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Re: Looking for a well supported ARM device for demo usage

On Tue, May 3, 2011 at 1:27 PM, Meike Reichle <meike@debian.org> wrote:
> Hi all
> I guess this question pops up any other month on this list, but here we go
> once again ...
> In short: What the Debianist's current ARM toy of choice?
> In long: I am to demonstrate Debian (installation and usage) on an ARM
> device. My objective is - naturally - to demonstrate how great Debian works
> on ARM devices. I do know my bit about Debian but I don't know much about
> current ARM developments, so I hope you have some pointers for me.
> What I am looking for is an ARM device that is very well supported within
> Debian and is reasonably current, especially with regard to the processor. I
> know these two conditions are somewhat mutually exclusive but I hope there's
> a device out there that scores reasonably well in both departments.

 funnily enough, there are two [that are both good, have modern CPUs,
and also affordable].  the IMX53 "Quick Start" dev kit and the
Pandaboard.  both have 1gb of RAM.  the pandaboard has a 1ghz
dual-core Cortex A9, whilst the iMX53 board has a 1ghz Cortex A8.
they're both around the $150 to $175 mark.

 if you use the debian arm "Hard Float" port, currently having
packages compiled, you'll get pretty damn good performance but a
limited choice of packages.  if performance is not steamingly
important, use the "standard" debian package (armel).  you can just
get hold of a debian ISO cd / USB stick etc. etc.

 installing kernels is a leeetle tricky: there is no concept of a BIOS
as there is in the x86 world, so you're buggered for standards.  thus,
you have to have something like u-boot, which can do all sorts of
fancy tricks including TFTP booting etc if you're desperate / inclined
to self-harm.  DO NOT under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES attempt to overwrite or
upgrade the u-boot on whatever device you get, until you seriously,
seriously know what you're doing.

 other devices include, if you don't mind them being fuckers for
creating proprietary 3D drivers for the past ooo 15 years, those based
on the NVidia Tegra 250, which was one of the very first Dual Cortex
A9 ARM processors out.  have a look in the debian-arm archives because
there were some discussions of very good devices (including one from
compulab) only about eeee ooo.... 2 months ago.  they're "finished"
products rather than "engineering boards" and thus are a leetle more

 anyway - for whatever device you pick, find the instructions using a
google search and STICK to them.  avoid replacing the kernel unless
you absolutely have to: whatever comes on it by default should be good
for most purposes for at least a year, anyway.


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