Tag Archives: sheevaplug

Another distribution said goodbye to ARMv5 devices

Fedora 18 just became EOL. Most of the people do not care as F20 is present so they can run it on their PCs. But there is a group of users which may care.

All those people with ARMv5t hardware are left with Debian/armel now as there is no other big distribution supporting their devices anymore. Someone will ask “what about Ångström or Gentoo?” but who sane would build Gentoo on armv5te?

I do not remember when last time I used something with arm926 core (or similar – like Kirkwood). Probably few years ago when helped friend to get Sheevaplug booting into Debian.

But there are still Sheevaplugs, Guruplugs, *plugs and QNAP devices out there serving their users with selected services. And some of their owners will have to decide what next…

Let’s compare some cpu ;)

When I bought Samsung Chromebook friend started “nbench” on it. So I did same on my conference laptop. None of devices won…

Idea of testing cpu power was sitting somewhere at back of my head and finally I decided to just run one simple command available on nearly every GNU/Linux based system: “openssl speed”. Sure, on some systems it will use hardware accelerators, on others (or not) some options enabled to get more speed (like ARM assembly version which is not enabled in Debian/Ubuntu systems). But it is something what anyone can run at home.

Table may be hard to decipher so I also give it as Google Docs. It also has few more devices listed and whole tables (one below is for 8192 size samples).

Devices in table are:

  • my Intel Core i7-2600K desktop
  • my Intel U7300 (ultra low voltage) conference laptop
  • Exynos5 Dual powered Samsung ARM Chromebook
  • Exynos4 Dual powered Tizen development platform (got rid of it today)
  • i.mx515 powered Efika MX Smartbook
  • Beaglebone with AM335x cpu
  • Sheevaplug (as only armv5te device which can compare with other entries)

Devices were running different versions of OpenSSL under different systems. It is listed in Google Docs document.

CPUCore i7U7300Exynos 5250Exynos 4210i.mx515AM335xFeroceon 88FR131
Architecturex86-64x86-64armv7a (a15)armv7a (a9)armv7a (a8)armv7a (a8)armv5te
MHz34001300170010008007201200
OpenSSL version1.0.1c1.0.1c1.0.1c1.0.0f1.0.1a1.0.0i1.0.0d
 
md41111896393198328471205906143746103068119367
md5693969249301224040148089854015336586518
hmac(md5)686511248859225839149153867285498187651
sha172152822277014773971233495253544638123
rmd1602474539350010693557790401882631830803
rc489461522566015394986829637702936445036
des cbc737032719137811212991496686018829
des ede32809110578141837806552630053130
seed cbc78204311813900224361176501167113087
rc2 cbc4432713839236911549410897739310699
blowfish cbc133455520044947137540235361565420584
cast cbc118852491625532631738228481529820590
aes-128 cbc127378959556536022386164771087611697
aes-192 cbc1061418100255973186531391292219968
aes-256 cbc904876914848564164191209179818677
camellia-128187958444035869815447233251550714197
camellia-192141346331804586712090183001226111138
camellia-256141422332724592712050183831224711131
sha256216766867916433423427181481202213040
sha512336729135935311268877532124843221
whirlpool12121147920278204602384022623085
aes-128 ige122085430186321822126155901046911219
aes-192 ige1021333610754269186961335589049647
aes-256 ige875143100147636163071163577358433
ghash19386091680343547912136

Most interesting columns are U7300 and Exynos 5250 ones — 3 years old laptop which I bought for conferences compared to Chromebook. Looks like for next conferences/events I will rather go with Chromebook not UL30A. This will give me one or two hours of battery life less but it is much lighter device at same time. But have to test it first for few days to check is it comfortable enough for daily use.

What interest me in ARM world

When I published my last post about ARM boards there were many questions and suggestions with interesting devices. Thank You all for it.

But there were also suggestions about ARM9 or ARM11 based devices. So I decided that it is good time to write what interest me now in ARM world.

But first some inventory. I had/used/have several devices with ARM cpu:

  • StrongARM (armv4) one:

    • Sharp Zaurus SL-5500 (which took me to ARM world)
  • ARM920 (armv4t) ones:

    • Openmoko GTA01 bv3, bv4 (s3c2410)
    • EDB9301 (EP9301 cpu)
    • Sim-One (EP9307)
  • ARM926 (armv5te) ones:

    • Sharp Zaurus sl-5600 (pxa250)
    • Sharp Zaurus c760/sl-6000 (pxa255)
    • Sharp Zaurus sl-c3000 (pxa272)
    • Sheevaplug (kirkwood)
    • Atmel devboards (at91sam9263, at91sam9m10)
    • ST-Microelectronics/ST-Ericsson NDK-15, NHK-15 (st88n15)
    • Nokia 770 (omap1710)
    • Linksys NSLU2 (ixp425 iirc)
  • ARM1136 (armv6) ones:

    • Nokia N810 (omap2430)
    • Bug r1.0, r1.2 (i.mx31)
  • Cortex-A8 (armv7a) ones:

    • Beagleboard B7, B7, C3 (omap3430)
    • Nokia N900 (omap3430)
    • Nexus S (exynos3)
    • Genesi Efika MX Smartbook (i.mx51)
    • Freescale Quickstart (i.mx53)
  • Cortex-A9 (armv7a) ones:

    • Pandaboard EA1, A1 (omap4430)
    • Archos G9 80 (omap4430)

All of that during last 8 years. Most of my ARM live so far was around ARM926 based devices (some of them still can not be listed here) and I do not want to go there again. Kirkwood core was fastest one with 1.2GHz clock and 512MB of RAM it was really fast machine. I only missed Serial ATA in my Sheevaplug (rev 1.0) but even with hard drive on USB it was nice improvement.

Then I played a bit with ARM11 processors. Ok, they were faster than most of ARM9 cpus but I already had experience with Sheevaplug. And after few months first Cortex-a8 board landed on my desk — I got Beagleboard B7 from Bug labs as test platform for their new device. This was improvement!

I still remember my reaction when connected it to normal LCD monitor and saw it used at 720p resolution (1680×1050 was a bit hard for omap3). Moved to Nokia N900 few months later and found that fast cpu means nothing when paired with slow storage and not enough memory for system.

So today I prefer to not look below Cortex-A9 (or comparable cores like ones from Qualcomm or Marvell). Hope to play one day with Cortex-A5 (which should replace ARM926 one day) just to see how low-end armv7a cpu behave.

And wait for ARMv8 to hit market.

Unbricked my old SheevaPlug

Few months ago one of my friends borrowed SheevaPlug from me. About two weeks later he gave it back — bricked… I did not had time to play with it so it landed on shelf.

Yesterday I took it and decided to get it back to live. Requirements:

  • bricked SheevaPlug (v1.0 without SATA)
  • power cable
  • mini usb cable
  • usb thumb drive
  • OpenOCD (“apt-get install openocd”)
  • cross compiler (“apt-get install gcc-arm-linux-gnueabi” under Ubuntu)
  • U-Boot sources (HEAD of mainline)
  • Linux sources (also HEAD of mainline)
  • serial terminal (picocom, minicom, screen etc)
  • few terminals or terminal multiplexer (I used tmux)

Then:

  • Connected power and mini usb cables to SheevaPlug. Desktop recognized usb-serial device as /dev/ttyUSB1.
  • Connected to it with serial terminal. Nothing appeared there of course ;)
  • Run OpenOCD: “cd /tmp/;sudo openocd -f /usr/share/openocd/scripts/board/sheevaplug.cfg -s /usr/share/openocd/scripts”. SheevaPlug was detected.
  • Connected to OpenOCD: “telnet localhost 4444″.
  • Built U-boot:
export CROSS_COMPILE=arm-linux-gnueabi-
make mrproper
make sheevaplug_config
make u-boot.kwb
  • Copied “u-boot” to “/tmp/uboot.elf” and used “reset;sheevaplug_init;load_image u-boot.elf;resume 0x00600000″ — landed in U-Boot ;)
  • There is “sheevaplug_reflash_uboot” macro but it was not working for me. So I used U-Boot to flash itself:
Marvell>> usb start
Marvell>> fatload usb 0:1 0x0800000 u-boot.kwb
Marvell>> nand erase 0x0 0xa0000
Marvell>> nand write 0x0800000 0x0 0xa0000
Marvell>> reset
export CROSS_COMPILE=arm-linux-gnueabi-
make mrproper
make kirkwood_config
make menuconfig (set INITRAMFS_SOURCE to /dev/initfs)
make uImage
  • Copied “arch/arm/boot/uImage” to USB thumb drive and inserted it into SheevaPlug.
  • Booted image:
Marvell>> set ethaddr 'c0:ff:ee:c0:ff:ee'
Marvell>> set bootargs 'console /dev/ttyS0,115200 rw'
Marvell>> usb start;fatload usb 0:1 0x800000 /uImage;bootm 0x800000
  • Landed in nice and small Ångström distribution image ;)
  • Went to Ångström online image builder and built console image (task-base based).
  • Built Linux kernel (this time without initramfs):
export CROSS_COMPILE=arm-linux-gnueabi-
make menuconfig (unset INITRAMFS_SOURCE)
make uImage
  • Copied “arch/arm/boot/uImage” to USB thumb drive and inserted it into SheevaPlug.
  • Prepare NAND for UBI:
# mount none /dev -t devtmpfs
# udhcpc eth0
# opkg-cl update
# opkg-cl install mtd-utils
# ubiformat /dev/mtd2
# ubiattach -p /dev/mtd2
# ubimkvol /dev/ubi0 -N rootfs -s 490MiB
# ubiupdatevol /dev/ubi0_0 /media/sda1/angstrom-task-base.ubifs
# mount -t ubifs ubi0:rootfs /media/rootfs
# chown -R root:root /media/rootfs
# cp /media/sda1/uImage /media/rootfs/boot
# sync
# reboot
  • Another reconfiguration in U-Boot:
Marvell>> bootargs 'console=ttyS0,115200 rw ubi.mtd=2 rootfstype=ubifs root=ubi:rootfs'
Marvell>> bootcmd 'ubi part nand0,2; ubifsmount rootfs; ubifsload 0x800000 /boot/uImage;bootm 0x800000'
Marvell>> mtdids 'nand0=orion_nand'
Marvell>> set mtdparts 'mtdparts=orion_nand:512k(uboot),4m@1m(kernel),507m@5m(rootfs)'
Marvell>> save
Marvell>> reset

And now my SheevaPlug is operational again. Boots from NAND with latest U-Boot and Linux. There is around 440MB free still on NAND (not counting 4MB partition where kernel was expected to be). I can put it back on shelf now.

The only parts which I needed to compile were U-Boot and Linux kernel. I could skip bootloader and use binary image from Internet but prefer to know what my machines run (and building U-Boot is really easy). Initramfs support in Linux is real live saver as I did not had to play with initrd etc — just build image and boot it. The only problem was that devtmpfs was not auto mounted (even if option in kernel was selected).

I could also use one of those “easy installers” made by PlugComputer community but I found such solutions more complicated (fetching binaries, finding requirements etc) than the one I used.

Sheeva SD controller + rootfs on SD == FAIL?

Few days ago I decided to migrate from Ångström to Debian on my Sheevaplug. Fetched installer images, booted them and installed system to 4GB microSD card. All was fine.

System was running nicely until today…

MicroSD card started to generate timeouts, read/write errors and other not nice messages. End effect: not booting system. Now I started Ångström and plan to rescue as much as possible from card. Next attempt will be with rootfs on USB stick.

Sheevaplug updates

Half year passed since I started using Sheevaplug at home. Currently it is my IRC station (with self-compiled irssi due to Perl problems in OpenEmbedded) and today it will also became central file server as I just received 1.5TB Samsung drive + USB enclosure for it.

It got several updates today:

Yes, two storage serving daemons. Samba will provide access to multimedia data when NFS will be more used for developer board root file systems and such.

Now hard drive is working connected via ESATA but after copying it will be connected to Sheevaplug instead of my workstation.

Just to cut questions — I bought Welland ME-752H enclosure. It allows to use Serial ATA 3.5″ drives and connect them by USB or ESATA interfaces. The bonus part is 2 port USB hub so I will not be out of USB ports in Sheeva ;)

Sheevaplug arrived

Recently I joined group of Sheevaplug owners. It is amazing how small it is…

Sheevaplug

Simple tests shows that CPU is faster then OMAP3 used in BeagleBoard but this is not a surprise — 1200MHz compared to 600MHz makes a difference. And they are two different types of devices.

What use I have for it? Some native builds and it will be my local TFTP/NFS server — I just have to connect 4GB pendrive to it. Ah… I also have to install Ångström on it first as using Ubuntu is not in my style. Especially not with 512MB flash used as JFFS2 partition…

Some useful links for those who wonder how to get Sheevaplug working: