[Freedombox-discuss] Suitability of Globalscale as partner?

Charles N Wyble charles at knownelement.com
Wed Apr 6 15:49:05 UTC 2011

On 04/06/2011 08:16 AM, Philip Hands wrote:
> On Tue, 05 Apr 2011 18:11:41 -0700, John Gilmore<gnu at toad.com>  wrote:
> ...
>> This company doesn't look like the sort we want to base our software
>> on.
> They also have a history of producing things that I would be nervous
> about leaving plugged in my home (I'd probably be OK with one in my
> garage, in a sand filled box, with a fire suppressant system overhead
> ;-)

Citation needed? Can you provide some specific confirmed examples of 
shoddy production
that lead to a fire or other ... ahem negative user experience? :) I'm 
just curious. I have no particular
interest in the plug platform, and would love to be able to apt-get 
install freedombox on any debian system.

> Initially I thought that the plug computer was a good idea, but if
> you're skimping on the power supply components, it just wastes power,
> and dumps the resulting heat into the CPU, which strikes me as suboptimal.

Can you share a link to a write up / analysis you have performed on the
power supply that leads you to believe they are skimping? Would love
to have that material for when people ask me about plug computers as
a viable platform.

> Given that Eben seems to be talking about wall-warts, and that these
> sheva-plugs from globalscale seem to be what he's talking about, I think
> we need to address this issue, since I think these particular
> incarnations of wall-wart provide a rather shaky foundation for the
> project.

Would love to know more about why you think that. Specifics,
take apart pictures etc. It's good to have details. We can avoid
those mistakes and make a better one.

> Given that we have ambitions to have these in every home, even if they
> have only have very slightly dodgy power supplies we're going to be
> causing house fires just due to sheer numbers.

Again. Citations and analysis requested.

> Check out their (total lack of) response to queries about u-boot support
> of alternative boot media for the OpenRD to see how much they care about
> supporting small customers.

Do you have a link to where you posted the query? Do they have an open 
issue/bug system?
Or was it in a private e-mail? If so what e-mail address was used? This 
is a very important issue
and we must be able to report bugs, suggest feedback etc.

> Absolutely -- I think that a worthwhile expenditure of some of the FBF
> funds would be developing a decent reference design, as Open Hardware,
> where some bean counter has not decided to save 20 cents on the PSU
> components, and where all the components are selected firstly on the
> basis that it's provided by someone that's willing to support Free
> Software drivers, and only then on performance, so we don't end up with
> the Marvel wifi on openmoko situation, where there are bugs that will
> never be fixed.

I agree! I would like to see a detailed analysis of the PandaBoard
for this project. I'm very tempted to buy one and need to do some
extensive research on the product.

> Given the wall wart problems mentioned, I've come to the conclusion that
> the right thing to do is design something that is capable of running on a
> mobile phone USB charger -- these are so cheap as to be almost free, and
> many people are going to have spares laying around.  They ahd the
> advantage of massive economy of scale, and would keep the heat away
>  From the CPU -- the down side is the additional cable.

Hmmmm. Additional cable being the USB to the wall wart you mean? I don't
really see that being an issue. Most likely a mini or micro plug anyway, 
and you
would need a port for power on any device you make.

> What I'd actually like to see is something that's capable of being
> powered by either of two USB chargers, so that (given that we're relying
> n el-cheapo power supplies) if one of them blows up, we still have power
> to send you a message saying that the PSU#1 just died, say.

Interesting idea. Dual power supplies via USB chargers. That could work.
> Similarly, if we're putting people's most vital data on these things, it
> would probably be nice to have the option of 2 SD cards or perhaps 2 SATA
> drives so that we can RAID the data.

Yes that's an attractive option. I have been experimenting with 
Tahoe-lafs for this. However
that's not POSIX compliant, so would be most for backup type usage and 
not day to day usage.
Two e-sata or usb3.0 drives would do the trick nicely. Also cloud raid 
is an interesting idea.

Something like

1) A DHT infrastructure so that nodes can find each other

2) 1k purchases 3 nodes consisting of:
     174.00 for the server (PandaBoard perhaps)
     200.00 for 2 2TB drives which would be in a RAID configuration.

3) Nodes are running Tahoe-lafs and backups can be sent to friends in 
equal amounts
to the storage that you share for your friends.

Maybe use n2n vpn for community names or something. I'm open to 
suggestions. :)
> This of course makes one think that perhaps we should rather be settling
> on a particular model of android phone's hardware, but then we don't get
> ethernet, and we're paying for a screen we don't need.

Hmmmm. Interesting idea. Run this all on an Android. As for not needing 
the screen,
perhaps that could be used for initial setup and ongoing diagnostic 
information (temperature,
network traffic, wifi air quality) . Perhaps some more artistic type 

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