New training materials: boot time reduction workshop

We are happy to release new training materials that we have developed in 2013 with funding from Atmel Corporation.

The materials correspond to a 1-day embedded Linux boot time reduction workshop. In addition to boot time reduction theory, consolidating some of our experience from our embedded Linux boot time reduction projects, the workshop allows participants to practice with the most common techniques. This is done on SAMA5D3x Evaluation Kits from Atmel.

The system to optimize is a video demo from Atmel. We reduce the time to start a GStreamer based video player. During the practical labs, you will practice with techniques to:

  • Measure the various steps of the boot process
  • Analyze time spent starting system services, using bootchartd
  • Simplify your init scripts
  • Trace application startup with strace
  • Find kernel functions taking the most time during the boot process
  • Reduce kernel size and boot time
  • Replace U-Boot by the Barebox bootloader, and save a lot of time
    thanks to the activation of the data cache.

Creative commonsAs usual, our training materials are available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. This essentially means that you are free to download, distribute and even modify them, provided you mention us as the original authors and that you share these documents under the same conditions.

Special thanks to Atmel for allowing us to share these new materials under this license!

Here are the documents at last:

The first public session of this workshop will be announced in the next weeks.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested in organizing a session on your site.

Updated version of our kernel driver development course: Device Tree, BeagleBone Black, Wii Nunchuk, and more!

BeagleBone Black connected to the Wii Nunchuk over I2C
In the last few years, the practical labs of our Embedded Linux kernel and driver development training were based on the ARMv5 Calao USB-A9263 platform, and covering the ARM kernel support as it was a few years ago. While we do regularly update our training session materials, with all the changes that occurred in the ARM kernel world over the last two years, it was time to make more radical changes to this training course. This update is now available since last month, and we’ve already successfully given several sessions of this updated course.

The major improvements and updates are:

  • All the practical labs are now done on the highly popular ARMv7 based BeagleBone Black, which offers much more expansion capabilities than the Calao USB-A9263 platform we were using. This also means that participants to our public training sessions keep the BeagleBone Black with them after the session!
  • All the course materials and practical labs were updated to cover and use the Device Tree mechanism. We also for example cover how to configure pin muxing on the BeagleBone Black through the Device Tree.
  • The training course is now centered around the development of two device drivers:
    1. A driver for the Wii Nunchuk. This device is connected over I2C to the BeagleBone Black, and we detail, step by step, how to write a driver that communicates over I2C with the device and then exposes the device functionalities to userspace through the input kernel subsystem.
    2. A minimal driver for the OMAP UART, which we use to illustrate how to interface with memory-mapped devices: mapping I/O registers, accessing them, handling interrupts, putting processes to sleep and waking them up, etc. We expose some minimal functionality of the device to userspace through the misc kernel subsystem. This subsystem is useful to expose the functionalities of non-standard types of devices, such as custom devices implemented inside FPGAs.

And as usual, all the training materials are freely available, under a Creative Commons license, so you can study in detail the contents of the training session. It is also worth mentioning that this training session is taught by Bootlin engineers having practical and visible experience in kernel development, as can be seen in the contributions we made in the latest kernel releases: 3.9, 3.10, 3.11 and 3.12.

For details about cost and registration, see our Training cost and registration page.

Announcing our “Android System Development” training

Android RobotFor multiple years, Bootlin has provided two typical training courses for embedded Linux developers: an Embedded Linux system development course that focuses on the basics for embedded Linux development (bootloader and kernel configuration, compiling and usage, system integration and build systems, cross-compiling, filesystems, application development and debugging, etc.) and an embedded Linux kernel and driver development course that focuses on kernel and driver development (kernel APIs for drivers, character drivers, device model, power management, kernel porting, etc.). In total, we have given dozens of editions of these sessions in multiple locations all around the world. We have kept our commitment to release all the training materials under a free license (the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license), and they are therefore freely accessible for anyone at /docs/.

We are now announcing a new course, called Android System Development. It is a four day training session that targets engineers who need to develop embedded systems with Google Android.

Through theory and practical labs, the course makes you familiar with compiling and booting Android, with adapting Android to support a new embedded board (assuming that it is already supported by the Linux kernel), and with building a real system through accessing specific hardware, customizing the filesystem and using debugging techniques. See the complete agenda. The training materials for this session will also be made available under the same Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license.

If you are interested in this training session, you can:

  • Join the public session organized in Toulouse, France, on June 11-14, 2012.
  • Order an on-site training session to be held at your location. See registration details.

This training course will be given by our engineer Maxime Ripard who has gained Android experience by working at Archos on Android tablets, by making Android work on multiple TI OMAP3 based platforms and also by participating to the Android Builders Summit conference.

Do not hesitate to contact us for further details about this new training course.

Embedded Linux Opportunities – Keynote in Eindhoven

Fontys UniversityIf you live near Eindhoven in the Netherlands, or if you can easily get there, you may be interested in the seminar organized by Fontys University on June 25, 2010.

I will be in Eindhoven on that week to give our Embedded Linux System Development course. The session is organized by Fontys University and Alten PTS, and Fontys invited me to give a keynote at their seminar on Friday.

The seminar topic is: “Embedded Linux for SMEs” – A guide to professional development:

  • Ruud Ermers (Fontys) – A Guide to professional development
  • Gerben Blom (Alten PTS) – Android for SMEs
  • Michael Opdenacker (Bootlin) – Embedded Linux Opportunities. Ideas and advise for the Open Minded.
  • The grand race, between arm9 controlled vehicles.
  • Technical demos

Here is the abstract for my speech:

Michael Opdenacker created Bootlin in 2004, a company that is best known worldwide for the technical resources it shares with the embedded Linux community. The more this company shares (in the true sense of sharing: giving and receiving), the more successful it gets.

That’s why Michael will come to exchange ideas and experience on building successful embeddded Linux systems and businesses. Just make sure you send him a SIGSTOP signal at the end of his timeslot.

To water your mouth, this talk will show a few things which are possible with embedded Linux and free software building blocks. You will see how you can turn an idea into something that could keep you busy during your whole life if you are not careful.

So, if you are in the Eindhoven area, this could be a nice opportunity to meet. I hope to see you there!

Embedded Linux practical labs with the Beagle Board

Note: the materials for training with the Beagle Board are no longer available, and would be significantly out of date anyway. We advise you to check our Embedded Linux System Development and Linux Kernel and Driver Development training courses for up-to-date instructions that work on cheaper boards, which are still available on the market today. And if you still have an old Beagle board, it will be an interesting exercise to adapt our current labs to run them on such hardware.

We were asked to customize our embedded Linux training session with specific labs on OMAP 3530 hardware. After a successful delivery on the customer site, using Beagle boards, here are our training materials, released as usual under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license:

If you are the happy owner of such a board (both attractive and cheap), or are interested in getting one, you can get valuable embedded Linux experience by reading our lecture materials and by taking our practical labs.

Here’s what you would practise with if you decide to take our labs:

  • Build a cross-compiling toolchain with crosstool-NG
  • Compile U-boot and the X-loader and install it on MMC and flash storage.
  • Manipulate Linux kernel sources and apply source patches
  • Configure, compile and boot a Linux kernel for an emulated PC target
  • Configure, cross-compile and boot a Linux kernel on your Beagle Board
  • Build a tiny filesystem from scratch, based on BusyBox, and with a web server interface. Practice with NFS booting.
  • Put your filesystem on MMC storage, replacing NFS. Practice with SquashFS.
  • Put your filesystem on internal NAND flash storage. Practice with JFFS2 too.
  • Manually cross-compile libraries (zlib, libpng, libjpeg, FreeType and DirectFB) and a DirectFB examples, getting familiar with the tricks required to cross-compile components provided by the community.
  • Build the same kind of graphical system automatically with Buildroot.
  • Compile your own application against existing libraries. Debug a target application with strace, ltrace and gdbserver running on the target.
  • Do experiments with the rt-preempt patches. Measure scheduling latency improvements.
  • Implement hotplugging with mdev, BusyBox’s lightweight alternative to udev.

Note that the labs were tested with Rev. C boards, but are also supposed to work fine with Rev. B ones. You may also be able to reuse some of our instructions with other boards with a TI OMAP3 processor.

Of course, if you like the materials, you can also ask your company to order such a training session from us. We will be delighted to come to your place and spend time with you and your colleagues.