Ubuntu, Tizen, XMBC… Demos at Q2.12 Linaro Connect in Hong Kong

Linaro has announced several demos would take place at Linaro Connect on June 1st, 2012 in Hong Kong:

  • Big.LITTLE in-kernel Switcher (Linaro)
  • SIProp – Combat Scouter – How much your Combat Power? (SIProp)
  • Android Toolchain Improvements (Linaro)
  • Origen Running Awesome Code (Linaro)
  • Snowball with MM enablement (Linaro)
  • Tizen on Snowball (Linaro)
  • Google+ Hangouts on an ARM Board (Linaro)
  • Low-Cost Logic Analyzer (Linaro)
  • XBMC on Snowball – ST Ericsson Snowball (Linaro)
  • (Ubuntu) Unity 3D on Snowball (Linaro)
  • Ubuntu TV on Snowball (Linaro)
  • PCM (Phase Change Memory) : Linaro kernel meets with the PCM technology (Micron)
  • ARM DS-5 & Linaro (ARM)

Most of the demos will be organized by Linaro, but three others companies will also shown the “show”, namely SIProp, Micron and ARM. It’s always interested to see what happens at Linaro because it gives a view into the future to what may comes to the new products and developers can see what new features are available for ARM Linux and possible use Linaro’s work into their design.

ST Ericsson Snowball board seems to be the new favorite at Linaro, with at least 5 demos running on the board. The reason for the choice is that it’s 100% ARM, meaning that both the CPU cores (Cortex A9) and the GPU (Mali-400) are provided by ARM. Other processor like the AllWinner A10 also feature a Mali 400 GPU and it might be possible to make use of 2D/3D hardware acceleration developed on the Snowball for other Mali 400 platforms, although I’m not sure at all about that. Hardware video decoding is often proprietary so it won’t be usable on hardware not based on ST Ericsson Nova A9500.

I’ve been looking around to see if I could find some existing videos or information about the demos about to take place in Hong Kong.

Big.LITTLE in-kernel Switcher

This will be a demo of Big LITTLE (Cortex A15 / Cortex A7) kernel switching showing how it can switch between the 2 cores depending on the system load and reduce power consumption.

Technical details about this implementation are available on Launchpad “Test big.LITTLE on Android 12.04“.

If you don’t already know about big.LITTLE processing, you can always watch a presentation and short demo in Gingerbread done in October 2011.

SIProp – Combat Scouter

I’m not exactly sure what will this demo be. But SIProp is the team who showcased the Pandaboard Cloud last year, so I’m sure it will be interesting. Their latest project is a Treasure Hunting Robot based on Pandaboard and running Linaro Ubuntu and kernel, but I suppose they’ll show another interesting demo at Linaro Connect.

Android Toolchain Improvements

You can more information about this on Linaro Android Toolchain page. I’ve just discovered that there was a different gcc for Android as Google added features and bug fixes to gcc that won’t go into mainline.

Snowball Demos

    • Multimedia Enablement
      This will demo GPU hardware acceleration on Android 4.0.4 for the Snowball board. I assume MM enablement includes 3D support and hardware video and after 2D hardware acceleration was implemented and demo’ed last December in Android ICS.
    • Tizen on Snowball
      Great! There are already a few video about this demo. Further details (including Tizen 1.0 image for Snowball board) are available on the IglooCommunity.

  • XBMC on Snowball

Linaro has already showcased XBMC on Snowball during Q1.12 Linaro Connect with software video decoding (accelerated with NEON instructions) as you can see in the video below.

Thanks to Snowball MM enablement discussed above, XBMC is now (probably) fully hardware accelerated on the Snowball, which could make a nice platform (although still a bit expensive) for this open source media center.

XMBC is part of linaro overlay ppa, so you should be able to try in any ARM board running Ubuntu 12.04, although many boards won’t support 2D/3D hardware acceleration and most boards won’t support hardware video decoding. I’ve installed XBMC on my Mele A1000 and the UI can start, but the menu is very slow (as in unusable) because it’s using software rendering. But don’t worry, XBMC developers are working on it.

  • Ubuntu Unity 3D on Snowball

Another Snowball multimedia enablement demo, that will showcase 3D acceleration on Snowball running Ubuntu 12.04. If you’ve ever tried to use Unity 3D on a board without 3D acceleration you will see your mouse pointer nearly come to an halt when you move it over the dashboard as a little program called “compiz” will take 100% CPU usage.

  • Ubuntu TV on Snowball

I’m not sure about this particular demo, as I cannot find any links related to Ubuntu TV on snowball, so it must be very new. You can check out Ubuntu TV in Pandaboard to see what you might expect.

Google+ Hangouts on an ARM Board

I could not find details, but I assume they will use Google+ app on Android which allows Mobile Hangouts video conference with up to 9 persons.

PCM (Phase Change Memory)

Phase Change Memory is a new type of memory apparently only available from Micro. It support bit-alterability, fast write and is non-volatile. Micron claims it merges the best attributes of NOR, NAND, and RAM. It is currently available in 32Mb, 64 Mb and 128 Mb density and targets embedded applications. For details visit http://www.micron.com/products/phase-change-memory.

Since it will be demo’ed at Linaro Connect, I supposed it’s now part of the kernel or some serious work is done on supporting it.

ARM DS-5 & Linaro

ARM Development Studio 5 is a development suite provided by ARM. Last year they released a Community Edition that can be downloaded for free by individual developers and small companies. You can watch some very short video demos on Freescael, Xilinx and Samsung boards shot at Design West 2012. If you want to know how to debug linaro image with DS5 check out this ARM blog post.

That’s all for today, I’m sure we’ll see many videos about Linaro Connect Hong Kong thanks to the Novacut team and Charbax who is rumored to attend the event.

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