A New Effort Trying Again To Mainline Linux Kernel Support For The Lemote Yeeloong

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 9 March 2019 at 06:21 PM EST. 16 Comments
The Lemote Yeeloong netbooks came out a decade ago and based on the MIPS Loongson 2F processor clocked up to 900MHz, offered up to 1GB of RAM, some models featuring an 8GB SSD, and driving the display was a Silicon Motion controller. The Yeeloong netbooks/laptops were even used by Richard Stallman for being open-source friendly and he used the devices as his own system for several years. Finally in 2019, better mainline Linux kernel support is being worked on.

It's coming a decade late considering Stallman no longer even relies on the Yeeloong (he since switched to a ThinkPad re-flashed to run Libreboot) and the specifications are very dated these days and not to mention there are many laptops with much newer components that have been "freed" down to the BIOS by the likes of Coreboot/Libreboot. Even several years after the initial hype around the Lemote hardware, it's been difficult even finding the hardware (2012) let alone now in 2019.

But there is now in fact a new effort for improving the mainline kernel support for this once much talked about hardware. The mainline kernel's support for Yeeloong has been quite limited while the new work is hoping to provide the platform drivers for the Yeeloong laptop to the mainline kernel.

There are new patches for the Lemote Yeeloong MIPS laptops that have been cleaned up and improved upon compared to the out-of-tree patches from years ago. This work also includes sub-drivers for the battery, LCD, hot keys, and other functionality. The patches have been sent out a few times in recent days reportedly over email problems, but getting this work reviewed by other upstream developers and merged to the mainline kernel may prove challenging, but we'll see if in 2019 the out-of-the-box mainline kernel support turns out to be in good shape for anyone still hanging onto this MIPS laptop hardware.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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