (#47795921)

Indeed. The choice by the RPi-team was utterly stupid and can only be attributed to incompetence. I mean, a computer aimed at education, and then you cannot publish the full datasheet? That is just insane!

Personally, I also found the official forum overrun with people with big egos and small skills and a lot more techno-mysticism than actual engineering. It is no surprise that the RPi is such a badly designed device. Basically all competitors are significantly superior.

Re:Broadcom... (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about 3 months ago | (#47796081)

Would you mind tell me who are the competitors? I am pretty interested in alternative products if any at a competitive price.

Re:Broadcom... (2)

gweihir (88907) | about 3 months ago | (#47796295)

Get a Beagle Bone Black. It is about $10 more, but you get a good design, the full specs and nobody is lying to you and you have none of the reliability issues the RPi suffers from.

Re: Broadcom... (3, Informative)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 3 months ago | (#47796567)

As good as the BBB is, the layout sucks. My beef is the micro HDMI port is so close to the only USB port that thumb drives or fat USB plus interfere with the HDMI plug. If you have a previous gen BBB with the 2GB eMMC, the new Debian distro leaves you with 60 MB free space. The Angstrom distro is dead. So you have to boot from the SD card.

But the biggest benefit is the external memory bus for FPGA connectivity. But that disables the HDMI port as the ports are shared on the SoC.

I wish they would add more USB ports, move the HDMI port and if possible, move to an SoC that does not sacrifice the HDMI for the external memory bus. Overall it blows away the RPI.

Re: Broadcom... (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about 3 months ago | (#47796701)

Thanks guys for the feedback.

Re:Broadcom... (2)

killkillkill (884238) | about 3 months ago | (#47796347)

Beagleboard Black is my favorite. http://beagleboard.org/black [beagleboard.org]

I have a couple RPis and they are fun for out-of-the-box projects like RetroPi, but it's a BBB that I trust to run my 3.25hp router around my CNC table at 200in/min. Though, recently with the work going into MachineKit [machinekit.io] that's pretty much an out-of-the-box project too.

RPi had quite a bit of energy in the community to begin with and that momentum still persists and give a bit of an advantage to them in project development, but that will only go on so long with the arrogance displayed in that thread. Don't venture into the OSS space and start complaining about derivatives of your work. Especially when the project is mainly sponsored and developed by employees of the company that is selling the bloody chips that are nowhere near open or documented while all the function of your system is dependent on an OS you did not develop or pay for.

Re:Broadcom... (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about 3 months ago | (#47797011)

Thanks for the feedback.

Re:Broadcom... (1)

julesh (229690) | about 3 months ago | (#47796917)

Would you mind tell me who are the competitors? I am pretty interested in alternative products if any at a competitive price.

I'm personally a fan of Olimex's boards. They're open hardware, and tend to have superior boards to the RPi at only slightly higher prices. E.g. their entry level board (details here [olimex.com] ) is £28 versus about £20 for a RPi model A. It has a much faster processor (1GHz superscalar Cortex A8 vs 700MHz previous-generation single-dispatch ARM11, so probably about twice as fast), more GPIOs (74 pins vs RPi's 26), USB-OTG, audio-in, RTC, plus uses a processor that does not rely on an undocumented proprietary DSP to boot. And did I mention it's open hardware, so you could build your own if wanted to?

Re:Broadcom... (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 months ago | (#47796121)

It was chosen because the brains behind the project works for Broadcom and got a sweetheart deal with some great licensing. Its called working with the resources you have. There would BE no competitors if Pi hadnt come out. They even moved INTEL to get into the micro space with Galileo.

Re:Broadcom... (4, Informative)

DamnOregonian (963763) | about 3 months ago | (#47796177)

Pretty sure the Arduino market is what pulled Intel in. http://arduino.cc/en/ArduinoCe... [arduino.cc]
And you know... You may be right. There was no embedded SBC market before the Pi came out.

The Pi competed on one front, and one front only. Price. And no one really competed with it. The boards of similar (but still higher) price that destroyed the Pi in functionality were around before the Pi was.

Re:Broadcom... (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 months ago | (#47796533)

Fair enough. I will amend to say that the Pi greatly expanded the market for players that were already in the game. Unfortunately, the others were never able to capture any real mindshare from it. Love it or hate it, the Pi made the market what it is now. Also, Intel has offerings on both fronts, real time microcontrollers and multi-tasking OS chips. (quark and galileo)

Re:Broadcom... (1)

DamnOregonian (963763) | about 3 months ago | (#47796603)

There's no arguing the RPi's incredible mind-share, but I still contend that the market minus the Pi isn't really much different than it was before the Pi. More people have just been brought into it. I don't see more choice than I saw before, or better prices. I think what the Pi brought to the table was a bunch of people who weren't willing to spend more than $35 on SBC toys. I don't love or hate the Pi. I have 2 of them, and an ODROID-W (yay, on-topic!). It's one of my lower-end SBC hobbyist boards, but definitely not at all bad for the price. I still consider the BBB a better board by a large margin for $20 more (used to be $10 more).

Galileo is an Arduino compatible board that uses the Quark SOC.
It's also the only hobbyist board the quark ships on. (that's available to the public).

Intel doesn't really have a competitor to the Pi, though I do expect that to change eventually. (Quark will not be the chip to do it- any competitor will need a GPU)

Re:Broadcom... (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 3 months ago | (#47796289)

Dream on. The Beagle Board, for example is from 2008 and fas fully open from the start. The Cubieboard is from 2012, same time as the RPi.

Re:Broadcom... (4, Informative)

Cyberdyne (104305) | about 3 months ago | (#47796203)

The choice [of a Broadcom SoC] by the RPi-team was utterly stupid and can only be attributed to incompetence.

Well, Eben Upton's job working for Broadcom was probably a factor there... Personally, I'd trace the idea back before he had that job - I recall a discussion about the Gameboy Advance developer kit in the summer of 2002, and the lack of affordable programmable devices at the time. I suspect he'd have had a real struggle getting anywhere close to the Pi's target price without getting discounted access to the Broadcom SoC he used, though. I haven't spoken to him recently, but my impression was that far from "RPi Foundation pressed Broadcom to stop selling BCM2835 to competing projects" as claimed, it was more "Eben twisted arms and got Broadcom to give RPF a special cut-price deal so they could afford it".

If anyone were to bring out a rival device from a "significantly superior" competitor, I'd be delighted to see it - and I suspect most if not all of the RPF people would too, since it wasn't about making money by selling lots of systems. (Of course, Broadcom didn't buy up the remains of ARM's parent company for nothing, so I'd be surprised to see something much better from a rival!) I was happy to see the Pi being ARM based, as a fan of ARM as far back as the ARM2 I first programmed, but I'm also happy to see rivals like the MIPS32 one mentioned recently: I like ARM, but I also like having a choice of platform, both hardware and software!

Re:Broadcom... (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 3 months ago | (#47796303)

Anything that has the full MCU datasheet published is significantly superior. Get a Beagle Bone Black for example.

Re:Broadcom... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796507)

Except that hardly anyone uses BeagleBone compared to RPi so the software and hardware support isn't anywhere near as good. I couldn't get a kernel compiled with preemptive scheduling so my audio app couldn't run reliably on BB. I would have have to physically hack the BBB to get a second host USB because sharing the USB with networking could cause the USB controller to drop audio data. RPi has an available sound card with an spdif transceiver that connects to I2S, so it's RPi all the way for me now.

So for me, Beagle Bone Black is significantly inferior to RPi. YMMV.

Re:Broadcom... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796791)

If you added all the so-called "competitors" together, would they even approach ten percent of the 3 MILLION Raspberry Pi devices sold?

No?

Well then, doesn't seem so stupid then, does it.

Re:Broadcom... (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about 3 months ago | (#47797007)

The choice by the RPi-team was utterly stupid and can only be attributed to incompetence.

Are you a moron?

Oh, sorry, yes, you are a moron.

The RPi team are Broadcom you idiot.

Happy Sunday fron The Golden Girls (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47795775)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Mistaken lyric (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796133)

Sorry, but it's not "you're a pal and a cosmonaut", it's actually "you're a pal and a conflagrant". This is, of course, a subtle allusion to how smoking hot these ladies are.

Can someone please Rule 34 Estelle Getty for us? It would be a service to humanity.

Get over it (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47795777)

There's a wide and robust SoC community out there. You people who keep pushing the Pi in our faces are doing a disservice to the larger progressive community.

Re:Get over it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47795791)

More is always better.

Re:Get over it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47795797)

What is the wide and robust SoC community? Links?

Re: Get over it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47795843)

Pushing it on your faces? We're so totally board-slapping you with it. Suck my code, bitch.

Re:Get over it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796857)

Every attempt so far for a small board have been dreadful. Remember the gumstix, now the RPi, the Beagle, and plenty of others that have gone by the wayside. Just give me a small board with i386 cpu attached that I can add standard ram and drives to, with an ethernet port. Then I can use standard kernels and user land tools. I can create optimized appliances for different tasks. Nothing special would be needed. It would just work for almost anything. The only drawback would be a slow cpu, but that would be expected because it is not intended to be a desktop or server. Make it for $100 or less that would fit in a router chassis. It costs $300 for a mini-itx that has these capabilities. The pogoplug looked like it might have fit this, but in reality it sux. Give us something.

Re:Get over it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796903)

here you go [logicsupply.com]

Broadcom won't release documentation ever (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47795809)

I used to work at Sun Microsystems and had to deal with Broadcom chips in the servers. In order to get access to Hardware Reference Manuals, I almost was compelled to sign away rights to my 1st *and* 2nd born. Broadcom does not want anyone to be able to write drivers to their hardware ever, unless you pay them a huge royalty.

Re:Broadcom won't release documentation ever (4, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about 3 months ago | (#47795929)

Indeed. And if you look at the competing chips, for example from Ti (e.g. on the Beagle Bone black), you have the full, detailed datasheet after a minute of web-searching. Broadcom chips have no place in "open" hardware.

Re:Broadcom won't release documentation ever (0)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about 3 months ago | (#47796095)

Sure, I agree with this bad attitude toward hardware hackers and low-level software developers. However, this board has still a place in the OS. I don't believe the original initiative from Raspberry Pi Foundation was to provide an open hardware platform at all. It was all about providing a cheap solution to encourage coding skills development early in school. From this point of view, Linux was a natural choice given it costs nothing. Open hardware was not a concern since you do not expect youngsters to hack litterally the hardware, you expect them to play with the GPIOs from the Linux software platform and that's all. And this at the lowest price possible.

It is just afterward and after people start to be very interested into this thin board that the open hardware issues manifest themselves for some developers.

Re:Broadcom won't release documentation ever (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 3 months ago | (#47796307)

That is just my point: They FAILED to publish the full GPIO specs! How demented is that?

Re:Broadcom won't release documentation ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796597)

Considering next to no one cares about that. Apparently not very.

Re:Broadcom won't release documentation ever (1)

Goaway (82658) | about 3 months ago | (#47796109)

The TI datasheets are not really "full". They are quite extensive, but there are large parts they leave out too.

Re:Broadcom won't release documentation ever (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 3 months ago | (#47796313)

Well, first I have not found any "large parts they leave out" so far, and second, the RPi datasheet "excerpts" are missing things as fundamental as the full GPIO specs. TI does no such utter BS.

Re:Broadcom won't release documentation ever (1)

romiz (757548) | about 3 months ago | (#47796425)

From what I remember, what is missing in the OMAP/Sitara TRM is documentation about:
- The secure bootloader, so you cannot use secure mode: some features (precise, limited, useful only in very specific cases) in the CPU are blocked
- The GPU documentation, but I've never seen the SGX documentation in any SoC TRM, or for any other GPU

But you still have ~5000 pages of doc in the main TRM, plus all the erratas, which is much better than what many other manufacturers give you, even after signing a NDA.

Re: Broadcom won't release documentation ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47797213)

And yet for some of their chips TI requires you buy a $3000 compiler in order to write software for them. Unlike nordic.

Broadcom don't deal with little guys (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47795813)

I've worked with Broadcom chips in some circumstances in my job as an embedded software engineer. It's seldom been pleasant.

They won't even talk to a little player, or anyone else who is unlikely to place an order for large numbers of chips. I know of tier-2 telecommunications equipment companies - well-known names - who were turned down by Broadcom. Even if you are a big player, technical support is even harder to get. They make you sign NDAs for every little thing. I saw this becoming an issue with the Raspberry Pi when it came out a few years ago as there was no documentation for the graphics hardware.

It's just the way they do business. I think they're about volume rather than margin. They're not even vaguely interested in enthusiasts or small scale jobs.

My favourite supplier is Freescale. They make almost all their documentation and software public, and you can buy their chips singly in the channel if you want. I have a suspicion that Intel (who are showing in interest in this market) and Atmel would probably also be very helpful.

Best advice to a small project like this is very much as follows : don't bother with Broadcom. They don't want your business.

Re:Broadcom don't deal with little guys (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47795871)

I can corroborate most of this. Broadcom wants to know they're going to make their money before they commit to anything, so to get their attention, you've got to drop a lot of money up front or commit to huge quantities. They really aren't into the whole goodwill/loss-leader efforts for catching the smaller customers.
I can't really blame them for this, but it makes them a pain in the ass to work with if you can't do either of those.

Re:Broadcom don't deal with little guys (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47795943)

They won't even talk to a little player, or anyone else who is unlikely to place an order for large numbers of chips.

They need to realize that big players start out as little players. I remember seeing an interview of Steve Jobs, and he was asked why they used the 6502 in the original Apple. He listed several technical advantages of the 6502, and then said that none of those factors had anything to with their decision. They used the 6502 because Motorola had given Woz a free sample.

Re:Broadcom don't deal with little guys (1)

silfen (3720385) | about 3 months ago | (#47796063)

They need to realize that big players start out as little players.

Sometimes they do, but so what? It looks like Broadcom still has a good business, as do many other companies that only deal with large customers; in a healthy, diverse market, that's a reasonable strategy for some companies. I don't see why people get so pushed out of shape about this. It's not like Broadcom is the only source you can use.

Re:Broadcom don't deal with little guys (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about 3 months ago | (#47796139)

Exactly! Sometimes people think a company should be after every tiny bit of the market and eat it all while many businesses never intent to capture all the opportunities. Only those with the highest ROI are worth going after. It is not because you want to buy a couple of Broadcom chips you deserve outstanding support.

Support costs money.

The above example from Apple is irrelevant in today's context. At the time Steve Jobs and Wosniak developed their computer, this was an emerging market. Personal computing was at its beginning and it was like the Internet in 1995, throwing a pile of money (support) at it worth it to capture emerging opportunities. And, the Motorola initiative did pay them well. They were totally absent in this market. On another hand, IBM was not approaching the market the same way and didn't provided anything to developers. They even invented the micro-channel architecture and made sure the specs were closed. That was a bad decision afterward, but it was strategically justified from the position of the company at this time.

Anyway, all this to say running a business and a profitable one is not necessarily seeking for world domination.

Re:Broadcom don't deal with little guys (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47796219)

Support costs money.

Then they should charge for it on an hourly basis, and waive that hourly fee for big customers. They already have data sheets and reference designs, so it would cost them nothing to put those on their website for download, like nearly every other semiconductor company does. It would also cost them very little to set up a wiki, and a forum where customers can interact and ask each other questions. Right now, that is illegal because customers sign an NDA to get specs.

Re:Broadcom don't deal with little guys (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 3 months ago | (#47796635)

Not sure where I read it but I believe part of why Broadcom is so secretive when it comes to their SoCs and things is that a lot of their market is (or was) for SoCs used in things like cable TV set-top boxes. Keeping things secret from the public at large makes it harder for hackers to figure out how their chips work so they can hack the firmware of these cable TV boxes and things.

Re:Broadcom don't deal with little guys (1)

silfen (3720385) | about 3 months ago | (#47796927)

Then they should charge for it on an hourly basis, and waive that hourly fee for big customers.

Why "should" they? They aren't in the business of handholding consumers or small customers. If you think they are wrong in their business model, stop whining and vote with your dollars instead. That's what adults do in a free market.

Of course, you whine and complain because you realize that Broadcom's business model is actually working for them.

Re:Broadcom don't deal with little guys (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47797129)

Broadcom's business model is actually working for them.

Only for very small values of "working". If you invested $100 in Broadcom stock back in the year 2000, you would have $21 today, and last month they laid off 20% of their workforce [eetimes.com] .

Re:Broadcom don't deal with little guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47797177)

Only for very small values of "working". If you invested $100 in Broadcom stock back in the year 2000, you would have $21 today

Well, yeah, because BRCM was hyped up in 2000 and you handpicked your times. That doesn't really say anything about Broadcom, but it tells me that you are a dishonest, argumentative jerk.

Re:Broadcom don't deal with little guys (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47796221)

... in a healthy, diverse market, that's a reasonable strategy for some companies.

Because what they are doing is making the market less healthy and less diverse.

I don't see why people get so pushed out of shape about this.

We speak out because we want to change their behavior, and discourage other companies from adopting the same customer hostile behavior. Why do you get so pushed out of shape about other people getting pushed out of shape?

Re:Broadcom don't deal with little guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796913)

We speak out because we want to change their behavior, and discourage other companies from adopting the same customer hostile behavior.

Do you think Broadcom's managers are morons? They've done the math and they aren't going to deal with you because it's not worth their trouble. No amount of whining on your part is going to change that. If you want to "change their behavior", vote with your dollars and buy from someone else; that's how free markets work. If you think there's a missed opportunity, try to invest your own money, buy from them in Samsung-like volumes, and then resell.

Because what they are doing is making the market less healthy and less diverse.

No, that's not it. Broadcom is just doing what many companies are doing in many industries: they sell to a different market segment. The only thing about this market is that it has a bunch of whiny nerds who spout nonsense that a seller refusing to sell to them "makes the market less healthy and less diverse". In healthy, free markets, sellers indeed tell buyers to go fuck off, and given your attitude, you should probably be hearing that more than you do.

Re:Broadcom don't deal with little guys (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47797091)

Do you think Broadcom's managers are morons?

Yes. If you look at their revenue, and stock price, and compare it to other semiconductor companies, it is clear that they are doing something wrong. Their policy of intentionally alienating potential customers doesn't appear to be working.

Broadcom is not the first company to have a "We Hate Our Customers" strategy. A decade ago, Marvell Semiconductor [wikipedia.org] was even worse. It was almost impossible to get a datasheet out of them. Today they are one of the most open.

Re:Broadcom don't deal with little guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796239)

It looks like Broadcom still has a good business

Yeah, except for the minor issue that Broadcom chose to exit the mobile SoC business and laid off 2500 people [eetimes.com] including the team that developed and supported the VideoCore chip used by the RPi, so maybe it wasn't quite a good enough business.

Motorola did not make the 6502. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796355)

MOS made the 6502, not Motorola.

More reality-distorted Apple "History".

Re:Motorola did not make the 6502. (2)

gregben (844056) | about 3 months ago | (#47796569)

Mod this up. Indeed, MOS (Metal Oxide Semiconductor) was the maverick company that came up with the 6502, a very clever improvement over the Motorola 6800.

Re:Motorola did not make the 6502. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796845)

Make that MOS Technology.

Re:Broadcom don't deal with little guys (4, Informative)

citizenr (871508) | about 3 months ago | (#47796471)

They won't even talk to a little player, or anyone else who is unlikely to place an order for large numbers of chips.

They need to realize that big players start out as little players. I remember seeing an interview of Steve Jobs, and he was asked why they used the 6502 in the original Apple. He listed several technical advantages of the 6502, and then said that none of those factors had anything to with their decision.

No, his actual words were:
"fuck if I know, my nerd did all the technical bs, I could sell you insurance and I wouldnt care less"

Maybe you were referring to the Woz interview?

They used the 6502 because Motorola had given Woz a free sample.

the one where Woz said they used 6502 because MOS, and NOT motorola (motorola was busy trying to sell $300 chips), MOS sold 6502 at $25 out of a jar at Wescon in single quantities with no NDA/moq

you know, this one :
http://www.textfiles.com/apple... [textfiles.com]

    "WOZNIAK: In 1975 an 8080 microprocessor cost $370 and you could only get it
from a distributor set up to deal with companies, not individual computer
enthusiasts. The 6502 was introduced at Wescon with a unique marketing
approach (thanks, Chuck Peddle) and was sold over the counter (like register
chips at the local surplus stores) for $20. I bought mine from Chuck and his
wife themselves."

Re:Broadcom don't deal with little guys (3, Interesting)

GrahamCox (741991) | about 3 months ago | (#47797279)

I started out as a hardware designer, specialising in RF. I worked for a medium-sized company at first, but one that was quite important in the UK in its particular market, and I had no trouble getting free samples out of any supplier when I mentioned their name. Later, when I wanted to build stuff for myself without the clout of a larger company, I still found getting free samples was easy enough. The trick was, call them up and ask them to give you a quote to supply the chip with price breaks at 10, 100, 10,000 pieces. Then after they'd gone through that process, throw in a "by the way, any chance of a couple of free samples?" (I wouldn't bother with this charade for basic components, free samples were no problem, but for more expensive items they needed to think you were serious). This was in the 80s so cutting edge at that time meant chips such as the 68HC11 SoC - I even got a couple of free development boards out of Motorola for that one.

A company called CML used to produce codec chips for handling the digital modulation of a baseband signal using GPSK, etc. Getting samples out of them was sometimes tricky because these were highly specialised custom fabrications. But I still got a tube full of free samples out of them which I used in a university project - very much a one-off - using the same BS.

Don't buy off Broadcom directly then (1)

Excelcia (906188) | about 3 months ago | (#47796119)

No manufacturer wants to sell in small lots. If I called up Intel directly and said I want a hundred of anything, their salesman would laugh at me too. That's what distributors are for. They buy in volume and sell to the little people. Or other board makers that bought more than they need and want to unload some. Looking at Alibaba.com right now I can see more than one, likely in the latter category. Available in any quantity Hardkernel would likely want to buy, and at a price point that should make the boards doable at their current selling price.

I have a hard time believing that their discontinuing the board is linked in any way to Broadcom's refusal to sell to them directly. I would be more inclined to believe they didn't get the interest they thought they would, and that the RPI community's antipathy towards them has given them cold feet.

Re:Don't buy off Broadcom directly then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796435)

No manufacturer wants to sell in small lots. If I called up Intel directly and said I want a hundred of anything, their salesman would laugh at me too. That's what distributors are for. They buy in volume and sell to the little people. Or other board makers that bought more than they need and want to unload some.

That's not the issue. If you want to buy Microchip stuff (PIC), you generally will buy it from DigiKey or Mouser or similar distributors, not Microchip directly. The *difference* is that anyone can get specs for PIC microcontrollers with a few clicks. No accounts needed. No NDAs. No bullshit.

If Broadcom does not allow their sacred chips to have specs available to download, then fuck them. Don't use those chips. They might as well be dead. Plenty of alternatives available.

I don't know why anyone is so "GaGa" over Rasberry PI or Arduino anyway. Plenty of capable microcontrollers available with full specs. The fun part is designing hardware and software, not running Linux on some board.

Re:Broadcom don't deal with little guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796515)

Please show me the documentation available on any PowerVR or Mali graphics hardware that you have that did not require and NDA.
I didn't think so.

P.S. Documentation is now available on the Broadcom Graphics hardware.

Why. (5, Informative)

queazocotal (915608) | about 3 months ago | (#47795821)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
Eben Christopher Upton is a Technical Director and ASIC architect for Broadcom. He is also a founder and former trustee of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and now CEO of the Raspberry PI trading company.[4] He is also responsible for the overall software and hardware architecture of the Raspberry Pi device.[5][6]

Re:Why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47795865)

The fact that Eben Upton is affiliated with both Broadcom and the Raspberry Pi Foundation is well known.

Where is the link between the ODROID W SoC supply failure and Eben Upton? Merely linking to the Wiki page on him is conjecture without evidence.

Re:Why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47795963)

You seem to be implying there is a supply failure anywhere.

Where is the evidence of this? What, because BROADCOM said it?

Re:Why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796105)

From TFA:

http://www.hardkernel.com/main/products/prdt_info.php?g_code=G140610189490

Not recommended for new designs. Broadcom will not supply the SoC to Hardkernel.
When the first trial batch is sold out, you can’t buy the ODROID-W anymore.
Sorry for the inconvenience.

Supply has failed. Broadcom has pulled the plug. Speculation and reasoning are best left to the armchair experts.

Re:Why. (1)

DamnOregonian (963763) | about 3 months ago | (#47796185)

I just got my ODROID-W! That's really sad to hear it's discontinued. It's a sexy little board.

Re:Why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47795993)

It's not that there's a connection specifically between ODroid's failure and Upton, it's that Upton's connections meant that RPi was in a privileged position to even be able to realistically consider using a Broadcom ASIC in the first place. Broadcom's general posture toward the market is that they won't even give you the time of day if you're not the likes of a D-Link, Netgear, Apple, Dell, etc..

Re:Why. (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 3 months ago | (#47795947)

That explains a lot. Really, "targeted at education" and "full datasheet not available" do not go together, except for the most stupid or most corrupt of players. I have been wondering how this incredibly stupid choice was made.

Re:Why. (3, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 months ago | (#47796131)

For fucks sake, its a $35 piece of silicon that can be used to teach kids things. Stop being a Stallman.

Re:Why. (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 3 months ago | (#47796327)

Oh, because it is low cost, and targeted at kids, that makes regarding the customers as stupid o.k. in your book?

Re:Why. (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 months ago | (#47796493)

I dont care about Broadcom's politics. I cant change them and the Pi has been incredibly useful to me in learning and teaching electronics. I would love for the whole thing to be open, but its just not happening, so we must accept that the net gain from the PI is still a benefit to humanity, no matter how slightly 'impure' the ideology. Most of the device is 'open'.

Re:Why. (1)

julesh (229690) | about 3 months ago | (#47796985)

I dont care about Broadcom's politics. I cant change them and the Pi has been incredibly useful to me in learning and teaching electronics. I would love for the whole thing to be open, but its just not happening, so we must accept that the net gain from the PI is still a benefit to humanity, no matter how slightly 'impure' the ideology. Most of the device is 'open'.

Yes, but for some reason I find hard to fathom it attracts attention away from other products that would be just as good at fulfilling the same goals and *are* completely open. I have no doubt that if, say, Olimex's OLinuxIno [olimex.com] sold in similar quantities to the RPi it would be available at about the same price, rather than a slightly higher for a much better board, as it is currently.

Re:Why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47797055)

The user community behind the Olinuxino just sucks. There's tumbleweed and there's sweet f'all else. The RPi won. Just suck it up.

Re:Why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796641)

Maybe in false dilemma land. Many of the rest of us see shades of gray.

Re:Why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47797023)

Oh, because it is low cost, and targeted at kids, that makes regarding the customers as stupid o.k. in your book?

TIL if you're not a leet kernel hacker you're stupid.

Its target market are downloading pre-rolled OS images and writing Python scripts. Not every computer user is an uber-nerd. Deal with it.

Re:Why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796965)

"Not for idiots". Sorry, go away.

Re:Why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47797265)

Mod parent up!!!

There is almost nothing right in this headline. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47795837)

a) The response in the linked thread was quite welcoming, most hoping for some competition.
b) The most likely answer is that ogdroid couldnt muster up a large enough order for SoCs so broadcom said 'nah'. The only way RPI got around this was having a broadcom employee on their team.
c) The *rumor* is that RPI pressured broadcom into not selling the chips, which was started by someone on a competitor's blog.

Re:There is almost nothing right in this headline. (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 3 months ago | (#47795863)

This attitude is going to cost them dearly in the future when the engineers they've burned design in a competitor's parts. I know I'll never select components from Rambus and Broadcom because of their BS.

Re:There is almost nothing right in this headline. (1)

DamnOregonian (963763) | about 3 months ago | (#47796211)

They did get an initial batch made apparently, because ODROID-W arrived in the mail last week. I like it far better than my RPis. Very small form factor, without all the stuff on the RPi board that I don't need. It's a shame it's being cancelled.

That's open source (5, Insightful)

Enry (630) | about 3 months ago | (#47795875)

Here's what one person said about it:
 

What I don't like about this project is that they simply use all the work (software development) of the foundation and the RPi community to sell their product. They call it "compatibility" but in fact it means: let other people do all the work and we make money from it.

Someone is new to open source/designs I see. Arduino has a bazillion knockoffs that are compatible yet they still seem to be doing okay. Unless RPi isn't an open architecture - in which case, why do we advocate its use?

Re: That's open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796285)

Who cares if it is open source? What difference does that mean to kids learning how to programme? I know the open source religion is well represented in these parts but it isn't really relevant.

Basically sounds like the ODROID-W got broadsided by the Compute module and someone got cold feet about placing a serious order with Broadcom.

Re: That's open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796731)

why do kids need a pi to learn programming, its a shitty platform all around and offers nothing special in regards to programming

ok cute its a computer you plug into a TV, doesnt make it an ZX spectrum, and its not 1983 anymroe

Re:That's open source Bzzz--- that's cheap prices. (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 3 months ago | (#47796767)

why do we advocate its use?

Why do people rave about it? Because it's cheap.

Forget all the principled arguments: free software, "for the children", pretty coloured boxes, or hackability. The only reason people buy Pis is the price. The only thing that most of them do is them load XBMC and then brag to their friends how they got a $99 media player for fifty bucks.

We're all tarts: chasing after the cheapest price and free-est stuff. Nobody really cares whether the software is FOSS, the hardware is open source or if the PCB is made out of panda skin. If it low on the $$$$'s it's top of every geek's wishlist.

Re:That's open source Bzzz--- that's cheap prices. (1)

Enry (630) | about 3 months ago | (#47796953)

There's plenty of other low-cost embedded systems that use Linux.

Re:That's open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796999)

Good Point, plus they were adding significantly to the design, making it much more useful for many projects. From their website:

The ODROID-W measures a very small 60 x 36 x 7mm (2.4 x 1.4 x 0.3”). new features and improvements over the original Raspberry Pi:

- Li+ rechargeable battery charger and fuel gauge for portables, wearable and robots application
- Real Time Clock to keep accurate time without an Internet connection by just adding a coin battery
- 12-bit precision ADC to measure the dynamic voltage signals via two single-ended inputs
- DC/DC step-down converters for higher power efficiency
- DC/DC step-up converter for 5Volt rails (USB host and HDMI) from a Li-Polymer battery
- USB Host port can be placed on top or bottom as preferred
- DIY friendly 0.1inch/2.54mm pitch IO connector (up to 32 GPIO ports) for handy prototyping

ODROID-W = RPI + RTC + ADC + UPS + Battery gauge with significant Minimalism

Should have made it free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47795879)

Because that way they'd have sold a lot more.

Hardkernel wasn't using Broadcom SoC anyway? (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 3 months ago | (#47795915)

Hardkernel wasn't using Broadcom SoC anyway?

The linked article makes it pretty clear they were basing it on Samsung Exynos SoCs - who *cares* whether or not Broadcom would source them parts, if they weren't even using Broadcom in their design?!? This is like using a Motorola 6502 in a design, and then claiming that Intel wouldn't sell you 8008's ... what the hell?

Re:Hardkernel wasn't using Broadcom SoC anyway? (3, Informative)

Paul King (2953311) | about 3 months ago | (#47795951)

No, the linked article says they are better known for their Exynos based products, this board was supposed to have the broadcom chip.

"none of them have made use of the same Broadcom BCM2835 SoC as the Pi, so none of them (until now) have been software compatible."

And the labeling on the picture shows the chip to be used.

Re:Hardkernel wasn't using Broadcom SoC anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796041)

The Slashdot summary of that article was (shockingly) completely wrong and stated that it used an Exynos SoC.

Their OTHER boards use Samsung (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 3 months ago | (#47796149)

From my reading, Hardkernel has some other, unrelated boards that use the Samsung. They wanted to release a board which would be software compatible with the RPi, and that would mean using the Broadcom SOC.

Using your analogy, it would be as if a company who previously made products with Motorola chips wanted to release a PC-compatible system to run Windows. Intel and AMD wouldn't work with them , so they had to cancel their planned x86 product.

access to broadcom chips (1)

lkcl (517947) | about 3 months ago | (#47796023)

for the rhombus-tech project i also contacted broadcom, to ask for access to one of their chips (this was before the raspberry pi). i can confirm that, just as other people are reporting, the conversation basically indicates that broadcom as a company doesn't wish to make money.

Re: access to broadcom chips (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796261)

You asked for one? LOL

Try ordering a million and you'll be fine.

Re:access to broadcom chips (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 3 months ago | (#47796657)

Broadcom makes money from people buying in huge bulk. Not little small fries ordering a few chips here and there.

Tsk... Tsk.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796031)

To round up comments so far:

"Nasty Nasty Broadcom"

"Pi is bad because it uses Broadcom"

"You can't use it for "education" because you can't get the graphics datasheet and the works are encased in a blob."

Yet the Pi IS a cheap and flexible general purpose computer and depending on your educational perspective you don't NEED access to low-level information. Its also important to remember that the Pi originated as Eben Uptons home project consisting of a wire-wrapped board containing an Arduino processor to create a simple programmable study computer before the move was made to the Broadcom chip to improve performance and flexibility. There's no need to invoke charges of conspiracy or even cronyism.

All we see here is the typical slashdot kneejerk response to all things Broadcom. There may be cases where this might be valid, but not as far as the pi is concerned.

Other small computing modules exist. Use one of those if it fits your particular need and quit whining!

Re:Tsk... Tsk.... (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about 3 months ago | (#47796159)

It's unfortunate you sign Anonymous Coward, because it is well said.

Re: Tsk... Tsk.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796249)

Well said. Sometimes products fail. HardKernel should have the good grace to admit it. If you don't want a Pi don't buy one. If you want an open source GPU buy a board that's got one! The ODROID-W looked nice and its a shame it isn't going to happen. That's the risk with product development. Best work out your supply chain before getting peoples' hopes up. Funny how the tin-foil-hat brigade think Broadcom is evil for simply selling a product. If you don't like it look elsewhere. Oh and don't ever buy a car. They aren't open source so it might raise your blood pressure.

Re:Tsk... Tsk.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796381)

And if you spend a little bit more money, you can actually get documents for the soc, have much more features, more speed, more memory and actually learn something else than how to install linux on a flash drive and use it on a small "general purpose" computer, and you are not supporting the axis of evil.

Re:Tsk... Tsk.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796595)

And if you spend a little bit more money...

You sound like a salesman that doesn't know when to stop. The answer will always be the same - my top price for this project is xxx and I can live without the extras.

Re:Tsk... Tsk.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47796673)

And if you spend a little bit more money,

Thus missing the point of the RPi. Taken to the logical conclusion, why not just spend "a little bit more money" and get a full PC [discountelectronics.com] .

I have a RPi (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 3 months ago | (#47796099)

And I predict the carton box will become a great collector's item. The arduino also has a great contender.

Re:I have a RPi (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 months ago | (#47796745)

arduino and pi are really two different things, one is a sbc the other is more like glue to interface a computer to the physical world, course arduino team is trying everything and using everyone to make a sbc muddling the waters, but the core arduino is still just a convenient interface platform that may handle simple tasks stand alone

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?