Linux 5.0 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS & RISC-V Architectures

Linux 5.0 Changelog

Linus Torvalds has just released Linux 5.0: Ok, so the last week of the 5.0 release wasn’t entirely quiet, but it’s a lot smaller than rc8 was, and on the whole I’m happy that I delayed a week and did an rc8. It turns out that the actual patch that I talked about in the rc8 release wasn’t the worrisome bug I had thought: yes, we had an uninitialized variable, but the reason we hadn’t immediately noticed it due to a warning was that the way gcc works, the compiler had basically initialized it for us to the right value. So the same thing that caused not the lack of warning, also effectively meant that the fix was a no-op in practice. But hey, we had other bug fixes come in that actually did matter, and the uninitialized variable _could_ have been a problem with another compiler. Regardless – all is well that ends well. We have more than a …

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Banana Pi BPI-M4 Board Comes with RTD1395 Processor, M.2 Socket, Raspberry Pi 3B+ Form Factor

Banana Pi BPI-M4

Realtek RTD1395 processor is a lower cost version of RTD1295 / RTD1296 processors found in mid-range TV boxes often including HDMI input and output such as Zidoo X9s or LAKE I Home Cloud. The new processor comes with a lower-end Mali-470MP4 GPU and removed some interfaces like HDMI input and native SATA. So far, we had seen very few hardware platforms built around the processor, but SinoVoIP has just unveiled their latest Banana Pi BPI-M4 board powered by Realtek RTD1395 processor, following Raspberry Pi 3B+ form factor, and adding an M.2 key E socket with PCIe 2.0 and USB 2.0 signals. Banana Pi BPI-M4 specifications: SoC – Realtek RTD1395 quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 processor with Mali-470 MP4 GPU System Memory – 1 GB DDR4 (option 2 GB) Storage – 8G eMMC flash (max 64 GB), micro SD slot up to 256GB Video Output – 1x HDMI 2.0 port up to 1080p (TBC) Audio – Via HDMI port, 3.5mm audio jack Connectivity …

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Linux 4.20 Release – Main Changes, Arm and MIPS Architectures

Linux 4.20 Changelog

After Greg K-H handling Linux 4.19 release, Linus Torvalds is back at the helm, and released Linux 4.20 just before Christmas: Let’s face it, last week wasn’t quite as quiet as I would have hoped for, but there really doesn’t seem to be any point to delay 4.20 because everybody is already taking a break. And it’s not like there are any known issues, it’s just that the shortlog below is a bit longer than I would have wished for. Nothing screams “oh, that’s scary”, though. And as part of the “everybody is already taking a break”, I can happily report that I already have quite a few early pull requests in my inbox. I encouraged people to get it over and done with, so that people can just relax over the year-end holidays. In fact, I probably won’t start pulling for a couple of days, but otherwise let’s just try to keep to the normal merge window schedule, even …

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Banana Pi to Launch a 24-Core Arm Server

Banana Pi 24-Core Arm Server

SinoVoIP has been offering Banana Pi single board computers for several years. Their boards are generally based on Arm processors, offered at a relatively decent price, although not as quite as good value as FriendlyELEC and Orange Pi ones. The company is also known for providing subpar documentation and firmware images, but a fairly active community still formed around their boards 🙂 The company has now demonstrated something a little different with a 24-core Arm server that should eventually be sold as a Banana Pi server board or actual server, as the full details are yet to be known. We did not get a glimpse at the actual hardware, but the blurry photo above gives some clues. We have 24-core Arm Cortex A53 processor with 32GB RAM (29.4GB seen by the OS) running Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS with MATE desktop. There aren’t that many 24-core Arm Cortex A53 processors, so unless the company is using an announced processor, it has to …

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Banana Pi BPI-P2 Zero Board Combines PoE, Camera Interface, and Allwinner H2+ Processor

Banana Pi BPI-P2 Zero

Allwinner H2+ quad core Cortex A7 processor has enabled some of the cheapest Arm Linux boards on the market with products such as NanoPi Duo or Orange Pi Zero with the latter now selling for about $9 and up. SinoVoIP also had their own inexpensive – and Raspberry Pi Zero compatible – Allwinner H2+ board with Banana Pi M2 Zero, and the company has now been working on another model dubbed BPI-P2 Zero which includes support for PoE (Power-over-Ethernet) as well as a CSI camera interface. Banana Pi BPI-P2 Zero specifications: SoC – Allwinner H2+ quad core Arm Cortex A7 processor with Mali-400MP GPU. System Memory – 512MB DDR3 SDRAM. Storage – 8GB eMMC flash, micro SD card slot Video Output – mini HDMI port Connectivity 10/100M Ethernet with PoE support WiFi & Bluetooth via AP6212 module Camera I/F – CSI camera interface USB – 1x USB OTG port Expansion – 40-pin GPIO header with UART, SPI, I2C, etc… Debugging …

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Banana Pi BPI-R64 Router Board is Powered by Mediatek MT7622, Supports 802.11ac WiFi, Optional PoE Module

Banana Pi BPI-R64

SinoVoIP launched several Banana Pi router boards in the past starting with Allwinner A20 based Banana Pi BPI-R1 in 2014, and followed by Banana Pi BPI-R2 board powered by a Mediatek MT7623 processor last year. Such boards normally include multiple Gigabit Ethernet ports, as well as at least one SATA connector, and in some cases an mPCIe connector for WiFi or LTE cards. THe company also launched Banana Pi BPI-W2 board a few months ago, but that model is more geared towards multimedia router use cases. The company has now unveiled Banana Pi BPI-R64 router board based on Mediatek MT7622 dual core Arm Cortex-A53 processor, five Gigabit Ethernet port, on-board 802.11ac WiFi, one “laptop” SATA port, as well as an optional PoE (Power-over-Ethernet) add-on board.Banana PI RPI-R64 board specifications provided by the company – which has not always shown to be accurate -: SoC – MediaTek MT7622 dual-core Arm Cortex-A53 @ 1.35GHz with dedicated network accelerator, 4×4 802.11n and Bluetooth …

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Banana Pi BPI-M2+ V1.2 Board Improves Power Management

When people decided which development board to purchase for their project / use case(s), the often look at the processor, memory, storage, and the external ports, as well as I/Os. However, very few people look at the PMIC (Power Management IC) on the board, as it’s normally an afterthought. Development boards can work without PMIC, instead relying on a single fixed voltage, and for many people that may be good enough, but for more demanding tasks it may lead to either lower performance or overheating issues. Modern processor all rely on DVFS ( Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling) in order to adjust both the voltage and frequency of the processor depending on the load. This is done to optimize power consumption and/or manage the power budget, and overheating may lead to CPU throttling, where the system lowers the frequency and/or operating voltage in  order to avoid damaging the processor. I’m writing about DVFS and PMIC today, because SinoVoIP first launched …

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Banana Pi BPI-S64 Core is a “Compute Module” based on Actions Semi S700 Processor

SinoVoIP has launched many development boards & SBCs under the Banana Pi brands, but so far they had not designed any system-on-modules (SoM). Banana Pi BPI-S64 Core is their first SoM, which they refer to as “Compute Module” for the compulsory Raspberry Pi reference, and it’s not based on Allwinner or Realtek processors used in many of their recent boards, but instead an Actions Semi S700 quad core Cortex A53 processor. Banana Pi BPI-S64 Core specifications: SoC – Actions Semi S700 quad core Arm Cortex-A53 processor with Arm Mali-450MP4 GPU with OpenGL ES2.0/1.1, OpenVG 1.1, EGL 1.5 support System Memory – 2GB LPDDR3 Storage – 8GB eMMC flash Edge Connector – 204-pin SO-DIMM connector Power Supply – PMIC on-board Dimensions – 67.5 x 30 mm The company also provides Banana pi BPI-S64 core kit for getting started with the module. Development kit preliminary specifications: SODIMM slot for Banana BPI-S64 Core SoM Storage – micro SD card slot Video Output / …

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