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.