Ubuntu 12.04 Now Boots on Rockchip RK3188 mini PCs (T428, MK908, Rikomagic MK802 IV…)

After the release of the RK3188 Linux kernel source code last week, Ian Morrison (Linuxium) has managed to boot Ubuntu 12.04 with XFCE desktop on Tronsmart T428. However, as Tronsmart refused to release their source code, further Linux development is likely to happen on Rikomagic MK802 IV, because Rikomagic released the code for their device, so development work will be easier.


AFAIK, this is the first time Linux boots natively on RK3188 devices, so it’s still early stage (no Wi-Fi, Bt or graphics acceleration), but if you still want to give it a try here are the instructions (for T428):]

  1. Create a SDCARD with an Ubuntu 12.04 root file system on it and ensure it is labeled as “linuxroot” (Visit Slatedroid for details)
  2. Flash your RK3188 minipc with rooted stock 4.1.1 ROM. (May not be needed if you ROM is already rooted)
  3. Boot Android, and install Android Terminal
  4. Flash t428-3.0.36-linuxium-test+-kernel.img as recovery.img with RKAndroidTool. (I can’t find the binary, and my Internet connection does not allow me to access all files right now, but you may want to follow the build instructions to get the image.) [Update: See comment for kernel binary and modules]
  5. Reboot your mini pc, start the Terminal in Android, type “su” to become root, and finally type “reboot recovery” to reboot into Linux.

It’s safe to try as those instructions should not affect your Android installation.

Ian also ran some benchmarks from Phoronix Suite to compare Linux performance in a chroot in Android via Linux Complete Installer (T428-ubuntu-complete) and native Linux (t428-linuxium). The third column is for an RK3066 mini PC (iStick A200) running Linux natively.


None of those tests do not require a graphical interface, and results are pretty close. Native Linux has a slight advantage with many of them, but for some reasons Linux running in Android appears to have a clear edge for PyBench.

PicUntu developers are already aware of this progress, so you can expect RK3188 PicUntu soon. Further details are available on Mini PC G+ Community including logs, kernel config, and some documentation.

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50 Replies to “Ubuntu 12.04 Now Boots on Rockchip RK3188 mini PCs (T428, MK908, Rikomagic MK802 IV…)”

  1. :):):)
    Any idea if MK809 III/UG007B/QC802 are the same as MK802 IV? These seem to be the cheapest ones ATM…

  2. @cnxsoft
    I think the wifi chipsets are:
    MK809 III – RTL8188eus*
    UG007B – CDT-K25931**
    QC802 – CDT-K25931***
    MK802 IV – Realtek 8189 & Bluetooth: RDA5876a***

    I wonder why the MK802 IV’s aren’t getting reduced like the others? They still go for $84+ (inc shipping, exc vouchers)…

    ** http://www.aliexpress.com/item//868155150.html

  3. @onebir
    We can also add:
    MK908 – AMPAK 6210 (Broadcom?)
    T428 – AMPAK 6330 (Broadcom 4330)

    I think the best for Linux are Realtek one’s since the driver is supposed to work. For others, you may need to use an external Wi-Fi or Ethernet USB dongle for get Internet access.

  4. I would simply like to express my gratitude to you for putting in all of the time and energy to make this possible.

    I’ve purchased two T428’s to use as public computers and I just can’t swing it with the Android OS.

    I really look forward to WiFi working (I really hope we get there).

    I’m interested in donating a couple cups of coffee if you would be so kind as to provide a donate link.

    Thanks a lot,

  5. @ade
    Yes, it’s mandatory. But since it’s apparently pretty difficult to enforce the license, they usually get away with it. Most companies just do like Tronsmart, or least delay the GPL release as much as possible.

  6. Slightly off-topic; is there any (meaningful) way to compare processing power of ARM & x86 processors (esp RK3188)?

  7. I’m so curious about the video performance from the t428 under Ubuntu, sinds its giving so much trouble under Android…

  8. @mi643
    No video playback in Ubuntu (or software only, meaning 720p max).
    What video playback issues are there with T428? I did not see major issues, except if you play video from network (passable Wi-Fi performance).

  9. @cnxsoft

    A lot of people are complaining about stuttering/frame skipping in HD video and streaming from Netflix. The funny thing is, the stuttering stops when you move the mouse.. But i can’t check it for myself, my device is on the way ;). You can find more info at freaktab.

  10. @mi643
    please, are you sure that the stuttering is with t428?
    i read similar issue with mk802iv, with mouse moving all play perfect, it’s a firmware issue. if confirm that it’s also in tronsmart, please give me the url, i want know if it’s with stock rom/version or custom. If afect many sticks, maybe it’s a bug in rockchip base kernel.
    I hope that it’s not rockchip rk3188 base kernel, because i dont see many updates of them, so we must wait longer.

  11. @Klein
    Some people are saying it’s a rockchip failure, i don’t know. I have only did some research on the T428, because i ordered one.
    You can read the story’s on the freaktab forum, just Google it, you will find it ;).

    The latest news is that optimizing for the chip is on the way….lets hope so..


    1 perfectly optimized high Retina retina screen resolution (2048 * 1536), smooth operation with up to 60 full frames / second, improved significantly;

    2, optimized GPU performance graphics processor, a large number of frames to run 3D games increased 30%, reaching the advanced standard;

    3, the depth optimization Android4.2.2 system version, fixes Google legacy BUG, ​​to provide a more stable system;

    4, through android4.2.2 Google CTS certification, the first passed the test;

    5, with the screen smooth support Miracast wireless transmission function, latency 50% shorter than similar products;

    6, 20% of web browsing speed, multi-web browsing and smooth;

    7, the browser add Web GL, support online 3D games;

    8, optimizing HDMI 1080P HD video playback quality;

    9, optimized power management system, to further optimize the energy consumption and increase battery life duration;

    10, support for Bluetooth 4.0

  12. I have the mk908 and it’s a bit of a piece of shit. On latest finless rom 1.5 and it still drops frames enough to make it too annoying to watch anything. Hulu lags like crazy also, must be getting no more than a couple frames per second. Basically, there’s no point using it because i will get a perfectly smooth video just plugging my hd into my tv. Epic fail unless you really love playing angry birds on a big screen.

  13. You say MK908 it’s the 4 core 2GB one. But can’t find any good post telling how to get picuntu or Ubuntu to run on it.

    It would be nice to have Ubuntu server running on this one with 4 cores and 2GB of RAM.

    -Raymond Day

  14. Hi ,
    Apologizing about the questionI am a newbe
    can any one tell me how to execute step 4.

    Bilal Agha

  15. after a week of continuously installing, buying stuff, bringing it back, im out of idears.
    My mk802 and zeals are both compatible with em1010 devices, but this one isnt. I tried several usb ethernet cards but they all didnt work, and when i tried to make the proper drivers, it complained about not beying able to find it in modules/3.0.36+ .. i downloaded several module packages but that didnt help.
    without usb internet i cant use this device at all and im about to sell it..
    what usb device has native support?
    or how can i get this make to work
    anyone any ideas??

  16. Any one got mySQL running on your Tronsmart T428 with picuntu?

    I get a error saying:

    “Setting up mysql-server-5.5 (5.5.32-0ubuntu0.12.04.1) …
    start: Job failed to start
    invoke-rc.d: initscript mysql, action “start” failed.
    dpkg: error processing mysql-server-5.5 (–configure):
    subprocess installed post-installation script returned error exit status 1
    dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of mysql-server:
    mysql-server depends on mysql-server-5.5; however:
    Package mysql-server-5.5 is not configured yet.
    dpkg: error processing mysql-server (–configure):
    dependency problems – leaving unconfigured
    No apport report written because the error message indicates its a followup error from a previous failure.
    Errors were encountered while processing:
    E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)

    I started over fresh install again thinking I messed it up. But it still can’t run mysql. Any one else got it to run and what did you do if so?

    -Raymond Day

  17. @cnxsoft
    No, it doesnt build the module.
    I added 3.0.36-linuxium-test+ to /lib/modules, but it seems to be missing ‘build’, or linking to it wrongly.
    (cpio -ivdum < 3.0.36-linuxium-test+-modules
    cp -a 3.0.36-linuxium-test+ /media/linuxroot/lib/modules)
    I just did a clean install and the results are the same.
    I tried a bigger 3.0.36 module package from a picuntu image as well, but that resulted in the same.

  18. @Raymond Day
    sorry to hijack your question, but i havent been able yet to install picuntu on my t428.
    I forgot where i got the image i tried but that is picuntu-linuxroot-0.9-RC2.2.tgz (175mb)
    I also found a PicuntuInstaller.apk which i havent tried yet because i assume that will be a native install.
    Could you link me to the image you use?
    And what kernel do you use?
    The only kernel i get working is t428-3.0.36-linuxium-test+-kernel.img @ 11.072mb
    Both the picuntu recovery image from recovery.img.7z @ 10.862.592mb packed and kernel-0.3.img @ 8.048 mb did not boot for me.

  19. yeah.. im getting nowhere.
    This linuxium image works and all i need to get further is the name of a native usb ethernet adapter.
    Please tell me how i can find out what adapters have native support, or give the name of a native supported usb ethernet adapter (i only need one;)

  20. The first time it boots you have to wait 3 to 4 min. For it to come up. After that it will take about 30 sec. to come up.

    The Ethernet adapter I am using is a Belkin model usb300m it cost about $25 but seems like the drivers are all way built in to Linux for it.

    I still can’t get MySQL to run.

    Got mine booting off a USB hard drive. It’s neat that it can on a SD card or USB drive. Same install way.

    -Raymond Day

  21. I went here to install xamp like you said:


    But after I do a start for it, it gets lots of errors:

    root@t428:~/Downloads# /opt/lampp/lampp start
    Starting XAMPP for Linux 1.8.1…
    /opt/lampp/share/lampp/phpstatus: line 4: /opt/lampp/bin/php: cannot execute binary file
    XAMPP: Starting Apache with SSL …
    /opt/lampp/bin/httpd: 1: /opt/lampp/bin/httpd: Syntax error: “(” unexpected
    XAMPP: Error 2! Couldn’t start Apache!
    XAMPP: Starting diagnose…
    XAMPP: Sorry, I’ve no idea what’s going wrong.
    XAMPP: Please contact our forum http://www.apachefriends.org/f/
    XAMPP: Starting MySQL…
    /opt/lampp/bin/my_print_defaults: 1: /opt/lampp/bin/my_print_defaults: Syntax error: “(” unexpected
    XAMPP: Couldn’t start MySQL!
    XAMPP: Starting ProFTPD…
    XAMPP: /opt/lampp/lampp: line 333: /opt/lampp/sbin/proftpd: cannot execute binary file
    XAMPP: Error 126! Couln’t start ProFTPD!
    XAMPP for Linux started.

    -Raymond Day

  22. I thought this would be good to install easy the things I wanted:

    root@t428:~/Downloads# tasksel
    tasksel: aptitude failed (100)

    But can see it said it failed.

    I don’t know I my just start over fresh again.

    Then run tasksel the 1st thing after I become root and get a IP.

    -Raymond Day

  23. @jh
    i found that the links where linking to /root/rk3188/t428/3.0.36-linuxium-test+ instead of /lib/modules/3.0.36-test+, so i copied the directory to /root/rk3188/t428/3.0.36-linuxium-test+ and now it its causing this error with the make command: No rule to make target `modules’. Stop
    I checked for solutions and tried a few, but no luck.
    I also tried other module packages and they gave the same error.
    the makefile sais:
    obj -m := mcs7830.o
    KDIR := /lib/modules/$(shell uname -r)/build
    PWD := $(shell pwd)
    default:$(MAKE) -C $(KDIR) SUBDIRS=$(PWD) modules;
    any ideas?

  24. @Raymond Day
    thanks for the usb device advice,.. ive seen your ‘guide’ in the other thread as well, so i should be able to fix that too. Ive ordered the device so i should then finally be ablt to make some progress (allthough i guess i will still need to be able to use make)

    a shame xampp didnt work out. That usually works out of the box quite well

  25. I got mine running now. It was hard to get MySQL to work and apache looks like with apache just had to do “apt-get install libapache2-svn” and then could start it.

    It’s booting off a USB hard drive from the small 1ST partition of the drive.

    I don’t put in my Website of it because I am running it at home here. It’s working good.

    Here is some commands I can show:

    root@t428:~# cat /proc/cpuinfo
    Processor : ARMv7 Processor rev 0 (v7l)
    processor : 0
    BogoMIPS : 623.79

    processor : 1
    BogoMIPS : 623.79

    processor : 2
    BogoMIPS : 623.79

    processor : 3
    BogoMIPS : 623.79

    Features : swp half thumb fastmult vfp edsp neon vfpv3
    CPU implementer : 0x41
    CPU architecture: 7
    CPU variant : 0x3
    CPU part : 0xc09
    CPU revision : 0

    Hardware : RK30board
    Revision : 0000
    Serial : 0000000000000000
    root@t428:~# df
    Filesystem 1K-blocks Used Available Use% Mounted on
    /dev/sdb1 15312340 1834124 12700388 13% /
    udev 10240 4 10236 1% /dev
    tmpfs 393788 548 393240 1% /run
    none 5120 0 5120 0% /run/lock
    none 984468 0 984468 0% /run/shm
    /dev/sdb2 2838287624 1298632548 1395478336 49% /media/USBdisk2-3TB
    /dev/sda1 2884252896 1615308504 1122432776 60% /media/USBdisk1-3TB

    Used tasksel to remove the desktop because I just want it to be a server. Now when it boots up just a blank screen so I unplug the keyboard and HDMI from it.

    But all works thought the USB to Ethernet I have on it.

    root@t428:~# ifconfig
    eth0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr c8:d7:19:a6:5d:b8
    inet addr: Bcast: Mask:
    inet6 addr: fe80::cad7:19ff:fea6:5db8/64 Scope:Link
    RX packets:365431 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
    TX packets:135519 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
    collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
    RX bytes:43742410 (43.7 MB) TX bytes:30499872 (30.4 MB)

    lo Link encap:Local Loopback
    inet addr: Mask:
    inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host
    UP LOOPBACK RUNNING MTU:16436 Metric:1
    RX packets:289 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
    TX packets:289 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
    collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
    RX bytes:23522 (23.5 KB) TX bytes:23522 (23.5 KB)


    I guess with time they will make it as easy to install as picuntu is with a script. I did flash the t428-3.0.36-linuxium-test+-kernel.img to the boot part of the Tronsmart T428 but it don’t boot right in to Ubuntu then. I just had to flash back the other boot code and now it will boot in Android. I have the Android root code in it so just have to click on reboot and then click reboot to recovery and yes and Ubuntu boots up.

  26. my requirement is to get this or any similar device to make it work with TouchScreen LCD, like digital Signage, any help on this matter??

  27. @linuxium
    Ian, do you know if it would it work on on an MK809 III? It seems unlikely these are all Aliex product description ****ups, these are down to as little as $54 now:

    BTW, is there any prospect of later Ubuntu (or whatever) versions on these RK3188 devices? Some packages don’t tend to get backported to 12.04 🙁

  28. Will you please add support for the CX-919!!? It has teh same gpu and cpu! Id love to get steam running on this lil guy!

  29. @sweet home
    Looks nice, but if you can’t install other packages, it can only be used for its main purpose: video record from IP cams.
    Which hardware is it? I doubt it’s RK3188. they mention Linux and dual core DSP. It must be a specific chipset to be able to encode 8 channel 1080p simultaneously.

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