Paul Boddie paul at
Sun Mar 17 09:48:29 EDT 2013

On Sunday 17 March 2013 01:54:28 Alexander Stephen Thomas Ross wrote:
> On 08/12/12 14:31, Werner Almesberger wrote:
> > Alexander Stephen Thomas Ross wrote:
> >> I guess the market would be those that can't afford
> >> ?100 pocket computer phone.
> >
> > There's one of the problems with the cartridges: you still need
> > the same Ben. The hardware of a Ben that is constrained to only
> > run tetris costs exactly the same amount as that of a Ben that
> > has hundreds of sophisticated applications installed.
> >
> > So one of the key cost benefits of single-function devices is
> > already lost.

Just to inject some context back into the cartridge suggestion, Christoph 
Pulster was probably thinking of the way that Psion delivered applications 
for their products:

You could also think of it as the way Knoppix can be used to deploy software 
and make a general purpose computer run a specific set of applications.

Christoph actually referred to microSD cards but used the term "cartridge", 
and people tend to see red when they see that term because cartridges have 
also been used to deploy additional hardware and also to enforce proprietary 
control over methods of software distribution...


> > You could counter that by adding some "trusted computing" that
> > only lets it run cartridges, but such a move would make it
> > highly unpopular in the Free Culture.


> I will never support DRM, untrusted computing.

...which I don't think anyone here really advocates.

> I my self don't like cartridges. It was a thought exercise. Around this
> time of the thread I had seen a err keen 13 or 14 (?) year old  lad play
> the games on my NN. He was keen about the games less the possibility’s &
> freedoms of the NN. This thread got me wondering whether the
> "convenience" of SD card(s) pre-setup would be of interest to him. I was
> also thinking that cartridges would help space wise. One SD for games
> games games! Another SD of every thing else. This way you have space
> left for music,videos,info,etc. Then again this would be mass marketed
> and so more NN made and so I guess one could make the internal flash
> bigger! Doh!

I'm not too enthusiastic about having different microSD cards for different 
things and having to switch between them, but there is a convenience argument 
for this kind of thing. Of course, in the age of the Internet, using any 
media to deploy software seems archaic, and the Ben can obviously be 
networked and acquire new software over the USB cable and the AT-BEN 
interface, but then you still need an Internet-connected host that is 
configured to act as a bridge to the Ben, and for some people just plugging 
in a microSD card would be easier.

> I know this is not the answer and I won't wast my time trying to do
> something like cartridges for someone else thinking it will win them
> over/get there approval.

Cartridges of the kind discussed above might appeal to parts of the wider 
public, but I don't think we are really targeting the wider public with the 

> Regarding free space on the internal flash, OPKG can install pkgs in odd
> places like "/mnt/sd/".

Yes, opkg is quite useful for this.


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