novena a good product

Hi, I was getting rss feeds as a normal person would and I found this (the link includes specs,):
I contacted the devs here’s a copy:

                                                           Hello, I heard about the Novena project today and am                   most excited. I desire to know how well it will                   integrate with my harddisk and CD/DVD drive. I also                   seek info on if it will work with my operating system,                   Linux.


  Novena provides one Serial ATA (SATA) port that can be used to       connect a hard drive or CD/DVD drive. In the Laptop and Desktop       configurations, we will ship with an SSD connected to the SATA       port. To attach more than one device, you can use either USB 2.0,       or get a Mini-PCIe SATA card.
  We run Linux on Novena. Since the CPU is ARM, it will run a wide       variety of open-source software, but will not run closed-source       software compiled for x86 such as many games, Adobe Flash, Virtual       Box, or Unity.  We run Debian Jessie (armhf), and use a wide       variety of software from Firefox to FreeCAD.


Now this sounds a bit underpowered to me and also lacking ports (I envisioned more RAM, 6GiBs SATA, USB3.0, DDR3 1600 CL2 RAM, etc.) It is also a bit on the pricey side. I could work with it though as I only have one hard disk though I use a second for backups. I keep using the older CD/DVD PATA drives via a USB adapter. So, I would not suffer that much. I still need to ask about what kind of cards it can take though (are cards processor specific? How about memory?) The only thing I run that is not Freeware is a few sf2 decompressors but I could run those from my laptop if push came to shove (and occasionally something else.)
I wanted your thoughts on the matter (in case your wondering I’m in need of a new motherboard for my desktop though I’d prefer it before November.) I’m certain that you guys have been into this stuff a long time before I was around.

And did I mention that the motherboard requires systemd (Ha ha ha!)

Was searching this forum for “armhf” and chanced upon your thread.

Would love to see more/easier linux on arm chips but for now it seems pretty much bleeding edge. I have one of the mini-PC TV dongle things that runs Android ( ) and have it running linux.


  • cheap as chips
  • the quadcore RK3188 I have is perfectly fast enough for my use (browsing, email, some gnucash, libreoffice etc)
  • use a fast sd-card, benchmark small file writes using
sync; rm -rf testing*; sync; time ( for item in `seq 1 1000`; do dd if=/dev/zero of=testing.$item bs=16k count=10; sync; done; )


  • avoid the specific model I have (board labelled CYX_809III v5_0 20140510) - got it because it was the cheapest I could find on fleabay but impossible to root the Android as cant ever get a USB port to show as a device on my PC and recovery boot is setup to do a re-install of Android!
  • stuck with 3.0.36 kernel for now - the makers of these TV sticks are not such good opensource citizens so grabbing their work on Android for vanilla linux is not generally possible.
  • can’t get onboard wifi or BT to work - would need to compile my own kernel but have never done that. Also would need rooted Android to try work out which GPIO they are attached to. (Obviously they do work fine in Android, the problem is with linux.).

Good luck in your searches - I am sure my next desktop PC will be linux on arm but suspect 2015 is more likely to be the year than 2014.