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ASUS Tinker Board S adds 16GB eMMC flash, to sell for $79.99

January 9th, 2018 13 comments

ASUS Tinker Board generated a lot of buzz on this blog when it launched last year as a large company like ASUS entered the maker market with a Raspberry Pi 3 competitor with more powerful and 4K capable Rockchip RK3288 processor.

The company has now announced an update at CES 2018 with Tinker Board S with the same features, except for the additional of 16GB eMMC flash and a few other minor changes.

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ASUS Tinker Board S specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip 3288 quad core ARM Cortex A17 processor up to 1.8 GHz with Mali-T764 GPU supporting OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 /3.0, and OpenCL 1.1
  • System Memory – 2GB dual channel LPDDR3
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot
  • Video output & Display I/F
    • 1x HDMI 2.0 up to 3840×2160 @ 30 Hz with HDMI CEC
    • 1x 15-pin MIPI DSI supporting HD resolution
  • Audio – 1x 3.5mm audio jack with plug-in detection and auto switch; Realtek ALC4040 HD codec with 192KHz/24-bit audio
  • Camera I/F – 1x 15-pin MIPI CSI connector
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB port (for power)
  • Expansion Headers
    • 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header with up to 28x GPIOs, 2x SPI, 2x I2C, 4x UART, 2x PWM, 1x PCM/I2S with slave mode, 5V, 3.3V, and GND
    • 2-pin contact point with 1x PWM signal, 1x S/PDIF signal
    • 2-pin power-on-header
  • Misc – Button, unpopulated fan header
  • Power Supply – 5V/2-3A via micro USB port with support for low voltage detection
  • Dimensions – 85.6 x 54 cm
  • Weight – 55 grams

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Just like its predecessor, Tinker Board S can run Debian 9 + LXDE based Tinker OS, as well as Android Tinker OS, and Flint OS. The board also supports popular programs such as Kodi medi center or Lakka and RetroPie retro gaming platforms, as well as expansion boards like HiFiBerry sound cards or MATRIX Creator IoT / sensors board.

The Tinkerboard S will be available in Q1 2018 for $79.99 MSRP. Visit the product page for documentation (WiP) and more details.

Year 2017 in Review, Top 10 Posts, and Some Fun Stats

December 31st, 2017 21 comments

2017 is coming to an end, and as I do every year, I’ll take a look back at the year that was on CNX Software. The pace of development boards launches has not slowed down this year, and we get an even wider range from the low-end with Orange Pi or NanoPi boards, to much more powerful ARM boards, and some new entrants like Libre Computer. The same is true for TV boxes, most of which now support 4K HDR, ranging from ultra cheap models selling for less than $20 to higher end Android TV boxes, while mini PCs were dominated by Intel Apollo Lake models, although some Cherry Trail products were also launched.

Processor-wise, Amlogic launched more Amlogic S905X derivatives with S905W/S905D/S905Z, which are popular in the TV box market. Rockchip’s most interesting processor this year was RK3328 quad core Cortex A53 processor designed for 4K HDR Android TV boxes, but also popular with single board computers thanks to Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 interfaces that provide good I/O performance. Allwinner H2+/H3/H5 were launched last year, but they kept being used in cheap development boards, retro game consoles, etc.. The company also launched A63 SoC for 2K tablets, and H6 for 4K OTT TV boxes, and we can expect the latter not only to be found in TV boxes such as Zidoo H6 Pro, but in more Orange Pi H6 boards, and likely other products in 2018 since beside media capabilities, the processor also supports Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, and PCIe. Intel’s Celeron and Pentium Apollo Lake processors dominated the entry-level Windows mini PCs market this year, and Linux was much better supported than in Bay Trail / Cherry Trail processors, but few manufacturers decided to offer Apollo Lake mini PC pre-installed with Ubuntu or other Linux distributions.

2017 was also an interesting year for the Internet of Things (IoT) with Espressif ESP32 going into full gear, and prices dropping to $5 for maker boards. Other WiFi IoT solutions that looked promising last year such as RTL8710AF, did not really took off in a big way. LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) solutions got even more traction with LoRa dominating, but far from being alone with Sigfox, and the emergence of 3GPP standards like NB-IoT and eMTC.

While I had written articles about 3D printing in the past, it really became a proper category on the blog this year, thanks to Karl’s reviews, and 3D printers provided by GearBest. I’d also like to thank Ian Morrison (Linuxium), TLS, Blu, Nanik who helped with reviews and/or articles this year.

Top 10 Posts Written in 2017

I’ve again compiled a list of the most popular posts of 2017 using the pageviews from Google Analytics, but for a change, I’ll show the results in reverse order:

  1. Google Assistant SDK Turns Your Raspberry Pi 3 into Google Home (May 2017) – Voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant went beyond the companies’own products, and Google Assistant SDK release allowed developers to make their own DIY smart speaker based on Raspberry Pi 3 board, or other ARM Linux boards. I could successfully implement my own using an Orange Pi Zero kit.
  2. Mecool BB2 Pro Review – TV Box with DDR4 Memory – Part 2: Android Firmware, Benchmarks, Kodi (January 2017) – Mecool BB2 Pro was one of the first Amlogic S912 octa-core TV boxes with DDR4 memory, but my tests did not show any benefits over DDR3 memory.
  3. Mecool KI PRO Hybrid Android TV Box with Amlogic S905D SoC, DVB-T2 & DVB-S2 Tuners Sells for $80 (May 2017) – For some reasons, post about VideoStrong/Mecool Android set-top boxes are quite popular on CNX Software, and KI PRO was the first model based on Amlogic S905D processor with support for multiple demodulators.
  4. Orange Pi 2G-IoT ARM Linux Development Board with 2G/GSM Support is Up for Sale for $9.90 (March 2017) – “Cellular IoT Linux board for $10? Where’s the buy button?” might have been the first reaction to many people. But when buyers received their board, it was a struggle and may still be, since it was based on a  RDA Micro processor for phones poorly supported in Linux.
  5. Installing Ubuntu 17.04 on CHUWI LapBook 14.1 Apollo Lake Laptop (February 2017) – People want their cheap and usable Ubuntu laptop, and if manufacturers won’t make one for them, they’ll find ways to make their own. Sadly, CHUWI massively changed the hardware, and it’s not such a good solution anymore.
  6. ASUS Tinker Board is a Raspberry Pi 3 Alternative based on Rockchip RK3288 Processor (January 2017) – A large company like ASUS entering the maker board market, and the solution inspired from Raspberry Pi 3, but more much powerful. That got people interested!
  7. Creality CR-10 3D Printer Review – Part 2: Tips & Tricks, Octoprint, and Craftware (May 2017) – It was the year of cheap $100 to $200 3D printer, but CNX Software visitors were more interested in a better model, and Creality CR-10 review was the most popular 3D Printer review/post this year.
  8. Mecool KIII Pro Hybrid STB Review – Part 2: Android Firmware, TV Center, and DVB-T2 & DVB-S2 App (March 2017) – VideoStrong sells some inexpensive Android TV boxes with tuner under their Mecool, and KIII Pro was their first octa-core model with both DVB-T/T2 and DVB-S2 tuners.
  9. ASUS Tinker Board’s Debian & Kodi Linux Images, Schematics and Documentation (January 2017) – ASUS board was somehow started selling before the company intended to, and while firmware & documentation were there, they were hard to find, so people looked for that information, and found it on CNX Software.
  10. MINIX NEO U9-H Media Hub Review – Part 2: Android 6.0 Firmware & Kodi 17 (March 2017) – Apparently, I’m not the only to consider MINIX NEO U9-H to be one of the best Android TV boxes, as my review of the media hub was the most read post of 2017.

Stats

981 posts were published in 2017. Let’s go straight to users’ country and city location data.

The top five countries have not changes, but this year Germany overtook the United Kingdom in second position. Traffic from India increased on a relative basis, and Australia made it to the top ten at the cost of Russia. London and Paris kept the two top steps, but Bangkok rose to third position, while last year third, Tel aviv-Yafo went away completely from the list. New York is gone being replaced by Warsaw in 8th position.

The list of the most used operating systems, and browsers is fairly stable, but the trends noticed in past years continues, with Windows share of traffic going down, Android going up, and Linux stable, while Chrome dominated even more, with most other browsers going down in percentage basis, except Edge that is very slowly replacing Internet Explorer, and Samsung Internet that replaced Opera mini in the list.

Desktop traffic still rules, but mobile + tablet traffic now accounts for around a third of the traffic.

Finally, I went to dig into pagespeed data with pages loading in 15.58 seconds on average. I then filtered the countries with more than 5,000 pageviews, and CNX Software pages and posts loaded fastest in Portugal, Denmark, and Macedonia. However, people in Venezuela need to wait close to 2 minutes for a page to load on average, and in China and Iran around one minute.

Next year looks promising, and I expect to test Gemini Lake mini PC, and maybe some ARM based mini PCs or laptops, but I’ll review less TV boxes as due to some new regulations I can’t easily import them. The regulatory framework is now in place for LPWAN standards, and I should be able to start playing with LoRa and NB-IoT in 2018, using local services, or my own gateway(s). I’ll keep playing with development boards, as I’m expecting interesting Allwinner H6, Realtek RTD129x, Hilsicon, and other platforms in the year ahead, as well as various IoT products.

I’d like to come together with some of the devices and boards reviewed in 2017 (and a Linux tux) to wish you all a prosperous, healthy, and happy new year 2018!

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A Day at Chiang Mai Maker Party 4.0

December 6th, 2017 6 comments

The Chiang Mai Maker Party 4.0 is now taking place until December 9, and I went there today, as I was especially interested in the scheduled NB-IoT talk and workshop to find out what was the status about LPWA in Thailand. But there are many other activities planned, and if you happen to be in Chiang Main in the next few days, you may want to check out the schedule on the event page or Facebook.

I’m going to go though what I’ve done today to give you a better idea about the event, or even the maker movement in Thailand.

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Booth and activity area should be the same over the 4 days, but the talks, open activity, and workshop will be different each day. Today, people could learn how to solder in the activity area.
The even was not really big with manufacturers/sellers like ThaiEasyElec, INEX, or Gravitech closer to the entrance…


… and slighter higher up in a different zone, companies and makers were showcasing their products or projects. I still managed to spent 5 interesting hours at the event attending to talks and checking out the various projects.

I started my day with a talk entitled “Maker Movement in South East Asia” presented by William Hooi, previously a teacher, who found One Maker Group and setup the first MakerSpace in Singapore, as well as helped introduce the Maker Faire in Singapore in 2012 onwards.


There was three parts to talk with an history of the Maker movement (worldwide), the maker movement in Singapore, and whether Making should be integrated into school curriculum.
He explained at first the government who not know about makers, so it was difficult to get funding, but eventually they jump on the bandwagon, and are now puring money on maker initiative. One thing that surprised me in the talk is that before makers were hidden their hobby, for fear of being mocked by other, for one for one person doing an LED jacket, and another working on an Iron Man suit. The people around them would not understand why they would waste their time on such endeavors, but the Maker Space and Faire helped finding like minded people. Some of the micro:bit boards apparently ended in Singapore, and when I say some, I mean 100,000 units. Another thing that I learned is the concept of “digital retreat for kids” where parents send kids to make things with their hands – for example soldering -, and not use smartphone or tablets at all, since they are already so accustomed to those devices.

One I was done with the talk, I walked around, so I’ll report about some of the interesting project I came across. I may write more detailed posts for some of the items lateron.

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Falling object detection demo using OpenCV on the software side, a webcam connected to…

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ASUS Tinker board to handle fall detection, and an NVIDIA Jetson board for artificial intelligence. If fall is detection an alert to send to the tablet, and the system also interfaces with Xiaomi Mi band 2.

Katunyou has also made a more compact product, still based on Tinker Board, for nursing home, or private home where an elderly may live alone. The person at the stand also organizes Raspberry Pi 3 workshops in Chiang Mai.

I found yet another product based on Raspberry Pi 3 board. SRAN is a network security device made by Global Tech that report threats from devices accessing your network using machine learning.

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Nordic Technology House showcased a magic mirror based on Raspberry Pi 3, and a webcam to detect your dance move, but their actual product shown above is a real-time indoor air monitoring system that report temperature, humidity, CO2 level, and PM 2.5 levels, and come sent alerts via LINE if thresholds are exceeded.

One booth had some drones including the larger one above spraying insecticides for the agriculture market.

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There was also a large about sewing machines, including some smarter one where you can design embroidery in a table before sewing.

There were also a few custom ESP8266 or ESP32 boards, but I forgot to take photos.

The Maker Party is also a good place to go with your want to buy some board or smart home devices.

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Beside Raspberry Pi Zero W / 3, ESP8266 boards and Asus Tinker board seem to be popular items in Thailand. I could also spot Sonoff wireless switch, and an Amazon Dot, although I could confirm only English is supported, no Thai language.

BBC Micro:bit board and accessories can also be bought at the event.


M5Stack modules, and Raspberry Pi 3 Voice Kit were also for sale.

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Books are also available for ESP32, Raspberry Pi 3, IoT, etc… in Thai language.

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But if you can’t read Thai there was also a choice of book in English about RPi, Arduino, Linux for Makers, IoT and so on. I then attended the second talk of the day: “NB-IoT” by AIS, one of the top telco company in Thailand. Speakers included Phuchong Charoensub, IoT Marketing Specialist, and Pornsak Hanvoravongchai, Device Innovation Manager, among others. They went through various part include a presentation of AIS current M2M business, what IoT will change (e.g. brings in statups and makers), some technical details about NB-IoT, and the company offering for makers.

I’ll go into more details in a separate post tomorrow, but if you want to get started the good news is that it’s now possible to pre-order a 1,990 THB Arduino Shield ($61) between December 6-9, and get it shipped on February 14, 2018. NB-IoT connectivity is free for one year, and will then cost 350 Baht (around $10) per year per device. However, there’s a cost to enable NB-IoT on LTE base stations, so AIS will only enable NB-IoT at some universities, and maker spaces, meaning for example, I would most certainly be able to use such kit from home. An AIS representative told me their no roadmap for deployment, it will depend on the business demand for such services.

If you are lucky you may even spot one or two dancing dinosaurs at the event.

Meet the First Windows 10 Arm “Always Connected PCs” – HP Envy x2 (2017) and ASUS NovaGo TP370

December 6th, 2017 30 comments

Qualcomm and Microsoft showcased some Snapdragon 835 based Windows 10 “Mobile PCs” at Computex 2017 last June, and while the press was allowed film the demo, the device could only be operated by a Qualcomm employee.

But both companies and their partners have made progress, and at the Snapdragon Technology Summit, Qualcomm announced “Always Connected PCs” which will run Windows 10, be always on and always connected at Gigabit LTE speeds, and support all-day battery life while keeping thin and fanless designs. all while incorporating Windows 10. HP and ASUS unveiled their very own “Always Connected PCs”, respectively Envy X2 and Novago TP370. What I used to call laptop or in this case 2-in-1 hybrid (laptop) is now apparently called “Always Connected PC”, but in any case let’s have a closer look at both devices.

HP Envy x2 (2017)

Specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Processor @ 2.6GHz with Adreno 540 GPU @ 710MHz
  • System memory – Up to 8GB RAM
  • Storage – Up to 256GB UFS 2.0 storage, micro SD card reader
  • Display – 12.3″ WUXGA+ (1920 x 1280) touch display
  • Audio – 1x combo audio jack; dual speaker; microphone array with Cortana voice-recognition support
  • Backlit Keyboard and touchpad
  • Connectivity
    • WiFi – 802.11a/b/g/n, 802.11ac
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 modem (Gigabit LTE with DL: 1Gbps, UL: 150Mbps; 4×4 MIMO); 1x SIM card reader
  • Camera – 13MP rear camera and 5MP front camera
  • USB – 1x USB-C port
  • Misc – Volume buttons
  • Battery – Good for up to 20 hours of local video playback, over 700 hours of connected standby
  • Dimensions –  6.9 mm thick
  • Weight – 1.21 kg

ASUS Novago TP370

NovaGo-TP370QL specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Processor @ 2.6GHz with Adreno 540 GPU @ 710MHz
  • System memory – 4GB / 6GB / 8GB 1866MHz LPDDR4x (soldered)
  • Storage – 64GB / 128GB / 256GB UFS 2.0 storage, micro SD card slot up to 256 GB
  • Display – 13.3” LED-backlit Full HD (1920x 1080) display
  • Video Output – HDMI
  • Audio – 1x audio jack; dual speaker; smart amplifier; microphone array with Cortana voice-recognition support
  • Backlit keyboard and PTP touchpad
  • Connectivity
    • WiFi – 802.11a/b/g/n, 802.11ac (2×2 MIMO)
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 modem (Gigabit LTE with DL: 1Gbps, UL: 150Mbps; 4×4 MIMO); 1x Combo Nano SIM (tray with needle)
  • Camera – 1280×720 HD camera
  • USB – 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports
  • Sensors – Fingerprint sensor
  • Battery – 52 Wh lithium-polymer battery good for up to 22 hours battery life, over 30 days of modern standby
  • Dimensions – 31.6 x 22.1 x 1.49 cm
  • Weight – 1.39 kg

The 2-in-1 laptop always connected PC will run Windows 10 S by default, but a recommended free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro will be offered. More details may be found on the product page. Windows 10 S only allows the installation of apps in Windows Store, and Microsoft own Edge browser (no Firefox, no Chrome), so most people will likely upgrade to Windows 10 Pro, especially if it is free, and this is probably a condition imposed by Microsoft.

ASUS NovaGo is expected to be available early next year, while the HP Envy x2 is planned for Spring 2018. I could not find pricing on the official page, but Liliputing reports an “entry-level model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage should sell for about $599, while an 8GB/256GB model will run $799”.

You’ll find various hands-on video for the Envy x2 (2017) model online, including the one from Engadget embedded below.

Asus WA039T All-in-One PC is Powered by Intel Pentium J4205 Apollo Lake Processor

August 16th, 2017 No comments

Intel Pentium N4205 is the most powerful Apollo Lake processor launched by Intel with four cores up to 2.6GHz (turbo), and 18 EU HD graphics, but so far I have not seen many products with the processor, with only ASRock J4205-ITX motherboard and Beebox J4205 mini PC. So I went to Aliexpress, and nothing at all shows up for J4205, I had better luck on Alibaba with Unistorm / ACEPC AK1 mini PC apparently also having Pentium N4205 as an option (for OEM only), and several industrial computer and motherboards. But none of those products seem to be easily purchasable just yet. A final search on GearBest led me to their one and only J4205 based product: Asus WA039T AIO PC, so let’s have a look.

Asus WA039T AIO computer specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Pentium J4205 quad core “Apollo Lake” processor @ 1.50 / 2.60 GHz with a 18 EU Intel HD Graphics 505 @ 250/800 MHz (10W TDP)
  • System Memory – 4GB DDR3 (upgradeable to 8GB)
  • Storage – 1TB hard drive, SD card slot
  • Display – 21.5″ LED display with 1920×1080 resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Video Output – HDMI output
  • Audio – Via HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack, built-in dual channel speaker, microphone
  • Webcam – Yes
  • Connectivity – Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n/ac WiFi
  • USB – 4x USB 3.1 ports
  • Power Supply  – TBD
  • Dimensions – 51.40 x 16.50 x 39.80 cm
  • Weight – 4.5 kg

The AIO PC runs Windows 10. I was unable to find any references to WA039T on asus.com.

Asus WA039T is sold on GearBest for $683.93 including free shipping. [Update: Use coupon GBTPC to bring the price down to $595.02]

Linux 4.12 Release – Main Changes, ARM & MIPS Architectures

July 3rd, 2017 6 comments

Linus Torvalds has just released Linux 4.12:

Things were quite calm this week, so I really didn’t have any real reason to delay the 4.12 release.

As mentioned over the various rc announcements, 4.12 is one of the bigger releases historically, and I think only 4.9 ends up having had more commits. And 4.9 was big at least partly because Greg announced it was an LTS kernel. But 4.12 is just plain big.

There’s also nothing particularly odd going on in the tree – it’s all just normal development, just more of it that usual. The shortlog below is obviously just the minor changes since rc7 – the whole 4.12 shortlog is much too large to post.

In the diff department, 4.12 is also very big, although the reason there isn’t just that there’s a lot of development, we have the added bulk of a lot of new  header files for the AMD Vega support. That’s almost exactly half the bulk of the patch, in fact, and partly as a result of that the driver side dominates  everything else at 85+% of the release patch (it’s not all the AMD Vega headers – the Intel IPU driver in staging is big too, for example).

But aside from just being large, and a blip in size around rc5, the rc’s stabilized pretty nicely, so I think we’re all good to go.

Go out and use it.

Oh, and obviously this means that the merge window for 4.13 is thus open. You know the drill.

Linus

Linux 4.11 provided various improvements for Intel Bay Trail and Cherry Trail targets, OPAL drive support, pluggable IO schedulers framework, and plenty of ARM and MIPS changes.

Some of the most notable changes in Linux 4.12 include:

  • Initial AMD Radeon RX Vega GPU support
  • BFQ (Budget Fair Queuing) and Kyber block I/O schedulers have been merged, meaning the kernel now has two multiqueue I/O schedulers suitable for various use cases that should improve the responsiveness of systems.
  • Added AnalyzeBoot tool to create a timeline of the kernel’s bootstrap process in HTML format.
  • Implemented “hybrid consistency model” for live kernel patching in order to enable the applications patchsets that change function or data semantics. See here for details.
  • Build of Open Sound System (OSS) audio drivers has been disabled, and will likely be removed in future Linux releases
  • AVR32 support has been removed

Some of the bug fixes and improvements for the ARM architecture include:

  • Allwinner:
    • Allwinner H3 –  USB OTG support
    • Allwinner H5 – pinctrl driver, CCU (sunxi-ng) driver, USB OTG support
    • Allwinner A31/H3 SPI driver – Support transfers larger than 64 bytes
    • AXP PMICs – AXP803 basic support, ACIN Power Supply driver, ADC IIO driver, Battery Power Supply driver
    • Added support for: FriendlyARM NanoPi NEO Air, Xunlong Orange Pi PC 2
  • Rockchip:
    • Updates to Rockchip clock drivers
    • Modification for Rockchip PCI driver
    • RK3328 pinctrl driver
    • Sound support for Radxa Rock2
    • USB 3.0 controllers for RK3399
    • Various changes for RK3368 (dma, i2s, disable mailbox per default, mmc-resets)
    • Added Samsung Chromebook Plus (Kevin) and the other RK3399 “Gru family” of ChromeOS devices.
    • Added Rockchip RK3288 support for ASUS Tinker board, Phytec phyCORE-RK3288 SoM and RDK; added Rockchip RK3328 evaluation board
  • Amlogic
    • New clock drivers for I2S and SPDIF audio, and Mali GPU
    • DRM/HDMI support for Amlogic GX SoC
    • Add GPIO reset to Ethernet driver
    • Enable PWM LEDs and LEDs default-on trigger
    • New boards: Khadas VIM, HwaCom AmazeTV
  • Samsung
    • Split building of the PMU driver between ARMv7 and ARMv8
    • Various Samsung pincrl drivers updates
    • ARM DT updates:
      • Enhancements to PCIe nodes on Exynos5440.
      • Fix thermal values on some of Exynos5420 boards like Odroid XU3.
      • Add proper clock frequency properties to DSI nodes.
      • Fix watchdog reset on Exynos4412.
      • Fix watchdog infinite interrupt in soft mode on Exynos4210, Exynos5440, S3C64xx and S5Pv210.
      • Enable watchdog on Exynos4 and S3C SoCs.
      • Enable DYNAMIC_DEBUG because it is useful for debugging
      • Increase CMA memory region to allow handling H.264 1080p videos.
    • ARM64 DT updates:
      • Exynos power management drivers support now ARMv8 SoC – Exynos5433 – so select them in ARCH_EXYNOS
      • Enable few Exynos drivers (video, DRM and LPASS drivers) for supported ARMv8 SoCs (Exynos5433 and Exynos7)
      • Add IR, touchscreen and panel to TM2/TM2E boards
      • Add proper clock frequency properties to DSI nodes
  • Qualcomm
    • Enable options needed for QCom DB410c board in defconfig
    • Added new PHY driver for Qualcomm’s QMP PHY (used by PCIe, UFS and USB), and Qualcomm’s QUSB2 PHY
    • Qualcomm Device Tree Changes
      • Add Coresight components for MSM8974
      • Fixup MSM8974 ADSP XO clk and add RPMCC node
      • Fix typo in APQ8060
      • Add SDCs on MSM8660
      • Revert MSM8974 USB gadget change due to issues
      • Add SCM APIs for restore_sec_cfg and iommu secure page table
      • Enable QCOM remoteproc and related drivers
    • Qualcomm ARM64 Updates for v4.12
      • Fixup MSM8996 SMP2P and add ADSP PIL / SLPI SMP2P node
      • Replace PMU compatible w/ A53 specific one
      • Add APQ8016 ramoops
      • Update MSM8916 hexagon node
      • Add PM8994 RTC
  • Mediatek
    • New clock drivers for MT6797, and hi655x PMIC
    • Fix Mediatek SPI (flash) controller driver
    • Add DRM driver and thermal driver for Mediatek MT2701 SoC
    • Add support for MT8176 and MT817x to the Mediatek cpufreq driver
    • Add driver for hardware random generator on MT7623 SoC
    • Add DSA support to Mediatek MT7530 7-port GbE switch
    • Add v4l2 driver for Mediatek JPEG Decoder
  • Misc
    • Added ARM TEE framework to support trusted execution environments on processors with that capability (e.g. ARM CPUs with TrustZone)
    • ARM64 architecture now has kernel crash-dump functionality.
  • Other new ARM hardware platforms and SoCs:
    • NXP – NXP/Freescale LS2088A and LKS1088A SoC, I2SE’s i.MX28 Duckbill-2 boards, Gateworks Ventana i.MX6 GW5903/GW5904, Zodiac Inflight Innovations RDU2 board, Engicam i.CoreM6 Quad/Dual OpenFrame modules, Boundary Device i.MX6 Quad Plus SoM.
    • Nvidia – Expanded support for Tegra186 and Jetson TX2
    • Spreadtrum – Device tree for SP9860G
    • Marvell – Crypto engine for Armada 8040/7040
    • Hisilicon – Device tree bindings for Hi3798CV200 and Poplar board
    • Texas Instruments – Motorola Droid4 (OMAP processor)
    • ST Micro – STM32H743 Cortex-M7 MCU support
    • Various Linksys platforms,  Synology DS116

The MIPS architecture also had its share of changes:

  • Fix misordered instructions in assembly code making kenel startup via UHB unreliable.
  • Fix special case of MADDF and MADDF emulation.
  • Fix alignment issue in address calculation in pm-cps on 64 bit.
  • Fix IRQ tracing & lockdep when rescheduling
  • Systems with MAARs require post-DMA cache flushes.
  • Fix build with KVM, DYNAMIC_DEBUG and JUMP_LABEL
  • Three highmem fixes:
    • Fixed mapping initialization
    • Adjust the pkmap location
    • Ensure we use at most one page for PTEs
  • Fix makefile dependencies for .its targets to depend on vmlinux
  • Fix reversed condition in BNEZC and JIALC software branch emulation
  • Only flush initialized flush_insn_slot to avoid NULL pointer dereference
  • perf: Remove incorrect odd/even counter handling for I6400
  • ftrace: Fix init functions tracing
  • math-emu – Add missing clearing of BLTZALL and BGEZALL emulation counters; Fix BC1EQZ and BC1NEZ condition handling; Fix BLEZL and BGTZL identification
  • BPF – Add JIT support for SKF_AD_HATYPE;  use unsigned access for unsigned SKB fields; quit clobbering callee saved registers in JIT code; fix multiple problems in JIT skb access helpers
  • Loongson 3 – Select MIPS_L1_CACHE_SHIFT_6
  • Octeon – Remove vestiges of CONFIG_CAVIUM_OCTEON_2ND_KERNEL, as well as PCIERCX, L2C  & SLI types and macros;  Fix compile error when USB is not enabled; Clean up platform code.
  • SNI – Remove recursive include of cpu-feature-overrides.h
  • Sibyte – Export symbol periph_rev to sb1250-mac network driver; fix Kconfig warning.
  • Generic platform – Enable Root FS on NFS in generic_defconfig
  • SMP-MT – Use CPU interrupt controller IPI IRQ domain support
  • UASM – Add support for LHU for uasm; remove needless ISA abstraction
  • mm – Add 48-bit VA space and 4-level page tables for 4K pages.
  • PCI – Add controllers before the specified head
  • irqchip driver for MIPS CPU – Replace magic 0x100 with IE_SW0; prepare for non-legacy IRQ domains;  introduce IPI IRQ domain support
  • NET – sb1250-mac: Add missing MODULE_LICENSE()
  • CPUFREQ – Loongson2: drop set_cpus_allowed_ptr()
  • Other misc changes, and code cleanups…

For further details, you could read the full Linux 4.12 changelog – with comments only – generated using git log v4.11..v4.12 --stat. You may also want to ead kernelnewsbies’s Linux 4.12 changelog once it is up.

MQMaker MiQi & ASUS Tinker Boards Get Linux 4.11 with 3D Graphics Acceleration

May 2nd, 2017 8 comments

One day after the release of Linux 4.11, developer Miouyouyou” has released Linux 4.11 for Rockchip RK3288 platforms such as MQMaker MiQi and ASUS Tinker boards with some patchsets for ARM Mali r16p0 kernel drivers, ARM fbdev, and to improve performance.

The kernel has been tested with the Mali User-space r12p0 drivers for fbdev and wayland written for Firefly-RK3288, and some OpenGL ES 3.1/3.2 samples could successfully run on the board. 3D graphics acceleration does not work in X11 however.

Miouyouyou also plans to add support for Rockchip VPU code, as well as ARM gator, and document how to use ARM DS-5 Streamline for OpenGL ES 2.x/3.x debugging.

If you have a MiQi or Tinker board running Debian, you can try the kernel by adding beta.armbian.com Debian repository to your apt source file, and installing the following packages:

Via linux-rockchip G+ community.

ASUS Tinker Board’s Debian & Kodi Linux Images, Schematics and Documentation

January 24th, 2017 43 comments

We discovered ASUS Tinker Board powered by Rockchip RK3288 processor earlier this year via some slides hidden in a dark corner of the Internet… ASUS has been incredibly quiet about it, but as the board has finally started to sell in Europe on sites like CPC Farnell UK, Proshop (Denmark), or Jimm’s (Finland)  for the equivalent of $57.5 without VAT or $69 including VAT, and more technology sites have started to write about it.

Click to Enlarge

So people have been buying the board, and one even uploaded an unboxing video. One interesting part is the the top comment from the uploader in that video:

Currently, a £55 paperweight as I can’t seem to find a link to the OS image anywhere.

And indeed, ASUS appears to have launched a board without any support website, firmware image and documentation. Maybe that’s why they are quiet about it. But after using some of my voodoo search skills, I finally found firmware images for the board, as well as the schematics, and some other documentations on Asus website. [Update: New official link with the same files as of today (27/01/2017)]

There are currently 10 documents & files for download on the site:

  • Operating System Images – TinkerOS DEBIAN & TinkerOS KODI images
  • Hardware Docs – Tinker Board Schematics (PDF only), 2D & 3D Drawings
  • Software Docs – GPIO API for Python & C,
  • Other documents
    • Qualified Vendors List for devices tested with the board include micro SD cards, USB drives, Bluetooth headsets (A2DP), headphone amplifiers, Bluetooth keyboards & mice, HDMI TVs & monitors, AC adapters, Ethernet dongles, flash disks, and WiFi routers
    • Tinker Board FAQ overview
    • CSI & DSI configuration explaining how to use an external display and/or camera.

Note that there may be a reason why ASUS has not officially published the images yet: they might consider them alpha or beta (TBC).