POS don't purchase

I wanted to love this device, but have been very disappointed. DO NOT try to upgrade the kernel. you WILL brick it. No upgrades to the OS since 09/2020. Ubuntu OS will not support this device. Seems like the developers pushed this out without regard to updating anything. Get a pi 400–cheaper, faster, and better supported.

Erm, which device are you talking about, and what do you mean by “upgrade the kernel”? From what I’ve seen so far, there has been regular software updates. I just ordered last month and am still waiting for my Devterm A06… Looking forward to making the user experience better for everyone.


I think that’s more than a little harsh. First, a Raspberry Pi 400 is not cheaper, because if you want to match the capabilities of the DevTerm you’re going to need to also buy a battery pack, a trackball, a display, speakers, and a printer(!)

Second, upgrading the kernel won’t brick the device. Might hose the operating system, I dunno, but if it does just pop the microSD out and re-flash. Easy.

Third, mainline Ubuntu might not ever support the thing - but if you want to use something that isn’t Armbian (and I can’t blame you for that) there’s work-in-progress on Arch Linux and Manjaro.

Is the DevTerm perfect? By no means. I’m still disappointed to see no progress on getting the display to work properly at 1280x480, and the thermal management remains a point of annoyance.

And yes, it’d be nice to see more progress on the software side of things - but I’m a GameSHell owner, I knew what to expect when I placed my order. Software’s never been Clockwork Pi’s forte - and tends to lean a little too heavily on the community rather than in-house expertise.

But I’d still very much recommend the DevTerm to anyone interested in it - there’s nothing like it anywhere else.


I think if you’re looking something without a display that you can plug into a TV, the RPi400 is a fantastic choice. Full size (albeit low-profile keyboard). Cheaper than the DevTerm. Able to drive two full sized displays at once. There’s a lot to like about the RPi400. I think it’s great for anyone who had an C64, Amiga 500, Tandy 1000, ZX Spectrum, etc back in the day. And wants to sit down in their living room and hack on some software and maybe control some electronics projects too.

If you want to have an all-in-one retro laptop cyberdeck sort of thing. Like a Kyocera KC-85 / Tandy Model 100 / NEC PC-8201, TI-92 calculator, NEC PC-8300, CBM-10WP / Tandy WP-2, AlphaSmart (especially the very powerful Dana). Then RPi400 doesn’t really fit the bill. You’d be looking at DevTerm, a custom 3D print for a Pi or PicoITX, or the yet to be released Ready! Model 100. (with the last one being quite a bit more expensive and heavier than the DevTerm).

To be fair I have a few RPi devices with unusual displays (most of them using WaveShare panels). And they often need some tweaks to their devicetree files and installed drivers to get them to work smoothly. I’ve had no problem with the DevTerm, but I assume I will one day just due to prior experience with “funny” panels.

I actually own a RPi400 and a DevTerm A06, and I use them both for very different things. When I first got it, the Pi 400 was my “project” device for all kinds of (software) hackery. (I’m not really a hardware hacker.) It’s gone through a few iterations since, but now it’s my multiboot KODI (OSMC) box and desktop Linux environment (Twister OS, which among other things can be used to connect to Playstation Remote Play using Chiaki) for my bedroom TV.

The DevTerm is my new “project” device. (I also own a Gameshell, which had similarly unfinished/anemic software at first, but which became more functional, and stable, thanks to a lot of efforts by the community here.) The DevTerm is not at the same level of community software as the Gameshell, yet, but if the Manjaro efforts are any indication, I’m expecting in the coming year it will see a lot of the issues fixed by the community. Based on the Gameshell experience, I wouldn’t expect to see much software support from ClockworkPi, which is unfortunate. But they have a proven track record of creating good hardware with the potential of greatness if the community steps in and does a lot of the software work. Maybe I was just lucky, but I didn’t have any of the hardware issues (display broken, connector ribbons broken, etc.) reported by some folks here. I consider the DevTerm more of a project or learning device. Personally, I’m looking forward to dabbling more into Manjaro and Sway (neither of which I have used before, and neither of which I could have anticipated before buying the DevTerm). And I’m sure there will be some other interesting surprises offered by the community.

Currently I’m using my Devterm as more of a server device, with a Valheim server running on it. While I don’t currently need the portability for that, it’s kind of interesting, as it could function as a location based game server. I have no doubt that Minecraft and other things would run fine on it (as a game server), and the display is actually enough to manage and check on the state of the server.

I have mixed feelings about ClockworkPi. I appreciate their hardware designs, and have not felt let down in terms of hardware for both the Gameshell and the DevTerm. The software they provide is minimal and barely functional though, and although it has been enough to bootstrap enthusiastic people in the community to contribute something more stable/useful, it’s not really what is advertised on their website. I think a lot of the issues people complain about here are the result of poor communication. What is being offered is poorly communicated on the website – it would be more honest to say these are hardware designs, in kit form (and the build process is quite beautiful!), with basic software that will require effort and customization from their users to actually be useful and have a purpose. It’s kind of like a model kit, but instead of painting the model afterward, there is software creation, customization, and reverse engineering required. The GameShell was no better – the marketing materials led customers to believe it was a plug and play emulator device. While it definitely could be that, it only became such a thing through the continued efforts of the community, and specifically @javelinface, @r043v, and others I’m probably forgetting (sorry!)

There are also communication issues on this forum. ClockworkPi rarely responds here, and while it seems like they do respond to their support email (I don’t know as I’ve never had a support issue, but based on other’s posts it seems they respond promptly there?), I get the feeling some people with issues post here, get frustrated at the silence, and just give up. Some of the responses from ClockworkPi representatives on here to user issues seem a bit flippant as well, but I’ve always chalked that up to language issues. And even if the shipping/delivery issues that have happened around the DevTerm were unavoidable and constantly changing and being delayed even more, the lack of official communication here just made matters worse and sowed more distrust. For a short time in the Gameshell days, there was a representative named Vanessa (who doesn’t appear to even have a user account here anymore), and I think having someone like that who can keep up with and respond to issues publicly goes a long way to making customers feel like they are being heard. For DevTerm, @AlexDuan stepped into that role for a bit, and it he helpful to keep people apprised of the shipping issues, but I got the feeling he was doing that in his spare time, and it might have gotten to be too overwhelming. Even if issues can’t be resolved quickly, they can be better tracked if someone is actively engaging with the community, and the community doesn’t feel completely ignored.

Sorry for the long post. I’ll sum up by saying that while I personally haven’t been too disappointed with both the Gameshell and the Devterm, I’m careful when recommending them to others. I’d never recommend either to someone who just wanted a “plug and play” device and wasn’t expecting to spend time both customizing, and potentially reverse engineering or creating new software for them. If someone is looking for a project device in the kind of spaces that these devices live, and who has the interest and ability to get them functional (or at least apply the efforts/instructions provided by others), then yes, I’d recommend them. The hardware on both is great and both provide a kind of flexibility that few other products might. But they are also both less a “product” and more a kit that allows you to create your own personal “product”, and I think that’s the part that isn’t communicated well when setting new customer expectations. There’s also very little, if any, hand-holding after a purchase, except sometimes by enthusiastic members of the community.