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posted by martyb on Friday February 14 2020, @02:50PM   Printer-friendly

Debian developer Jonathan Carter was recently given a MIPS64-based motherboard which he ran through its paces. The board has a Loongson processor which is intended for both general purpose and embedded processing.

The reason why I wanted this board is that I don't have access to any MIPS64 hardware whatsoever, and it can be really useful for getting Calamares to run properly on MIPS64 on Debian. Calamares itself builds fine on this platform, but calamares-settings-debian will only work on amd64 and i386 right now (where it will either install grub-efi or grub-pc depending in which mode you booted, otherwise it will crash during installation). I already have lots of plans for the Bullseye release cycle (and even for Calamares specifically), so I'm not sure if I'll get there but I'd like to get support for mips64 and arm64 into calamares-settings-debian for the bullseye release. I think it's mostly just a case of detecting the platforms properly and installing/configuring the right bootloaders. Hopefully it's that simple.

In the meantime, I decided to get to know this machine a bit better. I'm curious how it could be useful to me otherwise. All its expansion ports definitely seems interesting. First I plugged it into my power meter to check what power consumption looks like. According to this, it typically uses between 7.5W and 9W and about 8.5W on average.

The Loongson processors are developed at the Institute of Computing Technology (ICT) at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in China in conjunction with the BLX IC Design Corporation, also in China.

Earlier on SN:
Is Low-Priced Computing Stuck With an ARM/x86 Duopoly? (2019)
MIPS CPU Architecture to Become Open Source Hardware in 2019 (2018)
Linux-Based, MIPS-Powered Russian All-in-One PC Launched (2016)

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by dwilson on Friday February 14 2020, @10:23PM

    by dwilson (2599) on Friday February 14 2020, @10:23PM (#958327)

    ---- WARNING! offtopic below ----

    By the way, has anybody tried obtaining the Raspberry Pi accelerator license keys? Do they make any noticeable performance improvements? Video playback is already smooth in the non-accelerated system, but the Kodi menu rendering is pretty slow/laggy. I don't mind the cost of the keys, but I would mind spending the time to jump all those hoops just to find no real benefit.

    I looked in to it at one point, and just didn't see the point. All the keys do is unlock the hardware decoders for two codecs, MPEG-2 and VC1. MPEG-2 is used in DVD's, among other things. VC-1 was mostly a Microsoft challenger to H.264 and used in their WMV format, and for HD-DVD's (which are obsolete) and older BluRay discs.

    All the video files in my library are H.265 and anything I add gets transcoded to that, so buying the unlock keys would have been entirely a waste of money. Your situation may be different.

    - D
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