Allwinner A10 : Is XBMC ported to MALI-400MP ?

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Khivar Offline
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Post: #1
Hello,

I just discovered the Mele A1000 which is totally open source and seems awesome at a price of 70$.
Here's a link : http://www.cnx-software.com/2012/03/20/a...droid-stb/

The GPU is a MALI-400MP which is also used on Cotton Candy and has hardware decoding capabilities and on the paper it seems a little bit faster than the Raspberry Pi GPU.
I wanted to know if there is already a port of XBMC that works with it or if there is any plan to make one.

Sources are available, from the post of cnxsoft from the link above :

"Here’s the (leaked?) GPL source code and documentation for hardware video decoding (MPEG1/2/4, JPEG, H.263, H.264, AVS, VC-1, WMV7/8 and VP-6) and encoding (h.264) on the Allwinner A10: http://www.mediafire.com/?8ccb2hn7bkn18b2

It is also available on Github at https://github.com/amery/allwinner-a10-video

Read more: http://www.cnx-software.com/2012/03/20/a...z1qQuVK0cS
"
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j1nx Offline
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Post: #2
Yes, the hardware looks really good, don't be fooled. It is A LOT better then the R-Pi hardware. I already mentioned it in the ARM SoC thread.
http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid...pid1054466

I have ordered one by myself to start playing. My aim is to have OE ported on it,
http://openelec.tv/forum/20-development-...stribution
But will most likely start with a standard ubuntu rootfs first.

I already have a compiled kernel and rootfs ready to be loaded onto the SD-card.

I am now in process to have a qemu system simulating the exact U-Boot -> Kernel -> rootfs proces. This can be used to keep playing with different kernels, modules and download, upgrade, compile, etc. from within the rootfs. (a bit like what raspbmc is doing, so maybe I even move from OE to that structure)



Bare in mind that the video-decoding stuff is not yet GPL licenced and released, but will most likely be in the near future. Allwinner is in progress of getting fully GPL complianced. Here is a link to a good article about that;
http://www.itwire.com/opinion-and-analys...-platforms
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Robotica Offline
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Post: #3
Best priced hardware for a full XBMC experience to buy!! Only mainline support is an issue for now.
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bornagainpengui Offline
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Post: #4
This looks great, too bad it runs Android. :-(

--bornagainpenguin
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j1nx Offline
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Post: #5
(2012-03-29 21:58)bornagainpengui Wrote:  This looks great, too bad it runs Android. :-(

--bornagainpenguin

You clearly did not read the information provided. Rofl
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bornagainpengui Offline
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Post: #6
(2012-03-29 23:27)j1nx Wrote:  
(2012-03-29 21:58)bornagainpengui Wrote:  This looks great, too bad it runs Android. :-(

--bornagainpenguin

You clearly did not read the information provided. Rofl

I did. Clearly my bitterness at a lack of Android port for XBMC has colored my sarcasm all wrong. I look forward to seeing Ubuntu (Linaro) for this, and hope to see more ARM powered hardware released with source code, maybe eventually finally even seeing a Smartbook some day....
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j1nx Offline
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Post: #7
(2012-03-29 23:36)bornagainpengui Wrote:  
(2012-03-29 23:27)j1nx Wrote:  
(2012-03-29 21:58)bornagainpengui Wrote:  This looks great, too bad it runs Android. :-(

--bornagainpenguin

You clearly did not read the information provided. Rofl

I did. Clearly my bitterness at a lack of Android port for XBMC has colored my sarcasm all wrong. I look forward to seeing Ubuntu (Linaro) for this, and hope to see more ARM powered hardware released with source code, maybe eventually finally even seeing a Smartbook some day....

I know how you feel about an android port, but we have to fair to ourselfs. Android is a very strange thing, yes it uses a linux kernel, but the whole "OS" is more like one big program acting as a Virtual Machine (Dalvik). It will maybe be very difficult and maybe impossible in the end to port all libraries to this machine. To me Android look more like something as VMWare ESXi. A bare kernel booting a VM where your software runs. Accessing you hardware from within those VM's is hard. I am no Android expert, so I might not be right at everything, but the essence sound about right Wink

But you never know. The devs are working on it in the background, so you never know where they might come up with in the (near) future.


To come back to this device. It is really great news one of those chinees factories finally acknowledge the is something as GPL. Having the full kernel/driver sources for this device making it nothing less than the pandabours / beagleboard. Only the price is a lot less.

The U-Boot on the Allwinner devices basically always boot from sd-card prior to NAND, so if you put your kernel and rootfs on a sd-card, slide it in, it will boot. You don't even touch the official stuff, breaking any warranties. This Mele 1000 box is very nicely priced, but whatever comes out of this whole process, can also be used at almost all of those Allwinner A10 tablets out there. Believe that are a lot of different tablets. You don't talk about XBMC on android anymore, but a full supported "dual" boot option, directly booting into XBMC.

I have great expectations about the Allwinner devices.
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Starstream Offline
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Post: #8
So the stock player doesn't need to messed with like in that guide for Ubuntu, it will always boot from SDcard, that is interesting.

If you donate a few of those players to the Geexbox guys maybe they can cook something up. They have an entire OS that boots into XBMC from SDcard and runs on a few Arm systems already
(This post was last modified: 2012-03-31 16:19 by Starstream.)
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j1nx Offline
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Post: #9
(2012-03-31 16:19)Starstream Wrote:  So the stock player doesn't need to messed with like in that guide for Ubuntu, it will always boot from SDcard, that is interesting.

Yes, if you prepare the SD card with a 16MB fat partion at the beginning containing the kernel file and boot the uboot bin files at the exact right position on the card, it will use the U-boot on that sd card.

Follow the exact steps at the following page;
http://rhombus-tech.net/a10_mmc_boot/

After off course you have the kernel compiled. Th esecond partition is for the rootfs.
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bornagainpengui Offline
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Post: #10
(2012-03-30 09:09)j1nx Wrote:  I know how you feel about an android port, but we have to fair to ourselfs. Android is a very strange thing, yes it uses a linux kernel, but the whole "OS" is more like one big program acting as a Virtual Machine (Dalvik). It will maybe be very difficult and maybe impossible in the end to port all libraries to this machine. To me Android look more like something as VMWare ESXi. A bare kernel booting a VM where your software runs. Accessing you hardware from within those VM's is hard. I am no Android expert, so I might not be right at everything, but the essence sound about right Wink

But you never know. The devs are working on it in the background, so you never know where they might come up with in the (near) future.

Oh I know, it just burns my butt that the iOS infrastructure (as closed as it is) still manages to be more open than the supposedly open Android infrastructure. It just flies in the face of expectations I had when I chose Android over iOS. And I get that the developers are doing what they can, and that they just had a major release to push out the door...I do get it. And I recognize that many of the libraries they need to get XBMC on iOS were already compiled and ready because of other projects, which aren't yet possible\available on Android, so that really shortened the lead time to getting a working build.

It just bugs me that an open source project surfaced on a closed platform so quickly, and here we are later--lots of time gone by and still nothing on the "open" operating system.

(2012-03-30 09:09)j1nx Wrote:  To come back to this device. It is really great news one of those chinees factories finally acknowledge the is something as GPL. Having the full kernel/driver sources for this device making it nothing less than the pandabours / beagleboard. Only the price is a lot less.

Yeah that is a shocker. Maybe someone finally got it through their heads a rising tide floats all boats? Or failing that maybe they finally got the message GPL compliance equals product feature which adds value? Whatever the cause I hope it catches on and people try to drown those companies that comply with the GPL in dollars, euros and rmb...

(2012-03-30 09:09)j1nx Wrote:  The U-Boot on the Allwinner devices basically always boot from sd-card prior to NAND, so if you put your kernel and rootfs on a sd-card, slide it in, it will boot. You don't even touch the official stuff, breaking any warranties. This Mele 1000 box is very nicely priced, but whatever comes out of this whole process, can also be used at almost all of those Allwinner A10 tablets out there. Believe that are a lot of different tablets. You don't talk about XBMC on android anymore, but a full supported "dual" boot option, directly booting into XBMC.

That right there has me tempted to go out and buy one of these on speculation towards full time usefulness as an XBMC box...

(2012-03-30 09:09)j1nx Wrote:  I have great expectations about the Allwinner devices.

Yeah, I've been following these in the tablet market for a couple of months now, I'm hoping to see more PCs or even smartbooks of these type in the future...

--bornagainpenguin

PS: Sorry for my earlier grumpiness!
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slicemaster Offline
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Post: #11
WOW, I've been reading a fare bit about the Raspberry Pi, and a lot of other cheap ARM based SoC products out there and this by fare looks the most promising. The unit cost really can't be beat and the form factor is good too. I really do hope all the video decoding stuff gets open-sourced as many claim it will be . I was thinking about getting a Panda Board but now I am perhaps reconsidering. The price on A10 based solutions is ridiculously low and I hope to see more interest in getting XBMC to run in this thing. I imagine it probably already does run on it as its just another ARM chip with a MALI400 GPU. With hardware decoding this type of device has some serous promise.

Cheers,
Slice

P.S. Has anyone actually got a Linux distro and XBMC running on this thing yet?
(This post was last modified: 2012-04-14 08:58 by slicemaster.)
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GreenEyez Offline
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Post: #12
Well, as strange as Android might seem, there should be APIs available to access the hardware. Otherwise media players like MX Video Player or Plex wouldn`t be able to handle 1080p playback just fine on it, and it would have been impossible to develop complex 3D games like GTA III (which was initially done for iOS btw) , which runs fine on the Android devices i tried.

For the record, i have a cheapo chineese tablet with the Allwinner A10 platform running ICS 4.0.3 and it`s mostly ok, don`t expect super-fast performance like on a Galaxy Nexus S or SGS S2 since it`s a single core from last year, but it`s decent.
(This post was last modified: 2012-04-14 16:06 by GreenEyez.)
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slicemaster Offline
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Post: #13
I suspect most people here wouldn't be interested on running on-top of android. Firstly there are tons technical issues stopping that, one being that android only allows the use of JAVA based application packages, hence there is no way in hell XBMC will ever work on android unless the android folks pull there head out and allow for native code support. As for performance, I suspect once you get rid of the Android OS, it doesn't really matter...Android has quite a bit of overhead and Crap that really isn't needed if all we're interested in is a XBMC appliance (We are on the XBMC forum talking about a STB). In either case, I guarantee if someone gets a small linux distro on this thing in addition to XBMC, I suspect it would preform much better than the Raspberry Pi once the devs get the hardware video decoding stuff sorted, at the very least the UI would be faster.

Cheers,
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davilla Offline
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Post: #14
@slicemaster, oh so wrong. google for 'android native activity'


MediaInfo : http://mediainfo.sourceforge.net/
Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
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slicemaster Offline
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Post: #15
(2012-04-15 08:06)davilla Wrote:  @slicemaster, oh so wrong. google for 'android native activity'

well that's news to me but then again i don't follow android stuff often...none the less it is encouraging. however, given the state of things as they are and the fact that there is no working version of XBMC for android (and no one working on it to the best of my knowledge), I suspect at least for the time being that a vanilla linux distro and XBMC on the A10 would be perhaps more pertinent in the short term at least, and certainly so when one is looking for a dedicated XBMC applience.

none the less the android native activity stuff looks pretty cool...

Slice
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