Linux 5.7 Released – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS and RISC-V Architectures

OK… I’m a bit late on that one. Linus Torvalds released Linux 5.7 last week: So we had a fairly calm last week, with nothing really screaming “let’s delay one more rc”. Knock wood – let’s hope we don’t have anything silly lurking this time, like the last-minute wifi regression we had in 5.6.. But embarrassing regressions last time notwithstanding, it all looks fine. And most of the discussion I’ve seen the last week or two has been about upcoming features, so the merge window is now open  and I’ll start processing pull requests tomorrow as usual. But in the meantime, please give this a whirl. We’ve got a lot of changes in 5.7 as usual (all the stats look normal – but “normal” for us obviously pretty big and means “almost 14 thousand non-merge commits all over, from close to two thousand developers”), So the appended shortlog is only the small stuff that came in this last week since […]

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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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Allwinner R329 Smart Speaker Processor Features Arm China’s AIPU (Artificial Intelligence Processing Unit)

Allwinner R328 is a dual-core Cortex-A7 processor with 64MB or 128MB built-in RAM designed for low-cost smart speakers that was introduced last year and found into smart speaker sold in mainland China. According to a recent press release (in Chinese only), the company has now released a 64-bit update with Allwinner R329 dual-core Cortex-A53 processor equipped with dual HIFI4 DSP for audio post-processing and pre-processing, as well as Arm China’s AIPU (Artificial Intelligence Processing Unit) delivering up to 0.256 TOPS at very low power. There’s no product page for Allwinner R329 yet, so I extracted some specifications from the press release: CPU – Dual-core Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5 GHz DSP- Dual-core HIFI4 DSP @ 400 MHz AI Accelerator – Arm China AIPU with 0.256 TOPS Built-in DDR RAM Audio Embedded second-generation VAD hardware 5x audio ADCs 2x audio DACs with 100dB SNR I2S and DMIC controller 5-1-channel and 7.1 channel support Integrated dual LDO The company will also provide […]

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NetBSD 9.0 Released with Aarch64 Support, Arm ServerReady Compatibility

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 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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Allwinner R328 Smart Speaker & System-on-Module Spotted in China

Allwinner R328 Smart Speaker

Earlier this year, Allwinner introduced some AIoT (AI + IoT) processors including Allwinner R328 dual-core Cortex-A7 processor for “low-cost voice interaction solutions” aka low-cost smart speakers. I did not pay too much attention at the processor at the time, but since then, the company has released a product brief with some more details about the processor. We can see it integrates 64MB to 128MB DDR3 memory which should be enough to run Linux without external memory, and truly provide a low-cost solution for smart speakers, and I was told the chip may cost around $3. I was also asked whether Allwinner R328 smart speakers were already shipping. A Google search in English did not help, so I had to switch to Chinese, and after visiting several sites, I could see some Allwinner A328 platforms including a smart speaker and a system-on-module were showcased at some event in China. We’ve got a photo, but that much more info about the speaker […]

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Kettlepop is a Limited Edition of a CHIP Pro Derivative with 8GB eMMC flash

KettlePop Board

Next Things Co. CHIP was a $9 Arm Linux board based on Allwinner R8 processor that become fairly popular due to its low price, built-in WiFi & Bluetooth connectivity, open source hardware design, and integration into fun kits such as PocketCHIP portable gaming console/ Linux handheld computer. Later the company expanded their product line with CHIP Pro featuring Allwinner GR8 system-in-package, and designed as a low profile system-on-module to make it more suitable for integration into commercial products. Sadly, the company eventually ran into financial problems, and had to fold later in 2018. However, later that year, a company called Source Parts announced they were working on Popcorn Computer, a derivative of C.H.I.P. board, and appears to have sold it through Amazon US for a time. But this morning, I was informed that a board called Kettlepop was added to HackerBoards database with Next Things Co. GR8 SiP, and also made by Source Parts. Kettlepop specifications: SiP – Next Thing […]

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GameShell Kit Review – Part 2: An Hackable Retro Gaming Console

Gameshell Review

ClockworkPi GameShell is an hackable retro gaming console combining Arm Linux and Arduino boards that happens to come in kit form, and that’s lot of fun to assemble as we’ve seen in the first part of the review of ClockworkPi GameShell. Since then I’ve had time to have more fun, play some games, and experiment with the device, so I’ll report my experience and point out the good parts, as well as some of the shortcomings I came across. We can press the power button to start it up, and after a few seconds we get to the main menu with several icons including… the self-describing Settings, Retro Games with MAME, MGBA, NESTOPIA, and PCxs emulators that require your own ROMs/BIOS, as well as Indie Games with ready to play games like OpenTyrian spaceship shooting game, or NyanCat. Moving on to the right of the menu we’ve got the famous RetroArch emulator that allows you to easily download cores, Cave […]

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