PineNote Development

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This article seeks to provide general mainline Linux development information for the PineNote.

Mainline development


The following table aims to provide a list of kernel modules required for running the PineNote. It also aims at listing repositories of work in progress. While some overlap with the Quartz64 module list (Quartz64_Development#Upstreaming_Status) is expected, only modules relevant to the PineNote hardware should be listed here.

Function Status Module Notes
Suspend mode driver tbd rockchip-sip The rockchip-sip driver is not mainlineable; it is only needed (via a hack) for suspend/resume to work when downstream TF-A is used. Suspend on upstream TF-A (status) should work without any special drivers.
Touchscreen Linux Mainline cyttsp5 As of 6.2-rc1[1]
Digitizer Linux Mainline i2c_hid_of
Pen BLE Buttons tbd ws8100-pen
EBC Display controller tbd rockchip-ebc RFC PATCH 00/16 drm/rockchip: Rockchip EBC ("E-Book Controller") display driver
EBC PMic tbd tps65185 driver developed here: [2], small tweaks to resume behavior added on top here: [3]
LED backlight driver Linux Mainline lm3630a
Accelerometer Linux Mainline st-accel-i2c (silan,sc7a20) As of 5.18-rc1[4]
Rastergraphics unit RGA2e tbd rga (v4l2 mem2mem driver) WIP patches for activation on the Pinenote/dithering/Y4-conversion can be found here: [5].

Note that the rga2e in the rk3566 only works for RAM <= 4 G!). Simple demo program found here: [6]

Mali GPU Linux Mainline Upstream Mesa panfrost As of 5.18 [7] this got added to the .dtsi file, but it's status is disabled. Enabling the gpu node upstream needs to wait till rockchip-ebc is upstreamed.
Wifi/BT Linux Mainline brcmfmac

Mainlining notes

Some work happening here:, the idea is to import the parts of the eink/ebc drivers which are open source and use the downstream u-boot framebuffer driver as a reference to create a basic framebuffer driver.

Currently mainline struggles to boot due to weird issues while probing fixed regulators (?). It also fails to detect eMMC.

Further work is being done here: This has a complete device tree, with working eMMC. Pen input also works out of the box. Wi-Fi and BT work with firmware copied from the factory Android image.

Pages discussing the development efforts

The software releases can be found here in the future:

The following pages discuss the development efforts for the PineNote:

For tweaks and tricks see:

For app development see:

How to boot mainline

UART is currently REQUIRED for this to work! We depend on u-boot falling back to console. Once we have a prebuilt u-boot which will use extlinux by default, UART won't be needed anymore.

You can compile a u-boot that uses extlinux by default by following the instructions here.

Getting to a U-Boot prompt

You can get to a U-Boot prompt by:

  1. Holding Ctrl-C while the display panel initializes.
  2. Wiping the "boot" partition.

Using sysboot

The extlinux.conf should have the following contents:

timeout 10
default MAINLINE
menu title boot prev kernel

  kernel /vmlinuz
  fdt /rk3566-pinenote.dtb
  initrd /initramfs
  append earlycon console=tty0 console=ttyS2,1500000n8 fw_devlink=off PMOS_NO_OUTPUT_REDIRECT

At the U-Boot console, run the following command to boot your mainline kernel:

sysboot ${devtype} ${devnum}:9 any ${scriptaddr} extlinux.conf

Booting with individual commands

Booting with individual commands can be useful when you need to temporarily add some kernel command line arguments. Use these or similar commands at the U-Boot shell:

load mmc 0:b ${kernel_addr_r} boot/Image
load mmc 0:b ${fdt_addr_r} boot/rk3566-pinenote.dtb
setenv bootargs ignore_loglevel root=/dev/mmcblk0p11 rootwait init=/bin/bash
booti ${kernel_addr_r} - ${fdt_addr_r}


Firmware for WiFi & Bluetooth and Waveform data

Using Maximilian's Debian image

If the Android partition (super) and waveform partition (waveform) is left intact the image extracts the WiFi, BT driver and waveform from the partitions on first run.

For instance if you repartitions the userdata partition and installs the image there.

Getting it from the Android install manually

Copy WiFi/BT firmware from Android:

mkdir -p /cache/lib/firmware/brcm
cp /vendor/etc/firmware/fw_bcm43455c0_ag_cy.bin /cache/lib/firmware/brcm/brcmfmac43455-sdio.bin
cp /vendor/etc/firmware/nvram_ap6255_cy.txt /cache/lib/firmware/brcm/brcmfmac43455-sdio.txt
cp /cache/lib/firmware/BCM4345C0.hcd /cache/lib/firmware/brcm/BCM4345C0.hcd

Copy waveform partition (via previously dumped file):

adb root
adb push waveform.img /cache/lib/firmware/waveform.bin

Or via dd within Linux:

dd if=/dev/mmcblk0p3 of=/lib/firmware/waveform.bin bs=1k count=2048

Getting the Wifi and Bluetooth driver blobs from "other" sources


The WiFi firmware .bin blob can be obtained by installing the Debian package firmware-brcm80211 (in the non-free section; in Bookworm and later it's in the non-free-firmware section)

The WiFi brcmfmac43455-sdio.txt file can according to Eugen be sourced from needs a renaming when copying it to /lib/firmware/brcm/brcmfmac43455-sdio.txt). The content of the upstream .txt is different than the Android configuration, but is supposed to work.

As you don't have WiFi yet you need to get the firmware-brcm80211*.deb and brcmfmac43455-sdio.txt file on the PineNote by other means, for instance using an USB stick


Once you have WiFi working you can get BCM4345C0.hcd by installing the bluez-firmware:

sudo apt install bluez-firmware

Configuring the E-ink refresh mode

Touchscreen and Pen In

By default the pen config is flipped 180° (which makes it unusable) and the touchscreen doesn't work. Placing the following config in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-touchscreen.conf will fix both problems:

Section "InputClass"
    Identifier "evdev touchscreen"
    MatchProduct "tt21000"
    MatchIsTouchscreen "on"
    Driver        "evdev"
Section "InputClass"
    Identifier    "RotateTouch"
    MatchProduct    "w9013"
    Option    "TransformationMatrix" "-1 0 1 0 -1 1 0 0 1"

Further information

Notes Written by Some Developers

Alternative to patching of mesa

Mesa needs to be patched to add the driver entry point. The alternative to this, is the renaming of the ebc driver to an existing mesa driver entry point. A good existing name can be "repaper". To change the driver name, edit in the kernel tree the following files:

  • replace "rockchip-ebc" with "repaper" in the two places in the file: drivers/gpu/drm/rockchip/rockchip_ebc.c
  • preventive, replace "repaper" with "repaper-disabled" in the two places in the file: drivers/gpu/drm/tiny/repaper.c

Video of Factory Android OS

PineNote Developer Edition w/Tech Demo Android OS (Video Only)

Informal walkthrough of the factory Android installation on the PineNote Developer Edition, recorded by a community member (Apr 2022). This is useful to look back at the original OS after erasing it from your device, or to get some additional detail before your device arrives.

The video also includes a chapter at the end showing how to enable Android Debug Bridge ("adb") over USB. Once enabled, keep the device powered and connect a USB cable directly to the PineNote (i.e. no UART breakout) to a computer running adb.