Can’t really do a WP Page about Special *PURPOSE* Linuxes without mentioning PINE64, IMHO. Even tho I don’t really know that much about them, I’ve seen mentioning of them ‘n advertising by them for years, and those recollections are sorta in my mind’s eye.

Pine64 (styled as PINE64)

… organization which designs, manufactures and sells single-board computers, notebook computers and smartphones. While Pine Store Ltd. is a legal for-profit entity, it operates much like a non-profit organization in the sense that it does not draw profits from most device sales, operates with volunteers, and reinvests income from sales back into the company. Its name was inspired from the mathematical constants pi and e with a reference to 64-bit computing power.

… In 2015 Pine Microsystems offered its first product, the Pine A64, a single-board computer designed to compete with the popular Raspberry Pi in both power and price. The A64 was first funded through a Kickstarter crowdfunding drive in December 2015 which raised over $1.7 million. The Kickstarter project was overshadowed by delays and shipping problems.

😉 Well, like most ‘Thangs associated wid Linux, operating on ‘Da Backs of “volunteers” can often produce an ‘appearance’ of Déjà vu haphazard results:


… Late last month DHL accidentally shipped all PinePhone orders (bar those dispatching from the EU warehouse) to New Zealand instead of their intended destinations. We initially hoped to quickly retrieve the shipping pallet and have it returned to Hong Kong, but DHL informed us that this will only be possible when an appropriate flight (allowed to carry battery-operated equipment) becomes available. Given these circumstances we made the decision to reship all orders from our Hong Kong warehouse, so you don’t have to wait until the misplaced pallet is returned to us. Those of you waiting for your PinePhones should have received tracking numbers by the time this post goes live, or shortly thereafter. We’re obviously very sorry for the situation, please accept our apologies. As always, you can follow shipping updates here.

Haphazard or not, the Linux community ‘n Linux advocates are never going to get actual products (‘Think’ hardware..) wid Linux on them without hardworking ‘Adventurous Souls’ like those at PINE64.

What is an E Ink device?

Digital note taking devices or e-notes is a relatively new type of product with both an E INK screen and a WACOM one. It allows users to freehand draw, take notes, schedule calendar events, edit PDF files with a stylus. This devices range in size from 7.8 to 13.3 inches and some are quite affordable, while others have more features and are more expensive.

Guess it would take a ‘Specialized’ OS to run something like that, and in this modern age of technology, there is at least a ‘niche demand’ for paperless notebooks.

Introducing the PineNote

This month brings news that many of you have been waiting years for – we’re introducing the PineNote, a high-end e-ink device based on the powerful Quartz64 single board computer.

… You’ve been asking us to create an e-ink device for years, and indeed we actually looked to make one as early as 2017. I even remember publicly ping-ponging ideas with the community members at the time and researching which SoC would be the best fit for such a device. At the time we were looking to create an alternative to the entry-level Kindle and other such big-brand e-readers. We quickly learned, however, that big brands heavily subsidize their e-readers via book sales and even if we sold an open e-reader at cost (or a loss), we still couldn’t possibly match popular devices’ price tag. Thankfully, the technology landscape and what is achievable using e-ink has significantly changed since 2017. Since the announcement of Rockchip’s RK3566 we knew our opportunity to create an open e-ink device had arrived. Early this year we made the decision to create the PineNote.

… As far as software is concerned, much of the work to run a mainline Linux installation on the PineNote has already been completed thanks to development done on Quartz64. However, the e-ink panel driver will most likely not be functional at the time of the device’s release in mainline Linux. So initial batches will probably ship with Manjaro built atop of BSP kernel 4.19, unless devs can get the driver to work with 5.XX kernel in the next few months. Time will tell. As for the actual user interface, we’re currently talking to the good folks at KDE and trying to figure out whether Plasma Mobile or regular Plasma (with panel-specific tweaks of course) will be the best fit for this particular device. As you can probably tell, this is an uncharted territory for all parties involved, but we’ll figure it out. Needless to say, the software isn’t finished – indeed, we don’t really even know yet what will work well with this technology and what won’t. It is just the beginning of our journey with e-ink technology, and it will take a long time and much effort to make the PineNote end-user worthy. This is very much an active-development development device at this time, and you should expect it to retain this status for quite some time.

HT to Joey Sneddon for his ‘Don’t Miss: Meet the $399 E-Ink Tablet that Runs Linux’ article.

Will add this post to the Special *PURPOSE* Linuxes page.

LINUX IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES – you never know what you’re gonna get!