NetBSD ARM64 Images Now Available with SMP for Raspberry Pi 3, Some NanoPi Boards, and Pine64 Boards

ROCK64 NetBSD ARM64

NetBSD on Arm started in 2014 with the release of version 7.0, and last year device tree support was implemented and tested on some Allwinner H3 boards. But apparently, so far NetBSD only supported 32-bit Arm, with initial support for 64-bit Arm (ARM64) committed last April, but good progress has been made, and NetBSD ARM64 bootable firmware images are now available with SMP (multi-core) support. Eight different NetBSD ARM64 images can be downloaded: Generic NetBSD 64-bit image for Raspberry Pi 3 and NVIDIA Tegra X1 Two images for FriendlyELEC boards namely NanoPi NEO2 and NEO Plus2 boards Five images for the following Pine64 boards and hardware platforms Pine A64/A64+ Pine A64-LTS / Sopine with baseboard Pine H64 Pinebook laptop ROCK64 (ROCK64Pro not yet supported) The supported hardware matrix shows most features are supported, but there are still a few things missing such as GPU, crypto and MIPI CSI on all platforms, USB OTG is still experimental, and PCIe support is …

Linux 4.17 Release – Main Changes, Arm & MIPS Architectures

Linus Torvalds released Linux 4.17 last Sunday: So this last week was pretty calm, even if the pattern of most of the stuff coming in on a Friday made it feel less so as the weekend approached. And while I would have liked even less changes, I really didn’t get the feeling that another week would help the release in any way, so here we are, with 4.17 released. No, I didn’t call it 5.0, even though all the git object count numerology was in place for that. It will happen in the not _too_distant future, and I’m told all the release scripts on kernel.org are ready for it, but I didn’t feel there was any real reason for it. I suspect that around 4.20 – which is I run out of fingers and toes to keep track of minor releases, and thus start getting mightily confused – I’ll switch over. That was what happened for 4.0, after all. As …

Allwinner T2 is a Rebranded Allwinner A20 Processor Operating in Industrial Temperature Range

Allwinner-T2-SoM

Last month, Allwinner unveiled A40 and A60 industrial and military grade processors leveraging IP blocks from the old-but-popular Allwinner A20 dual core processor. This is good news for software support, as A40 and A60 should hopefully become supported in U-boot and the Linux kernel without too many efforts, as well as for companies or makers requiring wider temperature ranges in their products. However, those new processors were not pin-to-pin compatible with Allwinner A20, so a PCB redesign would be required. That’s where Allwinner T2 comes into play, as reported by Olimex, it is a rebranded Allwinner A20 dual core Cortex A7 processor with an industrial temperature range (-40 to +85 °C) that makes it suitable for automotive infotainment. I actually covered Allwinner T2 back in 2015, but at the time Allwinner did not mention anything about temperature range, and SATA support – found in A20 – was not shows in any of the documents.  The latest T2 block diagram clearly …

Armbian History, Infrastructure, and Progress Report

Armbian-Services

Many of us rely on Armbian Debian and Ubuntu images for our cheap Arm development boards since they usually offer better support than vendor supplied firmware images. The community has just updated Armbian website, but the thing that caught my eye in the announcement was a link to a 45-minute presentation by Igor Pečovnik, working full-time on the project, that details the history about Armbian, and provides a relatively recent progress update as it was made at BalCCon – Balkan Computer Congress in November 2017. I’ve embedded the video further below, but first I’ll provide summary of the key point made during the presentation. It all started with Cubieboard (A20) as Igor was trying to fix some issues, and learn how to improve software support on the board. Several people joined his efforts on Cubieboard forums, and eventually Armbian website launched in mid 2014 running on the Cubieboard then ODROID-XU4 board as interest and traffic increased. The main motivations of …

Allwinner Unveils A40i/A40pro and A60i/A60pro Industrial & Military Grade Processors

Allwinner-A40i-A40pro-A60i-A60pro

Allwinner A20 dual core Cortex A7 processor was/is one of the most popular Allwinner SoCs thanks to its low cost, the availability of interfaces such as SATA, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 1.4, and multimedia support with H.264 encoding and decoding. The company has now introduced new processors that build upon A20, but working in industrial and military temperature ranges, and compliant with various standards (TBD). Allwinner A40i & A40pro The first two models are quad core Cortex A7 processors with A40i being the industrial version, and A40pro the military grade one. Both share most of the same specifications: CPU – 4x Arm Cortex A7 @ 1.2 GHz GPU – Mali-400 MP2 Memory I/F – DDR2/DDR3/LPDDR2/LPDDR3 up to 3GB RAM Storage I/F – 32-bit NAND, eMMC, SD card, SPI NOR flash, SPI NAND flash, 1x SATA Video Engine Decoder – Multi-format decoder up to 1080p60 Encoder – H.264 encoder up to 1080p45 Video I/F Output – 1x HDMI, 4x TVOUT, 2x 4-lane …

Linux 4.16 Release – Main Changes, Arm and MIPS Architectures

Linus Torvalds has just released Linux 4.16: So the take from final week of the 4.16 release looks a lot like rc7, in that about half of it is networking. If it wasn’t for that, it would all be very small and calm. We had a number of fixes and cleanups elsewhere, but none of it made me go “uhhuh, better let this soak for another week”. And davem didn’t think the networking was a reason to delay the release, so I’m not. End result: 4.16 is out, and the merge window for 4.17 is open and I’ll start doing pull requests tomorrow. Outside of networking, most of the last week was various arch fixlets (powerpc, arm, x86, arm64), some driver fixes (mainly scsi and rdma) and misc other noise (documentation, vm, perf). The appended shortlog gives an overview of the details (again, this is only the small stuff in the last week, if you want the full 4.16 changelog …

C.H.I.P, PocketCHIP & Voder’s Maker Next Thing Co. Is Still Up and Running (Correction)

[Update: Next Thing Co. CEO (Dave) contacted me to inform me the company was not closed, but there was just several unfortunate events: DNS problem with the site leading to the blog issue Next Thing Co Facebook page was closed months ago (due to too many requests from different sources) The Google Maps listing is not managed by Next Things Co themselves. I’ve left the rest of the post unchanged. (except the last sentence) ] Next Thing Co. introduced the $9 C.H.I.P computer powered by Allwinner A13/R8 in 2015, and worked with Free Electrons (now Bootlin) to bring mainline Linux to the platform. They also launched PocketCHIP portable Linux game console based on the module, and lateron introduced C.H.I.P Pro WiFi + BLE module based on Allwinner GR8 processor, and found in their Voder (previously Dashbot) car dashboard assistant. I’m actually still using a C.H.I.P board as a printer server, but this morning I was made aware that Next Thing …

Onda V18 Pro Tablet Review – Part 2: Android 7.1 Firmware

Onda V18 Pro is one of the first tablet powered by Allwinner A63 processor allowing for low-cost tablets with high resolution 2K displays (2560×1600). I received a sample from GearBest, and I already checked out the hardware and run Antutu 7 benchmark in the first part of the review entitled “Onda V18 Pro (Allwinner A63) 2K Tablet Review – Part 1: Unboxing, First Boot, and Antutu 7 Benchmark“. I’ve now spent more time with the tablet browsing the web, watching YouTube videos, reading books, playing games, and running some more benchmarks, so I’ll report my findings in this second part of the review. General Impressions I’ve found the tablet’s high resolution 10.1″ display to be very good for reading books or browsing the web, albeit the latter feels a bit slower than on Xiaomi Mi A1 smartphone (my main phone). As we’ll see later on, 3D graphics is not that good, so some games that work fin on my phone, …