the current lubuntu image does not even exist.
Oh, wait, because idiots like me keep buying them and finding this out too late. Thanks for saving me $20 this time.
Because the board vendor, generally, doesn't know any more about this stuff than you do. They buy an SoC from a manufacturer (Allwinner in this case) and drop it on the board. Whatever "Linux" BSP the vendor provides then gets hacked into form for their product and shipped. They aren't really in any sane position to take maintainership of this code or upstream it on their own.
And going further, Allwinner is themselves just assembling IP blocks from other vendors (companies like ARM and Synopsys) that they don't completely understand. They get a sample driver, drop it in a tree, fix bugs, and ship it.
It's a big mess. The bigger vendors (e.g. Intel and Qualcomm) do a decent job of putting together solid BSPs (even if they don't always play well with the community -- the packages received by board vendors usually work and come with solid docs). The little guys just aren't there yet.
And again, a datasheet from Allwinner is going to just tell you what the instantiation parameters for all the various IPs are. To write a driver for, I dunno, the I2C controller (or whatever, I know nothing about this SoC in particular) you're going to need a Synopsys databook or something.
There's a framework in place for distributing all that stuff between OEMs and first-tier customers. But with the exception of a handful of hardware vendors, no one's ever cared about getting it out to the public.
And no, it is not a "stolen" or "leaked" documentation (I have actually seen such ridiculous claims in the phoronix forum). It is hosted on the Pine64 website with the permission from Allwinner. And the Pine64 people specifically asked Allwinner to remove the misleading "confidential" watermarks from the PDF files.
Allwinner H5 is very new and this Orange Pi PC 2 board is probably the very first piece of hardware using it. But I expect that the H5 documentation will become available in public access shortly. Just like the documentation for the older Allwinner chips. Maybe initially with the "confidential" watermark again, because the Allwinner people are a little bit lazy and don't seem to understand why the open source people are making so much fuss about this.
I don't believe that this sort of business venture requires that much effort. It appears that in essence they only repackage a currently available soc, and hope that the market bites.
The main reason why these small boards come with a quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM is that currently that's precisely the standard for low to mid-end smartphones running Android.
Of course, the people behind the Raspberry Pi foundation do a bit more than repackaging a bare-bones SoC. Hence, they do manage to sell quality products that actually work.
Why can't their be a generic build of Android that will at least boot on every phone, even if there might be some driver issues on different devices? This situation has gone on for so long it is past the point of being a joke. And don't try to tell me that there is a good technical reason why it has to be this way, we're talking about machines that are as powerful as a mid 2000s PC, you can afford the overhead of a bootloader on there.
I think right now they are trying to decide between Device Tree (FDT) and ACPI for ARM, in the mean time nothing gets done and I'm not confident anything will get done until ARM the IP holder itself mandates something.
Now that the processors are powerful enough to replace what would ordinarily run Windows or Linux it's very painful. The Linux code is littered with support files for a bazillion of different boards and hardware platforms.
Every new mainline kernel release includes improvements for Allwinner chips. Older Allwinner chips, such as A10 and A20, are already supported very well. The support for newer chips is progressing nicely, but there is always a bit of delay.
Yes, you can't expect this newly released Orange Pi PC 2 board to be already supported in the mainline kernel today. But maybe half a year later everything is likely going to be much better. And even right now, there should be some sort of a legacy 3.10 kernel available too, so it is not like you can't use the board at all.
... only if you actually need particular features of the CPU. We're running a dozen of these boards with mainline bootloader, kernel, and Xenial.
But they're headless servers. We don't need the GPU, which is the major component lacking support in mainline. You have to run a legacy 3.4 kernel and binary driver for GPU acceleration and OpenGL. :(
I chose to forgo all the cheaper options from China for a recent project, and instead go with (considerably) more expensive Raspberry Pi 3's, because I didn't want to risk the shite software support. I know I'm going to get kernel and firmware upgrades on those boards for a good long while, and that's one less thing I have to worry about.
It's hard to get the benefits of volume when everyone keeps going for the cheaper-right-now board in order to maximize their own short-term benefits. Contributing to the network effect by buying a Pi because it's cheaper and more popular is not exactly the thing that will lead to Broadcom getting rebuffed and having to answer for all their problems.
I'm not making that mistake again.
If not for boards, I just bought this https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019Z8T9J0 complete, passive PC for less $150, it has four Ethernet ports and a HDMI and a Broadwell (not Atom!) CPU. It's rather incredible how cheap PCs gotten.
Edit: Having looked checked for authorized resellers of Raspberry Pis in China, it just got more confusing.
What happened to EGOMAN, which the Raspberry Pi foundation partnered up in 2013 to produce Raspberry Pis? They only have the first model red pi, and they have stopped advertising them. They make waterproof heartrate monitors now.
Seed studio is one of 2 authorized resellers of element14 in China. They're based in Shenzhen. They sell in JPY, but not RMB. How does that work?
The only authorized reseller that actually sells on taobao is Hangzhou Junroc Electronic Technology co ltd. They sell Model 3 B's for 195RMB + 10RMB shipping. Why do Element14 and RS China charge 260RMB? How do they sell these for cheaper than their distributor? Overhead? Aren't they made here?
How does the ODROID2 work? It's 40USD, or 52,800 won in Korea. 52,800 won is 46USD. Granted, there's 16$ shipping for international orders.
Nothing makes sense to me anymore.
For me, that's worth $15 per board.
Unfortunately, the Raspberry Pi 3 sells for over 50€ per board.
The Raspberry Pi zero, in spite of being marketed as a 10€ computer, in practice can't be purchased at all.
Look at http://www.whereismypizero.com/
Always. Everywhere. Wanted 25 units to teach a robot class to some local kids at the Hackerspace. Had to buy 3's instead. Even if I'd placed 25 separate orders, the cost of individual shipping on each vs the cost savings of the combined shipping on the 3's put the price within spitting distance.
Pi zero is an ad. A loss leader. A way to have an answer, any answer, to the flood of $7 Allwinner wonder-boards on AliExpress.
Want to make a micro-computer? Get the RPi 3.
Want to make a robot or drone? Get the RPi Zero.
Actually it looks like there are quite a few Allwinner devices listed (look for sun__...)
Next Thing says the C.H.I.P. (or at least the C.H.I.P. Pro) runs mainline Linux, but that's not really comparable to the current Raspberry Pi.
As for the lubuntu image, anyone can take any ARM Linux distribution rootfs and combine it with the Linux kernel, built for Allwinner hardware (both mainline and legacy kernels exist). You can find a lot of tutorials at https://linux-sunxi.org
But if you are not a very experienced user, I strongly suggest you to try something like the armbian distribution first.
Unpatched ancient kernels are the future of IoT botnets.
* OS and scheduler v/s low-level partially documented SDK
* 2GB RAM v/s 100s of KB in ESP8266
* 16GB Flash v/s couple of MB Flash on ESP8266
* All other goodies: 4USB ports, Audio/Video, HDMI, Camera, SATA, IR
* 15$ v/s 5$
A good reference of what you can expected can be found here:
Of course it takes time to clean it up into a mainlineable state. Some years ago I got a "Cubietruck" (A20) and it was somewhat disappointing - the gigabit ethernet (which was the selling point for me) only got to only about double of 100Mbit, using up one of the two cores. It would also have network connections hang once in a while.
This spring I dusted it off and managed to install the latest mainline kernel, and with the exception of onboard NAND (not really necessary since it has SATA), everything I care about works perfectly. I get proper gigabit without CPU stress, and everything is rock stable.
tl;dr: it's worth looking at older devices of they fit your need
So, having the GPU on the same SoC qualifies as "standalone" now?
So any Intel with iGP also has a "standalone" graphics chip?
Or is this Tech Crunch writer just clueless?
> physical power switch
No. It has a GPIO mapped button that can be used for soft power down. The original Orange Pi has the same button and to my knowledge it can only be used to turn the board off. The board powers on as soon as power is applied.
Mainline support is also progressing well. With some patches you can get temperature regulation, HDMI support, audio support now on mainline kernel.
Video decoding is also progressing as someone noted in other comments.
SoC on Orange PI PC is also very nice for people who care about not having binary blobs running show on some hidden internal processor. There is additional OpenRISC CPU on the SoC, but it doesn't run by default on mainline kernel, and you can also program it yourself, without too much trouble.
Armbian supports these boards quite well, including video decoding support.
Allwinner is also not that bad at releasing code/datasheets. They release a lot of code. The issue is that it is designed for old kernels (3.4, 3.10) so it's not directly usable/easily portable to newer kernels. But still it is helpful and community is actively working on mainlining the support for various SoC parts.
Orange PI PC (H3 soc) is quite usable as a desktop for web browsing and audio/video playback.
I'm glad to see H5, because it looks like performance wise it will be still better and I'm also optimistic about the open source software support in the future. It certainly is a very motivating board to develop for at the current price/performance level.
The only annoying thing I find is Mali GPU.
Patches to get HDMI and audio? More work needed I think.
"Video decoding is also progressing as someone noted in other comments."
So it doesn't work out of the box then?
"SoC on Orange PI PC is also very nice for people who care about not having binary blobs running show on some hidden internal processor."
AllWinner is a GPL violator: http://linux-sunxi.org/GPL_Violations
"Allwinner is also not that bad at releasing code/datasheets. They release a lot of code. The issue is that it is designed for old kernels (3.4, 3.10) so it's not directly usable/easily portable to newer kernels. But still it is helpful and community is actively working on mainlining the support for various SoC parts."
Allwinner does NOT cooperate with the linux-sunxi community. At all.
"The only annoying thing I find is Mali GPU."
That's just the final peanut on the turd I think.
Video decoding acceleration does work on A10/A20/H3 with the legacy 3.4 kernel out of the box. I believe that you can even find some ready made SD card images. And you can track the mainlining effort at https://linux-sunxi.org/Sunxi-cedrus
"AllWinner is a GPL violator"
You are just cherry-picking statements and severely exaggerating them. Every major hardware vendor has its own skeletons in a closet. Maybe you can remember Linus Torvald's middle finger to NVIDIA and things like this. Allwinner is definitely not a saint, but is still far from the worst. If you want to vent out your hatred, then I can give you some better targets.
"Allwinner does NOT cooperate with the linux-sunxi community. At all."
This is not exactly true. They are at least providing the documentation and also their open source code drops. Some people (mainly the devboard manufacturers) have contacts with Allwinner.
I used a small pick and place machine 15 years ago (Europlacer something or other). It was able to place components at any angle. You'd have an X,Y package centre, and then a theta rotation angle.
Programming it would not have been fun, but the placing is controlled by the programming and machine vision and fiducial markings.
This looks like it might be to align the DDR better to the main processor but who knows.
The big chips have melting balls underneath to make the connections, I guess here you are more free on the rotation.
Wave soldering is used for through hole, not surface mount, components.
With wave soldering you have a bucket of molten solder that is pushed over the lip of one edge of the bucket. This is the wave. The circuit board is transported over the wave, just touching it. Solder flows to the exposed copper, but not anything else (which is referred to as solder resist in this context - that blue colour is solder resist).
Surface mount would tend to use screen printed solder paste and then a hot oven to melt the paste.
The Slow mo guys have a video about how expensive cameras are made which covers some of the process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaqeLrLxYOg
So I ordered the Orange Pi Lite and its camera module, altogether a smidgen less than $30 Canadian (a current model Raspberry Pi will set you back $50+ around here, and then another $10 or so for the camera module (or a clone of it) from China.
Not impressed initially. Not much documentation, so how do you know you even got it powered up right? No lights come on, no video signal comes out, nothing. Eventually hooked up a TTL USB/serial converter to the GND/TX/RX three-pin connector and hallelujah, it did boot and let me log in and set up wifi remote login. The only thing I found that booted was the Lite-specific Armbian distribution and yes, it uses a 3.4.x kernel, and I still haven't managed to get any HDMI output.
But on the plus side, "motion" was cinch to configure, works great with the camera in 800x600 mode (CPU temperature 43 degrees Celsius with no heat sink, board out in the open at room temperature) or 1600x1200 mode (CPU temperature about 48 degrees Celsius). That load also includes a script which periodically rsyncs the collected pictures to a server, and cleans up (I use /tmp in RAM disk to avoid SD card wear).
Happy? You bet. I'll probably order a couple more. Use this for direct internet facing stuff? No. Use this for general purpose computing where every feature has to work and the CPU performance is absolutely maximized? No. But for the specific application I want it for, peachy keen. At least it's been stable in two days of running and over a gigabyte of pictures taken and saved.
I've also got a Raspi and its camera module. All in all, the experience with the Raspi isn't any better, though the camera sure is, and now you can get an 8MP camera too (the OPi's camera is 2MP).
In general if you want something that just works, the Raspberry Pi is a much safer bet. These alternate boards always seem to have something stupid you have to fix before they work properly.
Is there a reason for the odd layout? Some pathalogical issue with utoplacement doing the best it can to fit components into a limited space? Trying to avoid sharp edges in the track for some weird capacitance reason? Or maybe it's deliberate to try and drive its users insane... anyone actually know?
I guess in this particular case, the (many, and sensitive to total length and relative length with respect to each other) traces connecting CPU and RAM had been routed in isolation first. These chips seem to be 45° rotates against each other.
Then the group of CPU & RAM had been rotated too leave enough space for power/camera/HDMI, I'd guess.
It looks strange, but frankly there is no real reason (besides aesthetics) to favor any particular orientation.
I can't imagine turning in a schematic drawn like that (parts rotated) for a test in college.
I'd be very causcius about using this SBC. Sure it's fine for fiddling around. You're better of with ODroid.
1. Allwinner used to distribute Linux kernel tarballs with several device drivers in binary-only (object) files. They were in the correct place and you could recompile the kernel. Those binary .o files would be used so that you could complete the compilation. Such an example is the Mali driver and others that Allwinner did not make an effort to get the rights to redistribute in source.
Obviously, this is a GPL violation.
So, how do you deal with this issue? Do you get Allwinner to release the source of the Mali GPU driver due to the GPL violation? :-). Some people wanted to play lawyers and would mess up ANY action unless Allwinner complied fully by releasing source code to things that they did not have a licence (to release source).
2. Allwinner released officially the source of the 3.4 kernel for a range of SoCs (A10 to A83, the H5 should be similar to one of the A?? SoCs): https://github.com/allwinner-zh/linux-3.4-sunxi
Bootloader code: https://github.com/allwinner-zh/bootloader
A few months ago, there was a discussion on LKML on how to deal with GPL violations. Linus and Greg said that being aggressive in pursuing the GPL violations really does not help. Here is an example where it did not help.
In both 1 and 2, there are a varying amount of blobs spread around kernel tarballs and even kernel git repositories, and Allwinner has been made aware of those being in violation with the GPL quite a numerous amount of time.
Has allwinner gone and resolved all of these issue in the meantime (which is only a brief timeperiod measured in, oh, i don't know, 3 years)? No. At best they did a few but only increased the number of blobs upon every new kernel release.
Stop your nonsense, besides it just being inane, it is quite perpendicular to the truth.
--libv (simosx's bestest friend in the whole world).
First, libv does not get what is being said, for example, in https://lwn.net/Articles/698452/
The situation with Allwinner fits quite well with what Greg and Linus talk about.
Second, libv as a business person sucks bigly. He was being a PITA to Allwinner and, from what I deduced, would then propose to them to make the problem go away (develop himself the software) for quite some money.
Side note: One vendor (Pine64) even shipped binary images in a RAR format. I'm not sure why this was chosen, but makes you wonder how they got to that decision and if they spent much time working with 'proper' distro's for embedded, where nothing is shipped as a RAR but gz/bz/xz whatever
I guess this makes sure it runs on more modern operating systems. I thought that most still support 32-bit.
All that said, mainly the board is 64b because popular recent versions of the ARM core are 64b. The Raspberry Pi 3 is also 64b but Raspbian Linux typically comes as 32b...or at least did last I looked.
Assuming the processor is otherwise identical, 64-bit addressing on a SoC with 1 GB of RAM doesn't do anything except waste memory on an excessive address space.
Not that bitpacking words is particularly execution efficient, but maybe the space savings is worth it. Probably the sort of thing that's worth benchmarking in an actual app. Likewise with memory usage; I mean 1GB may be more than enough for a particular application and minimizing the OS may be a useful tradeoff for saving halving reads on 64b or greater data structures.
Anyway, the intent of my comment was to provide an explanation not promote one dogma over another...I think the big reason the SoC is 64b is 64b seems to be a sweet spot in the ARM powered credit card sized computer market place right now. And if I were considering this board but 2GB RAM was a concern, I'd probably go with an AllWinner board with that much. For example a BananaPi: http://www.banana-pi.org/
Although no state actor would leave in a kernel backdoor that is opened with "rootmydevice" as the magic word.
There is some truth to wha you are saying.
Certain governments are pretty aggressive these days with these things and have an established track record of doing such things.
That said, since it's fully 'open' perhaps it would be more difficult to insert malware than say in a Huwaeii or Cisco router :)
I have the original BananaPi and unless you are willing to do a lot of Linux hacking, it is most often not worth the hassle over RasPi. E.g. in the case of this Orange Pi most people don't need the 64bit performance, moreover the board still has only 1GB of RAM, so the advantage of a 64bit CPU being able to access more RAM is not going to be used here.
Yes, Raspberry Pi is slower, doesn't have all the cool peripherals, but the ecosystem is much better. A fast CPU means little if you can't get a driver that you need working or a kernel hasn't been ported to your board ... Having to hunt stuff down on some Chinese forum is not fun.
It really sucks to be stuck with ancient 3.14 kernel on quite powerful things like Odroid C2.
"Currently, the combination of the kernel driver and VA-API backend supports MPEG2 and MPEG4 decoding only. There is for the moment no support for encoding, and no support for H264, though we believe support for both aspects can be added within the architecture of the existing driver and VA-API backend."
Can this be used for ZCash mining? (Never mind, ZCash is down 95% from the peak 9 days ago.)
Does anyone know, is this "RaspberryPi-like 64-bit" or real 64-bit? That is, is there a compatible 64-bit kernel available with all the drivers?
I actually want one of those RPi clones exactly because RPi performs so poor in I/O applications, since all external bandwidth is shared by one USB 2.0 HUB (including the Ethernet port, and more recently, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth). I use my RPi as a media server/torrent client, and it is severe limited in those situations.
Since 1G is more power hungry than 100MBit interfaces as well IIRC you can understand why the Pi people decided to stick with 100MBit.
Gigabyte would require 10 Gbit ethernet.
Anyone walking in my company who owns a PI ... I would be inclined to hire on the spot.
The one concern I have with this board is that it ships in March 2017, which is getting very close to the next iteration of RPi4/Odroid C3, and that it opted for more LAN/WAN instead of adding more USB 2.0/3.0 Ports like the Odroid/RPI.
Many thanks for giving me something to heavily consider this next week for SBC projects though....
and about the smaller board
This and Raspberry Pi 2+, etc. would have absolutely no problems saturating multiple gigabit ethernet interfaces.