Linux Hacker Board Trends in 2018 and Beyond #Linux #SBC
Via the linux.com blog by Eric Brown comes a look at Linux single board computers (SBC), now and into the future.
The novelty of community-backed, open-spec SBCs has worn off, and there were few new boards in 2018 that seem destined to become Raspberry Pi killers. Yet, the more I researched open-spec Linux/Android maker SBCs for LinuxGizmos’ New Year’s edition SBC catalog, the more I realized that the sector was very much alive — just a bit quieter than before.
Their roundup compiled a list of 122 boards, an addition of 6 since June. The main problem with these boards appear to be documentation and support:
Benchoff’s speculation that fewer maker boards were sold in 2018 may well be correct, but I have seen no proof of it. If there has been a slowdown, Benchoff nailed the reason: poor documentation. Other drawbacks to the hacker board scene include buggy software and less frequently, hardware (issues). In many cases, the documentation and images are fine, but by the time they arrive, your shiny new SBC is already halfway to obsolescence.
No single Raspberry Pi killer emerged in 2018. Yet, the collective group of RK3399 vendors appear to be acting as a counterpoint in the Pi. The RK3399 is fast and offers x86 like technologies such as PCIe, SATA, and HDMI 2.0, and it has better Linux mainline support than the still-improving Allwinner SoCs.
RISC-V is still a player:
So far, no RISC-V based SBCs have slid under our $200 limit, but one is likely to arrive in 2019. We could even see a low-cost Google Fuchsia hacker board. Meanwhile, you can check out the new Linux supported C-SKY ISA for as little as $6 with the new C-SKY board.
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