Remember that Sheevaplug is a development product right now, not a fully fledged consumer product. Right now WE the people who bout it early are figuring out the tools and sources needed to build it.
Well, I do not entirely agree. There is a Ubuntu build environment, which was used to build the rootfs image currently on the Plug. This environment should be put out there for people to download and customize.
Actually, for me this is not a personal hacking interest, but a business interest. My company is looking to develop a board based on the Marvell Kirkwood SoC, as a replacement for the AXIS ETRAX FS, which is being phased out. If there is no development environment that we can use to build upon, we will probably select a different CPU, with better support. So far I don't even see any way to contact Marvell engineering support. I am glad there is at least a community board and a Wiki at openplug.org, as Marvell's own instructions and documentation is totally inadequate. The Extranet does have Orion SDK 2.0, but there is no word of supporting Kirkwood CPUs and boards, and the SDK seems quite obsolete.
About the only thing I'm missing right now is a way to build and burn uboot. Other than that, we've figured out most of the other stuff right here on these boards. I'm sure once it becomes a consumer product there will be much more detailed documentation and SDK sources.
I just tried to follow the instructions from ReleaseNotes.txt that comes with the U-Boot package
1. Install GCC
2. Untar'ed U-Boot 1.1.4 and unzipped patch 3.4.16 over it (to overwrite files). Not sure why Marvell wouldn't just put out a ready to build U-Boot.
3. export PATH=<GCC Install Dir>/bin:$PATH
4. make mrproper
5. make rd88f6281Sheevaplug_config NBOOT=1 LE=1
6. make -s
You get a u-boot-rd88f6281Sheevaplug_400db_nand.bin
as a result. I haven't tried to actually burn this image for fear of bricking the device with no instructions on how to unbrick it, but there are instructions in ReleaseNotes.txt on how to do it.
That AXIS looks nice, but they are discontinued now and the device they are replacing it with seems to have about half the processing power, 64M of ram and 256M of flash. No price yet, but I'm sure it's more than the $99 I paid for the plug.
AXIS is getting out of business of selling general purpose processors, which is a shame, as far as I am concerned. Their SoCs are a little out of date on technology, but they were quite adequate for out applications. And the support was/is just unbelievable.
When AXIS announced the EoL of ETRAX processor line, we started looking for a replacement with dual Ethernet capability, and Kirkwood 88F6281 is one of the candidates. But waiting for a month for Extranet registration, and then finding out that there is almost no company provided support to the development community is quite a turn-off...