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1 Upstream status

For the supported versions:

Software Status
Linux (Almost) complete support in Linux.
u-boot (bootloader) (Almost) complete support in u-boot.

The easiest way to Interact with that computer is to connect an HDMI display and an USB keyboard. This way it will be pretty similar to x86 laptops or desktop computers.

If you need to debug boot issues, you might also find it convenient to setup the UART.

For more details on how to setup the UART, see the the Adding a serial port section on the lime page on the linux-sunxi wiki.

Here's more details below on what user input / output peripheral work out of the box or not:

Display USB Keyboard UART USB OTG Ethernet
Bootrom Unsupported Unsupported  ? FEL mode only under certain circumstances  ?
U-boot (bootloader) HDMI displays work out of the box USB Keyboards work out of the box TODO: Test it TODO: Test it TODO: Test it
  • Shows boot messages with console=tty0 loglevel=8
  • Works out of the box in Linux consoles
Works out of the box in Linux consoles TODO: Test it TODO: Test it TODO: Test it
Systemd N/A TODO: Test it TODO: Test it TODO: Test it
OpenRC N/A TODO: Test it TODO: Test it TODO: Test it
Xorg TODO: Test it N/A
Wayland TODO: Test it N/A

If something doesn't work as intended it may be because of some bugs which needs to be fixed.

2 Booting

The bootloader cannot be installed on all storage devices, as the bootrom only supports loading it from certain storage devices.

See the table below to see which storage devices you can install the booloader on:

Storage device Bootloader can be installed
MicroSD Yes
USB keys, USB Hard drive, etc No

Once the bootloader runs, it can access files on USB keys, SATA HDD / SSD, etc.

However ARM bootloaders like u-boot often lags behind Linux:

  • u-boot doesn't support all the newer ext4 filesystem features
  • u-boot cannot open encrypted partitions

The installation instructions already takes all that into account, so you will either need to format the ext4 filesystem in a special way or convert it to not use certain features.

3 Installation

Available bootloaders:

4 Free software status

  • To use it you probably need a microSD and potentially other mass storage devices. MicroSD and most of the mass storage devices (HDD, SSD, eMMC, USB keys, etc) have a firmware inside.
  • The board could probably meet the RYF requirements pretty easily as as far as I know everything works with free software (including the GPU and the video decoding offload). Note that certain software configurations might be needed to use the GPU such as Wayland or configuring randr render offload in Xorg.

5 Technical references

dts sun7i-a20-olinuxino-lime.dts
u-boot configuration A20-OLinuXino-Lime_defconfig

6 See also