Thanks for all the interest shown regarding this project. I am hereby trying to answer some of the questions being asked on different forums, hope this helps and gives some insight.
What is hawkboard.org?
A Open Community Portal for OMAP L 138 – An ARM 9 and Floating Point DSP C674x Application Processor.
Who is driving this initiative?
Mainly Khasim Syed Mohammed with the help of a very energetic and small hardware engineering team called Innovate Solutions with all directions and inputs from a simple and straight beagleboard.org community.
Is this a TI internal project?
No, it is not associated with TI.
Are you copying beagleboard.org ?
Yes, we think beagle board has met community expectations and we are proud to follow beagleboard directions.
Is Gerald Coley or Jason Kridner part of this project ?
Yes, they guide and mentor us
Why not are you associating this beagelboard.org itself.
This initiative does involve the beagle community and is already engaged with them, before we started this effort we discussed about the same on beagleboard mailing lists and IRC and took a opinion poll. So this project is kicked of from beagleboard.org
Then why another name and logo ?
I learnt this from Jason Kridner, giving board a name of website is really good for everyone to get along to know about the product that is the only intention of having a .org associated with the board. But it will also help us in turning this up as a portal for deliverables.
What is the focus or objective of this project?
While I was talking to Gerald Coley he mentioned “the job of DSP is to make ARM better”. I have been in Linux community for a while but when I need to get along with DSP, it really gets tough. The OMAP L 138 is a great and very simple processor, the register set is so simple that any one can start learning about the Linux drivers for any kind of peripherals. I think we as Linux developers need to learn DSP usage and not programming the same and the DSP developers should learn how to program DSP so that ARM can use this. So, its all about ARM utilizing the power of DSP.
When TI has so much software around DSP what’s new in this ?
We are going back to basics, a team of DSP programmers and Linux developers have joined together in learning how to program and use DSP from ARM. While the device will support all of the TI software (DSP Link, Codec Engine, iUniversal, Codecs, DMAI, etc) we are looking forward to start from scratch with hellodsp.c
Are you going open?
Yes we are … give us some time. The team involved in this are doing there regular work at different organizations and still want to work on this project on the side. So we try our best to get some bandwidth around this initiative.
Why did you choose OMAP L 138 a ARM9 processor ?
We need a simple ARM to learn DSP programming. Moreover the DSP in L138 processor is very powerful as it can do all floating point operations and can run at 300 Mhz. Having a floating point DSP around will enable us to use tons of DSP algorithms developed across the range of DSPs in the world also gives us an opportunity to port alogrithms running on ARM and x86 in a much easier way.
When is this board available for purchase ?
We have around 5 prototype boards today, we are planning to make a 100 more by end of this month, once we have them we will start an early adopters program on elinux wiki, get boards in hands of real users of this platform. TI has also placed an order for boards to serve the MCU days participants not sure how many of these can go to TI.
Who should buy this board ?
If you are a TI customer who wants to do a serious product in definite time line with lots of TI support from its sales and field then you are on the wrong channel. For such serious businesses we prefer you use the TI EVMs.
This board is meant for learning and programming ARM9 and Floating point DSPs by sharing our knowledge – a open community way … !
Are you not promoting TI DSPs with the help of Open Community ?
Yes and No. We know DSPs for ages and we also know that you think about a algorithm the source is there in Open on some site. But we cannot use this as we don’t know how to use the same from ARM or Linux and the algorithm was developed for single DSP core with CCS. Just as an example, consider I want to use a compression and decompression logic, we know DSP can do better and we also know there is source available for DSP, but being a ARM Linux developer how do I use it – not sure. We need to fix this, DSP is not all about Codecs, it is about processing.
But then why can’t TI fix this ?
TI DSPs are generic and can be used for multiple applications, TI has frameworks like DSP Link, Codec Engine, iUniversal to try the same and address multiple segments, but we need some thing more fundamental to experience the DSP and an easier way.
TI processors are rich in multimedia and processing and it is responsibility of TI to define products for next generation and that is where it is going towards, but the next generation products can’t be simple they are going be and have to be complex example the Davinci and OMAP3. But for our objective to be met we need a simple processor and tools to use the same.
TI helps us by delivering these in open and free. The cross compilers for DSP are free, the xds 100 emulator schematics are open, CCS is coming free, tons of DSP algorithms are open.
So is this initiative all about DSP and no room for ARM ?
We know ARM9 is not new – OMAP L 138 can drive ARM at 400 Mhz max, with the set of peripherals on board like SATA, Ethernet, Composite In and VGA – it is a dream come true for ARM developers who want to do media (audio / video) streaming and storage applications. This platform is more expandable as it offers PWM with a dedicated multi-channel PWM controller in processor, PRU a programmable controller that can be configured to be anything like a CAN controller or UART controller, high speed parallel port for connecting to FPGAs and lots of GPIOs and SPI and Video port interfaces. In my opinion we already meet the expectations of ARM community and looking forward to work closely with Linux ARM community in leveraging the benefits of a Open ARM9 platform. But the ideal objective is get the other guy going the way we “Linux ARM” community want it to be…
What about the cost of the board?
The end price of the product is still not fixed as we don’t have a global distributor signed yet, it all depends on what margin a distributor will expect, it looks odd inspite of all the hardwork we need to pay some one extra money to get the product shipped to all parts of the world, but we cannot help or managing it and they are better in that. As far as I think it should be around 79$ and if we get hit by distys it can go near 85$. Definitely not more than that. In India this should be available for Rs 3750 /- and In Europe not sure as we have to work out the shipping charges. If some one wants to be our distribution partner we are open to this with all open terms and conditions.
Lets learn …! and feel free to mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org