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Thread: ARM info for beginners.

  1. #1
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    Default ARM info for beginners.

    Hey fellow SUSE lovers,

    I am a long time user of Linux. But am kinda comfortable at just being a power user that tinkers (sorry no real code). I currently am looking for some information on ARM versions of Linux. I have a Nokia N800 and I love it, and now see an interesting netbook from Hercules coming out.
    eCAF
    And the documentation shows a hacker dip switch, meaning most likely that you can mess with the system and still keep the original OS. So basically this could be a great little device to cut my teeth on when it comes to the ARM architecture. (Oh and its going to be cheap < 300)

    Google search, gets me to places that aren't maintained. And it seems the documentation on ARM is hella hard to find, especially recent stuff... I can find commands for days though.

    Is there anywhere for an ARM newb to go to get a beginners guide or some kind of State of the Union. I would be also willing to get books from Amazon or something if need be.

    I guess what I am having trouble wrapping my head around is the difference between ARM and X86 linux. Is it just different compilers? Even the various bootloaders seem to be fishy? How are other software compiled for ARM?

    Anyways, I will continue to google search for info. But I would welcome someone pointing me in the right direction. Book, website, or something.

    Cheers,
    Karl

  2. #2
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    Default Re: ARM info for beginners.

    Well yes, since it's a different CPU architecture, you would need a different gcc with a backend for generating ARM assembly language. Also because the machines don't have the standard PC architecture (BIOS, etc), the bootloader will be different. In fact there will be different ways of loading an ARM depending on where you find it (embedded hardware, smartphone, tablet, etc). As for the apps those tend to be the same, but since you are not likely to find an X windowing server on the smaller ARM machines, you won't have the X GUI apps. But you can find for example Qt apps that work with whatever passes for a screen on these devices.

    ARM is a much diverse world than PCs which are quite standarised in architecture. Try to find a group that hacks the device you have. Also I'm sure there are general lists for discussing ARM devices.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: ARM info for beginners.

    Sounds good Ken. Basically, it sounds like I gotta pick one, and go for it.

    It looks like I am going to poke around the Beagleboard and Pandaboard areas. They seem to have small, but active communities.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: ARM info for beginners.

    karlk79 wrote:

    >
    > Sounds good Ken. Basically, it sounds like I gotta pick one, and go for
    > it.
    >
    > It looks like I am going to poke around the Beagleboard and Pandaboard
    > areas. They seem to have small, but active communities.
    >
    >

    With beagleboard you can run a full blown linux distro, you will not feel
    much difference beside the speed (to a certain degree its chip also supports
    opengl hardware acceleration). Debian is a good and mature candidate for arm
    architectures.
    I forgot the link howto setup linux on beagleboard but google will find it
    for you.
    http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/li...-beagle-board/
    it mentions
    "Downloadable binaries exist for many Linux distributions that run on the
    Beagle Board, with ngstrm, Maemo, Ubuntu, and Android being the most
    popular."

    If you want to make software for such an environment on your PC or notebook,
    you need to setup a cross compiler environment for the corresponding arm
    architecture. Usually it is provided by the manufacturer of your arm board
    (or they simply provide a general link to the corresponding project). It is
    normally based on gcc.

    --
    PC: oS 11.3 64 bit | Intel Core2 Quad Q8300@2.50GHz | KDE 4.6.1 | GeForce
    9600 GT | 4GB Ram
    Eee PC 1201n: oS 11.4 64 bit | Intel Atom 330@1.60GHz | Gnome 2.32 | nVidia
    ION | 3GB Ram

  5. #5
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    Default Re: ARM info for beginners.

    Mighty Martin, thanks for the link. I am scouring those articles now.

  6. #6

    Default Re: ARM info for beginners.

    karlk79 wrote:
    > see an interesting netbook from Hercules coming out.
    > 'eCAFÉ'
    > (http://www.hercules.com/us/ecafe/bdd...-ex-hd-black-/)
    > And the documentation shows a “hacker” dip switch, meaning most likely
    > that you can mess with the system and still keep the original OS.


    FWIW, you don't need a special switch to do that. At least on my Aspire
    One for example, I can just boot from a USB stick, and that doesn't
    affect the installed OS at all.

    Cheers, Dave

  7. #7
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    Default Re: ARM info for beginners.

    Currently an openSuSE ARM mailinglist exists.
    Maybe it's best to join the effort to build an openSuSE ARM distro.

    openSUSE Mailinglist Archives

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