Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dual boot working !!!

Just a quick post to tell that dual boot is working now.

I'm not making a release right now, but I will most likely this weekend. The reason is that this is something people will be actually flashing in their consoles, so before making a release, I need to:
  • Test some corner cases.
  • Clean up u-boot code and commit it to google code.
  • Write detailed instructions for end users.
For the tech-oriented, this is how it works:
  • Only the first NAND block is modified. NAND is treated as if it was 2KB page size (it is actually 4K), because that is how the ROM IPL treats it.
  • u-boot SPL is placed in pages 0-3 (0x00000000-0x00001FFF).
  • u-boot is placed in pages 32-127 (0x00010000-0x0003FFFF).
  • u-boot has been modified to support A320 hardware and to understand the non-standard way in which error correction data is stored in the area where the original firmware system loader lives (pages 128 and up).
  • If SELECT key is not pressed, u-boot loads the original firmware system loader from NAND offset 0x40000, size 0x80000, into DRAM address 0x80E00000. Then jumps to 0x80E10004.
  • If SELECT key is pressed, u-boot loads linux from the miniSD.

UPDATE: for those that just joined, and answering user comments:
  • Yes, this means you can boot and use Linux on your A320 without a PC.
  • Yes, you still need some menu application. I don't provide that since I have limited time and want to focus on the kernel, but someone will (there are plenty of very skilled programmers turning their attention to the A320).
  • Hardware support is still limited to video, sound and keyboard, that is, just what you need to play emulators (can you spell mame?). Now that dual boot is working I'll focus on improving hardware support.
  • Lack of full hardware support means linux won't replace the original firmware anytime soon (but will eventually, that's my goal). So we have to get along with the original firmware and that means linux must run from the miniSD. Altering the internat NAND flash was necessary though in order to tap into the boot process and launch linux from the miniSD.
  • Work on the x760+ will start as soon as I get my hands on it. There's almost enough donated money (thank you very much again for you support) as to purchase both a newer LCD A320 and a x760+. I'm still trying to purchase the newer LCD A320 from someone who can guarantee I'll get one of the newer models, and regarding the x760+... can you suggest where to buy it?.


  1. awww im so jealous of a320 users right now, please work on the x760+ version soon. plzzzzzzzz

    Props for your works tho mate.

  2. Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  3. This doesn't mean that we'll immediately be able to launch programs, does it? There still needs to be a GUI launcher for the programs, right?

  4. Ryan, he has a video of GMenu running on the Dingoo somewhere here, it looks like it should be really good once it comes out.

  5. So wait let me get this straight, this will be a final usable version of linux for the digoo?
    Like it wont need to be linked to my pc, i can walk around with the console running linux?

  6. sounds great! now i just need to buy a mini-sd adapter and i'll be set ;o)

  7. This is great news. Keep up the good work

  8. Great news. I can't wait to see Linux in my X760+. By the way, Booboo, you can buy a X760+ in AllPMP:

  9. Really nice booboo! My 20€ are well donated ;-) Thank you very much!

    I hope you'll be able to implement all the other needed functions for volume/brightness control, shutdown and reboot and make them accessible on the api/command level so that this things can be used by coming applications if needed.

    I also hope you'll be able to solve the driver issues and to port alsa.

    Thank you very much, again!

    To all the other people interested in booboo's work: Please support his impressive work with a small donation (hardware or a few bucks) if you can.

  10. Hardware support is limited to sound, video, and keyboard. So what's left? I only thought of the mic, tv-out, and radio. What's left?

  11. Depending on shipping for the x760+ and protection i would use Paypal and get one off Ebay they are going for about $93 shipped and the seller has good feedback|66:2|39:1|72:1205|240:1318|301:1|293:1|294:50

  12. I just realized if this is released saturday, then this will be the best birthday ever lol.
    Booboo you rock man :D

    also pardon my ignorance in my previous post.

  13. This is great news. Take your time for the release, do as many tests as needed. We are not in a hurry (it's homebrew development after all :)) and we need a fail-proof feature as it will be the basis of all future development for linux on the dingoo.

    Great job booboo

  14. sells gemei x760+. It seems trustier tome than a casual ebay seller, 99.50$+shipping though (dingoo rules on pricing too!).

  15. In AllPMP the X760+ price is $82.90!!!

  16. its better to get it from ebay, you can get much better price and even in the unlikely event that it doesnt come,paypal will protect you.

  17. just get the dingoo, why bother with the x760, it doesnt have shoulder buttons and the screen sucks.

    Im really looking forward to the release, sounds promising, thanks to all the developers for making this happen!

  18. Idealista: Because, in my point of view, I'm a developer and a X760+ owner, and I'll develop/adapt games/app/emu for both, Dingoo and Gemei. Btw: The X760+ screen is fine.

  19. Im all in favor of the support for the X760+, I dont own one but I do own an a A320. But the more ppl we can get involved in the development for this platform the better off we will be. This isnt like the days of the GP32 or even the Gp2x, there are so many options now for portable homebrew developers that if we don't support a large diversified group we are destined to have limited progress. Look whats out there now, GP2x, Wiz, Pandora(soon), PSP, A320 doesn't have no were near the popularity of some of those at the moment. So every developer counts in my opinion

  20. There are two powerful reasons for -at least- trying to get linux working on the x760+:

    1- I believe the hardware is *very* similar, so it should not be difficult once I get my hands on one.

    2- As of today, donations are enough as to purchase both one of the newer A320 and a x760+. I asked for the money, you donated it, so I'm committed to do my best gettin linux working on the x760+.

  21. The more hardware support, the more people involverd into, the more developers actracted, the more applications available, the more people interested, the more new buyers... You really started something booboo! I'm in favour of x760+ linux even if I own a brand new black dingoo and I'm working to write my first app with the s2dsdk! Linux rocks in a free world!

  22. @ idealista, how about you get a brain and do some research before posting fanboy comments, the x760+ has a better screen than the a320 you moron. same resolution but a320 = 2.8inch x760+ = 3.0inch.
    Sure a320 has shoulder buttons which will help when it comes to linux but they have no real use in most emulation.

    Im happy with my x760+ and i wouldnt trade it.

    @ booboo, thanks your awesome for doing this, and sorry for the comment there but people like him really annoy me.

  23. Booboo, thanks for your effort. Your work has been fantastic and bring the A320, and in future, the X760 use to a new level. Make the eraldo words, my words.

  24. Hey , im a new dingoo owner :)
    is there a instalation guide or sth ?

  25. @ Tobias, Booboo is working on making intallation instructions. please realise this is just the basic part of Linux , others are working on a menu and so. so don't expect it to be usefull for a non command line user right away. But it's coming.

  26. Ok , thx for your response !
    I'll wait until there is a GUI ..

  27. Tobias, there is a pretty good tutorial here which will show you how to run NON DUAL BOOT linux, and Heretic/Hexen/Doom as well:

  28. gadgetmiser, if he wants a gui he probably doesn't know what a command line is(or doesn't like it), in which case he should wait until dual boot.

  29. NOOO, is better

  30. i found one on ebay for £56, but im not sure if its a x760+ or an older x760, the pictures in the auction show an x760+ but should ask the seller.

    cant seem to post a link here im afraid, wont let me paste.

    only other place atmis mp4 nation, but its $100 from them.