At the core of our philosophy is the notion that PINE64 is a community platform. A simplistic point of view, often offered up and referenced online, is that ‘PINE64 does hardware while the community does the software’. While this depiction is not inaccurate, it is also a gross oversimplification. The fact that PINE64 is community driven doesn’t simply entail a one-way reliance on the community or partner projects for software support; it means that the community gets to actively shape the devices, as well as the social platform, of PINE64 from the ground up. The goal is to deliver ARM64 devices that you really wish to engage with and a platform that you want to be a part of. As such, the community – PINE64 – and the company PINE Microsystems Inc. are interlocked and intertwined, but separate entities.
What does it mean in practice then? It means that we usually announce what we’re working on well ahead of the shipping date – many months before a device is released – so that you have plenty of time to request product features, suggest changes, ask for/make changes to documentation, etc. before the first iteration of the device rolls of the factory line. It also means that the hardware developments – successes and failures alike – are all in the open. You can follow the process on our forum, the IRC, Discord, Matrix, Telegram the online conversations log and, in some instances, on our partner projects forums. But it also means that anyone who is a part of the community gets to shape anything related to the PINE64 project – including the Wiki or this website – and so, software development is only one area where you can contribute your time and skill. In return for time investment, the community gets fair priced devices that developers wish to spend their time on.
Last, but not least, is our belief in supporting existing SoCs for long periods of time as well as actively developing new devices based on those SOCs. What does this mean for developers then? It means that a developer can start developing software on a PINE64 SBC and, in time, support multiple devices with relative ease. This device convergence is, at the time of writing, most pronounced on the Allwinner A64 SOC used in a number of our devices including the: PINE64-LTS, SOPine, Pinebook and Pinetab. That said, similar convergence is also planned for the Rockchip RK3399, currently used on the RockPro64 and in the Pinebook Pro.
You can always find us in the chats or the forum, so if you have any further questions make sure to drop by and ask about how the PINE64 project actually works.