Garbage M2 distros

Garbage M2 distros

I am reviewing the all the Banana Pi boards for publication.

I had to buy them too (“we are sending” never happened).

Banana Pi used to be the underdog I cheered for!

These M2 distros are garbage!

I see G+ postings about “Banana Pi does this” and “Banana Pi does that”.

At this point, “Banana Pi does garbage”, and lots of it.

Why not concentrate on making ONE good image, instead of many garbage images?

I just want one good deb based image that works with Win32diskImager.

You have wasted a lot of my time with garbage images, “test” images marked as “release”, and screwups posted all over your “Google Drive Download” area.

My recommendation is looking like: “Banana Pi - DO NOT BUY”.

Slow down, realize that more is not better, pick ONE image, and concentrate on getting that ONE image right.

Your sloppiness in taking on too much is going to cost you in the long run.

The next time I see a “Banana Pi does this” posting, it better be a “Banana Pi M2 finally has a working Linux image”, that is easy for an average user to install.

Thank you,



I agree on your findings :wink: I am afraid that most of board makers rely and hope community will fix bugs and provide support :wink: Chip maker (Allwinner), which is behind, doesn’t care or can’t establish proper SoC support. Probably their investment into community is simply too small. And they don’t care for Linux, their milking cow is Android which (probably) works. Mainline community effort came this far and a little further since it’s not the latest build. Board become usable at least for headless operations.


Thank you so much igorpec for the links. I hit an armbain page (I think) somewhere that just said “unsupported”. This is hopeful.

My feeling is, when it comes to SOC boards, if I wanted Andorid, I would just buy a good phone, take it apart, root it, and pull out a solder gun. Perhaps I am alone on that.

I think community support, bug fixes, and the like is great. I support many of those projects financially, and wish I had the time to roll up my sleeves and give time, but seriously, I feel the real difference in these boards is just good distro support. At least something. All it takes is one good one. Just one. Here, we have piles of garbage. the efforts are too fragmented I suppose.

These boards won’t go far without good distro support, and there are too many new ones coming out everyday that want that #2 spot. I think Banana had a good shot at it. I sure threw my weight behind them.

Thanks again for the links!


I think their strategy is to fool customers into believing if two devices share the same name then they’re compatible (regarding software, support and ‘tutorials you find on the net’). And the strategy seems to work.

The real ‘Banana Pi’ (be it M1, M1+, Pro – any of the different models that are based on the A20) was a big success. Since software and community already existed (they were able to take everything from the linux-sunxi community that evolved around the Mele boxes and cubieboards long before).

And now they try to cash in on the M1’s popularity with incompatible boards (applies to both M2 and M3) that will never receive full software support. But since they target solely morons (that’s why they also usually never send out their products for independent reviews) their strategy works. They sell hardware and don’t give a shit about anything else. I bet instead of fixing the many issues for M2 and M3 they simply release next year a Banana Pi M4 based on any of the ultra-slow Allwinner 64-bit SoCs (A64, H64, R18).

And this will work again since their customers are dumb as hell, only look at hardware specs and believe they get something great when choosing ‘octa-core’ or ‘64 bit’ (with a SoC limited to 2 GB RAM and a vendor too dumb to provide software that makes use of ‘64 bit’ – all they are able to do is to rehash the Android SDK they get from Allwinner and hope that they can adopt community fixes as it was and is the case with M2/M3 now).

From a technical point of view they’re the most lousy vendor but their business model is great (using the ‘Banana’ brand to sell crap to uneducated people)

Have a look how their customers behave: Do you develop apps with Python? Banana Pi GPIO Python test is OK. Code uploaded to Github

They buy an SBC for a reason. To use it as an SBC, that means using the GPIO stuff for example.

The M2 started selling back in June, in August they announced WiringPi would be working (not true for the M2, but “hey, since our customers are morons they won’t complain!”), then it takes months until they try to fix this externally and then they simply forget to merge the fixes into their repository).

The instructions they provide are wrong as usual (it simply can NOT work when following their ‘tutorials’) and it still doesn’t work. And their customers are happy with that, they love when they’re being told to ‘wait another few weeks/months, we check this with R&D’.

The business model is really great and obviously it works. I wonder how long it will take until the first M3 customers realise that really nothing works when having to rely on the OS images from here. But hey, simply tell them ‘we’re working on this, code is good, will have to optimise a bit, will publish it on github soon’. Customers obviously love to be fooled again and again :slight_smile:

Your distro is working well. Thank you igorpec!

We just put a little something in your stocking! Please go take you and yours out for a nice holiday dinner and movie.

In the mean time, I recommend that the manufacturer do the same for you (x min(10,240))

Thank you again.

TJoe(h^) - Code4Sale, LLC

Thank you for your generosity!

Unfortunately board manufacturers doesn’t want or been able to recognize the value of this work. They mostly ignore this and a free board sample, some even with extra pleads, is the best I got directly for this.

The project is supported by end users, small businesses, friends, community and my free time, stolen from the time I should spent with family.

I wish and hope this will be changed.

The problem is we come to the forums only after we have already bought the hardware, to realise we’ve been duped with all those worse-than-alpha quality images on the G+ and Downloads pages.

1 Like

Manish, I agree.

It was actually this video, which made me decide to buy the M2. And now I only have problems with this board. Who is this Nora Lee anyway and why doesn’t she simply provide the linux image she used for this video?

@igorpec: on the armbian page for M2 it says “No audio or HW accelerated video”. Is there any news at least about the audio? That would be great.

Thanks, NewtoM

I am going to try to find some time to be play with the sound and video drivers. I’m a graphics driver developer (30 years), but I am a little lost on ARM (and not a Linux guru either - although I have been running Linux for about 20+(?) years. Who knows… Probably failure ahead, but I did get hack up some other installs and got kodi/xbmc working well. sigh…

It’s pretty sad pickings on the distros. I have downloaded and installed every image (sans SUSE - it’s up next), and none are satisfactory.

Even figuring out the passwords can difficult (or at least in one case impossible without a brute force attack).

“Quantity” is more important than “Quality” here. They just want to be able to make lots of “BS” posts. it’s all promotion.

You certainly cannot compare to something like Nvidia, where they have one distro. It’s not perfect, but they make darn sure the drivers are in there and that they work. The accelerated desktop absolutely rocks. Support is also “swift”. Nvidia came to me about a possible manufacturer defect, ask me to run a test, then offered to express a new board to me (in advance), no credit card needed (and it’s a $600 board). They say upfront “we will support the board for 5 years”. That’s a class act.

Oroid is another company to keep an eye on. I have nothing to say but good things about them, and their distribution channel (AmeraDroid). They have bent over backwards to be accommodating (unlike here, they have no idea I am publishing results). My only worry is support might fade as new boards come out. I could be wrong on that. The XU4 is a great board I would like to be able to compare against the M3 (but my M3 hardly even boots).


Hey J,

thanks for your reply. The XU4 really looks amazing, still I prefer using the M2 for now (if I manage …). As for the GPU driver, you will probably want to have a look at It would be great if you could help with the driver!

Best, NewtoM

Look at post #9 here:


For best supported Allwinner devices (A10&A20) audio become available in 4.3, only few weeks ago. Is this also working on A31S … haven’t checked yet.

Igor, if there is an image ready somewhere, give me a link and I will try.

And by the way, happy christmas to all of you celebrating christmas! :christmas_tree:

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.