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Old 23rd July 2013
bsdnotbdsm bsdnotbdsm is offline
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Lightbulb Is there any BSD operating system running on the so called "Android Mini PC MK802" ?

Hello,
I am very impressed with these new "toys". I'm talking about the RikoMagic MK802 family of usbstick-sized miniPCs, used primarily as multimedia stations connected to HDMI-capable monitors or TVs. Here's the wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_Mini_PC_MK802

The following models I know:
-based on Allwinner A10 CPU:
RikoMagic MK802
RikoMagic MK802 II

-based on RK3066 CPU:
RikoMagic MK802 III
RikoMagic MK802 IIIs

-based on RK 3188 CPU:
RikoMagic MK802 IV

Googling with names above will give tons of extra informations because - although they're very new devices - the community is already so powerful and active.

Last point of the description is the software(OS):
- Android 4.x runs "natively", it is delivered as the stock firmware for the MK802* devices;
- Ubuntu Linux runs fine, there are at least two projects: one named Picuntu(ubuntu-based) and an Ubuntu 12.10 ported to these devices.

Therefore, speaking of OS software, brings me to the question: Are there any efforts to put BSD-based operating system on these Rikomagic toys?

After short googling, I've found this link only, which seems to me an old/unfinished work:
http://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/f...er/004446.html

Maybe there is a NetBSD or OpenBSD project aimed at these miniPCs?

If you know more about this topic, please share!

Regards.
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Old 23rd July 2013
ocicat ocicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsdnotbdsm View Post
Are there any efforts to put BSD-based operating system on these Rikomagic toys?
When it comes to finding out what the developers are doing, the best answer is to mine the mailing lists of the various projects. A quick search of OpenBSD's misc@ mailing list revealed no mention of "RikoMagic".
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Old 23rd July 2013
bsdnotbdsm bsdnotbdsm is offline
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Hello,
Thanks for the hint.
I also searched NetBSD and FreeBSD mailing lists for "rikomagic" and "rk3066", but unfortunately no results.


I think this is somehow explainable by the fact that Andoid (which runs Linux kernel) is the stock firmware for these MK802* miniPCs. Once the manufacturer releases the Linux kernel source modified for a specific device, the Linux community(read: hackers ) has something to start from and build on.

If I'll spot some *BSD project targeted at MK802*, I'll post it here.

Regards.
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Old 23rd July 2013
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There are various ARM ports of OpenBSD, and I saw this week that a generic ARM V7 port of OpenBSD is in development. However, the Project is unlikely to include any platform with proprietary hardware, unless its interfaces are published.

You won't find OpenBSD on the Raspberry Pi for this very reason.

Last edited by jggimi; 23rd July 2013 at 06:34 PM. Reason: added link
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Old 23rd July 2013
bsdnotbdsm bsdnotbdsm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jggimi View Post
There are various ARM ports of OpenBSD, and I saw this week that a generic ARM V7 port of OpenBSD is in development. However, the Project is unlikely to include any platform with proprietary hardware, unless its interfaces are published.

You won't find OpenBSD on the Raspberry Pi for this very reason.
Thank you for the reply.
Indeed interesting link !

I don't know much about Rikomagic MK802* hardware status, wether it's proprietary or not.
However, for the record, I'm enumerating what I see as the main hardware on those tiny motherboards:
- wireless adapter;
- bluetooth adapter(only some models);
- GPU (as far as I know it's on the CPU chip);
- USB (mini and normal);
- microSD card slot;

Note: for USB and microSD I think it doesn't make sense to talk about "proprietary".

Anyway, thumbs up for the OpenBSD team!
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Old 23rd July 2013
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Quote:
Note: for USB and microSD I think it doesn't make sense to talk about "proprietary".
It could make sense for USB. Apparently the USB standard is somewhat vague and flexible, having room for "vendor defined" descriptors which could be proprietary, and has led to Windows-only USB devices.

Now, I doubt we'll see Windows on these fascinating new small systems anytime soon, so maybe this won't be that much of a problem.
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Old 23rd July 2013
bsdnotbdsm bsdnotbdsm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IdOp View Post
It could make sense for USB. Apparently the USB standard is somewhat vague and flexible, having room for "vendor defined" descriptors which could be proprietary, and has led to Windows-only USB devices.

Now, I doubt we'll see Windows on these fascinating new small systems anytime soon, so maybe this won't be that much of a problem.
Thanks for reply.
I think USB for these MK802* is standard. You can connect a wide range of devices to the minipc.

What I just remembered is another important hardware piece: NAND flash internal storage.
For writing this, I read that a special vendor protocol is used (something that only Rikomagic utlity can accomplish). Of course, there is a Linux utility (rkflashtool) that does the job (reported to work great), but it was developed via reverse engineering..

So yep, there could be a problem with the open hardware...
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Old 24th July 2013
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I don't know about this device specifically, but generally wireless support has the potential to be a real problem too. (Though you could add an OS-compatible USB wireless device.)
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Old 24th July 2013
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With the Raspberry, I understand nearly everything is proprietary, including the GPU. I recall a thread in tech@ or misc@ that discussed it -- they'd provided an "open" wrapper to their proprietary graphics module. One person described the device as a BLOB fest.

Last edited by jggimi; 24th July 2013 at 12:58 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 24th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsdnotbdsm View Post
I don't know much about Rikomagic MK802* hardware status, wether it's proprietary or not.
Not to sidetrack the central topic, but you may be interested in the OpenBSD developer's take on the Raspberry Pi:The point here is that the Raspberry Pi, enticing as it may very well be, has a number of closed source blobs which aren't likely to become open. This is of paramount importance to the OpenBSD community. I also recall one developer saying (somewhere... ) that the quality of the hardware (or lack thereof...) really didn't warrant developers' time. I don't know if the quality of the RicoMagic is similar, but I also question hardware which has a meteoric rise in interest. We have seen this before.

Lastly, I urge respondents to this thread to stay on topics related to the RicoMagic as instigated by the OP. Discussion divergent from this particular hardware should be started in a new thread.
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Old 24th July 2013
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Thanks, ocicat. I'd strayed OT.
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Old 24th July 2013
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FWIW, I found an android dmesg for the RikoMagic MK802 III, which might give some insight into the hardware details.

Link to dmesg

Link to post containing the dmesg

Link to post identifying the system

For example, the wireless in this case is Realtek 8188EU.
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Old 24th July 2013
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The first hunk of hardware I noticed within the dmesg is an RK30 I2C module.

Starting with that module, a little Googling found that what the vendor calls "Linux source code" for its components are in fact binary kernel modules and firmware modules. For an example, see the vendor's announcement of a pair of these on their community forum here: http://www.rikomagic.co.uk/forum/vie...4696&start=160

The platform's internal infrastructure is proprietary and closed. This will limit its acceptability beyond those environments the vendor invests in to support. OS projects outside that sphere might be able to negotiate access to interfaces from the vendor, if they are willing to sign NDAs.

Last edited by jggimi; 24th July 2013 at 06:40 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 24th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IdOp View Post
FWIW, I found an android dmesg for the RikoMagic MK802 III, which might give some insight into the hardware details.

Link to dmesg

Link to post containing the dmesg

Link to post identifying the system

For example, the wireless in this case is Realtek 8188EU.

Very interesting details!
Regarding 8188EU, it seems the manufacturer is not offering the source code:
http://www.realtek.com.tw/downloads/...x?keyword=8188
(there are other 8188XX models, but EU doesn't appear).

Among the top results after googling for "8188eu linux driver" we see this:
https://github.com/liwei/rpi-rtl8188eu

However, this doesn't seem to be "from manufacturer". It's more like an individual person's efforts, maybe reverse engineering.
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Old 24th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jggimi View Post
The first hunk of hardware I noticed within the dmesg is an RK30 I2C module.

Starting with that module, a little Googling found that what the vendor calls "Linux source code" for its components are in fact binary kernel modules and firmware modules. For an example, see the vendor's announcement of a pair of these on their community forum here: http://www.rikomagic.co.uk/forum/vie...4696&start=160

The platform's internal infrastructure is proprietary and closed. This will limit its acceptability beyond those environments the vendor invests in to support. OS projects outside that sphere might be able to negotiate access to interfaces from the vendor, if they are willing to sign NDAs.
) Indeed funny the post on rikomagic.co.uk, "Linux Source Code for RK3188 (MK802IV) Now Available!".
Not that I want to offend (or protect :P ) anyone, but I noticed that with any toy's meteoric growth in popularity, many forum members are doped with tremendous enthusiasm, in detriment of real technical knowledge.
So, I suppose that applies for MK802* too, some cannot tell the difference between a precompiled module and module's source code. :P

The real work is done in places like this: http://www.armtvtech.com/armtvtechfo...=212&start=320
This particular thread on armtvtech.com is very useful to give an insight of the developer''s problems with kernel programming for MK802. Part of the problems would be:
- lack of source code from the vendors;
- lack of specs from the vendors;
- "weird"(poor?) programming style for some parts (where source code exists)

First problem seemed quite strange to me: some Chinese manufacturers refuse (or delay) code release. I expected the GPL licensed kernel to be released ... as the license requires.
But in the end that's just an example of: an ideal world ... versus reality.
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Old 24th July 2013
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Interesting that there is no Linux source for 8188EU ... I wonder if one will be forthcoming or if it's deliberately proprietary for Riko?

About the numbering ... my laptop has a similar wireless built in. But it's wired to PCI rather than USB.

vendor 0x10ec, product 0x8176

Under OpenBSD it identifies as Realtek 8188 CE (though is not supported). Under Linux the driver is rtl8192ce. So there's some ambiguity between 88 and 92.

Anyway, for the RikoMagic, looking at the Realtek download site I don't see 8192 EU either, nor in my Linux modules for 3.2.45 kernel.
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Old 24th July 2013
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About the "source code" on the thread kindly linked by jggimi, I'm wondering if maybe that refers to something on page 1 of the thread. There's a large .zip file linked there which may contain source code (based on the comments around it), but I haven't been able to download an un-corrupt version of the file to be sure.
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Old 24th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IdOp View Post
About the "source code" on the thread kindly linked by jggimi, I'm wondering if maybe that refers to something on page 1 of the thread. There's a large .zip file linked there which may contain source code (based on the comments around it), but I haven't been able to download an un-corrupt version of the file to be sure.
Yes, you are right. The link to source code was on page 1 of the forum. Google results can be so misguiding sometimes. :P

For clarification, here is the real source code: https://github.com/aloksinha2001/Linux3188.git
At the second attempt, I was able to download the zip, it's a 131 MB zipfile containing the Linux kernel for rk3188 CPU.

Regarding my previous post: I maintain my opinion on the "overly enthusiastic user". )
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Old 25th July 2013
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I agree it can be confusing, that's a long thread and I'm not heroic enough to read all of it either.

I still can't get a clean download of the .git (no worries, not about to compile it), but thanks for checking it and confirming that it's source code!
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Old 25th July 2013
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Sorry, I thought I was at page 1 of that thread.

I don't participate in any phpBB forums and didn't realize I wasn't looking at the OP.
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