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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: cheap ARM-boards not gimped by software?

Gaygirlie writes: "For a while I've been ranting online and offline about the possibilities and prospects cheap, ARM-based boards like e.g. the Raspberry Pi or the Pandaboard could provide, what with giving youngsters cheap computers to learn with, simple home automation systems, cheap HTPCs or TV-connected emulation boxes, always-on video chat systems, and so on and so forth — the possibilities are nearly endless!

These systems, however, are seriously gimped by poorly-designed drivers, constant breakage of features and the generally disheartening lack of support by the SoC manufacturers. I like e.g. the hardware of the Cubieboard at only $49 as it's quite well rounded all around and provides a good selection of connectors for most tasks, but... well, the Mali-400 drivers apparently break all the god damn time (#1), and the video acceleration — features are available only via the proprietary Cedar-library — no GStreamer, no Phonon, no OpenMAX, not a single standard method is available (#2.) A good example of what this means is VLC: VLC only works from console (#3,) no GUI, and since Cedar lacks YUV420 there's no OSD, either! (#1, #2, #3 )

With the above in mind, does anyone know of any boards in the planning where the software is actually guaranteed to work properly, be supported for longer than six months, and offers access to all the capabilities the H/W possess? Also, what are your thoughts on the matter as a whole?"

Going the speed of light is bad for your age.