Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Allwinner SoC Still Unlikely For Upstream Linux Kernel

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Allwinner SoC Still Unlikely For Upstream Linux Kernel

    Phoronix: Allwinner SoC Still Unlikely For Upstream Linux Kernel

    While Allwinner ARM SoCs are found within massive amounts of the low-cost Android tablets manufactured in China, and there is some open-source Allwinner Linux kernel support, it's still unlikely that the patches will land upstream anytime soon...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTM4NDc

  • #2
    would also love for rockchip to support something other than android from the get go.

    The quad core mk908 is great:

    http://liliputing.com/2013/04/tronsm...nce-video.html


    for the price, I think these things are the future and we must not let android have this market all by itself.

    Comment


    • #3
      This is most unfortunate, as mainlined Allwinner support would enjoy all the latest kernel updates and enhancements in a timely manner. I hope these issues start to get resolved in the months to come.

      Comment


      • #4
        hardware manufacturers produce shitty code unless beaten with a 10 foot pole, news at 11

        seriously, was there a case in which a new contributor to Linux had their patches mainlined in first iteration (or with just few minor changes, like renaming few functions, fixing spelling mistakes, etc.)?

        Comment


        • #5
          Even if Allwinner isn't doing things right on their end, a good deal of support for their SoCs has been written by third parties and is already in the Linux kernel, with even more ongoing:
          http://linux-sunxi.org/Linux_mainlining_effort

          The story seems to totally miss that this effort exists and how advanced it is. It of course would be great if Allwinner themselves did things properly to begin with. It'll be interesting to see how they react to this.

          Comment


          • #6
            I've been playing with some of these chinese SoC devices. I'm finding that the price is definitely related to the quality. You pay $30, and you get the quality-proportional equivalent to something that would be about $200 from a more reputable manufacturer.

            There is also another major barrier to adding support for these things upstream; although there are *some* kernel sources, the word *some* is really REALLY meaningful. You end up with some weird parts like having several binary-only kernel modules, for things like NAND. Rockchip NAND drivers are actually based strongly on MTD, but their own adjustments are BAD (crash prone, for example), and binary only.

            We here WERE using allwinner and/or rockchip based tablets and STB's, but for tablets, we've found it actually CHEAPER to use Google Nexus units. We also plan to move over to a more mainstream SoC for STB's, and are waiting for these guys to move past the "pre-order" stage: http://www.inforcecomputing.com/prod...o/ifc6410.html

            I really couldn't care less if the china SoC's were supported.

            Comment


            • #7
              Cost matters

              Good for you. For the rest of us, price matters and these chips are cheap, nice and used in tons of cheap tablets and boards such as the cubieboard or marsboard, which btw are excellent value/money compared to a raspberry pi, as they're based on Cortex-A8 or 2x Cortex-A7 and have 1GB RAM, 4GB flash storage, SATA and Ethernet (in the SoC, not through usb).

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by rvalles View Post
                Good for you. For the rest of us, price matters and these chips are cheap, nice and used in tons of cheap tablets and boards such as the cubieboard or marsboard, which btw are excellent value/money compared to a raspberry pi, as they're based on Cortex-A8 or 2x Cortex-A7 and have 1GB RAM, 4GB flash storage, SATA and Ethernet (in the SoC, not through usb).
                Maybe, but there are those of us waiting for the unicorn. A high end Cortex-A15 device with a fast GPU that has docs released for all hardware and an unlocked bootloader that lets you erase the Androids/Chrome/whatever other crappy OS it comes with and install a real Linux.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Neat

                  Originally posted by Kivada View Post
                  Maybe, but there are those of us waiting for the unicorn. A high end Cortex-A15 device with a fast GPU that has docs released for all hardware and an unlocked bootloader that lets you erase the Androids/Chrome/whatever other crappy OS it comes with and install a real Linux.
                  I wouldn't mind one of those, assuming it wasn't insanely overpriced.

                  Those Allwinner A20 based boards are just too good value for the money.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm a little baffled at the journalistic ineptitude of this article. And I never complain about that because I find it to be unfair to Micheal.

                    This article should be deleted and redone. Or an errata released. That said, i haven't backread all new posts since then


                    First, Sun4i and Sun5i (A10, A10s, A13) HAVE MAINLINE SUPPORT TODAY.

                    http://linux-sunxi.org/Mainlining_Effort

                    This landed in 3.8. Granted it's not ueber-usefull yet (only some basic bits, but its coming). With 3.11 you can boot a kernel and have networking support. Quite neat.

                    Also Only Mali and CedarX (the userspace bit) is closed. NAND driver (while shit) is open source. As of this week, even the boot0/boot1 bootloaders (that are on nand flash normally) are GPLed. (U-boot works well and better, but only for mmc, no nand driver yet as that's a big mess, an mtd driver is actually in the works and does work, but needs a lot of polish). So to reitterate, while the sources are ugly, the 3.0 and 3.4 kernels from linux-sunxi (drops by allwinner with tons of work done by the community, yours truly included) is 100% Free, libre software. You can run a fully libre system (from mmc only) if you do not need Mali (you can use limare's) and without cedarx (vpu) userland stuff. The only closed bit (i hear you thinking but read on) is the Boot loader embedded in the CPU, but I think that's unavoidable (there is even a remote chance the BROM may have its source released, while unreplaceable, still nice).


                    Some background. Luke (lkcl) had a deadline to talk to upper management. He was uninformed and not entirely aware what has happened on linux-sunxi for the past 6-9 months. While sloppy, it happens. He went blah blah ing onto the debian mailinglist and then the lkml and lakml about how FEX is so awesome and better then devicetree. Again, luke was a little uninformed and failed to realise that devicetree does what fex does and then some. Devicetree is actually older then fex so it's a little annoying they didn't use it, but understandable.

                    After some posts going back/forth, luke learned that: We have mainline support today. We've had it for many months. It uses devicetree from end to end. FEX is gone.



                    meaning that, this post and luke's are moot and irrelevant and have been before they where even created.
                    Last edited by oliver; 06-11-2013, 03:13 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yeah, the article blatantly misrepresents faсts, and the title is particularly wrong. Though it might work as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Succ%C3%A8s_de_scandale because more people will become aware of Allwinner based ARM boards and other devices (hdmi dongles, tablets, TV boxes, netbooks, ...)

                      The Allwinner A10/A13 hardware is very free software friendly thanks to lack of signed bootloaders (any device can boot GNU/Linux from SD card instead of the preinstalled firmware in NAND), availability of documentation, reasonably feature-complete problem-free community maintained custom LTS kernels based on the vendor code drop, and quickly progressing real mainline kernel support.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        That mailthread was most entertaining
                        Luke's lack of insight into the currents state of affairs around allwinner SoC raised some red flags, but what topped it off was when Bj√rn Mork revealed that Luke is likely a troll notorious enough to be used as an example of -ENOPATCH.

                        I'm going to give Luke the benefit of the doubt a wonder if his action will result in better support from Allwinner. Going by the mainlining-effort wiki page, the support is already pretty good for essential hardware and patches coming in 3.11 should make it workable as a server at least (working network, booting, USB for input, etc.) As an owner of Mele A2000, it would be awesome if VPU support was open and mainlined (or at least working properly, ATM the only working setups use a blob for android), but who am I kidding...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by myxal View Post
                          As an owner of Mele A2000, it would be awesome if VPU support was open and mainlined
                          There are some CedarX reverse engineering efforts (that's the name of the VPU in Allwinner chips). A tracer of accesses to hardware registers has been already implemented: https://gitorious.org/recedro/recedro
                          And also a proof of concept open source CedarX accelerated decoder for JPEG (starting with the simple things makes sense): https://github.com/jemk/recedar/tree/master/jpeg-test
                          The guys are making a good progress while we talk here

                          (or at least working properly, ATM the only working setups use a blob for android), but who am I kidding...
                          There are patches for VLC and XBMC to use CedarX hardware accelerated decoding in Linux (via a proprietary userland library so far). It is possible to watch HD videos, but these patched players are still not prefect and have some limitations.
                          Last edited by ssvb; 06-12-2013, 07:50 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ssvb View Post
                            There are some CedarX reverse engineering efforts (that's the name of the VPU in Allwinner chips). A tracer of accesses to hardware registers has been already implemented: https://gitorious.org/recedro/recedro
                            And also a proof of concept open source CedarX accelerated decoder for JPEG (starting with the simple things makes sense): https://github.com/jemk/recedar/tree/master/jpeg-test
                            The guys are making a good progress while we talk here
                            Indeed, this is quite far from being a ready product. What's worse:
                            • if I understood the various wiki articles/blog posts correctly, is that AW's proprietary blob for regular linux is rubbish itself - it chokes on some kinds of streams
                            • there's another, android-targeting blob, which reportedly works fine, but doesn't use OMX API and only recently gathered enough attention to warrant development of a wrapper.
                            • The blobs don't come with any license, and developers are staying away from providing ready-to-use builds.
                            It's depressing that R.Pi, which doesn't even boot without firmware blobs, coupled with lates XBMC builds, has a nearly ready product, while the A10 was hobbled by AW's lack of cooperation and is only now becoming a somewhat usable platform for HTPC and even so, the community support for the platform is nowhere near that for R.Pi, and last I checked, has still quite a few bugs which I consider show-stoppers.

                            Originally posted by ssvb View Post
                            There are patches for VLC and XBMC to use CedarX hardware accelerated decoding in Linux (via a proprietary userland library so far). It is possible to watch HD videos, but these patched players are still not prefect and have some limitations.
                            As noted earlier, a set of patches (at least they're hosted on the sunxi site) is far from a ready-to-use SD-card image.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by myxal View Post
                              It's depressing that R.Pi, which doesn't even boot without firmware blobs, coupled with lates XBMC builds, has a nearly ready product, while the A10 was hobbled by AW's lack of cooperation and is only now becoming a somewhat usable platform for HTPC
                              Your Mele A2000 is a consumer product, which is coincidentally marketed as a freaking HTPC Just boot Android and use it for watching videos instead of launching XBMC. That is if you really don't care whether the player and underlying libraries are proprietary or free software.

                              By the way, have you already tried Allwinner A10 port of XBMC in Linux yourself? Did you have bad experience with it or you are expecting to get bad experience based on various wiki pages and blogs?

                              and even so, the community support for the platform is nowhere near that for R.Pi, and last I checked, has still quite a few bugs which I consider show-stoppers.
                              Do you mean show stopper bugs for the platform itself, which are not related to the proprietary GPU/VPU parts? Could you please provide some links?

                              The proprietary 3D GPU and VPU work, but are problematic. Just like they are problematic for every other ARM hardware. But at least for Allwinner A10/A13 we have fairly good chances to clean up this GPU and VPU mess via reverse engineering. I already provided CedarX VPU reverse engineering links in this topic. And for Mali400 GPU, I guess you have seen this: http://libv.livejournal.com/24735.html
                              Last edited by ssvb; 06-13-2013, 12:55 PM.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X