PostmarketOS - uConsole CM4

Edit 2: Now that there’s an official testing build, it’s easier to set up a distro with the pmbootstrap utility.

This is the first community maintained distro for the uConsole that I’ve seen in the wild! PostmarketOS is a Linux distro originally made to give carrier-abandoned phones, tablets and Chromebooks a second life. It’s built on top of Alpine Linux and has an option for installing Waydroid for running Android apps. Notably this uses the 6.1.74 kernel, which is much more recent than the uConsole builds we currently have.

You can find the Wiki page with details about current support for the uConsole as well as installation instructions. It looks like it’s an early test build but everything apparently works.

I haven’t booted it yet but I’ll give it a try on my spare SD card this weekend. Currently it looks like you have to build an image using their pmbootstrap utility from another linux computer.

Photo of a uConsole running postmarketOS with the SXMO user interface and neofetch in foreground, taken by Nimayer. CC BY-SA.

Edit: It took a bit of work but I managed to get it to boot. PostmarketOS - uConsole CM4 - #7 by mikeschnier


maybe manjaro will pick it up. they currently have 6.2.7 on the devterm a06.
sadly no CM4 though.

It’s still early days. I’m just glad to see distros that might actually get maintained.

If you are an advanced user familiar with Linux and ARM embedded (at least RPi) stuff, you can try to generate an Arch Linux OS image with my scripts(and optionally report CM4 compatibility issue). The scripts are expected to run on a linux host and will generate a raw disk image that can be directly written to the SD card(using dd, etcher, or whatever).

The RPi kernel and archlinuxarm package repository are maintained by upstream developers. What we need are just uConsole specific patches(drivers, etc.).

would love a manjaro for the cm4 too… for both my devterm and uconsole

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I attempted to build it from the commit last night but I might be too noob to get it working. Seemed to boot but no display.

Got it working! There are a few quirks, but that’s not surprising given this is such an early build. I’m trying out SXMO and found that the action buttons (volume up and volume down) randomly stop working. I also had to write a command to rotate the screen on startup. But when it’s working it feels snappy and lightweight. Wifi connects without issue and I think there’s less screen tearing but haven’t had a chance to test it extensively yet.

Wouldn’t recommend it for the faint of heart at the moment, and I haven’t figured out how to modify the kernel for Waydroid to work. (Which is odd because Waydroid is mentioned on their website.) But overall, I think it’s worth keeping an eye on this distro.

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I’ll have to give it a look, it’s easy enough to swap SD cards after all. What fun!

Right now it’s a bit of a pain to install. You need to download 15 files from this merge request, set up the pmbootstrap development environment, init a new build with the manufacturer (clockworkpi) and device (uconsole-CM4), add the files to the device-clockworkpi-uconsole-CM4 and linux-clockworkpi-uconsole-CM4 folders, update the checksums on both of those directories (took me a while to figure out), and then compile and install on the SD card.

I’m sure it’ll be easier when the port’s more mature.

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Are you willing to share a pre-configured image?

If not, maybe I’ll get to it at some point. I bought this thing to tinker with it, and so at some point I hope to get a buildroot config going for it that would let a user really play around to their heart’s content. I would try Yocto, but I’ve always found it too complex to wrap my head around.

I’ll see what I can do. Might be a couple days since I’m just figuring out PostmarketOS myself.

thanks to your description i was able to install postmaketos on the uconsole on cm4 lite. everything seems to work so far.


Nice! It looks like the commit I was using was merged into the main project so it should be a bit easier to install with pmbootstrap.


I see your Arch Linux build is also based on the 6.1.74 kernel. Any luck with RPi’s 6.6 kernel in the repository? I’m still preparing to order a uConsole myself, but I’m very sure I’m dead set to load it with Arch. (And maybe PostmarketOS as well. :wink:)

Well the pmos port is based on my patches for uConsole CM3. Kernel ver 6.6 should work out of the box. The reason why I chose 6.1 branch is that it’s marked as stable and RPi’s official OS is still using it. If 6.6 is preferred, you just need to switch to 6.6 branch and apply the patches. There might be some work to update the kernel config though, but should be simple.

This post doesn’t feel reassuring. But I’m willing to try anyway. At best, I’ll still get a video signal from the HDMI.

i also want to test out pmos on the cm4 and cm3. but i’ ve been having no free time. could any of you maybe share an img just to test drive it, even if its not polished? maybe a wetransfer link or google drive.

cheers :slightly_smiling_face:

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For people who have gotten either PostmarketOS or another distro working, whats the difference in battery life like vs RasPiOS?


My battery life hasn’t been great in either distro. I can get about 3 hours and 45 minutes with minimal use. I suspect that my LG MJ1s are either faulty, suffered from sitting on my desk for months, or don’t have ideal performance characteristics for this device.

I’m going to roll the dice again with a pair of Samsung 35Es and see if that makes a difference.

Edit: I’ve since swapped the new cells in and am seeing consistently longer battery life.

The forum needs more technical experts like you.