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Author Topic: Why use Sheeva? Looking for developers and entrepreneurs opinions….  (Read 2124 times)
kellogg_project
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« on: May 14, 2010, 10:39:33 AM »

We are looking for your perspective on why you choose the Sheeva plug as your platform. Your opinion on what is good and bad about it. Both from a business and technological standpoint!
-   What do you really like?
-   What is a pain point? What are you complaints?
-   What do you think Marvell is doing and can do to enhance the ecosystem that is building around plug computing?
-   Any ideas and concerns you would like to highlight to the big guys.
-   What are the other alternatives you had in this market – if any!
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obarthelemy
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2010, 03:03:33 PM »

What I like:
- Power consumption
- Full Linux, well supported distro and tools
- Well documented platform
- Active community

Issues:
- Reliability (general, USB HD power, Flash RAM... the new guru seems even worse ?)
- no self-contained, nor dust/water-proof units (would require internal HDD, or at least internal USB and Flash ports, and good port covers)
- Price can be higher than a much more powerful and versatile Atom netbook, depending on desired config
- no "desktop" form factor (with video out + internal eSATA HD, maybe VESA mount)

Suggestions:
- Much better PSU, possibly with a very short duration UPS (2-5 mins would cover 80% of my reboots)
- Desktop and Dust/Water-proof enclosures

Competition:
- Atom nettops, especially if you need video and/or a HD.
- re-purposed routers, some with ARM, some with MIPS, some with PPC. Build quality seems better.
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kellogg_project
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2010, 09:42:56 AM »

@obarthelemy: Thank you very much for your inputs.

@Everyone: Any comments, even brief would be helpful. Anything mentioned above that you feel needs to be stressed or highlighted, anything you feel is missed, anything you disagree with....
We will be able to use the feedback here to propose better plug computers and environment for Marvell!
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chunkyks
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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2010, 07:00:31 PM »

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

Gary (-;
« Last Edit: May 25, 2010, 07:02:12 PM by chunkyks » Logged

vodnik
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« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2010, 07:09:55 AM »

- I like:

Performance, power usage, freedom of choice of installed distribution

- Issues:

I've only had experience with the GuruPlug so this might be different for the Ionics plugs or OpenRD etc, but in it's current state I would just not be comfortable using it for anything but non-critical "toy" tasks at home.
Small form factor and lots of features are useless when it means that the device cannot run for any length of time without overheating when actually using them.
When the 99usd price point does not allow for decent heat sinks and good quality PSUs maybe it should cost more.

- Competition:
AMD Geode LX based PC Engines ALIX and Soekris systems, Atom based industrial PCs

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UnaClocker
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« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2010, 08:44:31 PM »

We are looking for your perspective on why you choose the Sheeva plug as your platform. Your opinion on what is good and bad about it. Both from a business and technological standpoint!
-   What do you really like?
-   What is a pain point? What are you complaints?
-   What do you think Marvell is doing and can do to enhance the ecosystem that is building around plug computing?
-   Any ideas and concerns you would like to highlight to the big guys.
-   What are the other alternatives you had in this market – if any!

I really like the low power consumption, and the low price. I really like that it runs Linux. I like the Gigabit ethernet connection, it shares files very fast.
Pain point, my USB connected 1TB external drive crashes every couple days, forcing me to shutdown the server processes that are using it, unmount the drive, power cycle the drive, fsck the drive (takes several hours), mount it and restart all those processes.
The biggest problem I see for the plug computer is GlobalScale.. They over promise and under deliver. They don't answer emails, and when the original promised ship date slips, they don't say a word. NewIT on the other hand is GREAT, best asset the plug computer has, is them.
I'm glad the GuruPlug has ESATA, I might move to that to get around my USB crashing problem, assuming they fix the major design flaw it has with gigabit ethernet.
Alternatives.. FitPC.. But the price on that thing doesn't hold a candle to this..
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SheevaPlug - 8gb class 4 SDHC primary drive, 4tb 3.5" media drive, Debian Wheezy, nginx, Samba, Shorewall

rabinnh
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« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2010, 06:12:52 AM »

I have evaluated many SoC repurposed router hardware, mostly Atheros based (RouterStation Pro, RouterBoard RB450G).  Works for standard apps ported to OpenWrt, but some lower level Ethernet issues with community developed drivers.

I ordered a Sheevaplug from GlobalScale but did not receive it after 5 weeks.  It appears that it would be perfect for my application: capable of running Debian kernel, 512MB RAM, 512MB flash, ethernet.  However, I canceled my order because as an entrepreneur, I need a supplier that I can depend on.  No matter how terrific my product is, if I don't have the hardware to host it, I am dead.

I can do the same thing with the PC Engines Alix 3D2, which is based on the AMD LX800 Geode.  Unfortunately, the Geode is being discontinued, so I can't really base a product on it.

Currently evaluating other x86 and ARM based SoC boards.  Frankly, the Plug appears to be perfect, but until Marvell expands their distribution network or GlobalScale gets their stuff together and becomes more than a supplier to hobbyists, I can't consider it for commercial purposes.
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popon
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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2010, 05:32:28 PM »

I have SheevaPlug, GuruPlug server Plus
Advantage
Low price, Low power consumption, interesting community .

Now, the SheevaPlug is working as a center server PC in my network.
It acts as mail server, web server, DNS server, time server.
I received GuruPlug Server Plus two weeks ago, and is struggling with it.
Hope it acts as a wired-wireless router, and be able to monitor my network.
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