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The Steam Deck is probably the best known handheld gaming PC with a Linux-based operating system, but a number of cheap handhelds from companies like Anbernic and Powkiddy also run Linux-based software… but they tend to use custom kernels.
But when Phoronix reported this week that developer Chris Morgan submitted some code to bring support for a mainline Linux kernel to the Powkiddy X55 handheld, Morgan responded that the X55 is just the latest in a line of similar devices with mainline Linux support.
Others include the Anbernic RG503, RG353 series. What those devices all have in common is a Rockchip RK3566 processor, which is a quad-core ARM Cortex-A55 processor with Mali-52 EE graphics. Morgan notes he also recently added support for the Anbernic RG Nano, which is a tiny console with an Allwinner V3L processor.
So what’s the advantage of mainline Linux support? Basically it will make it easier for developers to port other operating systems to run on those handhelds, as well as to keep them up to date with the latest performance, security, and feature updates.
One such operating system is JELOS (Just Enough Linux Operating System), an open-source GNU/Linux distro designed for handhelds with x86 or ARM chips. While JELOS works on handhelds with custom kernels, there are already builds with Mainline Linux kernels available for a number of Anbernic and ODROID handhelds with the following chips:
- Rockchip RK 3326 (4 x Cortex-A35 CPU cores & Mali-G31 GPU)
- Rockchip RK3399 (2 x Cortex-A72, 4 x Cortex-A53 CPU cores & Mali-G860MP4 GPU)
- Amlogic S922X (4 x Cortex-A73, 2 x Cortex-A53 CPU cores & Mali-G52MP6 GPU)
- Amlogic A311D (4 x Cortex-A73, 2 x Cortex-A53 CPU cores & Mali-G52MP4 GPU)