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Author Topic: ANNOUNCEMENT: RetroFW Kernel Available to Developers  (Read 1062 times)

jbanes (OP)

  • Posts: 94
ANNOUNCEMENT: RetroFW Kernel Available to Developers
« on: October 18, 2020, 02:41:47 am »
RetroFW Kernel

With great pleasure the RetroFW leadership team is announcing that the RetroFW kernel is now available for general development! This means that any developer can now fork, build, and submit pull requests on GitHub!

Direct Link: http://kernel.retrofw.com/

Getting to this point has been a collaborative effort across the community, developers, and the original manufacturers. The kernel source has been cleaned of unnecessary Ingenic Confidential files leftover from other source bases, and the key IPU code file (jz4760_ipu.c) was rewritten to release it as GPL code - dropping 755 lines of code in the process!

All of this makes the RetroFW kernel fully free, Open Source, and ready for community participation.

But we weren't satisfied with just releasing the code and letting you fend for yourself! Oh no. We wanted to make sure that developers would have a good experience in interacting with the code. In result, we've create automatic build scripts that will take you from zero to hero with a simple:

Code: [Select]
That will build all the kernel versions for different devices and package them up into image files you can write to an SD Card! Full instructions (including how to build without the scripts) is available on the RetroFW Wiki at:


(Please note that due to the requirement of 32-bit libraries, we currently recommend using Ubuntu for building. We've made sure that the automated scripts can get an Ubuntu-based system up and running quickly.)

We want to make sure that anyone can build the kernel. The strength of RetroFW has always been it's community. Many of the developers had never touched a compiler before getting into RetroFW development. We want to ensure that tradition continues and invite you to join us on our Discord if you're not already a member!

Thanks and recognition goes to everyone involved who helped make RetroFW possible, from the original developers, to the maintainers, to the testers, and even the OEM. This includes (in no particular order), TonyJih, PingFlood, Gameblabla, msx, JORGETECH, LadyAmygdala, Wild Lee, Anbernic/YLM, Fontes, s0ren, Jutley, jbanes, and many, many others that have helped make this release possible!

Homepage: http://www.retrofw.com
Supported Devices: RS-97, RS-97 Plus, LDK, LDK Landscape, RG-300, RetroMini Arcade (RS-07)

Frequently Asked Questions

Will you be upgrading the kernel?

The team is currently happy with the performance and features of the 2.6-based kernel. Newer kernels put a greater focus on enterprise features that are not useful to a 600MHz/128MB MIPS device. The team is very cautious about a kernel upgrade and would want extensive testing done to prove that a performance and/or memory usage improvement exist.

Thankfully, we have not found the 2.6 kernel to be feature limiting. The 2.x kernel set the standard for the Linux kernel design and APIs. This makes a lot of newer drivers compatible and thus easy to back-port. For example, RetroFW 2.0 added ExFAT support, a far faster and more resilient alternative to FAT32.

Do I have to use the Ingenic compiler?

No, the Ingenic compiler is not required. The Ingenic compiler toolkit is an older GCC 4.12 cross-compiler that paired with the original Ingenic kernel. The current kernel does not yet know how to compile with a newer GCC version, so you will need a build of a GCC 4.x MIPS32 cross-compiler. The Ingenic build is simply the most convenient.

Will you be upgrading the compiler?

Most likely. The current compiler toolchain has a lot of limitations, including a requirement of 32-bit libraries on the host. Now that the kernel is open for community development, upgrading the compiler support would be very helpful.

Please note that this is different from the buildroot toolchain which is based on buildroot 2018.02.9 and compiles a GCC 6.4 cross-compiler. Even newer compilers have been successfully used by developers for user space software.

How do I change the boot logo?

Successfully changing the boot logo requires changes to the u-boot module. Given the popularity of this request, we're currently working on easy to use tools to make this accessible.

Where can I get the u-boot, buildroot, and GMenuNX components?

Here are some easy to remember links to these key components:

GMenuNX: http://gmenunx.retrofw.com
Buildroot: http://buildroot.retrofw.com
U-Boot: http://uboot.retrofw.com

I have another question

The best way to get your questions answered is to join the RetroFW Discord and interact with our vibrant community!

Happy Kernel Hacking!
« Last Edit: October 21, 2020, 03:26:19 am by jbanes »


  • Posts: 88
Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: RetroFW Kernel Available to Developers
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2020, 09:18:32 am »
That is amazing! Congratulations and thank you all for all your hard work!

jbanes (OP)

  • Posts: 94
Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: RetroFW Kernel Available to Developers
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2020, 03:22:20 am »
U-Boot is now available at: http://uboot.retrofw.com

Instructions for manual builds are on the Wiki: https://github.com/retrofw/retrofw.github.io/wiki/Building-the-Kernel

We're adding U-Boot to the Automatic build scripts to make the process transparent.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2020, 03:27:19 am by jbanes »

jbanes (OP)

  • Posts: 94
Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: RetroFW Kernel Available to Developers
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2020, 03:23:41 am »
That is amazing! Congratulations and thank you all for all your hard work!
Thanks! It's been a lot of work, but I think the results are pretty awesome. Really glad we can finally get this in front of the community.  8)


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