A small reminder: if you buy based devices, you are likely buying e-waste in the long run.

Some devs tried to port the mainline kernel to these chips, but low interest and extreme fragmentation mean that almost none of these SoCs are actually future-proof. There are *some* exceptions, like MTK-based Chromebooks (a deal with Google forced them to upstream the chips), but otherwise the company has no interest in long-term support. In fact, you will hardly find sources on some models.

I have old Mediatek devices I still use. These are old Android devices , and they don't need new kernels to keep working.

@rudolf what I meant was on the Linux side of it. Being bound to old Android kernels, and having no drivers upstream, they will forever be bound to a proprietary firmware and never run modern Linux software

I have never seen a Mediatek device running Linux. Only Android or ChromeOS.


There are ongoing mainlining efforts for MediaTek-based banana pi computers that produce good results:

But I can see the point why one should avoid manufacturers that only do half-way Linux support instead of contributing to have their hardware supported in mainline kernels.

@mstrohm to be fair, most chip manufacturers did not actively contribute to mainline, but their users did. The problem with MTK is that this is made especially difficult by the company by restricting sources, and that their chips are so fragmented that there has not been any work to "mainline" most of them.


Which is better for ewaste: a Mediatek phone with a removable battery or a mainline chip without one ? I know which I would be throwing out first.

@PublicNuisance while a bit harder to open the case, batteries are actually replaceable with a screwdriver and not much more - I manually replaced two on the device I am writing from

@tuxdevices It seems like most ARM SoCs are very poorly documented and have almost no support from anybody, third-party or upstream; MediaTek is definitely one of the worst of the lot though.

@nytpu Yes, indeed. What makes the MTK situation particularly bad is firstly the company (at least historically) restricting access to sources and such, and secondly having too many chips, none of which with a hint of mainline.

The same would apply to AllWinner and similar, if they were not so widely used on SBCs to bring the community to mainline them instead.

@tuxdevices thank god I'll be switching to the pinephone as soon as it arrives! (arch+sxmo btw)

@tuxdevices what about MT7621? It's in a few popular routers, seems to have some mainline support (though dunni to what extent), has excellent support in OpemWrt.

AFAIK it's the only SoC with hardware NAT offload supported by Linux.

@wolf480pl That is a good observation, since I did not specify it. The "toot" was referring to consumer-series ARM MTKs, but this MIPS one is on another branch.

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