[Tinkerphones] Dual personality systems (was Re: ZeroPhone site offline)

Jonas Smedegaard jonas at jones.dk
Mon Jan 10 02:27:15 CET 2022

Quoting Paul Boddie (2022-01-09 23:40:08)
> On Saturday, 8 January 2022 22:49:19 CET Jonas Smedegaard wrote:
> > 
> > Even current generation PinePhone might be made to run a (very) 
> > lightweight telephony-focused stack, on its embedded 32bit 300MHz 
> > AR100 processor.
> > 
> > I maintain the needed compiler for Debian in package gcc-or1k-elf, 
> > and getting Linux compiled seems doable for someone with the skills 
> > (i.e. not me): https://linux-sunxi.org/AR100#Mainline_Kernel_Support
> The AR100 processor in the Allwinner SoCs appears to be used as a kind 
> of microcontroller without memory management unit, at least from what 
> I can understand from that wiki page, so running vanilla Linux would 
> be out of the question. But there are other things it could presumably 
> be asked to do.

It was my understanding that the AR100 was unusable for running Linux - 
until I read that wiki page, which to me seems to explicitly mention 
running linux on it - in the very section header, ever:

> Mainline Kernel Support

I am not knowledgeable in this low-level stuff though, so I take your 
word for it.


> I suppose that if it were possible to power down the main cores and 
> just keep the auxiliary core operating (perhaps more feasible with the 
> AR100 given its apparent use with power management), the aim would be 
> to somehow wake up the main cores in a state where they can present 
> the user with an interface upon some kind of telephony event.

That I know for a fact is not only theoretical speculation: It is 
possible to fully power down the main cores and keep only the AR100 
running: The reason I maintain the gcc compiler for AR100 is for Crust, 
a free firmware that I have succesfully used to put my Allwinner 
A64-based Teres I laptop to deep sleep: 
https://github.com/crust-firmware/crust - or Debian package 

That codebase has some quite informative commit messages in the git 
source, which I imagine that someone more skilled than me can benefit 
from digging through to understand much more on what has already been 
mapped out of the AR100 functionality.

 - Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

 [x] quote me freely  [ ] ask before reusing  [ ] keep private
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