When Pine64 launched its RISC-V tablet earlier this year they were clear from the start: software support, particularly usable desktop Linux distros, would be lacking at first.
But not for long, it seems.
Scrolling Mastodon in bed last night I saw a toot — yes, I know they’re no longer called that but indulge me — from a developer who has ported a Yocto Linux image to the PineTab-V replete, no less, with a hardware-accelerated KDE Plasma desktop.
They say the system feels “responsive, even running from a SD card”, and shared a photo of the image booted and streaming a video from YouTube:
As a refresher, the PineTab-V is a budget tablet built around a RISC-V JH7110 SoC (which is used in the Pine64 Star64 boards). It has a 10.1 inch HD display, 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC storage, and a modest price tag of $160.
An iPad this isn’t, but it also isn’t trying to be. It’s a development platform more than it is a consumer device. It exists to put capable, affordable RISC-V hardware into the hands of developers — and it’s those developers who will bring up the software experience.
Despite the promise shown by this new Plasma-touting image the developer behind it says there is a list of things to fix, finesses, or make functional.
Ergo: don’t go out and buy a PineTab-V on the back of this port — at least not yet.
Still, that efforts such as this are not only underway but already yielding a usable (to varying degrees) end-user experience is reassuring – not just for owners of the PineTab-V but for those enthusiastic about the future of Linux on RISC-V in general.
If you already own a PineTab-V and want to take this image for a spin you can find all the details and download links you need on the PineTab-V releases wiki page.