This $9 SoC claims to be "completely open source [sic]"

11 replies [Last post]
Joined: 03/12/2015
Michał Masłowski

I am a member!

I am a translator!

Joined: 05/15/2010

It's not software, so it's not free software.

I wasn't able to find a schematic nor a block diagram. Check what wifi
chip it uses and if the blob is in the wifi chip or provided by the OS.


I am a translator!

Joined: 10/31/2014

They claim it is opensource hardware. If they release the schematics it will be a great thing!


I am a member!

Joined: 04/09/2014

Ah I just posted about this in the Troll Hole! Sorty didn't see your thread!

Joined: 07/27/2013

Specifications according to this image

Wireless: Realtek chip
Graphics: Mali400

It would be nice with a board that gives a Displayport with audio, wired network and more USB ports.

J.B. Nicholson-Owens
Joined: 06/09/2014

name at domain wrote:
> But is it truly free software?

I'm guessing you meant to ask if this hardware works fully with only
free software installed. According to a couple of the responses made
after you posted the link here, the answer is no: Yowan, one such
poster, claims that Allwinner is "hostile", a "serial GPL violator", who
don't provide "proper documentation".

If this is the case, it doesn't seem wise to me to do business with
organizations that want to sell you dependency on non-freedom (such as
non-free blobs needed to get the system running) regardless of the price
of the device. I don't find "derekdickerson"'s reply to be substantive
or convincing.

If there are free software programs to run this entire board's
capabilities with free software (including the BIOS), I'd happily help
sponsor such efforts. I'd also hope that they would submit the board to
be evaluated by the FSF for inclusion in the Respects Your Freedom
campaign (

Joined: 07/05/2014

I'm hearing the same thing from a lot of people, Allwinner are not Free software friendly. It will run via the Linux kernel but how blob ladened it is to actually run is another issue altogether.

What is starting to puzzle me is that the cost of boards like this just keep getting cheaper and yet there is no rapid progress on the freedom they provide, at these prices there is even lease incentive for them to keep the code hidden.

Having a Free system would only be a winner at this stage in terms of getting people interested.

Michał Masłowski

I am a member!

I am a translator!

Joined: 05/15/2010

There are only accidentally free software-friendly SoCs. Intel,
Allwinner, AMD, etc are not free software friendly, but some of their
(older) products can be used without nonfree software.

Allwinner licenses many parts from other vendors, they wouldn't be able
to release some code (like Mali drivers) even if they wanted to.

Joined: 05/13/2010

Here are some comments on some of the components

Joined: 07/10/2013

On their Kickstarter page they claim:

"We've worked very closely with the amazing team at Allwinner Technology to insure that all the necessary documentation and source code for the System on Chip and Power Management Chips used in C.H.I.P. will be available for the community to use and learn from."

Let's not be too pessimistic. We'll see how many of those promises they will keep. I'm excited about this.


I am a member!

Joined: 10/11/2014

"We've worked very closely with the amazing team at Allwinner Technology"

Oh noes. The notorious GPL violators again... :(
I wouldn't expect too much from a device using any Allwinner chipset.

Joined: 12/24/2014

It's not open source hardware, and the software that drives it's hardware will also not be open source. Just most of the OS that will run on it will be, which is Debian.