Meshtastic/Portduino/Pinetab now (kinda/barely) works

(Not ready for end users yet, but this was fun)

So the ‘arduino on linux’ API layer seems mostly functional now. This allowed us to get meshtastic running on the “pinetab lora USB module” - which is essentially a USB to SPI to SX1278 radio. This is also the same hardware that is built into the lora versions of the pinetab (when they start shipping them).

But there are a couple of reasons this might be useful for non pinetab users:

  • Lots of devtype people have asked about running meshtastic directly on a RasberryPi (or similar). This is now possible.
  • There are some RasberryPi shields that provide (just) a lora radio, that connect to the Pi CPU over SPI. This would now make support for those boards easy.
  • Porting meshtastic so it can also run on top of linux allowed me to find a couple of bugs which have always been happening on the esp32 (but were not easily detected there)
  • This portduino library is packaged as an official PlatformIO “framework”, so (once I improve the docs some) it should make it easy to run other arduino sketches/apps on top of linux (directly, as user level processes, with a bit of kernel help). You can configure portduino to either use real hardware for GPIOs/SPI/etc… or simulated devices that just log to a window.
  • This will improve our simulation layer so that we can simulate and develop on an ‘easier’ desktop OS.

Please ignore how dirty my laptop is…


the missing things (after I do some other items in my queue) before this will be ready for others:

  • I need to add a software AES256 implemention, because the linux CPUs don’t have the same hw implemenations we use on esp32/nrf52.
  • I need to add udev rules so the pinetab module is accessible to the ‘meshtastic’ user. Currently it is marked as root only.
  • Portduino needs to expose the TCP ports as ports open on localhost. (To allow API access from the apps/GUIs/IP TUN)

Oh yeah! This listen like Musik in my ears. it will maybe a great start to get meshtastic global working.

i‘m get this idee, the raspi and a good antenna system will be work as ground station on earth and use LoRa satellites for expand the network, all groundstations exchange messages and build a big mesh network for communication. smal local t-beams in the area from the groundstation will use it, to get connection around the world. the completly communication is AES encrypted. there will be several default channels for SOS call and Default channels for maybe countrys or use your own channel … and if there some moderators what can block stations in the SOS channel, if they try to spam this Emergency channels …

so, it is only a idee, but i‘ts a dream of a global opensource working communication system with high end encryption. and raspi can work with 2 lora chips 433 & 868 and build a bridge !!!


I love your enthusiasm. Alas, I don’t think lora is a good fit for that. The bitrate is very limited given the power levels and spread factors we work with.

The goal (completed) for meshtastic 1.0 was “a gps comms radio for small groups that is cheap, open and long range”. Later API/python API client access was added.

For 1.1 the goals are “add the optional internet gateway, global messaging, and MQTT” also (thanks mostly to @mc-hamster and @crossan007 “add javascript API and wifibased gui”). This I think is a good match to the realistic bitrate of the radios (i.e. if a node can reach the internet, then gateway for the mesh).

But I don’t think we’ll probably ever be doing “lora backbones”.


hi, i‘m not familiar enough in the moment with lora, i‘m just start with it. my background, i‘m a hamradio operator and was study Informatik. what i‘say is only, what i’get in my mind, if i’read the news :wink: but if i remember the time where hamradio operators was start with packet radio and 1200baud, i‘think lora is mutch faster, maybe i‘m wrong and i‘dont know … but i‘know nothing is impossible, if i look the way from 1200baud packet radio, what we have now … we need only inspiration … :wink: things to do …