Any details on OS?

Hi clockworkers!

Ben here, from NextThing Co., creators of CHIP and PocketCHIP:

I backed on the first day for a GameShell and I’m super excited about it! I just had a few quick questions.

Recently the Allwinner SoC’s have been receiving a lot of upstream attention in the kernel.

  • Will the board be running a mainline fork, or an older image from the manufacturer?
  • Is it safe to assume the board will be running a Debian-based image?
  • Has an application packaging method been chosen yet?

– Ben


In my opinion developrs must send this for debian, ubuntu, redhat and other hackers for making linux distro.

Fedora on small screen … how sweet sound

I’m not so sure.

It depends on how the developers/users feel about the boot times. The big-name distros are all pretty slow to boot, particularly when loading a graphical environment.

I’d love to see Debian on it, but well optimized Debian images on a fast SD card with a quad-core SoC could still forseeably take a decent amount of time to boot. Some might see it as a problem, some might not. I mean, my phone takes ~1m to boot, maybe it’s not a big deal if my handheld does as well.

On the other hand, single-digit boot times on a custom Buildroot/Yocto image would be pretty awesome, but it would come at the cost of losing a more friendly development environment.

– Ben

Just a simple question.
Will it be Possible to run retropi, recalbox or batocera ?
If yes how about the controlerpad connection. Im pretty new in Linux and dont know much things about it.

If you can compile it, and the GameShell is beefy enough, I don’t see any problem there.

Hint: as retropi (for example) is based on OpenSource Software, you can compile it. But would it be RetroPi not sure as it is targeted to the RaspberryPi, it will be more a RetroShell or something like this :wink:

And don’t expect to take rPi distro and run them directly on the Gameshell, same for binary build especially for the rPi, there are really low chance it will work.

I would personally prefer a lightweight OS that boots up quick over a more feature filled OS that takes a minute to boot. It’s not a big deal if it does though in my opinion.

I wonder if it would be a good idea to have a basic OS by default, where you could download a more complex dev version if desired.

many distro (fedora) have distro without any graphics enviroment

Given the state of the kickstarter campaign, I would hope that a virtual image of the OS with gcc (or equivelent) will be coming soon. With this, the community can then get started on porting apps and emulators to the OS in preparation for April.


Yes, if developers send hardware machine to red hat or ubuntu the process of implemening many distros will be fasters. Thi is my opinion. nothing more. only sugestion

Hey, I’ve never used red hat before! I got to see a mint distro, and I’m familiar with Ubuntu. I’ve got a copy of Wang’s Mastering Linux lying around here somewhere.

Maybe, but typically with ARM boards, it’s much more on the manufacturer/reseller/community to upstream the changes required for the board.

fedora and ubuntu and debian working on arm out of box
and from many years

Sure, a userspace and generic kernels. But as I mentioned before, usually the kernel used on boards like this tends to either be old and come from the chipset manufacturer, or is newish, but missing some functionality.

It’s a bit more complicated than that.

Take any ARM device you will not be able to run any of these distro in it without making changes, which can include changes in the kernel (in fact it will include)

The really few supported ARM platform by Debian (for example) are not platform for which support was added by Debian, but it was already there, the support wasn’t added by Debian folks.

you are wrong first link in search

Sure sure, that is a distrivbution, not porting effort to new hardware. That page does not even say what board they are supporting with that distribution.

If they support the RaspberryPim well all the hard work of making linux running on the RaspberryPi has been done in colaboration between the RaspberryPi Foundation and Broadcom, RedHat, Debian, Ubuntu has NOTHING to do with.

All of the distribution makers are NOT porting linux to new platform. Linux is not just a collection of packages you install, it is a lot of complex things. RedHat is basically just building existing software* for a platform which is already supported. Making the Linux Kernel running on a new platform is not just like going to download an Ubuntu ISO and burning is on your SD card. Most of ARM platform does not even have an SD card, and even, that would not be enough.

  • Ok they also create some really crap software, but that’s a complete different subject, and clearly out of the subject of that topic.