As a continuation of a tangent on the Fuchsia roll-out thread:
SBCs are self-contained SoC based computers. They use one chip for graphics, sound and data-processing in the form of CPU cores. They are easy to support because of this. Performance is often compromised because of the unified memory architecture associated with them. They use vector units to speed up what would have otherwise been poor performance GPUs. The upside is that the drivers are more easily reverse-engineered to run on alternative operating systems like Haiku. They are often cheap ARM and AArch64 boards with RISC-V now entering the arena.
In the Fuchsia thread, I mentioned how Commodore rolled over and died in 1994 because the C64 didn’t sell as well once the 16+ bit CPU embargo on Russia and Eastern Europe dropped. I also stated that monocultures are temporary. Tying in what Fuchsia represents to the industry, it appears that Fuchsia is going to try to target everything that Android presently runs on as well as ChromeOS. Since Android is ARM and AArch64 based primarily, and ChromeOS is x64 it appears to me like they are going to try to use WebAssembly to bridge the compatibility gaps between them.
One position I have advocated in the past were using WebAssembly with the package manager/app store to make packages cross-architecture, thus ARM and AArch64 could potentially run the same software as x86/x64. It certainly wouldn’t hurt RISC-V as well because SoCs can map their custom architecture directly into the instruction set, shifting the burden of compatibility from the runtime drivers to the install-time bytecode translation.
Another position I have advocated was making the OS as small and fast as possible without compromising design considerations regarding reliability. The smaller the system overhead is, the better the caches work. The smaller and more reusable the code is the less code has to be swapped to the hard drive. Memory hierarchy optimization is the key to overcoming many performance obstacles.
One last position I would like to advocate is that we don’t entertain commercialism as a means of exploitation. Crony capitalism isn’t as good as the original American Dream was initially designed to be. Sometimes businessmen and businesswomen need to cut deals to get things done but never forget that it is the customer and consumer of goods that we are serving, not the oligarchs of the tech sector and public sector. Overcentralization of power is all kinds of evil at once. When a few executives of a web platform can deplatform and help depose heads of state, a line has been crossed that we should never cross. We need to be as good as what Google started out to be with their “Don’t Be Evil” motto. Not as bad as they have ended up being by contributing to global imperialism and oligarchy.
I’ll step down from my soap box for a while now. I’m interested in hearing your responses.