With all my experiences with IGEP and SheevaPlug I was ready for a new experience with an ARM board having a SATA connector. My desktop environment at home is totally ARM based. First I tried SheevaPlug being my desktop but I was not completely satisfied because of the instability of the USB based display. Then I tried IGEP which has proper display handling but when it does I/O on USB or SDHC it largely blocks the system. Finally I set up SheevaPlug to be my NFS server and I use IGEP from NFS root. I compiled a Gentoo system on the IGEP and this became a pretty usable system with acceptable performance. The story was almost done, but there was one point I couldn’t digest: the NFS perfromance. I connected a USB disk to SheevaPlug and it sees around 16MB/s. When it is exported to IGEP through NFS it goes down to 4MB/s. There are also issues with the USB disks power saving. These are the factors that made me curious about the Hawkboard .
In this second part of my Hawkboard tale I share my experiences installing Gentoo Linux on an SD card, how I failed with the SATA disk and how much I appreciated Texas Instruments customer support. Finally I was able to use the SATA disk by choosing the right kernel and patches.
I share my Gentoo root filesystem for Hawkboard. It does not support a GUI and it has other issues too. I describe the process of flashing a SATA ready kernel and also set the U-Boot parameters to boot that. I believe the Gentoo philosophy is very practical for embedded devices. Gentoo users normally compile everything from source and it has a smart system to fine tune the compilation procedure. Embedded users often have special needs so this can be a big advantage. The compilation is very time consuming so I share the compiled binary packages as well.
This is the first part of my experiences with the IGEP-V2 platform . This is a Beagleborad clone with some very nice additions. They are both credit card size computers based on the Texas Instruments Omap3 CPUs. It is an ARM family CPU with very low power consumption. Both have nice homepages so I will not repeat specs here. I will rather compare my experiences with my Sheevaplug device that I bought earlier. It is also an ARM family computer based on the Marvell Kirkwood platform.
This is the second episode of my soap-opera with IGEP/V2. I like this device a lot. I still see the potential to use this as my desktop machine. The first step on the road is to change the factory installed linux to something more usable. The documentation is very bad, so I had to find out lots of things myself. Some of my experiences are collected here.
In this article I collect some insights about the factory installed Poky distribution and my experiences installing Ubuntu. Poky has apparent limitations for being used as a desktop Linux. Ubuntu is much closer, but it takes quite some efforts to create a bootable Micro SD card and Install Ubuntu on that. Here I describe how I created a bootable Micro SD card with Ubuntu and how I tried to make the factory supplied Poky install more comfortable.
Gentoo has very compelling features and I already have good experiences with it on x86. I plan to compile the whole Linux distribution from source. This is very time consuming, but rewarding at the same time. My feeling so far is setting the right optimization flags for IGEP makes a big difference. This post is going to be long. This is not a concise howto guide, but rather a collection of information that is not available in the official Gentoo installation guide. That document is a good starting point but one needs to know more to decide whether Gentoo would be the one to go with.
I chose an ARM based MID to experiment with. This guy is able to play Full-HD videos with low power consumption. The SmartQ V7 I bought is far from the build quality of IPad but far cheaper and has lot more connectors by default. Three operating systems can be chosen during the device boot. All of them is set to Chinese so it takes some time to change language. Actually WinCE has to be upgraded in order to switch language. With Linux it is pretty easy and it takes some time to set on Android.