Reorganization of desk: day 1

Before UDS-O I decided that it is a time to change organization of my desk. Current setup is effect of two years of using several boards/computers etc.

Today I went on desk and under it and started disconnecting all cables which are no longer in use:

  • 3 null modem serial cables
  • 3 USB extenders
  • ATX 200W psu modded to provide 5V/12V for developer boards
  • E-SATA cable used with USB/ESATA hdd enclosure which is now connected over USB to PandaBoard
  • 3 Ethernet cables
  • mini-USB cable used as serial console with SheevaPlug
  • VGA cable which was used with second LCD — will be reconnected when there will be time for desktop

But that’s just beginning. Next days will bring disconnecting all developer boards, moving cable modem and phone base near to router, mounting two PandaBoards on piece of MDF (so they will not float), mounting some extra shelves to get rid of stuff from desk.

At the end I plan to have 2-4 LCD panels (or 2 monitors + 4-port KVM switch), two keyboards, two mouses, two laptops on one desk. Hope to finish it before end of next week.

Linux 2.6.38 on Efika MX Smartbook

Some time ago I updated my Efika MX Smartbook to run latest natty (which it was running since I got it) and then to newer kernel: 2.6.38 version.

Most of informations how to do it I got from guys sitting on #efika irc channel. There are 3 git repositories involved:

Fetch/checkout all three into separate directories.

First we need sdma firmware. Do not ask me what it is — you will need it to build kernel. Cd into directory, call “make” then copy sdma-imx51-to3.bin into firmware directory of linux kernel sources.

Second step is applying patches to kernel. Cd into linux dir, checkout a10aabd5e313ec6481569be20d120191692b4ca6 revision (this is which I used) and call:

QUILT_PATCHES=../rtp-patches/ quilt push -a

This will apply all required patches. Grab my kernel configuration and store it under .config name. Feel free to make some changes into it. Then build kernel.

How to get kernel to device is left for readers — if you know how to build then you are expected to know that.

Next step (we nearly finished) is to boot kernel. So reboot machine and watch how it gets up and running. With my kernel config you will probably see nothing… Cause I moved lot of things into modules. Edit /etc/modules file and add:

  • snd-soc-imx-3stack-sgtl5000 — sound driver
  • efikasb_rfkill — needed for wifi to work
  • mx5fb — framebuffer

Do not expect that 2d/3d stuff which works on official images (with non-free packages) will work. But if you will check modules then you can also look what is in NOR flash (but better do not play with it):

hrw@efika:~$ cat /proc/mtd
dev: size erasesize name
mtd0: 00040000 00001000 “u-boot”
mtd1: 00010000 00001000 “config”
mtd2: 00010000 00001000 “test”

Is it worth playing? Yes and no. Good is that kernel is more fresh then which was installed, but also it lost some 2d/3d acceleration support. But who knows… Maybe one day 🙂


This week I am in Budapest, Hungary attending Ubuntu Developer Summit for 11.10 ‘oneiric’ release discussions. But this is not only Ubuntu — there is huge amount of Linaro people discussing what to do next cycle.


Travel, travel, travel… Usual way — bus from home to Berlin airport (SXF this time) where I met with Henning ‘woglinde’ Heinold to donate my old Linksys WRT54 which I got donated few years ago to be able to use my Zauruses wireless. Router had to be in use on OpenEmbedded stand at LinuxTag, Berlin — go there and visit them at booth 7.2b 112.

Again flight was with Easyjet. It is cheap airline but with speedy boarding it is good enough to go with. Bad side is that it lands at old terminal 1 in Budapest so I had to go to hotel by my own.

Evening was Canonical only meeting where there was a presentation of some things which will go into 11.10 Ubuntu release (nearly same to next day keynote). After food, discussions and finally sleep ;D


Sessions started — I attended few:

  • Ubuntu LEB documentation
  • cross toolchain user stories — my own session where most of time Micheal Hope was telling us about requests which Toolchain WG got
  • user stories for nano image
  • DMB regular meeting — I became Ubuntu developer during it!

During evening was ‘Meet & Greet’ social event sponsored by Openstack and Freescale. Nice way to catch with people. Especially when you meet old friends which you never met in person ;D I met Marek Szyprowski which whom I was writing to Polish Amiga paper magazine named ‘eXec’ (but website with similar name does not have nothing in common now). We talked for quite long time about misc things. Also met some other folks, refreshed faces memory etc.



  • cross toolchain user stories (again) — we discussed notes from previous day, decided on some details and created work items so I can start working on it
  • Ubuntu LEB documentation (also again)
  • Linaro Ubuntu LEB process for 11.11
  • GDB as cross debugger

As you see LEB was topic of a day. And it was not everything — next day was another session.

Evening was taken by The Linaro Technical Showcase sponsored by IBM. What was there? Many interesting things:

  • Arnd Bergmann was talking why class4 SD card can be much better then class10 one
  • Freescale Landing Team was presenting i.mx53 Quick Start boards
  • Ash Charles from Gumstix was presenting their new miniboards with DM37xx cpus and few carrier boards
  • Paweł Moll from ARM was presenting Cortex A15 running from two biggest FPGA chips. It had just 11MHz clock but it was enough to show Doom game running on connected monitor.
  • Oxlab guys shown their work on Android and how you can hibernate BeagleBoard
  • ST-Ericsson guys presented Snowball boards — we had a talk on some hardware details
  • Konstantinos Margaritis shown what kind of difference can be between armel and armhf ports on same hardware
  • Angus Ainslie presented Samsung developer board and we had interesting discussion about it

I do not remember all presentations — those ones interested me most. ARM one was amazing — huge FPGAs which were able to emulate A15, A5, A9 just by booting with different MicroSD card… And it is not related only to CPU emulation cause there were two expansion slots on mainboard so FPGAs can became graphics card with Mali core flashed into. Second board was ‘simple’ A9 with Mali and some OpenGL(ES) demo was running there.

And again — new faces to join with names. Talked with Ash Charles about discussions in past when I helped Gumstix developers with OpenEmbedded, Angus Ainslie from ST-Ericsson was working for Openmoko at time when we had cooperation and so on…


Woke up early… What to do after 6:10? Go swimming! So I went to Royal SPA and spent some time in swimming pool and sauna so day started nicely.


  • automated cross-buildd system/service
  • Ubuntu LEB Star Rating documentation — my session again on how we want to rate level of support of member boards
  • ARM Linus interface 3 — attended just to check how kernel developers are discussing how to improve arch/arm/ situation

Met Mark Brown with whom I was working in OpenEmbedded project and after lunch I went to do some sight seeing with Paweł Moll. Budapest is nice city and I have to came back here one day.

Team dinner somewhere in the city was quite good. We had a fun going back to hotel when ~half of us used phones to navigate though city ;D



  • arm and other archs certification program — Canonical has certification program of machines which came with Ubuntu pre-installed. I have to check at their tools.
  • ALIP mini-distro and build system user/developer stories — interesting discussion
  • cross-toolchains for the ARM hard-float ABI — will have to provide them for Ubuntu and other but it is doable
  • next steps with multiarch in Ubuntu — where do we go and how

Evening was sight seeing with local guides. We saw parlament building, chain bridge, castle area and ended in interesting pub.


Ending day and nearly no sessions today:

  • port to the ARM hard-float ABI — Ubuntu armhf someone?
  • Linaro Review of LDS week
  • easier access to -dbgsym packages

Some of people already packed and left, rest will go to have fun at UDS party.


It was my third UDS and I feel that it was best one. I had two blueprints to handle and both had great discussions which ended in many notes and work items. There was lot of people both from Ubuntu community and Linaro teams. I met many developers, some old friends, went to so many sessions that it took me most of time (I do not remember is list in post is complete).

It was nice to see amount of ARM netbooks at people hands — mostly Genesi Smartbooks but also several Toshiba AC100 ones. I think that it shows that times are changing and who knows… maybe at next event I will not use my ASUS UL30A laptop.

And this is another UDS with some added hardware. This time it is Pandaboard A1 which can replace my EA1 at my work for Linaro. Probably will keep both running one to another but one (EA1) with Ubuntu and second (A1) will be used for misc tests.

Now it is a time to drop laptop in hotel room and go for party!!!