Via to open source its drivers – finally

April 13, 2008

Via Technologies LogoHello everyone,

It’s been a while. I have been extremely busy designing, building and launching a full IPTV service. Now that the service has launched I can take a bit of a breather and perhaps post a few updates here. Lots has happened in the world of Zonbu in the past four months.

The most significant development by far is that Via has announced that they intend to embrace the open source community and finally start releasing driver source and details so the drivers for their embedded platforms can be improved.

The following details are excerpted from this article at LinuxDevices.com: http://www.linuxdevices.com/news/NS9457876583.html

Via Technologies, although very popular with Linux ultramobile PC vendors, has never been very open about its own hardware. Until April 8, when, at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in Austin, Texas, the company announced that it will start opening up its chipsets to the open source community.

During the We’re Shipping Linux on PCs — Now What? panel, held at the University of Texas Super Computing Center, Timothy Chen of Via Technologies, said, “Via hadn’t been doing much [in opening up] — it’s been hard for the company to embrace open source, but at the end of the month you’ll see us opening up.”

This announcement drew a round of applause from the audience of Linux executives, leaders and core developers. Driver support for Linux distributions, a nagging problem, can be greatly eased by chip and component vendors opening up their hardware specifications and information.

In concrete terms, Via will kick things off by launching its Via Linux Web site by the end of month. On this site, users will find drivers, technical documentation, source code and information for the Via CN700, CX700/M, CN896 and the new Via VX800 chipsets. As time goes by, Via will add forums and support for more of its chipsets.

Hopefully this will help unlock the potential of the existing Zonbu hardware platform.

-Mr. Zonbu


Big wheels keep on turning: 5 Reasons not the fear a $200 Linux PC

January 24, 2008

News.com LogoNews.com has a good post on the emergence of ultra low cost, Linux based, PCs.

They say:

Linux is not just for computer whizzes.

In fact, buying Linux and learning how to use it are easier than ever, thanks to the open-source operating system’s expanding presence in affordable computers and mainstream retail outlets.

Really what we’re seeing is the emergence of Firefox as a platform/OS, rather than Linux. To be honest, the principle use of these machines is as low cost web devices.  The Zonbu suddenly has A LOT of company, and only a small number of things to set it apart.

Now if it had stellar video performance and Rhapsody support, they would have some bragging rights, but as it stands, the shelves are getting awfully crowded.  Which is unfortunate, I think Zonbu has a lot of subtle things going for it, but it is going to get lost in the crowd without some real innovative partnerships and applications.

More here: http://www.news.com/Five-reasons-not-to-fear-a-200-Linux-PC/2100-1044_3-6227419.html?tag=nefd.top

-Mr. Zonbu


gOS Cloudbook and other Everex CES announcements

January 9, 2008

Over at CNET’s CES Coverage area they have a bief update on the Everex Cloudboox running gOS. Take a look here:

http://ces.cnet.com/8301-13855_1-9846075-67.html?tag=head

On the hardware side, the $199 gPC is getting updated with new plastics. It will be joined by a slick mini PC at $499 and a $399 notebook with a 15.4″ screen, the gBook. All of the gOS machines are powered by Via chips, except the mini, which gets a dual-core Pentium (not Core 2 Duo).

The real news, though, is the Everex CloudBook, a 2-pound ultra-small laptop with a 7″ screen, 30GB hard drive, a Webcam, and good connectivity (WiFi, 3 USB ports, 4-in-1 card reader). It “out-specs” the Asus ePC, according to Everex, and will sell for $399 when it shows up at WalMart on January 20th.

-Mr. Zonbu


EEE Officially Skype 2.0 with webcam support, works great

January 7, 2008

Video Conf ImageThis weekend I decided to do a package update on my EEE PC. I’ve resisted adding non-official repositories and generally doing geeky things to it as I wanted to compare the typical end user experience with that of the Zonbu.

To date, I’ve been a bit underwhelmed with the lack of updates. Firefox is still 2.0.0.7 and various other apps are older as well. The update function in the “basic” interface is a bit confusing and didn’t seem to be working consistently for me, but I soldiered on.

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Wow… $380 Laptops… This just keeps getting better

January 3, 2008

Well this is an even better deal than the Zonbook pricing if you don’t take the subscription.

If this was available for $279 when you took two years of Zonbu magic, I’d probably buy another one.

If you’ve been following along, you already know that I beleive Zonbu needs to mainstream their hardware. Its looking more and more like that wouldn’t be difficult at all either…

The deal hounds over at http://www.DealNews.com just posted this one:

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The Beauty experiences some Zonbook printing issues

January 3, 2008

HP LaserJet 1012All is not quite right in our tropical island lair.

Last evening the Beauty told me she couldn’t print and hadn’t been able to for a few days. She said it just didn’t work.

This struck me as odd as neither the printer nor the Zonbu configuration have changed. I took a look and in the printers tab, the printer was paused. I’m not sure how that would have happened. I unpaused it, patted myself on the back and tried to print. Nothing.

I went back and looked at the panel again. Printer paused. I unpaused it. Printed. Paused again. Definitely a bug. Lots of paper and ink the in HP LaserJet. Reset the printer, reseated the paper etc etc.

In the end I had to uninstall and reinstall the driver (not that it is hard, but annoying and weird). Once I reinstalled it, it has been fine. I have no idea what went wrong.

Has anyone else seen this?

-Mr. Zonbu


Linutop Video Review

January 1, 2008

I found this video review of the Linutop over at Linux Journal.com: