Freescale recently released the i.MX6 Series of ARM SoC for industrial and mobile computing. This new SoC is based on ARMv7 Cortex-A9 MP architecture, that can scale from 1 to 4 core(s), clocked at up to 1.2 GHz, obviously also featuring a complete 2D/3D GPU based on Vivante GC400 engine, supporting OpenVG, OpenGL|ES 1.x and 2.x and OpenCL hardware acceleration APIs. The Freescale i.MX6 also provides a complete Multimedia Codecs API, allowing 1080p H.264/VC-1 video encoding/decoding.
While the chip is yet barely available to manufacturers, the OpenBricks team is proud to already feature it as supported within its framework. All hardware components aren’t yet fully supported, but we do already provide enough for you to start playing with the chip. So far, the OpenBricks framework provides full support for U-Boot and Linux Kernel (and basic/usual drivers) as well as complete support for IPU (Image Processing Unit) and GPU (with all Khronos libs for console-based environment). Still missing are the related X.Org video drivers and all hardware-accelerated audio/video codecs support but we’re definitely working on getting these in.
In other words, if you’re looking for an updated filesystem, we provide you everything one could need to start hacking with Freescale i.MX6 ARM2 and SabreLite evaluation boards. More to come on this in the following weeks …
The OpenBricks project has recently been granted a new dedicated server from Colocation America. Special thanks to them for this nice partnership offer that wil helps provide more features to our user base. As a result, we’ve started the migration of a few services to this secondary server and you’ll probably experience much faster running of the website in the days to come.
Thanks to its much biggest HDD, we’ll soon be able to provide new services over the weeks/months to come. We’ll soon be able to provide you with snapshot archives, that will be daily (or weekly, to be decided) generated from our Mercurial development tree for several hardware architectures. Next to come will also be the support for pre-built packages, which will allow you to either avoid building everything when building from sources, or be able to update your OpenBricks-based distribution online.
Oh and last but not least, stay tuned, as the very first public stable release is going to be issued pretty soon.
Sorry for the inconvenient but our mailing lists are down due to some server upgrade issue. We’ll working hard on fixing them along with a new server upgrade. Stay tuned !!
Since July 2011, the OpenBricks mailing lists are now handled by Google Groups for various reasons. Everything should now be back to normal. All already subscribed users should have received a mail to subscribe back to the new lists. If it ain’t the case or if you’ve haven’t already subscribed, it’s never too late, so feel free to check our Mailing Lists page.
The OpenBricks team has just brought support for Disko, yet another framework for designing user interfaces and applications for embedded devices. The project now features support for most of the application framework, including:
- Nokia Qt
- Enlightenment EFL
Disko is an LGPL-licensed user interface (UI) application framework for the fast and simple development of flexible applications on Embedded Linux systems – with a particular focus on interactive user interfaces. It is high-performance and easy to learn, and due to its architecture is well suited to creating complex applications. Disko also provides support for OpenGL and OpenGL|ES hardware graphic acceleration (wherever possible), as to offload your embedded CPU. The framework is really mature and provides a wide range of features.
So FOSDEM 2011 is now gone but it still was a great piece of event. There were several very interesting talks, especially in the embedded devroom. I had the chance to present our work at OpenBricks this year and the feedback was quite positive. We exchanged about several opportunities with folks from Linaro, Qualcomm and the Yocto project. Guys, really come back to us !! For the other unlucky who weren’t able to attend, you still may have a look at the slides that were presented We also heard about quite a few interesting ideas that would be worth being integrated into our project, so stay tuned for more news to come.
While Intel just has announced its new Core i5/i7 Sandy Bridge CPU architecture, support for these new chips has just been added to OpenBricks. SandyBridge is a new architecture that embedded a GPU directly within the CPU. Thanks to latest Linux kernel 2.6.37 (for x86 at least), Mesa 7.10, libva 1.0.7 and Intel Xorg driver 2.14.0 upgrades, support for GPU Video acceleration now has been added, allowing H.264 codecs and friends to be hardware decoded. Support for hardware video video encoding is however yet to be added by the respective OpenSource projects …
The multimedia components of OpenBricks have been greatly improved to now feature up to 4 kind of MediaCenter software to turn your device into an HTPC. As a user, if you intend to build your own SetTopBox (through GeeXboX distribution flavour for example), you may now choose between Enna (EFL-based), XBMC (SDL-based), MythTV (Qt3 based) and QtMediaHub (Qt4/QML-based).
Along from Enna, which was the only supported MediaCenter so far, we just added the XBMC and MythTV, the 2 major HTPC software ever. While MythTV is still quite a bit work-in-progress so far, XBMC works like a charm, including on OMAP devices. XBMC 10.0 just has been released a few ago and was integrated within OpenBricks, offering a complete hardware video decoding support either through CrystalHD, VDPAU or VA-API frameworks. XBMC for ARM is working so far but unfortunately doesn’t yet provide any acceleration but it’s in the work.
A newcomer also has been added through the experimental QtMediaHub project. This is a proof-of-concept application from Nokia that re-uses XBMC skin engine (and Confluence theme) to create a MediaCenter fully written in the new QML language, that already features many nice things like audio/video playback, pictures browsing but also a nice Web Browser.
We’ll try to provide testing binaries and images ASAP …
The Broadcom BCM70012 and BCM70015 Crystal HD advanced media processor are low cost, low power, highly integrated solution for high definition (HD) video playback applications. They are targeted for PC/x86 applications such as playback of streaming video content, Blu-ray Disc playback, file-based content, and broadcast and other TV sources. These are Mini-PCIe chips that suit really well in any Netbook, MacMini or other kind of SetTopBox and provide a complete CPU offloading through hardware video decoding of several resource-consuming codecs such as:
- H.264/AVC HP at L 4.1 1080p/1080i up to 40 Mbps.
- SMPTE VC-1 AP at L 3 1080p/1080i up to 40 Mbps.
- WMV9 (VC-1 SP and MP)
- MPEG-2 MP @ ML and MP @ HL
Support for these chips now have been integrated within OpenBricks and have been made available through GStreamer and VLC additional decoders.
Early October 2010, Texas Instruments (TI) released the PandaBoard, the first community-driven embedded board featuring TI’s OMAP4 SoC, that everyone will see as BeagleBoard‘s successor. PandaBoard is a very nice piece of hardware, featuring a dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU, PowerVR SGX540 GPU, IVA-HD Ducati DSP capable of 1080p hardware video decoding and encoding, 1GB RAM, FastEthernet, Bluetooth, WiFi, HDMI, FM Radio and so much more. OMAP4 SoC will definitely reached 2011’s Smartphones and Set-Top-Boxes (at least!) but no doubt they’ll be integrated in so much more devices. PandaBoard is the first low-cost (174$ only) available mobile software development platform featuring OMAP4.
Early shipments of the board have barely started at DigiKey and it’s yet really hard to get your own but the OpenBricks project has been sponsored a couple boards from TI as early adopters. As a result, we’re proud to announce that OMAP4 SoC and PandaBoard is now fully supported by our cross-toolchain, with complete support of all of its peripherals, including all of its multimedia parts. It is then very easy for everybody to build your own customized distribution for this board and tune it to your taste, including X-Loader, U-Boot and root filesystem.
Some ready-to-flashed SD Card images of GeeXboX distribution with full-featured MediaCenter will be made available in the next days to come.
The OpenBricks team is happy to announce the “Day 1″ of the OpenBricks Embedded Linux Framework project. Formed by members of the GeeXboX multimedia distribution, OpenBricks is an enterprise-grade embedded Linux framework that provides easy creation of custom distributions for industrial embedded devices. It features a complete embedded development kit for rapid deployment on x86, ARM, PowerPC and MIPS systems with support for industry leaders.
OpenBricks is a complete OpenSource and non-profit project which aims at bringing a coherent Linux distribution to run on as many embedded devices and architectures as possible. As much as possible, it tries to rely on standardized technologies, protocols and FOSS as to provide the most code re-usability. It can be used as a framework basis to build your very specific Linux distributions, corresponding to your exact and specific needs, whichever you’re trying to build a Set-Top-Box, a touchscreen based multimedia tablet, a NAS, a router or whatsoever. Porting your board to Linux and adding your specific programs never has been so easy and one can easily create its own distribution flavour.
The OpenBricks project targets various hardware architectures on runs on most of the embedded boards reference design. It has been sponsored and helped by various semi-conductor manufacturers such as Texas Instruments (TI) on OMAP3 and OMAP4 chips and nVidia with Tegra250. We’re continuously looking for new devices and boards to be supported by OpenBricks and sponsoring is the way to go. Having your board or SoC supported by the OpenBricks project is only a matter of sponsoring reference designs. We’re currently looking ahead to support some additional chips, including but not limited to Intel CE4100 and CE4200, Marvell Dove and Armada, Freescale i.MX5x and Qualcomm SnapDragon. If you can provide us any help with accessing to such devices and reference boards, we’ll be glad to have them supported.