Running FreeBSD on Open Source Hardware RT5350F-OLinuXino MIPS board


via Twitter

Emmanuel Vadot posted nice tutorial how to run FreeBSD on RT5350F-OLinuXino on his blog.

Part2 – GPIOs

Our Summer vacation is approaching, please plan your orders on time


Please note: We will be closed for the first 2 weeks of August.  Every time our vacation approached it becomes a little bit tensely here as many people decide to order in the very last moment.

All small orders which are received and paid by 10.00 o’clock Bulgarian time on 31th of July, have decent chances to be shipped same day, for the bigger orders if we can’t manage to handle them same day they will be shipped on August 17th when we are back from our vacation, so please plan your orders in advance next week and do not wait Friday to place your order :)

OLinuXino roadmap 2015 :)


Many people ask us about what we do with Open Source Hardware OLinuXino project. Indeed we didn’t blog about OLinuXino boards often, but this doesn’t mean we do not have fun and working on them.

So let’s make brief update:

RT5350F – the DIN rail version is already complete and wait for assembly, the issue is trivial the plastic box, it will take us most of the time to complete.

Other OpenWRT boards:

We completed and now prototype MT7620N @580Mhz with some more RAM – 64MB and two WIFI bands 2.4G + 5G and 5 10/100Mb Ethernet and prepare board with MT7620A @580Mhz and little bit more RAM 256MB, x2 Gigabit and x4 10/100Mb Ethernets.

When these will be released – we don’t know, RT5350F software took us about year to get NDA info about WiFi tunning, we don’t know what it will be with MT7620, so do not hold your breath :)


A33-OLinuXino (Quad Cortex-A7) now is complete and on prototype stage, still had no time to check if Linux-Sunxi community have Linux for A33 and at what stage it is.

Now we route H3-OLinuXino (with Quad Cortex-A7 and which have Ethernet and HDMI) and A64-OLinuXino (with Quad Cortex-A53, HDMI, Camera, MIPI/LVDS/RGB, Gigabit Ethernet).

Why we stopped to blog or announce so often the new boards we working on?

Because when we blog that we start working on new OLinuXino board many people start to make commercial plans with them and how they will obtain OSHW designs for free for their commercial idea/project. Sure this have nothing wrong, if some of them didn’t became too impatient, annoying and noisy if the release time do not match their expectations. They forget that we do this for fun and we do not have any firm release dates, so they try any forms of social engineering posting challenging or abusive messages thinking they would influence us somehow this way, well soon or later they realize they can’t but anyway this is annoying for us as we want to work in rest calm environment and enjoy what we do.

We learn while we do this stuff, AM3352 software support took us year and half, we couldn’t find vital info for RT5350F for more than year, I have no idea when MT7620, A33, H3 or A64 will have proper Linux support, so please do not hold your breath, these boards will be released when they are ready, if you are capable to help with Linux on these please let me know, we can send you preliminary prototypes, so we can work together to speed up the release.


Bulgaria is the most attractive IT outsourcing destination in Europe!


The original article can be read here.

Bulgaria has one of the lowest government debt as % of the GDP in EU:


and when you add to this the skilled labor and the low taxes (10% flat company profit tax and 10% personal income tax) you can guess why Bulgaria becomes popular destination for outsourcing IT services :)

TuxCon 2015 – two days of fun and hacking


TuxCon is gone, but it was cool event with lot of talks about Open and Free Software and Hardware, lot of ideas exchange and many peoples learned new skills and stuff.

What you see above is the Saturday (July 11th) agenda. There were lectures about FreeCAD, Firefox OS, Arch Linux, Software testing tools, Crypto telephony, JavaScript Robots, IOT Firmware and etc.

The videos are already online.

The organizers made nice T-shirts:


which were delivered by someone RMS look-alike guy:


and even TuxCon branded cookies:


I tested them personally they were delicious :)

The Kirov hall where TuxCon lectures were present was full:


Peter present news around IoT Firmware for ESP8266:


there was live demo, with ESP8266-EVB connected to MOD-RGB8x8 display made by 6 bricks making 48×8 pixel display where messages from twitter were captured with hacktag #tuxconmobi and displayed in real time, making simple internet connected display. Needless to say this demo was done for 30 minutes and we forgot to put bad words filtering which was abused a little bit by someone :)

Twitter demo is on GitHub. Here is code snip how easy you can print on RGB display with JavaScript:

 function (tweet) {
    console.log('TWEET: [''] '+tweet.text+'\n');
       // User name and tweet text
       text:': '+tweet.text,
       // Color CYAN
       color: {r: 0, g: 1, b: 1}

At the end there were lighting talks, I spoke about our new Energy Efficiency module for ESP8266 and WIFI-triple power switch which allow 3 different appliances to be commanded through Internet and Javascript and module which logs on cloud your energy consumption.


At the evening there was beer party with free beer from TuxCon sponsors:


Sunday we continue with the practical part: SMT soldering workshop of binary watch:


Ultimate geek watch which show date and time in binary format and you can test how good are your friends in reading binary numbers.

For many people SMT part soldering seems like something very difficult, but it’s quite opposite, you can solder SMT parts very easily.

Everyone who came at the workshop built his own binary watch.

There were three easy steps: applying solder paste, placing the components on their places, soldering with hot air gun.

To apply the solder paste you have to put the PCB between some holders:


then to put stencil above and keep it in place with tape:


then to apply paste with rubber raquel, then to put all components on their places watching for the components which have polarity:


it’s easy, even girls can make it :)


… actually girls usually do it better :)

then solder the components with hot air watching to not put on fire the wooden desk, you can see we use ceramic tile for this purpose:


Some small components were lost, some plastic buttons were melted by the hot air, but otherwise everyone did good job and almost all binary watches worked!

Now looking around on the internet we got new idea how next TuxCon 2016 Tshirts should look аlike, and idea for the next workshop board with LEDs:


ESP8266 has now lot of followers but they do not offer anything better


ESP8266 took the developers hearts for no time. To have WIFI stack and processor resources in tiny chip with only 4 external components necessary to operate was great success story by Espressif.

Needless to say this didn’t remain unspotted by others and now we are going to see boom of similar modules.

IMO they are doomed to not gain such success though. Why? It’s simple – nobody can make simplier device.

ESP8266 is already simple and well optimized. If you buy it in reel price for 5000 pcs is $1.50/each, if you can buy in volume I’ve heard you can buy it for less than $1.

Espressif sells about 1 million of these chips now per month. Their sales warned me that if I want to order more than 500K pcs I have to warn them 4 weeks in advance, small orders like 5-10K they ship same day from stock.

So whoever decide to beat ESP8266 should make something better which cost less $1 which is quite steep goal.

We saw now next competitor MXCHIP it’s nothing fancy STM32+MarvelWIFI chip and TCP-IP stack. it’s sold for about x2 end user price, but we are not impressed at all from it. Why? Because it’s in the same league like ESP8266.

We develop IoT Firmware for more than 4 months now and we work extensively with ESP8266 so we learned his good and weak sides.

Good side: incredible simplicity as hardware – you have everything in the chip. High integration, reliable work. Most of the problems are due to the not so good software implementation, although Espressif now rised their bug bounty award to $2000 for reported bug i.e. they are confident the bugs in their firmware are fixed.

Weak side: their RTOS is binary blobs which make hard to contribute, we see lot of missed events when you enable more timers etc, but we can’t see where these comes from as the software is closed. We do workarounds on higher level to make sure IoT Firmware works reliable though for end user who do not have to worry about what happens at low level. Another issues is lack of memory to run normal TCP-IP stack. https? forget it no memory, once one https connection is made there is no resources to handle other, so in practice is not usable. SSL? forget it, no memory for more than 512 bit encryption which is assumed compromised already, so basically with ESP we do not advice you to connect to anywhere else than your local WIFI net, as WIFI is encrypted, it provides you with good security, but if you want to make your “IoT” available to outside, you have to put between ESP and Internet something with real TCP-IP stack and good security, like RT5350-OLinuXino running real Linux, where you can install SSL with 2048 bit key, and hide well your devices which otherwise could be hacked from outside. We already work on such ‘broker’ which to allow access to ESP8266 IoT Firmware from outside.

So whatever comes next as ESP competitor will be in the same league unless have at least few megabytes of RAM to may handle properly https and ssl encryption, and I highly doubt one could make such for less than $1 to compete with ESP.

ESP8266 already deeply penetrated the low cost low security market. Good luck to the others trying to compete them!

We are Sponsoring again Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELCE)


Embedded Linux Conference Europe this year will be in Dublin, Ireland from 5th to 7th of October.

For these who don’t know once per year there is LinuxCon at different spots of the world. Linux developers and supporters come together, talk about news and trends in Linux and discuss the future. There are lot of presentations, talks, discussion groups.

Embedded Linux is exactly what we use with OLinuXino Open Source Hardware computers.

In 2014 we have been invited and decided to sponsor LinuxCon for very first time. We went there and loved it. It’s nice to see face to face and chat with lot of people who you just know as IRC and Mailing Lists nicks.

This year we decided to do it again, so we will be there again. All sponsors have their own booths where show what they have, so if you are there you are welcome to pass to our booth!


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