Fund this project to add Allwinner VPU support to the official Linux kernel

If you really support OSS then you need to put your hand in your pocket sometimes.

Anyone who has any interaction with technology benefits from all of the work done by Open Source developers around the world from the past few decades. Unfortunately there are far more takers than givers. I think there is a strong chance that many OSS developers will become burnt out and disenchanted with building things for free when others reap the commercial rewards.

Many of the Chinese silicon and box companies are particularly bad at providing proper maintanined OS support for their devices. How many Android TV boxes or SBCs have been released that have never been updated? I have a big problem with most of the board makers who rely 100% on the fabled “community” to do all of the software for free.

Continually updated software and a commercially viable ecosystem working with community are the reasons the Raspberry Pi wipes the floor with all the other single board computers out there. The Foundation has enabled an ecosystem to grow. I laugh every time I see a news story about “the next Raspberry Pi killer”. Those articles are always based on technical specs only.

My original Raspberry Pi from 2012 still runs and still gets updates. Meanwhile my Pine64 coaster and other assorted Chinese boards sit unused in a drawer.

So when an opportunity arises to support people who want to improve this situation, it behoves us to support them.

The great people at Bootlin in France have a KickStarter which ends in 30 hours. They aim to provide complete Linux support for the Allwinner VPU - for hardware accelerated video decoding and encoding. An enormous number of Android TV boxes and SBCs use Allwinner SoCs but the company itself is unwilling to do Linux properly. By funding someone to do it properly we can all do our little bit to improve the OSS ecosystem and maybe even shame a lot of the silicon and board vendors into financially supporting their communities. It’s in their own long-term financial interest to do so.

Head over to the KickStarter and send them a few quid. They’ve already passed the initial funding goal but it would be fantastic to also get x265 support.

Update: They hit the stretch goal for x265 decoding. Well done everyone!

Conor O'Neill

Tech guy who likes running slowly

Bandon, Cork, Ireland