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1  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / U-Boot stuff / Re: u-boot Example Settings To Easily Switch Between TFTP/NFS and NAND on: April 27, 2009, 05:45:23 PM
I've been trying to  boot the kernel from flash but use nfs for the filesystem without success. I can use flash for both, or use tftp/nfs, but if I boot the kernel from flash it cant seem to read the root filesystem from nfs. Any ideas?

thanks
2  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: My SheevaPlug is very unstable on: April 27, 2009, 11:00:40 AM
My experience:

I switched to running from an 16GB SD card a couple of weeks ago. Everything seemed to be working fine. A couple of days ago I found that the plug wasnt responding. I rebooted and watched the console - it booted the kernel from flash fine but couldnt read the filesystem on the SD card. So I tried removing the SD card and changing the boot to read the rootfs from flash. That didnt work - it had IO errors reading from flash.

To cut a long story short I had to boot from tftp/nfs and reflash the kernel and root filesystem. THe partition table on the SD had been corrupted as well as the rootfs on flash.  I'm concerned that the flash is slowly degrading, so my next step is to run the filesystem from nfs.
3  General Category / General Discussion / Performance on: April 08, 2009, 04:27:42 PM
One of the applications I'm interested in is capturing steaming audio. Knowing that ARM CPUs don't include hardware floating point I decided to make some performance measurements. I have a 1.2GHz VIA Eden system as my current home server so I used it as a comparison - same clock speed but low power x86 vs ARM.

I ran some of the UnixBench (v 5.1.2) benchmarks for integer and floating point performance: (higher is better in all cases)

Test                                      Sheeva                           VIA Eden                           Comments
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
dhry2reg                               157.1                              128.9               Tests integer perf
Whetstone-double                    8.1                                40.0               Test fp and libraries
Execl                                      121.7                              253.4              Tests kernel perf
Syscall                                    502.7                              289.0             Tests syscall overhead
Float                                        27.9K                              106K             Single precision float
Double                                     12.1K                              102K             Double prec float

As expected integer performance was great, but anything using floating point is at a disadvantage.

The next test was encoding WAV to MP3 using Lame. I simply installed lame from the Ubuntu repositary, so I don't know how it was compiled.

I used a 12M WAV file I captured from an audio stream, roughly 1 minute of audio.

Sheeva:    2:44
VIA Eden:  0:20

So its about 8X slower encoding to MP3. Unfortunately that means its much slower than realtime, so I will have to plan for that.
I may try rebuilding Lame to see if it can be optimized for armv5te if its not already.

Hope this is useful.
4  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Experiences so far on: April 08, 2009, 02:20:40 PM
I've been compiling locally without too many problems, but I havent tried to build a kernel.

I set up NFS to a disk on another system so I wouldnt thrash the flash during the compiles.

I installed gcc, make and subversion from the Ubuntu repository. They work fine.

My first local build was mplayer.  I got the sources from svn and tried to build it.

The build failed trying to assemble some arm specific optimizations.
I found that allthough I enabled armv5te in the configuration it was generally ignored in the Makefile. So I modified config.mak - inserting -march=armv5te in the C and Assembler options.
Then it built a working mplayer!

I don't need a new kernel yet, so I'm going to hold off on that exercise for a while.

Hope this helps.
5  General Category / Success stories / Re: lighttpd high cpu usage on: April 08, 2009, 02:09:58 PM
Check the protection on /tmp. I found that I had to
chmod 777 /tmp
so that the web server and other non root users could write temp files.
6  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Received yours yet? on: April 04, 2009, 10:55:26 AM
I'm in Texas and received mine yesterday. I connected up the network port to my router and was able to log in using ssh (pwd nosoup4u). It connected up to my home network using dhcp without any problems.

It identifies itself as running debian 5.0 (lenny) not Ubuntu. But that's fine. I havent had to use the usb console yet.

I tried plugging an SD card into the slot and a USB stick into the usb port. Both were recognized but had to be mounted manually.

The time was off, but was easily set. I will set up ntp later.

By adding a couple of directories I was able to get apt-get to work, so I updated the archives and then installed lighttpd and got a web server running.

Next step is to get samba up and also install php under the web server so I can experiemnt with controlling the plug via the net.

So far, I'm quite impressed. Its a blank canvas at the moment but it has great potential. Having 512MB of flash and 512MB of RAM and a fast ARM CPU seems enough for many things. I've used much smaller and slower systems in the past. I'd like to see more USB ports, and I'll probably try adding SDIO Wifi at some point. Perhaps do some hardware hacking - adding an alternate daughter card with interesting devices.

I have a mini itx linux home server that does lots of useful things for me and my family, plus a nslu2 that provides some services. I'm going to see what I can migrate to the plug, and try to control everything from php so its easy for anyone to use.

Congrats to Globalscale tech and Marvell for an interesting device that is quite stable and useable in its first incarnation. I know that's not easy to achieve!
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