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Android-x86 5.1-RC1 Is Now Out: Mesa OpenGL ES & UEFI Fun

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  • Android-x86 5.1-RC1 Is Now Out: Mesa OpenGL ES & UEFI Fun

    Phoronix: Android-x86 5.1-RC1 Is Now Out: Mesa OpenGL ES & UEFI Fun

    While upstream Android 6.0 is available as "Marshmallow", in the Android-x86 world they just reached their 5.1-RC1 milestone which is also their first release candidate to date based on Android Lollipop...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...id-x86-5.1-RC1

  • #2
    Oh, sure, UEFI can give you a lot of "fun", if you'll consider headache as such. Especially in something like Android device. In fact Intel is very amazing in their persistence of being counterproductive stubborn wrenches. They trying to push shit like x86 into Android market. Needless to say it works poorly, since x86 sucks hard at power management. And all their overengineered workarounds are "defective by design" and working poorly while putting a lot of burden on kernel devs, system implementers and many others. So x86 based devices tend to suck a lot in terms of battery life, whatever Intel does. And then UEFI? Oh, sure thing, what users really need are longer boot times spent in overengineered firmware crap and huge bugged system fitrmware which would fuck things up here and there.

    So, Intel helds well-deserved market share on Android market, which is close to 0%. And no, x86 isn't advantage on Android. Its major disadvantage: most programs with native parts (e.g. games) either better optimized for ARMv7 or just lack x86 part at all and would not work.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by SystemCrasher View Post
      Oh, sure, UEFI can give you a lot of "fun", if you'll consider headache as such. Especially in something like Android device. In fact Intel is very amazing in their persistence of being counterproductive stubborn wrenches. They trying to push shit like x86 into Android market. Needless to say it works poorly, since x86 sucks hard at power management. And all their overengineered workarounds are "defective by design" and working poorly while putting a lot of burden on kernel devs, system implementers and many others. So x86 based devices tend to suck a lot in terms of battery life, whatever Intel does. And then UEFI? Oh, sure thing, what users really need are longer boot times spent in overengineered firmware crap and huge bugged system fitrmware which would fuck things up here and there.

      So, Intel helds well-deserved market share on Android market, which is close to 0%. And no, x86 isn't advantage on Android. Its major disadvantage: most programs with native parts (e.g. games) either better optimized for ARMv7 or just lack x86 part at all and would not work.
      Well, it's fun to play with an Android install on my desktop anyway, even if it is sort of pointless. Perhaps some people have uses for it, such as a nice media center or something.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by NateHubbard View Post

        Well, it's fun to play with an Android install on my desktop anyway, even if it is sort of pointless. Perhaps some people have uses for it, such as a nice media center or something.
        Wouldn't touch it with a 10' pole for my media centre's.
        Hi

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        • #5
          Sorry fanboys, just for gaming and web is Android more stable than linux and any terminal commands to make things working arent needed.

          Only problem is lack of some hardware support, directly in distro.

          There are billion of Android phones users and they will in future use this on their desktops like Windows alternative, if you thing that future for mainstream is Linux, you are probably wrong.
          Last edited by ruthan; 08 October 2015, 01:04 PM.

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          • #6
            Android on x86 would be awesome for older hardware if all you need are a few basic apps. I for one would like to turn my old Thinkpad T42 that still works great into a sort of netbook.

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            • #7
              SystemCrasher SystemCrasher
              A year ago I helped a colleague install linux as a dual boot option on his netbook which had UEFI firmware, and it was a bit of a struggle. Some months ago I bought a Windows 8.1 tablet/convertible and I learned a lot about UEFI in making it dual boot.

              Now, I like UEFI. Sure, it's different, but when you understand what it's doing it's better than all the broken BIOSes out there with random ability to boot off different devices.
              Long ago I used LILO, and stuck with it long after grub became the default because I could type lilo configs in my sleep. Then one day I accidentally installed grub instead of switching to lilo, and discovered grub was much much faster loading the kernel. Now I'd never go back to lilo. Sometimes you have to take the pain to go forwards. I think UEFI is on the whole a good thing. ​


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              • #8
                Originally posted by NateHubbard View Post

                Perhaps some people have uses for it
                I am one of those people. Here is how I use android-x86 and why I like that project:

                I have a Samsung tablet/laptop convertible (one of those that you can use like a touchscreen tablet and attach a keyboard (with touchpad and USB hub) and use as a laptop). It has an Intel processor (and a surprisingly good one for a tablet -- a mediocre Intel i5; most similar devices come with Celerons or Atoms), and it originally came with a full standard Windows 8 installation on it. Which I guess was neat, since it was always capable of anything a normal laptop would be capable of.

                However, I personally don't like Windows, so I replaced that with a Linux installation of my choice. And I used it like that for a few years (quite a long time given how much is the typical lifespan of modern consumer products...) -- almost entirely like a regular laptop, occasionally using the touchscreen for a few things here and there, but I never used it much as a tablet without the keyboard.

                A few months ago, the keyboard broke. By that I mean physically -- the connection between the tablet and the keyboard extension. And the connector is a proprietary one. Consumer devices like this don't typically tend to be very repairable either, so there wasn't much I could do about it. I decided it was time for me to get a new laptop anyway, but I still wanted to be able to use the device, since it is otherwise fully functional. Here is where Android-x86 comes in. I installed Android on it and turned it into a perfectly-usable tablet, like any other Android tablet. Face it, no standard Linux distro has a GUI that is even close to being as touch-friendly/tablet-friendly as Android, and let's not even mention applications. So in this case, Android-x86 allowed me to get the best experience out of my device. It allowed me to continue having a good use for my device which would otherwise be useless.

                Also, on another note, I also tried installing Windows again, to see how it would behave, and it turned out that over the years, some part of the Intel integrated GPU had failed (the hardware itself), which resulted in graphics corruption and jitter all over the screen. I was hoping it might have been a software issue with Windows, and I tried all versions from Windows 10 all the way back to Windows XP, but all had the problem. Mysteriously, the Linux drivers were unaffected (I guess maybe they do something different with the GPU hardware?), which is why I had never noticed the problem to begin with. Hence, the device was only really usable with Linux. In any case, it is now happily running Android-x86.

                Just wanted to tell my story and let people in this forum thread know that there are people who legitimately want to run Android on their x86 devices, for various reasons. It really is the best operating system in my case.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by SystemCrasher View Post
                  Oh, sure, UEFI can give you a lot of "fun", if you'll consider headache as such. Especially in something like Android device. In fact Intel is very amazing in their persistence of being counterproductive stubborn wrenches. They trying to push shit like x86 into Android market. Needless to say it works poorly, since x86 sucks hard at power management. And all their overengineered workarounds are "defective by design" and working poorly while putting a lot of burden on kernel devs, system implementers and many others. So x86 based devices tend to suck a lot in terms of battery life, whatever Intel does. And then UEFI? Oh, sure thing, what users really need are longer boot times spent in overengineered firmware crap and huge bugged system fitrmware which would fuck things up here and there.

                  So, Intel helds well-deserved market share on Android market, which is close to 0%. And no, x86 isn't advantage on Android. Its major disadvantage: most programs with native parts (e.g. games) either better optimized for ARMv7 or just lack x86 part at all and would not work.
                  The Bay Trail-T stuff I have experience with give the impression that it's not really much worse than e.g. Chinese Rockchip ARMs. ARM might have better power consumption in sleep modes. When idle/active, it's not that much different. Besides things like the display and RAM use most of the power anyways. Soon the Bay Trail-T supports Android 5.x and OpenGL ES 3.1 with totally open source drivers (modulo firmware). This makes it a very interesting target compared to totally closed source ARM world with crappy half assed GPU drivers. Sure Intel has worse power consumption but the competition might force ARM to open up their stuff more.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by speculatrix View Post
                    Now, I like UEFI. Sure, it's different, but when you understand what it's doing it's better than all the broken BIOSes
                    That's why I like small ARM systems. No broken BIOS && no UEFI shit. That what makes dealing with such system far more pleasant. Not to mention it can be customized for cases where one, say, completely lacks keyboard and mouse. Like tv-sticks with android do, kiosks, etc.

                    I think UEFI is on the whole a good thing
                    I do think UEFI is overengineered and intrusive piece of crap. Not to mention it proprietary, tends to contain gazillions of bugs/limitations/restrictions/annoyances which would never get fixed on most platforms, because it is proprietary and most x86 board MFRs do not care about anything but windows, to make it even worse. So, you replace relatively compact crappy BIOS blob with another, bigger and more bugged and more intrusive blob. Which mandates shit like FAT32 partition, PE EXEs and other Microsoft-inclined idiocy, which shoulnd't be here in first place. And quite intrusive and not really customizable. E.g. if you want to adjust early boot attitude of system, you're out of luck with UEFI firmware. I'm not a big fan of it, to say the least.​

                    Originally posted by caligula View Post
                    The Bay Trail-T stuff I have experience with give the impression that it's not really much worse than e.g. Chinese Rockchip ARMs.
                    And I got impression even chinese stuff like rockchip lasts 2 times more on comparable battery. Somehow, all Intel based tablets I've seen were draining battery, hardly exceeding 3-4 hours of active time, unless vendor goes for huge, laptop-sized battery. Which is bad for device size and weight and requires notebook charger (forget about charging via usb, and get used to taking big and custom charger with you, so you basically get awkward notebook without keyboard).

                    ARM might have better power consumption in sleep modes.
                    Do you know what these chinese nuts do as "power management"? You will laugh! They downclock CPU to 20...60 MHz and request lowest voltage from power manager IC. CPU remains active, OS running. It can do anything as usually. CPU consumes very little power at such freq and can run like this for ~WEEK using tablet battery. When load increases, CPU clock and voltage goes up. Its simple and well known technique, but only chinese mfrs do it in such extreme way. There is catch: it can potentially increase latency. Yet, smarter power management would do it either :P.

                    When idle/active, it's not that much different.
                    ...because screen is a noteworthy contributor to system consumption. But whatever, Intel drains battery faster while they have orders of magnitude more complicated (and bugged!!) power management. Isn't it laughable? Result is poor working & standby time together with ... numerous bugs and glitches which plague power management on intel tablets.

                    with totally open source drivers (modulo firmware).
                    On other hand, ARMs usually have very minimal "mandatory" boot loaders. Basically, in chinese ICs, minimal on-chip ROM (few KiB in size, easy to validate if it harmless) reads your code from NAND or SD-CARD and GTFO's. Everything else is up to that code. Needless to say it more simple, less bugged and can be customized for stuff like kiosk or tablet, where one basically wants boot loader just kick that Linux and do not ask moron questions (as it could be not in mood to deal with custom stuff like unusual touchscreen, IR control, or even lack of input methods). Dealing with UEFI in custom system like a tablet or kiosk? Nope, thanks. There is no chance to get it right.

                    This makes it a very interesting target compared to totally closed source ARM world with crappy half assed GPU drivers.
                    I would agree ARMs suxx at this. On other hand, many chinese ARMs have far more pleasant boot sequence. Say, I can boot up Allwinner devices without blobs at all. Opensource u-boot kicks my kernel. Kernel kicks rest of OS. I have full control on how things are working. So I can implement really custom systems, etc. That's how OpenSource supposed to work. Not a case with Intel. So I would consider Intel proprietary inclined company, sorry.

                    Sure Intel has worse power consumption but the competition might force ARM to open up their stuff more.
                    In fact I can imagine only one advantage: opensource 3D GPU drivers. Everything else suxx. Atoms require far more complex system design and it exposes bugs in literally all imaginable areas. Say, I've seen some devices with dumbass issues related to charging battery. In ARM devices you take certain attitude of USB charging as granted. Intel struggles even here! Damn, its crap. They could fail to recognize 5V 2A charger half of time, thinking it is weak USB port. Draining just 500mA, while it safe to go for 2A. Needless to say, charging device takes forever if charger has been misdetected. Do you know what users think when charging takes 8 hours and discharge takes 4 hours? Bah, x86 in tablets? EPIC FAIL of engineering.

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