Blobs on the Pinebook Pro
#1
Howdy Piners:

My pinebook pro didn't have bluetooth, wifi, audio, or display functioning properly, until I installed the blobs.  I'm running slarm64, so it was natural to download the blobs from the sndwvs repository:  https://gitlab.com/sndwvs/images_build_k...s/firmware

However, what if something happened to this repository and it went down?  I would feel safer having an additional source.

What other repositories contain pinebook pro blobs, and which repository is "most upstream" and likely to have the most up-to-date firmware?

Since source code is not shared with blobs, then these are certainly something we can't compile ourselves.  Does pine64 have an "official" repository from which it releases these nuisances (sorry I don't like blobs, and would prefer a totally open device with poor non-proprietary resolution on its display and camera).   Nevertheless, since forced to use the blobs if I want full functionality in my pinebook, it would be nice to know from where they can be retrieved?  

Also, will the pbp blobs eventually find themselves in linux kernel's mainline firmware:  git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/firmware/linux-firmware.git?
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#2
Aside from installing the software that comes with the PBP, Pine64 has nothing to do with software.
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#3
ubuntu came on the first pinebook pro... and manjaro on the second: both were installed at pine64.org before shipping to me... both had the blobs installed as well into /lib/firmware where they belong... I can save that firmware and have my own repository so I don't lose it... as did the repository to which I linked...

But do the blobs never ever ever have updates? Are they so perfect that they'll never need a tweak of any kind? Oh: it's really that pine64 is not the manufacturer of the various hardware that has the proprietary blobs... so I would have to check with broadcom, rockchip, and the rest for updated blobs...

From my POV, it's just part of maintaining a system: keeping the firmware up-to-date. I frequently update linux-firmware, so my device will work with the majority of gizmos whose firmware is found there, especially the new gizmos. So it is natural to want to seek out most recent blobs for pinebook pro, and know how to keep them current, if they distributed separately from mainline linux-firmware.

What if the question was rephrased: from where does pine64 obtain the blobs for bt, wifi, graphical display, etc. to function? If we find out, a nice little list of links in the wiki or on a thread here would make the hunt easier.
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#4
Ubuntu? Mine had Debian. I didn't know Ubunto was available at the time. Again Pine64 is not who to blame or who to go to for blobs; check with the developers of your operating system. I don't think Pine64 gets blobs from anyone. When they install the initial operating system, they likely get it the same way the rest of us do.

Don't think about it as getting new blobs for the PBP, think about it as getting new blobs for your flavour of Linux.
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#5
(07-24-2021, 10:19 AM)globaltree Wrote: I'm running slarm64, so it was natural to download the blobs from the sndwvs repository:  https://gitlab.com/sndwvs/images_build_k...s/firmware

That repository is a copy from Armbian carefully selected (years of collecting) minimal set of firmware (they came from linux-firmware and from various hw vendors), blobs for wireless & BT chips that are found on single board computers or popular USB variants https://github.com/armbian/firmware and has nothing specifically to do with Pine64. Its just a very minimal pack of firmware (package armbian-firmware) so your SD card is not full of crap you will never need ... and if you need full fimrware, you download different package (armbian-firmware-full = linux firmware + armbian-firmware). In general, Slackware you use is made from Armbian.

Quote:Aside from installing the software that comes with the PBP, Pine64 has nothing to do with software.

They have their engineers for SW support just they are not available for public. You don't know who they are, so you can't bother them. End users - who would want everything for free - are too expensive to deal with in person, but this has to be presented in some "friendly" way ... Software support exists for business customers. Which is the case with other vendors as well - they all try to distance themselves from responsibility to deliver software (which is anyway impossible without community backing) ... and wasting time for supporting end users.

All the negative emotions associated with never sufficient vendor software support are this way pushed away while in sw support reality nothing changed. Except its better for business.
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#6
(07-25-2021, 06:24 AM)igorp Wrote: They have their engineers for SW support just they are not available for public.

Do you know this for a fact?  I'm not being critical, I'm just asking for clarification.

If so, maybe my words aren't fully correct, but the context is the same.  From the perspective of us PBP users, Pine64 has nothing to do with the software except to install the default operating system.  I expect they don't even actually do this; they probably just copy an image someone else made, onto every eMMC that gets installed.
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#7
(07-25-2021, 07:09 AM)KC9UDX Wrote:
(07-25-2021, 06:24 AM)igorp Wrote: They have their engineers for SW support just they are not available for public.

Do you know this for a fact?  I'm not being critical, I'm just asking for clarification.

If so, maybe my words aren't fully correct, but the context is the same.  From the perspective of us PBP users, Pine64 has nothing to do with the software except to install the default operating system.  I expect they don't even actually do this; they probably just copy an image someone else made, onto every eMMC that gets installed.

From perspective of PBP users, Pine64 is delivering software support via proxy - Manjaro. Their cooperation goes back to the old days, to original Pinebook. Its not secret - just look closely if you want to understsand backstage relations.

Linux distros as such have limited low level know-how, they can't bring up hardware without vendor support, but they have working upper level distro functionalities and community (to sell to) that is not hostile when something goes wrong on "bring up to the Linux" devices as such. Manjaro can also distance themselves "we are trying the best, this is best effort community support" and Pine is by default distancing from all what is sw related, all the bad things (anger of delivering half working product for the 1st year of sales, flow of users questions and demands/pleads for support) that are a necesary part of the R&D. It is certainly good for them, for users? Dunno. Just "not dealing with SW" might not be complelty true.

Currently there is different hardware in the oven, but the principle is the same.
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