New $200 tablet?

Al Johnson openmoko at
Mon Jan 30 20:46:27 CET 2012

On Monday 30 January 2012 18:52:19 Thomas Gstädtner wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 17:53, Al Johnson <openmoko at> 
> > On Monday 30 January 2012 15:42:14 Patryk Benderz wrote:
> >> [cut]
> >> 
> >> > This look very interesting. Can’t wait to get my hands on one.
> >> 
> >> It is written 200 EURO, not dollars ($). Makes a difference.
> > 
> > No mention of tax either. It's certainly interesting, especially in
> > light of the Lima driver project for the ARM Mali, but we need more
> > details. It looks rather like the ZT280-C71 which is usually somewhat
> > cheaper, but whose manufacturer doesn't seem to have released kernel
> > source.
> You are right.
> It should be noted that this is by no means any new hardware developed
> for KDE specifically.
> This hardware is already widely available for some time, in dozens (if
> not far more) of variants.
> I found similar hardware starting at about EUR 70 and the exact same
> hardware starting at about EUR 100.
> In Europe it seems to be most commonly sold as "Zenithink C71" which
> is optically and hardware-wise fully identical to the "Spark", in
> China I found it at least under 20 other names with the same hardware,
> and much more with slightly different specs.
> Many of them are intentionally sold as cheap i$random_apple_product clones.
> I haven't found out which company actually builds the device, though
> I'm pretty sure it's none of those found in the product names. All of
> those are likely based on AMLogic's reference board designs, and there
> is NO LINUX UPSTREAM support for either the SoC or the board.
> Also, there is NO SOURCE CODE available publicly (maybe with the
> exception of one github repository which seems to have at least some
> code) which means that all companies currently selling this device are
> violating the GPL.

It may not be upstream, but AMLogic do seem to be publishing source. If 
everyone is using a reference design it might just work ;-) It looks like 
their reference bootloader is uboot too.

The lack of source from OEM and below is nothing new - it's just more obvious 
than with the routers and STBs where it's been happening for years 

> There are also no proper spec sheets, datasheets, or code references in any
> way.
> It is to hope, that the KDE guys are interested enough to have
> everything properly open sourced to be GPL compliant, though I fear
> they - like most open source projects - don't have the pull on Chinese
> hardware OEMs to change a horrible situation to a good situation.

I'll live in hope until there's a proper release.

> Anyway - in my opinion so far this is a lot of fuzz about hardly anything.

It'll be one of very few tablets that run linux without needing an anti-vendor 
port. That's a good thing in my book, even if it's not ideal.

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