Pinebook Pro Gnome Test Image Download

I am to the point where I would like to have some testing on the Gnome Desktop image I am trying to bring up to speed if people are willing to help.

I do not know much about Gnome 3. Since the early 90's I followed Gnome through it's stages until it hit Gnome 3 then I bailed on it for the Mate fork. I am a person who does not like change especially when they want to make more complicated features. I like simple.

The ground rules so to speak is since Gnome is a beefy install with multiple desktop environment's and I want to keep things simple so the install image will not be huge. Be looking for something that may be missing where something will not work in the image as is but not personal likes such as fonts, backgrounds and themes and so on that one can install themselves with pacman.

Bringing Gnome up to speed become a nightmare as opposed to me bringing XFCE and Mate up to speed due to the fact there are things they intentionally made it where you have to search alternate ways to get things done like I wanted to make it Manjaro ARM like.

There is one thing that is impossible is to get around is disabling the compositor in the Gnome and Gnome on Xorg desktop environments. So if you want to run libreoffice with out locking up the pbp and having to reboot logout and boot in to the Gnome (Wayland) DE. Also do the same if you run into another program that locks up.


This image comes with Panfrost enabled

The touchpad has tap to click, double tap to open a file, 2 finger tap to simulate a right-click on a mouse and right hand side of the touchpad for side scroll. The Login Screen does not have these touchpad features so you have to push to click.

The first time you login at the login screen pick the DE you want to log in to as it defaults to Gnome on X11 so if you want to log on to the Gnome DE Choose Gnome then log in. After that it will default to the last DE you logged in to. Your DE choices will be Gnome, Gnome on Xorg and Gnome (Wayland).

When you first log in Connect your home Wi-Fi tap on the triangle on the right end of the taskbar and it will bring up several choices. You want to tap on:

WiFi Not connected --> Select Network and when the window comes up tap on the Wifi it discovered then tap on Connect.

0d0c3363a66a97eb65baaa4502e6035c Manjaro-ARM-gnome-pbpro-19.10-test.img.xz

sdcard install image


How does Gnome Shell run on the PBP?

I could be tempted to give this a go. Would your build use Panfrost + OpenGL ES 2.0?

The download link has been added to my first post.

So far It takes a little bit to load up after the login (especially the initial log in) but after that all seems to be ok.

When I have the time I might consider building a Panfrost + OpenGL ES 2.0 image.

Apologies, I haven't gotten around to testing this yet. My PBP unintentionally became a mission-critical device for a few days when it became apparent that my new employer forgot to order me a PC for when I started. Should be able to give it a spin this evening.

No apology necessary.

Congratulations on your new job!

Right, I've been playing around with this for the past couple of hours. Here are my initial impressions:

Initial Impressions

Overall responsiveness is not bad. Animations are a bit laggy. Is GFX acceleration working? Would OpenGL ES improve things? Gnome 3/Budgie seem to be memory hog - the DE
doesn't seem to want to give memory back to the system. At login, Gnome ticks over at 700--800MB RAM usage. If I open a few programmes and close them again I'm up to 1.5GB. Would Budgie be a better fit for the hardware? Budgie desktop runs better than Gnome (but is also a memory hog). Might be a nice alternative if Gnome proves to be too much for the hardware.

pacman Issues

  • pacman thinks extra/geoclue is an update for geoclue2
  • initial system update via sudo pacman -Syyu fails with the following error message:
error: failed to commit transaction (conflicting files)
ap6256-firmware: /usr/lib/firmware/rockchip/dptx.bin exists in filesystem (owned by linux-firmware)
Errors occurred, no packages were upgraded.

I'm guessing the affected package is community/ap6256-firmware. I manually upgraded all the other packages for now.


  • Set natural scrolling as default for the trackpad.
  • Add dash-to-dock gnome extension to the selection of pre-installed extensions. It comes bundled with the x86-64 install.
  • Don't enable sshd.service by default.
  • Enable the top-left "activities overview hot corner" by default (as per other Gnome-based distros)
  • Switch the login manager from SDDM to GDM
  • What does "Qt5 Settings" programme do on the install? It comes pre-installed.
  • If Gnome truly is the memory hog it appears to be, it might pay to preconfigure a swap file in the setup. I've added a 4GB one on mine for now, which is probably overkill.

I'm going to carry on using this as my daily driver for the next few days and add more stuff here if I think it might be useful.

Thanks for testing.

The stock gnome has the bar at the top and is not configurable in any way. All of our release images has the bar at the bottom and all have basically the same look and the dash-to-dock would take away from that look and leave you with a top bar that is not configurable at the same time. Also with the extensions most of them are gnome version specific meaning if there was an upgrade the dash-to-dock would either disappear or not be functional. I have one extension installed and hope it will not fall prey to a version change. lol

The top left the same look hot corner can be achieved by clicking on the Manjaro logo on the bottom bar so the hot corner would be redundant.

To have the same Manjaro ARM theme with installed qt apps a series of programs were installed which probably brought in Qt5 Settings.

I did look at GDM and for the sake of getting out a test image; I went with SDDM. To have Manjaro ARM theme it would require recompiling the theme in to a binary for use in GDM and have not had time to look at it any more. What would be the advantage of having GDM?

I have not had any reason here to have to create a swap space with my 4G ram with my normal tests. How much does your pbp have. If you are getting into your swap space then certainly things will eventually slow down. I did create a zram swap to compile firefox here to day and it worked well. Firefox requires a huge amount of ram to compile.

SSHD is in all of our images and I do not make the call on it but frankly I can not do with out it on my home network but can not be accessed from the internet. I some times have 4 devices going at one time and need to get to them do do things. I did have a VPN set up here at one time where I could access my computer from the internet but I have no reason to do so at this time.

All things said Gnome has been a real night mare to get where I have it now where It has the Manjaro ARM look like the other images.

Strit has fixed the pacman issue and will be in the repo when the mirrors sync.

Again thanks for testing Benjamin.


It actually is.
Arch has removed the geoclue2 package, which will be removed from our repo aswell.

Yes. And it got addressed about 8 hours ago. So that should be fixed now. :slight_smile:

SSHD is default on all our installations. If you don't need it, disable it.

This switch was very intentional.
Why do you want the GDM memory hog?

The Gnome edition does ship some QT5 based applications (like Manjaro Settings Manager). So QT5 Settings is a way to theme them.

SDDM is probably fine. I just thought that GDM would be a more integrated/pure Gnome experience. Sounds like you have fair reasons for not using it.

I agree regarding SSHD. I just thought that for a portable computer it might make more sense to default to having it switched off rather than on. For something like a Raspberry Pi4, which is more likely to see use as a home server/PC, I agree that it's definitely something people are going to want active. It's not the end of the world either way.

I was using around 7GB or RAM yesterday evening during my initial file synchronisation via syncthing. That wasn't all syncthing though. I've not come across zram before. Will look into it as an alternative to swapping.

In my current desktop session, I've noticed that a few background tasks seem to be eating up a fair bit of CPU (htop says 53--95%):

  • /usr/lib/tracker-extract
  • /usr/lib/systemd/systemd-coredump
  • (coredump)

I've been logged in for just about an hour, and they're still going.

Thank you for your efforts. I'm enjoying using it.

Yay! Can't wait to try this. :blush:

Is the same true for some programmes on Gnome (Wayland)? TexStudio & Spyder seem to make the PBP vomit and on Gnome (Wayland).

I have no clue. I do not use those programs.

Wouldn't be easier and quicker to simply port Xfce to the Pinebook Pro instead of Gnome 3? I would gander a quick guess that Xfce DM is more here then Gnome is anyway.

There’s an XFCE build available here:

The main problem I believe is Panfrost thrown into the in the mix. Panfrost does better with some DE's than others and XFCE is also one that does not play well with Panfrost. This is the reason Strit chose not to have Panfrost enabled in the last round of image releases. Some where along the line Panfrost and the DE's need to come together to fully coexist. They just are not there right now.

I did enable Panfrost in this image but it is easily can be turned off. Most like the extra edge it provides with video / web browsing but if one wants to have Panfrost they will have to learn at this point and time that some programs may not work and depending on the DE the problem could even more problematic. This is the price to be paid to be living on the cutting edge of using a program still under development and at the same time software vendors and DE providers need to do their part for coexistence.

KDE Plasma at this point seems to be doing the best with Panfrost than the others.


After a few instances where Gnome crashed, I noticed this image was using mesa, and not mesa-git. Anyone else who decides to give this image a try should replace it upon booting. Gnome has been a lot more stable once mesa-git was installed.

Thanks for the tip Royce. The only place right now where I have Gnome installed is on the rock64pro. I installed mesa-git but I had have no crashes before then. Was wondering if you can remember what you were doing when it crashes.

Thanks for testing.

Yes, it happened when trying to open new windows: Chromium and Firefox when waiting for a file download dialogue to open/load, and when trying to open some newly installed apps. I think one of them was an app to make small changes for gdm (I forgot its name off the top of my head.)

Each time, I'd get the window/dialogue in the shape and size it should be (but all black), all input would freeze, the screen would go black with a blinking cursor, and minutes later I'd be back at gdm. I haven't had it do that since I noticed and replaced mesa with mesa-git.

I can try to duplicate the conditions tonight and look for logs.

Has anyone else using this image (and perhaps on Wayland) had any issues with IRC clients? Each has frozen my PBP, most appearing only as black windows. Polari just wouldn't open. I tried several others from the AUR, but I've gotten tired of installing/uninstalling, so I thought I'd just ask if anyone has had better luck with an IRC client.

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