[230428] System Release Notice for ROCK 5A

Greetings. Today we are happy to announce the initial system release for ROCK 5A.


  • Default account is now radxa/radxa, but we also add rock account back
  • We now have a seperate alpha channel to keep production channel safe
  • New documentation sites are online
  • We are evlauating U-Boot 2023.04 for more systems

Changes since our last system release

So far we have 2 system releases already. The first one for ROCK 4 series with KDE desktop, and the second one for ROCK 3C & CM3S IO with Xfce desktop. For people who are out of the loop, KDE is our new and preferred desktop environment. However, due to performance concern, we are still using Xfce on ROCK 3 series.

As we now have a somewhat baseline about how our systems are configured, we will briefly go through the changes we made to this release. Existing users can expect to gain most of those new benefits via system upgrade with apt tool, or installing the new package manually.

  • We now add back rock user along with our new radxa user.
    The user account change was initially meant to reflect the fact that our offering is now beyond Rockchip SoC, and to raise brand awareness. However, we have received some confused users asking about login info, so we are adding the old account back.
    In our next stage of development, we’d like to implement a real OEM configurator for users to create their own account.
  • We now provide RTL8852BE/BU support via DKMS packages.
  • radxa-otgutils is now updated to be able to provide adbd and usbnet functionality simultaneously.
    Existing users will need to manually install android-tools-adbd package.
  • We fixed KDE Wi-Fi Hotspot support.
    Existing users will need to manually install dnsmasq and iptables packages.
  • wpasupplicant is updated to support WPA-3 on selected Wi-Fi adapters.
    In general, WPA-3 support is still spoty. We recommend using nmtui to connect to such network, as graphical interface is currently known to have some issues.
    Existing Debian users will need to run sudo apt-get install -y -t bullseye-backports wpasupplicant to install the latest package.

New alpha channel

We now has a new set of apt repos that are at least updated daily with all our latest packages. These are intended for us to build alpha images against, while keep the production apt repos with only tested packages to avoid accidental breakage.

Our alpha images also contains very different release body on GitHub, to avoid confusion with production images. You can see an example here.

With this new addition, we also want to update how we categorize different images:

  • Alpha: Built with the Alpha channel, which is automatically updated at least daily with the latest Radxa packages. Images are built for internal development purpose, so they could be very broken.
  • Beta: Built with the Production channel, which is updated manually by Radxa. Untested by Radxa.
  • Release Candidate (RC): Built with the Production channel. Tested by Radxa, but there are major issues preventing it being released.
  • Production: Built with the Production channel. Tested by Radxa, and there is no major issue blocking the release. Officially released version.

New documentations

ROCK 5A is our most anticipated product after the success of ROCK 5B. To ease the transition and reduce the learning curve, we have revamped our documentation to go along with this release. They are available at https://docs.radxa.com/, and cover from product information to system guide, targetting at normal users.

We will migrate our existing content hosted on Wiki to this new site shortly. Existing Wiki links will become redirections, so bookmarks will continue to work after the transition. Our new documentation is also available at GitHub, so it is still an open documentation.

For developers, we also start doing documentation for our build system. Very basic guides are available for bsp and rbuild already, and one for rsetup is planned. As we started to receive development-related questions, we are also updating the documentation along the way to make those tools more approachable.

U-Boot 2023.04

This month we also saw the release of U-Boot 2023.04. This exciting release brings the initial support for RK3308, RK356X, and RK3588. We have incorporated it into bsp's u-boot-latest profile. With some additional patches, we have reached the following status regarding this release:

  • ROCK S: microSD boot with overlay support with our own patches. eMMC and NAND boot untested. Support both RK330B-S and regular variant of SoC.
  • Radxa Zero: improved eMMC and memory compatibility.
  • ROCK 3 & CM3 series: microSD and eMMC boot with upstream pending patches. Currently evlauating to be the default bootloader.
  • ROCK 4 series: ROCK 4 is using mainline U-Boot already.
  • ROCK 5 series: microSD and eMMC boot with upstream pending patches.

However, currently the mainline U-Boot causes some display issues when using 8K monitor or DSI screens. As such, for this release, we are still using the vendor U-Boot. We will keep monitoring the development on the mainline U-Boot, and hope to switch at a later time when the support matures.


The following systems have been validated by Radxa for various use cases:

ROCK 5A: Build 16

More build variants can be found at radxa-build.

Kernel version: 5.10.110-6

Known issues

  • MAC address will be regenerated randomly if the system is reflashed.
  • The default resolution for 8K display is 4K. Users need to manually set the resolution to 8K.
  • When 8K display is set to 8K resolution, changing display mode (for example, mirroring or extended) will reset the resolution back to 4K.
  • Current version of software does not support AV-1 decoding.
  • “Enable UART6-M1 with Hardware Flow Control” and “Enable UART8-M0 with Hardware Flow Control” overlays actually does not have working flow control. Those overlays will be removed in a later kernel release.

Last time i checked there was no NAND boot support in mainline u-boot, Johan Jonker had sent some patches to support RKNAND overlay but it was rejected. Can you point out some lines where this is supported in mainline?

Well what I really meant was that I didn’t even begin to try flashing U-Boot on eMMC or NAND, so I don’t know if it will work or not. Now with your reply I know it is likely unsupported, so I’ll check if I can apply those RKNAND patches.

Here is the patchset


There could be some other in relation in,

I also like this one. This was much needed, there is alot of information is lurking around here in forums or discord but they are very much lost in the haystack. It would be very usefull if this effort could be organized in some single docu center by the community.