PinePhone “Community Edition: UBports” Linux Phone Launched with Ubuntu Touch

PinePhone Community Edition UBports

PinePhone “BraveHeat” Limited Edition Linux smartphone launched last November as promised for $149.99. As the codename implied, it was for the enthusiasts as the phones that were part of that product batch may have had some defects, and came without an operating system, meaning the users had to flash the firmware themselves. But there’s now a new edition, namely PinePhone “Community Edition: UBports” pre-loaded with UBports with Ubuntu Touch featuring Lomiri user interface. The specifications are exactly the same with an Allwinner A64 quad-core Cortex-A53 processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB eMMC flash, a 5.95″ display with 1440×720 resolution, and 4G LTE cellular connectivity. The only difference is that Ubuntu Touch is preloaded to the device, and the back of the phone should have a marking showing you purchased UBports Edition. What should be noted is that it’s still not considered as a consumer device, as UBports is still beta, and the phone is primarily aimed at UBports community members who can …

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Allwinner A-Series Processors 2020-2021 Roadmap – Allwinner A33E, A100 and A200 SoCs

We previously discussed Allwinner business units where each can share the same silicon (with different a name) but maintains its own software stacks for different target applications. Allwinner A-Series is the most well-known as Allwinner A10 & A20 were very popular SoC for tablets and TV boxes many years ago. CNX Software received two slides that originated from Allwinner this morning. The first one shows the different Allwinner processor families, and the second provides a roadmap for A-Series processors for tablets with A33E, A100, and A200 coming this year and next. Let’s go through the Allwinner processor families first and their main use case: R-Series and MR-Series – Smart home applications A-Series – Tablets VR-Series – Virtual reality H-Series and F-Series- High-performance applications like multimedia (TV boxes) T-Series- Automotive, I suppose mostly infotainment V-Series – Camera SoCs XR/XIN-Series – Wireless chips like the infamous XR819 WiFi chip. AXP – PMIC (Power Management IC) accompanying the company’s Arm SoCs The second …

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Linux 5.6 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS & RISC-V Architectures

Linux 5.6 Changelog

Linus Torvalds has just announced the release of Linux 5.6 on the Linux Kernel Mailing List: So I’ll admit to vacillating between doing this 5.6 release and doing another -rc. This has a bit more changes than I’d like, but they are mostly from davem’s networking fixes pulls, and David feels comfy with them. And I looked over the diff, and none of it looks scary. It’s just slightly more than I’d have preferred at this stage – not doesn’t really seem worth delaying a release over. So about half the diff from the final week is network driver fixlets, and some minor core networking fixes. Another 20% is tooling – mostly bpf and netfilter selftests (but also some perf work). The rest is “misc” – mostly random drivers (gpio, rdma, input) and DTS files. With a smattering of fixes elsewhere (a couple of afs fixes, some vm fixes, etc). The shortlog is appended, nothing really looks all that exciting, …

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NetBSD 9.0 Released with Aarch64 Support, Arm ServerReady Compatibility

NetBSD 9.0

Yesterday, we wrote about Raspberry Pi 4 getting UEFI+ACPI firmware for Arm SSBR compliance allowing the board to run operating systems designed for “Arm ServerReady” servers out of the box. NetBSD 9.0 was just released on February 14, 2020, with support for Aarch64 (64-bit Arm) which had been in the works for a few years, and includes support for “Arm ServerReady” compliant machines (SBBR+SBSA). NetBSD 9.0 main changes related to hardware support: Support for AArch64 (64-bit Armv8-A) machines Compatibility with “Arm ServerReady” compliant machines (SBBR+SBSA) using ACPI. Tested on Amazon Graviton and Graviton2 (including bare metal instances), AMD Opteron A1100, Ampere eMAG 8180, Cavium ThunderX, Marvell ARMADA 8040, QEMU w/ Tianocore EDK2 Symmetric and asymmetrical multiprocessing support (big.LITTLE) Support for running 32-bit binaries via COMPAT_NETBSD32 on CPUs that support it Single GENERIC64 kernel supports ACPI and device tree based booting Supported SoCs Allwinner A64, H5, H6 Amlogic S905, S805X, S905D, S905W, S905X Broadcom BCM2837 (Raspberry Pi 3B) NVIDIA Tegra X1 …

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Linux 5.5 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS and RISC-V Architectures

Linux 5.5 Changelog

Linux 5.5 has just been released by Linus Torvalds: So this last week was pretty quiet, and while we had a late network update with some (mainly iwl wireless) network driver and netfilter module loading fixes, David didn’t think that warranted another -rc. And outside of that, it’s really been very quiet indeed – there’s a panfrost driver update too, but again it didn’t really seem to make sense to delay the final release by another week. Outside of those, it’s all really tiny, even if some of those tiny changes touched some core files. So despite the slight worry that the holidays might have affected the schedule, 5.5 ended up with the regular rc cadence and is out now. That means that the merge window for 5.6 will open tomorrow, and I already have a couple of pull requests pending. The timing for this next merge window isn’t optimal for me – I have some travel and other things …

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Year 2019 in Review – Top 10 Posts and Stats

Happy New Year 2020

2019 is closing to an end, or you may already be into 2020 while reading this post. In any case, that means it’s time to look back at 2019 and look forward to the events and new products to take place next year. While 2018 was a boring year for new processors, 2019 brought us some interesting new chips such as Amlogic S922X / A311D, or the first Arm Cortex-A55 only processors such as Amlogic S905X3. Rockchip RK3399Pro was promising when it was announced last year, but it never really took off. It was a pretty quiet year for Allwinner as well. RISC-V architecture has been ramping up with the first general-purpose RISC-V MCU: GD32V, WCH CH572 Bluetooth LE MCU, the launch of more SiFive RISC-V cores, and Kendryte K210 RISC-V AI processor announced last year has found its way into more and more boards. There have also been the usual launches of mobile Arm processors from Qualcomm, Samsung, and …

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Some Interesting Talks from FOSDEM 2020 Schedule

FOSDEM 2020 Schedule

We wrote about IoT devroom call for proposals for FOSDEM 2020 a little while ago, and as the free open-source developer meetup is getting closer, FOSDEM 2020 organizers released the schedule. So I’ll look at some of the talks in the relevant devrooms such as the Internet of Things, hardware enablement, Embedded, Mobile and Automotive, as well as RISC-V and others to compose my own little virtual schedule for the 2-day event. Saturday, February 1 10:30 – 10:50 – How lowRISC made its Ibex RISC-V CPU core faster – Using open source tools to improve an open-source core – by Greg Chadwick Ibex implements RISC-V 32-bit I/E MC M-Mode, U-Mode, and PMP. It uses an in-order 2 stage pipe and is best suited for area and power-sensitive rather than high-performance applications. However, there is scope for meaningful performance gains without major impact to power or area. This talk describes work done at lowRISC to analyze and improve the performance of …

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Pocket Popcorn Computer Handheld Linux Computer Looks Like an Improved, Faster PocketCHIP (Crowdfunding)

Pocket Popcorn Computer

PocketCHIP was a Linux handheld computer powered by Allwinner R8/GR8 Cortex-A8 based CHIP board. The battery-powered device came with a small resistive display, 512 MB RAM, 4GB NAND flash, and a keyboard allowing to run Debian with PICO8 GUI so you could play retro games, access the terminal and so on. But since Next Thing Co folded last year the products are not available anymore. Since the designs were open source, Source Parts first tried to resurrect the board via their slightly modified Popcorn Computer but the Kickstarter campaign was unsuccessful. The company is now attempting to bring back PocketCHIP (sort of) with Pocket Popcorn Computer (abbreviated as Pocket P.C.) with a new design, and a much more powerful quad-core Cortex-A53 processor and overall better specs. Pocket Popcorn Computer specifications: SoC – Allwinner A64 quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 CPU with Arm Mali-400MP2 GPU System Memory – 2GB DDR3 RAM Storage – 32GB eMMC Memory, Internal microSD card connector Display – 4.95″ …

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