Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Tuesday, September 26, 2006

  Embedding Asterisk on the Blackfin

I have been watching David Rowe make amazing progress on building an embedded asterisk voip product for the past couple months (well, maybe it's been closer to a year...)

He's been blogging about it, with clear, lucid articles - not just about the open hardware development or uasterisk side, but some tricky things involving DSP - which is why his blog is called Beer, Coffee, and a little DSP.

A few weeks back he got working hardware and, today, announced working software! He went from mere blinkenlights to this stage in an amazing amount of time (perhaps a tribute to what an engineer can do working at home without the distraction(s) of a marketing department - and sufficient supplies of beer and coffee)

The question is now - can truly open hardware compete against non-open products?

Dave's board looks like plenty of fun to hack on.
 
Comments:
well,

THis is really cool, and quite geeky, which is also cool.

Dave says he'll sell me some of those gizmos real soon now,
and I can't wait to put ysa (yet still another) $500 into
ysa asterisk experiment. I love spending all this money
in order to replicate the functionality I get from
an old answering machine pulled from a dumpster.
Except perhaps, that once i get all the old soda pop
and cigarette ash out of the old answering machine,and
get it working, I can just leave it the heck alone, and
it will always work. With asterisk, I have the pleasure
of rebooting every now and again, or at least stopping
and starting zaptel

All that said, I really do think this is cool.

But I have to wonder, as neat-o as the blackfin is,
how exactly is this 'free' ?

I don't see anything on Analog Devices website that
even implies that I can copy their chip and board
designs and share them with my friends here in the bazzar.

Just curious, that's all.
 
Hi Joe,

Well, you can't copy the chip (yet) - however pretty much everything about the STAMP boards design is open. From this page:

http://blackfin.uclinux.org/frs/?group_id=7&release_id=209

you can download schematics, and even the PCB layout in Gerber-file form. Basically u could send these to a board-stuffer and they would send u back x Blackfin STAMP cards.

We are also working on a slightly more open Blackfin DSP board (BlackfinOne) that has been designed using (opensource ) gEDA EDA tools. The Analog STAMP designs have been designed using closed (and rather expensive). The PCBs are getting made for the BlackfinOne board as I type, hopefullyit will up and running Asterisk in a few months.

- David
 
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