Crowdfunding the Prime "engineering" firmware



#26

Hi everybody,

Yes, I am sorry to start a new Prime thread, knowing that a lot of people come for the "vintage" calculators. I have been a long time fan of HP calculators, owning a 32S, 28S, 49G, 35S and a 50G. Now I have bought the Prime and as I said earlier, I really like the ambition of the calculator.

I understand that HP bets on the educational market and I can appreciate that they try to please the engineers as well. From a strategic standpoint, I can understand that most effort will be spent in optimizing the educational part (algebraic, apps, exam mode etc.) and the remaining time the more "engineering" part (programmability, RPN, IO possibilities).

So I was thinking whether it is possible to start a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a specific engineering firmware (or features). I'd be happy to spend another $100 dollar or so to turn the prime's ambitions into reality and add some engineering features as well (such as HID device support for low cost interfacing etc.).

It would be great if engineers were stimulated to join in by HP's impressive heritage. The Prime's hardware is fantastic and provides a solid foundation for the most impressive calculator ever built. But also the potential of having a Matlab/Mathematica/Labview station in your shirt pocket (or trousers).

I've been dealing with kickstarter campaigns and find it exciting to support campaigns and see what people can do with little resources.

Kind regards,

Eelco


#27

Yes, I would be interested to fund a kickstarter project for the Prime.

hpnut in Malaysia

#28

very fantastic idea.
in state the hp prime firmware need to be re-thinked.
Your idea is great particularly about HID connectivity

#29

I would probably pay for a prime if this happened. if the crowdfunded firnware was to be released as open source afterwards! I wouldn't want Hp to make more money with hard work of the community and sell what was created by it... ( saving tens of thousands bucks in dev...)


#30

Agreed. I would contribute to such a project, but would NOT like to see HP mark the thing up significantly because the "crowd" made it a better machine. I realize they might have to mark it up some.


#31

Wouldn't this require HP to release details of the hardware and the source to the current firmware ?

They did that with the 20/30 didn't they ? which resulted in the WP34S


Edited: 27 Oct 2013, 7:25 p.m.


#32

Yeah... Crowdfunding would require openness from HP for sure ...


#33

Yep. Hadn't thought that far before posting :(

#34

Hello,

And we might be able to find someone willing to help...

I think that first step would be to work on a PC prototype. A pc application with a clean HAL layer. once there is something up and working, ask some more questions...

cyrille

#35

The prime built in programming is advanced enough to write something I suspect.

Reverse engineering the hardware isn't something I'd like to attempt.


- Pauli

#36

HP has already released lots of details about the hardware, directly and also indirectly (by not erasing the part numbers on the chips) :)

The purposes of modding the official firmware would indeed be made far easier if HP released the source code and build system.

The purposes of running something entirely different (well, Linux + userspace is the most obvious candidate) on the Prime are much more decoupled from HP. Of course, it requires someone with enough interest and free time...



The information about the hardware is not on http://www.wiki4hp.com/doku.php?id=prime:start (at the time of this writing), but it is on http://tiplanet.org/hpwiki/index.php?title=HP_Prime and its sub-pages (especially /Emulation, which links to the datasheet, mentions Linux support, and links to outdated QEMU forks with support for S3C244x and S3C241x chips).



Experiments with Prime firmware modding started more than two months ago in the TI community: http://www.omnimaga.org/index.php?topic=16826.msg304321#msg304321 . In the same timeframe, someone posted a partial reverse-engineering of the Prime's BOOT0, as I mentioned two posts later.



The work for making a third-party connectivity software has also started, but it doesn't deserve its own topic here until it can receive and send individual files from / to the calculator. For now, it can fetch screenshots and calculator backups.


#37

Okay,

I'll scrap my comments about the "shirt pocket". But my leisure trouser pockets are certainly big enough. Crowdfunding could also be a way for HP to satisfy engineers? Although I'd like the firmware to be open, it is not an absolute must. Bottom line, if a large number of engineers is willing to shell out $100 bucks for a proper "engineering" firmware, it could be beneficial for HP to use crowdfunding.

Of course I understand that the return on investment would be abysmal for the first time, but it could help with identifying engineer's needs (as I still think this is a pretty large customer base, which has been lost partly to TI).

Kind regards, Eelco


#38

Quote:
I'll scrap my comments about the "shirt pocket". But my leisure trouser pockets are certainly big enough.

Oh happy engineers! Going to work in their leisure trousers. Or needing a proper engineering firmware only in vacation. I doubt that market is what HP cares for. THINK!

d;-)


#39

Lol,

I have to confess that my suit doesn't work very well with the HP prime. But somehow, Walter, you give me the feeling that I really need to buy a WP34S ;-)

I think its really cool and if the team behind the WP34s would start with the HP prime, some magic would happen.

Kind regards,

Eelco


#40

Quote:
I think its really cool and if the team behind the WP34s would start with the HP prime, some magic would happen.

Walter won't for reasons he explained recently elsewhere.

I'd consider it but don't have a prime and won't at least until I find a new job and they are seemingly pretty scarce right now :(


- Pauli


#41

Quote:
Walter won't for reasons he explained recently elsewhere.

'Elsewhere' is quite
near ;-)

#42

But it isn't here :)

- Pauli


#43

:-) Looks like I shall send you a 300 page manual to proofread.

d;-)


#44

Go for it. I'm unemployed at present and could handle the diversion..... Plus, there are very few jobs going here at the moment :(

No promises as to when I'll finish, I've never been so busy in my life. At least I can now understand those who retire and say they've less free time than ever.


If anyone has a job for a decent programmer, please let me know :D

- Pauli


#45

Quote:
If anyone has a job for a decent programmer, please let me know

Not down under, I'm afraid. Good luck! You will get mail today.

d:-)

#46

I have been delving into the information. Do I understand correctly thqt the prime runs Windows CE?

I am not sure wether a completely new stack should be used. There are several things I really like about the Prime and using a different stack will be another hurdle for HP to maintain the firmware.

I wouldn't mind if the insights produced by the 'engineering' firmware have a positive effect on the regular firmware. As long as the crowdfunding yields a proper 'engineering' firmware.

Kind regards,

Eelco


#47

>Do I understand correctly thqt the prime runs Windows CE?

No, it does not. I have no idea where this information or idea has come from...

TW


#48

We got this idea from the fact APPSDISK.DAT embeds a FAT16 filesystem containing 18 files, among which:

WINDOW/SYSTEM/SDKLIB.DLL: PE32 executable (DLL) (Windows CE) ARM, for MS Windows

WINDOW/SYSTEM/KRNLLIB.DLL: PE32 executable (DLL) (Windows CE) ARM, for MS Windows

WINDOW/SYSTEM/COREDLL.DLL: PE32 executable (DLL) (Windows CE) ARM Thumb, for MS Windows

WINDOW/SYSTEM/MD5DLL.DLL: PE32 executable (DLL) (GUI) ARM, for MS Windows

`strings` returns lots of occurrences of "Windows" :)



However, we also know that the main file is not in Windows CE's favorite format:

programs/misc/armfir.elf: ELF 32-bit LSB executable, ARM, EABI5 version 1 (SYSV), statically linked, stripped

#49

Quote:
The Prime's hardware is fantastic and provides a solid foundation for the most impressive calculator ever built. But also the potential of having a Matlab/Mathematica/Labview station in your shirt pocket (or trousers).

I won't fit my shirt pocket. And it's too large and looks too fragile for my trousers, too. Sorry.

IMHO, pocketability is crucial. Voyagers are perfect, Pioneers do, the WP 34S does as well - I hope the 43S will still do. Thus, regardless of their architecture and features, repurposing anything of the size of an HP-48, HP-50G, or HP-39GII is out of my scope. BTW, also people doing phone calls with devices as large as a standard bar of chocolate look simply ridiculous to me.

d:-/


#50

+1, funny.


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