(I can feel the trample of indignant geeks "No, No, Nooooooo !!"
Let me explain.
I'm thinking at least one of my future Pis will be living next to my PC, headless and SSHed into. I was planning, of course, of powering it from a PC USB port, with an A to microUSB cable. That takes care of power, what about ssh ? I could lay a network cable across the room to my ethernet switch, or add a Wifi dongle for the 10 cm trip from my PC to the Pi, but that's damn inelegant. What about using USB to SSH into the Pi ?
I turns out, USB can do full networking, not just serial emulation. But we need a special cable, not only A-to-A, but also Bridge to avoid the power sources on both sides doing nasty things to each other. Those cables seem to be unconscionably expensive, we might as well make our own.
Hence a nice little hardware+software project: since on the PC side we have a USB port with power and data lines, and on the Pi side we need Power (but not data) to go to microUSB, and data (but not power) to go to USB-A, why not make our own custom Y cable ?
And then it's just a matter of finding USB networking drivers for the PC and the Pi. Those seem to be around. Also, the Pi will be able to connect to the wider TCP/IP world (LAN, Internet), we just need to setup the host PC as a network bridge.
- cable schematics
- locate source for components > cheapest = probably just cannibalize an A to microUSB cable, and any other cable with a A connector.
- locate source of Linux USB networking drivers
- locate Windows USB networking drivers (XP and 7)