It’s been a while since the last update, so I thought I’d better let people know that we haven’t forgotten about freeio.org. Ed Paradis and I played with the Toast prototype boards for some time but finally concluded it was best to leave the Toast project in its deprecated state. We ran into some minor memory issues that Marty suggested could be due to a hardware bug. We also decided that the limited availability of the parts used in the design just make it impractical to continue working with. We’re contemplating what the next step should be. The idea of designing an inexpensive free microcontroller is still appealing. Suggestions are welcome.
Marty sent me a couple of boxes filled with FreeIO prototypes, documentation, and other goodies. As part of the process of evaluating which projects to focus on in the future, I’ve been looking at which project pages seem to get the most hits. Right now the Donut and Toast boards seem to be the most popular. Because of the interest in the Toast board, I’ve decided to take a look resurrecting the project from its deprecated status. I’ve passed one of the prototype boards along with a BDM cable and some other tools to Ed Paradis of the Dallas Personal Robotics Group. If we can verify that the prototype board boots linux, we’ll try to provide a kernel image and cross tool chain (and move the project back to active status). So far, Ed has been able to power up the board and communicate with it using the BDM cable. We’re currently trying to verify that we can read and write to the Flash memory. If anyone out there has any prior experience with a Toast board, either Marty’s prototype boards or one that you fabricated yourself, I’d love to hear from you. Meanwhile, you can keep up with Marty’s status by following the almost daily updates in his cancer blog.
Marty and I are in the process of transitioning FreeIO.org over to my care. I’m more of a software person than a hardware guru like Marty but I maintain a few other websites like robots.net, free3d.org, and the Dallas Personal Robotics Group so handling the website portion of things is right up my alley. Marty continues to have full access to the site and will continue to take part as much as he’s able. I don’t have any major changes in mind for the immediate future. My main goal is to make sure that Marty’s hardware designs continue to be freely available online. Beyond that, I have hopes that we can find volunteers to continue the work on some of the existing projects and maybe get a few new hardware projects started as well. I’m open to any suggestions and comments on the future direction of the website.
The FreeIO.org site is now being managed by Steve Rainwater, and served from Network Cybernetics Corporation. Marty may come around now and then, as he is able.
Due to pancreatic cancer, Marty will no longer be able to continue developing and releasing new hardware designs on FreeIO.org. The site will be left up, and it should run until the domain registration expires, or the server dies.
Marty (Diehl Martin) has run this site alone since Winter of 2000. He financed all of the projects, and hosted the site at his own expense since then. He has been fighting pancreatic cancer since September of 2004, and the cancer seems to be winning. As such, he is putting his energies elsewhere. For an insight in to what is going on in Marty’s life, visit his personal web page at diehlmartin.com/cancer.html.
I have added an area where various GNU/Linux Topics will be placed. The first of these have to do with installing and running GNU/Linux on a Sun workstation. These industrial-strength systems are available so very inexpensively on the auction sites that it seemed good to show off their easy conversion to running GNU/Linux. Other topics will be added as I get around to writing them up.