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Archos releases Dev Edition firmware for Tablets

Charbax (678404) writes | more than 4 years ago

Linux 3

Charbax (678404) writes "While Archos current "Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android" is a 4.8" WVGA Tablet hardware that runs Android 1.5 and soon 2.0 with the full Google Marketplace Experience (according to rumors), users of last year's 4.8" and 7" Archos Linux Tablets have been complaining that Archos firmware updates of its proprietary embedded Linux OS were too rare and added too little of the requested functionality. Under pressure from hackers demonstrating jailbreak methods, Archos has just now officially released the open-source Special Developer Edition firmware based on Angstrom Linux generated from a customized open embedded build for last year's Archos 5 and 7 Internet Media Tablets. If many talented developers join the community of Archos hackers to make software for this new Archos SDE firmware, Android, Angstrom Linux, Maemo Mer, Qt and Ubuntu Linux could be expected to run smoothly on it soon. Which could make it the ultimate pocket Linux Internet Tablet for Linux hackers. Installing Archos new SDE firmware permanently disables DRM playback and voids the warranty. The Archos 5/7 Internet Media Tablets are running on a 600mhz ARM Cortex A8 processor, with 60GB to 320GB of built-in hard drive storage and powerful hardware acceleration for 720p video playback and even HDMI output. The advantage of this open-source firmware working on last year's model is that the 250GB 4.8" Archos 5IMT Tablet now sells for $199 at Amazon.com and the 160GB 7" Archos 7IMT version is $209 and those are to be found even cheaper on ebay."
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Right move, wrong reasons (1)

edwardd (127355) | more than 4 years ago | (#30255738)

They've always been compliant in publishing the GPL'd source that they use or modify, but they're releasing this for the wrong reasons. One person on the archosfans forum (archilles) published code to jailbreak this model and get access to all the plugins, without publishing the details. Others have been very forthcoming with the internals they've reverse engineered.

Archos' response has been to put out an Angstrom Linux distribution, while wiping the DRM keys from the device. Even though they are distributing this, installing it will immediately void the warranty. This is certainly not a sign of good will. The only reason this being published is to try to stop people from hacking their boxes.

voiding warranty makes sense (1)

Charbax (678404) | more than 4 years ago | (#30257070)

Comon, it makes sense for them to void the warranty and disable DRM when officially allowing jailbreak. Third party hackers with bad code could make software that actually could brick or otherwise permanently harm the hardware. Archos should not be responsible for more than how consumers use their official firmware.

With time, the open development could though provide very stable ways to run Android, Maemo Mer, Ubuntu and more. At some point it would be considered safe to install those third party installs if distributed in a way people can trust and that many people are using it without reported problems.

Demanding that Archos not void the warranty on installing this, would be like demanding that Nintendo not void the warranty when people install a modchip on their Wii, or that Apple not void the warranty when hackers brick the iphone through some bad code in jailbreak mode.

Embedded platforms are fragile, for example software should not demand from the ARM processor to constantly burst at full 800mhz mode, this would heat it up too much and could harm the hardware. The 800mhz of the processor is only supposed to be used in burst mode when launching something heavy but it should not be constantly used to convert files or something else like that for a long time. Archos carefully uses the DSP accelerator when encoding videos, but third party developers might not be careful enough about that. Also, many consumers bought this Tablet over a year ago, or may buy it used on Ebay or something. At that point the warranty doesn't really matter anyway.

Re:voiding warranty makes sense (1)

Buzz_Light (1017486) | more than 3 years ago | (#30261702)

Actually, since they lock the boot0 and boot1 (bootstrap stages) and the recovery kernel, it would be very difficult for somebody to permanently brick their Archos device. As for overheating, I imagine the processor has thermal protection that would keep it from frying itself.

Removing the DRM makes sense, and good riddance, says I!

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