Great new OS for RockPi4C, AKA Armbian-Reforged

This is what I’ve been waiting for long time for any RK3399 board, a fully desktop Linux OS with mainline kernel, HW acceleration, Panfrost graphics and VPU drivers specially if you’re not a Linux expert, a ready made friendly image that works out of the box for the newbie and enthusiast SBC user, it runs fast too, even from uSD:

  • Currently on 5.8.17 kernel
  • MPV build to support Mali T-864 MP4 GPU
  • Firefox fully optimized to support Panfrost HW acceleration.
  • Built-in several useful software including, Kodi, USBimager, Retropie, Myandroid, Discord, Wine Desktop, Midnight commander, Remmina, Retroemulation(Dosbox, lutris, mupen64plus, ResidualVM, SNES9x, ScummVM, Redream, ZSNES), etc.
  • Armbian Focal Mate based
  • Boots from uSD, eMMC and NVMe
  • Many visual perks
  • OpenGL games included for testing(Panfrost OpenGL 2.1 only)
  • BOX86 support for Mali T864 MP4 GPU

IMHO, This is the only way to get new users and Fruity users as well to venture into RK3399 boards. RockPi4C is recommended because it offers the most features at the lowest price.

Password: 123456
After booting for the first time, resize partition on uSD or eMMC with included gnome-disks utility.

Still in alpha state but fully functional, if you wanna give it a try:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Ex3NqdYG_sOTYJm3QSBX7_G0nnNU0JQt/view?usp=sharing

Many Thanks to Salva for his efforts by taking such initiative to promote all RK3399 boards with an Universal OS. @Ptitseb for his BOX86 contribution.

Known issue: Bluetooth audio has some stuttering noise

Update(11-13-20): A new Armbian-Reforged OS version with several improvements and fixes is coming up soon! Stay tuned.
Update(11-17-20): a New Armbian-Reforged V1.0 version is here:

Download Latest Armbian-Reforged V1.0 from here:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gQtgWz2pH2TX9Qs_bcDU9zn7w4edfcVf/view?usp=sharing

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Hi. this image works also with rockpi4b?

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Successfully Tested with Pinebook Pro, Orange Pi 4, RockPi4B and NanoPi T4. We didn’t have a RockPi4 A to try on.
edit /boot/armbianEnv.txt
replace the dtb name with rk3399-pinebook-pro.dtb or whatever RK3399 board you have, check dtb folder to know the exact name you need to type. by default we use Rockpi4C dtb

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Yes, it does work with RockPi4b but make sure to change correspondent dtb file.

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Is it perhaps possible to share how
MPV was build to have Mali T860 support, Firefox was build using HW acceleration, Kodi was built?
It will benefit a lot of users that use stock Armbian or images from balbes150 too.

Perhaps these apps can be put into a .deb package to install easily or a docker package to build it yourself but that is probably a lot of work or not easy to do?

Hello
It is available by some users this have been there is some time but its not that easy.

I’d like to say great work by the ones who have worked on it.

For firefox to work with panfrost you need to enable it from either config or start firefox with some flags that’s needed to make use of panfrost gpu which is not recognized.

Indeed it will be very helpful if the developer can share detailed information on how he achieved it.

I will share the git link on how to get vpu support.

Good work devs.

UPDATE1:
I am testing this image on my Pinebookpro, I like that it have VPU ssupport and GPU support for firefox but the image is overall sluggish as IDK why you have gnome’shell running over mate DE.

  • Storage is not resized on first boot like armbian does, had to resize it manually
  • IDK why keyboard layout is not what it says it is in the setting US’EN
  • Audio doesnt work on Pinebookpro
  • Video playback over MPV is done by VPU which is great to see as it only takes 30% of the cpu while playing the 1080p video which means its running over vpu.
  • Same video when played from kodi takes up more CPU while the encoder used is SW but I feel it is decoding with the VPU as there is not a single dropped frame even when I skip back and forth.
  • Kodi starts instantly like in 2 '3 seconds which shows that GPU support have been stablized in mesa’20.3’devel
  • Firefox have gpu support where I tested webrender samples of aquarium with 500’1000 fishes getting 12’10 fps
  • Love that you have Wine, Android I think anbox, lutris and retropie all pre’installed

Currently editing this post using Pinebookpro running this image itself.
Once again great work by the devs who worked on this. I might give vpu patch on the whole stack again as I have tried twice but didn’t have the patience to get it to work as had to patch the kernel, them ffmpeg and then the applications like kodi and mpv, but only only ffmpeg and applciation patches are needed as 5.9 kernel already have vpu support.

Update 2:

  • Audio works when I play sega racing on lutris but not on the core Os.
  • After reboot audio works on speakers but it is so low that I have to put my hears on the speaker vents.
  • Ok Audio is too low in alsamixer we had it set in asound.state for our image. All good now
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Hi Guys, I am Salvador from PiLabs, I created this image.thanks for the feedback… it took me too much time to make it. The thing is I want to give noob users the easy to use experience they have on RPI. I think rk3399 is ready to be the king (at least on price/what you get), and we need to unify all the rk3399 devices in Armbian Reforged. I put that name just to refer to Armbian and to get money for them, bc they do the core work. if you wanna to join my effort please join my discord channel at twisteros.com we have special channels to this new project. also, radxa will send six boards to my team, so I wanna thanks Tom for that.

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Some things that can be added or fixed for the next version:

  • The default keyboard is Spanish, then it doesn’t let you type ‘@’ it types ‘’ instead.
    Deleting and adding US English keyboard solves this problem.
  • Audio is silent, seems there is a solution by spikerguy.
  • Maybe Kodi can be updated to 18.9 and vpu accelerated video playback added if possible.
  • Trying to play 10-bit H264/H265 1080p videos crashed the device, maybe 10-bit color support is not added yet.
  • Perhaps DRM video playback packages from spikerguy can also be integrated but it is for Chromium browser - https://www.uex.dk/public/manjaro/arm-unstable/community/aarch64/chromium-docker-4.10.1610.6-1-aarch64.pkg.tar.xz then Firefox can be removed.
  • You need root access to change the default dtb, not sure if a separate partition can be used to contain the dtb files, boot info so it can be changed without root access like in balbes150 images in future?
  • Can update to 5.9 kernel later.
  • Add USB-C Host mode in rk3399.dtsi file for all RK3399 devices not just NanoPC
    dr_mode = “host”; instead of dr_mode = “otg”;
    https://github.com/armbian/build/pull/2299
  • Perhaps there are some extra vpu patches from Kwiboo or in a newer kernel that can help more for video playback.

Hello Salvador,
Great work by you and your team, highly appreciated but do you have source for this on git somewhere?
Would you share it with other OS developers as we all work together on ARM example, Armbian, LibreElec, Manjaro ARM and others.

Yes it can be a good desktop replacement once VPU support is upstreamed.
While Amlogic is not too behind with their S922x series which recently got GPU upstreamed while they have had patches for VPU already :wink:

It is getting exciting with all the ARM boards getting ready to replace X86 soon :smiley:

sadly, I have no team for this one so far. I don’t believe I had achieved better VPU support than default armbian on mainline. I just compiled MPV. MPV rely on ffmpeg, so there is no way I had improved that topic bc I dis not compile ffmpeg. VPU is quite tricky for now. my main feat
ure os box86, something I am experiencing to enhance on the official release. I am looking for devs to join me. while my team will receive rk3399s from radxa, I doubt they will be interested on rk3399 as much as on RPI. so, I need to make another team.

New version is here with some improvements. Armbian-Reforged V1.0:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gQtgWz2pH2TX9Qs_bcDU9zn7w4edfcVf/view?usp=sharing

  • Added support for RockPro64 boards.
  • KODI has been rebuilt from scratch
  • Some tweakings to improve general performance and RAM consumption.
  • gdm3 has been replaced by lightdm

Known issue: Steam app is not working as expected but already working on a fix.
BT Audio still suffering of shuttering noises

NOTE: Next upcoming version will have everything rebuild from scratch to reduce file size and fix remaining issues.

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I need to start with a clean mate environment to ditch xfce and some unnecesary packages I have installed; recompile scummvm (residual have being merged), replace usb imager with 64 bit version; check what happens with redream audio that sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t. recompile snes9x to solve an erratic launch problem reported by me; recompile retropie to use GLES instead of GL; try to add at least a netflix armhf electron app.

steam on my actual setup will work down the road when it get fixed on box86 (remeber there is a box86 updater on emulators section)

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Update (11-18-20):
To fix Redream - Dreamcast emulator audio sound issue:
sudo apt install libasound2-plugins:armhf

OK, I tested it on my RockPi4b 4GB v1.3 and I like it.
Only Sound over HDMI i can´t get to work.
I use my RockPi only as a LAMP & Calibre server and i think then this OS is overkill.

Too bad that ist don´t run on my Raspberry Pi4, but no RasPi Support from Armbian :frowning:

But still, great work and thank you

Thanks for your feedback. It’s very strange you had HDMI sound issues. In all our installation tests on RK3399 boards, haven’t had any HDMI sound issues on RockPi4B and RockPi4C boards, it always worked for us.

Have you tried disabling the other audio device? I also noticed it always defaults to that.
Go to volume control -> configuration, and disable the one that’s not hdmi audio. Then it always will boot with hdmi audio working.
If hdmi audio works that is.

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It don´t show witch is the HDMI but i tryed it with both.
And i can´t check audio is working with the audio jack, this leave my board direct on the first day.
On my Armbian LXQt 20.04.1 image that i use for the server it works.

But no problem, server needs no sound.

I like to test more of the board, special the 4C and the X version, but to get these board here in germany is a bit difficult. I order a new 4b but ony gets the v1.3 board, or a reworkd one.
The X or 4C is always not on Stock.

I realy like the Radxa Rock Pi and would like to make a blog with german Tests, Tips and Help.
I’m an early retirement IT professional with too much time and fun doing that sort of thing.

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Did you try sound settings like this one below?

OK, I tried one more time and after I really switched off the other output it worked.
Except for MyAndroid and RetroPi, everything from the quick start menu is working fine.
What I noticed was that when idling, the temperature was about 5 ° C higher than with my server image with all its background processes.
Even if I don’t understand that, both are idle at 4-5% CPU load. But hey, anyway, without a little bit of mystery, we’d all have less fun with it. For my part, I belong to those who would rather tinker with something than just use it.

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You probably use a Legacy image for your server. Legacy is clocked at 1.4Ghz/1.8Ghz vs mainine at 1.5/2Ghz.
So a higher temp is normal. You can lower the clockspeed with “sudo armbian-config” -> system -> cpu
Set highest to 1.8Ghz. On M4/M4V2 it’s unstable with governor ondemand. So I need to set it to performance for stability.