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Sheeva Plug Pcs (Arm)

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Couldn't find the old thread, but about 18 months ago I mentioned having bought 2 Sheeva Plug PCs from Global Scale Technologies for about £60 each. These are low power ARM systems that are the size of a large wall plug and which use about 5W of power.

At the the time I got Ubuntu up on them, accessing the ICEWM desktop via VNC, but frankly it wasn't very good. Anyway, having put them in a draw for about year, I dug them out again having picked up on the Windows on ARM story. I found out where Linux had progressed to, and it transpired that Ubuntu support had died, but that Debian was still going strong. So I updated the Plug boot manager (over USB-Serial) and then carried out the steps for the automated Debian install.

The result with Debian now is pretty stunning, I can have a 640x480 desktop using VNC and all the apps are completely usable and perform well. I have also successfully accessed the the system over VNC from a cheap Android tablet.

Anyway, my conclusion is not bad for £60 Linux computer.

I didn't buy the follow on products, the Dream Plug and the Guru plug as they were basically similar, but with more RAM and Ports. However, I have now spotted the latest D2 Plug PC System, which is more expensive (more like £150), but decided to order on a whim as it has HDMI/VGA. This will be quite interesting to watch, as I am Wondering if Windows on ARM will get onto these devices? My take on these are they are very small, offer 90% of business users the performance they need and from an environmental perspective they'll save 100W or more in power compared with a fairly low spec desktop.

Anyone else looked at these types of devices?

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I've been looking at getting something like this for a while to run certain weirdo networking applications at home - would like something that ran silently (without fan) and offering a gigabit ethernet connection. Of course I have an old PC that I could slap a linux distro onto, but I don't actually want to run a >100W minitower with four fans in my living space 24/7.

Regarding Windows on Arm, I suspect the obscene memory requirements of the OS and contemporary Windows applications will prevent it being a worthwhile exercise - most of these small systems come with a relatively small amount of soldered-in memory IIRC.

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Not this particular one but I do have a similar need for a small lightweight box to run a hardware firewall and possibly apache on but I want to find a dual nic version so everything passes through the box.

MS have their equivalent called XP Embeded which works very well in terms of stability


They have USB ports, so the external network could be a wifi or 3G USB modem.

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Anyone else looked at these types of devices?

Not me.

I look forward to the time I can source viable ARM-powered desktop and laptop boxes. That of course implies a comparable spec to Intel equivalents in terms of memory and screen size. Hoping the windows announcement helps with persuading the manufacturers.

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