[Freedombox-discuss] ARM64 board for Debian/Freedombox

Stefan Monnier monnier at iro.umontreal.ca
Sat Sep 10 16:07:05 BST 2022

Evelyn Pereira Souza via Freedombox-discuss [2022-09-10 16:06:14] wrote:
> Now I want something more open, Open Source.  Therefore pure Debian and
> a more open hardware than the Raspberry.

You might like to be more precise about what you mean here.
"Open Source" doesn't map very simply to hardware, so it can mean
different things to different people in different contexts.

Do you mean that you're looking for a board which you can use with
a pure Debian and no `non-free` packages (and hence no proprietary blobs)?

> I looked which HW is supported by Freedombox and then if the hardware is
> Open Source and sold locally (toppreise.ch). I don't wish to
> import anything.
> Thereby I came to the decision to buy BeagleBone Black.

Indeed, looking at the site you mention, there isn't much to choose from :-(
I know nothing about this beaglebone board, but I noticed that your
title says "ARM64" whereas that board is an ARM32.  More specifically,
the CPU is single-core Cortex-A8 at 1GHz.  So it's at best comparable to
a Raspberry Pi 2.

In terms of avoiding blobs and having the board well-supported by the
vanilla kernel (which are my two priorities), I've had good experiences
with Allwinner SoCs from the A20 era (e.g. BananaPi), which is somewhat
comparable to the Beaglebone Black.  It's sad that this great experience
happened *despite* the total absence of support from Allwinner, tho.

I recently had to replace one of those and ended up buying an Odroid-M1,
which is based around a Rockchip SoC.  These SoCs tend to be reasonably well
supported by the vanilla kernel, as well, tho in this case I'm still
currently stuck with a non-vanilla kernel (tho at least it's a kernel
based on the latest Linux code rather than some outdated version (as is
sadly the rule in ARM-land), so I still hope that I'll be able to use
a vanilla kernel soonish).


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