Keeping in mind that I currently own three, all of which are fairly "last generation": the ionics plug, the original globalscale plug, and a dockstar.
- What do you really like?
It's a real linux box. Not some cut down embedded thing, I'm really running ubuntu, debian, and arch on my plug-variants.
Cheap. I'm currently messing with a dockstar for putting in my bike, and they're available at newegg for fifty bucks. The standard globalscale and ionics plugs are only 100 bucks.
Easy to work with
Great community on the forums here
It's incredibly powerful for the limited electricities it eats
- What is a pain point? What are you complaints?
No wireless in any of the ones I own. I really wish it had built-in 802.11g and bluetooth.
The globalscale and ionics plugs only have one USB port. I had to hokey an extra USB hub in for my car's usage with the globalscale plug [http://icculus.org/obdgpslogger/sheevap5v/
NAND internal memory blows. My application writes to the disk. A lot. I have to run external USB drives just to avoid burning the flash out. [I've already destroyed a couple SD cards]. I wish it had an internal hard drive [thankfully I'm really looking forward to the plugcomputer v3 from ionics, which totes a 1.8" spinning magnetic drive, which I might want to replace with an SSD if prices drop]. Also, 1/2G storage ain't much. [1/2G RAM is *plenty* though, for me - even the dockstar's 128M is plenty for my app]
- What do you think Marvell is doing and can do to enhance the ecosystem that is building around plug computing?
I'd like more variety in distributions. The "sheevaplug installer" came out a long long time after the plug release, and I think it was mostly community-built
Before the sheevaplug installer came out, I was too cowardly to reflash the plug so I was suffering a really gimped system.
I'd really like debian to be properly supported with the installer [didn't see that anywhere yet].
Instead of just the cross-compile tools, I'd really, /really/ like to see a completely baked scratchbox 2 install [rather than just directions on the wiki].
Overall, Marvell have been doing a stellar job as far as I'm concerned, my issues are all minor. I would definitely like to see a clearer officially supported path for switching up the whole system on the plug though.
- Any ideas and concerns you would like to highlight to the big guys.
Nothing I haven't already covered - but as I said, my issues are such small potatoes, it's pretty moot.
- What are the other alternatives you had in this market – if any!
gumstix, beagleboard were the two I looked at. gumstix was a bit too slim hardware-wise and a pain to run stuff on, the beagleboard was too expensive and was a little too naked-electronics for my liking.
Gutted Eeeepc - again, a little too naked-electronics by the time I got it to the form factor I wanted. Even more expensive, and basically too big for my liking [I only have a teensy little car, and my bike's obviously even smaller]
To be honest, I accidentally ended up with the sheevaplug after helping someone else get my software running on his, and it all snowballed from there. I had been researching the alternatives a while before