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!!!

Is it time to replace WRT54GS?

Since few months I have 10/1Mbps network connection (downlink/uplink). Recently it was downgraded to 1/1Mbps and I had no idea why. Finally it appeared that my router was the problem…

Exact reason was QoS which I enabled few days ago. It looks like DD-WRT which I use now can not handle it on WRT54GS without degrading network speed. For now I disabled this but it is not an option because I plan to use VoIP more in next months so I need warranty that it will get all bandwidth it needs never mind what else would be running.

Current plans are to make use of Alix 1.c which I have from PC Engines. Soon I will have nice case for it so the only things to buy will be miniPCI WiFi card (friends suggested getting one of Atheros based ones) and 1GbE network card. I already have 2GB CompactFlash for rootfs and spare 2.5″ hdd which will be used for storage.

This configuration should be fast enough to have more functions then just router/AP. I plan to make it also printer/scanner server and probably there will be some more to add.

Forcing own MAC address under OpenWrt ‘WhiteRussian’

Today I had to remove my favourite network card to fit other PCI card (microATX board has only 2 PCI slots). And then I got my old problem — desktop card MAC was same as router one so wrt54gs refused to work with it.

I tried to set wan_hwaddr, def_hwaddr NVRAM entries to other MAC but it was ignored each reboot (even after nvram save). Finally I found a way to resolve/workaround it.

As OpenWrt use simple init from BusyBox I added one script into /etc/init.d/ directory — S07-hrw-set-nvram:

nvram set wan_hwaddr=C0:FF:EE:C0:FF:EE
nvram set def_hwaddr=C0:FF:EE:C0:FF:EE
nvram set il0macaddr=C0:FF:EE:C0:FF:EE

So as result MAC of router card is set to my value and do not conflict with my desktop network card.

Small does not mean powerless

Koen’s post about AVR32 Network Gateway and few posts on usenet reminded me that many people still think that small devices are crap and lack power to do anything.

Do they? I think that not. Here I use two small embedded devices:

  • Linksys NSLU2 as NFS server (plans are to add TFTP, Samba, CUPS and Bluetooth AP)
  • Linksys WRT54GS as router/firewall

Both do their work without any problems, both runs Linux and opensource distributions (OpenSlug and OpenWRT).

Soon will add something based on one of AT91 devboards but more to experiment with software then normal usage. And as I have 20 pin header soldered to OpenMoko debug board it can even be bricked (JTAG port was already tested with other device then Neo1973).

Great thing is that systems like AT91SAM9263EK, Gateway or STK1000 (another AVR32 devboard from Atmel) can be used to produce many different devices — I remember talk with one guy who shown his developer board (about A4 size) and final device (small rugged mobile device with barcode scanner) and told that this devboard was used to create about 10 misc models.

My friend made a project of own device based on AT91 ARM cpu with few peripherials. Total cost was less then 100 EUR and it can be used to different tasks and also give possibility to learn how to write kernel code (to handle all addons).

As Cliff Brake wrote: you cannot afford to not use Linux in your own projects. There are too many drivers and ready to use code to not make use of them. You can even get nice modules for less then 100 dollars (ARM, AVR32, x86 based) if you do not want to design own one. Then next step is OpenEmbedded and you have problem which software to choose as there is too much to choose 🙂

NSLU2 joined under-desk machines

Today I bought Linksys NSLU2 machine. It is small, ARM based NAS and it is running Linux out-of-box. Unpacked, connected to home network and after checking that it is working I reflashed it with OpenSlug 3.10. So now it runs 2.6.16 kernel (instead of old, hacked 2.4.something) and opensource system (built with OpenEmbedded).

What for I bought it (other then taking space under desk)? I plan to run few services on it:

  • NFS server with DL_DIR contents (all sources used by OpenEmbedded builds)
  • TFTP server (to server kernels, rootfs images for miscelanous devices on my desk)
  • SMB server (music, movies)
  • Bluetooth access point for my Neo1973 phones and other devices

Too bad that small embedded PCs are harder to get that such gadgets. I hope that one day I will be able to buy machine which will replace my WiFi AP/router and NSLU2 (NAS, BT AP) in one.

OpenWRT WhiteRussian RC6

My home router is powered by OpenWRT WhiteRussian RC5 which I installed months ago. For my usage it is ok, but as there is a new release I decided to look does it is worth upgrading.

Their website give access to Changelog but as ‘svn log’ output nearly which is bad because they write useless comments like “fix dependency” or “oops... typo :)” so you can’t find out what was really changed. And you can not upgrade with ipkg update; ipkg upgrade — reflashing is required.

Looks like sooner or later I will give a try to DD-WRT or other distro.

First days using Tosa/2.4

During last days I moved from my C760 to Tosa. It is heavy, big and has awesome screen — I can use it even with lowest brightness setting (one step from “no backlight”). Stylus is made from plastic but is longer then styli from other Zaurus models. Internal WiFi is able to do WPA on firmware level but driver do not support it ;(

First day was SharpROM day because I forgot to take CF card from home to flash OpenZaurus. SharpROM looks quite OK but some things was weird. For example handling of QVGA applications — screen was switched into 240×320 mode with ‘please wait’ message on start and exit… This slowdown plus no possibility to switch off that switching force user to rather skip using such apps. WiFi settings has profiles support which is nice but due to fact that internal wireless use wlan-ng drivers I could not get WPA so was not able to connect to my home AP.

Same day evening I flashed OpenZaurus 3.5.4 (OPIE flavour) into device. System boots and works but I needed to install some upgrades to get fixed keyboard mapping etc. Reconfigured AP to get connection, configured WiFi in tosa and ipkg update;ipkg upgrade was working. Lot of stuff upgraded and after reboot I got working keyboard but lost HostAP configuration files (will hunt this bug and add proper fixes into OpenZaurus upgrades feed). Lack of Control key make it not so usable with OPIE terminals so I use OPIE-IRC on it instead of logging into my irssi-over-screen session. And there are two keys which functionality is something which I must find out (one above Cancel and Backlight/Rotate one).

Machine works quite nice but after using 2.6 kernel on PDA for over one year I feel that 2.4-crapix is slow… Resuming from suspend need time to get machine responding, enabling WiFi means machine not responding for a while too… I hope that 2.6 will get into usable state soon.

OpenWRT powered

BusyBox v1.00 (2005.05.25-20:30+0000) Built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.

  _______                     ________        __
 |       |.-----.-----.-----.|  |  |  |.----.|  |_
 |   --   ||  _  |  -__|     ||  |  |  ||   _||   _|
 |_______||   __|_____|__|__||________||__|  |____|
          |__| W I R E L E S S   F R E E D O M

root@OpenWrt:~# uname -a
Linux OpenWrt 2.4.30 #1 Wed May 25 16:25:58 EDT 2005 mips unknown

in near future it will be partially replaced by “wrt54oe” distribution build using OpenEmbedded.