Pocket Linux Workstation
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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does PLW mean?
A: Pocket Linux Workstation

Q: What processor does it use?
A: Hitachi SH7709A 133MHz internal, 66MHz bus, 33MHz peripheral based on Hitachi SH3 (7708) core.

Q: What are the characteristics of the LCD panel?
A: The Sharp Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) is a 320x240x3 pixels, 3.9" diagonal Highly Reflective TFT Active Matrix unit featuring integrated touch key and CCFT front light (used only for low-light conditions).

Q: How much memory does the PLW have?
A: The basic developer units have 128MBytes of PC-133 SDRAM and 64MBytes of FLASH. Production units will feature a memory configuration reflecting the need for the system and user storage space while maintaining low component costs. Expect at least 32MBytes of SDRAM and 32MBytes of FLASH in production units, though they may have more as will be determined once development is complete.

Note: The unit is designed to take a variety of memory chips using a TSOP-II 54pin package. The memory chips are soldered on to the system board during production. This makes them impractical to replace or upgrade. The system memory configuration allows for at least 128 megabytes of SDRAM memory installed in 4 chips. Memory expansion through a PCMCIA or CompactFlash memory card allow additional user storage capacity.

Q: What is the difference between a "Developer" and "Production" unit?
A: Developer units are designed to be used for development of operating system, driver and application code needed for Production units. As such, Developer units are part of the "learning process" needed to determine what the Production units will be like. Developer units feature a special serial port designed to interface a Linux or Windows PC at high speed data rates. This port is useful as an exclusive "Debug Serial Port" so that the various product ports do not have to be shared for debugging purposes. Additionally, Developer units feature maximum capacity memory components so that they better accommodate the greater file sizes of code compiled with debug (-g) symbols.

Q: When will I be able to buy a PLW?
A: The exact date of production depends on many factors including the ability of project members to secure adequate funding to build units. The current scheduled
Production Goal is 20 AUGUST 2001. Advanced orders will be taken no earlier than 30 days prior to the schedule production date. Note that the Production Goal will be updated as needed.

Q: Is the PLW Open Source?
A: Yes! All software for the PLW developed by the MyLinux Core Development Team is completely 100% Open Source and licensed under the GNU General Public License.

Q: How do I license the hardware design?
A: The hardware may be licensed directly from Arizona Cooperative Power. Please send inquiries regarding licensing it to:

Q: How do I become a MyLinux Developer?
A: If you're interested in developing software for the MyLinux PLW hardware, you'll want to contact the MyLinux PLW
Project Director. Be sure to state the kind of development activity that interests you. EG: Low-level/Operating System/Drivers High-level/Applications/Protocols/Frameworks Utilities/PC Tools/Etc.

Q: What are the available input methods for the PLW?
A: The device features an RS-232 Serial Port, an IrDA (infra-red) port, USB port and two PCMCIA Type-II ports in addition to a touch key and 4 software programmable function keys. The 4-wire resistive touch key translates stylus or finger presses to screen coordinates. Since few of the higher level input drivers such as a USB Keyboard driver are completed (Due early February 2001) for the device, note that primary input will be through the touch key interface.

Q: How big is it?
A: The device is designed on an approximately 3.3" x 6.0" board outline. Initial plans for a 3"x5" board were extended to meet the physical needs of "capture" PCMCIA and CompactFlash along with expanded memory options (4 chips versus 2 chips). Device thickness is designed to be approximately .75" thick, though Developer unit plastics are somewhat thicker.

Q: What does OTS mean?
A: Off-The-Shelf (Commerically available as a distinct product from another party).

Q: How can I buy a MyLinux PLW?
A: The sales model for obtaining a PLW is via direct, secure web server using online ordering forms. This method was determined to result in the lowest possible end-user cost obtainable by eliminating "middlemen" price increases.

Q: What does COST + $20 mean?
COST + $20 means that whatever it costs to develop, produce and sell units for will not cost you more than that amount plus $20 to buy units.

Q: So how much does one really cost?
A: The actual cost for each unit may vary considerably depending on when you purchase a unit. The prices for parts (components) we use to build units changes dynamically over time and as a result of the volume we purchase. Since we buy many of our components from bulk distributors who sell many different types of parts, we use our total volume purchasing power to drive down costs to their lowest possible point. Since many pieces have a relatively flat price whether we build a few or very many units, the costs are quite often most affected by the volume of units produced in a single production run. The bottomline is that it costs us more per unit to make a few units (say 100) than it costs us to make many units (say 1000) since the setup and production line costs are basically the same for 100 as they are for 1000).

The major difference to an end user buying a single unit is that if a unit was from a lot of 100 or 1000 units, the 1000 unit lot is likely to be as much as 20% cheaper than the 100 units because the setup and production line costs are spread over the number of units produced and because the minimum purchase volume of some components and the price breaks we get for meeting a minimum purchase on a per-component basis is greater with the larger production run. It is possible for low production volumes to far exceed (double or triple) the per unit cost of high production volume runs.

The important factor for determining your actual cost per unit is a very difficult process on our side. We take our total costs to purchase products and very accurately evaluate our production and sales costs divided by the number of units in the particular production run then add $20 to that amount arriving at a price tag per unit.

Note that the final price you pay for a unit will be the actual COST + $20 (before audit) that we incur in producing and selling the unit. Since we take advance orders no more than 30 days in advance of a production run, we will have already established the costs from our vendors before your unit is built. The amount you are quoted for your unit when placing an advanced order should not increase, however, as a result of many factors, including building more units than initially planned for a run, your cost may actually go down! Since you are billed at the time of your order, you may receive a refund in the event that there is an appreciable (Greater than $1.00) difference between the quoted price and the final cost of the unit including transaction fees if any. Note that shipping charges are always completely separated from the cost of the unit. You may elect any of the prepaid shipping methods that we support (UPS, FedEx, US Mail, DHL). Note that units are shipped prepaid only.

Q: What does "target price" mean?
A: The target price is that price which we will try to keep the actual price from exceeding. Our current estimated target price for the units, depending on configration, range from about $699 to $799 USD in smaller production volumes.