What should I do with my board?

I’m completely listless but I want to do something with my wonderful VF2 board. What should I use it for?

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With software only or is additional hardware allowed (.e.g. supported 2-lane MIPI CSI cameras, WiFi/Bluetooth dongle, RTL-SDR/Airspy Mini, GPS UART/USB, M2 NVME To 6 port SATA adapter - most use ASM1166, …) ?

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I have a wifi dongle but no I don’t have any hardware to really use with it rn. So yeah software only but assume I have wifi.

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You could attach a USB drive (or even attach something to the M.2 slot, but that might require more hardware), and set it up as a home NAS. Sadly, .NET support is kinda difficult (if not impossible), so you can’t throw Jellyfin on it. Once .NET works, I’ll slap Jellyfin and qbittorrent on it (it has a nice webui), and use it as a Home NAS and media server to stream legally obtained media to my TV

Sadly, .NET support is kinda difficult (if not impossible)

Mono has this (https://github.com/mono/mono/blob/main/docs/riscv.md) in their repository, so it might work if you cross compile, but I’ve also heard, that that document is outdated, and it no longer works. Haven’t tried anything tho

Headless (ssh/remote access only) or sitting in front of the machine using the GPU with a keyboard and mouse ?

Just trying to narrows down the possibilities, because I think of so many things to do with every computer that I have ever owned, so many that sometimes it is just impossible to choose.

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With a keyboard and mouse

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with the latest Debian image installed on the SD card, keyboard, mouse, monitor and wifi dongle/LAN cable plugged in, you may use the VF2 SBC as a Linux OS PC for web browsing, writing the programming script or play some small PC games.

you may refer to below link for the application examples of the FV2 board.
Indeed, without those sensors and peripherals, VF2 just a generic PC.
Application Center | RVspace


You could go into business building custom kernels for that one guy that knows exactly the feature that he wants, but that isn’t enabled by default in whatever distribution he’s choosing to use.

Less sarcastically, you could do perform most of the hobbyist projects you read about for Pi, up to and including hacking hardware that plugs into that 40-pin connector. The pinout may not be quite identical, but the GPIO and power lines all see to be in the same places. Sticking so software projects, the likes of Make Magazine and dozens of web sites have listed Pi projects for years.

Hopefully, it’s obvious that you’ll want to stay away from anything that’s truly ARM-specific (e.g. avoid those articles on “Write your own ARM kernel!”) or that requires the most demanding computational tasks as your Vision Five is probably generationally closer to a Pi3 than a Pi 4.

But you can study RISC-V assembly (to write your own kernel…) or learn the insides of compilers studying GCC or learn Python or CircuitPython or configure a home server or HomeAssist server or learn as much about web serving as you have any taste for, from “hello world” on a web page to learning about (though not quite experiencing) high-performance serving pages through NGNIX or APache or learn about containers or anything else one might normally do with a Linux machine.

Oh, and if you’re tired of Linux, install and learn Nuttx (which is now supported) or whichever of the BSDs supports it or an educational OS like XV6 or whatever.


Are there any guides on how to build and flash xv6? They only say how to set it up for qemu


That realistically takes all the cool server options off the table, and for now, (mostly) restricts you to Linux and the custom StarFive 5.15.0 kernel because it is the only one currently with GPU acceleration (I think, could be wrong).

So client software or applications like:

  • KiCad for designing PCB’s (printed circuit boards)
  • GIMP for painting pictures or image manipulation (think Adobe Photoshop)
  • Kismet for seeing all the WiFi devices around you are and how much traffic each device is generating. What type of encryption is being used and signal strength. It does require that your WiFi hardware supports promiscuous mode (most WiFi chipsets do, but not all).
  • Audacity (or one of the forks due to privacy concerns e.g. Tenacity) / LMMS / Ardour / Cecilia / Mixx / Rosegarden audio editing and manipulation software.
  • Since you do not want to add any additional hardware (e.g. rtl-sdr/arispy-mini) you could open a web browser and point it at http://websdr.org and listen to radio transmissions from around the world (First link on page to a websdr server Holland has an amazing jaw dropping setup).
  • A second option for accessing radio transmissions around the world would be to get a list of public SDR (Software Defined Radio) devices (rtl-sdr/Airspy Mini/Airspy R2/Airspy HF+ Discovery) from https://airspy.com/directory/ then download compile and install a local SDR++ client application on your machine and connect to any server running the spyserver software and stream the IQ data, waterfall and RF spectrum.
  • Avidemux / OpenShot / Blender / Cinelerra / Flowblade / Kdenlive / Pitivi / Shotcut / LosslessCut / LiVES / Olive / Natron video editing or compositing software.
  • Darktable which is at least as powerful as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom but without the ongoing cost of a compulsory “adobe creative cloud” subscription every month.
  • Inkscape a vector graphics editor, it is along the lines of Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW.
  • MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) which merged the functionality of MESS in 2015 , so as well as all historic arcade machines it can also emulate most old computer systems (Commodore 64, BBC model B microcomputer, Apple IIe, Amiga 500, Sun SPARCStation 10, PDP-11, … etc )
  • Calibre ebook reading, editing and conversion between different formats. Or Koodo Reader a different application for reading ebooks.

Instead of me trying remember and list all the GUI software I’ve tried or used in the past at some stage (mostly under x86/ARM), here is a totally amazing list from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_free_and_open-source_software_packages

Will all of the software in the links above work today under RISC-V, probably (definitely) not. Will some, need to be fully compiled from source code including some of their dependencies - yes. Will some need patches created and submitted back to the application developers (pull requests/diff files) to allow them to function on RISC-V machines - not all, but definitely some.




Use its machine vision prowess to make a robot that detects cats and chases after them.

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