Linux has become the general purpose operating system of choice for embedded systems, and is almost always supported for high-end SoCs developed by the semiconductor vendors.

Most vendors use the open source Linux distribution, then build a custom distribution representing the device tree supported for the specific SoC, and including the necessary drivers for the peripherals on the SoC, as well as supporting other customizations and unique features. The bring up of the operating system can be complicated further if we’re targeting multicore processors running symmetric multiprocessor (SMP) Linux.

Just because everyone supports Linux, it does not make porting and bring up an easy task. To put it another way: just because you get to the Linux prompt, it doesn’t mean everything is working.

linux_mipx_tux
Imagination Technologies, Posedge Software and Imperas are presenting a tutorial at the Design Automation Conference (DAC) called Linux Porting, Bring Up and Driver Development. DAC takes place June 5-9 in Austin, Texas, with the tutorial being given between 10:30 – 12:00 on Monday, June 6th.

Linux booting sequenceBasic Linux boot process

This tutorial will be presented in three sections. In the first section (by Imagination), the various components of bringing up Linux on a new platform will be covered. These include the BootROM, U-boot bootloader, Linux Kernel and Linux Buildroot. A walk-through of bringing up Linux on new hardware will be presented. The walk-through will also introduce the various tools used to assist in completing board bring-up easily.

Driver development is the focus of the second section of the tutorial (Posedge Software). The session will provide an overview of development of both static and dynamic drivers (Loadable Kernel Modules, or LKMs). A virtual platform environment will be used to highlight key points in the development methodology, including co-debug of driver software and peripheral hardware models.

MIPS Malta EPK virtual platform booting LinuxThe MIPS Malta Extendable Platform Kit (EPK) virtual platform booting Linux

During the final section, Imperas will discuss the development of a robust test environment using the virtual platform technology. The virtual platform provides a complementary approach to porting and bring up on hardware. The benefits of controllability, observability and repeatability for virtual platform use will be covered. Specific OS-aware tools will also be highlighted, plus other tools such as non-intrusive memory monitors and the use of software assertions and code and functional coverage techniques for the operating system and drivers.

We hope to see you in Austin!

Larry Lapides is the VP of Sales at Imperas Software.

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