Freescale/ NXP i.MX How-tos

Freescale i.MX processor, especially the recent i.MX6 Cortex A9 series, must be one the most Linux friendly ARM SoC available at this time. Freescale provides awesome documentation and the full source code, excluding the Vivante GPU drivers as they are prevented legally. But Etnaviv, a reverse-engineered open source driver for Vivante GPUs, has already made good progress and currently (Dec 2013) works with the lower end Vivante GPUs, but not quite yet with Vivante GC2000 3D GPU used in the quad core version of i.MX6.

One of the first low cost platform based on Freescale i.MX6 Quad was HiApad Hi802, now more commonly known as Zealz GK802, an Android 4.0 HDMI TV dongle / mini PC. The device is quite nice to hack, as it has an easily replaceable internal micro SD card, making it unbrickable, and the availability of Freescale reference HDMI dongle source code. I’ve explained how to build Android with this code, how-to access the serial console in GK802, and posted instructions explaining how to install Debian 7 and Ubuntu on the device. Steps to update the Android firmware on GK802 are also available.

Wandboard is now one of the best development ARM Linux development boards in the market, and comes with three flavors: Wandboard Solo, Wandboard Dual and Wandboard Quad, featuring respectively i.MX6 Solo, i.MX6 Duallite, and i.MX6 Quad processor. The company sent me two boards for review, and wrote a Quick Start Guide for Wandboard Dual,  showing how to assemble the casing, how to install Android or Ubuntu images, and how to build the kernel yourself. A Wandboard Quad’s getting started guide showing how to build and install Android 4.2.2, as well as a Yocto based Linux distribution, is also available.

A Linux XBMC image has been developed by Stephan Rafin, and I’ve explained how to install XBMC on Wandboard and GK802.

If you’re interested in i.MX6 platform development, I’d recommend you join i.MX6 dongle developers community, subscribe to Jas Hacks and Boundary devices blogs for their tutorials, as well as Stephan Rafin’s blog, if you are specifically interested in XBMC Linux on Wandboard & UDOO boards and/or Compulab Utilite computers.

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