Mike has placed the order for 500 Micro Desktop PCBs and 1,000 EOMA68-A20 PCBs. The last of the components have been ordered and are on the way. What follows is a summary of what’s to be delivered.
Firstly, thank you to everyone who has been in touch both on and off the mailing list. Secondly, since the last update, Mike’s placed the order for the PCBs. They will take about two weeks to arrive, and, if the last of the components also arrive, there’s nothing to stop assembly from proceeding for the first 100 EOMA68-A20 test production run.
Now, it’s really important to get across the various compromises that have had to take place in order to get to this point. I would like everyone to be absolutely clear about what it is that they will be receiving. All of what follows has already been explained, and precisely why: this is therefore a heads-up summary.
in detail in a previous update](taiwan-micro-desktop-casework-laptop-pcb1-and-a20).
is too great for the remaining available budget: even just the cost of the microSD cards themselves is too great, so it will be necessary to set up some procedures (videos and HOWTOs) on how to download, flash, and ensure a successful boot. You - the backers - are going to have to help and support each other here, and it’s one of the reasons why this project has been deliberately kept to a smaller run at this critical early phase.
Additionally, I am considering sending out the PCB and casework unassembled, with full and precise assembly instructions for backers to follow. It’s not hard: it just needs to be done very carefully. This will save a considerable amount of time and money, as the cards casework will need hand-assembly (quantity 1,000). Labour costs in Shenzhen have been growing for at least 18 months, due to increases in the cost of living: renting an apartment in Central Shenzhen has been more expensive than London, Cambridge, or Hong Kong for over a year.
Also, I may or may not have enough in the budget to do the Micro Desktop laser-cut casework. The program source code which generates the CAD files has always been available here, so if anyone would like to have their own case 3D printed, laser-cut, or produced in any other way, and would like help with that, do get in touch on the mailing list. This being a project where it’s supposed to be easy for you to upgrade and fix your own computer, congratulations: you may be the guinea pigs to make sure that that is actually true!
We’ve had some donations come in, which is fantastic: extremely grateful. Liberapay now use Stripe (yet another payment system requiring registration…) so if anyone would prefer to use a direct bank transfer, do get in touch directly: we use TransferWise, so there are no huge bank fees, and, crucially, TransferWise uses the middle rate for currency conversions if you are outside of the UK.
Lastly, just so you know: the long-term plans to get a Libre RISC-V SoC made have to have the groundwork laid, and we are getting the ducks in a row for a pre-launch Crowd Supply campaign. In the meantime I am going ahead with the design work (starting with parallelisation of RISC-V), and have sponsored a student named Jacob to work on Kazan3D, which is a Vulkan3D LLVM driver written in Rust. If anyone would like to help cover the cost of sponsorship, do get in touch, and if you would like to help or follow the project, the check out the Libre-RISCV-dev mailing list.