relatively full Debian desktop, server or both environnement on RISC-V based LicheeRV.

Table of Contents

* Introduction
* Installing the Image
* Connecting serial
* Booting
* Setting the WiFi
* Audio
* Some minors but useful tuning
* What is working

* Update 2022-03-12: Someone made a full tutorial to build a working image with own kernel and standard debian buildroot.
* Update 2022-04-06: Sehraf made RISC-V Arch Linux builder for Lichee-RV and D1

Image used in this tutorial use a kernel that doesn’t support firewall so don’t forget to use it only behind a well configured router (or box) connexion and don’t use confidential things on it.


I managed to have a working Debian desktop environment on RISC-V after previous test and some exchanges on different Sipeed/D1 channels. Most informations are today available on Wiki dedicated page.

See also the previous article Booting Ubuntu Linux on a LicheeRV.

This image seems to manage more of the SoC features, or at least it announce lot of flags (IMAFDCVU):

$ cat /proc/cpuinfo 
processor	: 0
hart		: 0
isa		: rv64imafdcvu
mmu		: sv39

* IMAF = base ISA, Mul/div, Atomic instruction, (single precision) Float
* D = Double precision float
* V = Vector processor extension
* C = Compressed instructions
* U = User mode hyperverisor

The main problem was to have a working image with Debian, AllWinner and Speed give only a Linux image that can be made on Windows using PhoenixCard tool.

Someone of a Sipeed chat that have access to a Windows installed computer, made the conversion and give it available here (my mirror copy) sha256sum of the image: cf73baf3ed67d480e7606c666ccb81fce21295ba8fbba10e0ad86939065be6ffw. You need an at least 16GB microSD card to use it with LicheeRV and it’s Dock..

Glaxnimate animation suite (own made RISC-V version of Debian package) , goes-up quickly to 6 of load, as most applications, but it is still usable:

Installing the Image

To install it, you can follow the following steps:

Install aria2 (Debian based (Debian, Ubuntu, …) sudo apt install aria2, Archlinux based (Arch, Manjaro, …): pacman -S aria2)

Update: someone said me he had problems with aria2, as wrote at the top of this article, you can still download the image from here: give it available here (my mirror copy). Please, verify the sha256sum of the image at the end of the download (Aria2 does automatically): cf73baf3ed67d480e7606c666ccb81fce21295ba8fbba10e0ad86939065be6ffw.

For an USB microSD card reader (I use /dev/sdd for /dev/sdX in my case you can verify which one is your by sudo fdisk -l:


It is very important to wipefs to avoid any problems with detections, then write, the downloaded image:

sudo wipefs -a ${DEVICE}
xzcat 20211230_LicheeRV_debian_d1_hdmi_8723ds.ddimg.xz | sudo dd bs=1MB status=progress of=${DEVICE}

Then delete the partition 8:

sudo fdisk ${DEVICE}

Resize the partition 7 to use the remaining space:

sudo parted ${DEVICE}

You will see the exact size of your partition (here in bold) that will be used later:

Model: SD ACLCE (sd/mmc)
Disk /dev/mmcblk0: 63.9GB

Then reuse the same value here to use the whole end of the card:

(parted) resizepart 7
End?  [??.?GB]? 63.9GB
(parted) quit

Then now grow the fs itself.
* for an USB sdcard reader (/dev/sdX):

sudo resize2fs ${DEVICE}7

* for an internal sdcard reader (/dev/mmcblkX):

sudo resize2fs ${DEVICE}p7

Now sync (flush data in memory on disk) the card:


You can now extract the card from your reader and put it in the LicheeRV board.

Connecting serial

You should connect the way described on this picture. You can also connect the red wire on one of the 5V pin to power the board if you want:
picture of UART connectors pinout, upper row from left, 5V, 5V, GND, TX, RX

You can then connect using one of the methods I previously described here.

screen /dev/ttyUSB0 115200
Package             commande
busybox             busybox microcom -t 5000 -s 115200 /dev/ttyUSB0
minicom             minicom -D /dev/ttyUSB0 
gtkterm-git (AUR)   gtkterm -s 115200 -p /dev/ttyUSB0
python-pyserial     python -m /dev/ttyUSB0 115200
screen              screen /dev/ttyUSB0 115200
tinyserial          com /dev/ttyUSB0 115200
picocom             picocom --baud 115200 /dev/ttyUSB0

On the Login prompt, use:
* Login: sipeed
* Password: licheepi

Just for information about PinOut, used to know the serial pins:

You can find a Pineout of the board on the LicheeRV HDK Schematic PDF (local mirror):

And the pineout of the dock in the Dock Datasheet (local mirror)

LicheeRV Dock pineout


There has several problems at boot due to cgroup not enable in this kernel.

You can disable this problems by:

sudo dpkg -P rtkit
sudo systemctl disable e2scrub_reap
sudo systemctl disable systemd-hostnamed

The first line allow to have more HDMI (including sound) working and stop loop message on all consoles. The second one avoid 2+minutes of wait at booting time. The third one seems to have no effect, the message continue at boot.

Details of the problems:

H2MI to DVI and HDMI to USB dongles I used
Then boot it plugged on a 1080p HDMI screen. It doesn’t work with my HDMI->DVI (tried on a 1680×1050 DVI-A and a 1080p DVI-D) or with my 1080p HDMI->USB dongle. Someone else reported it worked with an HDMI-DVI dongle (reference: 6140063500G).

Update: This was resolved partially by removing rfkit, a watchdog daemon that tried to kill something, probably on a wrong test. The message that come in loop on the console disappear then, the HDMI output on the HDMI to USB dongle worked, this will allow me to record/stream video output, and audio output on HDMI now work too. It could be suggestive, but I feel like system also work a bit faster (testing/killing/restarting things can take a lot of resources) :

sudo dpkg -P rtkit

The error message loops like this in dmesg :

Jan 18 10:50:33 sipeed systemd[1]: Starting RealtimeKit Scheduling Policy Service...
Jan 18 10:50:33 sipeed kernel: Unable to handle kernel paging request at virtual address ffffffdf8099707e
Jan 18 10:50:33 sipeed kernel: Oops [#52]
Jan 18 10:50:33 sipeed kernel: Modules linked in: xt_time xt_multiport xt_mark xt_mac xt_limit xt_comment xt_TCPMSS xt_LOG uvcvideo videobuf2_vmallo>
Jan 18 10:50:33 sipeed systemd[1]: rtkit-daemon.service: Main process exited, code=killed, status=11/SEGV
Jan 18 10:50:58 sipeed systemd[1]: rtkit-daemon.service: Failed to get cgroup ID on cgroup /sys/fs/cgroup/system.slice/rtkit-daemon.service, ignorin>

The problem of missing cgroup management in kernel is also the source of long boot and messages:

[FAILED] Failed to start Remove Sta…ext4 Metadata Check Snapshots.
See 'systemctl status e2scrub_reap.service' for details.
[   ***] A start job is running for Raise ne…rk interfaces (1min 7s / 5min 14s)

Looking at journalctl:

journalctl -xeu e2scrub_reap.service

You will see the following message:

e2scrub_reap.service: Failed to get cgroup ID on cgroup /sys/fs/cgroup/system.slice/e2scrub_reap.service, ignoring: Function not implemented
journalctl -xeu systemd-hostnamed.service

systemd-hostnamed.service: Failed to get cgroup ID on cgroup /sys/fs/cgroup/system.slice/systemd-hostnamed.service, ignoring: Fu

If you disable it, the boot will now be 2 minutes faster:

sudo systemctl disable e2scrub_reap
sudo systemctl disable systemd-hostnamed

You can see the whole boot sequence by connecting to UART. See this ASCIInema record of the boot sequence (local copy of the cast).

LigthDM connexion prompt

At the LightDM Login and pass prompt use:
* Login: sipeed
* Password: licheepi

Then you will have after about less than 1 minutes (yes, that’s a bit slow) the desktop.

Setting the WiFi

You can set your WiFi connexion (and even BlueTooth) with connexion manager. It is accessible from the main menu (the most left-bottom gray icon) by Preferences > Connman Settings, see this picture

access to Connman from menu

Then choose Wireless at left of the new box.Activate the Wifi connexion in Connman
* Click on the gray button to start the wifi (1 in red on the picture).
* Select the network you want to connect to (2 in red)
* Click on connect (3 in red).
* A prompt will open, where you will need to enter the passphrase of the WiFi.
Authentication required

The connexion should be established now, with “Connected” wrote at top of the window and “Online” beside the name of the Wifi router name (as on the picture at right.

You can by pressing on the gear at the right of the router name (2) in previous right picture, have access to some control to have the connexion set automatically at each boot.

click on the greyed autoconnect button, it should become blue meaning autoconnect is activated

Click on the IPv4 at left and then on the Method (set to None) button, choose automatic in the menu as shown in the following picture, then apply at bottom right.

Don’t forget to check also that NameServers is set as you want (by DHCP or static).

I noticed it worked better if I uncommented the following lines in /etc/network/interfaces using

sudo vi /etc/network/interfaces

, it seems to work far better when it’s uncommented (there is a typo: wpa-deriver instead of wpa-driver, but works as is. to remove the # comments, just move the cursors to them and press x one time.

auto wlan0 #(wlp3s0 为网卡名)
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
	wpa-deriver wext
 	wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

When finished, quit and save with the sequence of keys: “:“, “x!“, ["enter"] key

You can sync your card and reboot safely now:

sudo reboot

It should work fine the next time. you can verify the ip address on your router, or by connecting on the console or interface, and typing:

sipeed@sipeed:~$ ip address
1: lo:  mtu 65536 qdisc noqueue state UNKNOWN group default qlen 1000
    link/loopback 00:00:00:00:00:00 brd 00:00:00:00:00:00
    inet scope host lo
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
    inet6 ::1/128 scope host 
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
2: sit0@NONE:  mtu 1480 qdisc noop state DOWN group default qlen 1000
    link/sit brd
3: wlan0:  mtu 1500 qdisc mq state DOWN group default qlen 1000
    link/ether 74:ee:xx:xx:xx:xx brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
    inet 192.168.xx.xx/24 brd 192.168.xx.xx scope global dynamic wlan0
       valid_lft 41822sec preferred_lft 41822sec
4: wlan1:  mtu 1500 qdisc mq state UP group default qlen 1000
    link/ether 76:ee:xx:xx:xx:xx brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
    inet 192.168.xx.xx/24 brd 192.168.xx.xx scope global wlan1
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

or, like the former way:

sipeed@sipeed:~$ sudo ifconfig
[sudo] password for sipeed: 
lo: flags=73  mtu 65536
        inet  netmask
        inet6 ::1  prefixlen 128  scopeid 0x10
        loop  txqueuelen 1000  (Local Loopback)
        RX packets 13  bytes 1793 (1.7 KiB)
        RX errors 0  dropped 0  overruns 0  frame 0
        TX packets 13  bytes 1793 (1.7 KiB)
        TX errors 0  dropped 0 overruns 0  carrier 0  collisions 0

wlan0: flags=-28669  mtu 1500
        inet 192.168.xx.xx  netmask  broadcast 192.168.xx.xx
        ether 74:ee:xx:xx:xx:xx  txqueuelen 1000  (Ethernet)
        RX packets 0  bytes 0 (0.0 B)
        RX errors 0  dropped 0  overruns 0  frame 0
        TX packets 0  bytes 0 (0.0 B)
        TX errors 0  dropped 0 overruns 0  carrier 0  collisions 0

wlan1: flags=-28605  mtu 1500
        inet 192.168.xx.xx  netmask  broadcast 192.168.xx.xx
        ether 76:ee:xx:xx:xx:xx  txqueuelen 1000  (Ethernet)
        RX packets 582  bytes 80736 (78.8 KiB)
        RX errors 0  dropped 0  overruns 0  frame 0
        TX packets 504  bytes 82357 (80.4 KiB)
        TX errors 0  dropped 0 overruns 0  carrier 0  collisions 0

To be more comfortable I suggest to make a swap file on the microSD if you want to use some desktop application, because, 512MB is really short:

Create a swap file of 1GB (1024M) and format it:

sudo dd bs=1M count=1024 status=progress if=/dev/zero of=/swap
sudo mkswap /swap

Add this to /etc/fstab for automatic mount after reboot:

echo "/swap none swap defaults 0 0" |sudo tee -a /etc/fstab/

Then mount it immediately

sudo swapon -a

For more comfortable serial (UART) console usage, you could also install xterm package. It will give you the resize command. When you type resize from your serial connexion, the serial view will adapt to you local Xterm, VTE term, or whatever terminal you use.


On this default image to have audio working on HDMI I suggest ton install and use PAVUcontrol, the best tool I know to manage PulseAudio and PipeWire audio daemons.

sudo apt install pavucontrol

You can launch it in a term like the following line or in menu like on this picture:


With the GUI menu, choose Sound & Video > PulseAudio Volume Control
select Pavu control in menu

Then for HDMI default output in PulseAudio, that is wrapped on PipeWire, select, the Output Devices tab, as blue underlined on picture, then press the green rounded check (I added red square on this picture) beside Build-in Audio Stereo where Analog Output, the first Entry with Headphones is probably the speaker connector on the board (need to try it).
Select Analog Output for HDMI output

Some minors but useful tuning

Crontab installation is broken by default, group crontabs is missing:

apt reinstall cron

To use your language:

sudo vi locale.gen

Uncomment your corresponding line (ex: for french: fr_FR.UTF-8 The two first chars (here fr) are language and the second (here FR) are the country (here France).

You can then set the locale, and the keyboard
You can list available languages layout by:

localectl  list-x11-keymap-layouts
localectl set-locale fr_FR.UTF-8
set-keymap fr
set-x11-keymap fr_FR

To gain some KB you can replace lightdm by xdm (the first default display manager, or nodm that doesn’t prompt for login/password.

For nodm:

sudo apt install nodm

For xdm:

sudo apt install xdm

Anyway you can install both and during the installation, dpkg-configure will ask you in a menu the one you want to use.

By default with nodm, root user will be used, this is really not a good idea. You can change it by editing the nodm config file from root to sipeed:

sudo sed -i s/NODM_USER=root/NODM_USER=sipeed/ /etc/default/nodm

or by using debian dpkg-reconfigure that will ask you several question and change the user:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure nodm

Then reboot or stop LightDM and start another dm:

sudo systemctl stop lightdm
sudo systemctl start xdm

As LicheeRV is a very cheap card, the goal is to have an available board to test RISC-V integration, there is no dedicated Video RAM. You can gain lot of performances by disabling X. Stop lightdm will free the resources of X automatically. You will gain RAM and resources for compilation or other tasks.

sudo systemctl stop lightdm

To disable it permanently use systemctl disable, it will keep this state after reboot

sudo systemctl disable lightdm

You can still re-enable it by using systemctl enable:

sudo systemctl enable lightdm

What is working

MuseScore, Scribus and FontForge
Among application working well, I found:
* Graphics tools: GIMP, Krita work a bit slowly. The first time, need to wait long time, and then go to preferences to disable GL acceleration before creating an image, else it will be awfully slow. Everything will go far faster after that.
* Edition tools: MuseScore (see vidéo), FontForge, Scribus, Inkscape.
* Animation tool: Pencil2D, UPDATE: Glaxnimate (see videos below), I made a Debian package.
* Chat: IRC client Hexchat, and Telegram-desktop client (FOSS Android version)
* Blender work but is totally unusable
* Web browser:: They are generally unusable, the exception is Netsurf (package netsurf-gtk, see screenshot below), that is still slow but a minimum usable, a framebuffer version (netsurf-fb) is pre-installed, but should be used in terminal console view, that is not setup by default. Text browsers like w3m, eLinks, etc, can work. Firefox is unavailable (there is an unofficial method to patch it and compile it for RISC-V, need to test it, but I doubt it will be efficient, a 3 or 4 year old version, could be better. There is an official patch but seem to be no more available? As often, Firefox like to block progress on new technologies….
screenshot with Gimp, Pencil2D, Hexchat (irc client)
* Web server: HTTPd Apache and Nginx works You can test my installation of Nginx, when it is up, here. I let up for few days (it should consume 2,5W maximum (5V*0.5A power via serial or sometime USB), but could some times reboot for update, I wait for solar panels to plug it on.

I put checkers on name to not display private informations:
Screenshot with Blender and Telegram

Netsurf-GTK has little display bugs, but is relatively usable. Still not reactive for typing URL in URL bars.
Screenshot of Netsurf-GTK

Telegram rendering of the Glaxnimate animation:

Launching of MuseScore: