How to Install and Run Linux on Zidoo X1 TV Box

Now that I’ve completed Zidoo X1 review, I’ve decided to try out Ubuntu on the mini PC following a tip from one reader that Orange Pi 2 images can run on the platform since it’s based on the same Allwinner H3 processor, but with some limitations such as WiFi not working.


There are three Linux firmware images for Orange Pi 2 on the download page: Lubuntu, Raspbian, and Debian server. I decided to go with Lubuntu image.

First you need to download Lubuntu_1404_For_OrangePi2-mini2_v0_8_0_.img.xz image from Google Drive or Baidu, uncompress it, and then flash the image to a Class 10 micro SD card in Windows or Linux. I ran the following command line in a computer running Ubuntu 14.04:

Where X in sdX is the letter of your micro SD card, which you can find with lsblk. In some platforms, it might be /dev/mmcblkX instead of /dev/sdX.

Once it’s done, insert the micro SD into Zidoo X1, connect a mouse and keyboard, an Ethernet cable, and power up the device. Boot is relatively fast as I got to LXDE login within 25 seconds, then inputted the password “orangepi” for orangepi user, and could use the system straightaway.

Lubuntu Running on Zidoo X1 (Click for Full Size – 1280×720)

I browsed the web with Chromium Web Browser (pre-installed), although without flash, but it should be easy to install Google Pepper. Allwinner H3 is a low end platform, so you can’t expect miracles in terms of performance but this is usable. Beside the lack of flash support, YouTube can’t be played smoothly as with most other ARM platforms, and there’s no audio via HDMI either. I could play a 1080p video from a USB drive with GNOME player (also pre-installed), but CPU usage was high with tearing from time to time.

I could also see lots of errors in the kernel log, about failing to set the CPU frequency:

So the good is that it’s very easy to run Linux on Zidoo X1, and since it runs from micro SD card it does not affect your Android firmware. However, if you need a fully working image with WiFi and audio (and maybe other issues I missed),  you’d still need to do a bit of work. I also don’t think the GPU and VPU are currently supported in Orange Pi 2 images.

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8 Replies to “How to Install and Run Linux on Zidoo X1 TV Box”

  1. @Frank
    Thanks for that. I understand it’s a community image.
    I can’t say I’m impressed with Orange Pi support so far.
    I’m due to receive a board soon, so I’ve checkout the firmware images and SDKw. The images have not been updated since May, and it appears the Android SDK can’t even compile…

  2. Yes there are problems with OrangePi and I think the reasons are their products are becoming very popular and they just don’t have enough people to cope with the demand.
    In fact, it almost seems like Xunlong Software is a one man band played by zhao_steven 🙂

    From the beginning, their website was not good, bad English, lack of important information, etc…
    For instance I’ve burned one of my Sata drives just because I could not find ANY INFO, any drawing, any schematics, NOTHING, about the Sata connector, and I was too impatient to wait, so I used my Cubie’s cable, and boom, there goes my drive… the polarity on the OrangePi board is the opposite from the Cubie board… (does this make sense?) Fortunately that was a new drive and I did not loose any important data, but I had to buy a new Sata drive… (and also, after that, my OrangePi did not boot anymore…)

    So, I should be very angry with them, I am, I did loose money, but on the other side I observe they are delivering interesting products for a quite competitive price, so they deserve some merit.
    And there is no doubt that zhao_steven is putting a lot of effort in trying to make things work.

    It is a shame their website is so bad organized, and sometimes even misleading, for instance, in the download page they have changed the dates (updated:2015-06-05), but in most cases it is exactly the same firmware images that were back in January! Confusing?
    Also, the forum is getting slower, sometimes unusable.

  3. @fossxplorer
    SATA is not on zidoo X1 dut on orange pi plus (sata-usb bridge).
    reread carefully @JotaMG’s post.

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