Over the last week, we worked on the bringup of the first MNT Reform 2.0 beta unit that will be sent out to a customer. I used the opportunity to update and polish the system image build process and out-of-the-box experience when you first boot MNT Reform from the SD card.
The build process is based on Debian Multistrap and performs the following steps:
reform-system.img can then be written to an SD card that any MNT Reform can boot.
In addition to all the theory, here’s an unedited video I recorded directly off the HDMI output of my personal MNT Reform to give you a sense of the look, feel, and speed of the default installation. Some delays when starting bigger applications are the result of not loading from a fast NVMe disk but directly off of the SD card. Also note that the colors are washed out as a side-effect of the 60 FPS USB video capture. On the real display, everything is nice and crisp.
I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed for the Libre Lounge podcast by Serge Wroclawski. Libre Lounge is a podcast about "various topics involving user freedom, crossing free software, free culture, network and hosting freedom, and libre hardware designs." In this episode, I talk about my personal background in software and hardware, how I came to Free Software and Linux, and some future directions for Reform:
Did you know that i.MX8MQ (the default System-on-Chip of MNT Reform) has built-in hardware video decoders? Due to recent development work by Ezequiel Garcia, Philipp Zabel et al, Linux 5.7 includes support for the Hantro H.264 (and MPEG-2) decoder block via the video4linux infrastructure. Recent builds of gstreamer can already leverage the code to play back H.264 video on MNT Reform without significant CPU usage.
As part of the campaign, the MNT Reform team (at least Greta and me) will be available for an AMA (ask-me-anything) on the Crowd Supply Discord Server this Wednesday, June 3rd at 1pm Pacific Time. Here’s the link to the Discord channel: https://discord.gg/eFGkjjK. And here’s a link that will translate to your local time: https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?msg=MNT+Reform+AMA&iso=20200603T13&p1=202&ah=1. We are looking forward to all of your questions.