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Thursday, April 28, 2011

PandaBoard/BeagleBoard: How I make my development life easier (my set up)

I thought it might be useful to describe how I have set up development environment at a high level. This is my take on how to make it as easy as possible to develop code on the BeagleBoard and Pandaboard.

In essence I have a desktop PC next to the PandaBoard which I develop on. At the same time I have the PandaBoard connected to:
  • a 19" monitor via a DVI/HDMI cable;
  • 8GB SD Card;
  • a usb hub;
  • wired ethernet to my home network;
  • 1 TB Hard Drive via USB;
  • keyboard;
  • mouse; and
  • power.

Both the Desktop and PandaBoard are running Ubuntu operating systems.

Monday, April 25, 2011

PowerVR: How to get GLES examples to compile (PandaBoard 3D Graphics)

The goal is to compile the examples from the Imaginations Technologies Graphics SDK to run OpenGL ES software on a BeagleBoard/PandaBoard:


The OMAP4430 contains several things. One area of the silicon is the Imaginations Technologies' licenced intellectual property in the Power SGX540. This section of the die supports hardward processing of the OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0 standards.

The exact nature of the hardware which processes the graphics is proprietary and deliberately kept closed. To protect the knowledge of how to implement graphics drivers in silicon it is assumed that it is necessary to restrict access to the low level software which interacts with it.

To this end you are unlikely to ever see the source code for the device drivers which operate the SGX540. What you do get is the binary driver. TI distribute this within the Ubuntu package "ubuntu-omap4-extras-graphics".

Therefore there are several sources of information involved to getting OpenGL ES 2.0 code to compile on the PandaBoard or the BeagleBoard etc.

Friday, April 22, 2011

BeagleBoard & PandaBoard: How to natively compile ioQuake3

This post assumes you are running Ubuntu on your BeagleBoard/PandaBoard. It also assumes you have Quake3 installed somewhere where you can copy files from.

Quake3 is a graphically intensive 3D game released by id software in 1999. The game engine id tech 3 was originally closed source but was opened up in 2005.

The GPL'd source has been improve by many and the best derivative repository is ioQuake3 (

It is possible to compile the Quake3 game natively on the BeagleBoard/Pandaboard.

Next Generation of ARM cores are interesting indeed


Pretty exciting news that the next generation of the of ARM cpus (A15) to arrive in early 2013 are being touted as having up to 16 cores, clock speeds of up to 2.5 GHz whilst using a similar amount of power as the current A9s (based in part on new fabrication techniques).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ubuntu: Sending and receiving serial under Linux (Ubuntu)

The code below will read serial strings from the UART at 115200 baud.

This is intended to work with a 2.6.* Linux kernel.

Surprisingly I was unable to locate a simple Linux example to read the port at 115200 reliably and without blocking the port or experiencing buffer lag.

I dug through kernel makefiles and pulled out the needed ioctl parameters, you will find the results of my labours below.

 Compiled on gcc 4.4.5.

 I use this to receive high speed data from sensors attached to an Arduino.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ubuntu 11.04 to be released in days - positive impact for OMAP platforms

From the Ubuntu 11.04 beta website (my comments are further down below):

( )

Ubuntu Netbook on ARM

In Natty the dedicated Ubuntu Netbook is only used on the preinstalled OMAP3 and OMAP4 armel images. On all other architectures the Ubuntu Netbook edition has been merged with the Ubuntu's Desktop.
The ARM version is the first one to ship our new Unity 2D interface by default, as there are no free 3D drivers available initially in a default installation.
The 2.6.38 kernel for OMAP4 got many driver improvements, most notably the display driver was switched to use the HDMI port by default and auto detect the monitor resolution.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Thank you readers

As you can see from the chart above this humble little blog has seen some increased attention lately.

This will spur me on to bring even more posts about Linux, Pandaboards, Beagleboards and Arduinos that I think you guys and gals will like.