PEBKAC S01E02 Mid Month Catchup!
nb. Please excuse the formatting, it’s the script I use to record with, and it looks like garbage, I know. 🙂
Hello hello and welcome to the mid month catchup!
Things have been moving so quickly over the last two weeks, I couldnt help but get my butt into gear and let everyone know what’s been going on!
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably going to miss a lot of news, purely because it flys by in your time line on whatever platform you choose to use. I swear, it’s so hard to keep up with what’s going on in the Mobile Linux world. But! That’s where this show comes in, it’s going to be a quick fire news update for anything you may have missed over the last couple of weeks. But before we get to it, all of the links that I’ve used to research this episode are in the description of the podcast. I wont bore you with a big long explanation, lets just get into it!
The newest, and arguably the biggest news on everyone’s lips this week, has been the announcement of the PinePhone Pro! Yup, you heard that right, a Pro version of the already popular PinePhone, is set to ship to developers around December this year. There have been some major improvements where we wanted them, and dropping of hardware that has been, shall we say, problematic. First and foremost, the CPU has been swapped out for the more powerful Hex Core RK3399S which has been downclocked to 1.5GHz. This also brings with it the Mali T860 Graphics Processor. Ram gets a bump up to 800MHz LPDDR4, and eMMC is 128Gb as standard. The last major improvement is the 13 megapixel Sony IMX258 back camera sensor, with the original 5 megapixel OmniVision OV5640 being swapped to pull off selfie duty. A smaller, but no less significant change, is the move away from the headache inducing realtek Wifi/bluetooth module, being replaced with the AMPAK OP6255.
Some good news for existing PinePhone users, all of your accessories should work with the PinePhone Pro, as the internal frame and pogo pins have been designed to match the original. That means upon release, your spare batteries, docking stations, screen protectors and upcoming back cases should all match up just right. It means that the upcoming PinePhone Keyboard case, the FingerPrint Reader case, and the Qi charging case should all work. Side note: the current backcases will NOT work, due to the PinePhone Pro being about 2 millimetres thicker than the original.
At the moment, pre-orders are limited to developers only, but the newly minted Explorer Edition (Pine64’s consumer release name for the Pro), should be made available to early adopters near the beginning of 2022. Current pricing is $399 USD per device.
Reviews from developers who already have devices, seem to be good, with many comparisons being made to the PineBook Pro in terms of overall power, and capabilities. A few issues have already been identified by megi and others, such as high power consumption (likely due to the default OS not limiting the CPU frequency).
Linmob points out that while it is more or less just a decent bump in specs, it may well be worth the price, considering how much more usable it could make it in daily use.
If you want to see it for yourself, Martijn Braam has posted a nice video about the PinePhone Pro.
Luckasz from Pine64 also had an interesting interview on the Destination Linux podcast.
The standing of Pine64 on the original PinePhone, is that the PinePhone Pro is supposed to enhance, rather than hinder development for the former.
Linux Lounge has been killing it recently, and has been posting some great videos testing out the capabilities of the PineBookPro. Real world testing includes 4K video editing, Game play, and Netflix stream testing. The basic conclusion on 4k video, is that the PineBook Pro is capable of editing 4k in kdenlive, using proxy clips and setting the video preview to 240p. You’ll have to be damned patient to get everything done, but the fact that you can actually do it, is still one heck of a surprise. Rendering is about one minute of simple footage works out to about 5 minutes of render time. This time will increase when adding effects and transitions.
Celeste on the PineBook Pro is also reasonable. Sound is solid, and framerate seems really playable.
Video streaming also looks good. YouTube and CrunchyRoll are mostly smooth, but using MPV should improve the experience, due to its hardware acceleration on the PineBook Pro. Apple TV+ refuses to work on the Chromium with DRM enabled Docker package. Spotify is also not functioning well in the browser. Netflix seems to work really well. Video playback looks smooth, but there is an occasional dropped frame.
Also in unrelated interesting news, Quidam over on the Trisquel forums has managed to get Trisquel running on the PineBook Pro, using the armbian kernel.
According to Pine64, the major hurdle before releasing the product to enthusiasts at the moment, is the epaper display. Until Linux can initialize the display reliably, general release will be witheld. As developers in the community have made massive strides towards making it a stable and usable product, the day when you can actually get your hands on one, gets closer and closer!
A couple of really cool developments regarding the original PinePhone have popped up this month. Martijn Braam managed to get Octoprint running to monitor his 3d printer. Traditionally, Octoprint runs on a Raspberry Pi, but with the PinePhone, he managed to install Octoprint from source, and enabled touch screen input using an Octoprint Touch UI plugin. He also got the PinePhone camera working for monitoring the printer. If nothing else, this is awesome to see running.
Luckasz has let me know that the PinePhone Keyboard has also entered productions, and an announcement will be made at the end of the month as the units roll out of the factory.
The Infinitime firmware for the PineTime released two versions back to back, version 1.5.0 which introduced a band new Alarm app, notification improvements, and the abililty to remember the time after a reset. Only 2 days later, they released 1.6.0 which contained the BLE fix that we’ve all been waiting for! Daniel Jackson sent in a pull request, claiming to have resolved the issue, and within a matter of hours, people started installing it and testing it. Great work guys!
Congratulations to the folks over on the PostmarketOS Podcast, having it’s 10th episode release is a real milestone. I wish you well, and hope to see many more in the future!
The podcast covers some great info about SWMO (yes, it is actually a thing!). SXMO actually running over Wayland was not on anyone’s radar, but surprised us all! Waydroid is functioning well on Postmarket, but there are admissions that your milage may vary. The LG G Watch R has also gains some basic Mainline Linux support, the wiki has been updated with interesting information, including what works and what doesnt.
Martijn Braam posted a video showing PostmarketOS running on the OnePlus 6, and dayum does it look smooth! There is definite missing functionality there, but to see it running this well, is a real achievement. Right along side it, Caleb also posted a video giving an update about the progress PostmarketOS is making on the OnePlus device. He also shows us the OLED theme that’s provided by the Postmarket-theme package.
Manjaro ARM stable just got a release today, with some major updates. Including Qt 6.2.0; Firefox 93.0; a KDE Gear and Frameworks upgrade; Vivaldi 4.3; Yay 11.0.1, and a Kernel bump. There is a note though, the update to libxcrypt 4.4.21 will no longer accept MD5 and SHA1 passwords, so you SHOULD be asked to update on your password on the next login. Just be aware of the change, and report any bugs in the process. If the Display Manager login doesnt work, you can drop out to a terminal using CTRL+ALT+F2, and login there. It should solve the problem for the next reboot.
After the release of the show at the beginning of the month, wouldn’t you know it! Manjaro ARM Phosh Beta 16 dropped. I was kicking myself for missing that one. Anyway, the normal upgrades to the Kernel and standard apps are there, along with some decent upgrades for Chatty; gstreamer and Pipewire. Calls got a version increase, as did Mesa Firefox.
General Mobile Linux
Linmob continues his spectacular tradition of bringing up the latest interesting information surrounding the Mobile Linux space on his blog. He links out to some interesting articles and videos, about libadwaita; Qt 6.2; Nemo Mobile and much more! His blog posts truly are a treasure trove of updates and information. If you’ve ever felt like you’re not keeping up with everything, jump in there and have a read. It’s well worth it, with links to actual information, not just rumours. He’s also still looking for people to contribute to LINMOBapps, a semi crowd sourced effort to map out and test Linux apps in a mobile form factor.
Gamey has posted a nice big blog entry covering mobile linux Reddit Clients, Giara and Quickddit. Definitely worth a read if you’re feeling the Reddit itch.
Volla have also posted a picture of Sailfish running on the VollaPhone X (their ruggedized device). Along side support from ubports, this is a great step forward for the company, and community. A rugged phone that can be used however you want, is a great addition to the mobile landscape!
The beleaguered Purism has had further problems and delays with shipping its Librem 5 devices to customers, some having waited since 2017. Purism sent out an email explaining the issues surrounding the silicon shortage, and how it’s affected their supply line and manufacturing. While the details are definitely understandible, the response from the community has been mixed, but mostly understanding.
On a more positive note, Gardiner Bryant released the 4th video in his series showing how to get the best out of Kdenlive on his Librem 14. This series will be really helpful to creators in general, not just Librem users.
Something else cool that was released by Purism, is the the PureBoot R19 pre-release rom. It’s available for download from their GitLab which brings with it the ability to validate the files in both the root and boot partitions, and allows you to enable automatic checking upon boot.
Also, there is a new Embedded Controller update, which improves better power management of source electricity, improved keyboard mapping, and should also provide better temperature control.
- https://social.librem.one/@gbryant kdenlive https://youtu.be/6wUf8lRlAWQ
Framework have announced the Framework Marketplace. This is intended to be a one stop shop for all things Framework, including 3rd party accessories. From here, you can order not only a complete FrameWork laptop, but also replacement parts and expansion cards. The intention is to open up the marketplace to 3rd party developers, and also allow users to resell new, used and refurbished devices. This is a great approach to leaning into their goal of a green company. More recycled and reused hardware, means less landfill and e-waste. I look forward to seeing how this market grows over time.
Ubports released the 110th Q&A, they go over the Volla Phone X; and that the OTA-20 update is on the way. Apparently the CA Certificate for LetsEncrypt expired and caused some major issues with anyone using OTA-19. If you’re having issues, switch over the the Release Candidate channel, and all should be well again. Ubports would also like to ask for volunteers to put together news and information surrounding the OpenStore. If you are unaware, this is the main way to download and install applications on ubuntu touch.
Marious is working on the trying to pull together Halium 9 and the Mir tree.
Jan has been working on giving the Installer a major visual upgrade, including helpful notes during the installation process. There was an issue found that caused rollbacks, but this should be resolved in the next release.
Alfred has added exFAT support in a kernel patch, which increases the allowed capacity of the SD card you mount in your phone. This only affects the Xperia X and Pixel 3a for now. Also, in preparation for DisplayLink, EVDI and UDL also received much needed attention.
A couple of new apps have also been added to the OpenStore. A sprite editor names Pixelorama, and a benchmarking tool aptly named UT-sysbench-QT-gui.
Nemo Mobile got some much needed attention as well. Polish and Finnish translations have been published, adding to the list of included languages including English, Russian and Czech. There have been some gesture improvements, and over 140 commits to Lipstick. These target things like notifications, lock screen, performance and responsiveness. The resolution has been edited to match the PinePhone dimensions and everything has been updated to reflect the change, including fonts. Waydroid is also running (albeit with some effort and a lot of patience). A comprehensive list of bug fixes is up on the blog, but there is an issue around installing packages via pacman. A temporary solution is listed at the bottom of the post.
Privacy – (RTP) Privacy & Tech Tips
RTP over on the Fediverse has been posting some really interesting and relevant information recently. Well worth the follow if you’re interested in security. Articles have included things like the Syniverse hack which potentially allowed a breach of millions of users SMS messages from all over the world.
Something a little more close to home for us Makers, Thingiverse had a data leak, and it would be a good idea to go change your password as soon as you can. Unfortunately, they dont support two factor authentication, so make sure to use a unique and strong password.
Finally, in “what the hell is wrong with you” news, apparently a journalist from the St Louis Post-Dispatch has been classified as a hacker by a Missouri Governor after the journalist in question actually did the right thing. What did he do? He right clicked on a government run school website and then clicked “View Source”. The page left around 100 thousand Social Security numbers of educational staff exposed. The view source option is obviously a well known method of troubleshooting and testing any webpage. If I were this reporter, I’d be printing the headlines of the Governors words and mounting them on the wall as a badge of honour.