Garbage M2 distros

Hi again,

yesterday night I had some time to try some of the linux images available for the BPI-M2, which I didn’t tried before.

Two of them were Armbian based on Ubuntu Trusty and Debian Jessie (from the page pointed out by igorpec). Armbian - Ubuntu Trusty, unfortunately, could not boot for whatever reason (see below).


However, Armbian - Debian Jessie booted up and behaved just like described by Igor. (I very much liked the clean Debian system.) The big problem for me is the missing sound support, because my desired project would need to use the codec for both recording and playback. Igor pointed out that:

For best supported Allwinner devices (A10&A20) audio become available in 4.3, only few weeks ago.

I have not much experience with Linux, so I only tried the combo:

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade

which also updated quite some things, but not the kernel, so at the end I was still without sound. Could any of you please point out how to best update the kernel to check if that helps with the sound problem? (Plus, I would be really interested how to set up a lightweight X with LXDE for example.) At the end I got this:

Next, I also tried the Ubuntu Mate 15.10 image available from here. I was very unhappy with that. Even though sound works fine, graphics is buggy (I had some black bars popping up randomly on the screen), and the whole thing is very clumpy, heavy, and slow. On the top of that, it ran with a fixed 1080p resolution, which really sucks, if your display has 1200 pixels vertically, like mine does. This is what inxi gave me:

Finally, I tried openSUSE Tumbleweed available from here. It booted without problems, with a lightweight and responsive Xfce desktop running at the right (in my case, 1920x1200) resolution, but without working audio and with a somewhat crappy package repository (couldn’t find ‘inxi’ to install).

Conclusion: there is still no winner under the linux images. But if there would be a version from Igor’s Debian based image, which (hopefully) supports (based on the new kernel) the audio codec and includes a lightweight X environment, I would take that. :slight_smile: Joe then ports (or develops) a PowerVR graphics driver for linux, and all the folks become happy.

Nice plan, isn’t it?


This is the proper way to update Armbian kernel but we don’t have better kernel at the moment. Sound in mainline 4.3+ was “just invented”, become available in development areas. A31 is low priority to everybody since chip is rear and already out / obsolete.

Version with kernel 3.3 is based on very old kernel which was designed for Android. It’s buggy and no one is fixing it so forget about.

Trusty for M2 must boot too. Check your SD card, use other, write again, …

Igor, you were right. Trusty works well on another SD card. Are there any major differences between Trusty and Jessie? Which one would you prefer?

Since you said you’ve been fooled by Nora Lee showing faked HW accelerated video decoding on the M2 I wonder why you’re interested in GPU drivers at all? As far as I understood video encoding/decoding is ‘CedarX’ and has nothing to do with GPU?

Rab, what you are trying to say is that I am incompetent. You are right. Now you have it.

Sorry, that wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to point out that focusing on GPU drivers (especially dead projects like the one you referred to) is useless when it’s about HW accelerated video decoding.

You won’t see this on Banana Pi M2 since the A31s is already discontinued and no one is working on this. But I would suspect @noralee will tell you quite the opposite. According to herself she is responsible for Banana Pi at Foxconn (and she’s also the producer of the faked video claiming HW accelerated video decoding being possible on the M2). At least she should know what she’s talking about.

Dear Rab,

Did you mean that I upload M2 video by that fools people? After checking image version should be ubuntu V14.04 but 15.04, tks for your correction! We will release ubuntu 14.04 this week. So sorry I listed wrong version on YouTube.


No, you opened a small video file definitely not being 1080p (“The video is 26.2 MB in size and plays 5 minutes long” according to BPI-M3 android 5.1.1 test hardware function ) and claim you got HW accelerated video encoding on the M2. But this low resolution video was decoded on the CPU cores.

You still DID NOT deliver drivers/software to be able to use HW accelerated video decoding on the M2. And I doubt this will ever happen.

I would be very interested in seeing any release Distro used in any of the promo’s for the M3 that have been posted, that can do 1080p (with drivers and with sound).

So far, Many promo videos have been posted showing a lot of claims that cannot be proven, with some being proven as begin questionably less than than honest.

The only thing that has been proven is that the board was released for sale, no usable official Linux distro is available for purchasers that performs in any way shown my the official postings, and the board is a total paperweight to those who have purchased.

This sort of activity is very damaging to your reputation. I would recommend that you DO NOT POST ANYTHING that is not working, and ready to download.

It’s your company, your name, and the reports are getting ready to hit the airwaves. You are now the position of having to perform "damage control’. For this part of he world, the best thing you can say is “We blew it”, sorry, and here are the good distros, and they work well. Continuing to post videos demonstrating anything less than good, accurate, and with provable accelerated 1080p video and sound will only help to send the company into bankruptcy, as your reputation is suffering badly, and the reports are spreading fast.

An apology is what you should be posting, and any work on promo videos should be deferred, and that time should be used to get the M2 and M3 working for those you have sold board too already.

all development is a hard work, if you have a good idea ,welcome to join us and help us to do some development. we can not finished anything one day . we only try our best .

Dear Rab,

I saw that you complains M2 but M3, we’ll improve M2 video first then M3 will be next one to improve it.

From Rab: You won’t see this on Banana Pi M2 since the A31s is already discontinued and no one is working on this. But I would suspect @noralee will tell you quite the opposite. According to herself she is responsible for Banana Pi at Foxconn (and she’s also the producer of the faked video claiming HW accelerated video decoding being possible on the M2). At least she should know what she’s talking about.


You tell us now at the end of 2015 that you will improve the situation with the M2 first and then start working on the M3?

The very same person that published a video on 12.05.2015 claiming “Banana Pi BPI-M2 A31S runs Ubuntu 14.04 which supports video 1080p HW decode” (this is the video title you assigned) tells us 7 months later that you start now to implement the features you promised even before the M2 sales started?

I still don’t get it. This is just a scam. A colleague of mine bought the M2 for exactly this reason (HTPC). And what is he doing now with it? Using it at least as an overheating headless server running Armbian (since NONE of your OS images worked reliably. NOT A SINGLE ONE).

As Joe already pointed out the only possible conclusion is "Banana Pi - DO NOT BUY"

IDEA: Do not promote capabilities for boards you are selling that you do not have.

IDEA: Do not sell boards that you cannot deliver the capabilities that you you promote.

IDEA: Realize that in many locals, these are criminal offenses considered to be fraud.

IDEA: Buy back the boards you have sold that do not have the capabilities you promote.

IDEA: Try your best not to release until you have something of minimal acceptable quality.

IDEA: Don’t sell me a board then try to get me to help you make it right after the fact (because development is hard).

IDEA: Try to send me boards in advance of sale to distro developers, and cooperate with those distro developers to produce quality products that are ready for release when you start selling them.

IDEA: Take a basic class in business, so you know what is needed so that you do not fail.

IDEA: Hire someone that reads, writes, and speaks good english, knows how customer relations work, and and put them in charge of public relations and make them your front man.

IDEA: It’s not what YOU can show and promote, it’s what you users can make and promote. Raspberry Pi is successful because the users of the boards build things and promote for them. The Raspberry Pi is loved and embraced by many (even though they are not the best). Right now, your users are publically kicking you, and the company is suffering from a very bad reputation of non-delivery. When you post a promo video, people look to see what kind of lie you are trying to tell. What does that say? Your doing things all wrong, and that spells failure.

Want Ideas for success? There ya go. Make something good, then promote it, and get the right person to promote it for you.

Nvidia has ONE good distro. You better believe the drivers DO work.

You have something like a dozen disros, and none of them work right.

Want to fail? Keep doing what you are doing.

I so want you to succeed, but I publically look like a fool for ever backing your project. The M2 and M3 that I bought are worthless paperweights. I pulled them out today, and threw them in a box. I cannot even sell them and feel good about it. Apparently you can. I have honor. What does that say about yours?

I see the posts of what Babana M2 and M3 can do, and all I can say is I get mad. Really mad.

I tried every one of the posted distros. They are all garbage. You waited my time, and lots of it. And that’s worth a lot more than whatever I spent on the boards.

Why not quite spending time showing promos all sorts of things that will not work for users.

Make one thing that will work well, and show that off.

Get Nora to go back to answering the phone, and find someone good to promote your stuff. Make a better website,get a magazine, take a look at ODROID ( Like you, they struggle. Unlike you, they have a well cut jib, a nice site, a magazine, an editor that speaks more than 3 words of broken english, good distribution channels, and they don’t make excuses, they make apologies (were needed), they make promises, then they fulfill the promises they made.

I don’t know if this is a volunteer operation or not. it looks like one, because it looks like crap. If it is, do yourself a favor, and find someone else that stands better bet for success. If this is not a volunteer operation, do yourself (and all of us) a favor, and march in to the boss’s office and tell them to either give you the resources to make this operation work right, or your gonna walk out. Don’t forget, your names on the line too, and you don;t want your name associated with a company that operates like this. Or do you?

Take a look a ODROID. They kick your ass, Quit the excuses and rise to the occasion.


1 Like

Dear Rab,

As we don’t have enough resource, we only can improve M2 video first, if you would like to help to improve M3 that will be welcome!

Below demo for M2 video HW decode and GPU improvement:

BPI M2 A31S runs ubuntu 14.04.3 at 1080p by video HW decode

BPI M2 GPU demo:

P.S.: Above video HW decode and GPU images will be released this week.


sorry for this , i am lionwang. i just want to do a good project ,thank you for you good suggest.

you can contact me with :[email protected] ,

“As we don’t have enough resource”

Well, there ya go folks. This might have done better as a kickstarter project.

As it stands now, the best thing is to do is bury the Banana Pi project and move on. No good leadership and no real backing. Sad, but there are better boards on the horizon to invest our resources and time on.

That is all just sad. :frowning:

But why don’t you do it then? It seems you only focus on quantity and not quality. Why do you release so many OS images if none of them works as customers would expect? What’s the reason behind?

Given you advertised the M2 being able to use HW acceleration to play video over half a year ago I don’t understand this sentence. Are you able to help me understand how it’s possible to start now with HW acceleration when you demonstrated months ago that it already works?

And thus why we are adding a “-1” to our rating system, indicating “Call The Police” (or a good attorney specializing in class action lawsuits).

There are a lot of laws regarding “knowingly selling and advertising defective products”. While I doubt those laws stretch to China, they can cover 3rd party resellers, making it (in theory) possible to block products from being marketed or sold in a region :stuck_out_tongue:


I bought my M2 here:

There they describe the M2 as being able to provide composite video output (RCA) like M1. I talked to them already and informed them that this is not true, since the M2 can only output through HDMI or LVDS: (well, and I also had to learn that this volunteer linux-sunxi project seems to be the only realible information source for the various Bananas)

They told me they got this wrong information from the manufacturer as well as the distributor:

So it’s an easy one to return the product :smile: (and since a lot of people are returning M2/M3 these days they’re already thinking about stopping to sell the newer models).

The M3 is sold in Germany as being equipped with the same DC barrel connector as the M2 but by reading through the forums and it’s obvious that the DC barrel has been replaced by micro USB causing all sorts of problems. Lucky customers since they don’t have to discuss and can return their boards with full refund if they didn’t start to try to fix this on their own.