The past week was an amazing rush, passing and exceeding the funding target with your help, and even now it’s still climbing.
We picked Crowd Supply because of their hands-on approach and their ongoing committment to campaigns that have completed. The advice we’ve received has been absolutely invaluable. Couldn’t have done this without your help, so thank you to Joshua, Fred, Hannah, Darrell… all of you have been amazing.
But here’s the thing: we all worked together, here. You the backers, the team at Crowd Supply, Bruce from LinuxMagazine, Brad from Liliputing, Michael from Phoronix, Tarrin Lupo with his videos, Ernest Hancock with his eye-watering enthusiasm for freedom-related hardware, Jean-luc from cnxsoft, Paul and David Boddie, Wolfgang for his regular posting on Diaspora and other social media, Albert for developing the AZERTY keyboard support during the campaign, the people on the arm-netbook mailing list keeping an eye on things, the teams behind Devuan, Parabola, Archlinux-ARM, Debian, CEDRUS, the teams at the FSF, Chris and Bob from ThinkPenguin for understanding the need enough to provide full-time sponsorship - and many more: huge numbers of people working together to get the message across that Software Libre and ethical business really does matter.
So. As Joshua kindly reminded me: now the hard work begins. The little assessment program I’ve been using to keep track of costs tells us that over $87,000 of the $172,000 funds is gone - just like that - on components, PCBs, assembly, testing, casework and shipping. We will have to also do a pre-production run of around five samples of everything, just to make absolutely, absolutely sure that we haven’t missed anything. That’s going to take about \$5k. \$172,000 sounds like a lot but it’s all allocated and accounted for over the next six months.
What I will be doing is bringing you regular updates - I have been keeping the various news pages up-to-date on each of the sub-projects for the past five years but I will also be posting updates here via Crowd Supply as well. Also, as this is primarily a direct community project, you can join the current mailing list (arm-netbook) and help out there: this is definitely, definitely going to be needed. We did a schematic review actually during the campaign, and things like this will help make sure big mistakes don’t get made, reducing risk and increasing the chances of on-time delivery.
Lastly it’s worth mentioning that (apart from the updated Computer Cards and additional housings described in the roadmap update) it’s only going to get easier. Explaining a new concept to people is tough, and I’m thrilled how many of you decided to join us on this ride. You’re the forerunners - a newly-formed community of some 1,800 people world-wide! - who will make it easier for others to understand this paradigm shift in computing appliances, so please look out for each other. I will be looking to set up forums and a new range of mailing lists over the next few months. The original wiki and mailing list is - was - designed to attract a specific engineering "type" and also to act as "public working notes" just as the xda-developers wiki was originally used for comprehensive note-taking by its primary reverse-engineers, over ten years ago. With such a large and eclectic community it requires a completely new support structure: I invite people to join the current mailing list to discuss that, starting with asking "why" then "how" and finally "what"… but please bear in mind that anything with the words "PHP" or "MongoDB" will get an automatic "NO"! Jumping ahead a little to the "what," personally I quite like the look of FlaskBB and am a fan of how "clean" python-based code usually is.
There’s a lot to do. This is just one phase. Thank you for being part of it.