Linux 5.14 Release – Main changes, Arm, MIPS, and RISC-V architectures

Linux 5.14 release

Linus Torvalds has just announced Linux 5.14 release which happens to almost coincide with the anniversary of the initial announcement of the “small” project on August 25, 1991, about 30 years ago. Here’s Linux 5.14’s announcement: So I realize you must all still be busy with all the galas and fancy balls and all the other 30th anniversary events, but at some point you must be getting tired of the constant glitz, the fireworks, and the champagne. That ball gown or tailcoat isn’t the most comfortable thing, either. The celebrations will go on for a few more weeks yet, but you all may just need a breather from them. And when that happens, I have just the thing for you – a new kernel release to test and enjoy. Because 5.14 is out there, just waiting for you to kick the tires and remind yourself what all the festivities are […]

LibreELEC 10.0 minimal Linux OS for media playback released with Kodi 19.1

LibreELEC 10.0

While most TV boxes and SBCs nowadays ship with or support a version of Android, people who just want the best viewing experience may prefer to switch to a Linux distribution such as LibreELEC or CoreELEC. The good news is that LibreELEC 10.0 has just been released with Kodi 19.1 and Linux 5.10 LTS. LibreELEC 10.0 is said to work well for Allwinner, Rockchip, and “Generic” Intel/AMD devices, while the Raspberry Pi 4 release’s codebase is rather new, and there may still be a few rough edges. Support for the previous generation Raspberry Pi boards has been dropped, and there’s no support for Amlogic platforms as CoreELEC already provides good support. Since LibreELEC 10.0 is based on Kodi 19.1, it benefits from the same features as Kodi 19 “Matrix” release including AV1 video decoding, a new skin, HDR support, and more. LibreELEC 10.1 support a wide range of single board […]

Z-Pi 7 Z-Wave gateway devkit works with Raspberry Pi and Orange Pi Zero boards

Z-Wave Raspberry Pi & Orange Pi Zero

WiFi & Bluetooth are the most popular wireless protocols for home automation, alternatives like Zigbee and Z-wave have also been widely adopted, at least in some countries. And if you are interested in the latter, Aeotec has just introduced the Z-Pi 7  gateway development kit that lets you add Z-Wave connectivity to Raspberry Pi boards or Orange Pi Zero SBC with an expansion board connected over UART through the GPIO header. Aeotec Z-Pi 7 Z-Wave expansion board (ZWA025) specifications: Z-Wave connectivity Silicon Labs EFR32ZG14 Arm Cortex-M4 SoC @ 39 MHz with Series 700 and Gen7 technology  Frequencies ZWA025-A: US Frequency 908.42 Mhz ZWA025-B: AU Frequency 921.42 Mhz ZWA025-C: EU frequency  868.42 Mhz TX Power – US: +9.3 dBm; EU: +4.8 dBm RX sensitivity – -97.5 dBm Range Indoor – US: 70+ meters; EU: up to 60 meters Outdoor – Up to 200 meters SmartStart native integration and S2 security. Z-Wave Plus Certified […]

Cherry Pi PC SBC is an Orange Pi PC clone selling for $16.5 and up

Cherry Pi PC SBC

Orange Pi PC is an Allwinner H3 SBC that was launched in 2015 for as little as $15 plus shipping (now $17.42 with 1 GB RAM), and made by a company called Shenzhen Xunlong Software. The next year, the company launched Orange Pi PC Plus with 8GB eMMC flash and WiFI connectivity for $20 (now $25.54). It appears another company named “Shenzhen LC Technology” has designed a board with similar specifications & layout, so not technically a clone, but close enough. Meet Cherry Pi SBC. Cherry Pi PC V7 SBC specifications with highlights in bold or strikethrough showing the differences with Orange Pi PC: SoC – Allwinner H3 quad-core Cortex A7 processor with an Arm Mali-400MP2 GPU System Memory – 512MB or 1GB DDR3 Storage – MicroSD card slot up to 64GB, optional 8GB eMMC flash, Video Output – HDMI 1.4 and AV ports Audio I/O – HDMI, AV port, […]

Year 2020 in review – Top ten posts and stats

CNX Software Year 2021

It’s this time of the year when we look back at what happened, and what may be next. 2020 did not pan out as planned in more ways than one, but there were still some interesting developments. Based on 2019 announcements, 2020 was promising to be an exciting year for Amlogic and Rockchip with the expected launch of RK3588 and S908X high-end processors for 8K capable devices,  but we’ll have to wait for 2021 for this to happen. Instead, the most interesting processor of the year from the Allwinner, Amlogic, and Rockchip offerings was probably Amlogic S905X4 processing adding AV1 hardware decoding. As pointed out in our “RISC-V 2020 highlights” post, it was a fairly eventful year for RISC-V architecture, although there’s still a long road ahead, especially for application processors. We had seen some general-purpose and Bluetooth RISC-V MCUs in 2019, but 2020 saw the launch of the first […]

Orange Pi R1 Plus router SBC features Rockchip RK3328, Dual GbE

Orange Pi R1 Plus

FriendlyELEC NanoPi R2S SBC for headless applications with Rockchip RK3328 processor and dual Gigabit Ethernet ports is getting some competition, as with Orange Pi R1 Plus board, Shenzhen Xunlong Software has updated its Orange Pi R1 board powered by an Allwinner H2+ to RK3328 processor coupled with 1GB RAM, and offering dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, plus one USB port for router applications. Orange Pi R1 Plus board specifications with highlights in bold or stricken through showing differences against R1 board: SoC –Rockchip RK3328 quad-core Cortex-A53 @ 1.5 GHz with Arm Mali-450MP2 System Memory – 1GB DDR4 RAM Storage – MicroSD card slot, 16 MB SPI flash Connectivity – 2x Gigabit Ethernet via RTL8211E transceiver and RTL8153B USB 3.0 to Ethernet chip + 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (Realtek RTL8189ETV) with u.FL antenna connector and external antenna USB – 1x USB 2.0 port, 1x USB-C OTG port Expansion headers Unpopulated 26-pin “Raspberry Pi […]

Box86 is an x86 Emulator for Raspberry Pi and other 32-bit Arm platforms

Box86 x86 emulation Raspberry Pi

Last week, we wrote about Raspberry Pi 4 Vulkan project status and future plans, and one person commented they are currently trying to get dxvk to work Box86, and that CNX Software should write about the latter. Cool, but what does that mean? dxvk is an open-source Vulkan-based implementation of D3D9, D3D10, and D3D11 for Linux,  and Box86 is a Linux userspace x86 emulator that works on 32-bit Arm targets like the Raspberry Pi SBC. Nice, and I remember I ran x86 Linux and Windows on Raspberry Pi a few years ago using a closed-source commercial program called Exagear, but having an open-source solution is even better. That means 64-bit Arm is not supported at all, and Box86 can not even be built for Aarch64 targets. Since many x86 games require OpenGL, as opposed to OpenGL ES, Box86 works best in conjunction with gl4es. By installing Box86 on Raspberry Pi […]

Orange Pi Zero2 Allwinner H616 SBC runs Android 10 or Linux

Allwinner H616 SBC

Last year, Shenzhen Xunlong Software unveiled Orange Pi Zero2 SBC as an update to the popular Orange Pi Zero board with a faster Allwinner H6 processor, HDMI 2.0 video output, USB 3.0 port, Gigabit Ethernet, and WiFi. Just one little problem: AFAIK they never sold it. But Orange Pi Zero2 board is now back with another design features instead equipped with a newer Allwinner H616 processor supporting Android 10, and various Linux distributions such as Ubuntu and Debian. Orange Pi Zero2 (2020) specifications: SoC – Allwinner H616 quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 processor @ up to 1.5 GHz with Arm Mali G31 MP2 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 3.2 and OpenCL 2.0 Memory – 512MB or 1GB DDR3 Storage – 2MB SPI flash and MicroSD card slot Video Output Micro HDMI 2.0a port up to 4Kp60 Video composite (CVBS) via 13-pin header (See Expansion section) Video Decoding 10-bit H265/HEVC up tp […]