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In August 2009, I published an article on developerWorks that describes how to boot Angstrom Linux on the BeagleBoard revision C. The article has been very popular, with over 52,000 views.

Today, check developerWorks for a new article titled
Booting Linux on the BeagleBoard xM. This new article describes how to get Angstrom, Ubuntu, and Android running on the xM. I’m thankful for any comments.


I was a track chair for ARM TechCon this year. The conference, which took place about two weeks ago at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is an annual gathering for ARM licensees, purveyors, developers, and enthusiasts. It was very well attended this year, and many of the sessions were quite crowded.

As I discussed in a webinar just before the show, I had a huge list of sessions to attend. I used the Schedule Builder to organize the list, and that helped tremendously, but it was still difficult to keep sessions straight. There were many overlapping talks, which I and many other people I talked to found unfortunate – despite the pressure it puts on speakers, it is generally best to keep sessions to the same lengths so that people can transition from one to the other without having to leave in the middle. Despite that, though, it was a heck of a good technical conference.

Obviously there was no way I could attend all of the sessions I planned to, but I did go to a fair number and learned quite a lot. Here are some highlights:

  • Wednesday Keynotes: ARM President Tudor Brown, Yahoo’s Ron Jacoby talking about connected TVs, and the very lively and fascinating Sehat Sutardja discussing Marvell’s commitment to ARM
  • My colleague and MontaVista co-blogger Nick Pollitt gave a great talk about a source-based approach to embedded Linux development. I recorded audio for this one and hope to get it up soon on our podcast page
  • I caught the latter half of my friend Gerald Coley’s presentation on the BeagleBoard xM, which was standing room only
  • I listened to David Rusling discuss Linaro, and also found out about its importance in TI’s PandaBoard project
  • I caught the tail end of Thursday’s keynote on mobile payments by PayPal’s Eric Duprat, which made me wish I had skipped coffee and arrived earlier
  • Ian Rickards discussed the dual-core Cortex-A9, which made me want a PandaBoard even more than I already did

I was very sad to miss Khem Raj’s talk on OpenEmbedded. I do wish I could have cloned myself! Or at least sent an ARM-powered robot to all of the sessions I missed.

Speaking of which, of course I must mention the ARM-powered Lego Rubiks-cube solver – a handmade robot that must be seen to be believed!


Schedule builders are all the rage for technical conferences these days, and no wonder – there is far too much good content to see at one shot. For example, ARM TechCon, which starts next Tuesday in Santa Clara, CA, has over 70 sessions in the course of three days. One must have some method for viewing the

EETimes has provided the ARM TechCon Schedule Builder, with which one can pick and choose which sessions look interesting, and then view one’s personal schedule to identify timing conflicts. I went to the site and then went over the entire list of presentations, choosing interesting ones as I went, and simply checked the box next to each one. Then I clicked over to My Schedule and all of the sessions I chose were presented in a calendar view, enabling me to easily see all the conflicts I had in choosing which sessions to attend. (Note that you must be logged into the site in order to save a list.)

Unfortunately, the tool didn’t actually enable me to clone myself, or more realistically to choose which sessions to attend among the excellent content available, but it did help me pare down the list considerably. I used the schedule builder to create the list I spoke about in today’s EETimes webinar, My ARM TechCon: What a few industry leaders will be doing at the event, in which I was very privileged to be a participant among ARM-savvy embedded luminaries like Christian Legare. Note that this webinar should be available to stream in the next day or so – and there is a bonus registration discount at the end.

Kudoes to EETimes for providing such a useful tool!


I’m participating this morning with several other folks in a webinar for EETimes entitled My ARM TechCon: What a few industry leaders will be doing at the event. This is a good chance to get an overview of ARM Techcon before it starts next week in Santa Clara, CA.

Below is my list of sessions. Note the conflicting times – I guess I’ll have to clone myself after all!

Keynote sessions, of course

Wednesday:

[SS-TI-SF01] The ABC’s of BeagleBoard-xM
Speaker: Gerald Coley (Systems Engineer, Texas Instruments)
Date/Time: Wednesday (November 10, 2010) 10:30am — 12:00pm

I am currently writing a book on the BeagleBoard. I am working with the team on an educational initiative, and I am very invested in the community. Thus, this is an important presentation for me, though this particular time slot is quite impacted – too many really interesting presentations. 🙂

[ATC-142] A Source Based Approach to Embedded Linux Development
Speaker: Nick Pollitt (Product Manager, Monta Vista Software)
Date/Time: Wednesday (November 10, 2010) 10:30am — 11:20am

This presentation by my co-worker and Meld community co-manager Nick Pollitt is an excellent treatment of BitBake. I will likely split my time between this presentation and the BeagleBoard presentation noted above.

[ATC-137] Embedding Linux on ARM® with OpenEmbedded
Speaker: Khem Raj (Software Engineer, Self)
Date/Time: Wednesday (November 10, 2010) 10:30am — 11:20am

I have a strong interest in OpenEmbedded, particularly as it relates to both the Angstrom distribution’s build system (based on OE) and MontaVista Linux, which is also based on BitBake and is compatible with OE. That said, though, this is the third presentation in this time slot, so I probably won’t see much of it.

[SS-MAR03] Developing for the Plug Computer and Android
Speaker: Dudu Avital (Technical Marketing Manager, Marvell)
Date/Time: Wednesday (November 10, 2010) 11:30am — 12:20pm

My interest in the BeagleBoard causes me to be very interested in the Plug computers as well – I recently acquired a GuruPlug and am looking forward to putting it through its paces. I would love to see an Android port and how it compares to the BeagleBoard in performance, ease of use, and community support.

[TH-03] The Future of Embedded Graphics Processors
Speaker: Mashhuda Glencross (Graphics Product Manager, Media Processing Division, ARM, ARM)
Date/Time: Wednesday (November 10, 2010) 1:00pm — 1:50pm

After a brief lunch, I am looking forward to seeing what is new with graphics processors and where they are going in embedded systems, particularly in the ARM world.

[ATC-144] Middleware: an ARM® Perspective
Speaker: Ken Havens (North America Marketing Manager, ARM)
Date/Time: Wednesday (November 10, 2010) 2:30pm — 3:20pm

Since my focus is embedded Linux, I am interested to see how a traditional RTOS environment handles middleware and whether it is as flexible as it is on Linux-based systems.

[ATC-140] Android and Linux for Embedded Systems Acceleration
Speaker: Vlad Buzov (Software Architect for Embedded Software, Mentor Graphics)
Date/Time: Wednesday (November 10, 2010) 3:30pm — 4:20pm

Accelerated development and Android don’t often occur in the same sentence. I will be very interested to see up close how Mentor has improved the Android-based system development experience.

[TH-05] Linaro Overview, Community and New Development Platforms
Speaker: David Rusling (CTO, Linaro)
Date/Time: Wednesday (November 10, 2010) 3:00pm — 3:50pm

I am dismayed that this presentation occurs in the same time slot as both the Middleware and Android/Acceleration presentations, but I hope to sneak in to learn more about Linaro and possibly meet Mr. Rusling.

[ATC-141] Building Open-Source Software with the ARM® Compiler
Speaker: Daniel Owens (Product Marketing Manager, ARM)
Date/Time: Wednesday (November 10, 2010) 4:30pm — 5:20pm

Toolchains are a very important part of the development chain. I hope to find out more about the compiler that comes directly from ARM, and in particular whether they are submitting patches upstream and how that impacts Linaro’s effort.

[ATC-131] The “next big thing” to transform mobile devices
Speaker: Brian Carlson (OMAP product line manager, wireless, Texas Instruments)
Date/Time: Wednesday (November 10, 2010) 4:30pm — 5:20pm

The “next big thing”? How could I possibly miss that? Besides, I already know a lot about OMAP and want to hear more about TI’s hardware plans. I’ll have to skate back and forth between this one and Daniel Owens’ presentation above.

Thursday:

[ATC-157] Driving the SoC Revolution: The ARM® Cortex™-A9, integrated, delivering, and performing
Speaker: Ian Rickards (Senior Product Manager, ARM)
Date/Time: Thursday (November 11, 2010) 10:30am — 11:20am

Definitely want to know more about the Cortex-A9 and some of the new boards featuring it, like the PandaBoard from TI.

[ATC-162] Android for ARM® and TI-based eBook Development
Speaker: Stephen Olsen (Operating Systems Architect, Mentor Graphics)
Date/Time: Thursday (November 11, 2010) 10:30am — 11:20am

More about Android on TI-based ARM systems, with eBook development experience thrown in, from Mentor’s perspective, sounds great to me!

[SS-ENE01] Rapid Software Development on Heterogeneous ARM + DSP Processors
Speaker: Michael Christofferson (Director of Product Marketing, Enea)
Date/Time: Thursday (November 11, 2010) 10:30am — 11:20am

I have a strong interest in TI’s OMAP ARM/DSP processors and want to know what Enea is up to. This is an impacted time slot, though – I may miss this one in favor of learning about the Cortex-A9 and Mentor’s presentation about eBooks.

[ATC-163] Why Embedded Linux Needs ARM®
Speaker: David Rusling (CTO, Linaro)
Date/Time: Thursday (November 11, 2010) 11:30am — 12:20pm

Since I will probably miss at least part of David Rusling’s Linaro introduction on Weds, I hope to hear more about it at this presentation – plus, embedded Linux is my life, more or less.

[SS-ARM09] DS-5 plus Linaro
Speaker: Ken Havens (North America Marketing Manager, ARM), Robert Combs (Head of Global Alliances, Linaro)
Date/Time: Thursday (November 11, 2010) 2:00pm — 2:50pm

I’d like to learn all I can about Linaro. I think it is very important for the future of embedded Linux.

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