Launching Netrunner 18.03 for the Pinebook

“I put Qt on my ARM” : The only fun thing about ARM ever

The team over at Netrunner have just announced the launch of Netrunner 18.03 Idolon for the Pinebook. This is the direct result of a year of collaboration between the Netrunner, Pine and KDE Communities in a effort to drive down memory consumption, fix glitches in the graphics stack and enabling accelerated video decode, all of which has resulted in a product that showcases the coming together of the amazing software from KDE and some brilliant hardware engineering from the folks over at Pine.

It’s been quite a journey for my colleagues and I at Blue Systems in putting together this product. We have had to delve into areas where we originally did not have the expertise to fix bugs and constantly push the boundaries of our abilities. This was especially challenging in the ARM world since there are parts of the stack that were proprietary, meaning we cannot debug those parts, leading to many frustrating evenings having been spent on trying to reverse engineer buggy behaviour.

Personally, the launch of Netrunner on the Pinebook marks a milestone towards a goal that I’ve wanted to see realised ever since I discussed it with my peers at UDS N, nearly 10 years ago: Delivering Plasma on cheap and affordable computing devices. Being able to run a fully accelerated open source desktop environment on a device that costs 100 USD to me is a amazing accomplishment. It confidently signals to the world that Plasma is a versatile and mature product that spans across form factors and offers a compelling  alternative to other main stream products on these low end devices.

Shameless Plug: If you enjoy using KDE’s software products, please consider donating 🙂

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