How to Build & Run Linux on Kendryte K210 RISC-V NOMMU Processor

A few months ago, we wrote that Western Digital was working on Linux & BusyBox RISC-V NOMMU, and managed to boot a minimal Linux OS on Kendryte K210 powered Sipeed Maix Go board. RISC-V NOMMU support was scheduled for Linux 5.5, and now that the new kernel has been released, Damien Le Moal has pushed the code allowing to build Linux and a busybox based roofs for RISC-V 64-bit NOMMU platforms using buildroot. I could start the build following the instructions on Github, but it failed as a Linux 5.6 RC1 tarball was missing. But I noticed “Vowstart” picked up on Damien’s work, and wrote detailed instructions. So let’s try the build out using a machine running Ubuntu 18.04. We’ll have to make sure dependencies are installed first: Then we can retrieve the source code and do some preparations (e.g. extract Linux 5.6 RC1 tarball): The next step is to build the toolchain. It will take a long while because …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

Linux 5.5 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS and RISC-V Architectures

Linux 5.5 has just been released by Linus Torvalds: So this last week was pretty quiet, and while we had a late network update with some (mainly iwl wireless) network driver and netfilter module loading fixes, David didn’t think that warranted another -rc. And outside of that, it’s really been very quiet indeed – there’s a panfrost driver update too, but again it didn’t really seem to make sense to delay the final release by another week. Outside of those, it’s all really tiny, even if some of those tiny changes touched some core files. So despite the slight worry that the holidays might have affected the schedule, 5.5 ended up with the regular rc cadence and is out now. That means that the merge window for 5.6 will open tomorrow, and I already have a couple of pull requests pending. The timing for this next merge window isn’t optimal for me – I have some travel and other things …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

ESP Open Source Research Platform Enables the Design of RISC-V & Sparc SoC’s with Accelerators

FOSDEM 2020 will take place next week, and there will be several interesting talks about open-source hardware and software development. One of those is entitled “Open ESP – The Heterogeneous Open-Source Platform for Developing RISC-V Systems” with an excerpt of the abstract reading: ESP is an open-source research platform for RISC-V systems-on-chip that integrates many hardware accelerators. ESP provides a vertically integrated design flow from software development and hardware integration to full-system prototyping on FPGA. For application developers, it offers domain-specific automated solutions to synthesize new accelerators for their software and map it onto the heterogeneous SoC architecture. For hardware engineers, it offers automated solutions to integrate their accelerator designs into the complete SoC. If we go to the official website, we can see ESP (Embedded Scalable Platform) actually supports both 32-bit Leon3 (Sparc) and 64-bit Ariane (RISC-V) cores, and various hardware accelerators from the platform or third parties. Highlights: Architecture Tile-based architecture: processor, memory and accelerator tiles NoC (Network-on-Chip) …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

ONiO.zero offers a RISC-V Microcontroller that runs without battery

Energy harvesting has been an exciting area people have tried to venture into mostly because of the possible applications that can arise from it. Newly invented energy-harvesting technologies accompanying low-power computing systems have pushed the boundaries of where embedded systems can be deployed. The demand for an increase in connected applications which require an underlying embedded system, and as we know, all electronic devices require a power source of some sort. This power source, batteries in most cases, comes with an accompanying buck regulator of some sort that will tend to increase the BOM. Aside from the BOM rise from the usage of batteries, there is also the shelf life and environmental aspects. The Norwegian specialist ONiO has introduced the ONiO.zero to address those issues. Having no battery means fewer components and a smaller design, which can easily be integrated into a wide range of solutions – be it fabrics, jewelry, watches, wearable medical devices, livestock or building sensors. More …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

Polos GD32V Alef is a Tiny RISC-V MCU Board Selling for $3

Polos GD32V Alef

We first found out about GigaDevice GD32V 32-bit RISC-V MCU last summer, as an update/alternative to the earlier STM32 compatible GD32 Arm Cortex-M3 microcontroller from the company with higher performance and lower power consumption, while keeping the price identical. The first low-cost GD32V development board we covered was Longan Nano going for $5 with an OLED display and an acrylic case. If you don’t need either or want to access all pins from the 48-pin MCU,  you can now order an even cheaper GD32V RISC-V MCU board with Polos GD32V Alef going for $2.99 on Analoglamb website. Polos GD32V Alef board specifications: MCU – Gigadevice GD32VF103CBT6 32-bit RISC-V (rv32imac) microcontroller @ 108 MHz with 128KB Flash, 32KB SRAM USB – 1x micro USB OTG port for power and programming Expansion – 52 through holes (2.54mm pitch) exposing all pins from the MCU including 3x USART, 2x I2C, 3x SPI, 2x I2S, 2x CAN, 2x ADC (10 channel), 2x DAC, as …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

Year 2019 in Review – Top 10 Posts and Stats

Happy New Year 2020

2019 is closing to an end, or you may already be into 2020 while reading this post. In any case, that means it’s time to look back at 2019 and look forward to the events and new products to take place next year. While 2018 was a boring year for new processors, 2019 brought us some interesting new chips such as Amlogic S922X / A311D, or the first Arm Cortex-A55 only processors such as Amlogic S905X3. Rockchip RK3399Pro was promising when it was announced last year, but it never really took off. It was a pretty quiet year for Allwinner as well. RISC-V architecture has been ramping up with the first general-purpose RISC-V MCU: GD32V, WCH CH572 Bluetooth LE MCU, the launch of more SiFive RISC-V cores, and Kendryte K210 RISC-V AI processor announced last year has found its way into more and more boards. There have also been the usual launches of mobile Arm processors from Qualcomm, Samsung, and …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

Some Interesting Talks from FOSDEM 2020 Schedule

We wrote about IoT devroom call for proposals for FOSDEM 2020 a little while ago, and as the free open-source developer meetup is getting closer, FOSDEM 2020 organizers released the schedule. So I’ll look at some of the talks in the relevant devrooms such as the Internet of Things, hardware enablement, Embedded, Mobile and Automotive, as well as RISC-V and others to compose my own little virtual schedule for the 2-day event. Saturday, February 1 10:30 – 10:50 – How lowRISC made its Ibex RISC-V CPU core faster – Using open source tools to improve an open-source core – by Greg Chadwick Ibex implements RISC-V 32-bit I/E MC M-Mode, U-Mode, and PMP. It uses an in-order 2 stage pipe and is best suited for area and power-sensitive rather than high-performance applications. However, there is scope for meaningful performance gains without major impact to power or area. This talk describes work done at lowRISC to analyze and improve the performance of …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

Trion T20 BGA256 FPGA Development Kit Supports “PulseRain Reindeer” RISC-V RV32IM soft CPU

Trion T20 BGA256 Development Kit

A few months ago I wrote about FireAnt low-cost FPGA development board powered by Efinix Trion T8 FPGA, and it was the first time I personally heard about the company. Trion FPGA family range from the T4 with 3,888 logic elements up to the Trion T200 with 192,000 LE’s. A board more powerful than FireAnt, but not quite high-end, recently showed up on Digikey with Trion T20 BGA256 development kit going for $150. Trion T20 BGA256 Development Kit specifications: FPGA – Efinix Trion T20 FPGA with 19,728 LE’s, 1,044 Kbit embedded RAM, 36 18×18 multipliers, 7 PPL’s, up to 220 GPIO’s; 256-ball FBGA (13×13 mm) System Memory – 256 Mbit SDR SDRAM Storage – NOR flash USB – 1x Micro-USB port for programming Debug / Configuration – SPI and JTAG headers to facilitate configuration Expansion 3x I/O headers to connect to external devices LVDS TX header, LVDS RX & clock header Misc – 8x user LED’s, 3x user push-buttons, 3x …

Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon