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Linux kiosk distro adds Raspberry Pi 4 support

Mar 9, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 993 views

Linutop’s Linux-based, kiosk-oriented Linutop OS can now run on the Raspberry Pi 4. Linutop also sells mini-PCs based on the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 and the UP Squared.

It’s been a long time since we’ve checked in with Parisian embedded Linux firm Linutop, which back in 2010 was shipping its kiosk-targeted, Linux-based Linutop OS on a Linutop 3 running on a 1GHz, x86-based VIA C7 processor. The company’s latest Linutop mini-PCs look similar but run on much faster processors using boards such as the Raspberry Pi 3 and UP board.


Linutop6 on
a monitor

We’ll catch up on the current models below, but the latest news is that Linutop has released a version of its Linutop OS that can run on a quad-core Cortex-A72 Raspberry Pi 4. The Raspbian Buster based distribution is designed for digital signage, public, Internet-connected kiosks, thin clients, and other embedded systems. In the Mar. 4 announcement, there was no mention of plans to build a Linutop mini-PC based on the RPi 4.

Both the Raspbian version of Linutop OS running on the Raspberry Pi and the Xubuntu XFCE LTS 14.04 based version for other platforms are lightweight distros with 750MB footprints that require a minimum of 512MB RAM. Boot times are said to be less than 30 seconds, and versions are available for USB keys.

Linutop OS is available in a bare-bones version as well as Linuxtop Kiosk and Linutop.TV variants. Linutop Kiosk provides kiosk-focused homepage configuration tools, security features including password-locked read-only modes. The software can block selected websites and supports signage display playlists. You also get Firefox or Chromium, Libre Office, the VLC media player, and an online catalog application.

With the Linutop.TV version, you can set up a cloud- or self-hosted Linutop.TV Digital Signage CMS system. Linutop.TV includes a multiple screen playlist and broadcast manager.



Linutop Kiosk setup screen (left) and lock mode options
(click images to enlarge)

Linutop OS, Linutop Kiosk and Linutop.TV are available in free versions, and the Kiosk and TV version are also available in commercial “full” versions at 79 Euros ($90) and 196 Euros ($224), respectively. It’s unclear how these differ from the free versions.

 
Linutop mini-PCs

The latest Linutop mini-PC appears to be the 289 Euro ($330) Linutop 6. According to the CNXSoft story that alerted us to the Linutop RPi 4 announcement, the Linutop 6 is a re-spin of Aaeon’s UP-GWS01 IoT gateway mini-PC, which is turn based on the UP board.



Linutop 6
(click images to enlarge)

The Linutop 6 runs the Xubuntu version of Linutop OS 16.04 on the UP board’s quad-core, 1.92GHz, Atom x5-Z8300 SoC from Intel’s Cherry Trail generation. The fanless, 95 × 91 x 36mm mini-PC ships with 2GB DDR3L-1600 RAM and 16GB eMMC.

The Linutop 6 has GbE, USB 3.0 OTG, and 4x USB 2.0 ports. There’s also an HDMI 1.4b port for up to 3840 × 2160 pixels. The system has a 110-240V adapter for the 5V DC input.

The 209 Euro ($239) LinutopXS3 runs the Raspbian version of Linutop OS on the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B with 4x Cortex-A53 cores running at 1.2GHz. The fanless, 90 x 60 x 24mm mini-PC is equipped with a WiFi/Bluetooth module, as well as HDMI, 10/100 Ethernet, and 4x USB 2.0 ports. There’s also a 100-240 AC adapter.



LinutopXS3 (left) and LinutopXS
(click images to enlarge)

The older, 189 Euro ($216) LinutopXS runs on a quad-core, 900MHz Raspberry Pi 2. It’s unclear, however, if this is the original Cortex-A7 version of the RPi 2 or the newer v1.2 with four Cortex-A53 cores at the same clock rate. The features are the same as the LinutopXS3 except for the lack of a WiFi/Bluetooth module. So are the dimensions, although the XS lacks the sleeker design of the XS3.

 
Further information

Linutop OS for the Raspberry Pi 4 support is now available in free and commercial versions, and the Linutop mini-PCs range from $216 to $330 (see all pricing farther above). More information may be found in Linutop’s RPi 4 announcement, as well as its website with links to product and shopping pages. The Linutop OS documentation page may be found here.

 

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