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Posts Tagged ‘ubuntu’

Linaro 14.11 Release with Kernel 3.18, Android 5.0, & Ubuntu Utopic. Debian 8.0 Gets ARM64 Port

November 28th, 2014 No comments

Linaro 14.11 has been released with Linux kernel 3.18-rc5 (baseline), Linux 3.10.61 & 3.14.25 (LSK, same versions as last month), and Android 4.4.2, 4.4.4, and for the first time Android 5.0 Lollipop. There’s also been some news with regards to Linux desktop distributions, as Ubuntu baseline has been upgraded to Utopic (14.10), and Debian 8.0 (Jessie) will officially support ARM64 with 93% of packages built as of November 5th. Android Lollipop images are said to be built for TC2, Juno, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, and FVP models, but I could not find the images. Finally, it’s the first time I’ve noticed Hisilicon X5HD2 development board with a dual core Cortex A9 processor, but apparently it’s the same as Hi3716cv200.

Here are the highlights of this release:

  • Linux Linaro 3.18-rc5-2014.11
    • updated GATOR to version 5.20
    • updated topic from Qualcomm LT (include IFC6410 board support)
    • updated integration-linaro-vexpress64 topic by ARM LT (FVP Base and Foundation models, and Juno support)
    • updated integration-hilt-linux-linaro topic by HiSilicon LT (Hi36xx, HiP04, and X5HD2 families support)
    • updated LLVM topic (uses the community llvmlinux-latest branch) includes ILP32 patch set v3 rebased on 3.18-rc5. Build tested only.
  • Linaro builds of AOSP 14.11
    • built with Linaro GCC 4.9-2014.11
    • migrated to Android 5.0 (Lollipop) for all the targets on all CI loops. Here are the combinations: TC2-LSK-3.10, TC2-LSK-3.14, Juno-LSK, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, FVP-LSK-3.10 and FVP-LSK-3.14.
    • updated LSK pre-merge CI for 3.10 and 3.14
    • revamped to use overlay manifest with local_manifests
    • added AOSP master builds setup for Versatile Express TC2, Juno, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10
  • Linaro OpenEmbedded 2014.11
    • integrated Linaro GCC 4.9-2014.11
    • included perf tools in the rootfs
    • fixed gator FTBS
    • updated strace aarch64_be patch
    • fixed external toolchain support
    • upstreaming:
      • updated LTP to 20140828 release
      • updated PM QA to 0.4.14 release
      • updated ACPICA to 20140828 release
  • Linaro Ubuntu 14.11
    • Ubuntu baseline migrated from Trusty to Utopic
    • updated packages: Juno firmware 0.9.2, LSK 3.10.60/3.14.24 and linux-linaro 3.18-rc5 kernels
  • Debian release team announced ARM64 architecture has made enough progress to be a released architecture for Debian 8.0 (Jessie)
  • SELinux support is enabled in linux-linaro kernel
  • Test usage of Linaro toolchain binary to build OE rootfs has been added
  • CI bring up: coresight enabled build for TC2

You can visit https://wiki.linaro.org/Cycles/1411/Release for a list of known issues, and further release details about the LEB, LMB (Linaro Member Builds), and community builds, as well as Android, Kernel, Graphics, Multimedia, Landing Team, Platform, Power management and Toolchain components.

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Firefly-RK3288 Development Board in Mass Production, Selling for $140

November 27th, 2014 9 comments

Firefly-RK3288 development board has been an interesting, yet confusing story, at least to me. We’ve first heard about the Firefly board on July, but I was privately told in September that the board would only be sold in China by a T-Chip sales person, only to see it become available for $189 on Ebay, as well as on Taobao a few days later. But those first boards may have only been engineering sample, or more likely from a limited trial runs, as the company has now announced mass production had started.

Firefly-RK3288_Mass_ProductionLet’s refresh our memory with the specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip 3288 quad core ARM Cortex A12 / A17 up to 1.8 GHz with Mali-T764 GPU supporting OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 /3.0, and OpenCL 1.1
  • System Memory – 2G DDR3
  • Storage – 16 GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot
  • Video Output
    • HDMI 2.0 up to 3840×2160@60p
    • VGA out (D-SUB connector)
    • Dual MIPI, Dual LVDS and and EDP signal available via expansion headers
  • Audio Output / Input – HDMI, optical S/PDIF, microphone header, and built-in MIC
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n and 802.11ac Wi-Fi with external antenna, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG
  • Debugging – Serial console
  • Expansion Headers – 2x 42-pin headers with access to MIPI, LVDS, EDP, SPI, UART, ADC, GPIO, I2C, I2S…
  • Misc – IR receiver, 2x user LED, power, recovery and reset buttons.
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 118 x 83 mm

The board is sold with two acrylic plates (bottom and top) with corresponding stands, a Wi-Fi antenna, and a power cable.

MP Version of Firefly-RK3288

MP Version of Firefly-RK3288

The company has published an extensive WiKi for the board inspired from Radxa website, which explains how to setup Android or Ubuntu, build the images from source. make use of drivers (ADC, I2C, GPIO. PWM, etc..) , and they’ve also released the schematics (PDF), and some other documentation.

It’s now quite cheaper to get the board, as GeekBuying sells it for $139.99 including shipping, and T-Chip also sells it by themselves on Aliexpress for $129.99 + shipping by DHL, which ends up costing $164.37 to Thailand, but at least you should get it in a couple of days, instead of a couple of weeks if you choose the cheaper option.

When it comes to Rockchip RK3288 development board, you basically have two options: Firefly-RK3288, or Radxa Rock 2. Radxa community has been setup in 2013 with the first Rockchip RK3188, and has many followers, but the company has opted for a more professional design for their RK3288 board comprised of a baseboard and a SoM. It has lots of features (including a 3G modem, a Gigabit switch, etc..), making it more expensive. So for hobbyists Firefly-RK3288 is probably the best choice for an RK3288 board, but for more professional usage, especially if you want to design your own product with an RK3288 SoM, the solution by Radxa should be more suited to your needs.

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Dual Boot Ubuntu 14.10 / Android 4.4 Image Released for Ugoos UT3

November 27th, 2014 5 comments

There has been several Ubuntu images released for Rockchip RK3288 based devices, even dual boot Android / Ubuntu images, first thanks to Ian Morrison who published instructions to install Linux on RK3288 devices based on the work done by T-Firefly team, then Nagrace released a preliminary dual boot Android / Ubuntu for HPH NT-V6, Open Hour Chameleon can boot either Android or Lubuntu from an SD card, and more recently Ugoos released a dual boot Ubuntu 14.10 / Android 4.4 image for their Ugoos UT3 mini PC, as well as a demo video.

720p Video Playback in Ubuntu 14.10 (Click to Enlarge)

720p Video Playback in Ubuntu 14.10 (Click to Enlarge)

Three images are now available for Ugoos UT3:

As a side note, I love mega.co.nz links as the download speed usually maxes out my Internet connection bandwidth.

There are two files and one folder in the dual boot rar file:

  • AndroidTool_Release_v2.3 folder with the usual Rockchip Windows tool for flashing.
  • ut3_dualboot_Android2.0.4_Ubuntu14.10_v1.img – The actual firmware
  • manual_at.docx – Word file explaining how to flash the firmware.

That means you’ll need a computer or virtual machine running Windows to install the firmware.

I understand the dual boot image boots to Android by default, and if you want to switch to Ubuntu, you need to press the power button, and the menu options “Switch System” will switch the device to Ubuntu. Once in Ubuntu, you can switch back to Android by clicking on the Android icon shown in the screenshot above.
Android_Power_Menu_to_UbuntuThe Ubuntu distributions does not support 2D/3d graphics acceleration, not hardware video acceleration because the GPU / VPU drivers are not available for Linux, and nobody has done the work with libhybris to support Mali-T764 GPU, and whatever VPU is used in RK3288.

Nevertheless the system appears to run quite smoothly thanks to the quad core Cortex A17 (or A12?) processor, and the fast eMMC used in the board. 1080p video playback is possible using software decoding. In the video demo below, Ugoos demos their dual boot image, starting in Ubuntu by playing music, running LibreOffice, browsing the web with Mozilla Firefox, installing and running Gimp, playing two 720p videos fom a SAMBA share over Wi-Fi, laoding a board games, and it looks like a perfectly usable system. However, they did not try more challenging tasks like 1080p video playback, YouTube video playback, flash games, etc.. but it’s something I’ll probably try with Open Hour Chameleon. Finally, they show how to switch between Ubuntu and Android, and vice versa. It only takes 15 seconds to switch between Ubuntu and Android in the video, but I think that part must have been edited.

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Imp Computer is an Ubuntu 14.04 mini PC Based on ODROID-U3 Development Board (Crowdfunding)

November 25th, 2014 3 comments

Hardkernel ODROID-U3 is a development board powered by Samsung Exynos 4412 quad core Cortex A9 processor that’s both small and cost effective at $59, not including required storage and shipping. An Israeli start-up named Imp Computer has now launched a mini PC of the same name, based on ODROID-U3 board, and running Lintux Ubuntu 14.04 with Cinnamon based Imp Desktop environment, and various pre-installed software packages like Chrome and Firefox web browsers, Kodi/XBMC, etc.., and somehow Microsoft Office with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook are also listed, which does not seem right on an ARM Linux machine, but they are apparently using Microsoft Office Online to achieve this feast.

Imp_Computer
Imp computer specifications:

  • SoC – Samsung Exynos 4412 Prime @ 1.7 Ghz with ARM Mali-400MP4 GPU @ 440MHz
  • System Memory – 2GB @ 880MHz
  • Storage – 8 or 16 GB internal storage (micro SD card)
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 Host ports, 1x USB 2.0 device for ADB/mass storage
  • Connectivity – 10/100Mbps Ethernet (LAN9730)
  • Video Output – micro HDMI
  • Audio Output – 3.5mm audio jack, micro HDMI
  • DC Power – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 10.92 x 10.92 x 3.05 cm

The mini PC comes with a power adapter, a USB Wi-Fi dongle, and a mini HDMI to HDMI cable.Imp_Computer_Ports

A wireless HDMI stick (DLNA, Airplay), and a wireless keyboard & trackpad are also available as options. One of the advantage of this device is that the software is fully open source, and it leverages the work done by Hardkernel and member of ODROID community for Ubuntu and Android support. Their solution appears to have brought several open source solutions together (Linux, ownCloud, XBMC, etc..) to make easier for the end-user.

Imp Desktop Including Microsoft Office Icon

Imp Desktop Including Microsoft Office Icon

The project is now on Indiegogo (fixed funding), where the developers aim to raise at least $100,000 for mass production. A $129 early bird pledge should get the 8GB storage version including required accessories such as power supply and cable, and once all 250 early bird perks are gone, it will go for $149. The premium edition version with 16GB storage is $199, which seems a steep markup for just 8GB storage extra, and maybe a better looking case (not so clear). Shipping is free to the US, and $15 to the rest of the world. Delivery is expected to be in March/April 2015.

You can also find some more details on Imp Computer website.

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Handbrake 0.10 Supports H.265 and VP8 Video Encoding

November 24th, 2014 No comments

HandBrake is an open-source video transcoding tool that I use each time I upload a video on YouTube, simply because it will let me crop the beginning or end of a video as needed, can make web optimized videos, has an easy to use user interface, and greatly reduces the size of the video shot with my camera. HandBrake 0.10 has now been released, and it adds H.265 and VP8 encoding support via respectively x265 v1.4 and linbpx, as well as QuickSync video support, but the latter only in Windows. There are also various other changes include OpenCL accelerated scaling.

Handbrake 0.10 Transcoding H.264 to H.265 in Ubuntu 14.04 (Click to Enlarge)

Handbrake 0.10 Transcoding H.264 to H.265 in Ubuntu 14.04 (Click to Enlarge)

Handbrake is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Ubuntu operating systems. It’s part of Ubuntu repository, but if you want the latest version, and support for MPEG-4 (m4v), you’ll need to install it from a PPA:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:stebbins/handbrake-releases
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install handbrake-gtk

I’ve tested with the video I shot yesterday, to see if I could get half size by using H.265 codec instead of H.264. The original video is a 720p QuickTime video using H.264 codec at 25 fps, and that lasts 10 minutes and 20 seconds. I selected the default settings for both H.264 and H.265, as well as “web optimized” MPEG-4 (.m4v) video container. My computer is powered by an AMD FX8350 octa core processor running Ubuntu 14.04. Here are the results.

Original H.264 H.265
Size 1.6 GB 501.5 MB 461.9 MB
Encoding Time N/A 02:40 12:28

The good news is that I get a size reduction with H.265, but by only about 8%, and it take nearly five times longer to encode the video. Since the original video is about 10 minutes long that means H.265 is encoded at less than than real-time. So even if there’s been great progress compared to previous H.265 video encoding tools,  personally, I would not rush to transcode my video library (Handbrake supports batch processing) to H.265 yet, and wait for some more improvement to H.265 support in HandBrake, as the developers stated:

H.265 is now available through x265 1.4. While this encoder is still fairly new, we have seen some promising results come out of it. It’s still under heavy active development and is only going to improve over time!

If you prefer the command line, ffmpeg / avconv also supports H.265 encoding via the same x265 encoder, so performance should be the same.

Via Phoronix

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CubieTruck Metal Case Unboxing and Disassembly

November 19th, 2014 15 comments

CubieTruck Metal Case is a kit comprised of CubieTruck (aka CubieBoard 3), a 128GB SSD, a 5,300 mAh battery, a power adapter, and various cables. In case you are not familiar with CubieTruck, it’s a development board by CubieTech, based on Allwinner A20 dual core ARM Cortex A7 processor with 2GB RAM, 8GB NAND flash, a SATA connector, HDMI & VGA outputs, Gigabit Ethernet, 2 USB host ports, and a mini USB OTG port. CubieTech decided to sent me a kit, as it was featured on CNX Software, and today, I’ll show what’s exactly is inside the kit since the product description is not 100% clear. I’ve been told it’s pre-installed with Lubuntu, so in a separate post next week, I’ll try Linux, report on the SSD performance, and check the battery UPS function, and possibly life on a charge.

CubieTruck Metal Case Unboxing

I’ve received the kit in a cardboard box by Fedex. It’s mostly a blank box so I skipped the picture. Contrary to what I believed, the kit comes mostly pre-assembled.

CubieTruck Metal Case Kit (Click to Enlarge)

CubieTruck Metal Case Kit (Click to Enlarge)

CubieTruck board, the 128GB SSD, and the battery are already fitted into the metallic enclosure. Extra accessories include a Wi-Fi antenna, a mini USB to USB cable, an OTG adapter, a 5V/2.5A power supply with its corresponding USB cable, front and rear panels with ports’ description, and 3M stickers to tape then against the case.
Metal_Plate_with_Sticker
So you just need to peel the 3M sticker, tape it on the back of the metallic plate, and remove the bits hiding the connector by pushing with a thin object. I simply used my cutter. Then remove the second layer, and stick it on the front or rear panel. If you plan to open the box first, to access the headers, you should delay this step since you’ll have to take out the plates to open the device.

Front Metal Plate with Ports Description Installed (Click to Enlarge)

Front Metal Plate with Ports Description Installed (Click to Enlarge)

So on the front you’ve got the IR receiver, the power button, four LEDs (for volume?), a micro SD card slot, an headphone jack, a mini USB OTG port, and two USB 2.0 host ports.

CubieTruck_Metal_Case_Kit_Rear_PanelThe VGA port, optical S/PDIF, HDMI port, Gigabit Ethernet port, power barrel, and Wi-FI antenna connector can be found on the rear panel.

CubieTruck_Metal_Case_ButtonsThere are also two button on the side of the device for Reset (small), and FEL mode (big) that allows you to update the firmware.

CubieTruck Metal Case Kit Internals

I’ve also disassembled the kit to see what’s inside. You have to remove 10 screws in total on the front and rear panels to be able to take out the board.

Metal Case for CubieTruck (Click to Enlarge)

Metal Case for CubieTruck (Click to Enlarge)

The Board/SSD/Battery then slide easily out of the metallic enclosure.

CubieTruck Development Board (Click to Enlarge)

CubieTruck Development Board (Click to Enlarge)

Untighten four more screws to remove the board and reveal the SSD.

128GB Chiang Jiu SDD (Click toEnlarge)

128GB Chiang Jiu SDD (Click to Enlarge)

Contrary to the KingSpec C3000.6-M128 SSD found in the installation instructions, I got a 128GB CHUANG JIU SSD. There’s no model number, just a serial number. I could not find this SSD anywhere on the net, albeit Chuang Jiu S300-J8-128GB appears to have similar specs (128GB / MLC), but it does not look the same at all. Anyway that means the brand of SSD found in the kit may vary. The SSD also makes some noise when I move it around, which I find a little odd and worrying.

Back of 5,300 mAh Battery

Back of 5,300 mAh Battery

If I remove three more screws use to attach the SSD to the enclosure, I can see the battery, but the top side is pure black. Some markings are located on the bottom of the battery bu nothing indicates capacity.

You can also watch the video below where I unbox the kit, and disassemble it live.

Availability and Price

CubieTruck Metal Case kit can be purchased for $169 on Seeedstudio (In Stock next week, e.g. Nov 24), or 149 Euros exc. VAT on EmbeddedComputer.nl. I found the price very good, but just to make sure, I’ve decided to check the price it would cost to get a similar kit by buying individual components:

The total would be $216.32 + some shipping, and if you take out CubieBoard3 from the kit, it would be $127.37 + possibly some shipping. So with this kit, you save about $50 compared to doing it on your own,and this confirms it’s good value provided you need a rugged metal enclosure, a battery, and a SSD for storage.

Next step is to boot it up, check current support in Linux including 2D/3D acceleration, video playback, flash support, and SSD performance, as well as battery behaviour and life.

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How-to Install Ubuntu on Allwinner A80 Powered pcDuino8 and A80 OptimusBoard

November 17th, 2014 5 comments

Last month, pcDuino released Android 4.4 and Ubuntu images for pcDuino8 board powered by Allwinner A80 octa core processor, and since it’s the same board layout as A80 OptimusBoard, I decided to try it out, but it failed as the update script would try to flash it to a partition that’s too small for the root file systems. But last week, Ian Morrison and Minidodes gave it another try, and successfully booted Ubuntu, or more exactly Lubuntu, on A80 OptimusBoard.

Lubuntu Screenshot in A80 OptimusBoard

Lubuntu Screenshot in A80 OptimusBoard

Both their screenshot reports sun9i platform in /proc/cpuinfo, so that’s definitely Allwinner A80, but only one core is shown. I’m not sure if it’s because the other are idled and don’t show, or for some reasons, the kernel only supports one core at this stage.

Anyway, here’s how they did to install Lubuntu:

  • Flash the kernel (pcduino8_kernel_livesuit_20141008.img) with PhoenixCard or Livesuit first. See instructions to use Livesuit with A80 OptimusBoard.
  • Extract the rootfs (pcduino8_ubuntu_20141008.rar) to an SD card or USB flash drive. There should be two files: pcduino8_ubuntu_20141008.img and update.sh.
  • Boot the board, but don’t insert the SD card or USB flash drive yet.
  • update.sh script will attempt to copy the rootfs to /dev/nandd, but there’s not even space, so it will fail. So instead login as root (no password) and kill update.sh: ps ax | grep update, kill “pid”.
  • Now connect the mass storage device to pcDuino3 / A80 Optimusboard, and mount it to /mnt
  • Flash the Ubuntu image to /dev/mmcblk0p1:
    dd if=pcduino8_ubuntu_20141008.img of=/dev/mmcblk0p1 bs=1M
    sync
  • Now reboot the board and interrupt the boot sequence to enter U-boot, and use ‘env’ to change the bootargs with mmc_root to /dev/mmcblk0p1 and init to /sbin/init.
  • Save the environment with env save, and boot the board to start Ubuntu.

I have not tried (yet), since I’m busy with other hardware, so let me know if the instructions above need improvement. [Update: the procedure may depend on the Android firmware / flash partition, as described in the comments section]

On a side note, Merrii released some new SDKs for A10, A20, A31, and A80.

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