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OpenBSD for NTC CHIP

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OpenBSD for NTC CHIP

Stephen Graf
Is there any work on preparing OpenBSD for the Next Thing Company CHIP?

 <https://docs.getchip.com/chip.html#introduction>
https://docs.getchip.com/chip.html#introduction

 

I have built one project using this device with Debian Linux, but I much
prefer OpenBSD.

 

To be useful the distribution would have to support WIFI with the built-in
Realtek RTL8723BS device (SDIO interface) and have support for GPIO and I2C.
The Raspberry PI Zero W is similar in concept to the NTC CHIP.

 

I have another two CHIP devices on order and if I am lucky, might have them
within a month.  I also have some time and a little expertise to work on a
distribution.

 

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Re: OpenBSD for NTC CHIP

Jonathan Gray-11
On Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 10:49:50AM -0700, Stephen Graf wrote:

> Is there any work on preparing OpenBSD for the Next Thing Company CHIP?
>
>  <https://docs.getchip.com/chip.html#introduction>
> https://docs.getchip.com/chip.html#introduction
>
>  
>
> I have built one project using this device with Debian Linux, but I much
> prefer OpenBSD.
>
>  
>
> To be useful the distribution would have to support WIFI with the built-in
> Realtek RTL8723BS device (SDIO interface) and have support for GPIO and I2C.
> The Raspberry PI Zero W is similar in concept to the NTC CHIP.
>
>  
>
> I have another two CHIP devices on order and if I am lucky, might have them
> within a month.  I also have some time and a little expertise to work on a
> distribution.
>
>  
>

It does not have a sd/mmc device just raw flash.  It isn't clear if
they ever finished upstreaming their patches to U-Boot either.

If you can build a version of U-Boot that supports their flash
configuration and EFI and then put it on the device via FEL/USB
you should be able to install a root filesystem onto a USB drive
with some kind of networking attached via USB as well.

Or just get a less horrible system.

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Re: OpenBSD for NTC CHIP

Stephen Graf
In reply to this post by Stephen Graf
Is the Raspberry PI Zero W a better choice to use with OpenBSD? Is there
OpenBSD support for the onboard WIFI?

I chose the CHIP device because of the neat hardware package, CPU, RAM,
NAND, WIFI and USB all on one board.
I was able to take the device out of its package, use my cell phone charger
cable to plug it into my PC and was literally able to start development!
Within a few minutes I had the WIFI configured and was using SSH network
connectivity.

The drawbacks that I see with the CHIP device are in the supply chain.
Production is in batches that have already been paid for.
I am never confident that I will see my order on any kind of schedule. The
business model seems to be to sell the CHIP device
at a very low cost in the hopes that someone will develop a blockbuster
device and use the CHIP Pro for production.

I do however prefer OpenBSD to Linux and have used OpenBSD on my servers
since about release 3.6.
I am trying to evaluate the possibility of using OpenBSD on the CHIP device
and whether the effort is worth it.


-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of
Jonathan Gray
Sent: Saturday, April 22, 2017 8:10 AM
To: Stephen Graf <[hidden email]>
Cc: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: OpenBSD for NTC CHIP

On Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 10:49:50AM -0700, Stephen Graf wrote:

> Is there any work on preparing OpenBSD for the Next Thing Company CHIP?
>
>  <https://docs.getchip.com/chip.html#introduction>
> https://docs.getchip.com/chip.html#introduction
>
>  
>
> I have built one project using this device with Debian Linux, but I
> much prefer OpenBSD.
>
>  
>
> To be useful the distribution would have to support WIFI with the
> built-in Realtek RTL8723BS device (SDIO interface) and have support for
GPIO and I2C.

> The Raspberry PI Zero W is similar in concept to the NTC CHIP.
>
>  
>
> I have another two CHIP devices on order and if I am lucky, might have
> them within a month.  I also have some time and a little expertise to
> work on a distribution.
>
>  
>

It does not have a sd/mmc device just raw flash.  It isn't clear if they
ever finished upstreaming their patches to U-Boot either.

If you can build a version of U-Boot that supports their flash configuration
and EFI and then put it on the device via FEL/USB you should be able to
install a root filesystem onto a USB drive with some kind of networking
attached via USB as well.

Or just get a less horrible system.


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Re: OpenBSD for NTC CHIP

Mark Kettenis
> From: "Stephen Graf" <[hidden email]>
> Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2017 12:01:43 -0700
>
> Is the Raspberry PI Zero W a better choice to use with OpenBSD? Is there
> OpenBSD support for the onboard WIFI?

OpenBSD will not (ever) run on the Pi Zero as we target ARMv7 and up.

> I chose the CHIP device because of the neat hardware package, CPU, RAM,
> NAND, WIFI and USB all on one board.
> I was able to take the device out of its package, use my cell phone charger
> cable to plug it into my PC and was literally able to start development!
> Within a few minutes I had the WIFI configured and was using SSH network
> connectivity.

It is possible to run OpenBSD on the CHIP, but basically only USB will
work.  Someone did some work on getting the NAND working, but I think
that work has stalled.  WiFi is unsupported and while there is some
interest in getting it working, don't count on it.

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Re: OpenBSD for NTC CHIP

Stephen Graf
In reply to this post by Stephen Graf
Thank you Mark and Jonathan for the information and advice.  When I get
another device I will try out OpenBSD.
However, the appeal of these devices is the tight integration of the onboard
devices.  
If one has to add a USB hub and peripherals the devices become unwieldy and
of little use.

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Mark
Kettenis
Sent: Saturday, April 22, 2017 2:51 PM
To: [hidden email]
Cc: [hidden email]; [hidden email]
Subject: Re: OpenBSD for NTC CHIP

> From: "Stephen Graf" <[hidden email]>
> Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2017 12:01:43 -0700
>
> Is the Raspberry PI Zero W a better choice to use with OpenBSD? Is
> there OpenBSD support for the onboard WIFI?

OpenBSD will not (ever) run on the Pi Zero as we target ARMv7 and up.

> I chose the CHIP device because of the neat hardware package, CPU,
> RAM, NAND, WIFI and USB all on one board.
> I was able to take the device out of its package, use my cell phone
> charger cable to plug it into my PC and was literally able to start
development!
> Within a few minutes I had the WIFI configured and was using SSH
> network connectivity.

It is possible to run OpenBSD on the CHIP, but basically only USB will work.
Someone did some work on getting the NAND working, but I think that work has
stalled.  WiFi is unsupported and while there is some interest in getting it
working, don't count on it.


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