As powerful chips are being made physically smaller, cheaper, and significantly less energy consumptive than previous generations, they can be used in places where computers hadn’t gone before. More tasks can be automated and measured, more systems can be networked together, and machines can generally get a lot “smarter.”
This is perhaps the main idea behind Marvell’s plug computing initiative, where an entire system as powerful as a netbook can be built into a housing only marginally larger than a “wall wart” style power adaptor.
Today, the company announced the availability of the open source Easy Plug Computer Installer (EPI), which Marvell says will simplify plug computing software deployment. EPI is the first ever wizard-based installation tool for Marvell’s Plug Computer, and it is available for download here.
EPI is compatible with Fedora 11 (32/64bit), Ubuntu 9.04 (32bit), Windows XP SP2/3, and OSX (Leopard), and lets the developer install Linux distributions, file systems, root filesystem images, or even single applications onto a plug computer.
Though Marvell says there are more than 20,000 Plug Computer developers out there, the platform is still looking for the next great mind to think of a new way to use it.
“Marvell wants to encourage more developers to explore Plug Computing and the high performance, eco-friendly open source computing platform,” said Viren Shah, Marvell’s Senior Director of Marketing for Embedded SoCs. “There’s a broad array of Plug Computing application ideas waiting to be discovered. EPI further enables the software and hardware community to easily integrate their solutions and reap the always-on benefits of the Plug Computer.”