Since early 2009, our training sessions have been using the USB-A9263 board from Calao Systems as the hardware platform for the practical labs. However, this AT91-based platform was getting older, and we therefore started the process of switching our training sessions to a new hardware platform, the IGEPv2 board from ISEE.
The IGEPv2 platform is very similar to the popular BeagleBoard and BeagleBoard-XM platforms, and has the following technical characteristics :
- TI DM3730, which is the latest OMAP3 processor from Texas Instruments, clocked at 1 Ghz, and including a DSP for signal processing, an IVA block for audio/video decoding and the PowerVR SGX for 3D/OpenGL. This processor offers far more possibilities than the AT91 one, especially for multimedia applications.
- 512 MB of RAM and 512 MB of OneNAND flash.
- Integrated Ethernet connector, Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity.
- One USB OTG port and one USB host port.
- A microSD connector.
- A DVI-D connector (HDMI), stereo input and ouput
- RS232 connector
- Multiple expansion ports to access LCD, camera, I2C, SPI, JTAG, etc. signals
Compared to the BeagleBoard-XM, this board has the following advantages:
- it has a OneNAND Flash device, which allows us to demonstrate and practice the usage of MTD and Linux flash-specific filesystems such as JFFS2 and UBIFS in our training sessions. Even though block-based storage such as SD and eMMC is more and more popular in consumer-electronic devices, usage of raw NAND flash is still very common in industrial applications, and we therefore wanted to keep presenting those devices and their usage in embedded Linux
- ISEE, the company manufacturing the IGEPv2, is located in Spain, which makes it easier for us to regularly order boards from them, since we are also located in Europe
- the board provides Bluetooth and Wifi connectivity, which is nice
We have already given two sessions of our Embedded Linux system development training with the IGEPv2, and all our future sessions of this training will use this hardware platform, so the participants will benefit from a more modern platform, with far more capabilities than our previous AT91-based training hardware. This is also the board we are now giving to the participants to our public training sessions, so those participants come back home with a very nice and powerful platform which allows countless experiments around embedded Linux. Note that we also intend to port our Embedded Linux kernel and driver development training session to the IGEPv2 platform in the near future.