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daniel3000
Hello,

wouldn't it be better, instead of using another XScale processor, to wait for intel making the first reliable steppings of their planned x86 PDA processors?
That would allow to run a much larger variety of software, beginning with simpler systems like MS-DOS, over Windows 95 and XP, up to "normal" Linux distributions.

We'd not be tied to special software versions, compilig of the apps especially for the PDA etc., but just use the stuff we can buy or download as binaries.

It was posted here some time ago I think, but for those who don't remember:
http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2006/06/27/intel_sells_xscale/

(Also search google for "intel sells xscale")

Personally, I have used the HP 200LX (x86-based palmtop developed in 1993 with 186 8MHz CPU and 640kB RAM, running DOS) for about 8 years, before I switched to the Zaurus in 2005.
The Zaurus is great in terms of screen, speed, touchscreen, Multimedia etc.
But the 200LX was far superior when it comes to usability of thousands of available software programs, downloadable for free from the Internet.
With the zaurus, I could never reach the level of productivity I reached with the HP in even a shorter time than I have the Zaurus now. And that's only due to missing software.

I can not even say the Zaurus is more flexible due to the Linux system.
DOS is also VERY flexible when it comes to configuration and batch programming, if you only know some hidden tricks.

If I hadn't migrated all my PIM stuff etc. to the Zaurus already, I'd seriously consider to switch back to the HP.

Would waiting for a PDA-x86 processor be an option for this project?

daniel
Ferret-Simpson
If you read that thread, they're looking at chips that can run vista by 2010. . .

The PocketPenguin-One, Pocket-Penguin Two. . I can see maybe dealing with that sort of processor.

The current idea for the PPZ is just to create a powerful hardware platform on which people can run the software needed for that level of productivity.

I am more productive on my Zaurus Sharp Rom 5600, than I am on any of my Desktop PC's.

More in point, the PPZ is more POWERFUL than any of my PC's. It's designed to basically be everything the 3200 SHOULD have been instead of a 3100 with an extra 2GB. I can't put up witth dodgy ports and reverse engineering for another 3.5 years until intel release a good enough chip to make it worthwhile, and to be honest? I can't STAND x86. I've been moving to ARM for a while now, with RiscPC's, the Zaurus, I've been looking at Iyonix gear. . .

If everything goes ok with the current generation, and we get it built, and a few people actually BUY the ruddy thing, then I doubt very much that we'll hesitate for a moment before releasing the PP1, the PP2, or the PP3.

Currently, every single PDA manufacturer, from Sharp, to HP, to Dell to Acer to Sony to HTC are selling us out with incompatible closed source gear which does only the bare minimum needed to sell it to the punters and I HIGHLY doubt that will change just because Office 2011 (Office BFD?) can run on Microsoft's pet project 4 years from now. After all, we've got OpenOffice right now!

The PPZ supports several components of the proposed GPLv3, including End-User-Modification support. By Early next year, we should have a Top-Of-The-Range device with the Full phone capabilities and full gaming capabilites and the full anything else you can imagine that Sony, Sharp, HTC and the rest are keeping from us so they can keep us in our grasp.

Maybe one day, we'll go to x86. But it won't be as fast as with getting the PPZ out. And even then, since when have Intel been good about getting Open Source support? We'll have to work with shoddy sources from big companies who sign deals with them etc etc etc.

Besides, I like freescale. They made the Amiga chips. 68060 baby YEAH!

EDIT: This one's a big note.

We're not using XScale. XScale sucks big time. We're using Freescale chips which have good Manufacturer-Provided support, better quality, and higher specifications than the XScales.

I mean come on! The closest thing to the iMX31 currently available from the Intel side is the 270/624. And what do we have over that? Better support for just about everything, an FPU, an integral 3D accelerator, DDR266, and 800x600 external monitor support!

Intel, can Go. . To. . . hell.
Da_Blitz
Wow, some people know how te really annoy me smile.gif

basically i really hate the x86 chips. so that would be no on a x86 PDA, besides have you seen how much power thier low power chips actually consume, then you have to factor in all the extra IO chips. we might be able to get an all in one equivelent of what we are working with but thier are somthings that we need that x86s are known to not normally have (see SPI)

arm is one of the most power efficent processors you can buy (i belive they made the top 3 in some of the docs i read)

to run dos we would have to chuck a whole lot of the PC spec into the design which i dont want to even think about (i know arm chips better than any x86)

if you are looking for x86 i would recomend an UMPC

software for the Z dosent exsist because no one has compiled it yet, the x86 dose make it easier because it is so widly used

if i did a desktop version of this is would be bassed of a power PC chipset, however there are open source and linux friendly power pc makers out there

QUOTE
Intel, can Go. . To. . . hell.


might want to tone it down a bit
koen
QUOTE(Ferret-Simpson @ Jul 28 2006, 04:01 PM)
Intel, can Go. .  To. . . hell.
*


You mean Marvell?
Ferret-Simpson
Sorry DB!

And I meant intel, not Marvell.

Intel designed the Xscale chips, they're just selling them off to the Marvell company.

And it's intel that are building the new Nano-x86 processors.

Meh. I haven't liked intel since I first heard the acronym "TCPA" And yeah, that goes for AMD aswell.
Da_Blitz
well you probbely havent worked out the the security i am putting in it is a "TCPA" clone, thats what the security features were set up for in the first place

after all i do refer to it as "secure boot"
Ferret-Simpson
If you remember we already had this discussion in the old topic. And I explained that in this version, WE have the keys, and WE control what software is installed.
Da_Blitz
i biring it up again because intel dosent control the keys or amd, it is an OEM thing not a manufacturer

besides the latest cxx00 series have that stuff built in anyway, the advantage we would have is that it has internal flash which it boots from which would make our current security model alot easier and secure

back on topic after thinking about it i may do a x86 project but most likly not for a pda. we will see how well this turns out first smile.gif
Ferret-Simpson
Another point towards going for this one first. . Freescale chips are about a fifth of the price of Intel chips, and usually have alot more features. So if this hardware flops (Which it won't O.O) Then we won't have wasted nearly as much money as if we used Intel chips.
Da_Blitz
umm... yeah...

i feel really assured now wink.gif
Ferret-Simpson
XD

Well, when you've built the thing, you'll have the proof!

Now. . I'm sure round here there's a book called "How to make friends and motivate people. . ."
danboid
I know DB really really doesn't like x86 but what about the AMD Geode? I don't know how it compares in price but I should imagine it should pack as much punch, if not more, than the ARM11, no? Anyone got benchmarks comparing the two?

DOS better than Linux though? laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif

If there is a DOS app with no Linux equivalent then you have bochs and dosemu. Can you run Linux/Unix apps under DOS? Can you multitask under DOS? 640k memory is fun to work around eh? I admit DOS is still much better for games than Linux but as an OS there is no comparison- Linux is infinitely more powerful and versatile than DOS will ever be AND its portable and open source- but you know this already right?

As for the games thing though, the PS3 will come with Linux pre-installed so this should have a big impact in the world of video game development. It should mean more commercial titles will get ported to x86 Linux and should also be a big boost to homebrew game devel.

Intel aren't so bad with respect to open source- they're one of the few (only?) options people buying new hardware have if they want open source 3D grahics drivers although there is talk now of ATI open sourcing their drivers.
daniel3000
QUOTE(danboid @ Aug 10 2006, 07:54 PM)
DOS better than Linux though?  laugh.gif  laugh.gif  laugh.gif  laugh.gif  laugh.gif

If there is a DOS app with no Linux equivalent then you have bochs and dosemu. Can you run Linux/Unix apps under DOS? Can you multitask under DOS? 640k memory is fun to work around eh? I admit DOS is still much better for games than Linux but as an OS there is no comparison- Linux is infinitely more powerful and versatile than DOS will ever be AND its portable and open source- but you know this already right?
*


DOS compatibility would be important for those people still using (and being addicted) to the DOS-driven HP 200LX palmtops. I used sucha machine myself for almost 8 years. THere is software for this machine which is far superior to a lot of Windows equivalents.
I dare to say Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet applications is better than any spreadcheets I have seen which runs on the Zaurus (well, regarding features, OpenOffice Calc may be richer, but it is much slower).
I have never seen a PIM program for the Zaurus which is so simple but powerful as PIM/PE for the 200LX.
Same with mindmapping: MM/LX is very good (I have participated in development, BTW). VYM may be a good mind mapping software as well, but it is very inconvenient to use on the Zaurus.

I could add a lot more examples here.

Before I have started the pdaXrom setup a few days ago, I seriously considered going back to the 200LX and abandoning the Zaurus.
But I like the brilliant display and the slightly smaller form factor of the Zaurus. Touchscreen is also nice to have. So I gave it another chance with pdaXrom.
So far I think this will be the way to go.

daniel
danboid
For a speadsheet- why would you need anything better than gnumeric? Runs great under pdaXrom but even faster on 2.6 based OZ/GPE!

PIM- Have you tried out the latest gpe-PIM esp. gpe-calendar? Its superb! PIM is pretty much nailed down now for the Z.

The c3x00 models are the best computer since the Amiga IMO! When you have a 2.6 kernel with bvdd quality video acceleration you will agree I'm sure! If I could have 128MB+ RAM in it and USB 2.0 host I would bin my PC without blinking biggrin.gif
daniel3000
QUOTE(danboid @ Aug 11 2006, 12:21 AM)
For a speadsheet- why would you need anything better than gnumeric? Runs great under pdaXrom but even faster on 2.6 based OZ/GPE!

PIM- Have you tried out the latest gpe-PIM esp. gpe-calendar? Its superb! PIM is pretty much nailed down now for the Z.

The c3x00 models are the best computer since the Amiga IMO! When you have a 2.6 kernel with bvdd quality video acceleration you will agree I'm sure! If I could have 128MB+ RAM in it and USB 2.0 host I would bin my PC without blinking biggrin.gif
*


I have used Lotus 1-2-3 for quite complex things using macros, menues and database functions for conditional average calculations etc. Now sure if gnumeric supports all that.
e.g. here:
http://www.daniel-hertrich.de/lxgluc

I'd love to simply import the 1-2-3 sheet into gnumeric and continue to use it but I doubt this will be possible. Excel was not capable to do that, at least.

I'll try to set something like that up in gnumeric soon.


I have not used gpe-PIM. Have looked for screenshots on the Internet, but couldn't find any, so I cannot say for sure. But I think there simply is no PIM approach for the Zaurus like that one we used on the 200LX. It was a completely different approach: Having as ASCII file which you write a journal into using a text editor, denoting todos and appointments using special ASCII tags.
A GUI applications evaluated the ASCII file and took into from the tagged lines in order to display appointments graphically and in order to calculate todo lists using due dates, urgency tags and importance tags.

Once you got used to it (that might take a long time) you were much more efficient on it than in any other PIM I have seen where you have to enter PIM data into input dialogs, hopping from one field to the next etc.

The best PIM I have found for the Z so far is KDEPIM/PI. But even that one does not reach the capabilities of PIM/PE on the LX. It has a nicer display, though, and displays faster under some conditions.

daniel
Da_Blitz
the pim functions (at least the teext based files and markup) you are talking about sound simmilar to the command line PIm for linux, i posted about 5-7 links about this for someone (perahps in the software section or general discussion)
Ferret-Simpson
A batch file version of qCalendar. XD I want to see that.
Da_Blitz
have a look at a program called remind, its actually a deamon that reads a text file to remind you of events

there are frontends for the tokt file if you dont want to remeber the syntax, and its command line bassed so batch files it is wink.gif
Reaper
Well, x86-compatible PDA is very reasonable thing to develop. I still like my old IBM PC110 (486SX-33/20/2G/VGA DSTN) and the only thing I really dislike is a disability to replace its CPU - it's proprietary IBM/Ricoh BGA which isn't compatible with anything else, and the lack of FPU really hurts. If I was only able to get something like that but with C3 or Transmeta CPU, 800x600 TFT screen and at least 256 Mb of RAM... that would be a dream... rolleyes.gif Just imagine switching from Linux to DOS and playing old games... rolleyes.gif
Da_Blitz
true, latley i have been thinking of getting a UMPC or a ultra tiny laptop as i need thoe power and the xen stuff for the projects i am working on

the second gen of UMPCs look great so we will see what happens, i think my x86 is crappy ideas are just a figmant of my imagination, it certianlly seems fast wink.gif

iat the moment i am considering this project and wether its would be better to delay it till after my "projects" are done as it will leve me with ore than enogh to finance this thing wink.gif
Ferret-Simpson
Nono, It's not a figment of your imagination.

SPARC64 is Moooch better.
Da_Blitz
i was looking at the sparc VI chips the other day for a server i was spec'ing that did not have to run windows (smile.gif)

i really need to benchmark it however, do you have any comparisons as to performance?
Ragnorok
- I have to toss out no to x86, but having done that I have to also admit it's a knee-jerk reaction to a 25 year old CPU design, and the serious backwards compatibility problems it caused over the years. Prolly all moot at this point.
- The FreeScale that was going to be used does look like a nice chip, but I haven't read specs on 'the competition' to know how it stacks up. I've pretty much assumed Da_Blitz and Ferret-Simpson have that covered.
stampsm
QUOTE(Ragnorok @ Dec 6 2006, 06:59 PM)
- I have to toss out no to x86, but having done that I have to also admit it's a knee-jerk reaction to a 25 year old CPU design, and the serious backwards compatibility problems it caused over the years.  Prolly all moot at this point.
- The FreeScale that was going to be used does look like a nice chip, but I haven't read specs on 'the competition' to know how it stacks up.  I've pretty much assumed Da_Blitz and Ferret-Simpson have that covered.
*



x86 has so much legacy backwards support built in that it is a pain to work with. the newer high end arm chips have almost the same ability and power as the x86 architecture without a bunch of extra obsolete 20 year old technology tossed in. honestly if it was not for needing backwards compatability for alot of stuff they should just toss out the current stuff and start from scratch or even use a really tweeked out ARM architecture.
Da_Blitz
funny thing is that x86 has had so much development to compinsate for those deficincies, take alook at the benchmaarks for gcc compilers and you tend to see that x86 code runs faster, smaller and compiles quicker. its sad but true people are just a bit to familliar with it (i balme windows wink.gif, personally i would lave to see miicrosoft move into other processor markets, specifically sparc and power PC. and im not ttalking about winece)

i did look at the via chipss awhile ago but when it comes to low power x86 chips arenot your best friend, it may be nice thaat the new AMD chips idlee at 6W however a fully loaded ARM chip runs at about 1W max

i wish i new x86 asm better (and more specifically thhe amd64 extensions) as from what i can see the processor exsists in "modes" each with a compleattly new instruction set. if this is the case then i imagine the microcode would be huge (andtherefore consume alot of power)

i also connsidered power PC but in terms of power they are more for "wall connected" devices, there is a reason why nearlly all wifi cards have an arm7 processor and why nearrly all mobiles are an arm processor, they are just so light on thepower usage compared to most other chips. but then again its thier primary drive unlike the other guys who add it on as a "feature" rather than an "architecule desiign requierment"

arm is nicce but i think that x86 is starting to cllean up after itself, as i said earlier performance is secondary, they only add features if it gives a good performance boost, has few tranisitors and a low power reqquiremnt. aand even then i think they would only make it optional (ARM only sells designs not actual chips, you get the code, plugin a few varibles and it spits out a design)

i would still love to get a quad core chipset however it seems like no one is offering them except as an ASIC, now if i had the case i would get a custom built ASIC with nearlly everything on board (huge power savingss) howerver i dont have the time or money sad.gif
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