Very little software support - I would not buy it again.

Hello,
i know that the software is not maintained by loverpi, but as the Librecomputer is linking for support to this forum, do i consider it as the right place to recommend people not to buy this board.
11 month after the release of the ROC-RK3328-CC (Renegade) there is still very limited software usable with the provided image and it seems to be still far away from the mainline linux support, promised during the crowdfunding campaign. Sadly don´t i see only very limited activity on github.
The last images are from September and the Ubuntu image for example from day 1 did crash and not boot again after the software update triggered by Ubuntu. Additional installed software works in about 30 % of the cases i tested and even standard software like Firefox does simply not start. As the GUI to change the keyboard layout did not work did i spend several hours testing all proposed solutions i found in forum to do this via CLI. So i don´t claim that very sophisticated things don´t work, but even very basic settings. When i install for example nextcloud it reproducible corrupts the image, stops working and won´t boot anymore. Since the last image arrived i crashed and reinstalled it about 25 time, from which only the first 10 times have been experimental, afterwards i use it quite carefully. Maybe the board with current software is usable for software developers, but i would consider myself as an experienced user who is using linux since about 20 years and i would not consider it currently as being usable. I am sorry if this sounds very harsh, i don´t want to deny the work people are putting into this project, but i need to warn potential buyers, because none of the texts i found about the board indicates that the software support is still in alpha development phase.

Comments

  • edited November 28

    I used this board to run LibreElec for a month or so and for that it ran really well. No complaints in that department.

    Now I'm using it as a NAS with one 2TB drive hooked to it and it seems to be working just fine. Just don't connect more than one drive or else it will take the shit on you. At least that's my experience. Maybe other people have had better luck?

    I can't speak for the Desktop end of things, because I never even really tried to use it in that way.

    As a Kodi box though, it's pretty spot on. But in all honesty, if ur looking to run Kodi, I'd recommend the AML-S905X-CC. CoreElec has a great build for that and it's what I'm currently using now.

  • The board support is maintained by the Firefly team. Some of the problems you mentioned are distribution problems and not board specific problems. Libre Computer does not maintain support for this board yet.

  • @Cornelius: thanks for the feedback, but i don´t want to to run code, but get an OS which does not require to be reinstalled nearly every time software packets are installed or updated.
    @Loverpi: You are right, it is not a problem of the board, but of the software which is available for the board. But as i used this software on min a dozen of different platforms with Ubuntu, and for this board there is no normal maintained Ubuntu version available, do i doubt seriously that it is a problem with the distribution. The firefly team checked about five changes on github in the last 6 month, which means in fact that the development is in fact dead. I don´t get even a registration code from their forum and on none of my mails to their support department i even got an automatic reply not speaking about a real answer. Libre Computer does not provide support at all but referring to this forum. So it seems that nobody is responsible for the sever problem or trying to fix them, but of cause the hardware still sold with the same promises from last year.

  • @zaphod79
    1) Mainline is here updated 3 weeks ago: https://github.com/FireflyTeam/kernel/tree/mainline-4.19. There are still things like USB 3.0 and HDMI sound that do not work yet in mainline.
    2) Ubuntu does not test their updates for ARM images. ARM is a "port" which means it is community maintained. You shouldn't rely on updates like you do for official releases.
    3) Be very specific in what doesn't work and what crashes. Nearly all of the issues you mentioned in your original post are distribution issues and not hardware/kernel software issues. Firefox is not maintained by Firefly team. Ubuntu updates on ARM is considered experimental since ARM is a port and not an official release target. If your installation of nextcloud alters the startup mechanism and cause failure to boot, then that's not really a board or image issue but rather a nextcloud installation issue.

  • edited November 29

    @zaphod79
    Have you tried any of the Armbian images? https://www.armbian.com/renegade/
    Which by the way, is what I use.

    It doesn't have Official support as of yet and may never, but it's worth a try. Also are you running the OS on a eMMC or a SanDisk Extreme Pro? I found this board ran way better with an eMMC or high quality sdcard.

    Also as a side note, I recommend getting the Heatsink and a case with a fan for it. Makes all the difference in the world when it comes to overall performance.

    Image - https://imgur.com/a/qAC2udm

  • @loverpi: Maybe our difference is just a question of the point of view. I am trying to warn people to expect that they can use this board without facing serious problems, and you try to explain why and whom is responsible for this problems. I don´t care to much about that because it does not fit to the expectations which are raised on the pages, where the board is sold. If it would be sold as a developers board or clearly have been stated that just some software works, i would not say anything, but it sounds as if this would be a lot faster replacement for a Raspberry, which the hardware may be, but the supported software certainly not. All the software i am facing problems with the Renegade did work on a Raspberry.

    @Cornelius: Thank you for the suggestion, i tried it in the past, but have not been able to get the analog audio output to work and as Armbian clearly states that the device is not supported did i go back to a firmware which for me looked like being officially supported. I just tried it again and can´t get analog audio to work again. After some hours trying, i had the problem that on the ethernet port ARP did not work anymore, so effectively all network activity was gone. That was already the first time i reinstall the Armbian image as well due to problems with very basic functions.
    The SD is a Kingston class 10 and does not seem to be involved in the problems. I faced several times issues with bad SD cards, and these always have been random problems, but all the things a mentioned here seem to be reproducible.

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