Arndale Board

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Arndale Board Fedora Remix

The Arndale Board Fedora Remix, produced and maintained by Tekkaman Ninja, is a Fedora-based Linux distribution that runs on the ARM Cortex-A15 system-on-a-chip (Samsung Exynos 5 Dual(Exynos 5250)) known as the Arndale Board (Arndale).

Arndale.jpg

This distribution consists of software packages from the Fedora ARM project (armv7hl architecture), a custom kernel, and a small number of additional packages that are modified from the Fedora versions.

This page will show you how to install the Fedora Remix on the Arndale Board. Installing the Fedora Remix on the Arndale Board is easier than installing Fedora on a laptop or desktop because all you have to do is copy the prepared image to an SD card and plug it into the Arndale.

The current build of Fedora 17/18/19 seems to be stable. The first core components of the Exynos 5250 landed in kernel 3.9.1, and the kernel source code comes from linux-linaro-tracking.git

Let’s get started with it!

Installing the Arndale Board Fedora Remix

There are four steps to manually install the Fedora Remix on your Arndale Board.

  • Copy the ready-made Fedora Remix image onto an 4GB (or larger, I use an 8GB/16GB Class 10) Micro SD memory card.
  • Hook up an internet connection (ethernet cable) and serial console (serial cable)
  • Power on and wait for the Fedora “first boot” (which just resizes the rootfs partition)
  • After an automatic reboot, login through console and geek out!

The SD card serves as the Arndale Board’s primary drive. By default, the Arndale will look on the SD card for the operating system to load (though it’s possible to boot from other devices as well). Therefore, the first step is to grab the image and put it on the card.

1. Download the latest Arndale Board Fedora 17/18/19 Remix distribution, F1x-arndale-{*build date*}-uboot-buildin.img.gz.

2. Extract the archive using the Archive Manager (file-roller) application or "gunzip" from the command line. This will create the file F1x-arndale-{*build date*}.img.

3. Get the device name of the SD card using the Disks (palimpsest) application or sudo fdisk -l from the command line. Most likely the SD card is named /dev/mmcblk0. (it can be different on your machine)

4. Transfer the extracted image file F1x-arndale-{*build date*}-uboot-buildin.img to the SD card using a terminal window.

Here’s the transfer command to execute in Step 4.

 sudo dd if=F1x-arndale-{*build date*}-uboot-buildin.img of=/dev/mmcblk0 ;sync

The command above assumes you saved F1x-arndale-{*build date*}-uboot-buildin.img in your work directory after extraction. If you saved the file elsewhere, you’ll need to change to the appropriate directory via the command line (cd directory/name) before executing the dd command. dd is a low-level copy command that can read and write complete disk images. "if" stands for “input file”, "of" stands for “output file” and the command "sync" is for synchronizing data on disk with memory.

In our case, the input file is the disk image F1x-arndale-{*build date*}-uboot-buildin.img, the output file is the SD card device /dev/mmcblk0, and then synchronization. These commands will create the necessary file system partitions on the SD card, occupying GB of space, then copy the prepared operating system files to those partitions.

NOTE: As you’ll learn later, the first boot wizard will allow you to resize the main partition to use all available space on the card.

TIP: The dd command is also your friend if you need to move to a bigger SD card. Simply reverse the if and of values, insert a bigger card and run the above command again.

The dd command doesn’t output any messages until the operation is complete, so be patient. The length of time to execute the command will vary depending on the speed of the card. A Class-10 SD card will take about 12 minutes (743.42 s @ 4.3 MB/s). Here’s an example of the output you’ll see when the command finishes:

 [tekkamanninja@fuwei images]$ sudo dd if=F18-arndale-20130421-uboot-buildin.img   of=/dev/mmcblk0 bs=4M
 [sudo] password for tekkamanninja: 
 768+0 records in
 768+0 records out
 3221225472 bytes (3.2 GB) copied, 743.42 s, 4.3 MB/s

You can verify the operation worked by ejecting the SD card, reinserting it, and then browsing the contents using the file explorer. You should see two mounts, boot and rootfs. Once you’re done poking around, unmount the /boot and rootfs ('/') partitions.

The SD card is ready. Now let’s prepare the Arndale!

Updating the u-boot

If the image you downloaded has "uboot-buildin" in the name of the file, it can be used to boot the device directly. Otherwise, follow the instruction below to install u-boot:

Flash u-boot to the SD card.

 wget http://tekkamanninja.fedorapeople.org/boards/arndale/u-boot/arndale-bl1.bin
 wget http://tekkamanninja.fedorapeople.org/boards/arndale/u-boot/smdk5250-spl.bin
 wget http://tekkamanninja.fedorapeople.org/boards/arndale/u-boot/u-boot.bin
 sudo dd if=arndale-bl1.bin  of=/dev/mmcblk0 bs=512 seek=1
 sudo dd if=smdk5250-spl.bin of=/dev/mmcblk0 bs=512 seek=17
 sudo dd if=u-boot.bin of=/dev/mmcblk0 bs=512 seek=49
 sync

You can also use the instructions above if you want to update u-boot.

Preparing the Arndale

Plug the following inputs into the Arndale Board:

   SD card
   Ethernet cable
   Serial cable

Power it up!

The final input is the power (otherwise known as the “on” switch).

Grab a your proper charger (5 Volt, 3A) and plug it into a power outlet. The general recommendation is to play it safe and use original power adapter. Also, don't forget that your charger must provide the proper voltage (5V) and amperage (>=3A) to work properly for your Arndale Board.

First boot

The inclusion of first boot is one of the features that sets the Fedora Remix apart from other Arndale Board distributions.

This Fedora Remix for Arndale will automatically resize the rootfs partition to use all remaining space on the SD card at first boot, and then reboot automatically.

The default login for root is:

 user:root
 password:fedora

For security reasons, be sure to change the root password after your first login.


Updating Fedora Remix on the Arndale Board

Installing updates via yum

You use Fedora Remix on the Arndale Board just like any other Fedora installation. You might start by serial console and updating the packages (internet connection required):

 sudo yum -y update


Arndale Board hard at work

To be continued

Tinker!

The Fedora Remix is one of many distributions you can install on the Arndale Board, and there is plenty of room for improvement. You’d choose Fedora Remix for things the Fedora OS excels at, such as software development. Fortunately, you don’t have to limit yourself to a single distribution. Changing distributions is as easy as swapping SD cards. We encourage you to try different distributions to get the most out of your Arndale Board.

Arndale Board Photobooth

Check what are we doing with Arndale Board !!! ;)

Arndale Board photobooth