Linux support concerns
#1
Hi,

I am a backer and pre-purchased a Pine A64+; my interest is primarily in Linux and I am currently and avid Raspberry Pi user.  However, as I have done further research, I am getting concerned about the Allwinner SoC used on the Pine64.  Specifically, it sounds like Allwinner does a very poor job supporting the open source community and so I am concerned about the quality of the Linux implementation.

Here are some threads talking about it:
[/url]
[url= http://forum.armbian.com/index.php/topic/491-need-help-on-pine-a64-15-64bit-quad-core-12ghz-single-board-computer/]http://forum.armbian.com/index.php/topic/491-need-help-on-pine-a64-15-64bit-quad-core-12ghz-single-board-computer/
<- Started by the folks from Pine
https://www.reddit.com/r/linux/comments/...ard_super/

These threads make me question whether this is the right platform for Linux, and I am hoping to get the perspectives of other backers and/or Pine employees.  Am I wrong in thinking of this as a Linux platform and instead should I focus on it as an Android platform?

Thank you!
#2
(12-21-2015, 03:35 PM)jl_678 Wrote: Hi,

I am a backer and pre-purchased a Pine A64+; my interest is primarily in Linux and I am currently and avid Raspberry Pi user.  However, as I have done further research, I am getting concerned about the Allwinner SoC used on the Pine64.  Specifically, it sounds like Allwinner does a very poor job supporting the open source community and so I am concerned about the quality of the Linux implementation.

Here are some threads talking about it:
[/url]
[url= http://forum.armbian.com/index.php/topic/491-need-help-on-pine-a64-15-64bit-quad-core-12ghz-single-board-computer/]http://forum.armbian.com/index.php/topic/491-need-help-on-pine-a64-15-64bit-quad-core-12ghz-single-board-computer/
<- Started by the folks from Pine
https://www.reddit.com/r/linux/comments/...ard_super/

These threads make me question whether this is the right platform for Linux, and I am hoping to get the perspectives of other backers and/or Pine employees.  Am I wrong in thinking of this as a Linux platform and instead should I focus on it as an Android platform?

Thank you!

I have visited Allwinner HQ yesterday and have lunch with CEO, I have expressed on the open community concern and they have interest to improve the situation. At least this is a good start, lets works toward on the positive direction.
#3
I too am concerned as I have owned several Allwinner soc platforms and they all seem to suffer from some serious open-source issues. I own a PCDuino2, PCDuino3, and an ODROID-C1 and can say that the linux community has received ZERO support from Allwinner and that Allwinner has even been found to willingly violate the LGPL repeatedly (ref: http://linux-sunxi.org/GPL_Violations) going so far as to try to obfuscate their code in an attempt to hide that violation.

I am always optimistic that companies will do the right thing but Allwinner\s past offers me little hope. Some of the issues I have seen as a result of their non-involvement are related to hardware accelerated video playback including but not limited to hardware acceleration (High CPU utilization, choppy playback despite a robust GPU) as well as video palette issues.

Now that I've said what (I think) everyone knows already, I sincerely hope that PINE A64's success will lure Allwinner away from the dark side, shoring up their involvement in the open source community, even benefiting other products. Until I see it I remain skeptical (despite funding the Kickstarter project) but hope to be proven wrong.
#4
Another concerned backer here.
I've been following the situation and the more i research, the more worried i get about the Allwinner SoC.
No matter how powerfull the SoC is if i can't take advantage of that power...
#5
Also concerned, I backed the product thinking i would be able to run GNU/Linux on it... wonder if I can still withdraw my order.

Why chose a SoC that violates the GPL ?
#6
(12-30-2015, 04:30 AM)Ketsa Wrote: Also concerned, I backed the product thinking i would be able to run GNU/Linux on it... wonder if I can still withdraw my order.

Why chose a SoC that violates the GPL ?

You can withdraw your backing until the last day of the kickstarter campaign.
#7
(12-30-2015, 04:30 AM)Ketsa Wrote: Also concerned, I backed the product thinking i would be able to run GNU/Linux on it... wonder if I can still withdraw my order.

Why chose a SoC that violates the GPL ?

You'll be able to run linux on it sooner or later. Whether that's ready before you get your board or after is a different question. Some work has to be done for every new SoC, that's not news. Getting a minimal boot isn't the problem. The hard work is getting mainline uboot + mainline linux support, rather than using Allwinner-provided patched versions. Keep in mind that the linux-sunxi community has gotten there with a number of Allwinner SoCs.

An SoC can not violate the GPL, it is an inanimate object. Allwinner - the company behind it - did in the past and, arguably, is in a gray area on one or two bits currently.

The fact is that every single SoC of this kind comes with driver blobs and other types of nonsense. This includes the SoCs used for Raspberry Pi. We're not the target market - portable devices which sell in millions are, so the SoC design shops do what they think they need to do to preserve advantage in the market. It sucks, but c'est la vie.

We're left choosing the parts that have the most power at the right price where we have a decent shot at working around the issues. tllim says Allwinner are receptive to concerns about their relations with the open source community, we'll see if anything comes of it.

-p
#8
(12-31-2015, 07:24 PM)paulieg Wrote:
(12-30-2015, 04:30 AM)Ketsa Wrote: Also concerned, I backed the product thinking i would be able to run GNU/Linux on it... wonder if I can still withdraw my order.

Why chose a SoC that violates the GPL ?

You'll be able to run linux on it sooner or later. Whether that's ready before you get your board or after is a different question. Some work has to be done for every new SoC, that's not news. Getting a minimal boot isn't the problem. The hard work is getting mainline uboot + mainline linux support, rather than using Allwinner-provided patched versions. Keep in mind that the linux-sunxi community has gotten there with a number of Allwinner SoCs.

An SoC can not violate the GPL, it is an inanimate object. Allwinner - the company behind it - did in the past and, arguably, is in a gray area on one or two bits currently.

The fact is that every single SoC of this kind comes with driver blobs and other types of nonsense. This includes the SoCs used for Raspberry Pi. We're not the target market - portable devices which sell in millions are, so the SoC design shops do what they think they need to do to preserve advantage in the market. It sucks, but c'est la vie.

We're left choosing the parts that have the most power at the right price where we have a decent shot at working around the issues. tllim says Allwinner are receptive to concerns about their relations with the open source community, we'll see if anything comes of it.

-p

Linux will work. I think we all can take that for granted.
Regarding Allwinner's policies towards open source, unfortunately, i don't believe that will change... I mean, they don't even provide any kind of documentation... Their actions speak for themselves!
And that means no hardware acceleration in Linux, which in turn means, no FullHD in Linux, no games in Linux, no heavy graphic operation of any kind, bottom line, Linux will be avaliable for browsing or as server (terminal)... which is kind of a limitation...
I think that the time is ripe for ARM to take the desktop area by storm, but until propoer graphics support arrives on Linux, that is not going to happen.
#9
I found the following video : Videotutorial for 3D / 2D acceleration orange pi pc Orangepi 2 GPU

Looks like some people have acceleration working in Debian on mali400, there's hope.
#10
Orange PI 2 only runs 32-bit applications and it looks like they use some old libraries (no open source).


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