Purism Continues To Explore i.MX6/i.MX8 For The Librem 5 Phone
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 4 October 2017 at 11:12 AM EDT. 28 Comments
HARDWARE --
Todd Weaver of Purism has provided an update on the planned Librem 5 smartphone hardware components and that with a development board they do have Debian booting.

Debian GNU/Linux unstable is now working with an iMX6 development board and can boot Wayland with GNOME. Their testing has been with the i.MX6 SoC paired with the Etnaviv graphics stack.

The i.MX6 series is already rather dated with using ARM Cortex-A9 cores with Vivante graphics. These SoCs have been around since 2011 and aren't all that spectacular compared to other modern SoCs. Especially with the Librem 5 not expected to ship until 2019, it would be an embarrassment and sluggish experience to see a new smartphone making use of this chip.

Fortunately, Purism is hoping to get in an i.MX8. The i.MX8 make use of Cortex-A53 cores and some models also feature additional Cortex-A72 cores. The i.MX8 uses Vivante GC7000 series. They won't know for a few months if they will be able to get the i.MX8 suiting their needs for the Purism 5, plus the fact that Etnaviv doesn't yet support the GC7000 graphics, but at least it's looking like it might happen. Todd wrote, "we will very likely be using the i.MX8M in the Librem 5."

The brief Librem 5 hardware update can be read at Puri.sm.
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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 10,000 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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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