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Thread: Linux on 7" mini netbook ARM-VT8500 ?

  1. #141
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    Re: Linux on 7" mini netbook ARM-VT8500 ?

    It is a common misconception that all you need to make something run on hardware is to supports its processor. While the code will most probably run, it won't do anything meaningful because peripherals are programmed in a different way.
    You program peripherals through the memory address paradigm on ARM, and on different SoC platforms you have peripherals for which the memory address you have to communicate them with is located at another place, and they often even have different behaviour.

    So we have to wait Kaser to release the source code if we want an out-of-box Linux. Otherwise a port needs to be started (and an hardware technical document needs to be started). You can ..ehm find something about the VIA VT8430 but that's too little for our purposes so it will take a lot of reverse engineering.

  2. #142
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    Re: Linux on 7" mini netbook ARM-VT8500 ?

    But these are system on a chip right? wont all vt8500 program its built in peripherals the same way? I could be wrong, just asking

    and it seems montavista is open, but they have a tool for embedded developers to quickly port linux.

  3. #143
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    Re: Linux on 7" mini netbook ARM-VT8500 ?

    The VIA VT8500, is from Wondermedia, a spinoff of VIA, called the wm8510, Prizm.

    Im trying to get aa BSP and docs from them.

  4. #144
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    Re: Linux on 7" mini netbook ARM-VT8500 ?

    OK here is all I found out so far.
    here is the link for wondermedia, the via spinoff
    http://www.wondermedia.com.tw/index....d=51&Itemid=23

    the 8430 appears to be the dual core version of the 8500:
    VT8430 multimedia application processor parameter list:
    Dual-core architecture (250MHz ARM926EJ-S + 200MHz DSP) in a more smooth multimedia playback capabilities to support a variety of media hardware decoding Video: MPEG-1/MPEG-2/MPEG-4/H.264/DIVX/XVID Audio: MP3/WMA/AAC/AAC + / DTS / Dolby Digital Image: JPEG * Video Interface: LCD (1024x1024) / TV-Out / CCIR656/601 IO / MPEG2-TS * Audio Interface: I2S / AC97/PCM/SPDIF * Memory, storage support: DDR/DDR2/NAND Flash SPI / LPC Flash for boot ROM IDE I / F SD (SDIO) / CF / MMC / MS * Peripheral Interface: USB 2.0 OTG x 1 & Host x 1 UART/I2C/SPI 10/100 Ethernet MAC * Security Engine: DES/3DES, AES, RC4 * Package: 21x21 PBGA
    VIA VT8430 is designed specifically for multimedia entertainment based on ARM926EJ-S RISC core application processor to support a variety of common audio and video hardware decoding, which is very suitable as personal multimedia device as a whole SoC solutions, such as the PMP (portable multimedia players), in-car entertainment, DMA (digital media partners), etc.. 8430 contains a wealth of peripheral interfaces, can very easily add a variety of external modules to increase product features, such as hard drive, WiFi module, FM modules, mobile TV module, GPS module, infrared remote control module, various types of USB devices, which also specially designed for safe and added a dedicated encryption engine, enabling customers to easily achieve the low cost of data encryption requirements.
    8430 is the VIA entire ARM SoC in a family now has a variety of products based on the 8430 program: GPS navigation systems, multimedia players, handheld mobile TV, BSP package supports standard Linux and Microsoft's WinCE platform. Welcome all kinds of Design House, and are interested in consulting a friend calls come to negotiate.
    VIA Technologies, Inc. The company is an authorized agent, For more detailed information, please call contact. Contact: Mr. Chen Tel: 13751153055 / 0755-82916972 ext: 38 E-mail: JohnnyChen@leadinglight.com.cn

    this site supposedly has a datasheet, but im not about to pay $35 to find out:
    http://www.pudn.com/downloads140/sou...ail606986.html
    http://www.pudn.com/downloads116/doc/detail492254.html

    goodluck

  5. #145
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    Re: Linux on 7" mini netbook ARM-VT8500 ?

    You can find those datasheets here
    It's not very nice of them to close the specs to program our own systems.

  6. #146
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    Re: Linux on 7" mini netbook ARM-VT8500 ?

    Oh excellent nextvolume!

  7. #147
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    Re: Linux on 7" mini netbook ARM-VT8500 ?

    i'm going to be buying another mini netbook,

    but id still like linux on this via
    Last edited by corruptbinary; January 15th, 2010 at 12:47 PM.

  8. #148
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    Re: Linux on 7" mini netbook ARM-VT8500 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by dwinston91 View Post
    So the entire u-boot script file consists of just these three lines? Also can you provide some details of how to setup the "big brother machine"? Like where to put the kernel file and the exported nfs filesystem. which kernel and nfs filesystem did you use? And are there any additional settings on the dhcp server that need to be setup? or how should I setup tftp? I know I have lots of questions.
    I feared i would bore you with all too long a monologue

    On my example machine, 'three lines' mentioned is indeed all that was needed to get u-boot into 'netboot mode'. Again: this will work *only* if the networking interface and the netboot-supporting code was compiled into the u-boot on the 'small brother'. It would be worth a try.... See below why even without any of the servers active, just making a script with those three lines could be of some use....

    W.r.t. the 'big brother', i'll give the example of the configuration for 'my' 'small brother':

    You need a dhcp server installed and configured on your network. It would help it that one is the *only* dhcp server: if -for instance- a router on the network is also willing to issue IP addresses to 'any' client, there is quite a chance that the router will provide an IP address to 'small brother', but it is quite unlikely that that router will also provide the rest of the information... That will not result in a successfull netboot. The dhcp server described here will be configured to provide the complete netboot information, a router is usually configured to only provide IP addresses, nameserver adresses and default gateway information. Antoher thing, it is 'best' to use a rather 'quiet' and isolated network for this kind of experiments: for the things we're going to do here, security is *not* assured We're also going to 'tcpdump' the network, and on a busy network it will be quite a job to 'pick out' the few interesting network packets from in-between 'the flow' on the network.

    A dhcp server is usually configured with the file /etc/dhcpd.conf. For my netbooting of 'small brother' i have the following information in that file:

    Code:
    # the colibri: the development board: boot config
    host colibri {
     hardware ethernet 00:14:2d:00:0a:d4;
     fixed-address 192.168.0.200;
     option host-name "colibri";
     next-server 192.168.0.1;
     filename "/home/prf/projects/boot/uzImage.bin";
     option root-path "192.168.0.1:/home/prf/projects/rootfs";
    }
    description:

    The 'hardware ethernet' is followed by the MAC address of the 'small brother'. I'll explain in a moment how i get my hands on that one.

    The 'fixed-address 192.168.0.200' sets the IP address of 'small brother'. I have used a fixed IP address to make exporting the NFS filesystem easier. It can be any valid and 'free' IP address on the network that the 'small brother' is connected to.

    The 'option host-name "colibri"' is to provide a host-name to the 'small brother'. It *is* extra, and not strictly needed. The 'next-server' is the IP address where 'small brother is going to attempt to get its bootfile from; So: 'next-server' is set to the IP address of 'big brother'.

    The 'filename "/home/prf/projects/boot/uzIimage.bin"' contains the path of the kernel file that must be loaded: in my case that is the file '/home/prf/projects/boot/uzImage.bin'.

    The kernel itself is an arm-kernel, pre-processed for use as a netbootable kernel. I'll come back to how to prepare the kernel for that in a moment. The 'option root-path "192.168.0.1:/home/prf/projects/rootfs"' is the path of the root-filesystem. It is a directory that is nfs-exported.

    Now to the 'loose ends' of the previous description:

    How to get the MAC address of 'small brother'? I use tcpdump for that. The first thing that 'small brother' does is to broadcast on the network for a dhcp server. It uses the 'broadcast MAC address': ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff as destination address (mind you, this is a MAC address, not an IP address..), and its own MAC address as source MAC address. This network packet will show up in tcpdump as a DHCPDISCOVER packet.

    A DHCPDISCOVER in the tcpdump output is the signal that someone is attempting to get an IP address from a dhcp server. On our 'quiet' network, that must be 'small brother' So: the '00:14:2d:00:0a:d4' is the MAC address of 'small brother'. You have to copy/paste the address into dhcpd.conf, and restart the dhcpserver to make the dhcp server actually accept this as an address that it will 'service'.

    -intermezzo-
    That is also why a 'script-test' using the sdcard method could be interesting: if 'our' u-boot supports netbooting, then this 'DHCPDISCOVER' will show up on the local network, even without an actual dhcp server.
    -end intermezzo-

    The kernel file: (the file '/home/prf/projects/boot/uzImage.bin' of the example): I'm no specialist there, but it is a normally-cross-compiled arm-kernel, the result of the command:

    Code:
    make vmlinux
    of kernel compilation. Note that you will have to have everything 'preset' for cross-compilation when building that kernel. Allow me please to leave the monologue of how to generate and set up a cross-compilation toolset for a 'to be continued' . That vmlinux file is pre-processed in two steps:

    Code:
    arm-linux-objcopy -O binary -R .note -R .comment -S vmlinux linux.bin
    gzip linux.bin
    arm-linux-objcopy is one of the tools from the 'binutils' package of cross-compilation tools... This results in a file linux.bin . Reason for that conversion: I do not know.... That linux.bin is converted to a u-bootable image file with the command:

    Code:
    mkimage -A arm -O linux -T kernel -C gzip \
       -a 0x00008000 -e 0x00008000 -n "Linux Kernel Image" \
       -d linux.bin.gz uzImage
    mkimage sould be more 'known' to you than to me by now: it is the same program that is used to generate the sdcard script files. The resulting file 'image' is the file that must be copied to the directory: '/home/prf/projects/boot' so that the 'small brother can load it. The other options of mkimage, i'm not sure of, i've got them from the 'recipe' of the colibri bsp. The 'uzImage.bin' file should be made world-readable (chmod a+r uzImage.bin).

    Here is where the tftp server comes into play: After getting the response from the dhcp server (which contains the path to the 'uzImage.bin' file), the 'small brother' will attempt to load the 'uzImage.bin' file using tftp. To make that a success, you will need to have a tftp server installed on the 'big brother' machine. You can test if the tftp server works using the command 'tftp localhost'. That is an ftp-like command-line client which uses the tftp protocol and server. Tftp is very limited, it has no 'ls', and needs a full pathname of a file to 'get'...

    One note on my Wondermedia WM8505 machine: it has as 'own' default IP address 10.1.8.250, and has a 'built-in' preset IP address for the boot-server of 10.1.8.37 . Meaning: If you set your 'dedicated boot-lan' to have 10.1.8.37 as IP address for the 'big brother' then the preset IP addresses that are set in u-boot of the 'small brother' should be ok already. I did find that -when attempting to tftp my kernel with 192.168.0.1 as address for 'big brother' that the tftp failed.

    Finally: the root-filesystem. That should be a directory on 'big brother' which contains a directory tree that will form the root-filesystem of 'small brother'. Note that this includes the user-id's and permissions that the 'small brother' will see. You will need to nfs-export the directory tree.

    To export the directory tree to nfs-clients (in our case that is 'small brother') you will have to have an nfs server installed and enabled and enter the following line in /etc/exports:

    Code:
    /home/prf/projects/rootfs 192.168.0.200(rw,no_root_squash)
    and restart the nfs server after you've edited that line into /etc/exports.

    As for the contents of the exported filesystem, please allow me to keep that for the next 'monologue' For now, i'll just mention that it should contain a valid and usable root-filesystem for the 'small brother'.

    Is that long enough for one of the 'to be continued' sessions?
    Last edited by PrFaas; February 1st, 2010 at 12:18 AM. Reason: updated: mkimage command changed, tftp story updated.

  9. #149
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    Re: Linux on 7" mini netbook ARM-VT8500 ?

    BTW: i've just started the 'backup' machine (let's call it #2) i got today. Source: the same shop i got #1 from, exterior and other information is exactly the same as #1, same box, same price. But: the 'my computer'-> properties results in a slightly different set of information: Processor type is now 'WMT, ARM-WM8505', and the OS is WindowsCE, version 6.00, (build 3122).

    So far, i've also found that the 'player' has acquired a 'skin'; a nicer one than the rather 'bare' one i saw before.... The inside looks like the same yellow pcb i've seen on #1.

    No: i've not disassembled #1 yet: i can either write long monologues or handle a screwdriver, but not both at the same time

  10. #150
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    Re: Linux on 7" mini netbook ARM-VT8500 ?

    Thanks so much PrFaas, that information is soooooo helpful.

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