Monday, May 17, 2010

Death to ARM, Long live ARM!

Not all that long ago I wrote a blog post that expressed some frustrations I was having with ARM as a platform but in retrospect I think my statements were a bit hasty and overzealous. I stepped away from the unique aspect of ARM boards that make them so appealing, they are different, they are disjoint, but they are also extremely capable. We live in a world where you can't walk into the middle of a town and throw a rock in any direction without hitting a person carrying an ARM device which is an extremely powerful statement. Its a platform where extremely cool things are happening, it is the reigning champion of consumer embedded devices and as cloud computing (yes, I hate the term too but bear with me) becomes more and more the way of the future, embedded computing really will be a more viable solution for the dawn of tomorrow.

What does this mean? Well, that depends on who you are and where you sit in the world. It means to me that I think we within the Fedora Community need to put more efforts into the Fedora ARM SIG and even though I am an ARM SIG member I probably made my fellow Fedorans(?) a bit upset with my outcry as well as dealt myself a bit of a credibility blow which I have only myself to thank. In an effort to bring myself back from my current state I in the process of gearing up for doing some actual contribution to the Fedora ARM port, I've got a book entitled "Embedded Linux Primer" by Christopher Hallinan that I'm almost half way through and I've got a GuruPlug on order from GlobalScale because even if I hit fits of frustration along they way it would be ignorant of me to claim that embedded computing doesn't power the world, ARM is leading the way in that market, and I feel this is an area that Fedora could be great in. So lets hope that Apple doesn't buy ARM and screw us all. Long live Fedora and long live ARM!

UPDATE: I have cancelled my previous order of the GuruPlug in favor of a SheevaPlug for two reasons. 1) The GuruPlug requires me to buy JTAG board to do dev work and I don't want to shell out the extra cash. 2) I'm hearing reports of GuruPlugs doing random reboots when using the ethernet port. So now I just have to wait for my SheevaPlug in the mail!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Vote with your dollars

"Vote with your dollars," a phrase a co-worker said to me when we started discussing smoking vs. non-smoking dining options. It's an idea that has stuck with me ever since and I find myself applying it to anything I do these days. For example, I pay for a Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription for my house even though I could run CentOS. Why do I do this? Because I want to support Red Hat, I want to vote with my dollars and let them know that I appreciate what they do for the open source software community at large with all of their endeavours.

This past weekend I found myself at a store, I won't say which one because I need not endorse them and they certainly don't need or want a mention in my measly little blog. At this store I was on a mission to purchase a portable mouse to go along with my new Asus EeePC 1001P (which I recently blogged about). The netbook is wonderful but when I've got it sitting on a desk I'd rather have a real mouse. As I was cruising for a perfect selection I found myself with two mice to decide between, both were capable and according to their boxes they had almost identical feature sets but one was cheaper. If I were a regular consumer, I would have grabbed the cheaper one and gone on with my life and not thought anything of it, but I am not a regular consumer. I'm a voter. There was another difference between these two devices and that was that the more expensive one had an image of Tux on the side and a listing for "Linux kernel 2.6+" in the system requirements field. I was sold. I voted with my dollars and gave my money to Logitech as they took the time and money to verify functionality on a Linux machine and to print the information on their labels. So kudos to you Logitech and I thank you for your help in the struggle to push the Linux movement. While many might find this victory small and meaningless, I think this is a big statement to the world. We came, we dominated, and now your peripherals wear our insignia. I happily paid the extra money to the company that was willing to give me some peace of mind that when I plugged that mouse in to my Fedora 13 Beta powered netbook that it would work and it did and I'm happy.