Bunnie Talks To Us About Novena Open Hardware Laptop

A view inside the Novena Open Hardware laptop



We made a point to stop by the Freescale booth at Maker Faire where [Bunnie Huang] was showing off the Novena laptop. His past accolades (Wikipedia page) and the rabid success of the crowd funding round — which nearly tripled its goal — meant we had to make multiple attempts to speak with him. But the third time’s a charm and it was worth the wait!

Several things struck me about seeing the hardware in person. First off, I like that there’s a little bit of room inside but the case is still reasonably small. This really is a laptop aimed at hardware hacking; I would anticipate that the majority of backers intend to roll their own hardware for it. Second, [Bunnie] showed off several expansion boards as examples which use a standard 80-pin header to get at the onboard components. The example of a man-in-the-middle attack for the flash chip on a thumb drive was extremely tasty. But it was also interesting to hear about an SDR board which will ship to original backers since the campaign made its stretch goals.

If you don’t know much about this project, you can get some background from our post when the crowd funding went live. Open design info is available from the Novena page.

16 thoughts on “Bunnie Talks To Us About Novena Open Hardware Laptop

  1. Man….. Bunnie is my hero. Wish I hadn’t missed out on backing the project. /me wonders if the complete source(s) is(are) available and if any group buys are happening.

    1. You can actually go now and place an order for the board — the extras from the stretch goals won’t come with it, but you can go and grab a unit still. That’s one of the reasons they’re using CrowdSupply, because it changes into a pre-ordering system post-campaign. So if you actually want a unit, you’re free to go order one!

    1. It’s openly documented — you can download dev manuals and full documentation without even having an account of any sort, IIRC. Compare that to most processors that require NDA’s and or large-scale fabricating contracts, and it’s as good as we’re getting right now. It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better than the other options that are out there.

      1. Isn’t that true also for AMD processors? For Bobcat cores I’ve found chipset documentation, processor documentation and BIOS writers manual. As AMD nowadays document GPU workings too I’d guess that is available for download (haven’t checked).

        But Bobcat E350 is much higher performance than the iMX 6.

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