Linux 5.2 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS & RISC-V Architectures

Linux 5.2 Changelog

Linus Torvalds announced the release of Linux 5.2 last Sunday: So I was somewhat pre-disposed towards making an rc8, simply because of my travels and being entirely off the internet for a few days last week, and with spotty internet for a few days before that [*]. But there really doesn’t seem to be any reason for another rc, since it’s been very quiet. Yes, I had a few pull requests since rc7, but they were all small, and I had many more that are for the upcoming merge window. Part of it may be due to the July 4th week, of course, but whatever – I’ll take the quiet week as a good sign. So despite a fairly late core revert, I don’t see any real reason for another week of rc, and so we have a v5.2 with the normal release timing. There’s no particular area that stands out there – the changes are sosmall that the appended …

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C.H.I.P. is Back via PopCorn Computer with Allwinner or Amlogic Processor (Crowdfunding)

Super Popcorn

C.H.I.P was a $9 Linux computer launched in 2015 by Next Things Co., and followed by the $16 C.H.I.P Pro in 2016. Sadly the company eventually encountered financial troubles and had to fold last year. But the design was open source hardware, Source Parts managed to get hold of several original Allwinner GR8 systems-in-package, and in April we reported that they sold Kettlepop, a limited edition of a CHIP Pro derivative fitted with 8GB eMMC flash. Source Parts is now back with three CHIP lookalikes: Popcorn Original based on Allwinner R8/A13 Arm Cortex-A8 processor with 512MB RAM, and 32GB eMMC flash and 100% software compatible with the original C.H.I.P computer Super Popcorn Computer powered by Amlogic S905D quad-core Cortex-A53 processor Super ‘8’ Popcorn Computer powered by Amlogic S912 octa-core Cortex-A53 processor Popcorn Original is basically the same as C.H.I.P board except for the 32GB eMMC flash storage replacing the 4GB NAND NAND on the original board, as well as a …

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MOVI Shield Enables Offline Speech Recognition of 150 Sentences on Arduino and Raspberry Pi

MOVI Shield Arduino

Smart speakers normally work both offline and online, but their offline ability is usually limited to just one or two wake words, that when detected let the speakers listen to speech that it will send the cloud for further processing. It’s done that way because the speakers would not have enough resources, e.g. processing power, storage to contain the whole data required for natural speech processing, and wake words reduce the number of requests to the cloud, and improve privacy. But in some cases, you may not need the full language, and instead would like to use several voice commands to control a device without the need or the ability to connect to the Internet/Cloud. So Audeme has designed an Allwinner A13 based Arduino shield named MOVI (My Own Voice Interface), and that can recognize and/or synthesize up to 150 full sentences of your choice in English, Spanish or German. The shield has been around since 2015, but the company …

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Software Development on Librem 5 and PinePhone Linux Phones is Progressing Nicely

PinePhone LuneOS

Several Linux phones are expected this year including Purism Librem 5 and Pine64 PinePhone. Both companies have sent phone development kits out to developers a few months ago, and we are starting to see some nice progress for both phones. What made me write this post is an update from Purism comparing the boot time on Librem 5 running PureOS Linux distribution without specific optimizations yet, and HTC One Android smartphone.  Librem 5 smartphone devkit takes 13 seconds to get to the lockscreen, while the Android phone takes over 40 seconds. Fair enough, most people won’t boot their phone often, but it still nice to know it won’t take long to turn on the phone from power off state.  They also posted a progress report at the end of May saying calls are now working with better audio quality, fixed various issue with messaging in Chatty, work on Linux mainline is going well with Linux 5.2 expected to work …

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How One Line of Code Tripled Allwinner A20 SATA Write Performance

Allwinner A20 SATA Performance Patch

If you’ve been following this blog long enough, you may remember that all linux-sunxi community work aiming at improving u-boot and Linux software support on Allwinner processors started with Allwinner A10 processor found in MeLE A1000 TV box back in 2012, which at the time provided an interesting alternative to Raspberry Pi board that was in short supply at launch time and several months after. One of the most interesting feature found in Allwinner A10 single core Arm Cortex-A8 processor was its SATA interface, and Allwinner A20 was announced a few months later with a dual core Cortex-A7 processor and virtually the same peripherals as Allwinner A10, including SATA. However when I  tested CubieTruck board connected to a mechanical drive, I noticed sequential SATA performance was fine for reads (~180MB/s), but writes were fairly slow at around 36 MB/s. Other people complained about it, and some looked into it, and at one point it appeared the maximum SATA write performance …

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Volumio Motivo is a Gorgeous Audio Streamer Powered by SOPINE A64 SoM

Volumio Motivo

Volumio is a well-known Linux based open source music player for Raspberry Pi, UDOO, Cubox-I, Beaglebone Black, and other single board computers. Some companies even made audiophile boards with support for Volumio including Khadas Tone high-resolution audio board for VIM/VIM2 SBC’s, and the tiny VoltaStream ZERO following Raspberry Pi Zero form factor. But Volumio team has decided to make their own hardware with Motivo, an awesomely looking audio streamer designed in collaboration with Yottamusic engineering firm, and Design Narratives industrial design company. Motivo was introduced at High-End Munich, the world’s biggest Hi-Fi trade fair, and Pine64 posted some photos in a tweet claiming it was powered by their SOPINE A64 system-on-module. The full details about the device have not been published at the time of writing, but we can still derive some of Volumio Motivo specifications and key features from the photos and a few bits of public information: System-on-Module – SOPINE A64 with Allwinner A64 quad-core Cortex-A53 processor, up …

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Linux 5.1 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS & RISC-V Architectures

Linux 5.1 Changelog

Linus Torvalds has just announced the release of Linux 5.1: So it’s a bit later in the day than I usually do this, just because I was waffling about the release. Partly because I got some small pull requests today, but mostly just because I wasn’t looking forward to the timing of this upcoming 5.2 merge window. But the last-minute pull requests really weren’t big enough to justify delaying things over, and hopefully the merge window timing won’t be all that painful either. I just happen to have the college graduation of my oldest happen right smack dab in the middle of the upcoming merge window, so I might be effectively offline for a few days there. If worst comes to worst, I’ll extend it to make it all work, but I don’t think it will be needed. Anyway, on to 5.1 itself. The past week has been pretty calm, and the final patch from rc6 is not all that …

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Allwinner Tablet SoC Roadmap 2019 – 2020

Allwinner A-Series Roadmap 2019 2020

Both Rockchip and Amlogic have some pretty interesting processors coming down the pipe with for example Rockchip RK3588 Cortex A76/A55 or Amlogic S922D Cortex A73/A53 SoCs both featuring an neural processing unit (NPU) for AI workloads acceleration at low power. The companies also have updated entry-level quad Arm Cortex-A55 processors with RK3530 and S905X3 models which are planned to launch later this year. But this made me wonder what was going with Allwinner since the company got really quiet, except for the “launch” of renamed processors for a specific business unit. That’s the only company among the three to have yet to announce a Cortex-A7X 64-bit Arm processor. The good news is that the company has released a roadmap of sort for their A-Series processors for tablets. The less good news is that very few details are available for the processors except for one: Allwinner A50 – Quad core Cortex-A7 processor @ 1.8 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU, GMS certification. Suitable …

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