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Posts Tagged ‘Linux’

Variscite Introduces TI Sitara AM437x SoM with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

January 30th, 2015 No comments

News about Texas Instruments Sitara AM437x processors first surfaced in 2012, before being officially announced last summer. Beside TI’s own development kits, I had not seen any hardware based on the company’s Cortex A9 industrial processor, but Variscite has now unveiled their VAR-SOM-AM43 systems-on-module (SoM) powered by AM4376 , AM4378, or AM4379 SoCs.

Variscite_VAR-SOM-AM43VAR-SOM-AM43 specifications:

  • SoC – Texas Instruments AM437x single core ARM Cortex A9 processor @ 1.0GHz:
    • AM4376 – No GPU, 4x PRU @ 200 MHz
    • AM4378 – PowerVR SGX530 GPU, 4x PRU @ 200 MHz
    • AM4379 – PowerVR SGX530 GPU, 4x PRU @ 200 MHz, and EtherCAT slave support
  • System Memory – 256MB to 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 0 to 512MB SLC NAND flash, and 4GB to 32GB eMMC flash b module. 3x SD/MMC via edge connector
  • Display Interfaces – 24-bit RGB interface up to 1400×1050 resolution; 4/5-wire resistive touch support
  • Connectivity  – 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet PHY + 10/100/1000 Mbps RGMII,  802.11a/b/g/n with optional MIMO, and Bluetooth 4.0 (TI Wilink 8 WL183xMOD module)
  • Other I/Os and interfaces available via the 204-pin SO-DIMM connector:
    • Audio – Analog / digital microphone, S/PDIF, and Line In/Out
    • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host, 1x USB OTG
    • 5x UART up to 3.6 Mbps
    • 3x I2C, 4x SPI, 1x One Wire/HDP, 2x CAN bus
    • RTC (on carrier board)
    • Camera – 1x CPI
  • Power Supply – 3.3V DC; Digital I/IO: 3.3V / 1.8V
  • Dimensions – 67.8 x 38.6 x 3 mm
  • Temperature Range – Commercial 0 to 70°C; Extended: -20 to 70°C, or Industrial: -40 to 85°C
VAR-SOM-AM43 Block Diagram

VAR-SOM-AM43 Block Diagram

VAR-SOM-AM43 modules support Linux 3.14 and Yocto 1.6 (Daisy) with Qt 5, and Android 4.4 support is coming soon. Software documentation is available on the module’s Wiki, and support on Variscite’s forums. The company also provides mechanical and hardware documentation including a product brief, a datasheet, and mechanical design files (DXF) for the module, as well as schematics and a datasheet for VAR-AM43CustomBoard, the baseboard used for development and/or evaluation. TI AM437x TRM can also be downloaded directly from TI website.

VAR-AM43CustomBoard

VAR-AM43CustomBoard Carrier Board

The baseboard has the following key features:

  • SODIMM-200 socket to support VAT-SOM-AM43 system-on-module
  • External Storage – micro SD socket
  • Connectivity – 2x Gigabit Ethernet
  • Display – 18-bit 3 pair LVDS interface; 4-wire touch panel and capacitive touch panel support
  • Audio – 3.5mm jacks for heaphone and line INl; digital microphone on-board
  • Camera – Parallel CMOS sensor interface
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports (including on OTG?), 1x micro USB port for debugging
  • Serial – 2x RS232 header (UART1 / UART3), micro USB debug port, RS485 header, 2x CAN buses
  • Expansion Headers – Several headers with access to 8-channel ADC, SD/MMC interface, SPI, I2C, McASP, and GPIOs
  • Misc – RTC + CR1225 battery socket, 4x buttons.
  • Power Supply – 5V DC input, 2.5mm DC jack
  • Dimensions – 11.1 x 8.6 x 2.4 cm

A complete evaluation kit (VAR-DVK-AM43) is also available with VAR-SOM-AM43 SoM, VAR-AM43CustomBoard baseboard, a 7″ WVGA LCD with resistive/capacitive touch, a power supply, an Ethernet cable, an RS232 debug cable, boot/rescue SD cards, and a DVD with documentation and source code.

Variscite Sitara AM437x modules and development kits are available now, with pricing starting at $42 in 1K order. Further information, including hardware documentation, may be found on Variscite’s VAR-SOM-AM43, VAR-AM43CustomBoard, and VAR-DVK-AM43 product pages.

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Linaro 15.01 Release with Linux 3.19 and Android 5.0

January 30th, 2015 No comments

Linaro has just announced the first release of the year with Linux 3.19-rc3 (baseline), Linux 3.10.65 and 3.14.29 (LSK), Android 5.0.2, and Ubuntu Linaro Utopic.

Changes seem to have focused on ARM, Qualcomm, and HiSilicon hardware platforms such as Juno, and IFC6410, and some work has been done on Debian ARM64 rootfs.

Here are the highlights of this release:

  • Linux Linaro 3.19-rc5-2015.01
    • GATOR topic updated to version 5.20.1
    • builddeb topic: fixes for the dtb files location changes in 3.19 (vendor subdir introduced)
    • updated integration-linaro-vexpress64 topic by ARM LT (FVP Base and Foundation models, and Juno support)
    • updated topic from Qualcomm LT (IFC6410 board support)
    • updated topic from HiSilicon LT (Hi36xx, HiP04, and X5HD2 families support)
    • updated LLVM topic (uses the community llvmlinux-latest branch)
    • Included ILP32 patch set v3 rebased on 3.19-rc5. Initial tests using syscalls LTP tests are done: msgctl07 stalls when using ILP32 userland (no stall with LP64 userland).
    • config fragments updated:  audit.conf added to enable the audit feature testing on ARMv8; vexpress64: enabled devices used on Juno; Linaro builds of AOSP 15.01 is released
  • Android builds have been updated to 5.0.2
  • Juno firmware has been updated to 0.10.1
  • Linaro OpenEmbedded 2015.01
    • integrated Linaro binutils 2.25-2015.01
    • fixed linux-dummy after shared workdir changes in oe-core
    • updated linux-linaro(-stable) recipes
    • cleaned up overlayed recipes
    • added image recipe for ILP32 with LTP included
    • fixed GCC-4.8 builds
    • fixed LNG x86 machines
    • added workaround LAVA-isms with shell prompt
    • updated GATOR recipe to 5.20.1
    • upstreaming – fixed libgpg recipe in oe-core
  • Linaro Ubuntu 15.01
    • updated packages: Juno firmware 0.10.1, linux-firmware (include firmware needed for Linaro Community Builds), LSK 3.10.65/3.14.29 and linux-linaro 3.19-rc5 kernels
  • CI bring up: UpdateCapsule functionality testing
  • Debian x86_64 kernel/rootfs build with NFS support
  • CI bring up: audit enabled build
  • Add Debian ARM64 rootfs

You can visit https://wiki.linaro.org/Cycles/1501/Release for a list of known issues, and further release details about the LEB, LMB (Linaro Member Builds), and community builds, as well as Android, Kernel, Graphics, Multimedia, Landing Team, Platform, Power management and Toolchain components.

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Online Labs pBox (C1 Node) is a mini ARM Server with 4 Gigabit Ethernet Ports, mSATA and mPCIe Slots

January 30th, 2015 10 comments

Online Labs, a subsidiary of Iliad (free), recently launched hosting services with dedicated ARM servers based on Marvell processor with modules they call C1. The company has decided to design a baseboard (pBox) for C1 module, and, as I understand it, plans to sell it to the public. It’s an exciting development for those who are looking for affordable and tiny purpose built Linux ARM servers.

pBox_ARM_mini_Server

Preliminary C1 Node / pBox mini server specifications (based on C1 specs and bits of information gathered online):

  • SoC – Marvell Armada 370/XP quad core ARMv7 processor @ up to 1.2 GHz
  • System Memory – 2GB RAM
  • Storage – 256 MB NAND flash + mSATA slot + eSATA port + micro SD slot
  • Connectivity – 4x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • USB – 1x micro USB port
  • Expansion – mini PCie, 1x 20-pin header for expansion (no details yet)
  • Debugging – 20-pin JTAG connector
  • Power Supply – Power barrel (5V?)

C1_ARM_mini_Server_Board

Supported operating systems should be the same as on the hosted instances including Ubuntu 14.04 or 14.10, Debian Wheezy, Gentoo, Fedora 20, and so on. You can watch the 3D render video of the board below to check out the mSATA and mPCIe slots under the board.


Availability has not been announced yet, except it’s expected shortly. The company also teased us with the message “time to upgrade your #RaspberryPi”, so it should be competitively priced too.

Via Vik and Sebastien BENOIT.

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FOSDEM 2015 Schedule – January 31 – February 1 2015

January 29th, 2015 7 comments

FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting) takes place every year during the first week-end of February. This year the developer-oriented event expects to bring over 5000 geeks to share ideas and collaborate on open source projects. Contrary to most other events, it’s free to attend, and you don’t even need to register, just show up. FOSDEM 2015 will take place on January 31- February 1 in Brussels.

Fosdem_2015There will be 551 sessions divided into 5 keynotes, 40 lightning talks, 6 certification exams, and with the bulk being developer rooms and main tracks,  divided into 7 main tracks this year: Languages, Performance, Time, Typesetting, Hardware, Security and Miscellaneous.

I’m not going to attend, but it’s still interested to see what will be talked about, and I’ve concocted my own little virtual program out of the main tracks and developers’ rooms. There’s a few minutes overlap between some talks on Sunday.. Oh well.

If you won’t be able to attend, you should be able to watch the video and access the slides in a few weeks, as most sessions will be recorded.

What is the current status of Allwinner support in upstream u-boot and the kernel, which SoCs are supported, and which features (sound, video, etc.) are supported ?

The linux-sunxi community has been slowly but steadily working on getting Allwinner SoCs like the A10 supported in upstream u-boot and the kernel.

This talk will present the current status of Allwinner support upstream. Which SoCs are supported and which ones are not (yet) supported ? Which blocks if the supported SoCs are supported, and which are not ? Why are some SoCs / blocks not supported, and what are the plans to get them supported ? This are some of the questions this talk tries to answer.

Not all free operating systems are feature-full POSIX systems. FreeRTOS is a minimal operating system which is designed to run on micro-controllers, and provide real-time scheduling. It is used in industrial automation and automotive.

A brief introduction to FreeRTOS, depending on audience preference, will be followed by either a hands-on workshop using PCs, or a demonstration on a board. The workshop includes how to get started, what can be done with it, and what type of features and pitfalls to expect from FreeRTOS.

As ADAS and infotainment require more electronics, using an hypervisor is a solution to gather multiple boards into one. Xvisor is an open source lightweight hypervisor for embedded systems that perfectly fits the needs of the automative industry. It is a complete monolithic type-1 hypervisor with full virtualization and paravirtualisation support, showing better performances than KVM. We, OpenWide and the Institute for Technological Research SystemX, are working on its port on i.MX6 boards.

F*watch is an infinitely hackable GPS watch with many sensors based on a 100% Free design. Everything is Free, from the PCB and watch housing design to the software stack. Moreover, only Free software tools have been used during the development.

F*watch. Why should your watch be different?

The talk describes the development process and shows a first prototype, along with performance measurements and future plans.

The lowRISC project was established in the summer of 2014 with the aim of producing a complete open-source System-on-Chip in volume, with low-cost development boards. Alex Bradbury, one of the co-founders of the project will discuss the progress to date and the path to the first test chip. lowRISC implements the open RISC-V instruction set architecture and is exploring ideas on improving security via tagged memory and increasing flexibility through the addition of RISC-V ‘Minion’ cores to implement soft peripherals. This talk will discuss the potential benefits of a fully open-source hardware ecosystem, the challenges of getting to first silicon, and how the open source community at large can help.

Digital cameras provide almost every feature you could want. But if they don’t, you are forced to upgrade or go without. CHDK is a project which allows you to program new functionality to the majority of Canon cameras, in either C, Lua, or Basic. The talk features background on the project, code, tools, and the methods of compiling and introducing a new firmware into the camera.

Over the course of 1 hour, Steven Goodwin will guide the audience through the entire process of taking a normal (proprietary) camera and converting it into an open source version by installing custom firmware on it. He will then cover some of the features available (such as the on-device scripting language) and continue by explaining how to build and debug your own functionality. Starting with simple grids, continuing with games, and time-lapse code. And ending with a fully recompiled firmware running on the device.

The video4linux kernel subsystem reports which colorspace the captured video uses. But what does that really mean, and what do you have to do to correctly reproduce those colors? This talk will dive into the crazy world of colorspaces and give you a practical guide to colorspace handling. I will also demonstrate colorspace handling, both right and wrong.

Kernel profiling tools status on ARM and ARM64: – perf status, – ARM and ARM64 support, – callchain unwinding mechanisms and support, – patches status: merged, pending, in development, – links to discussions (LKML) and patches.

The profiling tools in the kernel are changing at a fast pace. This talk is about the support for ARM and ARM64 architecture and the development of features for these architectures, namely the callchain unwinding. The presentation goes over: – the detailed description of the feature, – the methods used to do the callchain unwinding (fp, exidx, dwarf etc.), – the status of the on-going patches, – the remaining work to be done, – the links to patches, discussions on the mailing lists, – -if needed and if time allows- a demo of the feature.

Building a medical device requires to follow certain rules specially when health care depend on it. The presentation will explain how Yocto help us in Kaptalia to solve this issue. In particular we will focus on fast boot, update with unskilled user base, Bluetooth Low Energy, security and data privacy.

During this event we will show how our team succeeded to build our first OS, start from a company with medical expert only and no prior expertise on embedded systems. At the end, a live demonstration for using the the monitor and sensor will be held.

LAVA is a python service created by Linaro for testing software on hardware which accepts test jobs to perform on selected hardware to provide a black box to continuous integration tests. Bisecting is a technique for finding commit in version control system that broke the software. Git provides the powerful “git bisect” subcommand for this purposes. In this talk we give and introduction to LAVA and explain howto combine LAVA and git bisect to automatically find offending commits in the Linux kernel.

Prospero Technologies has made a Linux based Digital Video Recorder which constantly records all UK broadcast TV so that the consumer no longer needs to schedule recordings. This will be a talk on the technologies used to achieve this, the open source software on the consumer device and how you can build your own 30 channel DVR.

The final version of the DVR uses a Freescale i.MX6 CPU with a video processing unit running a Linux built with Yocto. The talk will cover how well this is supported by gstreamer and how we built a QT application to display our HTML5 interface.

More and more embedded projects require support for advance connectivity. With it, comes the requirement to enforce a better security as well as private data protection. Using the layer model of Yocto, we show how we can extract from a complex project such as Tizen, advance connectivity and security and apply it to any embedded project.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing fast and opens large opportunities to embedded Linux. Unfortunately traditional embedded Linux has been weak when it comes to security and complex connectivity enabling. Tizen which has been developed as a Linux base OS for connected object (phone, TV, car) is on the other side very well equipped in that area. We will start by explaining what is Tizen architecture and how it provides Security and Connectivity facilities on top of a base Linux. We will then show how Yocto and Tizen-meta can be used to create embedded devices which benefit from several years of work done by the Tizen community. In particular we will review : – the mandatory access control enabling in an embedded device – the enforcement of good behavior by applications – resource access control – connectivity layers – HTML5 App enabling. – multi user mode enabling.

The ARM LLVM backend has been around for many years and generates high quality code, yet there are still standard benchmarks where GCC is generating more efficient code than LLVM. The goal of this talk is to get a better understanding of why the GCC-generated code for those benchmarks is executing more efficiently and also about finding out what we need to do on the LLVM side to address those code generation deficiencies. This talk presents current performance numbers for the SPEC CPU benchmark suites on ARM, comparing the performance of LLVM and GCC, with the main focus on the SPEC CPU integer benchmarks. To dive a little bit deeper, we will also have a closer look at the generated assembly code of selected benchmarks where LLVM is performing worse than GCC and use the results of this performance analysis to point out potential code generation opportunities for LLVM.

Connectivity is crucial for Internet of Things concept. For moving devices like position data loggers is typical solution GSM network. I will show you how you can use different types of GSM network for your IoT projects.

GSM network is easy way how to connect almost any device to internet. There are lot of GSM modules on market from different vendors but all devices has one thing in common – AT commands. There is standardized AT commands set for GSM networks. Using AT command you can send text messages, read phone number from list on SIM card, connect to internet and much more. I will show you basic command set for HTTP communication using basic GSM module SIM900 and Arduino.

This talk will give an overview over the Linux backports project and how to use it. The Linux backports project makes it possible to use a driver from a recent Linux mainline kernel with an older kernel version.

When you have a vendor board support package which does not use a bleeding edge mainline kernel, like it is the case most times, but you want to use some driver from a bleeding edge Linux kernel you can use backports. Backports “automatically” generates a tar with many drivers from a specific Linux mainline kernel which can be used with older kernel versions.

In this talk I will describe how the backports project, with its compatibility layer, the spatches and the normal patches. For practical usage I will show how to use backports with your own kernel in addition I will give a brief overview on how to add a new driver to backports.

Patchwork is a toolkit for connecting various devices into a network of things or, in a more broad case – Internet of Things (IoT). The main goal of creating this toolkit is to have a lightweight set of components that can help to quickly integrate different devices (i.e. Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Plugwise, etc) into a smart environment and expose specific devices’ capabilities as RESTful/SOAP/CoAP/MQTT/etc services and data streams.

The key features of patchwork include:

  • Lightweight (no RAM-consuming sliced pie of Java and OSGi, only bare necessities)
  • Cross-platform (can be deployed on OSX/Linux/Windows, tested on Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black boards)
  • Language-agnostic (device agents can be written in any programming language, APIs can be consumed by app written in any programming language)
  • Easily deployable (no JARs, no Eggs or Wheels for the core components, just a single native binary with statically linked dependencies)
  • Easily extendable (integrate new devices without modification of the core components, drop in solution)
  • Interchangeable (not happy with current existing Device Gateway or Catalog? replace it with another implementation without breaking the infrastructure)
  • Not re-inventing the wheel (we re-use as many existing technologies and components as possible)

libcurl is the world’s most used and most popular Internet transfer library, already used in every imaginable sort of embedded device out there. How did this happen and how do you use libcurl to transfer data to or from your device?

Embedded devices are very often network connected these days. Network connected embedded devices often need to transfer data to and from them as clients, using one or more of the popular internet protocols.

Daniel once founded the project and is still lead developer and maintainer of the curl project, making curl and libcurl. He is also active within IETF and maintain several other open source projects. Daniel is employed by Mozilla.

This presentation will reveal the process of porting Tizen:Common to open source hardware developer boards with SoC manufactured by Allwinner, Rockchip or Intel such as OLinuXino, Radxa Rock, Minnowboard. The following topics will be covered:

  • Building Tizen ARMv7 and x86 images from scratch
  • Adapting the Linux kernel, bootloader and Tizen:Common to popular single board computers
  • Do it yourself (DIY) open-source hardware Tizen tablet or laptop
  • Sharing knowledge and experience of the community.
The presentation will also provide information about U-Boot, Yocto project, the Linux-Sunxi and Linux-Rockchip, Minnowboard communities.

Although Tegra K1 uses the same Kepler architecture as NVIDIA desktop cards that Nouveau already supports, there are other challenges that need to be addressed before Nouveau can drive K1’s graphic acceleration: the fact that the GPU does not reside on the PCI bus requires architectural changes in the Nouveau core. The absence of dedicated GPU memory directly interferes with the way Nouveau is used to do memory management and leads to potentially sub-optimal behavior. Also, in a system where all devices share the same system memory, PRIME support is mandatory to perform any useful work and the relevance of a driver-agnostic memory allocator becomes perceptible.

This talk will discuss these challenges, and in particular the consequences of using a unified memory architecture, in the hope of triggering discussions that will help improving the general support of GPU architectures for new mobile platforms.

A brief look at the past, present, and future of the KiCad project. The discussion will be primarily on what near and long term future development is planned for the project as well as discussing the potential for collaboration with other EDA projects.

Yocto has an alleged steep learning curve. It can be a challenge for modules and evaluation board manufacturers to add support for their devices in Yocto as they don’t necessarily have a software background. This talk will highlight the steps required, techniques and good practices to create a well integrated machine configuration allowing to build images using the Yocto Linux build system. The Crystalfontz support from meta-fsl-arm-extra will be used to illustrate the talk.

The bitbox console is a small open hardware & open source game console. I will present the rationale behind it and the current status of the project, detail the hardware conception and particularly video signal generation from a cortex-m4 chip with no video subsystem. I will then proceed to show the different elements of the software stack : kernel, video engines, the boot loader and, finally, current programs and games, including a Gameboy emulator and a full motion video player.

If you want to build your own schedule before going, you can check the full list of events by subjects, but an easier way to organize your day is to check the sessions in chronological order, by checking out Saturday and Sunday schedules.

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Linaro Connect Hong Kong 2015 Schedule and Demos

January 27th, 2015 No comments

Linaro Connect Hong Kong 2015 will take place on February 9 – 13,2015 in Hong Kong, and the organization has released the schedule for the five days events with keynotes, sessions, and demos.

Linaro_Connect_Hong_Kong_2015Each day will start with the keynote including speakers such as:

  • George Grey, Linaro CEO, who will welcome attendees to Linaro Connect, and provide an update on the latest Linaro developments
  • Jon Masters, Chief ARM Architect, Redhat, who will present Red Hat update and latest ARMv8-A demonstrations
  • Dejan Milojicic, Senior Researcher & Manager, HP Labs
  • Bob Monkman, Enterprise Segment Marketing Manager, ARM, will discuss about  the impact of ARM in next generation cloud and communication network infrastructure
  • Greg Kroah-Hartman, Linux Foundation Fellow, will introduce the Greybus Project (Linux for Project Ara modular phones)
  • Warren Rehman,  Android Partner Engineering Manager, Google

The agenda also features sessions covering Android, ARMv8-A, Automation & Validation, Digital Home, Enterprise Servers, LAVA, Linux Kernel, Networking, Power Management, Security, Toolchain, Virtualization and multiple training sessions. I’ve gone through the full schedule to make my own virtual list of sessions.

Monday 9th

  • 14:00 – 14:50 – maddog: ARMv8 Optimization (No abstract)
  • 15:00 – 15:50 – ACPI Power Management on ARM64 Servers (No abstract)
  • 16:10 – 17:00 – Standardizing Linux Kernel Power Management on ARM 32/64-bit

The 32-bit ARM kernel supports a wide variety of processors harking back to ARM v4 architecture up to the latest v7 SMP processors. This huge legacy forced kernel developers to adapt the power management code for the newest processors (eg v7 multi-cluster systems) to an infrastructure that was developed to support simpler uniprocessor (UP) ARM architectures, resulting in code fragmentation and lack of unified drivers.

The brand new ARMv8 architecture provides kernel developers a clean slate to start developing new code, a nice opportunity to learn lessons from the past and bring about a kernel power management (PM) subsystem completely generic and up to the latest standards. This talk will provide details of the undergoing effort carried out at ARM to develop a kernel PM framework for ARM v8 systems, with kernel design details of the respective DT and ACPI implementations.

Tuesday 10th

  • 10:10 – 11:00 – UMEQ (User Mode Emulation Quest)

UMEQ (user-mode emulation quest) and has been developed to eliminate the functional deficiencies of qemu in user mode (multi-threaded applications, signal handling, etc). Umeq primarily targets ARM 64-bit. The presentation will focus on the architecture principles of umeq and on its implementation.

  • 11:15 – 12:05 – Solving the year 2038 problem in Linux

The concept of ‘time’ in Linux is encoded in many different ways, but the most common one is based on the ‘time_t’ type that counts the number of seconds that have passed since Jan 1, 1970. This type is currently defined as ‘long’, which on 32-bit systems is a signed 32-bit number that will overflow on Jan 19 2038 and likely cause all systems existing today to stop working.

In our presentation, we give an introduction to range of problems that we see across user space and kernel, and we talk about the work that we are doing to address some of these issues.

  • 12:10 – 13:00 – Browser Testing Framework for LHG

The purpose of this talk is to provide the audience with an introduction to the testing framework used in Web browser performance testing as implemented by LHG (Linaro Home Group). The browser test suite is used to compare browser performance and compliance by using a series of benchmarks in key test categories. Sample browser results for both Android and RDK will be presented.

  • 14:00 – 14:50 – Training 1 – FOSS
  • 15:00 – 15:50 – Training 2 – Upstreaming 101
  • 16:10 – 17:00 – Training 3 – Upstreaming 200

Wednesday 11th

  • 10:10 – 11:00 – Art’s Quick Compiler: An unofficial overview

One of the important technical novelties introduced with the recent release of Android Lollipop is the replacement of Dalvik, the VM which was used to execute the bytecode produced from Java apps, with ART, a new Android Run-Time. One interesting aspect in this upgrade is that the use of Just-In-Time compilation was abandoned in favour of Ahead-Of-Time compilation. This delivers better performance, also leaving a good margin for future improvements. ART was designed to support multiple compilers. The compiler that shipped with Android Lollipop is called the “Quick Compiler”. This is simple, fast, and is derived from Dalvik’s JIT compiler. In 2014 our team at ARM worked in collaboration with Google to extend ART and its Quick Compiler to add support for 64-bit and for the A64 instruction set. These efforts culminated with the recent release of the Nexus 9 tablet, the first 64-bit Android product to hit the market. Despite Google’s intention of replacing the Quick Compiler with the so-called “Optimizing Compiler”, the job for the the Quick Compiler is not yet over. Indeed, the Quick Compiler will remain the only usable compiler in Android Lollipop. Therefore, all competing parties in the Android ecosystem have a huge interest in investigating and improving this component, which will very likely be one of the battlegrounds in the Android benchmark wars of 2015. This talk aims to give an unofficial overview of ART’s Quick compiler. It will first focus on the internal organisation of the compiler, adopting the point of view of a developer who is interested in understanding its limitations and strengths. The talk will then move to exploring the output produced by the compiler, discussing possible strategies for improving the generated code, while keeping in mind that this component may have a limited life-span, and that any long-term work would be better directed towards the Optimizing Compiler.

  • 11:15 – 12:05 – Secure Media using DMA-buf

Secure data path for media streams involve lots of differents software and hardware elements and is very complexe. The goal of this talk is to expose an hardware independent proposition using open-TEE and dmabuf. Feedback from all SoC experts is more than welcome.

  • 12:10 –  13:00 – OP-TEE for Beginners and Porting Review

Explains the building blocks involved in Security including TrustZone, OP-TEE, Trusted Firmware etc. Goes into detail on how Secure Boot Works.. and Why. Explains how a simple secure Trusted Application interacts with OP-TEE and works. Brief overview on how to port OP-TEE to an ARM platform. Opens discussions for Potential Challenges and Hardware limitations and how they can be overcome.

  • 14:00 – 18:00 – Hacking sessions or training (no description provided)

Thursday 12th

  • 10:10 – 11:00 – Chromium Blink on Wayland with HW accelerated video playback using Gstreamer

Linaro and STM implemented an integration layer between Chromium and Wayland/Gstreamer. The solution allows HW accelerated video playback, high performance GPU accelerated HTML5 rendering. The approach uses hole punching mechanism to compose the UI layer on the top of the video content. The Gstreamer Chromium plugin is implemented trough the Pepper API. The presentation will provide implementation details on the Wayland/Chromium/Gstreamer integration.

  • 11:15 – 12:05 – EME implementation in Chromium: Linaro Clear Key

An example of a key system from a Clear Key point of view. Linaro implemented a sample CDM plugin for Chromium capable to exercise the EME implementation of the browser. The presentation gives an insight to the EME/CDM implementation in Chromium and the guidelines to integrating various DRM systems. We will present call flows with example classes, experiences learned, and example of things to watch out for.

  • 12:10 – 13:00 – ARM v8-A NEON optimization

With FFT optimization as an example, the following topics are discussed:

  1. Performance boost using ARM v8-A NEON
  2. NEON-optimization workflow for Ne10
  3. Some tips with example of Ne10 FFT and Android libraries
  4. Performance comparison between assembly and intrinsic
  • 14:00 – 18:00 – Hacking sessions or training (no description provided)

Friday 13th

  •  10:10 – 11:00 – Toolchain Performance Analysis and Investigations

This session will present a workflow of analyzing application or benchmark performance and ways investigate how performance can be increased by improving the toolchain. The session will cover use of profiling tools, reading of compiler optimization dumps, reducing optimization problems using compiler debug counters, and submitting optimization request/bug report to compiler developers

  • 11:15 – 12:05 – Power Management interactions with OP-TEE and Trusted Firmware

Understand what use cases related to Power Management have to interact with Trusted Firmware via Secure calls. Walk through some key use cases like CPU Suspend and explain how PM Linux drivers interacts with Trusted Firmware / PSCI (Power State Coordination Interface).

That’s it for the schedule, I find there are a lot of sessions about security, mainly OP-TEE, so this should become something important.

Linaro 2015 Demos

Beside keynotes, sessions, and training, there will be several demos during the event including:

  • Linaro Clear Key CDM
  • Chromium on Wayland with Gstreamer
  • Linaro Web Browser Test Framework
  • Demo of VLANd
  • l2fwd (See code on github)
  • OVS – x86 – ARM
  • ODP on Cavium platform
  • OpenJDK running on ARMv8 hardware
  • OpenStack running on ARMv8 hardware
  • Android support for clang 3.6 and gcc 5.0
  • Ceph on remote server cluster
  • UEFI on BeagleBone Black

If you want to attend Linaro Connect HK 2015, you can register online for £941.50 (~$1420 US). Live and recorded sessions should also be available for free via Linaro OnAir YouTube account.

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X29 Intel Celeron J1800 / J1900 mini PC Sells for $125 and Up

January 26th, 2015 10 comments

Today, somebody asked me to test 4K output on Intel Atom Z3735F, but I can’t do that since the platform only supports 1080p. As I just posted my unboxing of MeLE PCG03 mini PC, I noticed several ICs where added for extra functionalities, and people also started to complain about lack of Gigabit Ethernet, Fast Ethernet via a USB bridge, no USB 3.0, and no SATA. That’s what happens when you use a Tablet SoC in a mini PC, but if you’re ready to pay a little more, you could still get a mini PC with a proper desktop processor (Bay Trail-D) including SATA, USB 3.0, and Gigabit Ethernet (maybe) for about $125 (shipped) with X29-J1800 computer powered by Intel Celeron J1800 (10W TDP). That’s the price for the barebone system without RAM or storage, and if you want a complete system with 32GB eMMC and 4GB RAM the price goes up to about $200 including shipping via DHL. The quad core version with J1900 is also available for about $20 more. None of these processors support 4K video output however, as the maximum listed resolution is 1080p.

X29_Celeron-J1900_computer

X29 specifications:

 

  • SoC
    • Intel Celeron J1800 dual core processor @ 2.41 GHz (base) / 2.58 GHz (Burst) with Intel HD graphics (10W TDP) or
    • Intel Celeron J1900 Quad core processor  @ 2.0 GHz (base) / 2.41 GHz (Burst) with Intel HD graphics (10W TDP)
  • System Memory – 2x SO-DIMM sockets for unbuffered dual channel DDR3L 1066/1333/1600 MHz SDRAM up to 8GB
  • Storage – 1x SATA 6Gb/s, 1x mini SATA 3Gb/s
  • Video Output – HDMI + VGA
  • Connectivity – 2x Ethernet ports (via Realtek RTL8111E Gigabit Ethernet controller or RTL8103EL fast Ethernet controller), optional Wireless network card
  • Audio – Realtek ALC662 HD audio codec, 1x microphone jack, 1x LINE OUT jack
  • USB – 2x  USB 2.0 host portm 2x USB 3.0 ports.
  • Expansion slot – 1x Mini-PCIE slot
  • Misc – COM port (RJ45). power button, power LED
  • Power Supply – 12V
  • Dimensions – 134 x 124 x 36 mm
  • Certifications – CE, FCC, RoHS
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0 to 60 C; Storage: -20 to 85 C

 

There’s also a 64MB DPI flash ROM for AMI UEFI BIOS. The system is said to be fanless, but at the same time they “suggest to use system fan”, so I’m not sure what that mean, unless there’s a fan connector, and you can add a fan yourself. It’s not clear whether the two LAN ports are Fast or Gigabit Ethernet, as descriptions are inconsistent.

X29-J1800_mini_PCIt’s also not 100% sure how you’d fit a 2.5″ SATA drive inside, so a mini SATA drive should be a more workable option, and should be included when storage is offered.

X29_SATAThere’s no mention of operating system, although the product title may include Windows or Ubuntu, even with system without storage, so you’d have to take care of that yourself. Ubuntu is not always perfectly running on Atom Z3735F processor (e.g. Wi-Fi, audio), and to be honest, I’m not sure of the support for Celeron J1800 / J1900 processor, but it’s at least two Celeron J1900 computers and five Celeron J1800 PCs are listed as certified on Ubuntu website.

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Linux 3D GPU Acceleration Demo on Rockchip RK3288 based Firefly Board

January 26th, 2015 8 comments

Several devices and development boards based on Rockchip RK3288 processor already support Linux, usually with images based on Ubuntu, including Ugoos UM3 / UT3, Open Hour Chameleon, and Firefly-RK3288 among others. What these images lack however, is support for 2D and 3D graphics acceleration with the GPU, and hardware video decoding/encoding with the VPU. But Jas-hacks has made some progress with 3D graphics support.

Rockchip_RK3288_3D_GPU_AccelerationHe has managed to add GPU acceleration via EGL/OpenGL ES bringing 3D acceleration to the platform, but 2D support is not there yet, meaning X11 still heavily relies on software rendering. But the implementation is still good enough to run the usual es2gears and glmark2-es2 benchmarks. as well as some WebGL demos in Chromium. Performance is currently underwhelming, with 50 points in glmark-es2, even a bit lower than the score (54 points) I got with ODROID-X board powered by Exynos 4412 SoC with a Mali-400MP4 GPU, and running Unity desktop in Ubuntu Linaro 12.11. The desktop environment used also appears to greatly affect glmark-es2 performance, with Unity being much slower than LXDE for example. But let’s get to the demo.

Since the image used for the demo is a minimal image for testing, it has not been released, and you can’t try by yourself just yet. But I’m sure GPU acceleration will eventually make it to Ubuntu for Firefly-RK3288, and possibly other RK3288 hardware platforms where the manufacturer or/and the community are involved with Linux development.

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Intel Education Content Access Point Is Designed for Schools with Unreliable Internet Connectivity and Power

January 23rd, 2015 5 comments

Intel has introduced a new device that stores, manages, and publishes digital content for schools with low or intermittent connectivity and /or power.  The device stores training materials in its internal storage, comes with a battery, and can be accessed by up to 50 students simultaneously.

Intel_Education_Content_Access_Point

Specifications:

  • SoC –  Intel Atom Bay Trail-I E3815 Processor @ 1.46GHz with Intel HD graphics
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3L-1067
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC, Optional 500GB SATA HDD
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wired Gigabit Ethernet, Optional 3G, Optional LTE
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0
  • Misc – System and 3G/LTE LEDs, Factory reset and power buttons
  • Power Supply – 12V/2A
  • Battery – Lithium-ion polymer 7.4v, 4050mAh (up to 5 hours of battery life)
  • Dimensions –  190 x 190 x 30mm
  • Weight – 607 grams

Intel_Education_Router_PortsThe system runs Ubuntu 12.04. The optional 500GB hard drive includes 400GB of preloaded content, and educator can use the remaining 100GB to add their own content via the USB 3.0 port.

Price and availability details have not been released by Intel. You may want to check out Intel Education Content Access Point product page for a few more details.

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