kernel source for r2 and working config please

Started by Mouchon, August 26, 2013, 01:23:22 AM

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It seem that many people are trying to compile kernel from different source
but are unable to compile a good kernel ( i do it myself ). It will be easier  if olimex can provide source and config used to have a good base using the r2 image.

This will let people effort concentrate in the same direction.

I know that this is summer holiday time but without this, this fabulous board is unusable because few configuration are missing like multi uart.

i hope that we will not wait too long


I second this.

A good kernel source base & config, and a good *support* for this kernel (i.e., ability to accept patches, proper efforts on bugs which users can't fix themselves, replies to users who ask about driver issues etc.) would be very important.

My own situation:

I need USB MIDI support, ALSA sound&midi support, GPIO support (for LEDs and switches).
As for now, no kernel provides everything.
The original R2 kernel has no ALSA MIDI support.
The linuxsunxi-derived 3.3-CB2 has issues with ALSA and USB (which I partially fixed myself, but still has USB issues) and little GPIO support.
The "standard" linux-sunxi-3.4 has issues with USB and GPIO.

It's a waste of time and energy to try every possible kernel and look at issues and try to resolve them myself.
I would much prefer to concentrate my efforts on my own project, or at least contribute to a *single* specific kernel to help resolving the aforementioned issues, *with support from the Olimex team*.  :)

I think many other users are on my same boat.

This is a great board, I really love it!  ;)

We just need to build support for it, as fast as possible, because a development board can't remain in a poorly supported state for too long, or else we end up developing for a old platform (development is, by definition, an early stage of the life of an hardware project).



i fully agree witht this.

Putting a goodboard on the market is one thing.
Adding good support makes it a good platform.
Allot of companies need an industrial board, altough they also need to look at costs, and never will start using this board if the support is bad/costly / better at anotherplace. And there goes by your industrial grade plus!!

Everything should be freely available.

What i liked is that the datasheet is publiced now.


I couldn't agree more. Banging my head against this, with a deadline of Sept 15th.

Olimex, is there a rough ETA on posting source and config for the r2 image?

Thank you

p.s. great board!


the current release is based on Android SDK kernel with some dirty patches just to make things work, the SDK is available for download from the wiki, so you have same kernel sources
the reason we do not put the config etc patches is because we are waiting A20 GPL clean kernel to appear on Linux-Sunxi github, all changes Dimitar did are submitted there to the best of my knowledge
and soon there will be working kernel and uboot with clean GPL status for A20 on Linux-Sunxi

please be patient :)

I do not see any benefit split the kernel support in separate repos nor to put effort to develop two parallel structures while linux-sunxi is main source with the most developers


Thanks...  I can't wait for this, and some clear/simple instructions on exactly how to do it ;)  It's a great board waiting to be unleashed


Thank you. That makes sense. Looking forward to it.


Quote from: olimex on August 27, 2013, 10:49:08 PM
the reason we do not put the config etc patches is because we are waiting A20 GPL clean kernel to appear on Linux-Sunxi github, all changes Dimitar did are submitted there to the best of my knowledge
and soon there will be working kernel and uboot with clean GPL status for A20 on Linux-Sunxi

This makes sense, but please, the kernel developers at linux-sunxi did not test/verify a lot of issues regarding for example USB (in their words, "we just tried USB by mounting a pendrive and copying large files around").

I understand they are few and with little spare time, but of course this is absolutely insufficient for a development board, which should be the heart of vastly different projects.

So, please, could you keep an eye here on the Olimex forum, to help solving the issues of sunxi-linux kernel 3.4, which is what they are concentrated on?
That kernel has issues with GPIO, USB and Audio (just to name what I noticed first-hand) but nobody seem to care.

I can help by testing, providing debug messages and even small patches, but I need your assistance.

Please let's make A20 a 100% useful board, together. :)



Hey all,

I see there's tons of requests for the 3.3 kernel and build instructions, I strongly urge you to refrain from using the 3.3 Kernel at all. Beyond the GPL violating reasons (on the 3.3. SDK kernel, libnand anyone) it basically is the very old 3.0.8 lychee kernel with some additions/minor fixes to support A20 hardware.

So if it has fixes (albeit minor) why shouldn't we use it? Because when linux-sunxi took the 3.0.8 kernel about a year ago, many many issues where fixed. A lot. Also upstream security issues have been merged back. The 3.0 series is now at 3.0.76 I belive? Even better, the 3.4 series is tracking the 3.4 stable from usptream, and we are very busy in merging in A20 support in.

So in matters of support, quality, stablity and security, use the 3.4 kernel from linux-sunxi. That is a kernel we can work with, support and is growing constantly. The 3.4 kernel was hosted by Hans de Goede in a seperated branch and is being merged into linux-sunxi as we speak, so give it a little time or use Hans repo.

Now if you need a very specific feature that is present in 3.3 but broken in our 3.4, that's something we should talk about and merge/fix into 3.4, a patch is always more then welcome!

Now as to the USB support, mind you, this is a cleanup of the existing USB driver, so it tries to clean up useless cruft and fix problems as they are found. If you find the pendrive test to be inssufficient, bring a bug report to the ML so those issues can be addressed. Trust me though, the 3.3 kernel is by far any better and the drivers are in far worse shape. So any test that is done, is an improvement.

So if you want better driver support/better tested drivers,use a different board with better support
But try to find one, from the Chinese SoC's linux-sunxi offers the best support, its all community driven. You can ask Allwinner for support of course ;) In this price bracket, supportwise, you are on your own.

And I don't think you can ask us developers to keep an eye out on each and every forum that produces Allwinner based hardware. Olimex produces boards based on certain chips, they 'help' you get started but on the software side, as a developer, you are on your own. If anybody finds issues, the Mailing list is the place to discus things in a true community sense.




I already wrote on the linux-sunxi board, with debug outputs and all, and had no support.
Kernel 3.4, pulled from stage, has nearly non-existent USB support for MIDI keyboards. 3.3 is MUCH better so I'm using 3.3 with some patches by me.

I understand you linux-sunxi developers are busy with tons of stuff, I don't fault YOU for this: I'm asking OLIMEX, not you, to stand behind their product, following their own Olimex forum and assisting us in fixing kernel bugs TOGETHER, as in "Olimex staff and Olimex users together".

Then if the fixes find their way in linux-sunxi, much better, but I'm an Olimex customer (hopefully for more than a single developement board) and I'm mainly interested in having the Olimex board up&running, don't have much time for Allwinner boards in general.

Hope this clarifies things.



Hi Oliver
Tanks for the information and we are very happy for all the work done by the sunxi team to have a good
kernel for Allwiner that doesn't violate GPL. Your work is very appreciate. But as Olimex customer my main concern is that i have a board that is currently useless. I already have other board from Olimex and this is the first time i have the feeling to have lost my time and my money.

I don't need a full featured kernel but have the possibility to fine tune already working feature , like more then 1 uart, i2c bus frequency, working FB console ...

I can use the sunxi kernel but there is so many branch and repository clone that this is actually a nightmare to know which one is the best for this board. I have allready try different one but was unable to have one that correspond to my need.





Linux-Sunxi community needs time to make everything properly in Kernel 3.4, please read what Oliver wrote, putting efforts to current Android Kernels 3.0 or 3.3 is waste of resources.
A20 is very new processor and as such the hardware is available in advance of proper Linux support. As you all know Allwinner cares just for Android and not Linux.
Please use Linux-Sunxi mailing list if you want to help and move things forward.


Quote from: olimex on August 28, 2013, 03:46:00 PM
Please use Linux-Sunxi mailing list if you want to help and move things forward.

Sorry but I don't think this is acceptable.

We did not purchase a "sunxi-linux" board, we purchased an Olimex board.

I'm not much interested in what the linux-sunxi community does or does not, and don't have the time to follow their busy mailing list.
I'm not a software hacker, I'm an eletronic engineer and need to use what little spare time I have to develop my own project with the Olimex board (SOC now, SOM later hopefully), not to debug kernels.

So I'd like *you OLIMEX team* to help out in ironing out the bugs in the Debian R2 distro and kernel; or at least, maybe later on, to integrate in it whatever kernel/patches/drivers the linux-sunxi community comes out with. It can't be *me* who has to follow/help out their work, because my work is to finish my own hardware project based on your (excellent, by the way) board(s).

From what I gather, this is also what other customers here are expecting: it's OK for us to cooperate with *you* to have a good support for the board, but "sunxi-linux is not our business", so to say. Maximum respect for their work of course, but that's not the point.



Fernando, all our Allwinner based boards are because of the work done by Linux-Sunxi community, without them there would be just Android image running.

As I wrote several times above A20 is very new and this is why the Linux support is work in progress, A10, A13 etc are for more than year their support at the beginning was also not perfect but now every their feature works, thanks to Linux-Sunxi community.

Do not expect miracle from Olimex - we learn Linux also and are not expertes, we have more knowledge in electronics and help whatever we can but the real Linux work is done at Linux-Sunxi, so if you can and if you want to do contribution Linux-Sunxi mailing list is where to do this, if you want to wait somebody to clean the support just wait patiently :)

I spoke with Dimitar few minutes ago and he says he check and Linux-Sunxi Kernel 3.4 have all patches which he did to kernel 3.3. to generate image2 already merged to Kernel 3.4 tree so he now will try to build new image for Debian, Ubuntu and Slack based on Linux-Sunxi Kernel 3.4

As soon these are available I will blog how to make them and update the wiki image links, but this will not happen tomorrow after the images are build we have to test them: I2C, HDMI etc all peripherial and this is slow process.


Why it's necessary to build three different images?
I come from the Spanish board igepv2 (
They posts uBoot source and binary, kernel source, kernel zImage and modules in a separate way.
They also provide tutorial to install debian, ubuntu etc...

Why should I download GB of new images (Debian relase 3 etc..) if I only need a new kernel image and related modules?