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NanoPi K2 Board Gets Ubuntu Core Firmware Image

FriendlyELEC NanoPi K2 is a board powered by Amlogic S905 processor, just like ODROID-C2 board, so while only the Android image was available at launch, it was expected to also support Ubuntu or other Linux distribution shortly after. This was put in doubt by comments on the company’s forums claiming the board would not get Debian images, and only Android was supported.

One alternative would be Armbian, but right now they only have ODROID-C2 images for download, no other Amlogic S905 hardware platform is supported either through stable or experimental builds. One user did manage to run Armbian on K2 with balbes150 help, but I’m not sure what’s the status of those firmware. Balbes150 also have a list of image for Amlogic platform in Github, which may be adapted to most hardware by using your board’s device tree binary (DTB) file.

The good news today is that FriendyELEC did not give up on Linux support for the board, as they’ve just released Ubuntu Core with Qt Embedded for NanoPi K2 (s905-ubuntu-core-qte-arm64-sd4g-20170718.img.zip), which you’ll find on mediafire with some changelog (currently in Chinese only) in the Wiki with translates to:

NanoPi-K2 Ubuntu Core system, including Qt-Embedded graphical interface library, the system features are as follows:

Supports HDMI output
Support WiFi connection
Supports Gigabit Ethernet
Support for Bluetooth transmission
Built-in Qt-Embedded

Thanks to the powerful performance of the A53 architecture processor, 2GB memory and Gigabit Ethernet, the NanoPi-K2 is ideal for use as an IoT server or DIY lightweight servers such as Nas.

That probably means they’ve not worked on 3D GPU acceleration, nor hardware video decoding support, or this would be proudly listed in the changelog… So if you’re interested in media playback in Linux this won’t be an option, and LibreELEC should work without too many modifications, maybe with just the right DTB file.

Thanks to boudyka for the tip.

  1. boudyka
    July 19th, 2017 at 17:43 | #1

    you’re welcome 😉

  2. crashoverride
    July 19th, 2017 at 18:19 | #2

    > So if you’re interested in media playback in Linux this won’t be an option

    Actually, the Amlogic S8xxx and S9xx have the video stack integrated in the kernel. This makes it possible to have hardware accelerated video even without a GUI (X11, Wayland). I fully support this on Odroid C1/C2 in my “c2play” github repo.

    While c2play does currently require a Mali driver, it is only used for OSD/subtitle display. For a platform where Mali is not available, it is possible to simply remove this support. A better alternative would be to implement the hardware blitter (GE2D) eliminating any need for Mali. GE2D usage examples are also available on my github.

  3. Nobody of Import
    July 19th, 2017 at 21:52 | #3

    @crashoverride
    So, this should be described as an “it depends” thing. You’re not going to be making just any old thing with that class of playback- but you’re right, it doesn’t accurately describe it either. I won’t be looking for making a generic Linux box or a Kodi box with this yet because of the the thing cnxsoftware highlighted. But…if you’ve got a looped kiosk where it’s constantly playing videos…the thing you mention may weigh in with the design and it’s a choice.

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