Status update 2020-12-15
#1
Hello,

Mid-December is there, and it comes with a number of features and improvements Smile

We've been indeed quite busy during the past month:
  • We finally created an on-device installer image, based on the awesome work from our friends at pmOS! This allows you to set the password of your choice instead of the default "1234" and, more importantly, it can be used to enable full disk encryption, which is a feature lots of people have been waiting for
  • Several patches from megi's kernel were backported to our kernel, including:
    • Display refresh rate fixes (60Hz inside)
    • I2C frequency increase (improves the touchscreen response time)
    • New driver for the WiFi adapter, bringing more stable connections and improved power management
  • We introduced a few days ago the 'eg25-manager' package, which is a userspace implementation of megi's power management driver with a few added benefits

The latter deserves some explanation, so here it is: while megi's driver is an interesting, I believe it doesn't belong to the kernel space, for various reasons:
  • First of all, it is highly unlikely it will ever be upstreamed
  • It's a convenience driver, which doesn't require any specific kernel-space features or privileges
  • In addition to handling the modem's GPIOs, it also uses its serial port to send hardcoded AT commands; this limits it to a very device-specific use case, and doesn't allow for easy configuration without recompiling the kernel

As I'd prefer removing downstream patches from our kernel over adding some more, I went for a full re-implementation of this driver in userspace. While giving eg25-manager the same capabilities (management of modem GPIOs for power-on/off and suspend/resume sequences, power state monitoring for faster shutdown, initial configuration using AT commands) as megi's driver, it brings in some additional benefits:
First, eg25-manager monitors ModemManager, so it can stay aware of the modem state (acquired by MM, SIM unlocked or not, registered, data connected...). This allows us, for instance, to release the URC (call or SMS notification) cache only once the modem has been acquired by ModemManager after resuming from sleep. It is also possible, that way, to quickly (< 10s) detect that ModemManager fails to bring the modem back online in a reasonable time, and therefore recover the modem from a broken resume state. You'll probably still miss a few calls, but shouldn't have to reboot your phone anymore after a bad suspend/resume cycle (based on the 'mguard' script by @as400).

The PineTab obviously benefits from the kernel upgrade as well, and it even has its own installer image, in case you want full disk encryption on this device too!

Today's images are our new reference releases for both the PinePhone and PineTab.

Enjoy Smile
  Reply
#2
(12-15-2020, 10:52 AM)a-wai Wrote: Hello,

Mid-December is there, and it comes with a number of features and improvements Smile

We've been indeed quite busy during the past month:
  • We finally created an on-device installer image, based on the awesome work from our friends at pmOS! This allows you to set the password of your choice instead of the default "1234" and, more importantly, it can be used to enable full disk encryption, which is a feature lots of people have been waiting for
  • Several patches from megi's kernel were backported to our kernel, including:
    • Display refresh rate fixes (60Hz inside)
    • I2C frequency increase (improves the touchscreen response time)
    • New driver for the WiFi adapter, bringing more stable connections and improved power management
  • We introduced a few days ago the 'eg25-manager' package, which is a userspace implementation of megi's power management driver with a few added benefits

The latter deserves some explanation, so here it is: while megi's driver is an interesting, I believe it doesn't belong to the kernel space, for various reasons:
  • First of all, it is highly unlikely it will ever be upstreamed
  • It's a convenience driver, which doesn't require any specific kernel-space features or privileges
  • In addition to handling the modem's GPIOs, it also uses its serial port to send hardcoded AT commands; this limits it to a very device-specific use case, and doesn't allow for easy configuration without recompiling the kernel

As I'd prefer removing downstream patches from our kernel over adding some more, I went for a full re-implementation of this driver in userspace. While giving eg25-manager the same capabilities (management of modem GPIOs for power-on/off and suspend/resume sequences, power state monitoring for faster shutdown, initial configuration using AT commands) as megi's driver, it brings in some additional benefits:
First, eg25-manager monitors ModemManager, so it can stay aware of the modem state (acquired by MM, SIM unlocked or not, registered, data connected...). This allows us, for instance, to release the URC (call or SMS notification) cache only once the modem has been acquired by ModemManager after resuming from sleep. It is also possible, that way, to quickly (< 10s) detect that ModemManager fails to bring the modem back online in a reasonable time, and therefore recover the modem from a broken resume state. You'll probably still miss a few calls, but shouldn't have to reboot your phone anymore after a bad suspend/resume cycle (based on the 'mguard' script by @as400).

The PineTab obviously benefits from the kernel upgrade as well, and it even has its own installer image, in case you want full disk encryption on this device too!

Today's images are our new reference releases for both the PinePhone and PineTab.

Enjoy Smile

These are some fine news. Thank you very much for the effort!
Now I need some free time to test the new fde-image...
  Reply
#3
This is all very good news, great work again! Also just in time for my upgraded mainboad which I am putting in my phones chassis right now I even left my android at home today because Mobian is just so good I didnt think I would need it hats off to you guys
  Reply
#4
eg25-manager looks like a really cool innovation, nice work!

Have you communicated with megi or any of the other distro maintainers about it? It would be great to see it adopted widely across the PinePhone software ecosystem. 
  Reply
#5
(12-15-2020, 10:52 AM)a-wai Wrote: Hello,

Mid-December is there, and it comes with a number of features and improvements Smile

We've been indeed quite busy during the past month:
  • We finally created an on-device installer image, based on the awesome work from our friends at pmOS! This allows you to set the password of your choice instead of the default "1234" and, more importantly, it can be used to enable full disk encryption, which is a feature lots of people have been waiting for
  • Several patches from megi's kernel were backported to our kernel, including:
    • Display refresh rate fixes (60Hz inside)
    • I2C frequency increase (improves the touchscreen response time)
    • New driver for the WiFi adapter, bringing more stable connections and improved power management
  • We introduced a few days ago the 'eg25-manager' package, which is a userspace implementation of megi's power management driver with a few added benefits

The latter deserves some explanation, so here it is: while megi's driver is an interesting, I believe it doesn't belong to the kernel space, for various reasons:
  • First of all, it is highly unlikely it will ever be upstreamed
  • It's a convenience driver, which doesn't require any specific kernel-space features or privileges
  • In addition to handling the modem's GPIOs, it also uses its serial port to send hardcoded AT commands; this limits it to a very device-specific use case, and doesn't allow for easy configuration without recompiling the kernel

As I'd prefer removing downstream patches from our kernel over adding some more, I went for a full re-implementation of this driver in userspace. While giving eg25-manager the same capabilities (management of modem GPIOs for power-on/off and suspend/resume sequences, power state monitoring for faster shutdown, initial configuration using AT commands) as megi's driver, it brings in some additional benefits:
First, eg25-manager monitors ModemManager, so it can stay aware of the modem state (acquired by MM, SIM unlocked or not, registered, data connected...). This allows us, for instance, to release the URC (call or SMS notification) cache only once the modem has been acquired by ModemManager after resuming from sleep. It is also possible, that way, to quickly (< 10s) detect that ModemManager fails to bring the modem back online in a reasonable time, and therefore recover the modem from a broken resume state. You'll probably still miss a few calls, but shouldn't have to reboot your phone anymore after a bad suspend/resume cycle (based on the 'mguard' script by @as400).

The PineTab obviously benefits from the kernel upgrade as well, and it even has its own installer image, in case you want full disk encryption on this device too!

Today's images are our new reference releases for both the PinePhone and PineTab.

Enjoy Smile
I never did the modem firmware update. Should I flash that before upgrading to this? Or does the eg25 manager include this?
  Reply
#6
(12-15-2020, 08:40 PM)NoahAndrews Wrote: Have you communicated with megi or any of the other distro maintainers about it? It would be great to see it adopted widely across the PinePhone software ecosystem.

Other maintainers are aware of it and some showed interest, yes. I don't think megi would care as his driver is perfectly tailored to his use case afaik (no telephony middleware)

(12-15-2020, 09:37 PM)rocket2nfinity Wrote: I never did the modem firmware update. Should I flash that before upgrading to this? Or does the eg25 manager include this?

It will probably work even without updating the modem, but upgrading it shouldn't harm if you feel like taking your chance Wink
  Reply
#7
Thanks for the work on eg25-manager ...

I've had some issues with calls, but it was due to my firmware update ... now that this is solved I can assess that wakeups are flawless and I don't miss calls nor i loose connexion ...

but even with call issue, i would not have gone back to my google phone, I feel so at home with mobian. thanx !
  Reply
#8
(12-16-2020, 02:41 PM)fdlamotte Wrote: I can assess that wakeups are flawless and I don't miss calls

Well:

(12-15-2020, 10:52 AM)a-wai Wrote: You'll probably still miss a few calls

eg25-manager is merely a workaround, not a final solution, and it will stay that way until a modem firmware fixes the issue on the modem's side.
  Reply
#9
(12-16-2020, 05:09 PM)a-wai Wrote: eg25-manager is merely a workaround, not a final solution, and it will stay that way until a modem firmware fixes the issue on the modem's side.

True, "Flawless" was probably an overstatement. But it works good enough for me ... and when I'm waiting for a call, I disable suspend ...
  Reply
#10
Great work! I like the way "a-wai" always thinks about the future, no only about fixing problems with quick hacks.

I have the same question about upgrading: I've tried "apt-dist-upgrade" but I am still stuck on 5.9. Is the only way flashing in order to get something consistent? I am so curious to test out the "flawlessness" of these new updates... Smile
  Reply


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