Monday, 31 December 2012

Hackberry A10 : Ubuntu 12.10 with Razor-qt

Having heard about Razor-qt, I thought I would give it a go on the Hackberry. Razor-qt is a light-weight desktop built for simplicity and speed. It is also intended to target 'weak machines' therefore I was hoping it would perform well on the Hackberry giving that we still lack full hardware acceleration.

To start with I reused my XBMC image which is basically a Ubuntu 12.10 install complemented with a 3.0.42+ kernel. You can remove the xbmc install by removing the /allwinner (ie rm -rf /allwinner).

I couldn't find a pre-compiled armhf package of raxor-qt therefore I built from scratch (using root user) following the build instructions here as a guide. Fortunately the xbmc image already includes most of the build tools for compilation.

Download the latest release and untar to a directory (eg src/razor) :

    mkdir src; cd src; mkdir razor;
    tar xvf razorqt-0.5.1.tar.bz2 razorqt-0.5.1
    cd ..
    mkdir build
Before building get some additional packages for building:    

    apt-get install qt4-dev-tools qt4-designer
    apt-get install libmagic-dev

Now build (this takes a bit of time) and install

    cd build
    cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr/local ../razorqt-0.5.1
    make install

Once built successfully we need to replace the existing window manager fluxbox with openbox the default for razor-qt.

    apt-get remove fluxbox
    apt-get clean
    apt-get install openbox

Now we create a simple startup script to invoke razor-qt.

    echo 'exec razor-session -w openbox' > /root/.xinitrc_razor

I suggest setting the CPU governor profile to performance:

     cpufreq-set -g performance

To start razor-qt from the command line:

    cd /root
    xinit ~/.xinitrc_razor -- :1

The basic desktop has minimal applications because the XBMC image has no defaults application installed (eg browser, file manager, text editor, etc ..) however these is can be easily installed. You would also need to customise the image to your requirements ie wifi/ethernet etc. Also further work is require to auto-start razort-qt and use for non-root users.

Although the desktop experience is primitive I found it to be more responsive than the Linaro image although my main use has been for code development/compilation on the Hackberry, requiring multiple open command shells.

I also compiled the mesa-demo library to stress the windowing system/cpu along with 'openssl speed' to see how responsive the GUI would remain under load. Below is a another badly made video to demonstrate how it performs.


  1. Hy!

    cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr/local ../razorqt-0.5.1

    line don't work. Change to this:

    cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr/local ../src/razorqt-0.5.1

    It helped for me :)

    1. Not sure why your cmake is different, anyway atleast it works! Hopefully you find performance is good?

  2. Maybe I'm a little bit out of the subject sorry bit I own a MK802-II, but chip is an A10"S" and not A10, so this Ubuntu image does not work.

    In fact I tried many images, uncluding compiling myself, with A13 headers instead of A10, because the A10S is more like an A13 than A10, but I never came to any result. I don't even know if it's a U-Boot problem, or kernel, or rootfs.

    Moreover I was not abble to find the solder point inside for the serial console for it's really hard to debug....

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  4. Could you give us a image of it.
    Like your image of Linaro.
    I'm not a pro, and I'm sorry to ask your for it, but for me this process is too complex.

  5. Hello Jasbir,

    I have this tablet :

    It has Allwinner A10. I have followed this guide : to boot the tablet via SD Card. However I didn't get any success. After that I followed lot of blogs and also tried pre built images. However still I'm unsuccessful in booting tablet from SD card.

    Is there a way to debug ? On the board inside tablet I tried looking for serial connection so that I may connect it to host. However not able to get which are the correct rx tx pins.

    May you please provide me with some points on how to proceed ?


    1. Hi, your best bet is to get a serial console working, without it is very difficult to know how far it boots from SD card.

      Your first step would be to create a uboot for your tablet, this shouldn't be too hard. See git:// I suggest to use the board configuration from a another tablet as a starting point.

  6. I dont know anything about linux. I just used Ubuntu like any user uses windows. Can you help people like me making some guide for how to install for noobs?