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Zucca
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2021 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JustAnother wrote:
They said $665, which is a bit steep for a new toy, but hey, it's a neat one.

Would anybody care to make a guess as to how (and why) the price of these boards will evolve over time? They need to get the price down to about $300 to get some real volume. This technology could be a game changer later on. Who knows?
Ouch.
But for hobby use and to learn new things... I cannot blame anyone buying this.
What's very nice to see is the amount of RAM it has. You can really do something with this. Nice.

I'm gonna continue to follow how things progress in RISC-V landscape. So far it's been very interesting since the start of this topic.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2021 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its just over £500 in the UK.

That means I can put a system together for under £1000. I might get management approval for that :)
I need to add a case, PSU, graphics and some storage.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2021 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It quite expensive indeed. Over here (The Netherlands) the board is EUR 572, add taxes and you're at EUR 690.
It comes with OpenEmbedded on an sdcard, but if you want better (storage) performance you'll need to add an NVMe SSD. A GPU isn't a requirement, but nice to have. GPU's are hard to find these days, so mine is running without one because of that.

Quote:
That means I can put a system together for under £1000. I might get management approval for that :)

Certainly doable, guess who's paying mine :wink: . But i have to say, I'd even get it if i had to pay myself. I like RISC-V and this is nice hardware to play with.
Full details and a picture can be found on the sifive forums: https://forums.sifive.com/t/unmatched-desktop-builds/4791/9

Install is going as expected with a few small gotcha's, way less eventful as you would expect with something this new. It really shows that a lot of good work has already been done.
The board can't boot from NVMe (yet), so it loads the kernel from the OpenEmbedded sdcard and i just copied the modules form the sdcard to the SSD and use that as a root fs. They have some patches that have yet to be merged upstream, so i'll see if i can patch gentoo-sources with user pactes or make an overlay with unmatched-sources or something like that.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm curious to see how it works for you.

The BeagleV looks interesting (supposedly about $150).

https://beagleboard.org/beaglev
https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2021/01/seeed-and-beagleboard-team-up-to-provide-a-new-risc-v-based-linux-pc/
Quote:
We expect to have a review sample of the BeagleV at Ars sometime in late March, with community delivery of the first hardware run following in April. Widespread general availability will come to pass in September 2021. Although the first hardware run will be entirely $140 / 8GiB systems, lower-cost variants with less RAM are expected in following releases.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok. Wow. That sounds intriguing.
Then I wonder if Pine64 folks have anything similar in the pipeline...
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2021 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got a small success which was possible due to Gentoo's flexibility ....

One of my favorite programs is mplayer, i use it to play nearly anything. Because almost all dependencies are not yet keyworded at all, I built it with minimal USE flags, like USE="-* alsa mp3 ipv6 network". That worked for all the required dependencies, but mplayer itself refused to configure. They detect the CPU architecture to do some arch dependent checks. So I made a small user patch to make it handle riscv* as "generic" and .... it configured, compiled and works! 8)

This is the patch:
Code:

cat /etc/portage/patches/media-video/mplayer-1.4-r1/configure.patch
--- MPlayer-1.4/configure       2018-12-15 16:38:24.000000000 +0100
+++ MPlayer-1.4-mod/configure   2021-06-19 20:41:00.735402324 +0200
@@ -1761,6 +1761,7 @@
       nios2) host_arch=nios2 ;;
       vax) host_arch=vax ;;
       xtensa*) host_arch=xtensa ;;
+      riscv*) host_arch=generic ;;
       *) host_arch=UNKNOWN ;;
   esac
   }

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2021 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll make a write-up of what i've done so far:

The starting point is the FU-SDK distro that comes with the board. It's installed on the supplied SD Card, if you want to download you can find the images here: https://github.com/sifive/freedom-u-sdk/releases
I think it would be nice to have a gentoo-based sdcard image to start the install with :)

I don't really like the FU-SDK distro. It's systemd based, it starts all kinds of networking crap i don't want or need, and -even without a GPU- keeps starting X, which of course fails, wasting CPU resources. Most notably it lacks GPG so you can't verify your downloads. This made me decide to use my regular desktop to download and verify files and transfer them to the Unmatched board with a USB stick.
To stop it from starting X run:
Code:

systemctl stop xserver-nodm.service


For most steps i used to x86_64 handbook, I'll highlight the places where things were different.

Partitioning
You'll need a GPT partition table, and this is my end result:
Code:

Device            Start       End   Sectors   Size Type
/dev/nvme0n1p1     2048      4095      2048     1M HiFive Unleashed FSBL
/dev/nvme0n1p2     4096     12287      8192     4M HiFive Unleashed BBL
/dev/nvme0n1p3    12288    274431    262144   128M Microsoft basic data
/dev/nvme0n1p4   274432  33828863  33554432    16G Linux swap
/dev/nvme0n1p5 33828864 488397134 454568271 216.8G Linux filesystem

The first two partitions are required to boot. They are not used now since the board can only boot from SD Card now, but when it will be able to boot from NVMe this will be needed so I guess it makes sense to create them now. The third partition is a vfat formatted /boot. Also this one is not used now, since the bootloader doesn't support the Unmatched's NVMe yet.
Partition 5 is my root filesystem which i formatted with ext4.

Stage3
You'll need a stage3, they can be downloaded here: https://bouncer.gentoo.org/fetch/root/all/releases/riscv/autobuilds/
I used a rv64_lp64d stage3 with openrc.

If you wish to use the onboard USB console (and you probably do :) ), enable the serial console in inittab with a line like this:
Code:

s0:12345:respawn:/sbin/agetty -L 115200 ttySIF0 vt100

Note that most of the boot process uses a speed of 115200 and the default in inittab is 9600, so you'll have to change that for it to work.

The board does have an RTC, but there is no software support yet. So remove hwclock from the boot runlevel and add swclock:
Code:

rc-update del hwclock boot
rc-update add swclock boot


Add MAKEOPTS="-j5" to make.conf, since you have 4 harts (Hardware Threads).

The FU-SDK disto uses a LED with the heartbeat trigger and i like that. To get the same result a made a file /etc/local.d/led.start
Code:

#!/bin/sh

echo heartbeat > /sys/class/leds/green:d12/trigger


Portage snapshot
Since i didn't give it any network i needed to download a portage snapshot and install it manually. Since this is not RISC-V specific you can download it from the regular mirrors, for example here: https://ftp.snt.utwente.nl/pub/os/linux/gentoo/snapshots/
Decompress the download file into /var/db/repos, by default it will create a directory called portage (from the old /usr/portage days i guess), so rename portage to gentoo to make the gentoo supplied repo config work.

Kernel
The FU-SDK supplied kernel has most required modules built-in, so it should be able to boot with the gentoo install as it's rootfs. If you need any modules copy the /lib/modules from the SD Card to the your gentoo install.

If you wish to build your own kernel you can use a 5.12.x gentoo-sources as a starting point. The board does need a few patches which are not upstreamed yet. They can be found here:
https://github.com/sifive/meta-sifive/tree/2021.05/recipes-kernel/linux/files
For me it "just worked" to place all the patch files in /etc/portage/patches as user patches. There is also a defconfig there, so after emerging gentoo-sources you can place this defconfig as .config in the kernel's source directory and run make oldconfig/menuconfig/whatever you prefer to setup the gentoo specific stuff.

To start the build use: make -j5 Image && make -j5 modules && make modules_install
Now be patient ... with the provided defconfig the kernel itself takes about an hour, the modules also take a bit more than an hour.

To install the kernel mount partition 3 of the sdcard (mmcblk0p3) which is it's boot partition. Copy the kernel from /usr/src/linux/arch/riscv/boot/Image to the SD card, I used gentoo-5.12.11 as a filename. Compress it with gzip.

Now edit extlinux/extlinux.conf to something like this:
Code:

default gentoo

label OpenEmbedded-SiFive-HiFive-Unmatched
   kernel /Image.gz
   fdt /hifive-unmatched-a00.dtb
   append root=/dev/mmcblk0p4 rootfstype=ext4 rootwait console=ttySIF0,115200 earlycon

label gentoo
   kernel /gentoo-5.12.11.gz
   fdt /hifive-unmatched-a00.dtb
   append root=/dev/nvme0n1p5 rootfstype=ext4 rootwait console=ttySIF0,115200 earlycon

The OpenEmbedded label is the original one, the gentoo one is the one I added. With this configuration it will try gentoo first, and if it fails it tries OpenEmbedded.

So now i have a custom kernel, now it's time to strip it down to what i need :)

I'm still amazed that most of this "just works", given the fact that most of the development on RISC-V so far has been done on FPGA's and software solutions like qemu.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2021 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anybody have any insights as to which countries are most aggressively beating a new path in risc-v? I read somewhere that China is the leader.

If one country bets the farm on something like this and it works out, this is a potential market disrupt situation. So it would be wise to pay attention to the dynamics of this.

After all, most people would prefer not to be surveilled if they had a choice.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Getting much into politics is beyond the scope of this thread and likely the forums in general.

That said, there are relevant issues around What the Future Holds. "web scale" companies are designing their own chips, which may only be a small part of the market, but it is a chunk. Apple has gone their own way. Consumers seem to be shifting away from PCs. And there are at least Loonson, Via / Zhaoxin, and AMD / China. It seems like I'm forgetting about at least one other, and I don't follow the chip industry that closely, so there may be others. So RISC-V is just one component, and it remains to be seen when and where it will be useful. 2 hours to compile a kernel doesn't sound like much, not knowing what its intended purpose is (beyond development).
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp,

Two hours to build a kernel makes it half the speed of a Pi4, which does the default kernel in an hour.
It will have to get a lot faster to be a desktop or server replacement.
In low power embedded, its up against ARM.

I'm aware that its early days in RISC-V development but it sounds like it has some way to go.
It's not yet a political decision, its still a 'bottom line' question.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also keep in mind that the "defconfig" i used and compiled with are nowhere near an "all(mod|yes)config", it have quite a lot basic stuff compiled in and mostly some USB graphics stuff as modules.

I know it's not 100% accurate but it give you an indication:
Code:

unmatched /usr/src/linux # grep -c =y .config
1135
unmatched /usr/src/linux # grep -c =m .config
373


I've also run openssl speed as an indication of performance. This is single threaded and the reported numbers are about half of what my Intel Celeron J1900 @ 2.0GHz does.
The CPU clock is software controllable and i know it is possible to "overclock" it a bit in that way, but i haven't tried it.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
pjp,

Two hours to build a kernel makes it half the speed of a Pi4, which does the default kernel in an hour.
It will have to get a lot faster to be a desktop or server replacement.
In low power embedded, its up against ARM.
Thanks for the comparison. I considered trying to find a comparison, then decided I was unlikely to get something this early, so it wasn't too important. Although I'm somewhat surprised at how "easy" pa4wdh's experience seems at this point.

I know one of the early Big Names to commit to using RISC-V was Western Digital, so it will be interesting to see where it gets used in products (rather than development).

I would presume that one milestone would be competing with ARM in the mobile segment (eventually, but not any time "soon").

NeddySeagoon wrote:
I'm aware that its early days in RISC-V development but it sounds like it has some way to go.
It's not yet a political decision, its still a 'bottom line' question.
China's interest does seem political, but others seem financial. So I'd expect that financial concern to bring some use to market sooner than later (within whatever standard time schedule exists for such things).

Given how little ARM stuff has come to market for desktop / server use, I don't have a lot of hope for RISC-V. Maybe Apple's M1 will drive some interest. I've read of Amazon and some others using ARM servers, but they seem to remain "out of reach" for consumer use.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pa4wdh wrote:
I know it's not 100% accurate but it give you an indication:

I've also run openssl speed as an indication of performance. This is single threaded and the reported numbers are about half of what my Intel Celeron J1900 @ 2.0GHz does.
Thanks. I'm mainly curious about "general" indications, so "twice as long as a Pi4" and "half of this Celeron" are useful enough. The kernel gives a general idea of what to expect for larger packages, which seems to be "don't" :).
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="pjp"]
NeddySeagoon wrote:
pjp,
I know one of the early Big Names to commit to using RISC-V was Western Digital, so it will be interesting to see where it gets used in products (rather than development).

I guess WD's interest is geared towards the controllers on their HDD/SSD's. The RISC-V ISA allows custom extensions and i think that will be useful for this specific use case ... and cheaper than ARM licenses :)

Quote:

Thanks. I'm mainly curious about "general" indications, so "twice as long as a Pi4" and "half of this Celeron" are useful enough. The kernel gives a general idea of what to expect for larger packages, which seems to be "don't" :).

To compare kernel compile time you'll have to have similar kernel configs, that's why i gave the =m and =y counts.
Since I don't have a GUI yet (due to the lack of a GPU) I still have to do the really big packages (firefox, rust 8O , gcc) , so we'll see :)
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pa4wdh wrote:
I guess WD's interest is geared towards the controllers on their HDD/SSD's. The RISC-V ISA allows custom extensions and i think that will be useful for this specific use case ... and cheaper than ARM licenses :)
I wouldn't have thought ARM was needed for that, so I was surprised to learn of their interest. For WD, controllers are the obvious use case, and that's the type of thing I'd expect to see in other early products. But I'm mainly interested in when it goes beyond that. RasPi / routers / switches and similar.

Other than the interest in seeing it succeed, I'll be surprised if I ever see a device where consumers need to know that it is in the product. I thought it might be interesting to have a quiet / low power ARM server for home use, but I gave up on that idea, and now I wouldn't touch one until ownership issues have been resolved.

pa4wdh wrote:
I still have to do the really big packages (firefox, rust 8O , gcc) , so we'll see :)
Could be useful to have it notify you when it is done. :)
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
I wouldn't have thought ARM was needed for that, so I was surprised to learn of their interest. For WD, controllers are the obvious use case, and that's the type of thing I'd expect to see in other early products. But I'm mainly interested in when it goes beyond that. RasPi / routers / switches and similar.

These days the controllers are more or less complete systems in itself. A nice proof of that is a talk of a guy that installed Linux on his harddrive ... the harddrive controller that is :) I can't find a link to the video now :(
RPi-like devices are coming "soon": The Beagle-V (mentioned earlier in this topic) and PicoRio (https://riscv.org/blog/2020/11/picorio-the-raspberry-pi-like-small-board-computer-for-risc-v/)

Quote:
Other than the interest in seeing it succeed, I'll be surprised if I ever see a device where consumers need to know that it is in the product.

I don't think that time will come, most consumers are simply not interested in the CPU that drives their gadgets. They don't know they have ARM/MIPS processors in their phones/routers/smart-stuff, if you're lucky they know there's some Intel or AMD thingy inside their PC.

Quote:
I thought it might be interesting to have a quiet / low power ARM server for home use, but I gave up on that idea, and now I wouldn't touch one until ownership issues have been resolved.

Good choice. Some time ago I also got disappointed with ARM. I sometimes experiment with writing assembly, and I couldn't even download the ISA for free. My interest in ARM was gone at the nanosecond I saw that.

Quote:
pa4wdh wrote:
I still have to do the really big packages (firefox, rust 8O , gcc) , so we'll see :)
Could be useful to have it notify you when it is done. :)

One of the leds is configured with the hardbeat trigger so i can see when it's idle :). Noise is a bigger issue though, it's fan is quite noisy and I wouldn't leave it to compile for long times if i have to sit next to it.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pa4wdh wrote:
A nice proof of that is a talk of a guy that installed Linux on his harddrive ... the harddrive controller that is :) I can't find a link to the video now :(
Wow.

Maybe I'll reconsider if a good "tinkering" platform comes along. Arduino or something like that.

pa4wdh wrote:
I don't think that time will come, most consumers are simply not interested in the CPU that drives their gadgets. They don't know they have ARM/MIPS processors in their phones/routers/smart-stuff, if you're lucky they know there's some Intel or AMD thingy inside their PC.
I was thinking more along the lines of Apple users and the M1. They don't necessarily care about the chip, but they do care that it is Apple's and about its performance and battery life.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2021 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I was thinking more along the lines of Apple users and the M1. They don't necessarily care about the chip, but they do care that it is Apple's and about its performance and battery life.

Ah, ok, i indeed hope that will happen. It's going to be a long way though, I did some power measurements and it consumes 37 watts for the board and SSD (and probably some losses in the PSU). My J1900 which has double the performance, and an SSD and a (built-in) GPU uses 33 Watts.

But these are the early days, it's the first board with acceptable linux performance, so things will only get better from here :)
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2021 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the mean time I stopped using user patches en started my own overlay with modified ebuilds.

I decided it might be nice to share my (small) overlay, hoping it will grow :)
You can find it here: https://code.pa4wdh.nl.eu.org/gentoo/unmatched-patchwork/about/
The name of the overlay is of course a play on the boards name 8)

It's actually the first overlay i'm sharing, so any feedback is welcome.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2021 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pa4wdh,

Submit pull requests on github. Get your work into ::gentoo.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2021 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Be aware that most patches aren't actually written by me :roll:

And i'm sorry, i don't do github ... because of it's owner 8). That why i had to setup cgit to do this :)
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2021 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would agree that with git, you may have raised the horse, but it is in another person's corral.

So what is the range of options if you want to post code but don't want to hitch it to another person's post?

cgit sounds good, but it seems to have only the exposure that the host site has, which is limited.

Are there any other options that get more exposure but allow the originator of the code to host the code?
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2021 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pa4wdh,

You can do git without github and submit patches via bugs.

You do not need to have the copyright in any patches but Gentoo needs to be sure the patches are released under a suitable licence.
Citing the source in your bug helps that process.
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pa4wdh
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2021 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me the situation with github represents a fundamental flaw of all the commercial "cloud" services: At one time you may choose to trust the owner of the service your data, but at any time your data it can be sold to someone else you don't trust or like at all, and you don't have any control over what happens with your data.

Quote:
So what is the range of options if you want to post code but don't want to hitch it to another person's post?

cgit sounds good, but it seems to have only the exposure that the host site has, which is limited.

Are there any other options that get more exposure but allow the originator of the code to host the code?

There are few git-specific solutions (like cgit or gitlab), but you could also use some old skool html and offer a tgz for download.

I guess self hosting also means you'll also have to do the exposure yourself. A link here seems to do well. This host didn't exist a few days ago, and within 10 minutes of posting the link here I saw the search engine crawlers in the logs.

Quote:
You can do git without github and submit patches via bugs.

I'll see of that works for me, thanks for the tips.
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