The YeeLoong Netbook

The ironically named Chinese company Lemote has produced Linux-based set-top boxes for some time. What makes these and subsequent Lemote boxes unique is that they run on MIPS64 CPUs.

Most commonly associated with MIPS are the legendary Silicon Graphics Workstations of the 90s. But since then, MIPS-based boards have been used in many consumer devices, e.g. most Linksys wireless routers, Cisco routers, Playstations,

The CPU in Lemote's newer products is basically a MIPS R4700, called Godson or Loongson-2E, with bigger cache and larger TLB.

What brought us to Lemote hardware was the announcement of a completely open-sourced netbook. From the boot monitor (a modified PMON) to the desktop, everything was supposed to be open and modifiable.

The process of ordering hardware from Lemote turned out to be surprisingly simple. After exchange of a few E-mails and an international money transfer, we got six laptops with 1Gb RAM, 160 Gb disks, American keyboards and an English Debian installation. Price after customs, including shipping, was about 320 Euros per machine.

Expect more about this hardware here soon.

Tue, 03 Feb 2009
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