PineNote: Getting Started

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This page is under construction

Please help to review and edit this page or paragraph. Information are subject to change.

This page is a work in progress. Its goals are to help users get their devices up and running while minimizing redundancy with other pages (e.g., Documentation, Development), and to synthesize information provided in existing guides. Sections below represent a rough outline and will need to be expanded with details and further instructions.

Who Can Contribute

Anyone! Generally, the PineNote is in a very early state, and at least an intermediate level of linux knowledge is probably necessary to be able to do anything at this moment. That said, there are multiple efforts happening at once, and there are a number of ways a person of any skill level can help:

  1. Join in the ongoing documentation effort here: PineNote Documentation.
  2. Help mainline the kernel by testing, fixing bugs.

Out of the Box

Information on software shipped with the Pinenote

As of July 2022, the Pinenote ships with a modified version of android. Under this OS, users interested only in reading ebooks and possibly leaking data to unknown parties may find the device more than satisfactory (read: use caution when handling ultra personal or sensitive data). All hardware items are functional with this OS, though the ability to tune and tweak may be limited by the proprietary nature of some drivers (e.g., the driver for the e-ink display). Ongoing support for this OS is absent, though further community development is possible and hoped for by more than a few users already.

Apps preloaded with this OS include:

  • Xphoto
  • WPS Office Lite
  • Browser from Tencent (would urge users to replace/remove)
  • Core: Notes (stylus-driven note app), Local Storage (file browser), Task List (notes list with text and handwriting input)
  • Application Management
  • More Settings

Additional apps may be added via the included browser; for example, F-droid can be installed and then used to install further android apps.

The main bar drawn along the screen's top edge features buttons for accessing the following, from left-to-right:

  • Home (house icon; opens additional bar along the screen's left edge for accessing notes and file management apps)
  • Refresh screen
  • Installed Apps (four squares)
  • Active Apps (bulleted list of three lines)
  • Settings (gear icon)
  • Back
  • Wifi Menu
  • Bluetooth Stylus Menu (pairing included stylus allows use of hardware buttons on the stylus)

When hidden by an open app, this bar can be made to reappear by swiping downward anywhere along the screen's top edge.

Accessories included in the box

As of July 2022, the Pinenote ships with the following items in the box:

  • Pinenote (duh)
  • Stylus
  • USB-c to USB-a cable
  • USB-c to micro-b cable (for stylus)
  • UART dongle

Stock Partition Layout


Copied from DorianRudolph's github instructions (link at the end of this document):

> rkdeveloptool list-partitions                      
#   LBA start (sectors)  LBA end (sectors)  Size (bytes)       Name                
00                16384              24575       4194304       uboot
01                24576              32767       4194304       trust
02                32768              36863       2097152       waveform
03                36864              45055       4194304       misc
04                45056              53247       4194304       dtbo
05                53248              55295       1048576       vbmeta
06                55296             137215      41943040       boot
07               137216             145407       4194304       security
08               145408             407551     134217728       recovery
09               407552            1193983     402653184       backup
10              1193984            3291135    1073741824       cache
11              3291136            3323903      16777216       metadata
12              3323904            9697279    3263168512       super
13              9697280            9730047      16777216       logo
14              9730048            9861119      67108864       device
15              9861120          241827775  118766927872       userdata

General Overview of Linux Installation Process

Todo: This section should provide instructions for using UART, adb and rkdeveloptool on the Pinenote for users unfamiliar with or new to any of them.


  • This section should provide the user with a listing of required software, e.g., for cross-compiling; communicating via UART, etc.
  • The following sections should walk the user through the process of going from a factory-fresh device to a functional e-ink tablet running linux.

Setting up Partitions

For dual boot

For linux alone

Modifying the Bootloader

Without modifying the bootloader, u-boot will automatically load android. Under these circumstances, an alternative OS may be loaded by manually inputting commands to the u-boot terminal, which must be accessed by sending an interrupt signal (ctrl+c) to the device via UART during boot. Thus modifying u-boot is not, strictly speaking, necessary but will be desirable for most users wishing to use linux as their primary OS in a dual boot arrangement.

There exists more than one approach to avoid having to do this each time the device is restarted. Two of these are detailed below.

Option 1: Build U-boot from Scratch


Option 2: Extract and Modify Existing U-boot Image


Installing Linux


Kernel Compilation

(for now, see links above)

Tweaks and Useful Apps

Links to dotfiles, configuration examples, etc.

Additional information on experimental EBC driver patch(es):

Copied from Pinenote chat:

Everything is controlled using the sysfs parameters in /sys/module/rockchip_ebc/parameters
By default you need to write as root, but this can be easily changed via udev rules.

Enabling auto refresh:
echo 1 > /sys/module/rockchip_ebc/parameters/auto_refresh

global refreshes are triggered based on the area drawing using partial refreshes, in units of total screen area.

echo 2 > /sys/module/rockchip_ebc/parameters/refresh_threshold

therefore will trigger a global refresh whenever 2 screen areas where drawn.