riscy
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Re: Board production

To: riscy@pyramid.com
Subject: Re: Board production
From: Drew Eckhardt <drew@caesar.cs.Colorado.EDU>
Date: Tue, 06 Jul 1993 10:26:57 -0600
In-reply-to: Your message of "Tue, 06 Jul 1993 10:57:45 CDT." <9307061557.AA13240@hprisc-25.cae.wisc.edu>
Reply-to: riscy@pyramid.com
Sender: riscy-request@pyramid.com
    >     - Waldorf produces either complete boards for the
    >       international market or complete boards only for
    >       the european market and partly assembled ones for
    >       oversea.
    > 
    > This is acceptable if the boards are sold to the Linux community 
    > at cost + shipping expenseses.  
    >     

    This would be great but I wouldn't expect it.  As long as everything is
    make public (ie the schematics and PCB layout), others could produce the
    boards.  

Technically, other people *can* produce the boards.  However, if we've 
made design concessions to Waldorf (ie, use of SMT components) the 
number of potential other sources are greatly reduced, and the price 
increased (ie, higher bandwidth bus for Waldorf's propriety boards).  
Also, this will fragment the market (initially *extremely* small), meaning that 
people end up paying more because the producers have bigger problems 
making price breaks for chips because everyone is selling fewer.

    This seems no different than what SLS and others are doing with
    linux codes.  All for a profit.  

That's fine, it's still easy for me to grab Linux for free.  It's 
not easy for me to find another source for an SMT motheroard.

    Neil said they'd also be offering support.

As long as the *hardware* works when I plug the appropriate cables 
in the appropriate places, and I have databooks on the chips (which
I can get for free by calling the appropriate companies), I don't 
give a rats ass about support, and really don't want to subsidize 
handholding for lusers.  I imagine that many of the hacker types 
(rather than users) interested in the board have similar feelings.

    If that is the case they deserve some profit.  Of course too much and no on
   e
    will buy.

The question is :  What does Waldorf want out of it, and what can the 
Linux community give them?  It's my impression that they want a reasonably
priced system to put their propriety product in (this product is their
money maker, rather than the board itself).  If this is the case, then
it is in their best interest to get it into the hackers' hands cheap
(I think that if they gave Linus one, the kernel would work *real*
fast, if Fred got one the ethernet would work, if Eric or I got one SCSI 
would work real soon).  Hobbiests who've been hacking on Linux for 
over a year and a half are going to be more familiar with the system 
than the average waldorf employee.  Selling at cost, or even giving
a few boards away and even a few hundred to a thousand US dollars in cash 
to the right hobbiests could motivate them to have the software working 
quickly and for a much lower cost than it would have for waldorf to do the 
same since Waldorf isn't paying for a full-time engineer, 1/10th of a 
secretary, 1/20th of a janitor, etc.

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