Splitting this off from the "any sleep mode" thread, because it's largely offtopic for that location.
TL;DR version - ranty and potentially flamebait, could well annoy.
I should probably start out by saying the following. I'm a bit grouchy at the moment; it was supposed to snow last night and didn't, but it's gonna rain this afternoon which means I can't get motivated to even go and beat myself up by doing a couple of miles vertical on the bike. Plus I've got a minor interrupt handling gotcha on my code, and I can't find an alpha board owner who's willing to give me 5 minutes help. Still, otherwise, life's peachy, thanks for asking
The above may well explain why I got a bit tetchy when radu said
But this board is not made for normal use, it is targeted at developers and hardware hackers
Now, I'll admit, I first came here with my "developer / hardware hacker" hat on (I was pointed here from a link on another forum where ARM devkits were being discussed). I stayed, however, because I've been seduced by the potential impact that this board could have. Not impact as in "hey, cheapo desktops / STBs / MAME machines", but impact as in "this could positively change the lives of a whole generation in the same way that the first home computers did". I really do think the project is that important, and I know that (at least) the foundation members feel that way too. But my initial (mental) reaction to reading that particular comment, particularly when followed by
personally, I don't think it will be very used in the education sector, where netbooks are more attractive and at similar prices
... was along the lines of "if you don't buy into the project, then <expletive deleted> off"
I should make it clear that I'm not targetting radu personally, more the mindset (s)he represents.
The benefit of betaing stuff like this to the (dare I say it) "Slashdot crowd" is that it gets exposure, builds a "buzz", and, above all, gets techy people on board doing useful stuff. The downside, of course, is that you also get a whole lot of hangers-on who will do nothing but piss and moan that there's "not enough RAM", the GPU isn't a 100% RMS-approved piece of open hardware, there's "binary blobs", there's no VGA, the power supply isn't right, SD card access is too slow, and a whole host of other crap that's largely irrelevant to the primary goal of the project. Because 99% of the "Slashdot crowd" can't see further than "$35 lie-nucks box" and are totally incapable of tailoring expectations based on what that device can realistically be expected to do.
And what depresses me is that, for the initial launch, I'd guess that only 1% of the first boards out will be used for anything even close to furthering that goal. As another totally "pulled from my fundament" guess, maybe 5% of those projects will actually release anything that does further the goal. With 10,000 boards due to be released initially, the math isn't hard to do (hint - the answer is 5).
As for what's gonna happen to the other 9,900 boards? I suspect a large proportion will be pushed to the back of the drawer with the rest of the seemingly promising technological stuff because they aren't powerful enough to meet unrealistically high expectations.
For the initial 100 test boards, unless some have been earmarked for the hard-working, under-recognised and on-message volunteers who are moderating this forum and / or working at getting the damn things out of the door, I have severe doubts whether any of them will be used for anything worthwhile.
That's the reason stuff like this isn't normally released as a public beta. The warts aren't exposed, the people who are part of the beta program are usually 100% on line with the goals and aims, and when you go "gold" as it were, you go direct to the intended target audience. I know that isn't possible in this case, where it seems the only way to hit the target is to go in "under the radar" with enthusiastic educators, rather than going for the bureaucrats who set the rules.
Don't get me wrong. I've not given up (far from it), nor do I think the project itself will fail (it's far to important to be allowed to fail), but I'd really like a little bit of feedback telling me I'm totally wrong in my suspicions as to why people are here. I'd really like to think that people have projects for the initial run that do something to further the actual educational goals of the project, even if it's only for themselves, rather than simply getting mentioned on hackaday.com. I know there's people here who are using this simply as an excuse to teach themselves ARM assembler, and / or linux programming, that's totally cool.
I dunno. When's it gonna snow? I want to go skiing.