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The Icon Bar: News and features: Mysterious new product to be announced at London Show
 

Mysterious new product to be announced at London Show

Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 21:21, 23/10/2014 | ,
 
Lots of announcements have been coming in in the past few days in the run-up to this weekend's RISC OS London Show. However I think it's safe to say that the most-talked about news is that of a major new product that's due to be revealed at the show. Said to have been development by a coalition of parties for a year, details of exactly what it is or who is behind it are surprisingly stark. However some sleuths over on the RISC OS Open forums believe they have found the answer, hidden in a series of cryptic messages from R-Comp: A new computer based around the Freescale i.MX6 SoC. Could it be true, or is there another?
 
With only a couple of days left until the show, I guess we don't have too long left to find out.
 
  Mysterious new product to be announced at London Show
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Rob Kendrick Message #123411, posted by nunfetishist at 20:52, 24/10/2014
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 481
A Cortex-A9? Oh, fabulous. Best target hardware for RISC OS at the moment is a Cortex-A15 with as few cores as possible.

Or, bonus points for using a multi-core A15 and using its virtualisation extensions to let you run two copies of RISC OS at once. Or perhaps RISC OS at full speed in a window under Linux.
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Bryan Hogan Message #123412, posted by helpful at 02:00, 25/10/2014, in reply to message #123411
Member
Posts: 181
Best target hardware for RISC OS at the moment is a Cortex-A15
You can see that at the show too smile

[Edited by helpful at 02:01, 25/10/2014]
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Rob Kendrick Message #123413, posted by nunfetishist at 17:08, 26/10/2014, in reply to message #123412
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 481
I suppose it wasn't that exciting, then.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rob Kendrick Message #123414, posted by nunfetishist at 21:06, 27/10/2014, in reply to message #123413
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 481
So exciting infact that the retailer hasn't even bothered to put it on their own website yet smile

(Sounds like an off-the-shelf $80 i.MX6 system-on-module mounted in either an off-the-shelf carrier board or a custom one, with RISC OS ported to it with SATA support.)
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Bryan Hogan Message #123415, posted by helpful at 03:30, 28/10/2014, in reply to message #123414
Member
Posts: 181
Other websites and newsgroups are available:

https://www.riscosopen.org/forum/forums/1/topics/2856
http://stardot.org.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=8661
http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Comp/comp.sys.acorn.misc/2014-10/

So exciting infact that the retailer hasn't even bothered to put it on their own website yet smile
And if you had been paying attention you would know that RComp won't be back at base until Tuesday!
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Rob Kendrick Message #123416, posted by nunfetishist at 10:09, 28/10/2014, in reply to message #123415
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 481
And if you had been paying attention you would know that RComp won't be back at base until Tuesday!
That's why we have cron.

It shipping with WiFi and Bluetooth does make it sound like it's an off-the-shelf baseboard though. Anybody got any pics?
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richard cheng Message #123419, posted by richcheng at 16:34, 7/11/2014, in reply to message #123416

Posts: 649
Still no mention of it on the R-Comp site. So RISC OS.
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Andrew Rawnsley Message #123421, posted by arawnsley at 19:17, 7/11/2014, in reply to message #123419
R-Comp chap
Posts: 454
It's on http://www.armini.co.uk/ albeit in the form of a PDF flyer.
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Peter Howkins Message #123422, posted by flibble at 13:28, 8/11/2014, in reply to message #123421
flibble

Posts: 860
Still no mention of it on the R-Comp site. So RISC OS.
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Jason Togneri Message #123423, posted by filecore at 18:17, 9/11/2014, in reply to message #123422

Posts: 3867
Still no mention of it on the R-Comp site. So RISC OS.
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Rob Kendrick Message #123428, posted by nunfetishist at 14:23, 12/11/2014, in reply to message #123423
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 481
Still no mention of it on the R-Comp site. So RISC OS.
"
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Richard Walker Message #123430, posted by richw at 21:59, 12/11/2014, in reply to message #123428
Member
Posts: 31
Agreed. I typed 'r-comp' into Google, and was led to www.arsvcs.demon.co.uk (catchy!). I see a web site that looks like it's stuck in 1996. And it's difficult to digest. As others have commented, it's all very RISC OS.

I suspect that the RComp device will, quite understandably, be a complete solution: hardware and pre-loaded OS with apps. Probably not cheap, but perhaps so if Iyonix is your reference. Those people thinking about low-cost OMAP or Raspberry Pi DIY solutions will, I suspect, struggle to find compatible hardware and get RISC OS running. Will compiling your own OS even be an option, I wonder?

By the way, that's not necessarily a bad thing... a complete kit should offer Apple-style simplicity and slickness.

P.S. WebsterXL? Seriously?!
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Rob Kendrick Message #123431, posted by nunfetishist at 23:00, 12/11/2014, in reply to message #123430
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 481
P.S. WebsterXL? Seriously?!
They're waiting for NetSurf to become a plugin so WebsterXL can embed it.
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Trevor Johnson Message #123432, posted by trevj at 23:51, 12/11/2014, in reply to message #123431
Member
Posts: 660
They're waiting for NetSurf to become a plugin so WebsterXL can embed it.
So such a plugin isn't planned for the foreseeable future, then?
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Rob Kendrick Message #123433, posted by nunfetishist at 09:35, 13/11/2014, in reply to message #123432
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 481
So such a plugin isn't planned for the foreseeable future, then?
Nope, not unless somebody volunteers to do the work.
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Peter Howkins Message #123455, posted by flibble at 21:47, 11/12/2014, in reply to message #123433
flibble

Posts: 860
Still no mention of it on the R-Comp site. So RISC OS.
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Alex Hamilton Message #123461, posted by Alex H at 11:01, 26/12/2014, in reply to message #123455
Member
Posts: 1
The blurb on the R-Comp website at http://www.armini.co.uk/iMX6doc.pdf should assist.
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Rob Kendrick Message #123462, posted by nunfetishist at 14:51, 27/12/2014, in reply to message #123461
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 481
The blurb on the R-Comp website at http://www.armini.co.uk/iMX6doc.pdf should assist.
Doesn't say much beyond what we already know; "iMX6".
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Adrian Lees Message #123466, posted by adrianl at 00:39, 4/1/2015, in reply to message #123432
Member
Posts: 1558
They're waiting for NetSurf to become a plugin so WebsterXL can embed it.
So such a plugin isn't planned for the foreseeable future, then?
I have a request of the active NetSurf developers, and it's not the usual 'When JavaScript?' one...please, please, please, will you make it stop working properly with the amazon website; it's costing me a fortune in books!
wink
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Rob Kendrick Message #123467, posted by nunfetishist at 00:49, 4/1/2015, in reply to message #123466
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 481
They're waiting for NetSurf to become a plugin so WebsterXL can embed it.
So such a plugin isn't planned for the foreseeable future, then?
I have a request of the active NetSurf developers, and it's not the usual 'When JavaScript?' one...please, please, please, will you make it stop working properly with the amazon website; it's costing me a fortune in books!
wink
Don't you still have commit access, Adrian? smile
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Adrian Lees Message #123469, posted by adrianl at 22:58, 4/1/2015, in reply to message #123467
Member
Posts: 1558
They're waiting for NetSurf to become a plugin so WebsterXL can embed it.
So such a plugin isn't planned for the foreseeable future, then?
I have a request of the active NetSurf developers, and it's not the usual 'When JavaScript?' one...please, please, please, will you make it stop working properly with the amazon website; it's costing me a fortune in books!
wink
Don't you still have commit access, Adrian? smile
You've changed source control again, and I don't speak git. *orders another book* wink
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
David Boddie Message #123473, posted by davidb at 14:13, 7/1/2015, in reply to message #123469
Member
Posts: 112
You've changed source control again, and I don't speak git. *orders another book* wink
Well, if you ordered a book about git you could solve two problems at once. wink
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Andrew Rawnsley Message #123477, posted by arawnsley at 22:23, 24/1/2015, in reply to message #123473
R-Comp chap
Posts: 454
Thankyou all for your interest in this project. As Alex pointed out, http://www.armini.co.uk/ has a link at the top to our show-leaflet from October.

In that flyer, it encouraged anyone interested to get in touch. We've been sending out private emails every couple of weeks to those that expressed interest - insider briefings, if you will.

I believe that people who actually register interest, and want to buy the computer, should get the inside scoop, and that's what we've been giving them every two weeks.

But now things are changing - machines are beginning to ship (the first machines went live in December, and the commercial partners have now deployed a significant number). We're in the process of contacting customers to finalise their machine specs, a process that will take a few weeks to complete.

However, I have been very cautious because of the Omega fiasco. It was very important to me that we did not repeat that. We've kept the briefings to those who specifically asked for them, until the machine was shipping. That has taken a bit longer than I'd hoped due to illness and the need to make improvements to the RISC OS kernel that benefit all ARMv7 users.

I basically don't want to push the machine with websites etc (even if I had time to do so) until the backlog of orders is cleared. Until I can actually sell customers a machine "right now" (give or take), it's not right to step up the marketing beyond "Sign up for info, or pre-order if you're really keen".

Over the last few months, the i.MX6 project was responsible for many of the "significant" improvements mentioned in the ROOL CVS. Significant bug fixes such as the Obey module fix, the development of L2 cache controller support for Cortex A9 CPUs, the recent stability improvements in memory/cache tables for all ARMv6+ CPUs and so on.

The machine we let people play with in London was tangibly fast and stable - it didn't crash even when exposed for all to play with. Now, it's circa 50% faster still, and even more solid. RISC OS compile times are down to 9mins from 14 in October. Panda achieved about 20mins as a reference point, and Iyonix nearly 50 mins.

Similarly, the graphics system has improved from "significantly better than panda" to "to the limits of the HDMI interface" (ie. 1920x1200x60hz). And so on for the rest of the system.

It is my intention that the website will begin to update again now, as we machines flow out. It seems the right time, and I hope you'll all understand my logic, even if you don't necessarily agree with it.

I hope to issue a "digest" of our progress reports via the usual press channels soon too, but would still encourage interested folks to ask to join the mailshot-list, or fill in the form on http://www.armini.co.uk/

Of course, all this is governed to a large degree by time. I often have to make a choice between technical activities (building computers, creating disc images, testing, bug-tracking, developing stuff, tech support and so on) and publicity. I tend to always favour the technical elements, rather than website/publicty. Of course, that comes back to bite me with 4+ year old websites etc.

The next opportunity to see the machine live (assuming you haven't pre-ordered) will be at the SouthWest Show in February. In the meantime, a number of RISC OS folks in the community are already using i.MX6 machines as "main machines", so keep your eyes peeled...
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VinceH Message #123478, posted by VincceH at 22:45, 24/1/2015, in reply to message #123477
VincceH
Lowering the tone since the dawn of time

Posts: 1577
I hope to issue a "digest" of our progress reports via the usual press channels soon too
Good to know - I'd been thinking it was about time I emailed you to ask if you were ready to say anything about it that could be put on RISCOSitory, so your comment has pre-empted that. smile
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Adrian Lees Message #123479, posted by adrianl at 00:10, 25/1/2015, in reply to message #123477
Member
Posts: 1558
Perhaps I'm lucky with my board, but it's fine at 2048x1280x60Hz, or 2048x1536x52Hz for 4:3 aspect ratio.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Bryan Hogan Message #123507, posted by helpful at 01:59, 14/2/2015, in reply to message #123477
Member
Posts: 181
The next opportunity to see the machine live
...will be at ROUGOL this Monday, 16th Feb -

http://www.rougol.jellybaby.net/meetings/index.html

smile
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Peter Howkins Message #123508, posted by flibble at 16:26, 16/2/2015, in reply to message #123507
flibble

Posts: 860
The next opportunity to see the machine live
...will be at ROUGOL this Monday, 16th Feb -

http://www.rougol.jellybaby.net/meetings/index.html

smile
I'll also have my pi2 with RO on at ROUGOL tonight.
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Simon Willcocks Message #123509, posted by Stoppers at 23:09, 16/2/2015, in reply to message #123507
Member
Posts: 278
The next opportunity to see the machine live
...will be at ROUGOL this Monday, 16th Feb -

http://www.rougol.jellybaby.net/meetings/index.html

smile
And a very interesting talk it was.

I was very impressed by the speed, as demonstrated by ArtWorks rendering the celtic_knot3 file from Simon Smith's website which Richard Brown downloaded at my request and opened in the blink of an eye on the new machine. Back in 2010, I was very happy to render the image in 14 seconds under emulation, as opposed to 55s on a SA RiscPC; it seems I'm going to need a new benchmark.

http://www.simon-smith.org/graphics/celtic_knots.html

(Edited to correct Simon Smith's name and add the link.)

[Edited by Stoppers at 09:21, 18/2/2015]
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Peter Howkins Message #123516, posted by flibble at 20:04, 26/2/2015, in reply to message #123509
flibble

Posts: 860
Still no mention of it on the R-Comp site. So RISC OS.
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Andrew Rawnsley Message #123517, posted by arawnsley at 13:18, 27/2/2015, in reply to message #123516
R-Comp chap
Posts: 454
I think you may need to borrow your little lego buddy's spectacles, Peter. It's has been mentioned on the R-Comp website for a while (note the ARMX6 logo down the left hand side, and on the front page), and on the ARMini site.

However, it sounds like we've still got work to do to make it more prominent/visible/useful.

As you'll read in my post a few inches up-screen, I purposely won't be pushing it with lots of info until the backlog is clear. We're currently about a month back-ordered.

[Edited by arawnsley at 13:43, 27/2/2015]
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The Icon Bar: News and features: Mysterious new product to be announced at London Show