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A British community interest company, Rhombus Tech, is part of the way towards developing a micro-computer on a circuit board, much like the Raspberry Pi.


The man behind the effort, Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton, says his product will be much more powerful, having an ARM Cortex A8 CPU, which is 3x times faster than the 700mhz ARM11 used in the Raspberry Pi. The mass-volume cost target being aimed for is $US15 and it will be available for educational purposes as well as being a part of a retail product line.

Leighton (pictured below), who is a free software developer, is also attempting to bring together FOSS developers with Chinese hardware makers, so that each can use the other's creation and benefit from doing so.

He has ambitious plans for Rhombus Tech to help build a number of devices, including a tablet, using the same method - harnessing the effort of free software developers and Chinese hardware manufacturers.

One thing he sees as a plus in the tablet effort is that it will create an Android system that conforms to the norms of the GPL and be easier for FOSS developers to deal with. At present, there is a plethora or tablets and many of the manufacturers, who are the vendors as well, are unaware of GPL requirements or else do not care.
Luke Leighton
"We are acting as the catalyst to invite other people to make such products by inviting them to participate, through the EOMA-PCMCIA initiative - simplified modular upgradeable hardware - and putting them in touch with Software (Libre) Developers," Leighton says.   

"We're not funding the products, we're doing deals with factories and with SoC fabless semiconductor companies, offering them free access to free software developers, asking them in return that they not charge us for their hardware engineering time."

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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