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Linux 4.X support for H3

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Post time 2015-11-5 23:48:12 | Show all posts |Read mode
Edited by giacomo892 at 2015-11-23 21:43

Any plans to port Linux 4.X mainline to orange pi with complete kernel-space firmware loading and updated BTRFS code?
https://github.com/linux-sunxi/linux-sunxi/tree/sunxi-next

Post time 2015-11-26 22:19:39 | Show all posts
@bronco  You are wrong.  We have designed Banana Pi. Lemaker and SinoVoip only are sellers.Foxconn pay money to me for ODM Banana Pi. SinoVoip also  rip-off our A31s board that wasn't released by us. We are the real developers.
Post time 2015-11-26 07:33:08 | Show all posts
Edited by bronco at 2015-11-30 06:57
giacomo892 replied at 2015-11-26 05:01
Why H3 which was relased in january is already abbandoned by Allwinner?

Due to market demands (H3 receives no Lollipop update, but A83t does). The H3 is a dirt-cheap OTT box SoC for low-end devices. Since I start to prepare a review for the OPi PC I just do some copy&paste from my word processor:
EDIT: Read the next page before, it clarifies a lot. I assume my assumptions were mostly wrong.

Xunlong currently produces 3 different SBCs (based on A20, H3 and H64) in a few variations. They started with a "Banana Pro" rip-off using the A20 SoC: The "Orange Pi Mini" with exactly the same feature set and nearly 1:1 compatibility with Banana Pro and the "Orange Pi" also containing an internal USB hub. Not only their first SBC was a rip-off, also website and forum were cloned exactly from LeMaker's Banana support forum back then: http://web.archive.org/web/20141 ... gepibbsen/forum.php

Then they started to produce another SBC based on the A31s quad-core SoC  (this time maybe trying to rip-off SinoVoip's "Banana Pi M2") just to realize that Allwinner discontinued this chip at the same time. Only developer samples do exist.

http://www.cnx-software.com/2015 ... inner-h3-processor/
https://olimex.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/a31-som-update/ http://www.armbian.com/orange-pi-a31/

Unlike SinoVoip that started seeling a SBC with an already discontinued SoC Xunlong then decided to use a cheaper and less powerful quad-core SoC, the H3, and built another SBC in a couple of variations:

  • "Orange Pi Plus"/"Orange Pi Plus2" use an internal USB hub to provide 4 ports (shared bandwidth), a RTL8189ETV Wi-Fi chip, a RTL8211 PHY to provide GBit Ethernet, contain also an old/slow/crappy USB-to-SATA bridge with 2TB limitation as well as 8 GB eMMC. The only difference between both is the amount of available RAM (since the H3's memory interface is able to address 2 GB, they used 4Gb chips here and 8Gb chips there) and faster eMMC on the "Plus2".
  • "Orange Pi 2" and "Orange Pi 2 Mini" save eMMC, the USB-to-SATA bridge and the GBit Ethernet PHY but use the H3's internal PHY instead so networking is limited to 100 MB/s. The "2 Mini" also doesn't contain a Wi-Fi module. Both variants still contain the internal USB hub to provide more USB ports that still have to share bandwidth this way.
  • The newest member is the $15 "Orange Pi PC" which also saved the RTL8189ETV Wi-Fi chip and the internal USB hub (which is great news since here you get 4 USB ports that do NOT have to share bandwidth). It also has a simplified PCB layout and maybe even less ESD protection than its siblings (if that's possible). As usual: you get what you pay for :-)

CNX provided a nice comparison table here (but keep in mind that "SATA" means not SATA but crappy USB-to-SATA and that "4 USB ports" means "slow due to shared bandwidth and internal USB hub")

The only reason the H3 exists is Allwinner trying to fulfill the requirements of low-end OTT box manufacturers: Being able to produce dirt-cheap boxes compliant to chinese market demands: "We need octa-core, at least quad-core, don't want this dual-core thing any more!", next step will be "We can't live without 64 bit even if we don't know what that means!" and then aging/cheap/slow 32-bit Cortex-A7 designs like H3 will be discontinued and replaced by aging/cheap/slow 64-bit Cortex-A53 SoCs like Allwinner's A64 and H64, the latter the heart of the upcoming "Orange Pi 3".

The H3's feature set is quite unimpressive but its design makes it possible to produce really cheap boxes/boards without that much additional components on the PCB. The H3 needs no PMU, it contains an internal Ethernet PHY and also 4 USB PHYs already. And the "Orange Pi PC" is the first H3 based SBC that follows the 'dirt-cheap' route consequently.

Major potential drawback: The H3 has been said to waste energy and become hot even when idle. But fortunately not the SoC is broken, just Xunlong's marketing and OS images are. Xunlong marketed the H3 from the very beginning falsely as an 1.6 GHz capable SoC http://web.archive.org/web/20150 ... //www.orangepi.org/ and the Orange Pi H3 community seems to consist of overclocking fans, that love clocking components insanely high only to discuss the best heatsink/fan strategy possible.

...

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Post time 2015-12-31 05:16:44 | Show all posts
Edited by faddat at 2015-12-31 05:22

I'd like to back steven up for a moment:  

The ODMs in China tend to be the no bullshit source of truth because of what it is they do-- Steven, I'm guessing most people dont' know exactly what an ODM is/does-- Shenzhen is a special place in that regard, most everyone you meet knows something about electronics, and if they don't then they have two or three friends that do, and the knowledge is spread in that manner.

O - Original
D - Design
M - Manufacturer
VS:

O - Original
E - Equipment
M - Manufacturer

(and there's a third kind that only licenses, I think but I forget the name)

Sometimes an ODM has production machinery, and sometimes they contract out to another company.  They typically profit from licensing their product* designs to other companies for integration into finished products, which often takes the form of snapping a plastic case onto boards produced by an ODM with on-site machinery or a manufacturer licensing (or "borrowing" -- both "borrowing" and licensing are pretty common, I think) the ODM's design, making the board, snapping on the plastic case, and marketing the product.  The value-add of branding and marketing is incredible with the plastic casing, logo, and sparse documentation often increasing prices 300% or more.  

If you're on this forum, obsessed with electronics, can save $10,000 or so, and don't have kids/wife/husband, then I strongly recommend that you save that money and spend a few months in Shenzhen.  In the meantime, it's a good idea to practice your Chinese.  Mine is fairly terrible but it does give me the ability to get around and have basic conversations.  AFAIK (and I've made attempts to seek out other hardware meccas, but have never found anything that is even 1% the size/scope of Shenzhen (not to mention Guangdong province in general) Shenzhen is a truly unique place in the world.  It is a city that since its founding has epitomized the Post-Deng "Open/New China," and as you'll learn if you go, a mindset all its own.  You can find more entrepreneurship and more drive per square kilometer in Shenzhen than anywhere ,and often it feels like I left a chunk of my soul there, too.  

So, Steven, you've been ODMing deeply innovative electronics products for years now, huh?  

Then without knowing it, I've been enjoying your products since about November 2013 and never knew it!  Thanks for your hard work-- while the software may have been incomplete, that changed over time and the BpI is now my go-to board for projects involving docker!

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Post time 2015-12-24 05:14:51 | Show all posts
Edited by fritz at 2015-12-23 23:35

Well latest news!:
mainline 4.4-rc6 with USB support patch, SMP Hack and THS patch
Boards:
orangepi plus, olinuxino A20, cubieboard A10, mele A2000 .....
Post time 2015-11-18 03:26:05 | Show all posts
Which Orange Pi? There are some containing the A20 and some containing the H3. And that's the only important difference.

For A20 (that also features one SATA port) mainline kernel support is pretty good if you want a headless server. For H3 it's just starting (so don't expect to be able to use btrfs anytime soon with H3): http://linux-sunxi.org/Mainlining_Effort

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Post time 2015-11-18 15:54:41 | Show all posts
@giacomo892
maybe rename the thread in Linux 4.X support fot the H3 or Linux 4.X support fot the A20, depends on what you want know.
For the H3 there are "only patches" but things are "moving" fast.
Boards:
orangepi plus, olinuxino A20, cubieboard A10, mele A2000 .....

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 Author| Post time 2015-11-23 21:44:11 | Show all posts
fritz replied at 2015-11-18 15:54
@giacomo892
maybe rename the thread in Linux 4.X support fot the H3 or Linux 4.X support fot the A20 ...

Renamed And it's for H3
Very tired of using the old kernel... Don't you?

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Post time 2015-11-24 05:28:09 | Show all posts
Yes, but don't espect a "fully" working mainline kernel in short time.
For now it can boot and has usb and gpio support.
Boards:
orangepi plus, olinuxino A20, cubieboard A10, mele A2000 .....
Post time 2015-11-24 05:59:03 | Show all posts
fritz replied at 2015-11-24 05:28
Yes, but don't espect a "fully" working mainline kernel in short time.

And noone should expect that a 'fully' working mainline kernel provides the same features as the aging sunxi 3.4.39 kernel does now.

I'm really looking forward to benefit from this 'full' mainline support the community is working on since we're planning to use the cheap OPi PC as headless device for this and that. But based on stuff posted everywhere here in the forums I've the impression that many users still think when mainline support for H3 is somewhat ready all problems with software support for their Orange Pis automagically disappear. Which will not be the case unless Allwinner itself changes their contribution style and actively pushes mainlining efforts from the very beginning for new SoCs (which is absolulety not the case right now, they just escaped from kernel 3.4 now with their new SoCs to stay with 3.10 for the next years)

Anyway, it's funny (both being on the bleeding edge following mainlining efforts for a new SoC as well as realising that all the stuff that happens now here happened a year ago at LeMaker's forum with A20 -- un Déjà-vu )

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 Author| Post time 2015-11-25 03:19:22 | Show all posts
bronco replied at 2015-11-24 05:59
And noone should expect that a 'fully' working mainline kernel provides the same features as the ag ...

The aim of a newer kernel is to provide new drivers and so better hw supports, new BTRFS code and so on
What do you talk about when you say "same features"?

Post time 2015-11-25 21:11:09 | Show all posts
Edited by bronco at 2015-11-25 21:31
giacomo892 replied at 2015-11-25 03:19
The aim of a newer kernel is to provide new drivers and so better hw supports, new BTRFS code and  ...

Yes, that's the aim. Being able to use more recent code/drivers that are already present in mainline kernel.

The downside is: You can't do this without writing huge amounts of code from scratch for the new hardware (for every new SoC Allwinner releases and that the community finds interesting since Allwinner still refuses to think about 'mainlining' their hardware, which is perfectly OK for them since they make their money with millions of Android devices where nobody gives a sh*t regarding kernel versions. At least for the SoCs they still support -- which does not apply to the H3 -- they switched to kernel 3.10 in the meantime).

Writing code from scratch has some consequences: Some things that work now with Allwinner's 3.4.39 kernel won't work with mainline kernel from the beginning or some of them at all. Just compare: http://linux-sunxi.org/Mainlining_Effort#Left_to_be_done

Next year we will be able to use H3 based Orange Pis as headless system with mainline kernel (which is great and all I need the OPi PC for). Display support? Well, a simple framebuffer might work later. Audio? Nope. 2D/3D GPU acceleration? Nope, kernel and userland code don't match. And so on.

That's the same with nearly all SoC vendors that are solely focused on Android (smartphones, tablets, OTT boxes and the like): they start with a specific kernel release when they start with a new Android SoC, then they hack the driver stuff so that the whole thing works somewhat, create a bsp that combines the kernel stuff with closed sourced libs necessary to get HW acceleration in Android (2D/3D/video) and that's all that's necessary to sell Android devices. But some SoC vendors do it differently than others. Amlogic for example provided a clean patchset for their S805 SoC so that Hardkernel is able to always provide the latest version of kernel 3.10.y (this is an LTS release!) to their ODROID-C1/C1+ customers: https://github.com/hardkernel/linux/tree/odroidc-3.10.y


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 Author| Post time 2015-11-26 05:01:32 | Show all posts
bronco replied at 2015-11-25 21:11
Yes, that's the aim. Being able to use more recent code/drivers that are already present in mainlin ...

Thanks for this complete answer My aim is to run an headless Orange PI
Why H3 which was relased in january is already abbandoned by Allwinner?

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