Last week I did a bit of research on what exactly an open platform like beageboard did mean to India.
With some simple queries on google.co.in I found lots of forums, mailing lists, groups, publications for Linux meant exclusively for India. I found some good articles on what open community means in India like http://www.informationweek.com/news/software/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=47900215, it shows that open source principles and concepts are not new to India.
Going forward I was wondering about the current state of open source, I found another blog http://osindia.blogspot.com which was kind of upto date. The author is capturing really good amount of data here. Moving forward I found group for Simputer that has 2343 active members and the handheld concept being driven in early 2001 itself. I found some info on SBCs developed in early 2001 to 2003 from various companies in India like iWave’s SBC on MPC860, 8260, ARM etc. I realized that embedded Linux development platforms were locally available for developers, startups in India.
I then changed my focus to Universities & Students, I was just amazed to find every top colleges being equipped with an embedded systems lab with embedded platforms from TI, Intel, and many other sources. There are trainings available from range of institutions for embedded devices and Linux in particular.
I then thought of identifying gaps in previous offerings made to Indian customer base (students and organizations) for embedded Linux platforms and for open source concepts in particular.
Just thought of listing few below:
- The packaging was bit difficult to handle, the distribution was just one time in a CD, no improvements.
- The hardware was low cost but software stack was priced high.
- Sometimes software was free but hardware was not generic enough to explore
- At times both hardware and software were bit expensive to handle.
- The software was just basic and calls for a hard development to explore high end applications like multimedia applications
- When total cost was low, the support didn’t exist at all.
- Though University and students had access to hardware, they were given very less exposure to innovative concepts for the platform
- Student’s work on a platform didn’t fetch them any credit, exposure, money in any form.
- Work done by a student was dropped half way and was not provided with other means to carry it forward after completing the course.
There are many such issues that I can list, but overall I feel we have fixed/addressed most of them with beagleboard.org. Few simple pointers,
Beagleboard.org for Indian startups and organizations:
- Explore new areas of research in the field of MIDs, Portable navigations, Mobile Devices and applications, Gaming, Medical, Home Security etc
- Prototype their innovative thought on highest performance ARM, DSP C64x+, 2D/3D graphics accelerator.
- Develop with latest software : Many Thanks to beagle community members.
- Always upto date software stack: Again thanks to community members.
- Almost complete software stack for various segments/ domains like multimedia devices, etc.
Beagleboard.org for Indian students and universities:
- A low cost affordable hardware for just Rs 9999/-.
- Learn from Open Community
- Understand and explore open standards like OpenGL, OpenMax, OpenCV, gStreamer, etc
- A forum to showcase their thought, develop with global community, maintain it even after completion of their course.
A short message before concluding, Ideas are just like raw materials they need enormous energy or effort, tools, etc to convert it into a finished product, but if energy or effort is shared and tools are made openly available to all then it just needs a motivation to convert an idea into an innovative product. Beagleboard.org is one such initiative that enables innovation, gives us a forum to express our ideas and share our thoughts & efforts globally, and helps us in converting a simple idea into an innovative product to address a global need.