OS development question
#1
Currently I am using the default debian image provided by @Mrfixit2001 . It seems to me, that the image, as every other downloadable image from the download section, contains a lot of modifications and extensions to the standard kernel and drivers. I  am wondering if I have to stick to these customized images for the lifetime of the PBP.  Are there plans to propagate these modifications to the standard debian repositories? Are there plans to create a PBP (or pine64) specific distro, like Raspbian for the rpi. As I am new to this, can anyone explain to me, how FOSS OS development generally happens and how it will be in this specific case.
#2
You can expect a lot of movement on all sides.

Mrfixit has done an amazing job at creating a well polished experience to accompany the Pinebook Pro from the factory. Ayufan has produced fantastic Ubuntu distribution as well. Those are meant to be solid out of the box experiences and use older kernels that work with the drivers from Rockchip. You will notice for example that the Mali GPU driver is more complete than it's open source counterpart - Panfrost. But we can't work on the Mali blob - only use it.

Both default Debian and Ubuntu are using 32bit userspace (programs are compiled against armhf) which allows them to use Widevine - it's the DRM to use Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify as examples. Widevine isn't available for 64bit userspace (aarch64) because Google.

I still haven't gotten around to play with Q4OS or ChromiumOS but I look forward to give them a shot.

Now on to the long term goal - full mainline and just loading the generic distribution image. There is activity on every front and the various threads from this forum can give you a taste.
For now, booting has a few wrinkles (you can't use something like GRUB) but at least several people are actively pursuing friendlier alternatives to the current uboot situation.
GPU side is very active for all Mali GPUs and I would advise you to keep an eye on Panfrost. Two years ago the driver was barely working, today is steadily moving towards es3 and you can enjoy fast desktop experience with gles2 and GL2. The developers are fantastic and we can see how Panfrost grows everyday.
VPU is still work in progress (watching accelerated video and so on) yet there is no problem with 1080p YouTube on mainline kernels.
There are a few wrinkles for resume from sleep and suspending(which work on default Debian) yet some developers are working on that as well. The battery life is good already and we have another improvement to look forwards to.
The audio is being pumped through the headphones and speakers at the same time for now. You can see several messages on the channels about possible solutions which are being considered. USB audio works normally btw

Overall - mainline development is very active and the end goal is to use it as a default. Until those remaining items are compete, less adventurous user or just people who want things to work as is, have stable and feature rich options with the customized distributions using the older base.

Hope the massive rambling is at least cohesive and it will help you a bit Smile

Device: Pinebook Pro 128GB No:246 / MainOS: Manjaro ARM
Godot and Flutter - creating something can be fun with the right tools!
#3
(01-21-2020, 07:08 PM)PakoSt Wrote: You can expect a lot of movement on all sides.

Mrfixit has done an amazing job at creating a well polished experience to accompany the Pinebook Pro from the factory. Ayufan has produced fantastic Ubuntu distribution as well. Those are meant to be solid out of the box experiences and use older kernels that work with the drivers from Rockchip. You will notice for example that the Mali GPU driver is more complete than it's open source counterpart - Panfrost. But we can't work on the Mali blob - only use it.

Both default Debian and Ubuntu are using 32bit userspace (programs are compiled against armhf) which allows them to use Widevine - it's the DRM to use Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify as examples. Widevine isn't available for 64bit userspace (aarch64) because Google.

I still haven't gotten around to play with Q4OS or ChromiumOS but I look forward to give them a shot.

Now on to the long term goal - full mainline and just loading the generic distribution image. There is activity on every front and the various threads from this forum can give you a taste.
For now, booting has a few wrinkles (you can't use something like GRUB) but at least several people are actively pursuing friendlier alternatives to the current uboot situation.
GPU side is very active for all Mali GPUs and I would advise you to keep an eye on Panfrost. Two years ago the driver was barely working, today is steadily moving towards es3 and you can enjoy fast desktop experience with gles2 and GL2. The developers are fantastic and we can see how Panfrost grows everyday.
VPU is still work in progress (watching accelerated video and so on) yet there is no problem with 1080p YouTube on mainline kernels.
There are a few wrinkles for resume from sleep and suspending(which work on default Debian) yet some developers are working on that as well. The battery life is good already and we have another improvement to look forwards to.
The audio is being pumped through the headphones and speakers at the same time for now. You can see several messages on the channels about possible solutions which are being considered. USB audio works normally btw

Overall - mainline development is very active and the end goal is to use it as a default. Until those remaining items are compete, less adventurous user or just people who want things to work as is, have stable and feature rich options with the customized distributions using the older base.

Hope the massive rambling is at least cohesive and it will help you a bit Smile
Thanks for the insight. As I understand, there is a bunch of people, loosely coupled to  each other, trying to make things work for the PBP. But there is noone who puts these efforts together and tries to upstream this into mainline debian or the linux kernel. BTW, is it hard to get a specific customization or driver module into mainline linux?
#4
I'm not sure what your view is of "a bunch of people, loosely coupled together".

If it's in the context of a team or developer from Pine64 meant to coordinate and support the Pinebook Pro (in the same fashion as of how there are dedicated developers for the support of System76 laptops, Dell XPS13 Developer Edition, Star Labs laptops,etc) - then yes, you can call them loosely coupled. Pine64 devices are community driven for the software development.

In the world of FOSS, I guess you can call it "business as usual". You can bet that the developers are actively sharing and coordinating their efforts.

As for how hard it is to get some specific customization into mainline kernel - no idea except that it's hard. I'm not knowledgeable enough to comment there (read the docs/ guidelines and produce quality code, I guess).

I can see you also mentioned mainline Debian - get familiar with their release cycle and rules on their website. As most of the development on the Pinebook Pro is happening with bleeding edge kernels for the moment, the testing or unstable branch might be what you are looking for. Do check the thread pinned at the top for the unofficial Debian installer: https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=8487

Device: Pinebook Pro 128GB No:246 / MainOS: Manjaro ARM
Godot and Flutter - creating something can be fun with the right tools!
#5
(01-25-2020, 09:10 AM)PakoSt Wrote: I'm not sure what your view is of "a bunch of people, loosely coupled together".

If it's in the context of a team or developer from Pine64 meant to coordinate and support the Pinebook Pro (in the same fashion as of how there are dedicated developers for the support of System76 laptops, Dell XPS13 Developer Edition, Star Labs laptops,etc) - then yes, you can call them loosely coupled. Pine64 devices are community driven for the software development.

In the world of FOSS, I guess you can call it "business as usual". You can bet that the developers are actively sharing and coordinating their efforts.

As for how hard it is to get some specific customization into mainline kernel - no idea except that it's hard. I'm not knowledgeable enough to comment there (read the docs/ guidelines and produce quality code, I guess).

I can see you also mentioned mainline Debian - get familiar with their release cycle and rules on their website. As most of the development on the Pinebook Pro is happening with bleeding edge kernels for the moment, the testing or unstable branch might be what you are looking for. Do check the thread pinned at the top for the unofficial Debian installer: https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=8487

Thanks a lot for explaining!


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