Chapter 11. Advanced Information
This chapter contains information on the various ARM machines available around the world which are using ARMLinux.
Note: Aleph One currently supply ARMLinux distributions and documentation covering the Risc PC, LART, Assabet/Neponset and Psion5. The Documentation also covers the generic principles for many ARM devices. Where a device is not listed, Aleph One are able to get ARMLinux up and running on your hardware on the understanding that you supply the necessary kit and hardware documentation. We will also take care of passing back the necessary changes to the main kernel tree.
Aleph ARMLinux is currently available for Risc PC users although there are alternative RISC OS machines for which support exists in the Linux kernel. These include:
The RiscStation - this support is now functional but not yet quite ready for release. Watch the web sites for updates.
The Acorn Archimedes range of computers which include machines like the A3000 and
The A5000 series.
With regard to Linux installation on the Archimedes range, detailed information can be found on the ARMLinux web site. Alternatively, Chris Pringle's manual - available from http://latrigg.demon.co.uk/chris/linux.html/ - provides a useful resource for those who wish to install ARMLinux on an 8MB A5000.
ARMLinux is also available in proof-of-concept form for the Psion Series 5 and for the related Geofox PDA because of the efforts of the Linux 7k project. ARMLinux for Psion uses the standard 2.2.1 Linux kernel with the addition of a specific psion-arm patch. This port offers support for established Psion and Geofox-related drivers and is able to take advantage of a range of applications. Only very limited use of Linux can be made without the addition of a compact flash card to extend the available storage.
Work is also in progress on a suitable Graphical User Interface of which an interesting example is the API developed by the MicroWindows Project. MicroWindow's API is known as Nano X and is much like xlib. At the time of writing (November 2000), this is just becoming functional on the Psion.
Note: Aleph One Limited hope to have an ARMLinux distribution available for the Psion Series 5 by early 2001.
Distinctive features of ARMLinux for Psion include the
Development of ArLo or the ARMLoader which loads and executes Linux whilst Psion's EPOC OS is running.
Use of the Initrd virtual filing system image which contains a miniature version of Linux.
Additional information about the Linux 7k project is available from http://linux-7110.sourceforge.net/. Current information on how the project is progressing can similarly be obtained by joining the mailing list <email@example.com> which can be accomplished by writing "subscribe" in the subject area of your email. Linux 7k also maintain an ftp site at ftp://ftp.sourceforge.net although the mirror site at Imperial College London - ftp://ftp.sunsite.org.uk/Mirrors/sourceforge.net - is more convenient for European users. A comprehensive Linux 7k mini-HOWTO by Stephen Harris is similarly available from the project's web site.
Insofar as supplementary information about Geofox is concerned, the company web site is no longer available although hardware information is obtainable from ftp://ftp.linuxhacker.org/pub/geofox.
In a similar vein, up-to-date information on the Nano X project can be had by subscribing to the Nano X mailing list on <firstname.lastname@example.org> or by pointing your browser to http://microwindows.censoft.com/.
Footbridge is a term which applies to DC21285- the PCI Core Logic device for the StrongARM processor. DC21285 appears in the NetWinder, in EBSA285 and in the CATS board.
Rebel.com's NetWinder range of computers include machines like the Office Server. This machine has been designed with the needs of home and small business users in mind who have need of a firewall/web/mail server which runs on Linux.
Distinctive features include support for:
Secure connection outside of a LAN via Progressive Systems's Smartgate VPN server.
Customisation of the user environment using specifications which are in the public domain.
Easy access to programs from http://www.netwinder.org/.
A default set of firewall rules which are useful in the prevention of IP spoof attacks.
EBSA285 or the Intel StrongARM SA-110/21285 Evaluation Board is a development environment for applications which will be based on the SA110 processor and 21285 Core Logic Chip.
EBSA285 can run Linux in addition to other OSs and is able to take advantage of a range of software from ARM and Cygnus.
Supplementary information on EBSA285 in the form of a product brief is available as a PDF file from the Intel Developers site at http://developer.intel.com/design/strong/quicklist/eval-plat/sa-110.htm/.
The Linux Advanced Radio Terminal (LART) is a compact energy efficient computer which was developed in order to conduct experiments in wireless multimedia. LART's standard configuration includes 32MB DRAM in addition to 4MB Flash ROM which is sufficient for the Linux kernel and a RAMdisk image. Setting up Linux on the LART is relatively straightforward because of the existence of the necessary patches in the main SA-1100 Linux patch. However, users will also need to acquire some LART-specific patches which are available as tarballs from http://www.lart.tudelft.nl/download.php3/. One such patch is the clock scaling patch which allows the user to customise the clock speed of the SA-1100 CPU.
Other distinctive features include:
Small size - 100mm x 60mm.
A modular design which is easily updatable.
Blob - LART's boot loader.
The availability of a C/C++ cross-compiler.
The original developers at the University of Delft (TU) don't currently produce LARTs other than as university research tools so interested readers should consider joining the LART mailing list at <email@example.com> for news of developments. Conversely, CAD files are available for use as is the LART software and LART-specific patches. To subscribe to the LART mailing list, send a message to <firstname.lastname@example.org> with the phrase "subscribe lart" in the message body. Alternatively, archives of the mailing list are available from http://www.lart.tudelft.nl/list/list.php3?arc=lart/. For general information on the project go to LART's web site at http://www.lart.tudelft.nl/.
This project - originally inspired by the Turbo Tortoise - encompasses a number of hardware and software initiatives together with associated tools which will be designed specifically for the aforementioned projects. PLEB was the brain-child of designers at the University of New South Wales http://cse.unsw.edu.au/~pleb/ who wanted to make a pocket computer which was able to run the Linux kernel.
Distinctive components of the PLEB project include the:
Development of the Photon - a credit-card sized StrongARM prototype for embedded and/or portable applications.
Atmel AVR board known as the Nova which has been used for small projects like the JTAG programmer.
Catapult - a firmware bootloader which will replace Blob - the bootloader of the LART project.
Gauntlet - an L4 micro-kernel for ARM.
Anvil - JTAG software for hardware programming and diagnostics.
Supplementary information on the PLEB project can be obtained by subscribing on-line to the PLEB mailing lists which include the general list <email@example.com> or the hardware-specific list <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
An SA-1110 evaluation board which may be repackaged as a PDA. Notable features include:
The availability of Win32 programming utilities like the SA-1110 Development Board, JTAG Programming Software V0.3 and Jflash-Linux which have been ported to Linux by Nicholas Pitre.
Neponset - a SA-1111 Development module which can deal with system lock ups which may in turn be caused by interrupt handling difficulties.
Use of the 2.4 kernel series with support for the Assabet and Neponset via a patch chain.
Alternative boot methods - the Angelboot utility is one example.
The capacity to run MicroWindows although a backlight power source needs to be added.
Work is also underway on support for Compact Flash on the Assabet and on PCMCIA support for the Neponset (http://www.compactflash.org/). In addition, the Socket LP-E CF + Card is now operative (http://socketcom.com/lpecfmp.htm/) as is the IBM Microdrive (http://www.storage.ibm.com/hardsoft/diskdrdl/micro/).
A project which is known as the Simple Inexpensive Multilingual Computer (Simputer http://www.simputer.org/ ). The Simputer exists to produce a low-cost Assabet-like PDA.
Distinctive features include:
A smart card reader.
Use of text-to-speech audio facilities.
Use of a browser which renders Information Markup Language (IML) which is smart card aware.
Touch screen and a local-language software interface.
More information is available from the Simputer mailing list which you can either join on-line (http://www.simputer.org/ or by writing "subscribe" in the body of an email which should be addressed to <email@example.com>.
A pocket computing initiative which uses Linux and the standard GNU tools to offer the following distinctive features.
Flexible interfaces for adding custom-made daughter cards.
Support for speech recognition.
Additional technical information on the Itsy Pocket Computer and on the Memory Daughter Card - both for Version 1.5 - can be downloaded from the Itsy web site at http://research.compaq.com/wrl/projects/itsy/index.html/. A number of slide shows are also available from the same web site which showcase the project's accomplishments to date.
The basic project - initiated by the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology http://www.it.kth.se/edu/gru/Fingerinfo/telesys.finger/Mobile.VT98/badge.html/ - uses an Intel StrongARM processor, sensors, built-in communication links and a PCMCIA interface. The complete schematic for this device is available from the SmartBadge web site as are a series of PDF files.
Particular features of the SmartBadge III Project include:
giveio.sys - device driver for NT 4.0.
instdrv.zip - a transient device driver which allows the user to load and start a device driver without necessarily having to permanently install it.
tar.zip - a miscellaneous collection of TAP master code.
TAP master documentation which is available from the SmartBadge web site
A StrongARM-based embedded computing research prototype which is intended for use with a variety of applications http://crl.research.compaq.com/projects/personalserver/default.htm/. One recent use of the Personal Server was in the form of a Compaq Robot Controller at MIT's Autonomous Robot Design Competition (http://mit.edu/6.270/). The Compaq Project is also noteworthy because of its use of a Debian based Linux distro - kernel 2.2.9 - from Chalice Technology (http://www.chaltech.com/. The distro currently fills an 8MB filesystem and therefore needs a remote connection to a filesystem in order to take advantage of additional applications.
A range of documents are available which are pertinent to this project including:
The Personal Server Users' Manual which examines bootldr, Linux and NetBSD.
Documentation for the Java package for the Personal Server with RCC.
Developers may also be interested in Cameron Moreland's HOWTO which is specifically concerned with running Linux on an Intel Brutus Board although it also contains much of relevance to those who intend to install Linux on a range of ARM machines. This document is available from the Aleph One web site http://www.aleph1.co.uk/armlinux/resources.html/.