Information for users of TV boxes on the Amlogic platform


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Amlogic has no real-world interest in Armbian or any other mainline tracking Linux distro so they are not going to fork over any $$$ for support. Their business is heavily focussed on Android and some other niche use-cases. Like most/all SoC manufacturers, their responsibilities are to their customers (integrators who buy their silicon chips) and their shareholders, not consumer end-users in the Linux community who want to reflash a $30 device with a $0 distro image that doesn't use any of their software (which is a good thing, the BSP sucks).

 

"Board" devices from any vendor are generally simple to support since the vendor ships u-boot and kernel sources with varying levels of contact and engagement with the community. "Box" devices are a completely different game, with a massively larger amount of guesswork required to get working and a huge issue with device cloning and hidden spec changes. For example; the current X96-Air (S905X3) model which is popular ships in three different configurations and has been witnesssed with 4x different SDIO WiFi/BT chips; which necessitate a different device-tree file to have the right drivers (which mostly don't exist in mainline) probed. These devices are great when they work, but mostly they don't, and they're a massive and frustrating time sink to support, and the percentage of self-entitled users who get whiny about them seems to be an order of magnitude greater than those using boards. So any sane distro maintainer will (and should) focus on supporting boards. Once in a while there will be box exceptions, but they will be infrequent.

 

Any attempt to cause deliberate harm to user installations via software is unethical and I would expect the Armbian forum moderators to take appropriate action to deny promotion or access to such images via this forum if that actually happened. I know that I would take swift action to delete posts/threads and perhaps temp-ban users if this happend in the LibreELEC forums. However I suspect some of the alarm is caused by GoogleTranslate more than Oleg .. it does seem to translate Russian > English with very firm (borderline aggressive) words. Once in a while I've made him post in his native language, which I can read/undertand to a moderate level, and the tone is different.

 

As a side note, I'm stunned to hear that Armbian running costs are 2,000-5,000 EUR per-day .. LibreELEC runs around $2,500 per year :)

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1 hour ago, Povl H. Pedersen said:

Now, if the Armbian project would recommend brands or models of TV boxes ...

I don't think Armbian project likes TV boxes. Is there any officially supported? I don't see any.

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49 minutes ago, Povl H. Pedersen said:

But maybe one vendor could  be convinced to pay for support, and become the preferred TV-box vendor

How many boxes would they sell with Armbian (or ArmbianTV)? Only few. probably. Which means they don't care for such calculation.

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12 hours ago, chewitt said:

As a side note, I'm stunned to hear that Armbian running costs are 2,000-5,000 EUR per-day .. LibreELEC runs around $2,500 per year :)

This also includes the financial loss in time volunteering to the project while these skills could be used to earn real money in the same time but decide not to.

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3 hours ago, Werner said:

This also includes the financial loss in time volunteering to the project while these skills could be used to earn real money in the same time but decide not to.

But this is personal choice. If someone doesn't want to give time for free then it should not do this kind of things. Doing it for free and constantly saying "I'm doing this for free" is ridiculous.

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3 hours ago, Werner said:

This also includes the financial loss in time volunteering to the project while these skills could be used to earn real money in the same time but decide not to.

 

Ahh, that would bump our figures too. LibreELEC's greatest advances over the years have been fueled by people who were unemployed, soon-to-be unemployed, or on long-term sick-leave. I had high hopes for the pandemic driving a creative spurt but we seem to have scraped by without anyone falling victim (as nerds, we're too good at social distancing).

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17 hours ago, chewitt said:

As a side note, I'm stunned to hear that Armbian running costs are 2,000-5,000 EUR per-day .. LibreELEC runs around $2,500 per year


That is hypotesis that work on the project is paid. Besides this forum, there is also a constanf flow of emails with pleads / demanda to support this and that. There is not a single cent of coverage. Only dealing with this represents several hours which I have no intention to cover from my personal pocket - if I started to deal with them. In the past I did, now they only get URL with support terms.

 

If people have demands, they should cover that or do 180 ...  I am sure all developers around Armbian could contrbute from our pockets and also cover bandwith, electricity and all 3rd party help that we hire to surive. Solo that is several times more then Librelec. I used to work several years for full time to build the basic structure, today "just" 10+ hours to maintain it, every day. For nice part I don't need anything, but sadly at the project this size, not everything is nice to do. Or cheap enough that we can cover from our wages with hope that wife doesn't see how much we waste for this.
 

2 hours ago, cuker said:

But this is personal choice.

 

Working free of charge to support your commercial project? And you are upset if you are told to fuck off?

 

We are doing things for free, but the problems is constant game of abuses from your side. If you are not such person, there are right enough of them to cause us serious problems and forcing us to question why we actually work on this.

 

Once user starts to demand and blackmail, FOSS philosophy fails. The moment when user of freely available software forgets that is only our good will to help them, relationship breaks down. When there is no respect, there is no trurst. And since I don't trust you, we will not do business together. You can't hire me but you can try to patch this relation ship with a donation. If you alreday abused hours of my time and stole my attention, 100 USD will not patch that up. Well, you are not forced, its optionally. Its your personal choice. So far no one has contrubuted "four figure donations" to repay his damage.

 

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Personalised support?

It is limited to active project supporters and sponsors. The shortest way to become one and receive our attention is a four figure donation to our non-profit project.


The biggest part of this problem is not dealing with hardware, but with constantly unsatisfied people, which generate stress, with end users that sucks out our energy, waste support time, are lazy like to do invest minimal efforts into search engines and contribute nothing to our common. They - consumers - want to uset the device and they want that we sort them all problems. Related and unrelated.  Again on my/our wife and my/our childrents expense


Support terms are clear:
 

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Have you found a bug in the build tools?

Try to recreate it with a clean build tools clone. Then search for existing and closed issues. If you don't find it there, open a new issue.

 

 

Supporting our large build system is hard to support free of charge, but we do.
 

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Do you have troubles elsewhere?

Armbian is free software and provides best effort help through community forums. If you can't find answer there and/or with help of general project search engine and documentation, consider hiring an expert.

 

 

Can we support 1000 people project or other 1000 people freely available appliacitions that are shipped with Armbian. Absolutely not. Not under any conditions.

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Igor, I don't have any commercial project. I only express my own concerns. Also I do spend lot of free time on other projects where I don't get paid either. But this is my choice.

You decided to make Armbian and you decided to put it as open source. So expect everything you mentioned. You don' like how things are going? Then shut down the project or make it private for anyone who pays for it, close the forum, ... There are other possibilities beside crying on a forum :)

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Just now, cuker said:

Igor, I don't have any commercial project.


Its not personal. Its "you". Sorry for not being clear.

 

2 minutes ago, cuker said:

You decided to make Armbian


I decide to have a script to build and deploy Debian on some cheap ARM things.

 

6 minutes ago, cuker said:

You don' like how things are going?


Project is shaped all the time since start. Its not my shapping but many people's shaping. I am just showing support to people that contribute and talk about how problems we have and which are probably causing this problem.

 

8 minutes ago, cuker said:

Then shut down the project or make it private for anyone who pays for it, close the forum


The problem is in the relatinship between users and makers and closing anything will not solve things, just make them worse.  We just want and expect from you to be grounded and reasonoble when asking for things and not expect us to clean your toilet ... Putting a price tag is just another form of defense telling you that if you pay, we might do the extra mile for you ...  while donation - if you ask for help - is expected. This is your way of helping the project.

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In the meantime the Armbian forums have a separate (very lifely, I might add) 'TV Boxes' part. I can't blame people for thinking that it is part of Armbian. Which it is not. 

 

It's not fair to have a TV Boxes section and a special build for them (Oleg's build) and than ranting on all those cheap Chinese TV boxes. Close the whole thing before the good name of Armbian is damaged.

 

In my opinion it is not bad to use open source projects without contributing; I'm a developer myself. But I'm not an expert in all fields. So I contribute to some open source projects (the one I use for work or the ones I am an expert in) and happily use others. I think that is also the idea of open source. Can't do it asall yourself. So I don't see the harm in using open source projects without always contributing.

I choose OSS projects I use with some criteria, like user base and age/maturity. So I did choose Armbian to tinker with some of these cheap boxes.  Just for hobby, not expecting anything from anyone, not even expecting the box to survive longer than a year, I am aware they are probably poorly build. Just to get my interest in Arm hardware from some stm32f40x to something bigger. 

 

As I understand now,  the TV Boxes part is not really Armbian... If I knew before this project (Balbes (Oleg) images) would not have met my OSS criteria.

 

Are the TV Boxes based on Allwinner or Rockchip not cheap Chinese 'garbage'? Only the Amlogic ones? Which boxes do fullfill the criteria of 'TV Boxes' and not being cheap garbage?

 

But, at the same time, I feel with you, and I understand your frustrations, all those Muggle's, who do not understand the nature of open source, verbally abusing you, asking stupid questions over and over again, _demanding_ things... It is unbelievable....

But not all of your users are like that. Please don't forget that.

 

Thanks for the work.

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17 minutes ago, Devmfc said:

Close the whole thing before the good name of Armbian is damaged.

 

We are well aware of this problem which is why we have a project to deal with this somehow https://armbian.atlassian.net/browse/AR-230 rm -rf / is usually not the best way.

 

17 minutes ago, Devmfc said:

it is not bad to use open source projects without contributing


I agree with you. Download Armian and solve all the problems you will have on your own. But when you will be comming here to use our resources, why don't you rather use Google instead or hire some Debian expert. There are people to provide such services. Do you have the need to make a damage to the project that is providing you software for free? And free suppot is damage, especially purely generic which have nothing to do with what project do. 

 

17 minutes ago, Devmfc said:

would not have met my OSS criteria.


TINA. There is no alternative (well, you can ran Android and best case perhaps image that someone made by the way and was never updated.) - you need to buy hardware that is supported, not buying first cheapest junk from Aliexpress and hope that Linux will run well on it.

 

17 minutes ago, Devmfc said:

But not all of your users are like that. Please don't forget that.


This and friendship we all make in the process is the reson of not doing rm -rf / :)

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I would like to thank you for making this available, I really appreciate it! I have bought some of that 'cheapest junk' on Aliexpress. And I must say it is incredibly stable and very power efficient. For me that was the appeal of Armbian. I'm super bummed but understand your reasoning.  I would like to ask if you can make the last 5.8.x image available. I checked all the download links and only see the 5.9.0 image. Thanks again for all your great work! (and secretly I'm hoping you'll reconsider your decision :) )

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2 hours ago, mcb777 said:

I would like to ask if you can make the last 5.8.x image available.


In ideal world moderators - which are also short on (sadly this is one of the dirty jobs) - should move pressure on developers away from their sight - and warn or sanction user - before they even get a chance to be disturbed by.

 

In profesional world, clients rarely get a chance to address developer directly. For the same reasons.

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