S905X4 – Would AMLogic have blocked the SoC for use in CoreELEC?

Hello everyone:

I followed closely the post created by Chimey Jimmey on 02/20 with the title “Amlogic S905X4", which was closed 10 days ago, with the CE team informed of the difficulties in developing CoreELEC for the mentioned SoC, as it may have a decoder hardware video blocked.

Well, I found a thread on the Chinese forum ZNDS.com, where users comment on the progress of that topic.

Based on the latest statements from CE developers about the reasons for not developing CoreELEC for SoC S905X4 such forum users argue things like this:

  1. “…according to CE official, it is a hardware level limitation…”.

  2. “…the hardware locks the decoder. The CE hopes that Jingchen won’t show favor to an open source organization like CE. Or one could speculate that this lock code is for CE. There is no more hope. The last sentence is very clear…”.

  3. ”…open source is not good for Jigchen…”.

  4. “… If ou look at the last sentence and think about it, you’ll know it must be that the manufacturer didn’t make good terms…”

  5. “…it must be that he didn’t have a good relationship with the manufacturer”…

  6. “…So I believe the development team and the manufacturer didn’t negotiate the terms.…”

  7. ”… It’s not that the conditions haven’t been negotiated. I don’t think the CE team will find anyone from Jingchen…”

  8. “…probably not. It shouldn’t be difficult for a small, well-known development team to find a relevant person in charge of the plant, because everyone really has their needs. It’s also possible that the manufacturer simply doesn’t like this team, which is another matter. …"

So I ask: do any of the assumptions made by those users make sense? Would Amlogic have locked the processor for use in CE? Would it have been on purpose and Amlogic doesn’t want the CE team to implement the system for that SoC? Was it because of relationship problems between the CE team and the Amlogic company? Wouldn’t the CE team be having access to Amlogic personnel? And what about the mentioned possibility of not having taken place “negotiation of conditions”, does it make any sense?

Obviously, all of the above are just theories raised by forum users. But this generates curiosity and expectations about it. Is Amlogic creating some blockage for CE development for your SoC’s??

Sorry if there are too many typos in my text. I speak Portuguese and I used Google Translator.

As this thread was closed today (12/10/2021), I’m editing this post to make my final contribution to the conversation. At the beginning I mentioned what the Chinese forum participants said in the thread about SoC S905X4, but I purposely left out a statement, which now, after what was said by the CE team, I transcribe here:

“… From vendor donations and cooperation, I guess there should be beelink forwarding the English in the forum behind the scenes. It means that the decoder is closed source. If the CE developer does not sign the NDA (non-disclosure agreement) and give money, the source code is not available, so support it. …”

And yesterday reading the topic “Current hardware recommendation for a dedicated LibreELEC box? “On the LibreELEC Forum I came across the following statement, posted on 10/05/2020 by buzzmarshall (who is possibly a developer):

“… People need to remember… Companies like Amlogic Rockchip and others never intended for anything Other then Android to run on Their device which is what the device makers paid for in support and IP licenses. Its NOT until people try and run Linux that most of these issues really have any relevance… but if you really want Linux then its either pick a distro like CE which works but is vested in older vendor packages (which will eventually break) …”

What was said at the end of this post is disturbing::

“… Right now it looks Amlogic force a Android direction only, so the end of CoreELEC … …”

Josemar

Nice theories. All gossip.
Fact is though we have no contact to Amlogic. We tried to establish one but never heard back from them.
Seems they are not interested in CE at all.

Thanks for answering.

So one of those arguments from those forum users is right when they claim that Amlogic is not interested in open source.

But did she really block access to the SoC for CoreELEC?

And if the answer is yes, how will this affect CE development for upcoming Amlogic processors?

Is it possible for the company to block access to future SoCs by certain open source systems such as CE?

Will CoreElec support be unfeasible and will it basically focus on SoC’s S905 and S922?

Does this behavior by Amlogic have any relationship with EmuELEC?

EmuELEC is based on CE and the maintainer is our friend and joins us in our slack. Shanti is a Team member of CoreELEC too in my opinion.

Regarding AML: I don’t know if they lock their SoCs. I have been beaten for promoting SBC’s like Odroids publicly by the community but this is the problem.
Android TV box vendors do nothing to help us. And I don’t say only cheap box vendors but also vendors like Ugoos or Minix, they share devices but that’s it. No sources no help no access to code. All ressources we get are through SBC vendors (and No there is no financial benefits at all). And guess what: All SBC vendors skipped S905x4 aka sc2 and we have diddly squat. And believe me we tried everything to get this working. I have zero motivation to get this SoC running cause what benefit will it give me? AV1? Just more work for basically no benefit.

Let’s see what VIM4 will do for us if we can move to 5.4 kernel.

Ray

Why S905X ?
Can anybody help me ?
There is a full supported S922 device(N2)

OK, I know. People want cheap stuff including a lot of issues and hope the developers will fix it

It’s a shame that currently there isn’t support from all manufacturers for your activity, for the open source community. Now I got a glimpse of part of what’s going on in all of this. I hope they continue to be successful with the CE and I thank them for the excellent work they do. I also want to thank you for your kindness in clarifying something that I imagine would be of interest to many.

I live in Brazil and here people want to buy the cheapest tv box they can, sometimes even with 1 GB of RAM. When you suggest the S922X, especially the Beelink which has one of the best cost/benefit ratios, they think you are extravagant.

Well it for sure isn’t S905X4 aka sc2. Unless you plan to use stock android I would not purchase one.
Tell your friends.

I bought a Beelink gt king WiFI6 and am very pleased with its performance. I think the SoC S922X will eventually establish itself as the industry standard. However, we have to consider the markets where the purchasing power is lower, in the case of Brazil.

From what I realized the SoC S905X4 is little better than the S905X3, it’s a shame that there is no effort on the part of manufacturers to build excellent devices.

What we see are of poor quality; one of the factors that most impacts is the heating of the box and without iEthernet Giba bit.

However, the market is being flooded with these cheap tv boxes, that’s what we’ll find most from now on.

So I consider it important to disclose as much information as possible about the SoC S905X4 and that includes knowing whether or not it is compatible with CoreELEC and EmuELEC. This can be of help to someone, avoiding the frustration of buying the box and then discovering that it doesn’t serve the purpose for which it was purchased.

As I said. The S905X4 is not supported and I would not hold my breath to be honest. It might become the new S912. Shit in a can.

Since Khadas VIM4 was mentioned above, it’s probably about Amlogic A311D2. Is it certain, that this SoC is not locked in any way or is this still something to find out?

I’m asking because I’m trying to find sense / reason in AML locking some SoCs (S905X4, …), while not locking the others.

Best example: S912
There was never a mali blob released and will never be released.
Maybe same happen on S905X4.

As we already said on other places S905X4 is maybe locked and it maybe can never be used for non-Android platform, at least the hardware decoder.

And as Ray said we do not have and never had contact to Amlogic as you will need to invest $k + sign a NDA to get access to the sources. This also mean NDA signed stuff can not be used anyway for a open source project. Example OSMC is now CSMC because of NDA.

Non of the SBC manufacturer do even know about SC2 (S905X4). They will start with another SoC where also no mali blob for fbdev linux does exists yet. So only chance for CoreELEC is one of the SBC manufacturer have enough “weight” to force Amlogic to release such stuff.

Right now it looks Amlogic force a Android direction only, so the end of CoreELEC.

When we get updates we can open this thread about it again.

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