New Debian 10 Buster images released for A20 and A64 boards and SOMs

buster

We have released Universal A20 and A64 images with Debian 10 Buster.

There are few known issues which we work on:

  • Certain types of eMMC memories might start in HS-200 mode instead of SDHS mode. This causes eMMC installation and boot problems.
  • HDMI always takes precendence over LCD. This is even if you have enabled a
    display manually (interrupted u-boot and executed “olinuxino monitor set XXX”).
  • Boards with 5.x eMMC chips are unable to boot directly from eMMC;
    this is caused by poor eMMC 5.x support in eGON BROM;
    this issue is not related to the Linux image
  • The board currently cannot store rootfs on usb driver. The init script
    starts before the usb subsystem initialization.
  • If the board has eMMC and SPI, it’s not possible to boot from SPI and rootfs
    on SATA. This is due to the fact that u-boot searches first the eMMC storage
    for boot scripts.
  • LCD-OLinuXino-15.6FHD is not fully supported.
  • The GT2005 camera module in A20-SOM-EVB and A20-SOM204-EVB is not working.

New release is preparing and will be updated by the end of the month.

 

 

New from our forum – experimental NixOS image for TERES DIY OSHW Laptop

nixos.png

Recent post from our forum explains how to build experimental NixOS image for TERES-I  – Do It Yourself, Environmental friendly, modular Open Source Hardware ARM Laptop.

New Open Source Hardware board adds SATA drive connectivity to any computer with USB host

USB-SATA

USB-SATA is board which connects to any computer with USB host and bridge it to SATA Hard disk.

The read/write speed with USB2.0 host is approx 30MB/s.

USB-SATA has USB device connector, SATA connector and power connector, when used with SATA-CABLE-SET it can drive directly SATA-HDD-2.5-500GB

It’s very convenient when you have to move large files from one computer to another you can just plug big HDD with it and use it as “giant USB Flash storage” it works faster than the USB Flash disks and can have way larger capacity.

Lime2-SD add on board for second SD card on A20-OLinuXino-LIME2

Lime2-SDa.jpg

Lime2-SD is small add on board which snaps on GPIO-1 connector and add second SD card to A20-OLinuxino-LIME2. It doesn’t interference with other parts on the board and do not increase the height.

Lime2-SD

Why we do this? Because this is an easy way to increase storage for Pioneer-FreedomBox-HSK . What we are preparing to offer soon is upgraded version of the Home Server Kit with 256GB storage made with 2 “disks” x 128GB micro SD cards. For these who already have Pioneer-FreedomBox-HSK they still can upgrade by ordering Lime2-SD .

Note that support in FreedomBox for Lime2-SD is not add, but you can try Lime2-SD with the current Armbian image for LIME2. To enable the Lime2-SD support you also have to add this dts overlay .

 

Writing applications for OLinuXino with GTK

GPIO

Many times I hear from customers – Linux has no good UI, it’s made for servers but we want to make apps with windows drop boxes, check boxes etc.

Recently we found Simon Long’s C GUI Programming book and made two “windows” examples for OLinuXino.

We recommend you first to download the book and read it then to look at the code we made and uploaded to GitHub.

In the README.TXT you will find step by step instructions how to install and configure GTK for OLinuXino.

Then you can try the code and modify for your need.

GPIO example allow you to read or write GPIO state to any of the GPIO connectors of OLinuXino.

I2C example will allow you to interface to any of our UEXT boards with I2C interface. The example we test with MOD-IO.

I2C

How to choose best LCD for your Linux computer? This is why we made LCD-OLinuXino selection guide

LCD10-METAL-FRAME-1

LCD-OLinuXino selection guide will help you to select best solution for your OLinuXino Linux SBC.

Inside we explain the different LCD connectors available in OLinuXino.

What LCD variants are available: 4.3″, 5″, 7″, 10.1″, 15.6″.

What signals are there when the interface is RGB or LVDS on the 40 pin connector.

How we implement plug and play capability with our latest Linux images and LCD driver boards, so you do not have to configure the LCDs, but they are recognized at boot time and all drivers configured.

What are the pro and cons and differences between resistive and capacitive touch screen technologies.

How to enable digital touch interface on A20 boards.

How to configure the software and drivers for the older LCD driver boards.

 

 

How secure are Allwinner SOC we use in our OLinuXino boards?

spyware

From time to time customers ask us:

You are using Chinese SOCs. I’ve heard that Chinese government forces all Chinese vendors to place back-doors in their SOCs which to spy on you. Can you guarantee that your Linux boards have no back doors to spy on us”

I already posted about Linux-Sunxi community, which develops the Allwinner SOC mainline Linux support. What I forgot to mention is that most of the SOC features and tuning they do is done almost without any official help or documentation from Allwinner and based mostly on tips from Allwinner employees and reverse engineering.

I do remember A20 CAN module was not mention at all as existent in Allwinner datasheets at the beginning and Linux-Sunxi developers found it while hacking the chip.

So I will have to disappoint people, who believe in such myths that no, A20 chips are for quite some time now and there is nothing hidden inside, even the Boot ROM which resides in the SOC internal ROM code and is executed first is disassembled and known code.

This for sure do not give any warranty that these SOCs are bug free and that someone latter may not find and exploit some bugs (I already wrote about the level of the SOC software developers in my previous post) and to create back door to install malware or spyware, but this is not done intentional and IMO above the capacity of the software developers working in the SOC vendors.

I still do remember Allwinner released few years ago SDK where they were forgotten to remove the debug flags and if you send message “rootmydevice” to /proc/sunxi_debug/sunxi_debug, you get root privileges, but was this intentional and forced by Chinese government? I doubt so.

We build our Linux Images from Armbian project sources using their repositories and our images has MD5, so if you load our Linux Images and use in our boards we are sure there are no back doors. I know the guys who are behind Armbian project and I can guarantee they do not work for the Chinese government.

Now you can say if you found undocumented CAN inside the SOC, there may be other undocumented modules as well which to spy on us. Yes, this is possible, but even if there are such hidden resources the software we run on the SOC does not take advantage of them and activate them, you can always monitor your USB/LAN etc traffic packets and see what information go outside the chip and so far for the last 6 years A20 is existent no one ever has detected such suspicious traffic.

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