Apr 062011
ARMini Computer from R-Comp Interactive

As the 2011 Wakefield show creeps ever closer, Andrew Rawnsley of R-Comp has initiated a discussion on the RISC OS Open Ltd forums regarding some areas they’d like to see addressed in RISC OS before their ARMini computer goes from being a ‘coming soon’ to a current machine.

Andrew is quick to point out that they “can’t afford to throw mega-bucks at anything” (an understandable position, given the size of the RISC OS community) and that they’re “basically budgeting money from the ‘pre-order’ pot for dev work.” In some cases, for which he believes the amount of work required is relatively small, the offer is for payment in kind (e.g. free software from their catalogue), rather than money.

The main areas of interest are:

  • Display Manager and Display configure plug-in – a group of three changes, with the primary focus being to provide a ‘test’ mode change, which will revert to the previous display settings after a short delay if the user doesn’t click the confirmation button.
  • USB HID support in OMAP HAL – with no USB HID support, the keyboard isn’t recognised during start-up, so (for example) it isn’t possible to <SHIFT>-boot in order to bypass the RISC OS !Boot sequence.
  • MUSBDriver improvements – Andrew reports some issues with the ‘internal’ USB port on the Beagleboard-xm whereby lock-ups can occur with some pendrives, and also believes it may be possible to improve performance.
  • Filecore USB drives – there appears to be a performance issue with USB drives formatted to filecore specifications. For example, the xm PDF manual loads in a couple of seconds from FAT32 compared to around 20 seconds from filecore.
  • Fat32FS – Jeffrey Doggett has granted permission for the latest version to be included in the ROM image, and has provided the original source code and changes, but lacks the time to do this himself. Including this in the ROM would allow booting from a FAT32 device, which might seem sensible considering the USB/filecore performance issue mentioned above.
  • HForm – Jeffrey Dogget has written a command line formatter, which could do with a user friendly front end, and R-Comp would like to see a more up to date replacement for HForm type applications, to allow formatting of modern devices (subject to filecore limitations).
  • CDFSSoftSCSIUSB – as yet there’s no equivalent to CDFSSoftATAPI/CDFSSoftSCSI for USB CD drives, which would be necessary to allow users to install their software from CD. While many people will be comfortable doing this from a CD drive in another computer using a network, not all will, so Andrew considers this to be quite important. Steffen Huber has been contacted, and would apparently appreciate some assistance producing a suitable module.
  • EtherUSB – there appears to be an issue whereby if no ethernet cable is present, start-up fails with an abort and, again, Andrew considers this to be quite important. He has been in touch with Thomas Millius and James Peacock and reports that some help with ‘detective work’ – trying to root out the cause of the problem – would be useful. EtherUSB can be found on James’ RISC OS software page.
  • Compile-time branch for ARMini – he’d like there to be a branch of the operating system “that adds in an ARMini specific start-up banner (etc) but still builds automatically from the base standard OS files.” In a reply today, Steve Revill points out that it’s more a case of having suitable build switches. I suspect that may have been what Andrew was getting at, but failed to correctly articulate.

For fuller descriptions of what Andrew is asking about, please refer to his original post on the RISC OS Open Ltd forum.

 April 6, 2011  Posted by  Hardware Tagged with: , , , , ,

  2 Responses to “ARMini on the bounty”

Comments (2)
  1. I think the Armini link is wrong – it should be http not https://www.armini.co.uk/

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