Olimex A13-OLinuXino-MICRO Development Board Unboxing And Review

Every Friday, Olimex organizes an online competition where they give away one of their board. They’ll ask a (usually simple) technical question on their twitter account at 22h00 (GMT+7), and all you have to do is to reply to their tweet with the correct answer within one hour. The winner is then selected randomly with random.org. There are usually 50 to 100 respondents so the odds are pretty good. I played a few times, and finally, I was lucky enough to win an A13-OLinuXino-MICRO development board at the beginning of December. I received it yesterday, after UPS took a whooping 15 days to deliver the board (Way to go UPS!). The board can be purchased on Olimex for 35 Euros plus shipping and taxes, or even lower if you order larger quantities. A13-OLinuXino-MICRO is a stripped down version of A13-OLinuXino-WIFI with the following specs: SoC – AllWinner A13 Cortex A8 processor at 1GHz with Mali400 GPU System Memory – 256 …

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2012 Embedded Market Study – Software Development & Processors

I’ve just come across an Embedded System Study by UBM published in April 2012. The company surveyed over 1,700 professionals working on embedded systems who are mainly based in the US (56%),  but also in Europe (21%) and Asia (12%). The report is 87 long, but I found some of the slides are particularly interesting in regards to programming languages, operating systems and software life cycle, as well as processor/micro-controller choices. Unsurprisingly C (65%), C++ (20%) and assembler (5%) are still the main languages used for embedded software development. In this report, we also learn that the average team is composed of 14.5 members including 5.6 software engineers, 5.6 hardware engineers and 3.3 firmware engineers. 2012 was the first year they included QA Engineers and system integrators both with 2.6 members on average working on projects lasting from less than 6 months to over 25 months. UBM survey also provides a breakdown of the project life cycle which shows most of …

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Codethink Launches The Baserock Slab ARM Server

Codethink has just announced an ARM based server called “The BaseRock Slab” powered by Marvell ARMADA XP quad core ARMv7-A processors with 2 GB RAM and 30GB (up to 120GB) mSATA SSD Storage per node, which targets applications such as cloud computing infrastructure and native ARM build and test. This 32 cores server comes in a 1U chassis (483mm x 44mm x 355m), is powered by a 260 PSU, integrates eight Cogent CSB1726-ArmadaXP SoM (Marvell Armada XP quad-core ARMv7-A CPUs, 1.33Ghz + 2 GB ECC DDR3 RAM) in to a carrier board featuring the following: 30GB (max 120GB) mSATA SSD, max 250MB/sec read/write, per SoM SATA port for additional dedicated storage, per SoM Dual 2.5Gbit/s full-duplex ethernet, trunkable into a single 5Gbit/s link Management SoM for remote power, fan and reset control Firmware upgrade via the network The server is managed by Cogent CSB1724 SoM powered by Marvell Armada 300 (ARMv5) @ 1.6 GHz. The company explains that their system …

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84 MB Minimal Raspbian ARMHF Image for Raspberry Pi

Many embedded systems applications do not require a desktop environment or graphical interface on the screen (e.g. server), and you may want to only install the files you really need on the SD card either to reserve as much space as possible for data and/or your program or to reduce costs. After searching for a minimal image based on Raspbian ARMHF distribution for the Raspberry, I could only find Linux Systems minimal image based on the Alpha version of the Raspbian Wheezy. Their compressed image is 109 MB in size, has a custom kernel,  sshd and ntpd are enabled, but the wireless tools were deleted, and at the time the swap was located in another partition instead of a file inside the rootfs. The uncompress rootfs is about 414 MB (as reported by df -h when mounted as a loop device). I decided to prepare a minimal image myself based on the first Raspbian Wheezy release, that supports about the …

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24 Euros Aria G25 Atmel SAM9 (ARM9) Linux Embedded Module

ACME System, an Italian company specializing in low-cost microprocessor boards, has designed the Aria G25, a tiny system-on-module (SoM) based on Atmel SAM9G25  for Linux embedded devices, that will be available in August and sell for 24 Euros (128 MB RAM version) and 29 Euros (256 MB RAM). Here are Aria G25 specifications: CPU – Atmel AT91SAM9G25 (ARM9) @ 400Mhz CPU System Memory – 128MB (G25-128) or 256MB (G25-256) DDR2 RAM Connectivity – 10/100 Mbit Ethernet interface USB – Up to 3 USB 2.0 host ports (2 Hi-Speed, 1 Full-Speed) Interfaces: Up to 6 serial lines 2x I2C buses 2x SPI buses 60 GPIO lines 4x A/D lines @ 10 bit Dimensions –  40 x 40 mm Operative temperature range – 0-70 °C  (but they also plan to release an industrial temperature range SoM) Power – 3.3V | Consumption: 0.3 Watt The company will provide a Debian Linux distribution with Kernel 2.6.39 on bootable microSD once the board becomes available …

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Raspberry Pi Releases Raspbian SD Card Image Based on Debian Wheezy ARMHF

The Raspberry Pi foundation announced the very first stable release of the Raspbian distribution, which is based on Debian 7.0 “Wheezy” armhf rootfs in order to take advantage of the FPU in Broadcom BCM2835. This distribution offers up to 40% performance improvement on several tasks, and for some specific tasks such as MP3 encoding is can boost the speed by nearly 6 times thanks to hard-float support. It is now the recommended distribution for the Raspberry Pi, runs LXDE environment, and comes with Midori browser, development tools and example source as per the previous Debian distros. omxplayer by gimli (XBMC developer) is also pre-installed in the image, and will allow you to play videos using hardware acceleration. You can download Raspbian via: Bittorrent – 2012-07-15-wheezy-raspbian.zip.torrent HTTP –  2012-07-15-wheezy-raspbian.zip The default credentials are pi / raspberry. Adam Armstrong has run some benchmarks to compare Raspbian (armhf) with the previous Raspberry Pi Squeeze (armel) distribution. Some tasks see little improvements since they …

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Emdebian Grip 2.0: Debian For Embedded Systems

I’ve used Emdebian ARM toolchain for several things such as building Raspberry Pi kernel, or cross-compiling VMWare-View, but I must have not paid attention enough, as I only discovered that Emdebian also offered a lightweight Linux distribution for embedded systems called Debian Grip. There was also another distribution called Debian Crush, a customized Emdebian installation without perl, but development stopped after Debian 5.0. Debian Grip is binary compatible with Debian and supports i386, amd64, powerpc, armel, armhf, mips and mipsel. Ports for powerpcspe and sh4 are available for Emdebian unstable. The current stable version Debian Grip 2.0 is based on Debian 6.0 “Squeeze”. You can install Emdebian grip using CD /DVD ISO images or with multistrap (preferred method). Visit the Installation instructions page for details. Here’s how the installation sizes compare between Emdebian Grip (unstable) and Debian (unstable): A basic multistrap of Emdebian Grip (sid-grip) comes out at 56MB installed, not compressed. A basic multistrap of Debian (sid) comes out …

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Quick Binary Debugging in Linux with Strace System Call Tracer

I’ve recently come across strace, a debugging utility for Linux that “monitor the system calls used by a program and all the signals”. It may not be that useful if you have the source code and can run other debugging tools such as gdb, or simply add printf to your code. But if you don’t have source code of the program, or you are a system administrator who wants to check if the program fails due to file access reasons, for example, this is really a great tool as it may help you find out which file causes problem. In my case, I was trying OpenGL ES on an ARM platform, and at least part of the code comes in libraries that are only available in binary form. I got the following error message running es2_info (part of mesa-utils-extra): UMP: ump_arch_open() failed to open UMP device driver ********************************************************************* ERROR: In file: src/base/common/mem/base_common_mem.c  function: initialize_memo ry_system()   line:1521 Could not open UMP …

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