Meson 8 hardware like the S812 has a reasonable future once we bump to mainline kernels. There is a lot of IP in common with the newer GX platform so while it's not as popular for development it inherits a lot of support and has an active kernel maintainer (Martin Blumenstingl). The critical missing software component needed for LE to run mainline kernels on S812 is an HDMI driver, and the active plan is to adapt work done for GX boards once it's more feature complete (the HDMI chip is different but we should be able to reuse the core DRM code). Martin has already done some early poking of code but no "video on screen" eureka moment happened yet. LE plans to drop 3.10 kernel support after LE 9.0 ships so there will be a support gap for S802/805/812 devices until an HDMI driver is ready, but I'm cautiously optimistic that something appears before LE10.0. Support can be added back then - although this probably becomes a community effort more than core team effort. Other 3.10 kernel devices using the 8726MX chip (WeTek Play etc.) have no mainline kernel future ahead as Meson 6 has marginal upstream support and nobody working to improve that.
buzzmarshall On the topic of S912 having no future due to the lack of mali blob .. we've been working on making a lot people eat their hats
See this video from a few days ago: YouTube
I agree and its to bad because the old 3.10 could have been migrated up to at least 3.14 years ago if Amlogic would have played ball but they are more intent on letting the hackers do all the hard lifting while they gain the market share... There were a few of us years ago trying to talk to Amlogic about support on linux but the interest went ignored by Amlogic till finally enough reviews in mags and other online places seemed to get them to at least open up a little bit but only to a handful of people so most of us just went back to doing our own thing and ignored whats going on in the public. It was a nice thing to see you guys get going as OpenELEC seemed to stagnate as they became more WeTek oriented, which was a really nice boom and appears to continue on in that direction...
On a Personal note. Amlogic just infuriates me with their attitude towards outsiders and to be honest as far as the box market goes i really think they are some of the worst coders when it comes to supporting their own products and the proof was really apparent when the forced their downstream manufactures to jump up on the bandwagon with the S912 based boxes that used the a Mali core that they themselves refused to licence the DDK leaving the issues the way they are. Even with the canned Android version provided to them those boxes are not really taking advantage of what those SoC's are capable of... for them it was more important to keep their release
Meanwhile the public is still struggling and Amlogic will leave all the heavy lifting like updating and unifying onto Linux mainstream up to private coders that eventually figure what ends up and either move onto new play toys or become a dealer and do their own thing. Rockchip guys seem to be much more forth-coming with support and help tho which is nice to see, All winner i can't speak much to as i have never played with one.
Thanx for the heads up tho about Panfrost and Lima as its been awhile since I have looked around as i now have other interests but they look interesting and hopefully will provide some good outcomes. on another note i am actually a bit surprised that 3.14 or higher on the older S8xx boxes have not become a reality because its been done privately for quite some time now but i quess thats what happened when Amlogic ignored all that interest years ago... i don't think Amlogic coders understand or are decent enough Linux coders so they just stick to the canned versions of Android they buy support for.
Dont get me wrong theres nothing wrong with Android but putting a touch input based OS on a box like this is just more of a novelty then anything but hey, it lets google track everyone and its free. Linux truly is the answer on the boxes and its projects like LIbreELEC and the spin-offs that prove my point... keep up the good work...