More than smartphone, not yet laptop: Swmo on the PinePhone Pro

May 7, 2024
PinePhone, Mobian, pinephonekeyboard, sxmo, Linux

I’ve been daily driving the PinePhone Pro with swmo for some times now, it’s not perfect but I still find it be one of the most enjoyable devices I’ve used. Probably only behind BlackBerry Q30/Passport which also has a decent keyboard and runs an unfortunately locked-down version of QNX. For me it’s less like a phone and more like a portable terminal for times when using a full size laptop is uncomfortable or impractical, and with the keyboard it’s possible to write lengthy articles on the go. ...

Troubles with the PinePhone Keyboard and a disappointing mitigation

April 23, 2024
pinephonekeyboard, PinePhone

The melting plastic and the smoke # The PinePhone keyboard contains a battery, which will be used to charge the PinePhone when the keyboard is attached. Althrough there are existing warnings on the pine64 wiki which sums up to ‘don’t charge or connect anything to your pinephone’s type C interface when the keyboard is attached’, my two pinephone keyboards still managed to fry themselves, with one releasing stinky magic smoke and the other melting the plastic around the pogo pins on the pinephone backplate. ...

Links and Further Readings for My Everything Open 2024 Talk

April 12, 2024
Talks, Linux, PinePhone, OP-TEE, EverythingOpen, Links

Here you can find a list of links related to my topic which I find useful or just interesting. Meta # Info page Slides Recording XXX to be processed VerityMobile GitHub :: ZhanYF/veritymobile Demo # Access Measurements from Linux Userland Sign in to GitLab with fTPM-backed FIDO token fTPM-backed SSH Identity Disposable Web Session OP-TEE # Docs Index and high level introduction # Secure Storage # ...

Make you own 3.5mm serial cable

August 17, 2023
PinePhone, Debug, Hardware

Doing anything close to the kernel/bootloader on PinePhone almost always requires a serial cable, Pine64 store has premade serial cable available for 7$ USD, but making your own serial cable can be both cheaper and more flexible as a DIY cable can support multiple logic level and pinout configuration. Parts Overview # You will need: A 3.5mm audio cable, I got mine from a pair of broken headphone A multimeter for continuity test A USB-Serial adapter, you can get one online for around 3$ USD, make sure it supports 3. ...

OpenBSD on PinePhone Pro: First Impression

August 15, 2023
PinePhone, OpenBSD, BSD

Disclaimer # OpenBSD does not support PinePhone Pro yet and there are real risks involved in running it on your PinePhone Pro now, as such, I do not recommand anyone to do that. You might fry your device due to unsupported power management IC and in a worse case the battery might catch fire due to unconfigured/untested charging safety features. The purpose of this post is to document how to install OpenBSD on arm64 platforms not fully supported by OpenBSD, and much of this post is not PinePhone-specific, if you intend to follow what documented here, please be mindful about the risks and apply common sense. ...

Virtualization with KVM on the PinePhone Pro

June 23, 2023
PinePhone, Mobian, OpenBSD, KVM, BSD, Linux

Basic Setup # All the tools we need for running VM are already packaged on Mobian, to install them, run: sudo apt install virt-manager then add your user to the libvirt group: sudo adduser mobian libvirt Reboot and then run virt-host-validate, it should indicate /dev/kvm exists and is accessible. Trouble with Heterogeneous Architecture # Trying to start qemu-system-aarch64 with -enable-kvm flag can yield the following, rather unhelpfully worded error: ...

A week with Mobian on PinePhone Pro

June 15, 2023
PinePhone, Mobian, Plasma, Linux

It’s been a bit more than a week since I start daily driving the PinePhone Pro with Mobian, some parts of my journey are documented here. IME and Keyboard # Both Phosh and Plasma provide their own work flow for setting up IME and adding extra language support, but so far I’m unable to get Phosh’s ibus-based input system to work with PinYin when using on-screen keyboard. I’m able to install PinYin and Anthy from Phosh’s software center, but those methods only work when used with external keyboard, switching to either of those from on-screen keyboard makes no difference when typing. ...

Mobian and Plasma Mobile on the PinePhone Pro

June 6, 2023
PinePhone, Mobian, Plasma, Linux

Setup Tow-boot # Mobian as of now requires Tow-boot bootloader to be installed first, u-boot is no longer supported. To install Tow-boot, see this document, I find it easier to plug in a usb cable to start the phone while holding down the RE button. Be mindful that there will be no graphical boot menu after installation, at the moment tow-boot menu is only available via serial connection. It’s also possible you can skip this step, according to the PinePhone Pro wiki: ...