Support for A64 OLinuXino

I got FreedomBox working on an A64 OLinuXino board running from eMMC. This is a status update. The following are the pending tasks for having fully functional images:

  1. Debian’s flash-kernel package needs support for A64 OLinuXino. Patch has been submitted:

  2. freedom-maker needs a patch to build A64 OLinuXino images. Merge request is ready it can be merged as soon as flash-kernel changes are available.

  3. Linux mainline kernel does not have support for eMMC on A64 OLinuXino. Patch submitted.

  4. U-boot has a regression between 2019.01 and 2019.07 that prevents it from booting from eMMC. Currently 2019.01 works. I am investigating the regression.

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Just curious, how are you flashing the eMMC? Boot from microSD then copy it over?

This is what I did and used the same image that is flashed onto SD card.

xzcat <image> | ssh root@freedombox.local dd of=/dev/mmcblk2 bs=1M status=progress

Patch to fix regression posted: https://lists.denx.de/pipermail/u-boot/2019-July/379109.html

This patch has been merged into linux-sunxi repository and should get submitted for linux 5.4.

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

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u-boot patch merged into u-boot-sunxi/master: https://gitlab.denx.de/u-boot/custodians/u-boot-sunxi/commit/4ed293ae794b42ca216c53706d9476c3f3126197

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Merged into U-Boot master https://gitlab.denx.de/u-boot/u-boot/commit/4ed293ae794b42ca216c53706d9476c3f3126197

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Do you plan to have the next Pioneer FreedomBox on basis of A64 OLinuXino?

This would depend on interest from Olimex as well. We haven’t started the conversation yet because the FreedomBox images for A64 OLinuXino have not been published yet. I think, however, there are no blocker for this now.

Olimex Teres A64 laptop is based on A64 OLinuXino, therefore imagine they are happy to have another consumer product based on the A64 platform. The only problem, I see with the A64 is the missing SATA port and no USB 3.0. I am not sure if this is a problem for people wanting to have the FreedomBox as a tiny NAS like system.

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Slightly bigger issue is having only a single USB port. Despite it having 4 64 cores etc, the A64 chip is designed for tablets it seems. For a majority of our users, this is not a concern. Especially given eMMC gives good performance.

The Teres A64 Laptop has 2x USB. They made there own hardware layout for the Teres laptop, maybe Olimex can do something similar for the Freedombox. Maybe, they can even add SATA to the board.

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