Orange Pi+ 2 - Getting started and headaches

While the Orange Pi+ 2 has better hardware, the software support for it sucks.

What came pre-installed

An Android looking OS that has 5 icons, but none of the icons open anything or go anywhre


So far i have tried 2 different images (Ubuntu Xenial and Debian , both mainline kernels), none of them gave me a display. I go as far as loading kernel, and then the screen goes black with the monitor displaying an out of range message. The monitor i have is Asus VX24AH (WQHD / 2K resolution).

Turns out if you want a desktop, you have to use the legacy kernel. While the mainline kernels do say Server or light desktop usage scenarios, light desktop does not mean you will get a minimal desktop. You will end up getting no desktop with either of the images with the mainline kernel.

Then tried the Ubuntu image with legacy kernel and got a working prompt. Onwards!

First thing it asks is to create a user (which is automatically added to sudoers). If you don’t create the user, you don’t get the desktop environment, or so it says on the prompt.

Screen Resolution

Next is setting your screen resolution. Give the command for your appropriate resolution

h3disp -m 1080p60 -c 2

Even though i have a 2K monitor, i ended up selecting 1080p because 2K/QHD wasn’t an available mode (There are patches to set custom modes but they override the default ones, and the patches are not that easy to apply either)

Moving OS to eMMC

Orange Pi+ 2 comes with 16GB of built-in storage, meaning i don’t need to use an SD card to run the OS, i can run it directly from the inbuilt storage. 16GB is plenty of any Linux distro. I’m running Armbian here.


  • Select boot from eMMC / NAND
  • Select ext4

Now wait. For me the wait was ‘approximately 35 minutes’.. Go get your coffee, eat some food, stretch.

As someone who already has 4 corrupted micro sd cards (power outages mostly, improper shutdowns), using the eMMC is preferred.

i honestly wouldn’t recommend this board to any enthusiast, it will suck the enthusiasm out of you.