Getting a Pinebook Pro

I have planted a suggestion to my wife to order me the Pinebook Pro for our anniversary. That and the m.2 add-on board. Looking at installing Manjaro Arm + Sway as I have been itching to give that a try.

Her eyes lit up when I told her the price (especially since my previous gift suggestion was a Thinkpad X1 Carbon). I decided that ARM based laptops needed investigating. My daughter is a Mac user and I told her to hold off on replacing her 2015 MBP until the Apple Silicon versions were released later this year. No I cannot convince her to switch to Linux.

Is the PBP bootable from the m.2 card? I would prefer that over the eMMC drive.

Awesome that you want to try out ARM as a platform.

It is possible to boot from NVME, but it requires the bootloader (uboot) to be flashed to the SPI, if you don’t want to have an eMMC connected.
You could also just use the built in eMMC for the bootloader and have all the rest on the NVME. I know some people does that.

So, you need uboot on either SPI or eMMC to get the PBP to be able to boot from NVME.

can you point to some documentation on how to do this?

Doing what exactly?

The eMMC route is pretty easy. Simply dd your eMMC setup to the NVME drive, and delete the partitions on the eMMC with parted, gparted, kde partition manager (whichever you prefer).

I am planning a clean install of Manjaro + Sway. Just install normally and point to the nVMe drive?

No, you would still need uboot on the eMMC.

Can’t I put in on the SPI and take the eMMC out of the equation?

You can. But I don’t know how to do that, as I have never used the SPI.

Good luck on trying to get one. They are reporting, due to so many people going to school, and working from home, there is a shortage of LCD screens, thus unable to manufacture anymore Pinebook Pros for a while.

This image for SPI works good, install instructions on release page:

Not all nvme will boot, check compability:

I had mine running fine with pcm720 and nvme with Manjaro kernel 5.7.10, but this stopped working with kernel 5.8.1 and later.