Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pinebook (or any arm64) - Linux Howto

As I wrote before, Pinebook is a very interesting machine, both for its hardware and in consequece for its software.

The not very developed arm64 architecture brings a lot of challenges to everyone working on it when it comes to have software for it.

I wanted to exchange some files as easy as I do in all my machines, phones, tablets, etc. However there was nothing available in arm architecture, such as Dropbox, Ubuntu One as far as I see is no longer available, so I had to be creative, and I managed to find that mega had a binary for Raspbian, so from here it was a learning process...

This can also be used to run all the binaries that are made for armhf (raspberry pi an so on) on arm64 machines.

Lets go for the real HOW TO...

1st - it is necessary to download the software from the MEGA website. There is only one option when it comes to arm, so you need to go to and download Raspbian 8.0 (Jessie) in 64 bits. The file name should be megacmd-Raspbian_8.0_armhf.deb

2nd - this binary comes for architecture armhf, so we need to activate multi-architecture in Pinebook Ubuntu Xenial so that we have access to all the requested libraries necessary to run. For that you should run:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture armhf
sudo apt update

3rd - we are not there yet, as Mega uses some fancy cryptografic libraries, we need to add a source to the resources list. just run

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

and add this line

deb trusty main universe

after press control+x and say yes.

now run

sudo apt update

4th - now we have all resources to make the installation, run the instalation in the same folder were the megacmd is located

sudo gdebi megacmd-Raspbian_8.0_armhf.deb

just follow the instructions and reply yes, it might be the case that it ends in error, just ignore.

5th - now you are ready to run mega-cmd from the terminal. you will be asked your username and login, and after login it is similar to a linux terminal. You can also open another terminal and use the scripts mega-ls, mega-cd, etc, etc... just read tru the help... 

Very important is that you can also sync folders which can be very useful, just read the help on mega-sync command, nothing special to do.

BUGS - so far only bug found, and already reported to is that the get function (to download to your computer) does not work with filenames containing spaces. However using the folder syncing it works without any issues using the same files.

Anything that is not working properly, or you would like some explanation just drop a message or contact me in the Pine 64 irc channel.

Linux is Easy....

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Pinebook - 2nd review - Android and mini Howto

The Pinebook ships with BSP Linux, that I wrote some lines about, but another official distribution (Operating System) available is Android 6.0.

This Android can easialy be installed using the Pine 64 installer tool. Everything you need is a micro SD card and and adapter or a card reader that supports micro sd in the computer you are doing this.

This tool is available for download for MacOs, Windows and Linux. You simply select what is the computer/board you want to install to, and the operating system selected. after that you select the card, you wait a bit, and voila. 

 When the creation of the image is complete, you just have to grab the micro SD and drop it in the Pinebook. Be aware that all you have in the Pinebook will be erased. The name of the image is very clear ..sd2emmc....

Push the on Button, you will see a black screen and green progress bar, and when in the top left corner you see CARD OK, it means the process is over, remove the card and reboot.

The Android presented is fairly ok, and everything works out of the box, no major issues, with the exception of the mouse pad, that is harder to work with, maybe related to some software configurations from Android.

I am writing this post in it, without any issues, running Spotify with headphones at same time.

The rest all you can expect from Android is working properly, just throw apps at it from the market.

As a final performance test, I installed Antutu Benchmark tool to see what was happening in this system. 

Final result 22668.
3D: 676
UX: 10705
CPU: 9346
RAM: 1941

The Pinebook community is already working on the newer versions of Android 7.1, and it is also expectable, in similarity to Pine64 board that more operating systems will be officially released and available through the installer tool, such as Remix OS, Debian, Armbian, etc...

Friday, April 28, 2017

Pinebook - 1st review

So I got the Pinebook 11 inch with arm 64 bits.....

And what can I say, I am amazed with the quality of the construction. 

Very good plastics, better than some chromebooks and cheap windows netbooks.

The mousepad is outstanding and work really nice.

The keyboard, only has one problem!! The right shift. Probably I will remap the shift to the "/" position. I use and abuse right shift (i rarely use the left one), so this is very important to me.

The screen is bright and sharp, the OS is Ubuntu Mate, nothing new...

The support is outstanding as usual in the Linux community.

There is a win/mac/linux tool to load images to sdcard and flash the computer, it works properly. 

So where does it fails.... Please remember that this computer is for early adopters and developers, so a lot of things don't work...

- in the 11" inch version there are some flickering - This is related to driver issues, it is being worked out. The Android image as per today does not have this issue. 

- Also in linux distro due to DRM support issues, videos like youtube and other are not working properly as they are being software rendered.

- the firefox shipped with is buggy - Alternative I found was to install Chromium. Best option so far. Check the Pinebook forum for this.

- sound was not working and there is a fix, it is related to driver issue

- Android image, looks like a good option if you want things done, however in my opinion is a waste a space in the screen, and it is not very optimized for laptop. I suggest to wait for a Remix OS release. The Remix OS exists in Pine64+, so sure it will be soon in the Pinebook.

- Brightness level inverted - just a minor bug, not major issue

- still wondering how to invert the mousepad scroolling, dconf-editor not working, synaptics driver not found in kernel, strange, will have to dig deeper.

Most of this bugs are solved almost daily and for sure more will come along, however the good communication with users<->developers results in a very good community work.

I will keep using this very nice computer, and with the help of all, I am sure that all the software problems will be solved. 

The basis (hardware) is strong and good, it is just the software that needs to be tweaked.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I am Back.... with a Pinebook...

Hello all Linuxers...

It is hard to resist the Linux community, so...

After a few years away, I am back, I am just waiting a ARM 11" Pinebook ->

I still have my Macbook Pro for serious business :), and waiting the delivery for this very portable, and funny computer to play with..

I will as before actively participate in community work and help everyone who needs it.

As soon as it arrives I promise a fair review.

Some tech Specs (from Pine64 website) on the Machine arriving soon:

Wireless :
USB 2.0 Port :
MicroSD Card Slot :
Mini HDMI :
Headphone Jack :
Microphone :
Keyboard :
Touch-pad :
Power :
Battery :
Display :
Front Camera :
Dimension :

Weight :

Warranty :
1.2GHz 64-Bit Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53
2 GB LPDDR3 RAM Memory 
16 GB eMMC 5.0 (upgradable up to 64GB) 
WiFi 802.11bgn + Bluetooth 4.0
Full Size Keyboard
Large Multi-Touch Touchpad
Input: 100~240V, Output: 5V3A
Lithium Polymer Battery (10000mAH) 
11.6" or 14" TN LCD (1366 x 768)
0.3 Megapixels
11.6" : 299mm x 200mm x 12mm (WxDxH)
14" : 329mm x 220mm x 12mm (WxDxH)
11.6" : 1.04 kg (2.30 lbs)
14" : 1.26 kg (2.78 lbs)
30 days
OS :
Ubuntu 16.04 Mate Desktop base on BSP Kernel 3.10(Default) or Android

Just leave your comment and ideas... 

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