Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'arm'

brendandonegan

As discussed at last months Ubuntu Developer Summit in the session ‘ARM and other architectures certification program‘, there’s a plan to start certifying ARM hardware, or at least start investigating how we’ll do it. To this end I’ve received on loan a TI OMAP4 Pandaboard from Canonical’s ARM QA team. I’ve actually had it here in the office for quite a few weeks now but for some reason or another I haven’t got around to blogging about it yet!

So, without further adieu – here are a couple of shots of my setup:

I like it because it’s really compact and smacks of geekiness, with all the exposed circuits, yet is really quite easy to use in a lot of ways. The monitor is plugged in via the HDMI port on the right hand side (because of an issue with my monitor I can only get 640×480 out of it, so everything is very squeezed on the screen) and the wireless desktop receiver which handles my mouse and keyboard plugs right in to one of the two full sized USB 2.0 ports. The whole thing is powered by my laptop (even when it’s suspended) via USB-AC 5v connector, also on the right-hand side.

It’s running Natty/Unity 2D installed on the 8GB SDHC card on the left of the board. This means that the whole setup cost (if I had have payed for rather than borrowed it) just under $200. The white labeled chip on the top left hand side of the board is the WiFi/Bluetooth chip and that works *perfectly* out of the box – often picking up a better signal than the laptop sitting right next to it. I also have the option of plugging in my USB headset in the the same USB hub as the wireless receiver (it’s a tight squeeze but it just about fits) and that too works perfectly.

Cons are that I don’t have a USB HDD so Ubuntu is running on flash memory (notoriously bad performance) and that if I decide to power down my laptop but forget the Pandaboard has some task running on it then all is lost :( Overall though it’s a really nice piece of equipment and because of all the good work that has been done around it, I could recommend one to anyone with a bit of technical know-how (no ARM experience required!)


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rsalveti

For Maverick Meerkat we’re continuing improving the ARM support for Ubuntu. With Lucid we got the first release optimized for ARMv7 (Thumb2 and SoftFP but not NEON), and for Maverick the plan is to keep the same ARM optimizations as base, but improving board support and user experience.

Currently the main target boards are the ones based on OMAP 3 and OMAP 4, like:
BeagleBoard (C4 preferred)
BeagleBoard xM
PandaBoard (still to be released)

The main decisions to support these boards are basically the upstream support, solid community around them, easy hardware access and CPU power (standard Ubuntu is quite heavy, so we need a good and powerful machine).

At the moment we already got a good support for them, and the Beta release is somehow usable already! There are some development on-going to have a full working 3D interface (unity) for OpenGL ES much the same way we have for normal OpenGL devices. The only bad thing is that currently most of the 3D drivers for ARM (if not all) are closed source, so the development is a little bit harder than the usual.

If you just got your BeagleBoard xM, or want to try Ubuntu on your C4, please give it a try. For Maverick the idea is to give the users a pre-installed image, that you just need to ‘dd’ to your SD card, boot and adjust the environment.

Here are the instructions needed to get Ubuntu up and running at your OMAP device: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ARM/OMAPMaverickInstall

In case you don’t have any of these boards, but want to use Ubuntu with different devices remember you can always try to build a ‘rootfs’ with RootStock. You’ll only need a working and compatible kernel and boot-loader.

And please, in case of you find any bug, want to help testing and getting Ubuntu better on your ARM device, just poke us at #ubuntu-arm (freenode). We’ll for sure be happy to assist you with any problems you may find.

Note for Beagle xM users: in case you find that your Maverick Beta image doesn’t boot with your board, please check bug https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/628243. This means that you have a Numonyx memory chip, and unfortunately the fix didn’t make Beta. To work around it just mount the first partition of your SD card (after giving ‘dd’) and replace your MLO with http://people.canonical.com/~rsalveti/maverick/boot/xM/MLO. After this just umount the partition, put it at your board and boot it.


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