What should we work on next?

I really wish we could have faster storage options. The SD card is very often a bottleneck holding back the A06. SSD/NVME module?

Also, I use my devterm with a flashlight every night, since I find the non-backlit keyboard impossible to use in the dark. So there’s one vote for a backlit keyboard, possibly with a nub.

My third vote went to “Operating System” for deep sleep / hibernation support. Because coldbooting and opening up emacs/firefox takes a good while.


Yes. I mean both a compete RISC-V integrated board like a Raspberry Pi 4 and a Clockwork core module. It would be much faster than VisionFive 2, and a lot cheaper if we could satisfy the MOQ.


You certainly would have my vote for it at that price point. The MSRP of the VF2 is around $64USD for the 4GB model and $85USD for the 8GB model which aren’t much more than the equivalent RPi and both are quite a bit cheaper than the A-06 core module (without the rest of the CPi) so I imagine you might well have quite a few people who might want to get on board.

I own Planet’s Cosmo Communicator (and had Gemini before that…), and I have a fresh DevTerm A06 (assembled the day before yesterday), and I am used to the Cosmo, so I might be biased, but so far I long for a Cosmo/Gemini like (alternate, swappable) keyboard for the DevTerm.

Cosmo (and Gemini) is for productivity. I learned to (kind of) touch type on that keyboard quickly, whereas I cannot imagine typing anything above a few lines on the DevTerm (while I wrote quite a lot on my Cosmo). The keys are just too small, although some sort of half-touch-typing (above henpicking speed) might be possible. The keyboard was otherwise a pleasant surprise (contrary to what I had read about DevTerm), it is sturdy and does no wobble.

The size of Cosmo keyboard is almost compatible (at least he lower four rows), but given the non-rectangular shape of the DevTerm keyboard, some creativity with the layout would be required (or a different front cover).

On the other hand, “more standard” layout means programming (or at least editing small shell scripts) would be easier on existing DevTerm (Cosmo has way too many important characters hidden under the Fn key).

Otherwise, a tiltable display (by a few degrees, e.g. like Olivetti M-10) would be nice as well, but I understand adding moving parts is bad for reliability.

Wait a bit longer, there will be some fully or nearly fully open source soon-ish on the driver level. I expect something around early 2023.

Personally I think you should finish the R01 before you go on to something “new”. Seems to be the way of things these days. Create something new. Get it so it sort of works. Call it done and move on to the next “new”. That’s a hideous practice.

I’m new to DevTerm and the R01 in particular but there are a few glaring problems that need to be fixed in the existing software for it:

  1. no cursor in the console?!?! In short the fb driver needs to be fixed.

  2. Although the D1 doesn’t offer 3D hardware acceleration it does offer video decoding and 2d accelerations. At the bare minimum the 2d acceleration should be implemented so that the video responds decently. Lets eliminate the inch worming!

  3. Better printer support. Changing fonts (bitmap style, specifically sizes) should be easy and published for using the bare printer driver (/tmp/DEVTERM_PRINTER_IN), without the need for CUPS. Using the printer driver without CUPS produces microscopic print. With CUPS produces huge print only allowing a word or two per line. Huh?!?! In this role CUPS is more of a detriment than an aid and its HUGE. So many uses are soooo much simpler by just pumping data at DEVTERM_PRINTER_IN. That was a great feature! I’ll get into your source one of these days and enlarge the font to a reasonable size. Anyhow there are at least two things that need fixing there.

  4. It was mentioned:

    I personally prefer the track ball of all the mobile pointing devices I’ve used. The problem with the trackball on the DevTerm is its spastic. Sometimes you have to spin it 500 times to move a mm. Other times the barest twitch and you’re across the screen. Yes I’ve tried it with and without X acceleration. I prefer it without. But it seems like this should be fixable and it should work smoothly and consistently. Maybe just a firmware fix?

  5. GPM needs to be fixed to work with the DevTerm R01. I haven’t had the time to get to the bottom of this. But I shouldn’t have to. That’s part of the hardware support. It works in X. This is a “Dev” “Term”. It should work in the “term”-inal. All other systems I’ve used it on… it just works.

  6. Full, complete, all patched kernel sources should be readily available. Since your aimed at makers this should be as important as providing an OS image. I’ve not had the time to get to this either…

Sorry, I started out with two things on my mind but then all of the issues started coming to me. You need someone doing some QA to say when something is “done”.

On the *NEW* front:

You know? Back in the mid '80s IBM acknowledged that people were tired of typing their date and time in at EVERY boot. So when they released the AT they added a battery-backed RTC (aka Dallas chip). It also stored MoBo settings and eliminated the need for dip-switches. Well… I keep saying technology is going backwards and here’s a perfect example: I’m back to having to manually inform a computer of the time again!!!

Yes, I know it can get the time from the Internet… So what if the Internet isn’t handy? This is a portable device WiFI will not always be available. Nor should I need it to be. Plus there is the issue of all the date/time stamps being wrong on files manipulated between the time you turn the machine on and it finally gets given the Internet. I really don’t want to add the old “date”, “time” prompt back to my system boot. Besides SystemD would make this a hemorrhoid. That hideous thing needs to die!

So I’d vote for an RTC on the MoBo. This should be standard equipment on ALL computers and SBCs. It can be powered from the rechargeable batteries.

The SUPER-OBVIOUS missing piece is some way to gain access to the pair of GPIO facilities in the DevTerm. I’ve looked! I can’t buy a role of FFC slice off a piece, strip out the needed number of conductors and connect it to my RTC or temperature sensor, or, or … Outside of manufacturing these are unobtanium. So a compact break out board/mechanism would be good. Probably get a bunch of repeat sales, since makers can easily and inexpensively gain access to the things that created the RaspberryPi crowd in the first place.

Of course while your at it you might also come out with a proto-board that plugs in the ext board port. So makers can cobble together their own specific accessories.

I’m all for a quality RISC-V build! Its obvious that Allwinner put the barest effort into the D1. An 8bit RAM bus for a 64bit processor?!?! The ARM64 gets at least 16! Still the PC industry went to a 64bit bus while the CPUs were still limited to 32! More RAM throughput is huge! When you have the replacement module for my DevTerm let me know. I’ll hang the R01 in the museum.

On the OS front: Devuan! Its Debian / Ubuntu without the hang ups and bleeding.

I like what you have so far … but it needs to be finished.


If I could have anyone thing as an add-on to my A06 a module with EMMC storage and a utility to move the OS to it would be that.

I am running the CM3, but the only reason I like it is the lower power consumption. It would also be nice to get the sleep modes to function properly so you didn’t need to shut down and power up.

Supporting an M.2 device would also be great, I would much rather have that than the printer. But then I don’t print much off my main machines anyway.

Was thinking about putting an ortho keyboard in as you could have slightly bigger keys. Still thinking about that.

It is a terrific platform.

I would kill for a DevTerm that was actually in the larger TRS-80 Model 100 form factor, so we could get a full sized keyboard for it. That would be the ultimate hacker terminal!


Here! Here! I second that motion. Just never got around to typing it here. :smiley: I was actually kind of disappointed when I read the specs on the site and saw its about half size of the 100! :scream:

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Totally! Even if they unfortunately don’t make a DevTerm XL, maybe someone can 3D print a compatible case so we can mod one up ourselves.

And I would add that some extra “air” in the case would provide space for hackers, like me, to build more goodies inside the case. This is good because then they too are protected from damage or loss by being enclosed inside the unit.

The one I was thinking about is the Alibaba/T-Head TH1520, and I expect some good open source support for it.

I wonder how feasible it would be to design a new face plate that has no game pad/button support, but instead uses the extra space to support a new keyboard module? Presumably, a keyboard module that sports more regular sized keys for serious programming/hacking?

I’d love to see an upgrade to the GameShell. Especially now that we have a variety of chipsets that could push the product up again to the big leagues. And especially I’d love to code for it.

A gameshell based on the v3.14 board with all its core modules would be amazing.

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Talking of new hardware ideas, is there any downside to the CM4 adapter board vs if it was able to interface via its original (pcie?) connections to the clockworkpi rather than sodimm?

What I’m saying is that is there any merit in a new clockworkpi mainboard that supports the new connectors natively (with an adapter board for the sodimm cores)? Could new cores be produced to take advantage of the new connectors?

+1 for the full size (or x2?) Devterm, I personally originally thought it was that as well. With a sata interface for booting off a real drive :wink:

Aaaand, is it just me or do the knobs on the side scream that they should do something, like right knob scrolls, left knob goes forward/back? Configurable of course :wink:

Yes I know they are cosmetic for popping everything open quickly, but maybe some trickery with led’s and light sensors would do it?

I thought the same before I looked into it. I mean, the Playdate has done pretty well with its little crank handle thing…

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I’d love to see an expansion module with a full-size Ethernet port. Most of what I want a tiny portable terminal for is connecting to things, and USB Ethernet dongles are nice and all, dongles suck.

Personally, I’m thinking of an expansion board with a built-in TAP. It would have two external Ethernet ports and an internal NIC all connected to a hub (not a switch). That would let you splice the DevTerm into a link somewhere and look at the packets, as well as a NIC connected to the same hub.

The other expansion port application I can see being useful would be a SATA controller, especially if it came with an onboard boost converter to provide a +5V/+12V SATA power connector. It would be really neat to be able to connect to external drives and diagnose/fix/exfiltrate things. (Again, you could use a dongle, but dongles suck.)

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