I gotta be honest with you, I do like the finicking! Plus I'm tight on money. So I'll play around with uboot and its commands any day. I just found out that USB Mass Storage emulation works fine for playing around with the emmc from a PC!
I never mentioned Armbian in my post. Armbian is very important and I'm thankful it exists. As far as I'm aware armbian is the only ready out-of-the-box experience for this board (the ones from Firefly are old and they crash a lot)
I'm using an Armbian U-Boot with Archlinux on this board for months now.
I was talking about Rockchip specifically. Armbian is a community distro
If you want to jump on the bandwaggon of dumb hardware decisions (sharing USB and ethernet, etc.) and firmware level RTOS / bootloader / GPU blobs that really run the show (instead of your installed OS) then go right ahead.
Look I get the frustration. But there are lots of (much!) better boards than RPi to function as a NAS. If you really do want to join the masses and go buy an RPi then you can stop reading now. Otherwise, your options are:
Do more research before purchasing, and make sure you get something that is stable and all the bugs are worked out. OR
Buy whatever unknown hardware and then perhaps consider contributing in one way or another, in order to bring it up to full speed / support.
Personally, I am only low to mid level (at best) wizard, so I chose to do the former. I started with Cubietruck a few years ago, and it has run absolutely flawless as a NAS and running numerous services.
The situation with these SBC is a crap shoot. There are lots of holes you can step in (as you found out). But there are also hidden gems. Thus is the nature of the thing.
I for one am very happy that we have Armbian, otherwise we would have no (good) options whatsoever on all of this other hardware that are not RPi. So much in fact that I started supporting (financially (only a little)) and even helping out around here (Moderation most recently). But I am lucky to have the resources (time, money) to be able to do so (in other words I am not judging anyone who cannot, in today's difficult economy).
Just my $0.02. Anyway, rant over. I'm sorry but something about your comment I found dismissive to the efforts of all these people and Devs who have already put so much time, effort (and their own money) since years, just so regular people like us can Have Nice Things.
It was mentioned to me by email that the ethernet TX issue I describe here
plagues this board as well (my board is the LibreComputer Renegade).
It seems like the exact parameters might depend on each specific device, in which case the "best" solution would be some kind of "autoconfiguration" for the PBL, but that is in a future TODO. More about the issue andthe discussion here:
Eventually this patch was merged for the Renegade upstream: