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Armbian, Linux for arm boards - 16.9.2016

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Popular ARM Linux distribution is expanding support to Linksprite boards.


What is Armbian?

  • Debian Wheezy, Jessie or Ubuntu Trusty based distribution specialized for ARM developing boards.
  • Dedicated repository with own kernel development (apt.armbian.com) and full or manual automated updating.
  • Open development on Github
  • Vibrant support community.
  • Reference: Cubieboard image, since 12/2013

Can I run it on Linksprite boards?


Currently only pcDuino3 nano is supported but we are planning to expand board base in the future. If you are skilled, you can adopt this base and use it on other boards.






There are two main kernel options:


Vanilla kernel

  • Kernel 4.7.3 with large hardware support, headers and some firmware included
  • Docker ready
  • Bluetooth ready (working with supported external keys)

Bugs or limitation

  • No on board audio support (comming soon) or IR driver, no HW accelerated video


Legacy kernel

  • Kernel 3.4.112 with large hardware support, headers and some firmware included
  • Enabled audio devices: analog, HDMI, spdif and I2S (if wired and enabled in HW configuration)
  • IR functional and preconfigured – tested with LG remote
  • IR transmit driver
  • Bluetooth ready (working with supported external keys)
  • I2C ready and tested with small 16×2 LCD. Basic i2c tools included.
  • SPI ready and tested with ILI9341 based 2.4″ TFT LCD display.
  • Drivers for small TFT LCD display modules.
  • Clustering / stacking
  • USB redirector – for sharing USB over TCP/IP (disabled by default /etc/init.d/rc.usbsrvd)
  • Onboard LED attached to SD card activity (script.bin)

Bugs or limitation

  • NAND install script sometime fails. Dirty but working workaround: install Lubuntu to NAND with Phoenix tools and run the nand-install again.
  • Shutdown results into reboot under certain conditions.
  • Due to bad PCB placement, there is some crosstalk between Wifi and VGA in certain videomodes (Cubietruck)
  • MALI driver fails to compile


Base features:

  • Debian Wheezy, Jessie or Ubuntu Trusty based. Compiled from scratch
  • Root password is 1234. You will be prompted to change this password at first login
  • First boot takes longer (around 3min) than usual (20s) because it updates package list, regenerates SSH keys and expand partition to fit your SD card. It will reboot one time automatically. Second boot also take little longer (around 3min) because it creates 128MB emergency swap space
  • Ready to compile external modules. Tested with this wireless adapter
  • Ethernet adapter with DHCP and SSH server ready on default port (22)
  • Wireless adapter with DHCP ready if present but disabled (/etc/network/interfaces, WPA2: normal connect or AP mode)
  • desktop environment upgrade ready
  • NAND, SATA and USB install script included (/root)
  • Serial console enabled
  • Enabled automatic security update download for basic system and kernel. Upgrades are done via standard apt-get upgrade method
  • Login script shows board name MOTD with current PMU temp, hard drive temp, ambient temp from Temper if exits, actual free memory & battery conditions.

Performance tweaks:

  • /tmp & /log = RAM, ramlog app saves logs to disk daily and on shut-down (Wheezy only)
  • automatic IO scheduler. (check /etc/init.d/armhwinfo)
  • journal data writeback enabled. (/etc/fstab)
  • commit=600 to flush data to the disk every 10 minutes (/etc/fstab)
  • optimized CPU frequency scaling 480-1010Mhz with interactive governor (/etc/init.d/cpufrequtils)
  • eth0 interrupts are using dedicated core


Build your own kernel or image with Armbian build tool.

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v4.4 / 1.10.2015

– vanilla kernel upgrade to 4.2.2 (Allwinner, Udoo Quad),
– legacy kernel upgraded to 3.4.109 (Allwinner),
– added I2C support and bunch of multimedia modules (DVB) (vanilla Allwinner),
– Udoo quad images with fixed legacy kernel 3.14.28,
– Cubox and Hummingboard kernel upgrade to 3.14.53,
– brcmfmac driver fixes for vanilla kernel (Banana PRO / Cubietruck)
– performance tweak: choosing a closest Debian mirror (Debian images)
– added Astrometa DVB firmware and dvb-tools
– added Nikkov SPDIF / I2S recent patch (legacy Allwinner)
– added patch for rtl8192cu: Add missing case in rtl92cu_get_hw_reg (Lamobo R1)
– bigger NAND boot partition on install
– install script bug fixes

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v4.81 / 28.12.2015


complete build script rework
new development kernel package linux-image-dev-sunxi (4.4RC6) for Allwinner boards
added Lemaker Guitar, kernel 3.10.55
added Odroid XU3/4, kernel 3.10.94 and Vanilla 4.2.8
Vanilla kernel for Allwinner based boards upgraded to 4.3.3
Udoo vanilla upgraded to 4.2.8, legacy to 3.14.58
cubox / hummingboard upgraded to 3.14.58, added Vanilla kernel 4.4
fixed Jessie RTC bug, systemd default on Jessie images


v4.70 / 30.11.2015


Bugfix update(apt-get update && apt-get upgrade)
small changes and fixes


v4.6 / 24.11.2015


Update only (apt-get update && apt-get upgrade)
Vanilla kernel for Allwinner based boards upgraded to 4.2.6
Legacy kernel for Allwinner based boards upgraded to 3.4.110
added new board: Udoo Neo
added USB printer, CAN, CMA, ZSWAP, USB video class, CDROM fs, sensor classs, … to Allwinner Vanilla kernel
nand-sata-install scripts rewrite. Now it’s possible to install to any partition.
fixed nand install for Allwinner A10 based boards: Cubieboard 1 / Lime A10
universal upgrade script bugfix / rewrite.
8 channel HDMI support for legacy Allwinner kernel
unattended upgrade fixed
sunxi tools fixed
added two new options to build script: keep kernel config and use_ccache
added kernel version to motd


v4.5 / 14.10.2015


vanilla kernel upgraded to 4.2.3 for Allwinner based boards
legacy kernel for Allwinner compiled from new sources (linux-sunxi)
udoo vanilla upgraded to 4.2.3
cubox / hummingboard upgraded to 3.14.54
changed kernel naming: A10 = linux-image-sun4i, A20 = linux-image-sun7i
new boards: Banana M2, Orange+(A31S), Cubieboard 1, Cubieboard 2 Dual SD, Lime A10
fixed Udoo legacy wireless problems
fixed Jessie boot problems by disabling systemd. It’s possible to re-enable within boot scripts
added ramlog to Jessie because we don’t have systemd anymore
changed wireless driver for Cubietruck and Banana PRO (now it’s ap6210)
added ZRAM to vanilla kernel
fixed dvbsky modules
and a bunch of small fixes.

added two new options to build script: keep kernel config and use_ccache
added kernel version to motd

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v5.00 / 12.2.2016

Vanilla kernel for Allwinner based boards upgraded to 4.4.1
Allwinner audio driver playback and capture on kernel 4.4.1, UAS, USB OTG, battery readings,
added Marvel Armada kernel 3.10.96, 4.4.1 and patches for changing mPCI to SATA
added Cubox / Hummingboard kernel 4.4.1 (serial console only)
firstrun does autoreboot only if needed: wheezy and some legacy kernels.
added motd to /etc/updated.motd ... redesign, added battery info for Allwinner boards, bugfix, coloring
fixed temperature reading on Cubox / Hummingboard legacy kernel
fixed FB turbo building on Allwinner
fixed NAND install on A10 boards (Legacy kernel only)
fixed USB boot, added PWM on Vanilla
fixed Banana PRO/+ onboard wireless on Vanilla kernel - running with normal Banana DT.
readded USB sound
added A13 Olimex SOM
added LIRC GPIO receive and send driver for legacy Allwinner
added LED MMC activity to Vanilla kernels for Cubietruck and Cubieboard A10
build script: option to build images with F2FS root filesystem for Allwinner boards
build script: added alternative kernel for Lemaker Guitar (NEXT), Cubox (DEV)

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