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


Beauty: ZonbuOS not meeting basic photo management needs

January 4, 2008

The beauty is not happy tonight.  Which means Mr. Zonbu isn’t happy.Canon SD800

After putting the baby to bed, the Beauty sat down to deal with some of the dozens of recent photos on our digital camera.

She plugged in her SD card reader to the USB slot and waited.

She heard a brief sound but no wizard popped up. She waited a minute or two then said to me that it wasn’t working.

I asked her why she thought that and she said she didn’t get any wizard to help her import the photos…

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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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PC Mag: The gOS PC isn’t fully baked, doesn’t like Via platform

December 29, 2007

PC Mag logoPC Magazine has posted a review of the gOS PC, and the author is less than pleased with his overall experience.

I’m not entirely surprised, and I’ve been talking about the need for these entry level devices to have a more practical computing power level for a while.

Here is a brief quote:

The gPC was slapped together to sell to Web-savvy people who have very little pocket money. My advice to these people? Save up for just a little longer and buy something for at least $450 that runs Windows Vista, or get the ASUS Eee PC 4G laptop. This advice also goes for tech-savvy readers looking for a simple Internet PC for Grandma or Uncle Phil, or for a really cheap PC to tinker with and rebuild.

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Some more Beauty feedback on the Zonbu laptop…

December 27, 2007

Beauty & the Geek LogoA few more small items that the Beauty and Grandma have had to say about using the Zonbu laptop:

-The lack of thumbnails when viewing a directory of photos is problematic and needs to be enabled somehow

-When returning from hibernation often the wireless doesn’t seem to come back to life. The wizard says it is connected, as does the signal strength meter, but it is necessary to re-run the connection wizard to get back online.

-The printer offering to install every time it is powered on is also still a problem, and equally annoying…

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