ARM Notebook

ARM Notebook

Recently acquired a PineBook Pro.

This device is to replace my ageing (2013) Macbook Air. The Air is still adequate for the tasks however the battery is EOL and will turn off once below 40%. Replacing the battery is an option costing ~$100 with 12 month warranty.

Ok, Apples new Airs are based on ARM processors but I have been growing tried of Apple (bloatware and constant updates) and defiantly have had enough of needing to sign into Cloud service to use my computer. (Not as bad as MS if using Office but had enough). No issues with Linux so decided it was time.

Having a good run with RaspberryPis at home. The Pi’s now run my radios, router, NAS and host a LAMP stack for my sensors so the idea of an ARM notebook running Linux appealed.

The PineBook cost AUD $380 including freight. It is proving to be an impressive device.

Operating System: Manjaro-ARM
KDE Plasma Version: 5.25.4
KDE Frameworks Version: 5.96.0
Qt Version: 5.15.5
Kernel Version: 5.19.1-2-MANJARO-ARM (64-bit)
Graphics Platform: Wayland
Processors: 4 × ARM Cortex-A53, 2 × ARM Cortex-A72
Memory: 3.7 GiB of RAM
Graphics Processor: Mali-T860

It came with Manjaro installed and I ran with it. Manjaro is free and open-source Linux distribution based on the Arch Linux operating system. All the other ARM devices run ‘headless’ so no preference for a window manager and happy with KDE so far. System same so far (install nettools) and the package manager (Pacman) is working for me. There are limitations as to commercial software (No EnPass) as ARM but nothing prohibitive. So far it supports my HackRF and RTL with GNURadio, ProtonVPN and Kismet. LibreOffice is responsive enough when you have to open a .doc or spreadsheet. Tor browser provided challenges which I believe are due to my inexperience in building from source but able to install tor and configure Firefox to access ONION network. Given its Linux on ARM you have to go with the flow and be prepared for a steep curve as you keep your daemons aligned.

So will be documenting findings as I go.