EOMA68 Computing Devices

by EOMA68

An Earth-friendly way to easily upgrade and fix your own computer

View all updates Jan 16, 2019

2.7.5 Manufacturing, Spectre Analysis

by Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton

In case anyone is wondering why manufacturing has been delayed, Mike’s uncle died in December and his mother is recovering in hospital from surgery. With Chinese New Year coming up, most of the factory staff have already gone home to visit family, which puts us into middle of February before manufacturing is likely to begin. Under the circumstances, there was just absolutely no way I was going to pressure Mike to stick to the previous schedule.

So, I have had a lot of time to think, despite having root canal surgery, which thank goodness is only going to cost around USD $200 here in Taipei. Two treatments so far, and another two quite likely to be needed. No, of course I do not have health insurance. At least now I do not end up so often with utterly exhausting excruciating headaches for 36 to 48 hours.

My thinking is that it may be better to have the first batch of 100 A20 cards sent here to Taipei, and that I do the testing and final assembly. The reason is that the testing is quite involved, and I would rather do it here than risk damaging the cards. There is also simply not enough remaining funds to get me to Shenzhen, where I could oversee the factory staff, who would then also need to be paid, and paying them for testing time is not possible either.

We really, really need those donations, folks.

The last schedule, prior to Mike’s family emergencies, would have had us begin shipping within a few weeks, at which point the second set of orders could be released. Now, that will be delayed by at least four to seven weeks.

In other news: as Mike is on the critical path, there is nothing for me to do except initiate other opportunities, and that means working on the Libre RISC-V Hybrid CPU VPU GPU. The innocent question was asked on the mailing list, "What about Spectre?" and some investigation revealed that it is a total nightmare.

Basically, any out-of-order processor (latest ARM64 cores, and every single Intel and AMD processor of the past 25 years) is vulnerable to timing attacks, due to resource starvation that affects the completion time of past and future instructions, such is the nature of how out-of-order works.

Here’s the interesting fact: the EOMA68-A20, the prototype jz4775 and RK3288 cards, are all completely immune to Spectre, because, by a coincidence, they are all in-order cores.

This got me thinking: I am investigating putting in an EU Grant Application for funding related to privacy and restoring trust in computing devices, for ordinary people. The point being that the in-order cards are immune to Spectre, and if you were wondering if it really is that serious, here is JavaScript Spectre source code.

If successful, this grant would hugely reduce the pressure on the EOMA68 Project, because, at present, it is necessary to both pay for R&D, and living expenses, and plane flights, and pre-production prototyping and manufacturing production runs, all from the same budget. A EUR 50,000 grant would pay for R&D and living expenses, for six to eight months. The laptop housing redesign of the casework and power PCB could be paid for and the RK3288 card completed.

All of this can be done over time: it is a matter of how fast. Funding and especially donations and sponsorship just speeds up the process. So, please, if you would like to help, and would like this long-term project to succeed, do get in touch.

About the Author

Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton

 Planet Earth. Usually.

$237,697 raised

of $150,000 goal

158% Funded! Order Below

Product Choices


Libre Tea Computer Card

An EOMA68-compatible computer card with an Allwinner A20 dual core processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of NAND flash pre-installed with the Parabola GNU/Linux-libre operating system. We expect the Libre Tea Computer Card to receive the Free Software Foundation's Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification before the first units ship.


Practically Perfect Computer Card

An EOMA68-compatible computer card with an Allwinner A20 dual core processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of NAND flash pre-installed with the Debian GNU/Linux operating system.


Numero Uno Computer Card

An EOMA68-compatible computer card with an Allwinner A20 dual core processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of NAND flash pre-installed with the Devuan GNU/Linux operating system.


Getting Ahead Computer Card

An EOMA68-compatible computer card with an Allwinner A20 dual core processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of NAND flash pre-installed with the Fedora 24 GNU/Linux operating system.


Micro Desktop Housing for Computer Card

This is a Micro Desktop base unit and power supply unit with a beautiful laser-cut stack of 3mm plywood panels that creates an aesthetically attractive tiny base unit for your Computer Cards. Excludes Computer Card, keyboard, mouse and VGA monitor.


PIY Laptop Housing Kit for Computer Card

This Print-It-Yourself (PIY) kit includes all the parts, cabling and boards (main, power, and controller, assembled and tested), and battery, charger, keyboard, LCD, and CTP-LCD for trackpad that are needed to build a complete Libre Laptop once you 3D print the enclosure from the freely available GPLv3+ licensed plans. Excludes Computer Card.


PFY Laptop Housing Kit for Computer Card

This Printed-For-You (PFY) kit has everything needed to create a full EOMA68 Laptop, including a 3D printed set of casework parts, bamboo plywood panels, tested and assembled PCBs, cables, battery, charger, keyboard, LCD, and CTP-LCD for trackpad. Available in a variety of colors and materials. Excludes Computer Card.


Completely Assembled Laptop + Computer Card

A meticulously hand-assembled and fully-tested laptop. Includes your choice of EOMA68-A20 Computer Card and 3D-printed casework.


PCMCIA/EOMA68 Breakout Board

One PCMCIA/EOMA68 Breakout Board with one surface mount PCMCIA header, and tracks to some convenient 2.54-mm-spaced through-holes. Added by popular demand, for access, tinkering, development work, testing, etc.


Pass-through Card

A simple card that takes in HDMI and USB and passes them on. Turns a Laptop Housing into a portable, battery-powered dock for your smartphone, USB-HDMI dongle computer, and tablet, or a second screen, keyboard, and mouse for your existing laptop or desktop PC.


USB + HDMI Cable Set for Standalone Operation

Includes a Micro HDMI Type D cable and 3-way USB-OTG Host-Charger cable tested and known to work with EOMA68 Computer Cards. These are the cables you need to run a Computer Card as a standalone device without the need for a housing. Also useful with the Micro Desktop or Laptop Housing to add a second screen and extra USB port.



We make the modular, upgradable, Earth-friendly EOMA68 laptop.

Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton


Christopher Waid


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