Easy and Safe Way to Try Linux on Popular Rockchip RK3188 mini PCs

Until recently, installing Linux on Rockchip R3188 based TV boxes or HDMI TV dongles meant you had to flash one or more binaries to your device using various type of tools for Linux or Windows. But thanks to various members of the community, it’s now as easy as flashing an image for the Raspberry Pi, as long as you own Minix Neo X7, PQ Labs iStick A350-SSD, Radxa Rock development board, or Rikomagic MK802IV (AP6210 or 8188EU Wi-Fi module versions) thanks to images provided by Ian Morrison on G+ mini PC community that can be booted from a (micro) SD card, which the added advantage that it won’t mess with your Android installation.

MINIX_NEO_X7_Linux

You can do it whether you use a Windows or Linux PC, and it should also be possible on Mac OS X, but I don’t know the commands. Here are the steps to follow for MINIX NEO X7, other products will have the same procedure, only the filename will change:

  1. Download the image (linux-sdcard-minix-neo-x7.img.7z)
  2. Extract linux-sdcard-minix-neo-x7.img.7z using a utility that can handle this type of file, for example 7-Zip for Windows, or p7zip in Linux.
  3. Insert a (micro) SD card into your computer, and flash the extracted image:
    • Windows – Using Win32DiskImager GUI tool
    • Linux –  with dd:

      where ‘X’ is the disk name, and varies from system to system. It may also be like /dev/mmcblkX. Use ‘lsusb’ to find out. If you use a USB hard drive, be very careful, as you may wipe out your data if you use the wrong X.
  4. Once this is complete, simply insert the SD card into your device, and powered it up and it should start Linux (Ubuntu 12.04)

The login credentials are Linuxium / p. Now you’ll get a fully working system, and if you want to return back to Android simply remove the SD card.

However, you may want to complete a few more steps to take advantage of the full SD card capacity.

  1. Type the following in a terminal window in your mini PC:
  2. Reboot, and type the command below to complete the partition resize:

Mali GPU hardware acceleration can be enabled as follows:


Finally, if for some reasons, you want to create a root password, you can do by typing:


Now what if you don’t own any of the devices with pre-built SD card images? You can checkout Androtab.info instructions for Radxa Rock, which will give you ideas of what you need to do to boot from SD card on your own system. This does not require internal flash at all, you could unsolder the flash, and it would still work. Have fun!

Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.

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Onanii
Onanii
6 years ago

hi does it work for RK3066 devices?

guest
guest
6 years ago

can i try it on mk908? mk908 and mk802iv has similiar hardware.

Gabe
Gabe
6 years ago

I’ve tried it on an OS-TRK802Q stick(which I think has the insides of a J22), only wifi is not working. Glmark2 score is:52, glxgears fps around 62-79 FPS

Gabe
Gabe
6 years ago

The first command works for 8GB microSD card only?

Gabe
Gabe
6 years ago

I’ve tried then Minix Neo X7 version, should have tried the Mk902 IV version.

riklaunim
6 years ago

I have a tutorial and a set of benchmarks for Measy U4A dongle (RK3188) http://www.rkblog.rk.edu.pl/w/p/picuntu-and-linuxium-linux-measy-u4a-android-dongle/ and some Radxa articles are coming too.

hamadi
hamadi
6 years ago

there’s a way for dummy using chroot

fathony
fathony
6 years ago

can this method applied on “MINIX NEO X7 mini” ?

linuxium
linuxium
6 years ago

If anyone is interested some additional devices include:

Tronsmart T428 –
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B99O3A0dDe67bFJBSTFqSzlxMG8

J22/CX919II –
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B99O3A0dDe67eTBRd3RXY0FpcWc

MK809III –
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B99O3A0dDe67NmIyLTl4Z3ZFRmc

Booting will give you a full Ubuntu 12.04 LTS desktop with Unity. It will not affect your installed software and there is no pre-requisite for a specific stock or custom ROM to be pre-installed. No ‘flashing’ is required as everything needed to boot is taken from the SD card so it will work even if the NAND is empty or the device is ‘bricked’.

Stefan Racic
Stefan Racic
7 months ago

Hey man! Is there any way to reach out to you? I need help with Ugoos UM2 i managed to boot one of your images but i cannot install anything because its old 🙁

onebir
onebir
6 years ago


Presumably you can only create these images for devices you have; if people donate & send RK3188 devices, would you have time (etc) to create images for those?

linuxium
linuxium
6 years ago

@onebir

If a manufacturer donates and sends me a RK3188 or even a RK3288 device together with the Android kernel source I’ll certainly try and create an image for it.

bench
bench
6 years ago

Hi,

Great work! I have try it on my mk902ii using the MINIX NEO X7 image. It book up ok, but reported the wirelss is not ready? I have a look at the mk902ii spec and it is uses the same AP6210 (at least I think it does) as neo x7. Any idea?

onebir
onebir
6 years ago


I hope some will see that this offers a unique added value for their devices & send some your way (maybe throwing in a bit of cash with them 😉

wkt
wkt
6 years ago

I tried the Linux on my CX-919 ( old ? NOT : CX-919 II ) 1st I took linux-sdcard-j22.img an put it to SD card. Boots fine : but no WLAN device found in iwconfig output – so not usable at this moment. 2nd I took linux-sdcard-rkm-mk802iv-new.img to SD Boots fine & WLAN device found ! Also I hear sounds. Very nice. BUT : my TV has obviously 1920×1080 and so the buttons on the left are almost invisible. Also the panel on the top right is invisible but scrolls down if I touch the top border of the screen.… Read more »

wkt
wkt
6 years ago

The underscan trick works on my TV from Acer via the HDMI settings built in.

Thanks for this problem solving info.

lonely2k5
lonely2k5
6 years ago

I cannot get MALi to work on CX919II no T
any idea?

RickW
RickW
6 years ago

Hello,

Thank you for creating this ubuntu build. It was easy to throw on the SD Card and boot up. I have a small issue though. The / filesystem is only 1.9gb and has filled up. Do you know of a way to expand it on the fly? Google results say you must boot it off a linux live CD and expand it offline.. Is it possible to maybe plug the SD Card into my laptop and expand the partition with some tool?

Thanks!

Shant
Shant
6 years ago

Hello,

Does it provides eth adapter support ?

RickW
RickW
6 years ago

Wow I totally missed the two lines where you explained how to expand the filesystem. Sorry about that !

Patrick
Patrick
6 years ago

i tried it but my X7 will not boot from the SD card. Does anyone have an idea ?

Patrick
Patrick
6 years ago

?..or should the minix be rooted first ?

Patrick
Patrick
6 years ago

thans for the replay… i will give it another try.

Patrick
Patrick
6 years ago

..reply offcourse

Mark
Mark
5 years ago

Didn’t work for me… I get the log in for one second and the screen goes black. Any ideas?

Joakim
Joakim
5 years ago

Hey, installed this on my MINIX NEO x7 mini and its working fine. why i installed this was because i wanted to run Plex Media server on it but im having truble installing it. the error i get is its wrong architecture, is ther a way to go around this?

Bob Inglis
Bob Inglis
5 years ago

Would you be able to use this tool to flash Minix Neo 7 img?

jin
jin
5 years ago

@RickW I have the same problem that there is barely any space left (about 150MB) when Ubuntu boots up. The SD card has 32GB. Why?

Karendar
Karendar
5 years ago

@Joakim
Plex Media Server i386 will not work as this is an ARM architecture. I’m currently looking for ways to do the same thing, as this would be a wicked plex media server! Maybe we can use the ARM compiled NAS versions, but would have to do a manual install

Robb01
Robb01
5 years ago

Anyone can advise the latest kernel version working on this image.

Walter
Walter
5 years ago

It says: “The login credentials are Linuxium / p.” Sorry, but I have used the English onboard keyboard with everything like “Linuxium / p”, “Linuxium/p”, “linuxium/p” and “linuxium / p” but I always get “invalid password”. Is there any explanation, help etc.
I am a linux beginner so maybe just a hint might help! Or how to circumvent the password trouble???

Once I may be able to start linux propperly can I change it to German?

Hardware MINIX NEO X7

Evandro
Evandro
5 years ago

Walter

@Walter

The password it the letter ‘p’ in lowcase

have fun!

SirPedroEC
SirPedroEC
5 years ago

Commands are wrong for the partition resize. A spelling mistakes screws up the process:

First line (no single quote at end). Change:
echo -e “d\nn\np\n1\n81921\n\nw” | sudo fdisk /dev/mmcblk0′
to
echo -e “d\nn\np\n1\n81921\n\nw” | sudo fdisk /dev/mmcblk0

Second line(resize is spelled incorrectly). Change:
sudo reseize2fs /dev/mmcblk0p1
to
sudo resize2fs /dev/mmcblk0p1

Jean
Jean
5 years ago

how can I get the bluetooth working in RK3188 devices????

shohart
shohart
5 years ago

hello, i have a question about wifi on minix neo x7 under linux. i have linuxiums’ 12.10 setup from minixforums, and it running fine but i can not set wifi into access point mode. ‘sudo ip link set wlan0 up’ gives ‘RTNETLINK answers: Operation not permitted’ so is it possible to set the device as a access point/ internet share (eth0 to wlan0)? thank you

Jason
Jason
5 years ago

The image booted fine however any change I want to make is requiring a “root” password. Any ideas on how to remove this?

Usama
Usama
5 years ago

@Minix x7, Linux x86 & 16GB SANDISK SSDcard
Hey there , I have done everything as written & my dd command under Linux reported no error… but when I introduce sdcard my device boots normally into MINIX & not UBUNTU. Also after dd my sdcard doesnt show up in nautilus & gparted identifies it as unindentified partition, is this normal?

Zoltan Danhauser
Zoltan Danhauser
5 years ago

Hi everyone. Can anybody build an img for MK908II Tronsmart device please? Morever i tried to install Kodi mediacenter but guys on kodi.tv said no ARM CPU supported yet. Any other idea? I would not like to use my Android cause it doesn’t support my IR MCE remote.

Zoltan Danhauser
Zoltan Danhauser
5 years ago

(some background info: a friend of mine has an MK908II, and he is trying to install for it, my CX919II J22 works fine)

Darky
5 years ago

What about kodibuntu ????

Zoltan Danhauser
Zoltan Danhauser
5 years ago

I am not sure if kodibunti supports hardwares in J22. However i was able to compiel Kodi on my TV bundle, but could able start cause desktop runs in 16bit color depth. Any idea?

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