Sorry to revive an old thread, but I remembered mentioning something that I 
have since revisited:

On Saturday 3. September 2016 00.02.47 Sam Geeraerts wrote:
> Op Thu, 1 Sep 2016 00:18:47 +0200 schreef Paul Boddie <p...@boddie.org.uk>:
> 
> > In addition, the jz4780 uses widely-disliked PowerVR technologies,
> > but maybe they are not mandatory for it to be used in a productive
> > way. And Imagination Technologies seem to have moved on to the CI40
> > (which is less suitable as a build host), and I don't see a
> > particularly large amount of obvious support for the CI20 any more.
> 
> So that's a dead end, then. So if I understand you correctly, then with
> regards to current and near-future hardware options, there's no real
> reason to continue mipsel support in gNewSense post-Yeeloong.

I have since acquired a CI20 because I wanted a way of experimenting with the 
Ingenic SoC family used in the Ben NanoNote, and it may also get pressed into 
use as a general-purpose machine. Initial investigations indicate that you can 
deploy Debian on it just fine without either of the proprietary firmware blobs 
that are needed for the PowerVR-based GPU and Broadcom-derived WLAN functions.

One thing that came up in the context of the EOMA68 stuff is that the FSF did 
seem to be considering endorsing hardware that has functions unsupportable by 
Free Software if those functions are not then supported by proprietary 
firmware, nor enabled in any way, nor even advertised in any way. This way, 
such a device doesn't promote proprietary software and contradict the FSF's 
goals.

Thus, the EOMA68 crowd-funding campaign was able, considering this tentative 
position, to offer an Allwinner A20-based product on the basis that without 
the Mali GPU functionality the rest of the offered functionality can be 
supported by Free Software. Originally, the plan seemed to involve offering an 
Ingenic jz4775-based card as the FSF-endorsed option instead.

So, maybe the CI20 is also endorseable in some sense according to these 
broader criteria. It's just unfortunate that there doesn't seem to be a very 
high level of corporate support for it any more, but you can still buy it from 
Mouser and RS Online.

Paul

P.S. Personally, I think Luke (of the EOMA68 campaign) should have offered the 
jz4775-based card that was already being prototyped instead, especially since 
it has no known Free Software support issues and was already capable of 
offering 2GB RAM, which is something since added to the A20 card, perhaps 
complicating the process of getting the card made and shipped to the rather 
patient group of backers.

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