Running Octoprint On A PinePhone Turns Out To Be Pretty Easy

3D printer owners have for years benefitted from using Octoprint to help manage their machines, and most people run Octoprint on a Raspberry Pi. [Martijn] made it run on his PinePhone instead, which turned out to be a surprisingly good fit for his needs.

While [Martijn] was working out exactly what he wanted and taking an inventory of what Raspberry Pi components and accessories it would require, it occurred to him that his PinePhone — an open-source, linux-based mobile phone — would be a good candidate for his needs. It not only runs Linux with a touchscreen and camera, but even provides USB, ethernet, and separate DC power input via a small docking bar. It looked like the PinePhone had it all, and he was right. [Martijn]’s project page gives a walkthrough of the exact steps to get Octoprint up and running, and it even turns out to not be particularly difficult.

[Martijn] is no stranger to hacking his PinePhone to do various things; we’ve already seen him add thermal imaging to his PinePhone. For those of you who are intrigued by the idea but don’t own a PinePhone? Check out the octo4a project, which allows running Octoprint on Android phone hardware.

11 thoughts on “Running Octoprint On A PinePhone Turns Out To Be Pretty Easy

  1. Before everybody runs out and buys the Beta PinePhone, be advised that while this is a working Linux machine with a touchscreen and camera and all that jazz, what it is NOT, is a working PHONE. The matrix of which features work with what carriers has more “X” entries than check-marks. And I’m not talking about exotic features, I’m talking about things like making phone calls, or sending or – gods forbid – receiving text messages, or getting an LTE data connection. Pine64 clearly states on their web page for this product, that it is meant only for early adopters with lots of Linux experience. Which I find to be not exactly transparent. An “early adopter” is someone who wants the newest stuff, and doesn’t mind if it doesn’t work perfectly. What they should have said (and what others reviewing it have said) is, DO NOT expect to use this as your only phone. It is for developers only, at this point.

    That said, PinePhone is a great example of the flexibility of Linux, and I look forward to the point where it rises to the “early-adopter-usable” stage.

    1. I have one. It works (including the phone functionality). I would agree with some of your caveats, but I don’t see your point as phone service is not required to run Octoprint.

      1. My point is that this isn’t really a job for a smartphone. If you want a computer to run Octoprint, there are plenty of low-cost Linux machines that will do the job, for which you don’t have to pay for the portability that the application doesn’t need. So I would do this on a smartphone only if it also served other applications that DO require the portability of a smartphone.

        It makes me happier to know that some people have succeeded in making what comes out of the box into a phone. Congratulations. I only brought up PinePhone’s present state of development because a lot of people might say something like, “yeah, it can do all these Linux things, and it’s also a phone!”, and I wanted to point out the down side. With pretty much all of the reviews being of the “this thing is GREAT” variety, I thought some people would like to know what it is NOT yet great at.

        And I’ll admit, I could be wrong. It could be down to the fact that I haven’t spent weeks, yet, getting the right combination of distro, packages and configuration settings that it takes to make this device work. TBH, my experience with this device could be the subject of an article titled “Fail of the Week: How NOT to Get a PinePhone to Work as a Phone”. If I had the time, I would just buy a second SIM card, so I wouldn’t be incommunicado while going through the usual knocking-my-head-into-a-wall Linux process.

    2. I think you may be talking about the newer “Pinephone Pro” rather than the original Pinephone? The original Pinephone seems to be working well enough for many people to use as a daily driver with the ability to make calls and send/receive texts. The Pro, on the other hand, it currently only in limited release as a developer-only item (if things go well, they hope to have an “Explorer Edition” in “early 2022” once the platform is more-or-less functionally complete).

      The development curve for the Pro should be a lot faster than the original. A lot of the really hard stuff (like the cellular chip) is the same as the pinephone, so its more a matter of getting the hardware to work with a new SOC than the original job of trying to learn how to get it to work at all.

      1. This is the original PinePhone. But their wiki page that shows what features work on what carriers shows a wide variation based on the carrier, and I don’t want to change my carrier. Not daily-driveable at this time.

  2. It works as well as any phone for SMS and phonecalls.
    The problem is that most of the repos are full of desktop apps.
    Anyone who had a OpenMoko knows th elimited software options that were written fo rhtis device vs say the Nokia N series which was a mojor corporation encouraging FOSS contributions and an easy single target OS and device.
    Right now the Pinephone is a decent laptop OS crammed into a working phone, the UI just doesnt match and we need a community effort to get a FOSS mobile UI for important apps
    Maemo did a great job(N900) but that OS is now twelve years old though I understand Maemo Leste based on Deuvian is one of the minor OSs working on Pinephone as well as other device compatibility.
    A good OS needs a sponsor to set priorities rather than people self sleecting, it is why Ubuntu Touch, while a strange unfamiliar Linux due to the blob driver forced Android drive chain hybridization(libhybris), has reached a point where the OS is well adapted to a mobile phone’s interface.

    1. “Right now the Pinephone is a decent laptop OS crammed into a working phone, the UI just doesnt match and we need a community effort to get a FOSS mobile UI for important apps”

      True, but I also think that the current environments are the right way to grow such a mobile UI. If the goal is to be a “better Android than Android” or even “as good an Android as Android” then the effort is probably doomed from the start. If someone wants Android or iOS, then there is no reason to create a FOSS-based platform to run them on. Instead the focus should be on figuring out what can be rather than trying to re-create what already is.

      Linux based phones should be different, and its going to take a while to figure out what that difference is going to be. A lot of very smart and motivated people are striking out in different directions following their ideas. Many will fail, some will survive and hopefully at least a couple will thrive. The mass market doesn’t care and it will probably never care. There will never be a “year of the Linux Desktop” and there will probably never be “year of the Linux Phone.”

      1. I meant to close with

        And that’s OK, as long as its useful to enough people to make it worthwhile. A healthy niche market can be a lot more sustainable than fighting an already entrenched duopoly.

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