Ubuntu 22.10 Aiming To Support The $16+ Sipeed LicheeRV RISC-V Board

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 16 September 2022 at 10:15 AM EDT. 4 Comments
In addition to Ubuntu supporting the StarFive VisionFive and Nezha RISC-V boards, Canonical engineers are also working on supporting the Sipeed LicheeRV board too for next month's 22.10 release. The Sipeed LicheeRV is notable in being one of the cheapest RISC-V boards out there: pricing starts at $16.90 USD.

The Sipeed LicheeRV is a compute module board with M.2 connector that can connect to a carrier board for additional connectivity. The Sipeed LicheeRV uses the Allwinner D1 SoC and is powered by a single-core XuanTie C906 64-bit RISC-V processor. This single-core RISC-V processor runs at just 1.0GHz. Yes, this is a very cheap but slow board. The LicheeRV is primarily for networking purposes and other IoT use-cases.

The Sipeed LicheeRV has just 512MB of DDR3 792MHz system memory but there is also a 1GB variant. Storage is provided by a micro-SD slot. There is optional video/display output support via SPI.

This RISC-V board is far too slow for a viable Linux desktop use-case or even most use-cases that work great with a Raspberry Pi, but should suffice for some IoT purposes. The LicheeRV is available starting at $16.90 from Aliexpress as what appears to be the only distributor shipping to western markets.

The Sipeed LicheeRV was announced last year and initially targeting support for OpenWrt-based Linux distributions, but Canonical recently has been working on getting support for this RISC-V board squared away in time for Ubuntu 22.10. This appears to be part of an increasing focus by the Ubuntu maker for being a leading distribution contender for RISC-V hardware.

There is now a feature freeze exception with plans of a DKMS-based WiFi driver for supporting the LicheeRV. It looks like the request will be granted and that Ubuntu 22.10 is aiming to get good support in place for this board with the next Ubuntu release.
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