#milkymist IRC log for Tuesday, 2011-08-30

wolfspraullekernel: wpwrak How does the Milkymist SoC on Spartan-6 compare to a SHARC chip from Analog Devices? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Harvard_Architecture_Single-Chip_Computer02:39
wolfspraulare there any similarities/overlaps/pros/cons?02:40
wolfspraulI recently learned about SHARC and now trying to understand what's special about those chips and how they compete with FPGAs or an SoC running on an FPGA...02:40
wolfsprauljust curious, nothing urgent or important :-)02:41
wolfspraulthe SHARCs are selling for 20-40 USD on digikey02:41
wpwrakhmm, seem to be very different beasts. main focus seems to be the DSP.02:43
stekernwolfspraul: take a look at the blackfins instead, that's SHARC's successor02:43
stekernyou could probably do a milkymist using one of those, the implementation would be very different though02:45
stekernsuch a implementation would conterfeit the whole purpose of milkymist having a opensource soc02:47
wolfspraulwait one by one, too fast for me02:48
wolfspraulfirst you say Blackfin is the SHARC successor02:48
wolfspraulis that true? no more SHARC investments/improvements?02:48
wolfspraulwhat do you mean with "milkymist using a blackfin"?02:49
wolfspraulmy thinking is - if there is a product that currently uses a SHARC (that was my initial question), can the SHARC be replaced with an FPGA, for example running Milkymist?02:50
wolfsprauland if not, which features would the SHARC (or Blackfin) offer that a Milkymist on FPGA could not compete with?02:50
stekerncomputing speed02:50
wolfspraulstekern: Blackfin is the SHARC successor? SHARC is discontinued?02:50
stekernI don't think sharc is discontinued02:53
wolfspraulthen they must offer something Blackfin cannot offer02:54
wolfspraulstekern: please tell me more about "you could probably do a milkymist using one of those, the implementation would be very different though"02:54
wolfspraulwhat do you mean with "do a milkymist using one of those"02:54
wolfspraulBlackfin is not an fpga, cannot run Milkymist SoC. I don't get what you mean.02:55
stekernno, it cannot "run" the Milkymist SoC. I just meant that you could do a product doing what Milkymist does, but using that Blackfin DSP instead of the Milkymist SoC.02:57
wolfspraulah ok02:59
wolfspraulslowly I re-read your sentence 10 times and maybe I get it03:00
wolfspraul:-)03:00
wolfspraulyou throw together different meanings of Milkymist as "Milkymist One" (the video synthesizer), "Milkymist SoC" (the verilog programmed IC design)03:00
wolfspraulI'm not asking whether I could build a video synthesizer such as Milkymist One with a Blackfin or SHARC03:00
wolfspraulwhat I'm asking is the other way round03:01
wolfspraulsay an existing product uses a SHARC (or Blackfin)03:01
wolfspraulcan that product be implemented using an FPGA? (running Milkymist SoC for example)03:01
wolfspraulwhat are the performance features something like SHARC or Blackfin can offer that an FPGA cannot compete with, no matter whether it has great soft IC design running on it or not?03:01
stekernok, gotcha. That depends heavily on what that product does.03:02
wolfspraularen't SHARC or Blackfin competing with FPGAs?03:02
wolfspraulwhat will make you choose a SHARC or Blackfin over an FPGA?03:03
wolfspraulthey are basically more specialized chips that can do certain dsp workloads at much higher performance than an fpga?03:03
wolfspraulat the expense of the flexibility (programmability) of an fpga?03:03
stekernwhen you need a general purpose CPU (or DSP) with alot of computing power03:03
wolfspraulwhat workload is it exactly SHARC (or Blackfin) can do that an FPGA could not?03:04
wolfspraulsay I look at a product that uses a SHARC - how do I determine whether the workload can be handled by an FPGA as well?03:04
stekernI'm currently working on a project that have both a FPGA and a Blackfin on the board03:05
wolfspraulah, great03:05
wolfspraul:-)03:05
wolfspraulso the Blackfin runs the CPU and OS?03:05
stekernyes, and the FPGA runs tasks that are suitable for an FPGA03:06
stekernfor example, a uart that does hardware message handling03:09
stekern"runs" the CPU is maybe the wrong word...03:13
stekernit _is_ the CPU03:13
folkerthello03:15
wolfspraulstekern: ok that's a classical combination though03:15
wolfspraulCPU+FPGA, in your case Blackfin + fpga03:15
wolfspraulbut what about a system that uses only a Blackfin, or only a SHARC03:15
wolfspraulthe Blackfin CPU runs at 500-600 mhz03:16
wolfspraulso there's things you can do there that you cannot do on a Milkymist SoC running at 80mhz (let's not even look at missing features like mmu right now)03:16
wolfspraulstekern: in your system, why can't you drop the blackfin and run it all on the fpga?03:17
wolfspraulwhat fpga is it? the reason you want the cpu is because of the ready-to-use software stack it comes with?03:17
stekernblackfins don't have mmu neither03:17
stekernfirst, it's not "my" system, it's a commercial project I am involved with03:19
stekernso the design choices of the system isn't mine, so I can't answer for them03:19
stekernbut doing what the software in that system does fast enough isn't just doable on a soft-cpu in a FPGA03:20
wolfspraulwhat fpga is it?03:20
stekerna cyclone III03:20
xiangfufolkert, Hi. your milkymist one back to normal? :)03:27
folkertyeah :) thanks03:27
folkerthavent tested it much yet, so i still might have to do the soldering job03:27
folkertbut first have to get a test dmx + midi setup going03:28
folkertany recommendations for a very cheap moving head? :D03:28
xiangfufolkert, (soldering jobs) yes.03:29
xiangfufolkert, I dont' have any dmx midi device :(, all I know about them is short then when do test :)03:30
folkerthehe i see :)03:30
folkertgood to see there's some activity on the channel this time of day, i was a bit worried it'd all be CEST03:31
folkert(i'm based in HK)03:31
wolfspraulstekern: are you using any of the special Blackfin DSP features? could you replace the blackfin with a freescale chip (for example)?03:42
wolfspraulfreescale ARM I mean03:43
wolfspraulor OMAP03:43
stekernnothing blackfin specific is used, it could be replaced with an ARM processor (or basically any processor, as long as there is enough computing power)03:45
kristianpaulblackfin have gcc support i remenber.. dunno how DSP is implemented but i guess people use LabView/Matlab to model their DSP blocks?03:46
kristianpaul(model)03:47
kristianpaulactually you can do same for FPGAs03:47
stekernwhy would you need to model anything?03:47
kristianpaulif03:48
kristianpaulrequired03:48
kristianpaulhi fpgaminer :)03:48
kristianpaulstekern: i mean model high level blocks..03:49
stekernI'm still not following03:51
kristianpaulin general how easy is for you develop for that blackfin + fpga platform? what software do you use?03:52
kristianpaul(that was my point behing my not very clear words..)03:52
stekernthe DSP features of the blackfin is basically MACs, FPU and some image processing functions03:53
stekernkristianpaul: aah, ok. ADIs visualdsp++ is used in that project03:54
kristianpaul;-)03:54
stekernbut yes, there are gcc for blackfin03:54
kristianpaulhum, doing a quick look at analog website it seems SHARC something more specialiced03:56
kristianpauland blackfin suits better a DSP general porpuse SoC?03:58
wolfspraulstekern: ok got it, you just use it as a regular cpu03:59
wolfspraulso my initial question was about SHARC, what features SHARC has that couldn't be implemented by an fpga04:00
wolfspraulmy naive understanding is that an fpga can implement dsp in the programmable fabric04:00
wolfspraulbut that is less performant than dedicated dsp blocks04:00
kristianpaulfpga have dedicated dsp blocks04:00
wolfspraulso for a product that uses a SHARC, which performance (or features) of the SHARC can be implements in a s-6+milkymist soc, and which cannot04:01
stekernsharc and blackfin are pretty similar on the surface04:01
kristianpaulbut some variants have more blocks than others04:01
stekernso all I've said goes for sharc as well...04:02
kristianpauls/variants/families04:03
stekernsharcs don't have any "DSP blocks" that you can freely program to perform arbitrary operations (at least not to my knowledge)04:03
kristianpaulat least in spartan 3, dunno in s604:03
stekernkristianpaul: yes some FPGAs have DSP blocks which in spartan6 is basically a bunch of hardware multpliers and adders04:05
stekernwolfspraul: to answer your question, the feature of SHARC that can't be implemented in FPGA: running a general purpose CPU at high speed04:07
wolfspraulkewl04:09
wolfspraulthat doesn't sound scary to me :-)04:09
wolfspraulthere must be more though, I would think. otherwise those SHARCs could not compete with freescale, omap, etc.04:10
stekernwell as always, there are a lot of factors that play in when you choose a certain brand04:11
wolfspraulyou really think there is nothing else special about them?04:12
wolfspraulno exceptional performance or feature anywhere?04:13
wolfspraulthere must be04:13
stekernprice, power consumption, availabiliy cost of development tools, support etc etc04:13
wolfspraulSHARCs are mostly 200-400 MHz04:13
wolfspraulyes I fully understand all those, but how to compete with ARM ?04:14
stekernADI have their own ARM implementations, so they are really competing with themself in that case ;)04:15
wolfspraulhmm04:16
wolfspraulOK thanks a lot! I'm beginning to learn, and I think I shall learn more :-)04:17
stekernbut sure, they are DSP's, that niches them away from more general purpose CPU's04:17
wolfspraulyes ok, but how does that translate to an fpga04:17
wolfspraulan fpga can do dsp, no?04:17
stekernthere are alot of other DSP's out there that they have to compete with, like TI's DSP's04:17
wolfspraulhow does 'dsp' relate to 'fpga'?04:18
wolfspraulyou can program an fpga to do digital signal processing, no?04:18
wolfspraulso the dsp chip offers higher performance?04:19
wolfspraula dedicated dsp chip I mean04:19
wolfspraulbut then the programming tools may be very specialized and lack features04:19
stekernthe word DSP is a bit confusing in this context, I know. blackfins/sharc & friends are often referred to as "DSP"s, in that context it simply means a "CPU with some DSP capabilities, like MAC, maybe some imaging/audio specific encoders/decoders etc"04:20
stekernin (some) FPGAs there are hardware DSP blocks, in the spartan6 those are hardware multiplier+adders.04:22
wolfspraulyes04:23
wolfspraulhey now the 'gpu' guys are moving in too and will messup naming even more :-)04:23
wolfspraulbut please continue04:23
stekernbut, you can program the FPGA to do whatever you like, for example some more specialized digital signal processing04:24
stekernso, one example where you could exchange an SHARC/blackfin with an FPGA would be if you are doing some specialised digital signal processing04:26
stekernand implement that algorithm straight in the FPGA instead of running it as a program in the SHARC04:26
wolfspraulI still have trouble seeing the future of SHARC/blackfin. It seems sales are mostly tied to existing customer investments, tools, software stack, integration with other chips from same manufacturer, etc.04:27
wolfspraulon one side you have general purpose CPUs, and the OMAP for example definitely has a lot of DSP/codec capabilities too so it might as well be a "DSP chip"04:28
wolfspraulon the other side you have fpgas which can be programmed with at least some sort of standardized programming languages and tools04:28
wolfspraulthat's my understanding, please correct me if I'm wrong04:28
stekernsure, ARM is dominating the market, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for competitors04:29
wolfspraulyes, that's exactly my thinking [implement that algorithm straight in the fpga instead of running it as a program in the SHARC]04:29
stekernremember, lm32 isn't ARM04:29
wolfspraulI think if we want milkymist to succeed, we have to focus our energy on the software stack, tools, entry points, etc.04:30
wolfspraulthere is nothing inherently wrong with the foundation (fpga) that would prevent it from being competitive in a number of application areas04:30
wolfspraulstekern: oh sure, totally agree.04:30
wolfspraulARM innovation to me is mostly how they setup their business model, licensing, etc.04:31
wolfspraulthey created an ecosystem with a lot of economic power04:31
wolfspraulbut I'm looking at SHARC/blackfin as an outsider04:31
wolfspraulI have no existing products or investments, so I can pick freely.04:31
wolfspraulthe incentives for jumping on that train seem limited04:32
wolfspraulthe ARM ecosystem will continue to be able to come out with great high-performance low-power chips that I can easily buy in small or large quantities, for acceptable prices04:33
wolfsprauland fpgas seem like a standardized chip that is equally doing well with lots of investments04:33
wolfspraulbetween those, why pick a SHARC/blackfin for a new project/company (that is, without historical reasons)04:34
wolfspraulfor example for your project now. if you could do it from scratch in a new company, would you pick the blackfin+cyclone-III, or some other combination?04:35
stekernthere are other combinations used in that project04:39
stekernno ARM though04:39
wolfspraulyes but I tried to understand you, if _you_ could start from scratch, would you pick the blackfin?04:40
wolfspraulbecause you know it? because it's better?04:40
stekernPerhaps, it's a nice enough processor04:43
stekernbut as I said, there are alot of factors that play in when you do design decisions04:45
wolfspraulyes. ok we made headway. thanks again!04:50
wolfspraulI need to learn more about more chips :-)04:51
stekernnp ;)04:51
stekernI think a key thing though, there usually many ways to accomplish the same thing and often there isn't a clear "right way" to do it04:53
stekernmissed a couple of "is" and "are" in that sentence... ;)04:55
stekernhard to type fast on the small keyboard of this phone...04:56
wolfspraulphone, wow04:58
wolfspraulwhich phone?04:58
wolfspraulyes there are many ways to accomplish the same thing, but to make money in technology, you want to be the first/best/cheapest or a combination thereof04:58
wolfsprauland then the different paths do lead to different results. some are slower, some are more expensive, some lead to uncompetitive performance.04:59
wolfspraulso I'm trying to become more clear where the Milkymist path could lead us, so it's the cheapest way to get to the most high-performance product first :-)05:00
stekernI'dd say the most interesting part of milkymist is the open source side of it05:02
stekern(phone) nokia n90005:02
wolfspraulwhat is interesting about open source per se?05:05
wolfspraulif it doesn't lead to a product, it's nothing I'd say ;-)05:05
wolfspraulbad poetry for sure. unreadable and boring.05:06
stekernopen source sure can be interesting without a product05:08
stekernpersonally, I'm more interested in the source code of milkymist than of it as a product05:10
stekernI don't do VJing, but I do see potential in it as a platform for other stuff05:11
kristianpaul:-)05:12
stekernwithout it being open source, tweaking it to do "other stuff" wouldn't be possible05:13
stekernto me, M1 is basically just a FPGA devboard with some interesting peripherals on it05:18
stekernthe price is competetive though, I wouldn't mind buying one if I wouldn't happen to have to have a very similar board already05:19
wolfspraulah ok, so you like the open source part of it because it allows you to make a different/better product of some kind05:21
wolfspraulwell that's perfect05:21
stekernI wouldn't say "product"05:21
wolfspraulsomething someone can use05:22
stekernplay with it for my own purposes, id say ;)05:22
stekernotoh, if I'd be doing VJing, I probably would find a thing or two I'd like to change. open source allows me to do that. that's the benefit of open source in milkymist as a product05:26
wolfspraulbut it's important what is easy to change, and what is hard to change. people have limited time. It may be far easier to change something towards a look you like by playing with a powerful VJ software running on a Mac, for example.05:29
wolfspraulso Milkymist One can only sell if it's the best at something, or makes something very easy. like for example sharing lots of good works over the Internet.05:30
wolfspraulthat's my thinking05:30
stekernI think the point I tried to make was, you have found a potential buyer in me by keeping milkymist open source, if it would've been closed source it (the product) would be completely uninteresting to me05:33
wolfspraulok good. now we need to find a way to push you over the line :-)05:33
wolfspraulif you compare form a 'dev board' perspective, that's very hard of course05:34
wolfsprauldev board is dev board05:34
wolfspraulwe all know how that works. the pros and cons of them.05:34
wolfspraulpros: always have the latest chips, cheap (often subsidized as marketing), all peripherals/features of the main chip exposed05:35
wolfspraulcons: availability can be very spotty (when the next chip comes out dev boards of older chips go away), pcba only (no case), often with a lot of bugs in specific parts that will never be fixed because the next devboard will be done from scratch to highlight the next chip's features05:36
stekernyeah, I think it'd be hard to compete with the general purpose dev boards the big companies specialised in those things are pushing out05:41
wolfsprauloh sure that makes no sense at all05:42
wolfspraulit's not even 'compete' - those are 2 totally different things05:42
wolfsprauldoes a bicycle compete with a car?05:42
wolfspraulonly in some rare cases05:42
wolfspraulI have pretty clear ideas what we need to do to make Milkymist One (the video synthesizer) a success. None of them have to do with catching up or competing with dev boards.05:43
wolfspraulI don't even think dev boards are better or cheaper, just a completely different thing.05:44
wolfspraulif someone thinks they can take a dev board and turn it into a video synthesizer, go try :-)05:44
wolfspraulI think most dev boards are sold to help jumpstart new designs, some to academia05:45
stekernsome to hobbyist05:46
stekerns05:46
wolfspraulI think the majority is sold to help people (companies) with new designs.05:46
stekernI agree05:46
wolfspraulbut I don't know numbers, it's a little market by itself05:46
wolfspraulanyway any serious company that has decided to make a product with chip A, will immediately after making that decision buy a couple dev boards of chip A for the engineering team05:47
wolfspraulsimply to save time and jumpstart before the first run of its own board05:47
wolfspraulas soon as those first boards are made, the dev boards go into the drawer and will never re-emerge from there anymore :-)05:48
wolfspraulmaybe once in a while to help tracking down a nasty bug on their own board05:48
stekernnot until they got their real boards and start wondering "wtf, it worked on the devboard"05:48
stekernaah, you were faster ;)05:48
wolfspraulafaik most dev boards are only made in the hundreds actually, a few maybe in the (low) thousands05:49
stekernI think the really big ones probably sell a bit more than that05:49
wolfspraulthey are unsupported and buggy too, you cannot typically buy 10K of them. yield issues are not sorted out, and nobody is interested in fixing them.05:49
stekerntrue05:50
wolfspraulstekern: not from what I've seen. but you can ask around, I'm always interested in learning more.05:50
wolfspraulthe numbers are amazingly low05:50
wolfsprauloften only 200 or so05:50
wolfspraulsometimes 50005:50
wolfspraulrarely a few thousand (beagleboard, if you consider that a devboard)05:50
wolfspraulmaybe it's different for chips that are around for 5 or 10 years05:51
wolfspraulthen maybe the devboard over time will sell a little more because more designs are using that chip05:51
stekernthat's not even FPGA05:51
wolfspraulfor the most part, dev boards are ugly quick hacks to get people to jumpstart new designs with the latest and greatest chip. focus is on exposing the new high-end features that the manufacturer believes will create demand for the new chip.05:52
wolfspraulsupply for academia is a second concern, but already far behind that first one05:52
wolfspraulit's always good to get students hooked to your technology :-)05:53
wolfspraulhobbyists? don't know. I know too little about that market.05:53
wolfsprauli think from the perspective of most semiconductors the hobbyist market is just noise05:53
wolfspraulwon't make them fed :-)05:54
stekernyeah, I don't consider it a market share in that sense05:54
stekernthis is the "milkymist alike" devboard I've got btw: http://www.digilentinc.com/atlys05:56
stekernsorry, "milkymist one alike" ;)05:56
wolfspraulnice they have hdmi video in and out05:59
wolfspraulso you can add those features to Milkymist the SoC :-)06:00
wolfspraulalso that board boots from an SPI flash it seems. well, if you make milkymist portable to that board, that's a good thing.06:01
wolfspraulmakes the milkymist platform stronger and more versatile/portable06:01
stekernare you referring to "me" with that "you" or just in general ;)06:01
wolfspraulto you06:01
stekernbut sure, that's the plan (port it to that board)06:01
wolfspraulgreat06:02
wolfspraullet's make sure we work together and feed your improvements back to a unified mainline06:02
stekernnow, if someone just went and invented the 48 hour day, I'd be done in no time :)06:02
wolfspraulgood things take time06:02
wolfspraulthat dev board will disappear from the market faster than Milkymist becoming a big success anyway :-)06:02
wolfspraulbut I can definitely see a lot of good things you can do for yourself or for the Milkymist project in porting Milkymist to that dev board06:03
wolfsprauland feeding improvements back06:03
stekernI guess your right, maybe I'll buy the M2 as a replacement ;)06:03
wolfspraulwe work on a video synthesizer06:03
wolfsprauldifferent focus, different everything06:04
wolfspraulof course you can compare with whatever you want06:04
stekernyeah, sure, I'm just kidding06:04
wolfspraulbut then the dev board may make more sense to you, of course. and you got it already.06:04
wolfspraulwe are thinking about replacing the vga connector on milkymist one with a dvi-i connector06:04
wolfsprauland routing the digital signals into the fpga06:04
wolfspraulthen it's "just a little software" to support dvi or hdmi output, which you can already start with today on your dev board :-)06:05
stekernIf I'd be doing the purchase decision today, chances are I would have choosen M1 over it anyways06:05
wolfspraulhaven't thought about hdmi input yet, the analog input is quite interesting and we can include a cheap but good ccd camera with the m106:05
stekernthe hdmi input/output chip on that board is basically just a buffer06:06
wolfspraulwhat is the buffer doing?06:08
stekern(feed improvements back) oh sure, I'm not planning to run away with them if I'll be having any06:08
wolfspraulthe way I understood Sebastien's plan for adding digital video output (via a DVI-I connector) was to route the wires into the fpga directly, no other chip in between06:08
stekernyeah, that's basically what's done. The buffer in between is just to improve signal quality06:09
stekernI'd imagine at the resolutions in quiestion, it might not be needed06:10
wolfspraulwhat is the buffer chip?06:12
stekernhttp://www.ti.com/product/tmds14106:15
wolfspraulah thanks!06:17
wolfspraulstill downloading atlys schematics & manual, this is faster...06:17
stekernnp06:18
wolfspraulhmm. it seems the tmds141 allows for a 1m distance between connector and receiver06:19
wolfspraulbut why? the board is not that big.06:19
wolfspraulthe distance between connector and fpga is just a few cm, no?06:19
wolfspraulbut they must have put it on for some reason06:20
wolfspraulhopefully not just as a side business to promote that chip as well :-) (which is quite possible on a dev board :-))06:20
wolfspraulthe datasheet shows as an application a huge TV screen, where the distance from HDMI connector to receiver chip is long06:22
wolfspraulthat makes sense06:22
wolfspraulbut on the atlys board? or m1?06:23
wolfspraulnot sure06:23
stekern(promote chip) that's feasible06:23
wolfsprauldefinitely. make a little money from TI as well :-)06:23
stekern;)06:23
wolfspraulthat's all the stuff you 'buy' included when you buy a dev board...06:23
stekernbut I think maybe that chip is more up to the task of driving the TMDS signals than the FPGA is06:23
wolfspraulbut anyway I just try to understand the real need and function of this chip06:24
wolfspraulnot saying it's useless06:24
wolfspraulwhat does 'up to the task' mean06:24
wolfspraulit's needed or not?06:24
wolfspraula chip costs money and adds complexity06:24
wolfspraulSebastien didn't mention the need in our (vague) digital video output planning so far. which may be because it's not needed, or because we don't know yet why it is needed.06:25
wolfspraulthe 1m thing at least makes sense to me, and the datasheet drawing with a large TV...06:26
wolfspraulwell, good that I found out about it now, will keep an eye on this06:26
stekernMy guess is, it will help at higher resolutions06:27
wolfspraulmaybe the spartan-6 has some shortcomings that will make an hdmi implementation hard/impossible without this chip06:27
wolfspraulprobably, yes06:27
wolfspraulor they just added it to the dev board 'just in case'06:28
wolfspraulor because TI paid a little06:28
wolfspraulsince dev boards are often about driving performance to the highest possible end quickly, so they may just throw this in there without even having those resolutions work practically today06:29
wolfspraulfor m1 we'd probably do it the other way round. first route the wires into the s-6 directly (without this chip), then see how far we can get in terms of resolutions.06:29
wolfspraulunless that's a loosing proposition right from the start, of course06:29
wolfspraulstekern: interesting point and chip, thanks a lot!06:30
wolfspraulthat is the first really helpful contribution you are making to Milkymist :-)06:30
wolfsprauland that chip is not cheap either. 5 USD in low volume, digikey only has it with an MOQ of 2500... (then 2.30 USD)06:32
stekernthis post suggest that the chip is not necessary: http://rubidium.dyndns.org/pipermail/fpga-synth/2011-April/001667.html06:33
wolfspraulI wouldn't add that to m1 unless I clearly understood the reason.06:33
stekernthere is actually a hdmi-out port on the atlys board that doesn't have the chip06:33
stekernI had forgot about that06:33
wolfspraulwell, I think we both know the reason the chip is there may also simply be payments from TI :-)06:34
wolfspraulthat's how the dev board business works06:34
wolfsprauldev boards are marketing tools for chips06:34
stekernyep06:34
wolfspraulotherwise how can you ever hope to sell a new chip...06:34
wolfspraulin fact you see a number of nice large logos on the silkscreen of that board06:35
wolfspraulever wonder why the company wouldn't choose a smaller (and thus cheaper) pcb instead? :-)06:36
stekernthe logos wouldn't fit :)06:36
wolfspraulah true06:36
wolfspraulI should send them a silhouette of myself for the next run06:36
stekernsmaller pcb isn't equal to cheaper though06:37
wolfspraulall other things equal it is06:37
wolfspraulof course if the smaller pcb drives the layers up or other complexities (pcb antennae etc), then it isn't06:37
wolfspraulbut the large logos stand out, I think it's clear that those companies are paying06:37
wolfspraulwhich is a good thing, it makes the dev boards cheap...06:38
wolfspraulthey should throw more chips and logos on them, and make them even cheaper06:38
wolfspraulstekern: why do you say "smaller pcb isn't cheaper"?06:43
wolfspraulyou mean increased routing difficulty etc?06:43
stekernyeah, I meant, necessarily cheaper06:43
wolfspraulI was just talking about 'dead' extra pcb space, say you add an inch of dead pcb on the side -> will make it more expensive and nothing else06:44
wolfspraulah ok, yes of course fully agree then06:44
wolfspraulbut those logos are large and the board is quite empty. looks like it could easily shrink a bit without the logos :-)06:44
wolfspraulyou can probably pay them some money to put your logo on an extra inch of dead pcb space somewhere, which they will add just for you :-)06:45
stekernjust buying a huge PCB without any traces contrary to a small one is of course more expensive :)06:45
wolfspraulit's like ad space you can buy into06:45
wolfspraulsure sorry, I'm coming from my CHina perspective here (living in China).06:45
wolfspraulevery mm costs, even if just a fraction of a penny06:46
stekernbut I think there is a movement into really small FPGA devboards06:46
stekernlike: http://www.xilinx.com/products/boards-and-kits/AES-S6MB-LX9.htm06:48
wolfspraulwho uses them?06:48
wolfspraulthen you have less space for connectors06:48
stekernhere's another http://www.altera.com/b/bemicro-sdk.html06:50
stekernwho uses them? the same people you listed ^ there a couple of lines ;)06:51
wolfspraulstekern: that's a cool little board indeed!06:57
wolfspraulbut who would use it, and for what?06:57
stekern09:51 < stekern> who uses them? the same people you listed ^ there a couple of lines ;)06:58
wolfspraulthere's this hardware/software boundary magic somewhere in there, which I'm still thinking about06:58
wolfspraulwhat use case exactly?06:58
wolfspraulso in software, you have ultimate flexibility, you can do 'everything'06:58
wolfspraulbut in hardware, a new connector doesn't just grow out of your pcb06:58
wolfspraulyou cannot 'apt-get' a connector06:59
wolfspraulso I think it's impossible to make hardware that is both focused and flexible at the same time, unlike in software06:59
stekernevaluate soft-cpu + ethernet is at least one-thing you can do with the altera board06:59
wolfspraulto do what?06:59
wolfspraulevaluation is the purpose? just play with tech for a bit?06:59
stekernhehe, be creative, there's a lot of applications for that07:00
stekernindustrial ethernet is one example07:00
wolfspraulit seems it has no memory? so it needs to be configured from a computer?07:00
wolfsprauland powered over USB?07:00
stekernyep07:01
wolfspraulmy point is more general right now. the thought process for deciding on hardware features.07:01
wolfspraulI think without having a specific use case in mind, you cannot decide about hardware features.07:01
wolfspraulyou will always get it wrong in the details07:01
wolfspraulas you will find out later07:01
wolfspraulin software you can update, but in hardware you cannot07:01
wolfspraulI would like to see the thought process that led to this micro board07:02
wolfspraulmaybe just "let's try"07:02
wolfspraul"maybe something will happen"07:02
wolfspraul"don't think about details"07:02
wolfspraul:-)07:02
stekernI think it's mostly about demonstrating the usage of their NiosII processor and development tools surrounding that07:03
wolfspraulbut then how do they decide about the details that are still there? ethernet: yes or no? do they have local memory, local flash? what drove the decision?07:03
wolfsprauland they can arrive from "we need to demonstrate the NiosII and tools" to this board, and answer all questions in between?07:04
wolfspraulI'm wondering how this works07:05
stekernethernet: do we have a sponsor? yes, put it in! memory: do we have a sponsor? no, leave it out! ;)07:05
wolfspraul:-)07:05
wolfspraulI'm seriously just wondering how it works, I don't want to trashtalk this board at all.07:05
wolfspraulyou know they have to answer hundreds of detailed questions in the design process of this board07:06
wolfspraulalong which guidelines?07:06
wolfsprauldon't get it07:06
wolfspraulit's cheap, that's good07:06
wolfspraulsmall, good07:06
stekernyeah, I'm as confused about that process as you are07:06
wolfspraulcheap and small are always good, but WHAT FOR? :-)07:06
wolfspraulI can make it even smaller :-)07:06
wolfspraulat least I think I do understand the dev boards that are exposing all peripherals of a chip07:07
wolfspraulphew07:08
wolfspraul:-)07:08
wolfspraulthey have a point, I know how they are made and who they are good for07:08
wolfspraulI will watch that little thingie, let's see what happened in 1 year :-)07:08
wolfspraulthere's a lot of companies that are trying in vein to replicate the arduino and beagleboard successes07:09
wolfspraulwhere I would even question whether beagleboard and later models are a success, given that the entire OMAP doesn't really work well for TI07:10
wolfspraulbut Arduino is, in itself, I doubt the sales volume matters for Atmel either...07:10
wolfspraulit's good that a lot of folks try a lot of different thinks07:10
wolfspraulso does Milkymist :-)07:10
stekernI've never understood the big success of arduino myself07:11
stekernI guess it's just simple to get started with07:12
stekernI saw this "shield" with video output, that thing was FPGA based and a whole lot powerful and interesting than the arduino itself07:14
stekern+more07:14
stekernbut people stand around it and cheers "arduino sure is cool!"07:15
stekernhttp://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2084212109/gameduino-an-arduino-game-adapter07:19
stekernthat's the one07:19
wolfspraularduino satisfies a need for people to control interactivity with computers07:20
wolfspraulI can understand it, I think07:20
wolfspraulsimple interactivity, but our life is full of them07:21
wolfspraullike - someone throws a letter in your mailbox, and a led at your desk lights up :-)07:21
wolfspraulyes, it's painful maybe, but it gives people an access to a world of controlling computers and interacting with them and feeling good doing so07:21
wolfspraulyou can also use it for all sorts of funny/interesting installations07:22
stekernyeah, I don't mind people playing with arduinos, I just don't see the huge benefit of it compared to a plain avr and good'ol C07:27
wolfspraulsure there is none. but you can get the boards, cheap, from a lot of sources.07:34
wolfspraulyou can get books, training seminars, an active community07:34
wolfspraullots of code snippets you can copy/paste trying this or that, a nice IDE, etc.07:34
wolfspraulthat's why they like it07:34
wolfspraulwill this ever turn into a serious innovative effort, an ArduPhone. I highly doubt it. So what. How many people that casually run Ubuntu on their notebooks will turn into active kernel contributors?07:36
wolfspraulalmost nobody - so what07:36
wolfspraulI like the passion and energy in the Arduino community. I have no use for the typical Arduino application though.07:37
wolfspraulI don't want a blinking light on my desk when someone throws a mail into my mailbox :-)07:37
stekernhehe, me neither07:37
wolfspraulhere in China they have some public sculptures, for example a mushroom (maybe 50cm high, not too big)07:38
wolfsprauland when you get closer, they talk to you or play music07:38
wolfspraulquite cool07:38
stekernbut I guess you're right about the ubuntu/kernel contributors analogy07:38
wolfspraulthose kinds of little things can be done with Arduinos, why not07:38
wolfsprauldoes the speaker quality matter? nah07:38
wolfsprauldoes anything matter? does it matter if the mushroom stops talking one day? nah07:39
wolfspraul:-)07:39
wolfspraulI still like them (the talking mushrooms).07:39
folkertwolfspraul: where are you located?07:39
stekernpeople just want to get something working, with as little effort of learning anything as possible07:40
wolfspraulsure, that's not bad I think07:40
wolfspraulwe are the same in most areas of life07:40
wolfspraulsay my wash machine. trust me I just want the damned thing to wash. I do _NOT_ want to learn anything about it :-)07:40
wolfspraulfolkert: Beijing07:41
folkertah nice :)07:41
stekernperhaps not, it just clashes with my reason for spending free time on this kind of stuff07:41
stekern(washing machine) sure, but that's still a bit different. You could probably buy a ready device that blinks leds on your desktop when mail arrives, but people wants to build it themselfs, without actually putting any effort into building it07:43
stekernthat's not what I don't really get07:44
stekern-ot07:44
stekernaargh...07:44
wolfspraulbut it's a hobby07:44
wolfspraulyou cannot rationalize why people go to the movies07:44
wolfspraulor fishing07:44
wolfspraulor hiking07:44
wolfspraulor another thousand things people do07:45
wolfspraulthey just like it, it makes them feel good. that's the only reason.07:45
wolfsprauland we all know there's some bizarre stuff going on :-)07:45
stekernyep, and I said, I don't mind it07:45
stekernI don't get people having fishing as a hobby neither though ;)07:46
wolfspraulyep07:46
wolfspraulbut our hobbies probably look as strange to them as theirs to us07:46
wolfspraulwhich is all fine, imho07:47
stekernsure is07:49
Fallenouahah Ralf is really a pain in the ass, just whining about adding a multilib variant for the main users of the cpu is just pointless10:00
qi-botThe build was successfull, see images here: http://fidelio.qi-hardware.com/~xiangfu/build-milkymist/openwrt-milkymist.minimal-08302011-1226/11:25
lekernelaw, hi12:02
lekernelhow is the "lockflash" testing going?12:02
awlekernel, hi, it goes well. ;-)12:03
lekernelcool12:03
lekernelalmost ready to ship, then?12:04
awjust started to retest and got 17pcs done already12:04
awaccording to current plan: keep testing 30 pcs done then assembly. ;-)12:07
lekernelhttp://www.milkymist.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page#Events15:09
kristianpaulexcelent !15:12
kristianpaulplease record all :)15:12
lekernelrejon, how did you make the SVG presentation?15:57
lekernelhttp://en.qi-hardware.com/wiki/File:Qi-hardware-milkymist-converted.svg15:57
rejonlekernel, in inkscape16:02
rejonwith sozi16:02
lekernelok, so I can replay this very .svg with sozi?16:02
lekernelah, no, with chrome... for some reason it didn't work last time i tried16:13
kristianpaulmy iceweasel crashed..16:13
kristianpaulalso be aware if you use too much latters is better to vectorize first16:13
kristianpaulor get slow...16:14
lekernelthis thing is scary: http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/ucd9240.pdf21:17
lekernelI found it on the xilinx sp605 devboard21:17
kristianpaulwhat are your plans with it?22:00

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