pinebook pro day one:
it's hosed. we tried to upgrade it to debian 10, and this immediately resulted in a horrific dependency knot that not even all our strength could rip out. tomorrow, we will try to reflash it.

nice hardware, though.

we're frustrated by how janky the support for everything appears to be. the default OS feels like a house of shitty cards, where sneezing on anything too hard will cause you to lose basic functionality.
guess that's just how it be with hardware vendors these days. hope it doesn't take too much longer for the community to pound every last secret out of this chip.

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the wifi is connected via SDIO, because of course it is.
bluetooth is probably part of that but we dunno.

they actually got hardware acceleration working for a bunch of stuff with the GPU, but keeping that in a switch to anything but their in-house OS image is probably hopeless

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the default image is Debian 9, which means we're stuck here trying to see what this thing can do using only whatever debian happened to package like three years ago

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browsers are almost a lost cause out-of-the box. firefox launches, loads all the new-tab ads and other assorted garbage, and then promptly crashes, every single time

chrome works okay until you try to open any settings, at which point you get "aw, snap!"

and even if it did work, it would still be chrome

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all we really want to run on this is something fairly minimal, like Void or something, but we also do need the USB ports, wifi, bluetooth, audio output, and display to work. hardware accelerated GUI/video is a low priority compared to that.

also, we will be considerably saner if closing the lid could actually put it in suspend mode, but by this point in our life, we're basically resigned to the fact that we will never quite be able to relax

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@diodelass the subtle flavour of a tech professional's personal despair at the lack of acceptably good tech is presented eloquently and succinctly here.


@diodelass If you want to try going off the beaten path while keeping hardware compatibility, Bedrock Linux may be an option:

@Skirmisher @diodelass i can vouch for bedrock linux being good, on my original pinebook

i run armbian as the base, and i have it bedrocked to alpine and i get most of what i care about from alpine

@ky0ko @diodelass @Skirmisher Never heard of bedrock, sounds cool. Does it put the alien distro in a user namespace filesystem?


Fuckin’ sality.

I have rules in cbdefense and interceptX to destroy this bullshit on sight... is is so f’n common.

@diodelass @TheGibson Haha wow. I was on the pine forums earlier this year asking about installing stock distros for exactly this reason. Got crickets for replies and maybe a "just use an image".

@mjog @TheGibson yeahhhh the problem appears to be that support for a few key peripherals hasn't been mainlined yet. the images they provide use kernels apparently modified from the ones Rockchip provides.
Running a standard kernel on our Rock64, for instance, does work, but means the GPU is extremely badly supported and the USB 3.0 hub doesn't work at all. Given how similar the Pinebook Pro is to the RockPro64, we suspect it's similar.

@mjog @TheGibson there are a few things you just kinda need to have working on a laptop:
- the keyboard
- the touchpad
- the display
- at least one network interface
- ideally, the lid switch, bluetooth, webcam, speaker, and microphone, but these don't entirely prevent it from being useful.

the problem is that all of these have shockingly bad vendor firmware they're locked behind on basically all hardware on the market.

@mjog @TheGibson the primary barriers to getting a stock distro running on the Pinebook Pro are probably:
- whatever is going on with the keyboard and touchpad
- getting it to output over whatever interface it uses, we're guessing eDP, for the integrated display
- getting the horrific SDIO wifi stack working, which as far as we know just means you're gonna need a proprietary blob

and then from there, you have a bunch more to do get it from "barely operational" to "usable"

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