VolksPC mini PC runs Debian and Android Simultaneously Thanks to MicroXwin Framework

It’s been possible to run Linux or Android on ARM based board and producs for a while, with some firmware providing dual boot support, or even simultaneous use running a chroot with a VNC server and client combination. Some developers have come up MicroXwin, a X-windows implementation using a custom Xlib library that communicate directly with the graphics drivers, and not using a client/server implement. This provides much faster performance compare to X11, as shown on Raspberry Pi and Cubieboard2 development boards, and it has given them the ability to run Debian LXDE and Android Jelly Bean simultaneously on their upcoming VolksPC, a mini PC based on Rockchip RK3066 with 16GB flash.

VolksPC Runs Android and Debian LXDE.
VolksPC Runs Android and Debian LXDE

The first VolksPC will have the following specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3066 dual core ARM Cortex A9 CPU @ 1.4Ghz with Mali-400MP4 GPU
  • System Memory – 1 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16 GB NAND flash + SD/MMC/MS card reader (Up to 32GB)
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.3 and VGA
  • Connectivity – 10/100 Ethernet port, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports

The hardware is pretty standard, except for the 16GB flash as you need enough space to run the two operating systems from flash with some extra space for user’s data. As you’ll see from the video below, the system is very smooth both in Android and Debian, and the same file system is shared between the two operating systems. For example, provided the video has not been edited, LibreOffice is shown to start in less than 10 seconds, and they also showed a YouTube video playing in Debian, albeit not in full screen. Since both operating systems are running at the same time, switching between the two are instantaneous. You can kill Android, and still run Debian, or you can logout of Debian, and still run Android if you need to some free RAM. The demo is apparently running on MK808.

VolksPC mini PC is not available right now, and it’s unclear when it will be released. The unified distribution shown in the video above can not be downloaded either, and MicroXWin does not seem to be open source, or least not yet, so it’s not something you can currently use or port to your device. Nevertheless, it’s probably something to keep an eye on, and you can do so on VolksPC.org.

Via Liliputing and Phoronix

Share this:

Support CNX Software! Donate via cryptocurrencies, become a Patron on Patreon, or purchase goods on Amazon or Aliexpress

ROCK 5 ITX RK3588 mini-ITX motherboard
Notify of
The comment form collects your name, email and content to allow us keep track of the comments placed on the website. Please read and accept our website Terms and Privacy Policy to post a comment.
9 years ago

IMO, RK3066 will be inferior compared to current SOCs out there today.

Vasant Kanchan
9 years ago

Hi cnxsoft,

I have a MK808 loaded with our unified distribution available for evaluation. Send me a private email if you are interested.


9 years ago

I suppose this take time to develop, at the time the team started, the RK3166 was not available. Now it works, it could probably be ported to more recent SoCs, like RK3166 and RK3266, depending on the state of the drivers. It looks already far usable on a RK3066 :).

9 years ago

no hw video acceleration 🙁

9 years ago

After untarring the raspbian archive:

wget http://www.volkspc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/rasbianwheezy.tar.gz

zoobab@heembeek /home/zoobab/soft/microxwin/MicroXwin [13]$ cat LICENSE
Following files :
are the intellectual property of VolksPC LLC, CA, USA (http://www.volkspc.org).
These are made available for evaluation purpose or non-commercial use.
For commercial use please contact [email protected].

9 years ago

cnxsoft : @zooba That does not seem quite right… libX11 is LGPL… I haven’t checked others. libX11 is using the MIT X11 license, but they are likely completely reimplementing it anyway and just providing xlib API compatible shim, because their approach is entirely different. However the kernel module x11.ko at least contains significant parts of libpixman (based on the output of “readelf -s x11.ko | grep pixman”). And while libpixman has a permissive MIT X11 license, some obligations still exist (the middle paragraph): * Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a * copy of this… Read more »

9 years ago

Well, Always Innovating showcased that stuff (2 OSes running at the same time, instant switch) bunch of years ago, there was even source available.
https://www.alwaysinnovating.com/products/smartbook.htm . But Always Innovating failed to deliver complete user-satisfying product, let’s see if some random braggers who start with alleged license violation can do better.

Vasant Kanchan
8 years ago

We are doing an Indiegogo campaign to port VOLKSPC OS to ODROID-C1.


Here is a clip of VOLKSPC OS running on ODROID-C1
( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USNISy17-YU ).


Khadas VIM4 SBC