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Linux consolidation vital for distributor’s boards

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By eeNews Europe

“We did a survey not long ago to 1000 developers and 70 to 80% said their next solutions would be Linux based,” said Laurence Dellicott, technical director for Europe at distributor Silica. “I thought that was big but not that big. I think this part of the market customers are still learning and educating themselves and moving towards a full features RTOS or full OS and that transition is still happening.
“From a distribution point of view one of the biggest issues we still see is being able to move the customer from a supplier’s development board onto a real world board and start developing their own applications,” he said .
So Silica has launched boards using microprocessors from Renesas, Freescale Semiconductor and Xilinx all using the same version of Linux from the Yocto project.
“All the suppliers on our line card have moved to Yocto,” said Dellicot. “TI has been at the forefront of Yocto, and Xilinx moved from Petalinux 1.5 last year. Renesas came to us because they saw us doing interesting things with Yocto and they knew they needed the capability. It’s almost a consolidation in the Linux world.”
The ArchiTech Hachiko board (above) is supplied with a Linux kernel optimized for the Renesas RZ/A1H MCU, to work with a small memory footprint together with a BSP (Board Support Package) for the on-board peripherals, minimizing development time.
The Linux distribution with Hachiko is Yocto compatible, enabling customers to create custom Linux based systems quickly whilst avoiding the complexity of standard MPU boards. The developers at Silica have ported GUI libraries to the distribution with a demo application and source code is available in open source.
The Renesas RZ/A1H processor used in the Hachiko board is based on the ARM CortexM A9 MCU core and offers a large capacity, 10MB, RAM. This allows high data throughput at low latency without the use of external DDR and a simplified power design. Other features include an HDMI output, a USB host, 128MByte SPIFI, an Ethernet port and an expansion connector for all unused pins. Hachiko also offers CAN and MOST channels for in car entertainment applications. Options include SDRAM and 7” wide LCD touch screen with drivers included in the BSP.
The E100 Hachiko board has been developed as a reference design that can easily be replicated for production for applications including Door Entry Phones, Vending Machines, Barcode Scanners, Surveillance, and Data Communication Modules.
“The Renesas board could be a real game changer in the marketplace for us. It’s not a me-too product,” said Dellicot. “The Renesas controller has more onboard memory and in Central Europe we see a lot of opportunity based around industrial and automation – it is a really interesting product,” he said.
The Tibidabo development platform comes with SDK, Linux Images and a Board Support Package (BSP) based on Yocto for Freescale’s i.MX6 processor.
As well as its quad ARM Cortex-A9 CPU clocked at 1.2GHz and delivering 12000 Dhrystone MIPS, the Tibidabo board targets high-end embedded applications such as digital signage, automotive infotainment and gaming. Its payload includes 2GB DDR3 RAM, dual LVDS interfaces to directly drive large HD display panels using standard 50 pin connectors, and a standard HDMI interface.
There are USB host and USB on-the-go interfaces, together with an mSATA interface for solid-state drives from suppliers such as Micron. Also on-board are twin Gigabit Ethernet ports, expansion ports for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, plus SD card and Mini PCI2 connectors for generic expansion. Automotive systems are enabled through its ability to drive cluster, HUD, rear-seat infotainment, front and rear POD audio/visual systems.
Silica is also supporting the Xilinx Zynq ARM-based FPGA with its Yocto Linux distribution.
www.silica.com

Related stories:
Platform independent project-based Yocto Linux distribution
Embedded Linux adds 64bit ARM support with Open Source innovations
Real-time friendly Linux for communications uses Yocto


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