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Texas Instruments Tiva C Series Connected LaunchPad Unboxing and Quick Start Guide

March 28th, 2014 No comments

Texas Instruments Tiva C Series TM4C1294 Connected LaunchPad is an evaluation kit for the Internet of things with a Cortex-M4 MCU (Tiva TM4C1294), an Ethernet port, and USB interfaces for power and debugging. At $19.99 including shipping via Fedex, it’s one of the cheapest ways to get devices online. I’ve purchased one via TI e-Store, and already received it. I’ll post some pictures of the kit, go through the Quick Start Guide, and provides links to resources to go further.

EK-TM4C1294XL Connected LaunchPad Unboxing

I’ve received the kit in the package below with feature a QR Code linking to http://www.ti.com/launchpad, as well basic specifications (refer to my previous post for specs), list of tools (Code composer studio, Tivaware, Keil, IAR…) and package content.

Tiva_C_Series_Connected_Launchpad_Package
In the box we’ve got the board itself, a retractable Ethernet cable, a USB to micro USB cable for power and debugging, and Connect LaunchPad Quick Start Guide.

Board, Ethernet & USB Cables, and Quick Start Guide

Board, Ethernet & USB Cables, and Quick Start Guide

The Quick Start Guide describes the boards, the different pin on header, and how to get started. You can find both sides of the document here and here.

Top of the Board (Click to Enlarge)

Top of the Board (Click to Enlarge)

A closer look at the board shows the Ethernet port, a micro USB port, two user’s buttons as well as wake & reset button on the left, the MCU is in the middle, and the debug part on the right of the board with another micro USB port. Close to the MCU, you also have several jumpers to select the power source (ICDI (In-Circuit Debug Interface), OTG, and Boosterpack), as well as some selections for CAN and UART.  At the bottom you’ve got a breadboard area, and there are also 4 Boosterpack headers (male) on the board.

Bottom of the Board (Click to Enlarge)

Bottom of the Board (Click to Enlarge)

On the back of the board we’ve got the female headers for the BoosterPacks and description, as well as the MAC Address.

TI_Connected_Launchpad_vs_Arduino_LeonardoThe first time I open the box, I felt the board to be larger than I expected. The above photo shows the Connected LaunchPad next to an Arduino Leonardo clone.

You could also watch the unboxing video.

Getting Started with Tiva C Series (EK-TM4C1294XL) Connected LaunchPad

The board is preloaded with an application that connected to a Cloud based platform called Exosite. The very first thing you need to do is to register your board via ti.exosite.com. This requires registration, and you can also use you Google+ or Yahoo account for this process. After login, go to Click here to add a new device to your portal, click “Select a supported device below”, and “EK-TM4C1429XL Connected LaunchPad”.

Click continue to enter the MAC Address (found at the back of the board), a device name, and the device location as shown on the screenshot below.

Connected_launchpad_device_setupClick Continue and confirm at the next step. The device setup is completed at this stage.

This following step is optional to get started, but if you want to access the serial console, you’ll need to install drivers. It appears many of the tools are available for Windows and Linux (CCS and TivaWare), but the Quick Start Guide mentions a Windows PC is required, so that’s what I used. You’ll need to download Stellaris ICDI Drivers and extract spmc06.zip yo your computer.

Then connect the Ethernet cable between your board and your hub/router, and the micro USB to USB cable between the board and your Windows PC, which should then detect a new hardware. Select to install your own drivers, and select the path “spmc016\stellaris_icdi_drivers”. This will install “Stellaris Virtual Serial Port“. After this is complete, Windows will still detect a new hardware again, twice, repeat the steps above to install “Stellaris ICDI DFU Device” and “Stellaris ICDI JTAG/SWD Device“. If case you have issues, you can check the full instructions (PDF).

Now you can go to the Device Manager, to check installation is complete, and the serial port number, COM7 in my case.

Stellaris_ICDI_Driver_Device_Manager
You can now start Putty or Hyperterminal, and setup a 115,200 baud 8N1 connection on your COM port to access the serial port.

Let’s go back to ti.exosite.com. Under “Device List”, click on your device to connect to it, and interact with  the dashboard.

Tiva_Connected_LaunchPad_ExositeIt will show the Junction temperature, update counters when you press the user’s buttons, and turn on and off two LEDs on your board. The response time was very slow when I tested it maybe 5 to 10 seconds. My Internet connection might be in cause, or the refresh rate of the dashboard.

The portal will also show a map with other Connected LaunchPad around the world (over 300 at the time of my connection), and a game of Tic-Tac-Toe using you board (which I haven’t tried). You can check the full website screenshot.

When you start the board for the first time, and connect to Exosite you can see the following log.

Connected_LaunchPad_SerialAnd if you type “stats”, you’ll basically get what you can see from the Exosite dashboard.
Connected_LaunchPad_Serial_StatsThat’s all for the first steps with Tiva Connected LaunchPad. Texas Instruments also has uploaded a 5-minute video showing the Quick Start Guide steps.

Going further

Texas Instruments redirect developers to www.ti.com/tool/ek-tm4c1294xl  to access the software, drivers, and documentation, to start with “Project 0″ at www.ti.com/tiva-c-launchpad which for this board is Hello Blinky. The project requires the use of Code Composer Studio (SW-EK-TM4C1294XL-CCS), TivaWare (SW-EK-TM4C1294XL), and the ICDI drivers installed previously which you can get via http://www.ti.com/tool/sw-ek-tm4c1294xl. Please note that the download will require you to go through a ridiculous “U.S. Government export approval” form, but I got accepted immediately after application. During installation of CCS you may want to select a custom install, selecting “Tiva C Series ARM MCUs” only to avoid a large download and installation. I haven’t gone further for now due to lack of time. Beside CCS, Keil, Mentor Embedded and IAR Systems IDEs can support the board, and TI Tiva C Series MCUs.

It may also be worthwhile going through “Creating IoT Solutions with the TM4C1294XL Connected LaunchPad Workshop” with provides an introduction of CCS, TivaWare, and should go through all the MCU peripherals via sample code.

There are at least two other third party software tools:

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Texas Instruments Tiva C Series TM4C1294 Connected Launchpad Sells for $20

March 11th, 2014 7 comments

There are now many ultra low cost MCU development kit selling for $15 to $25 such as STMicro Discovery Board, but for this price, they’ll usually just feature the MCU, a micro USB, pin header, maybe and maybe some sensors, and they usually lack any form of connectivity, at least without extra hardware. With Tiva C Series TM4C129 Connect Launchpad, Texas Instruments brings a board that can be used for IoT application out of the box thanks to the addition of an Ethernet port. The board sells for just $19.99, which means you could easily make something like a connected 4-relay control system for about $25.

Tiva C Series TM4C1294 Connected Launchpad (Click to Enlarge)

Tiva C Series TM4C1294 Connected Launchpad (Click to Enlarge)

Connected LaunchPad evaluation kit specifications:

  • MCU – Texas Instruents TM4C1294NCPDT ARM Cortex-M4 @ 120MHz with floating point, 1MB Flash, 256KB SRAM, 6KB EEPROM, Integrated 10/100 Ethernet MAC+PHY, data protection hardware, 8x 32-bit timers, dual 12-bit 2MSPS ADCs, motion control PWMs, USB H/D/O, and many additional serial communication interfaces
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet
  • Expansions
    • Dual stackable BoosterPack XL connection sites
    • Breadboard connection headers – Support for 20-pin and 40-pin BoosterPacker
  • USB – micro USB port for power and programming/debugging (via TM4C123GH6PMI IC)
  • On-board, in-circuit debug interface (ICDI)
  • Misc – 4 user LEDs, 2 user switches, reset switch, wake button, power select jumper
  • Dimensions – 12.45 cm x 5.59 cm x 10.8mm

The Connected LaunchPad Evaluation Kit contains the board itself (EK-TM4C1294XL), a retractable Ethernet cable, and a USB Micro-B plug to USB-A plug cable.

Tiva Connected LaunchPad High-Level Block Diagram

Tiva Connected LaunchPad High-Level Block Diagram

For development, the board is supported by Cloud-based, Exosite QuickStart Application, Code Composer Studio 6 (CCS 6) & TivaWare 2.1 and multiple development tool chain support such as CCS, Keil, IAR, Mentor & GCC.  The user’s guide also mentions it’s possible to use Energia Wiring framework.

Beside the user’s guide, documentation is currently limited, and there are no hardware files for now. Having said that there’s an online workshop for the board using CCS6 & TivaWare 2.1 to show you how to get started.

Texas Instruments Tiva C Series TM4C129 Connected Launchpad is currently available for pre-order for $19.99, and is expected to ship within 6 to 8 weeks. Contrary to most other companies that charge a ridiculous shipping fee for their low cost development kit, sometimes more expensive than the board itself, Texas Instruments does not charge for shipping, so $19.99 is the total price you pay. I know for sure, because I’ve just ordered one :).

For more information and/or to purchase the board, visit Tiva C Series TM4C1294 Connected LaunchPad page.

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IGEPv5 OMAP5432 Development Board is Now Available for 149 Euros

February 15th, 2014 1 comment

ISEE IGEPv5 development board announced in October 2013, and powered by Texas Instrument OMAP5432 dual core Cortex A15 + dual core Cortex M4 SoC, POWERVR SGX544MP2 and Vivante GC320 GPUs is now available for as low as 149 Euros. There are two versions: “IGEPv5 OMAP5432 Communication Edition” for hobbyists with limited support, and “IGEPv5 OMAP5432″ directly supported by ISEE. There’s also “IGEPv5 Custom Design” if you have specific requirements for your product.

IGEPv5 Development Board Description (Click to Enlarge)

IGEPv5 Development Board Description (Click to Enlarge)

Hardware specifications are shared by both versions but with significant differences (CE = IGEPv5 OMAP5432 Community Edition, ISEE = IGEPv5 OMAP5432):

  • SoC – Texas Instruments OMAP5432 dual core Cortex A15 up to 1.5 GHz (CE) or 2 GHz (ISEE), dual core Cortex M4,  with POWERVR SGX544 dual-core GPU, Vivante GC320 GPU, and TMS320DMC64x DSP
  • System Memory
    • CE – 1GB DDR3 @ 1066 MHz
    • ISEE – Up to 4 GB DDR3 RAM expandable to 4GB
  • Storage
    • CE – No eMMC, microSD socket, and mSATA2.0 Interface
    • ISEE – Up to 32GB eMMC i-NAND, microSD socket, and mSATA2.0 Interface
  • Connectivity:
    • Ethernet controller: 1 x 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet PHY controler (RJ45)
    • Wifi -  802.11 b/g/n (ISEE only)
    • Bluetooth v4.0 (ISEE only)
    • Antenna: Internal Wifi/BT Antenna (ISEE only)
  • USB – 1 x micro USB 3.0 OTG,  4 x USB 2.0 Host
  • Video – 1 x micro HDMI 1.4a connector, and 1x DPI 24-bit , 2x DSI via headers
  • Audio – 1 x Stereo Audio In (Stereo minijack), 1 x Stereo Audio Out (Stereo minijack), Mic
  • Debugging – Debug serial console via RS232 (DB9), and 1x JTAG
  • Misc – RTC, Keypad matrix, 1 x Power LED, 3 x User LEDs, 1 x User Button, 8 x Switch (boot config, reset, etc.), 1 x UFL RF  connector for external Wireless antenna
  • Expansion connectors:
    • Access to USB, 2x UART, 1x SPI, 4x I2C, MMC, 3x I2S / McBSP / SSI, Display Port, 24-bit Parallel Display Interface, Serial Display Interface, Serial Camera interfaces, 16-bit parallel Camera interface, and GPMC
    • 30 pin Audio expansion (mic, Line in, Aux, McPDM, etc.)
    • 30 pin Battery and Power management interface
  • Dimensions – 135 x 95mm
  • Operating Temperature Range – CE: 0 to 70ºC (Commercial range), ISEE: -40 to 85ºC (Industrial range)

So the community edition has an SoC clocked at a lower speed, features only 1 GB DDR3, lacks eMMC flash, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and can only operate in commercial temperature range. Like its big brother however, it does feature mSATA 2.0, Gb Ethernet, and USB 3.0 which are rarely found in low cost ARM Linux development boards.

IGEPv5_Board_mSATA

IGEPv5 OMAP5432 Community Edition also has limited support, and can not be used in actual products:

  • IGEPv5 Community Edition is only supported by the IGEP Coomunity, ISEE is the manufacturer and don’t provide support for this product.
  • This product don’t include any Longevity program, all ISEE products include a longevity warranty it means that every product must be in the market for 10-15 years.
  • All hardware sold by ISEE include a extense warranty including software, support or hardware modifications, this product is NOT included and only the community support this product.
  • This product is Open hardware, no warranty exist in any documentation, software, this product cannot be used in any Industrial application.
  • This product is only for study, learn, prototyping … its not sold for any REAL final application.
  • ISEE offers professional support services & design (for free), this product is not covered by these services.

The company however does mention a product called “IGEPv5 little” with the exact same hardware as “IGEPv5 CE” and without the limitations listed above (e.g. ISEE support, usable in retail or industrial products…), but I could not find details at this time.

The company provides support for Ubuntu, Open Embedded, Android as well as others operating systems via IGEP Community Wiki, which currently includes a quick start guide and a link to  IGEPv5 hardware reference manual. You can also have a look at the git repository for Linux, U-boot, and more, and access IGEPv5 CE support forum for any questions.

You could order IGEPv5 OMAP5432 Community Edition (IGEP0050-RB20) for 149 Euros, and/or visit IGEPv5 OMAP5432 CE and IGEPv5 OMAP5432 product pages for more details.

Via Olof Johansson

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ARM Unveils System Base Architecture Specification to Standardize ARM based Servers

January 31st, 2014 1 comment

64-bit ARM based servers should hit the market later this year or earlier in 2015 with SoCs such as Applied Micro X-Gene or AMD Opteron A1100. ARM still has the lead in terms of efficiency with a lower dollar per watt ratio, but Intel is closing in with their new Avoton server-on-chips. However, there’s one aspect where Intel is clearly in the lead: standardization and compatibility. ARM is very flexible, and allow SoC designers to create more or less what they want, but it comes at the cost that most ARM based systems are not capable of running mainline Linux, and instead use vendor trees.  With many applications, that may not be critical, but when it comes to data-centers, companies want to be able to run the latest Linux version with the latest security patches as soon as possible, and want to lower the total cost of ownership (TCO), so they don’t want to spend considerable resources to handle different hardware platform. This is currently not feasible, but ARM together with their partners, including silicon vendors such as AMD, Applied Micro Cavium, and Texas Instruments, and software companies such as Canonical, Citrix, Linaro, Microsoft, Red Hat and SUSE, have jointly announced the System Base Architecture Specifications to standardize all ARM based servers so that one single OS image can run on all ARMv8-A server.

SBSA_Specifications

The SBSA specification does not address the application layer, but it standardizes low-level CPU and SoC attributes such as timers, interrupt controllers, watch dog timers, performance counters and also specifies minimum hardware requirements that firmware and OS vendors expect to be present. To be compliant, server will also need to run industry standards for bootloader and firmware,  with all hardware being describable or discoverable. There are three levels of standardization:

  • Level 0 – Defines CPU Architecture, Interrupt Controller, Memory Map, IO Visualization, Clock and Timer Subsystem, Wake up semantics, Power State Semantics and Peripheral Subsystems
  • Level 1 – Based on Level 0 with extra requirements with regards to CPU Architecture, Interrupt Controller, Clock and Timer Subsystem, Watchdogs, Requirements on power state semantics, and Peripheral Subsystems
  • Level 2 – Based on Level 1 with extra requirements with regards to CPU Architecture, Interrupt Controller (inc. PPI assignments),  Memory Map, Requirements on power state semantics, IO Visualization, Clock and Timer Subsystem, Wake up semantics and Watchdogs

Most recent ARM SoCs, such as Opteron A1100, are likely to only support Level 0 or 1 at first. I haven’t read the specifications in details, but for example, Level 0 defines SoC with up to 8 CPU cores, Level 1 is still limited to a maximum of 8 cores, but adds minimum requirements for the number of PMU counters, watchpoints and breakpoints, and Level 2 supports SoC with up to 2^28 (268,435,456) CPU cores which is the maximum supported by GICv3 architecture.

If you want to find out the details, you can download the specifications from ARM website, after registration and accepting an EULA. Alternatively, since the document is non-confidential, the EULA is also listed in page 2 to 4 of the document, you can download it directly here.

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What to Expect from AllWinner, Rockchip, Mediatek, and Other Silicon Vendors at CES 2014

January 4th, 2014 8 comments

CES 2014 is coming soon, and it will take place on 7 – 10 January, 2014, and we can expect some interesting SoC news. Samsung suggested they will unveil their 64-bit ARM SoC (Exynos 6?) at CES 2014, Nvidia will hold a press conference to “showcase new NVIDIA Tegra mobile technologies, gaming innovations and advanced automotive display technologies”, and Qualcomm has been quiet for now. However, several Chinese SoC vendors, namely AllWinner, Rockchip and Mediatek, have already announced what they will showcase at CES 2014, albeit with few details.

AllWinner at CES 2014

Allwinner announced will showcase their OptimusBoard based on their Ultra Octa Core A80 SoC, as well as 4G tablets powered by Allwinner A31/A31s, and dual-SIM phablets sporting A23 dual core.

AllWinner A80 Development Board

AllWinner A80 Development Board (Click to Enlarge)

Allwinner A80 is an Octacore processor featuring four ARM Cortex A7 cores, and four Cortex A15 cores @ 2.0GHz together with an unnamed GPU offering 2x more performance over previous generations, and supporting OpenGL ES3.0 and GPU compute. This will certainly be a new generation of GPU from either ARM Mali or Imagination PowerVR SGX GPUs.

AllWinner announced the availability (to selected partners) of Android 4.4 KitKat SDK for their AllWinner A31/A31s, and the latest version of Android will be running on 4G tablets using these solutions.

Allwinner has slowly, and discreetly, started to enter the smartphone space last year, and the company will showcase dual-SIM phablets based on Allwinner A23 dual core processor @ 1.5Ghz, with 512MB RAM, and GMS-certified.

Rockchip at CES 2014

The company did not announce anything directly but the sent out invite for CES 2014 giving clues about what to expect.

Rockchip_RK3288_CES2014We’ve found out about RK3288 last July, and it appears Rockchip will showcase their latest SoC during CES 2014. The Cortex A17 mentioned in the picture. above is most definitely a typo, as RK3288 is a quad core Cortex A12 processor coupled with an ARM Mali-T628 GPU. The processor should support H.265, but it’s still unclear if it will use GPU compute or have a dedicated hardware block, as well as 4G LTE.

Several sites have also reported Rockchip will display a Smart Glass Solution at the conference. The glasses will be based on RK3168 dual core Cortex A9 processor, and support Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS, comes with a microphone and stereo output, as well as 720p display and 5MP camera.

Mediatek at CES 2014

Mediatek has put out a press release detailing what they’ll show at CES 2014, namely:

  • LTE Modem – MediaTek MT6290 is an LTE Release 9 Category 4 modem built on the 28nm process.
  • Mobile SOCs – MediaTek MT8135 quad core  big.LITTLE SoC for high-end tablets, and  MediaTek MT6592 (Launched in November 2013 eight-core Cortex A7 processor.
  • Home Entertainment  – Unnamed SoC for Digital TV market supporting UltraHD (4K2K) video playback and HEVC decoding @ 60Hz. Sampling to begin in Q2 2014.
  • Connectivity – MediaTek MT7621A dual-core 11ac Wi-Fi router platform (already available).
  • Wireless Charging – Unnamed SoC supporting multimode inductive Qi and resonance wireless charging.
  • Wearables – Aster all-in-one solution for wearables.
  • Internet of Things – Cloud applications, video over Wi-Fi (VoW), indoor positioning and smart home automation

Other SoC Vendors

Another Chinese SoC company, Actions Semiconductor, announced they’ll showcase their latest tablet and multimedia solutions based on ATM7039 and ATM7021 SoCs, but without much details.

AMLogic did not announced anything for now, but I’d expect Geniatech based M801/M802 Android set-top box to be demonstrated at CES 2014.

I could not find anything about Broadcom, also some report the company will launch their own 64-bit ARM processor, just like Samsung and Qualcomm are expected to do.

Both Texas Instruments and Freescale have more or less left the consumer’s orientation application processor business to focus on the industrial / embedded part, but TI will showcase some IoT, automotive, audio, and projector solutions at the conference, and Freescale will host an “Exclusive VIP event“, but no details were provided, and nothing about i.MX7 or i.MX8.

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ARM Based Servers and Servers-on-a-Chip (SoCs) at ARM Techcon 2013

November 5th, 2013 2 comments

ARM Techcon 2013 took place on October 29 – 31, 2013, in Santa Clara, and several companies announced servers, or chips for server based on ARM technology. None of those are for home used, but for now ARM based servers target enterprise and cloud data. Yet end users may them indirectly when they access social networks such as Facebook, or other online services such as Paypal.

Calxeda ECX-2000 SoC

After their ECX-1000 quad core Cortex A9 Server-on-chip, Calxeda has announced ECX-2000 SoC featuring four Cortex A15 cores. The new SoC provides about twice the performance, 3 times the memory bandwidth, and 4 times the memory capacity (up to 16GB RAM) of the earlier chip.  

Calxeda ECX-2000

Calxeda ECX-2000

One of the key advantage of Cortex A15 over Cortex A9 is hardware virtualization that allows support for KVM and Xen hypervisors. ECX-2000 is supported in Canonical Ubuntu Linux 13.10 and can run Havana Openstack.

Other key features include:

  • On-chip Fabric Switch connects SoCs through low-latency 10Gb links
  • On-chip Management Engine provides out-of-band systems management capabilities while simultaneously governing power policies and optimizing network fabric routing
  • Integrated high-performance interfaces such as memory controllers with full ECC support and I/O subsystems for local SATA 2.0 ports and PCIe 2.0 support

ECX-2000 series SoC will be used in efficient data centers, web server farms, mid-tier application servers, content distribution networks, cloud storage, and emerging “Big Data” analytics.

Further information, including a product brief with detailed specs, is available from Calxeda ECX-2000 page. The company is also working on two SoC based on Cortex A57 that will be sampling in Q1 2014 and be mass produced at the end of 2014. One of them will be pin-to-pin compatible with ECX-1000 and ECX-2000, and the other more powerful.

Cavium Demonstration of Project Thunder ARMv8 SoC in Ubuntu 13.10

Cavium_Project_ThunderCavium has recently announced that Cavium’s Thunder ARMv8 processors are supported in Ubuntu 13.10, and both companies hosted private demonstrations of the Ubuntu Server 13.10 running on Cavium’s Thunder software development platform at ARM TechCon 2013. There’s no silicon yet, so this was done in a simulator (the development platform), but Ubuntu 13.10’s ARMv8 developer preview can be accessed now, and developers can start using, developing and testing for Cavium’s Thunder multicore ARMv8 processors before the Silicon is ready.

The company also unveiled that the Thunder developer platform with Ubuntu Server 13.10 will be available in HP’s Moonshot Discovery Lab to offer developers a head-start on porting, developing and testing on future cloud centric servers.

There does not seem to be much information about Project Thunder features and specifications at this time, but it should eventually become available on Project Thunder page.

Dell Microserver powered by Applied Micro XGene ARMv8 SoC

Dell demonstrated a 64-bit ARM server running Fedora 19, and powered by Applied Micro XGene 8-core SoC coupled with Dell Powervault MD1220 attached storage and a PMC SAS/SATA host bus adapter.

A desktop PC stream a movie from the server, and shows usage statistics of the server. You can watch a short demo below.

ARM Servers in Hewlett Packard Moonshot

HP_MoonshotHP had a keynote (About 50 minutes) at ARM Techcon 2013, where Martin Fink, CTO and Director, HP Labs, explained how IT changes over the years, HP solutions, and how ARM based server cartridges used in HP Moonshot can help.

Moonshot platform is composed of low power servers that share management, power, cooling, networking, and storage. Compared to traditional servers, HP claims the platform is capable of consuming up to 89% less energy, takes up to 80% less space, costs 77% less, and is 97% less complex (whatever that means).

There are 3 cartridges based on ARM Technology in HP Discovery Labs:

  • Based on Calxeda EXC-1000 for cloud apps – mobile, social and big Data
  • Based on Texas Instruments Keystone II (ARM Cortex A15 cores + DSPs) for apps such as VoIP, and seismic processing.
  • Based on Applied Micro XGene (8 ARMv8 cores) for 64-bit software support.

Moonshot_Calxeda_TI_Applied_Micro

These ARM based cartridges should be available next year.

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Linaro 13.08 Release With Linux Kernel 3.11 and Android 4.3

August 30th, 2013 No comments

Linaro 13.08 has been released with Linux Kernel 3.11-rc6 (stating), Kernel 3.10.9 (LSK – beta), and Android 4.3.

This month is the first release based on Android 4.3, which was only pushed to AOSP at the end of last month. I can also see work on new SoCs/hardware this month with Texas Instruments Keystone II ARM Cortex A15+DSP SoC and Fujitsu AA9 board (Which processor?, I could not find out). A lot of work also appears to have gone in OpenEmbedded, further optimizations have gone into NEON optimized AES encryption in OpenSSL, and more. It’s also the first time I can see a Ubuntu Raring engineering build image for HighBank (Calxeda Energycore).

Here are the highlights of this release:

  • Android Engineering

    • Android stack was tuned to achieve 100% CTS pass result on Android 4.3
    • Analyzing the UEFI EDK II boot loader for Android completed, implementation of fastboot application and USB drivers in progress.
  • Builds and Baselines

    • Linaro Stable Kernel (beta) 3.10.9-2013.08 released
    • Linux Linaro 3.11-rc6-2013.08 released (updated arndale/exynos patches from Samsung LT, vexpress64 support (both RTSM and Foundation model), and more)
    • Linaro Toolchain Binaries 2013.08 released (includes latest Linaro GCC 4.8 2013.08 release with Aarch64 improvements)
    • Linaro Android baseline updates:
      • Android Baselines updated to Android 4.3 for all the Engineering and Member builds
      • Android builds updated to build with Linaro GCC 4.8 2013.08 release
      • Helper scripts developed to boot Android over NFS
      • Fujitsu member build is set up with complete CI loop
      • Android NDK (Native Development Kit) based on Linaro Toolchain is delivered
    • Linaro OpenEmbedded baseline updates:
      • Update to Linaro GCC 4.8-2013.08 release
      • Remove meta-openembedded/toolchain layer
      • Add meta-bigendian to default layers
      • Add meta-filesystems layer
      • Whitelist non-commercial license on all images
      • Add Fedora support and clean up dependencies based on Yocto Project Reference Manual
      • New leg-java images have builds of openjdk-7 and openjdk-8
      • Python (2.7.3) available in LAMP image
      • Engineering builds for Networking (big endian and little endian) are built daily
    • Linaro Ubuntu baseline updates:
      • CI loop has been improved: packages can be cross-built and uploaded to repo.linaro.org.
      • Calxeda EnergyCore (Highbank) CI loop is completed
      • Fujitsu member build is set up with complete CI loop
      • package updates: libvirt updated to 1.1.1; openssl (include support for ARM NEON based bit sliced AES in XTS mode, contributed from LEG)
  • Kernel

    • Started making progress on kexec 64 support
    • Posted uprobes32 code for public review
    • Started testing of randconfig on ARM32 to find random build issues
    • Device Tree bindings for Android keyreset merged for 3.12
    • option to log time spent in suspend delivered in 3.11
    • fixed vfat get volume id ioctl and delivered in 3.11 mainline
  • LAVA

    • LAVA Lab – LNG isolated performance test rack starting to come together
    • LAVA Core
      • Improved complete-log view (added links for Line/Section #s)
      • Interactive bootloader commands working on all devices – Added support for Android platforms
      • New action: deploy_linaro_image has been added – Allows provisioning of kernel, ramdisk, dtb, bootloader, firmware, and rootfs using TFTP, adds support for KVM/QEMU…
      • TI Keystone II integrated into LAVA
      • Fujitsu AA9 integrated into LAVA
      • Automated functional LAVA testing – Checks for regressions by running common LAVA jobs
      • Multi-Node support in final days of staging verification.
      • Review feedback and start a plan to revamp the LAVA documentation
      • Added capability to integrate LAVA instance with Google Analytics
    • Linaro Infrastructure
      • Beta staging git services released to improve Linaro git services
      • Output manifest from Android builds now includes repository/branch descriptions.
  • LNG (Linaro Networking Group)

    • The real time patch set for 3.10.6 + rt3 became available and LNG moved its stable kernels to 3.10.6 and 3.10.6 + rt3
    • The CONFIG_NO_HZ_FULL config fragment resulted in bug 1215507 in the preempt rt image, and so NO_HZ has been disabled
    • The CI loop now runs the LTP and LTP real-time regression test suites against the LNG Kernels
    • LNG image based on Linaro OpenEmbedded baseline boots on Arndale
    • Building with the debug flags enabled resulted in a bug 215471 – deadlock when CONFIG_KEYBOARD_GPIO is enabled with debug on.
    • meta-bigendian layer has been merged in Linaro OpenEmbedded baseline
  • Power Management

    • Linaro Powerdebug 0.7.0-2013.08 released (add gpio modification function)
    • Linaro Powertop 2.2-2013.08 released
    • Linaro PM QA 0.4.3-2013.08 released
  • QA

    • Successfully completed 13.08 release testing on Android (linux-linaro and LSK), Ubuntu and OpenEmbedded builds. Test results and bug reports have been shared.
    • Manual PXE on UEFI testing was performed on Versatile Express A9 board.
    • Test planning completed for LSK and Networking Group (LNG)
  • Toolchain

    • Linaro GCC 4.8 2013.08 released with multiple optimizations (shrink-wrapping, tail-calls), improved AArch64 support, and bug fixes
    • Linaro GCC 4.7 2013.08 released, based off the latest GCC 4.7.3+svn201655 release.
    • Updated for GCC and LLVM
  • Virtualization

    • Final version of HYP mode switching support for ARMv7-A is ready and went upstream. (cnxsoft: Not directly related to Linaro work, but you can check the following  presentation for an overview of virtualization on Cortex A15).
    • ARMv7 Guest Migration (same HW/SW) functionality implementation is ready and now is being upstreamed.
    • hackbench is configured in LAVA for testing KVM; also added to CI loop.

Visit https://wiki.linaro.org/Cycles/1308/Release for a list of known issues, and further release details about the LEB and community builds, Android, Kernel, Graphics, Multimedia, Landing Team, Platform, Power management and Toolchain (GCC / Qemu) components.

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