Mainline U-boot & Linux

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Introduction to Mainline

Linux kernel distributions have several lines. The Mainline is maintained by Linus. Other variants and distributions are maintained by various groups and organizations. All the variants and distributions are submitted to Linux and will be merged to the Mainline. The latest mainline of U-boot and Linux kernel already has support for H3 SoC. FriendlyElec customized the latest mainline u-boot and Linux kernel and made that u-boot and kernel work for all FriendlyElec's H3 boards.

Make an Installation SD Card

Download Image Files

Visit this download link to download the image files under the "officail-ROMs" directory and flashing utility under the "tools" directory:

Image Files Ubuntu-Core with Qt-Embedded Image File, for NanoPi NEO Only
Flash Utility:
win32diskimager.rar Windows utility. Under Linux users can use "dd"

Make an Installation TF Card with Ubuntu-Core with Qt-Embedded

Extract the and win32diskimager.rar. Insert a TF card(at least 8G) into a Windows PC and run the win32diskimager utility as administrator. On the utility's main window select your TF card's drive, the wanted image file and click on "write" to start flashing the SD card till it is done.Insert this card into your H3 board's MicroSD card slot and power on (with a 5V/2A power source). If the green LED is on and blue LED is blinking this indicates your board has successfully booted.

Mainline ROM Features

Ubuntu-Core with Qt-Embedded

Index NanoPi NEO
1 U-boot-2017.03 and Linux-4.10.y
2 Dynamic CPU frequency and voltage scaling
3 100M Ethernet, Static MAC address
4 1 x USB Host
5 Good support for various USB WiFi chips
6 Automatic resizing of file system on first boot
7 File system check on system boot

How to Compile

Install Cross Compiler

Download and extract cross compiler:

git clone
sudo mkdir -p /opt/FriendlyARM/toolchain
sudo tar xf prebuilts/gcc-x64/arm-cortexa9-linux-gnueabihf-4.9.3.tar.xz -C /opt/FriendlyARM/toolchain/

Add the compiler's path to the "PATH" variable by appending the following lines in the ~/.bashrc file:

export PATH=/opt/FriendlyARM/toolchain/4.9.3/bin:$PATH
export GCC_COLORS=auto

Run the ~/.bashrc script to make the changes in effect immediately in your working shell. Attention: there is a space after ".":

. ~/.bashrc

This is a 64-bit compiler and it cannot run on a 32-bit Linux. You can check whether or not your compiler is setup correctly by running the following commands:

arm-linux-gcc -v
Using built-in specs.
Target: arm-cortexa9-linux-gnueabihf
Configured with: /work/toolchain/build/src/gcc-4.9.3/configure --build=x86_64-build_pc-linux-gnu
--host=x86_64-build_pc-linux-gnu --target=arm-cortexa9-linux-gnueabihf --prefix=/opt/FriendlyARM/toolchain/4.9.3
--with-sysroot=/opt/FriendlyARM/toolchain/4.9.3/arm-cortexa9-linux-gnueabihf/sys-root --enable-languages=c,c++
--with-arch=armv7-a --with-tune=cortex-a9 --with-fpu=vfpv3 --with-float=hard
Thread model: posix
gcc version 4.9.3 (ctng-1.21.0-229g-FA)

Compile U-boot

Download the U-boot source code and enter the master-h3 branch:

git clone
cd u-boot
git checkout master-h3

Compile U-boot:

make nanopi_h3_defconfig

Update U-boot on SD Card:

dd if=u-boot-sunxi-with-spl.bin of=/dev/sdX bs=1024 seek=8

Note: you need to replace "/dev/sdx" with the device name in your system.

Compile Linux Kernel

Download Linux Kernel Source Code:

git clone
cd linux
git checkout h3-4.10.y

Compile Linux Kernel:

touch .scmversion
make sunxi_defconfig
make zImage dtbs

If your compilation is successful a zImage will be generated under "arch/arm/boot/" and a dtb file will be generated under "arch/arm/boot/dts/".

If your SD card's boot section is mounted at "/media/SD/boot/" you can update the zImage and dtb files by running the following commands:

cp arch/arm/boot/zImage /media/SD/boot/
cp arch/arm/boot/dts/sun8i-h3-nanopi*.dtb /media/SD/boot/

Update Log


  • Released English Version