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Posts Tagged ‘yocto’

$99 MinnowBoard MAX Development Board Powered by Intel Bay Trail-I SoC

April 1st, 2014 8 comments

When Intel released the original MinnowBoard which was a step in the right direction, but there were some complains, as the company had chosen to use an older Intel processor, and the price was much higher than most high performance low cost ARM development boards. MinnowBoard MAX (aka Minnow2 Board) fixes all that, as it features the latest Intel Bay Trail-I (E3800 series) processor, and costs as low as $99 for the single core version, and $129 for the dual core version.

MinnowBoard MAX (Click to Enlarge)

MinnowBoard MAX (Click to Enlarge)

Let’s jump directly to the specifications:

  • SoC – 64-bit Intel Atom E3815 (single-core, 1.46 GHz) or Atom E3825 (dual-core, 1.33 GHz) both with integrated Intel HD Graphics coming with Open Source hardware-accelerated drivers for Linux OS
  • System Memory – 1GB ($99 model) or 2GB ($129 model) DDR3 RAM
  • Storage – 1x Micro SD card slot, 1x SATA2 3Gb/sec, 8 MB SPI Flash for firmware (UEFI)
  • Video Output – micro HDMI connector
  • Audio Output
    • HDMI (digital)
    • Analog audio to become available via a separate Lure, the name for MinnowBoard expansion boards, which will be sold separately –
  • Connectivity – 10/100/1000M Ethernet RJ-45 connector
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 host, 1x USB 2.0 host
  • Debugging & Programming – Serial debug via FTDI cable (sold separately), programming header compatible with Dedi-Prog programmer, and JTAG via high-speed expansion port.
  • Expansion headers
    • Low-speed expansion port – 2×13 (26-pin) male 0.1″ pin header with access to SPI, I2C, I2S Audio, 2x UARTs (TTL-level), 8x GPIO (including 2x supporting PWM), +5V, and GND
    • High-speed expansion port -  60-pin, high-density connector with access to 1x PCIe Gen 2.0 Lane, 1x SATA2 3Gb/sec, 1x USB 2.0 host, I2C, GPIO, JTAG, +5V, and GND
  • Dimensions – 99 x 74mm
  • Temperature Range -  0 – 70 deg C. Industrial temperature range may also be also available, but price will be higher, and has not been disclosed.
  • Power – 5V DC (Sold separately)

The board will run Debian GNU/Linux, Android 4.4 Kitkat, and be supported by the Yocto Project. It will boot with UEFI firmware stored in the 8MB SPI flash. The specifications also mention Intel HD graphics will be supported in Linux with open source graphics drivers, something that’s almost impossible to find for ARM development boards, although there has been some progress recently with the Raspberry Pi and Nvidia Tegra K1.  It will be an open source hardware board, and design files will be made available under Creative Commons licensing within weeks of production boards being available at distributors.

MinnowBoard MAX competes directly with quad core ARM Cortex A9 development board such as HardKernel ODROID, Wandboard, and so on, that sells for about the same price. We’ll need to check benchmarks to get a better idea of the performance.

The boards are scheduled to be manufactured by CircuitCo by the end of June 2014. You can’t pre-order them just yet, and they will be available through various distributors.  if you happen to be in EE Live! in San Jose, you can see a working demo with MinnowBoard MAX on booth #916.

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Linaro Connect Asia 2014 Opening Keynote – Status and Future of ARMv8 Linux & Android [Video]

March 3rd, 2014 No comments

Linaro Connect Asia 2014 has just started in Macau today and will take place until Friday. You can follow the sessions live and/or their recordings via Linaro OnAir YouTube Channel. I’ve watched the opening keynote, and embedded the video at the bottom of this post. The keynote focuses on ARMv8 for Linux and Android on servers, mobile devices, digital home, and more, and involves two main speakers: George Grey, Linaro CEO , and Jon Masters, Chief ARM Architecture at Red Hat.

Linaro_Connected_Asia_2014

The speaker beginning of the video provides some practical information and the schedule for Linaro Connect. The keynote itself really starts around 15:50 with George Grey who spends the first 10 minutes introducing the latest Linaro members: Qualcomm, Mediatek, ZTE, AllWinner and Comcast. He then talks about the new Mobile sub-committee (MOBSCOM) that will focus on big.LITTLE, Android optimization and Android on ARMv8, as well as the soon-to-be-announced Linaro Digital Home Group composed of AllWinner, ARM, Comcast, Fujitsu, HiSilicon, and STMicro, that will work on STB / IPTV software implementation such as secure media playback. A large part of the talk is about boot architecture (ACPI, UEFI, ARM Trusted firmware…), and the debates ACPI vs FDT (Device Tree), U-boot vs UEFI, and so on. Other subjects discussed are ARM security with the recently formed Security Working Group, Virtualization, Middleware working on Aarch64 (LAMP and OpenJDK) and Android on 64-bit. The latter will require a lot more work, and actual hardware for validation of the work done on ARMv8 fast models, and to speed up code development. Finally he quickly mentions Linaro is still working on ARMv7 architecture, and preliminary work is done for Cortex-M with Yocto/OpenEmbedded support.

At the 50 minutes mark, Jon Masters takes over to talk about 64-bit ARM servers. He stresses several key points for ARM to be successful in the server market:

  1. Upstream first (to kernel.org), as Red Hat will only use code from mainline for servers
  2. Single binary required
  3. Must follow standards (SBSA, ACPI, UEFI…)
  4. Default to open (source and communication)

He explains that compared to last year hardware is now available, talks about hyperscale computing, and mention the “up to 25% market share for ARM servers in 2019″ quote from AMD. He explains there are challenges however, and the server market is much different from the embedded world, so CENH (Cute Embedded Nonsense Hacks) are not allowed for ARM servers. Long term (10+ years) support for toolchain and kernel are needed, with backports if necessary, and Fedora/Red Hat will never ever release an OS with a device tree file and/or U-Boot.

Finally he announces a Red Hat ARM Server Developer Preview will be released later this year, compliant with SBSA, and using UEFI and ACPI, and show demo running on Applied Micro X-gene Mustang board running an early version of the developer preview which boots with UEFI, and supports ACPI.

Watch the full keynote below for details (1h30).

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Mentor Embedded ARM Hypervisor Automotive Demo on Freescale i.MX6 Board

December 19th, 2013 No comments

Virtual machines are usually run on server or desktop PC to run several operating systems simultaneous. About 2 years ago, I wrote about an embedded hypervisor running Linux and Android on the Pandaboard develompent board, with the goal of separating home and enterprise operating systems in mobile devices so that enterprise data is safe. Since then, virtualization extensions are now part of ARM Cortex A15 / A7, and as well as the new Cortex A53 / A57 ARMv8 64-bit cores, but in my mind at least, those where mostly designed to address the server market. It turns out hypervisors are also useful in the automotive field, where for example, the dashboard and In-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems runs in two separate virtual machines controlling two different displays from one processor.

Mentor Embedded showcased such automotive system at ARM Techcon 2013, where they showed a Freescale i.MX6 quad core board, which looks like Freescale SABRE Lite development board, running their embedded hypervisor with two virtual machines controlling the two displays (dashboard and IVI), and they showed how they could reboot the virtual machine controlling the IVI system without affecting the dashboard display.


So I had a look into Mentor Embedded hypervisor to find out a few details.
According to Wikipedia, there are two types of hypervisors:

  • Type 1 (aka native, or bare metal) – Such hypervisor run directly on the host’s hardware, and have lower footprint, and better performance. Citrix XenServer and VMware ESX/ESXi are example of type 1 hypervisors.
  • Type 2 (hosted) – Hypervisors that run on top of an operating-system environment such as Virtualbox or VMWare Workstation.

Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) is somewhat between the two types, as it requires an OS (Linux or FreeBSD), but gives direct access to the hardware via kernel modules.

Mentor Embedded hypervisor is a small footprint Type 1 (bare metal) hypervisor, supports ARM TrustZone, and several operating systems including a Yocto based embedded Linux distribution, Android, the company’s  GENIVI compliant Automotive Technology Platform, and Nucleus RTOS.

Mentor_Embedded_HypervisorAccording to the company, the key benefits of their hypervisor for developers are as follows:

  • Reduce test and debug times by consolidating multiple functions on a single multi-core compute platform
  • Take advantage of symmetric and asymmetric multiprocessing, or combinations of both (AMP/SMP)
  • Build secure, high-performance embedded systems at the highest privilege level in a system
  • Use the ARM TrustZone secure system architecture and deliver both normal and secure operations, such as secure boot and secure PIN access, within a single embedded application
  • Partition devices and memory to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive resources

I was hoping to get some numbers about data and code footprint, some estimation of the performance hit due the hypervisor, and currently supported ARM platforms, but I could not find any of that. Mentor Embedded hypervisor seems to be mainly focused on automotive applications.

If you want to find out more about applications currently using ARM hypervisors such as servers, automotive applications, and Android, you can check Xen ARM hypervisor page with links to some relevant presentations from Xen Project Developer Summit 2013.

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XBMC on ARM News: Updated XBMC Image for i.MX6 Boards, Geniatech Releases XBMC for Android Source Code

November 14th, 2013 17 comments

Stephan Rafin has recently released a new XBMC image for Freescale i.MX6 based Wandboard development boards (dual and quad only) and Utilite computers. The images have been built with Yocto 1.5 (Dora) released last month, and are based on XBMC Gotham Alpha 9, the latest alpha before feature freezes. That means this is not a stable image just yet, but features won’t change, and this version of XBMC is now going though bug fixes.

Stephan’s XBMC image includes the following:

  • iMX6 hw accelerated decoding (VPU) for most standard formats
  • iMX CEC support (for utilite only as wandboards are not properly wired)
  • WIFI configuration thanks to network manager addon
  • Support for HDMI/SPDIF/Analog sound outputs (including pass-through for HDMI and SPDIF)
  • SMB/NFS/uPNP network shares and other standard XBMC features
  • Bug fixes against previous version – No more transient black screens, trick modes (ffwd, frwd, ..) are now working, and smoother video playback.

This version also provides better support for developers with improvement for native compilation (gcc and standard dev libraries already installed), and cross compilation (Full SDK provided for x68_64 Linux host), as well as an easier way to completely rebuild the Yocto distro (See original blog post for details).

If you want to give it a try, you can download the images corresponding to your board or device:

To install the image simply uncompress the image, and use dd (Linux) or Win32DiskImager (Windows) to copy the binary to a microSD card. Insert the microSD card into your device, and power it up to start XBMC automatically.

If you’ve got another i.MX6 Quad device such as GK802, you may want to try to use the rootfs with your own bootloader and kernel, or easier use mkxbmc.sh script written by HSTE that will generate an XBMC image automatically for GK802.

Another news for XBMC on ARM platform, for this time for XBMC for Android, is that Geniatech has released the source code for the XBMC app used on its AMLogic AML8726-M? based Android media players.

The zip file contains the modified source for XBMC Frodo 12.2, and it has been checked by dual_HD who reported the following changes against PIVOS release on XBMC forums:

  • Save settings after exit, as the earlier version can not save setting after exit sometimes.
  • Easier to exit than earlier version
  • RMVB format support
  • Long time playing 1080p smoothly

That’s not too many changes, but this is still a step in the right direction, as AFAIK, it is the first time Geniatech releases modified source code for XBMC.

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MSC Q7-MB-EP4 Is a QSeven Starter Kit Powered by Freescale i.MX6

November 9th, 2013 No comments

MSC Embedded, a company specialized in the design and manufacturing of embedded boards, has recently announced MSC Q7-MB-EP4, a complete Starterkit for the company’s Qseven modules based on Freescale i.MX6 Solo, Dual or Quad processors.

MSC_Q7-SK-IMX6-EP4_Kit_SoM

MSC Q7-IMX6 SoM (Left) and Q7-SK-IMX6-EP4 Starter Kit (Right)

The starter kit comes with a suitcase comprise of a heatspreader with heatsink, a 12V power supply, a cable kit (SATA data and power cable),  a DVD, a getting started guide, and more importantly a 3.5″ Qseven carrier board (Q7-MB-EP4) with socket for Qseven modules Rev. 1.20 with the following specifications:

  • CPU Module Interface -  Socket for Qseven Rev. 1.20 compatible modules based on the Freescale i.MX6
  • Storage – 1x SATA connector + mSATA Socket with support for mSATA and mSATAmini cards, MMC/SD Card, and serial EEPROM for EPI/DP extensions
  • Standard Interfaces:
    • 7x USB 2.0: 4x USB (Series-A Jack), 1x USB internal pin header, USB on mini USB connector, USB at Mini PCI Express socket
    • RS-232C on pin header driven by the on-board USB-to-RS232 converter (FT232RL)
    • ARM RS232 debug port routed to the Qseven module
    • CAN Bus signals on on-board pin header
    • Socket for one Mini PCI Express module with USB
  • Audio Interface – AC’97 Audio with all Audio signals on pin header
  • Flat Panel / CRT Interface
    • Graphics – DVI connector, max. resolution depending on module
    • LCD Interface – LVDS interface on Jili30 connector, EEPROM to store display data, Backlight connector (3.3/5/12V power and DIM signal)
  • Miscellaneous – Power Button, Reset, Beeper
  • LAN Interface
    • One RJ45 connector with LEDs from Qseven module
    • One RJ45 connector with LEDs for PCIe-connected GbE LAN
    • Controller on board of the Q7-MB-EP4
  • Touch Controller – Resistive touch controller for 4/5-wire touch screens; three different touch connectors for 4- and 5-wire touch screens
  • Heatrail mounted on Q7-MB-EP4 and Heatspreader
  • Power Supply – 110-230V AC to 12V DC with cable kit connecting to 4 pin ATX style power connector on Q7-MB-EP4 baseboard; features an additional disk drive power connector usable for the SATA cable supplied.
  • Temperature range – 0º to +60º C operating, -25º to 85º C storage
  • Humidity – 20 to 80% operating, 5 to 95% storage (non condensing)
  • Dimensions – 148 mm x 102mm

An 8 GB SD card pre-installed with Linux (Yocto0based) is also provided. An optional 12.1″ XGA (1024×768) TFT kit is also available.

Qseven Baseboard Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

Qseven Baseboard Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

One important thing is however missing in the Starter Kit: the CPU module. You’ll have to order separately it because the company offers 8 variations of their Q7-IMX6 SoM with Freescale i.MX6 Solo, Dual or Quad, different temperature ranges (commercial and extended), and SoM with 4GB flash or no flash.

MSC Q7-IMX6 system-on-modules share the following key features:

  • SoC – Freescale i.MX6 ARM Cortex-A9 quad-core, dual-core or single-core CPU
  • System Memory – up to 4GB DDR3 DRAM
  • Storage – up to 32GB eMMC Flash Memory
  • Video Output – HDMI graphics 1920 x 1080 x 30fps, Dual-channel LVDS 1920 x 1080 x 30fps (also usable as two sep. LVDS channels)
  • Video – MPEG-4 Video Encoding/Decoding 1080p
  • Interfaces:
    • 10/100/1000 GbE LAN Interface
    • 1x PCI-Express x1
    • 1x SATA-II (3Gbps, quad-/dual-core only)
    • 1x USB Device/Host + up to 7x USB 2.0
    • MMC / SD / SDIO Interface
    • 1x CAN Interface
    • AC’97 and I2S Audio Interface
    • UART, SPI, BT.656 Camera, MIPI_CSI-2
  • Power Supply Voltage – +5V +/-5%, 5V Standby
  • Power Consumption – 4-6 W typ. (depending on CPU and optional features)
  • Operating Temperature range – 0º to +70º C commercial, -40º to 85º C extended

The company can provides BSPs (board support packages) for Linux, Android (Work in progress), and Windows Embedded Compact 7.

The MSC Q7-SK-IMX6-IP4 starter kit is available now for $275, Qseven module are also available, but price has not been disclosed. You can find more information on MSC Embedded’s Q7-SK-IMX6-EP4 Starter Kit and Q7-IMX6 SoM pages, although most of the documentation including user’s manuals, mechanical drawings, and the BSPs require a free registration (to be approved by an administrator).

Via LinuxGizmos and Embedded.com

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$69 Intel Gallileo Development Board Combines x86 Processor and Arduino Compatibility

November 6th, 2013 2 comments

After UDOO, a Linux development board powered by Freescale i.MX6 ARM Cortex 9 processor and an Atmel SAM3U MCU for Arduino compatibility, here’s another single board computer (SBC) that both runs Linux, and is claimed to be software and hardware compatible with shields designed for Arduino Uno R3: Intel Gallileo. Instead of using two ARM processors, the board is powered by Intel Quark SoC X1000, a 32-bit Pentium class SoC, that handles both Linux and I/Os.

Galileo Development Board (Click to Enlarge)

Galileo Development Board (Click to Enlarge)

Intel Galileo Specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Quark SoC X1000 @ 400MHz with 16 KBytes on-die L1 cache, 512 KBytes of on-die embedded SRAM, single thread, single core, constant speed, ACPI compatible CPU sleep states supported, and integrated Real Time Clock (RTC). Max TDP: 2.2W.
  • System Memory – 256 MByte DRAM
  • Storage – 8 MByte Legacy SPI Flash for bootloader and sketch + 11 KByte EEPROM + optional microSD card (Up to 32GB)
  • Connectors:
    • 10/100 Ethernet connector
    • Full PCI Express mini-card slot, with PCIe 2.0 compliant features
      • Works with half mini-PCIe cards with optional converter plate
      • Provides USB 2.0 Host Port at mini-PCIe connector
    • USB 2.0 Host connector – Support up to 128 USB end point devices
    • USB Device connector, used for programming
    • 10-pin Standard JTAG header for debugging
  • Misc -  Reboot button to reboot the processor,  Reset button to reset the sketch and any attached shields
  • Arduino Uno shields compatibility:
    • 14 digital input/output pins,of which 6 can be used as PWM outputs;
    • 6 analog inputs (A0–A5), via an AD7298 ADC, 12-bit resolution
    • I2C bus, TWI, SPI (master only, SPI slave possible via USB), UART
    • ICSP (SPI) – a 6 pin in-circuit serial programming (ICSP) header
    • VIN, 5V output pin,3.3V output pin, GND and IOREF are all present, and usable.
    • RESET button/pin to reset the sketch
    • AREF – Unused on Galileo, as providing an external reference voltage for the analog inputs is not supported.
Intel Galileo Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

Intel Galileo Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

Galileo can be programmed with an Arduino IDE available for Windows, Linux (32-bit and 64-bit), and Mac OS X, through the USB Client port. The board is partially open source, and you can download the software such as the Arduino IDE, Linux image (generated with Yocto), and Linux BSP source, as well as the hardware files including the schematics, BoM, and layout files (Allegro), but the gerber files do not seem to be available.  Further documentation including a Getting Started Guide, tutorials, references,… and a support forum are available from Intel Galileo Support page.

Intel Galileo board will ship at the end of November, but it can be pre-ordered now for $69 from distributors such as Mouser.

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ISEE Introduces IGEPv5 Board Powered by TI OMAP5432 Processor

October 22nd, 2013 8 comments

ISEE made a call to developers late 2012, asking them what features they’d like for an OMAP5 board. IGEPv5 board is now nearly completed, and people can register their interest to receive the development board in January 2014.

IGEPv5 Board (Click to Enlarge)

IGEPv5 Board (Click to Enlarge)

IGEPv5 Specifications:

  • SoC – Texas Instruments OMAP5432 dual core Cortex A15 up to 2GHz with POWERVR SGX544 dual-core GPU, and TMS320DMC64x DSP
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3 RAM expandable to 4GB
  • Storage – 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
    • Bluetooth v4.0
    • Antenna: Internal Wifi/BT Antenna
  • USB – 1 x USB 3.0 OTG (miniAB receptable),  4 x USB 2.0 Host (Type A receptable)
  • Video – 1 x microHDMI (Video + Audio)
  • Audio – 1 x Stereo Audio In (Stereo minijack), 1 x Stereo Audio Out (Stereo minijack)
  • 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, UART, SPI, I2C, MMC, 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 – 135x95mm
  • Operating Temperature Range – -40 to 85ºC

IGEPv5 comes preloaded with a firmware consisting of a minimal Linux-based distribution composed of U-boot, the Linux kernel, and a rootfs build with Yocto featuring a lite X Window System with GNOME Mobile based applications.

The company will also provide development tools namely:  IGEP SDK Yocto Toolchain,  IGEP SDK Virtual Machine,  IGEP DSP Gstreamer Framework, and IGEP QEMU emulator. Hardware and software manuals, schematics, mechanical drawings and software will be made available too. Support will be provided via IGEP community.

Pricing is not available yet, but you can already reserved your board now by contacting ISEE’s sales department at [email protected], with the board shipping in January 2014.

You may get further information on ISEE IGEPv5 page.

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