Thursday, 17 September 2009

More beagleboard stuff

I've still got some problems with the USB port - although now i'm using a USB HDD for the OS it seems to be a lot more stable. Every now and then it dies and requires a reboot. Hopefully the BB guys and/or TI work out what it is, both of my boards have it. Instead of using the usb OTG port i'm using a PC PSU to run the board - I thought that might help the crashing problem, but it didn't really make any difference.

I haven't had much fun with the default demo build of Angstrom. It's limited in strange ways. I haven't been able to get it to compile either; I got it further by forcing a serial compile, but it still eventually dies, and the build system is shitting me off too.

I gave Android another go - now i've got a screen. Yay, a phone interface. Doesn't really work with a mouse and keyboard, the network wouldn't work and things crashed a lot. Oh well, I think the basic idea is right (throw everything away and use linux as a set of device drivers), but a phone-os has little appeal to me (i'm still using a nokia 8250).

So I tried the Touchbook's OS from Always Innovating ... it's just a custom build of Angstrom. Much better though - the sound even works (sounds quite nice quality to my shitty ears too), although mplayer doesn't now :-/. It's also a bit snappier (it has the powervr drivers and some dsp stuff too). Running off the usb hdd is a lot faster than flash too - it was my old playstation hdd so it isn't even a particularly fast drive. It seems to be set up reasonably nicely although it has a few weird things - like no shadow file (`sudo sh' gives you a root shell). I have to manually bring up the usb ethernet adaptor, otherwise it basically works straight out of the box.

I've also been trying to get haiku to build, but not having much luck. Not that I expect it to work but it can't even get past building the cross compiler. Sigh. Well i'll try with a manual build of gcc rather than the system's and see how that goes. I couldn't register with the haiku site to ask questions since it wanted a 'captcha' that it decided not to display, but they've been making site changes so I should probably keep checking.

Apart from Angstrom's weirdness, linux and the distributions around it are starting to give me the shits somewhat. Progress just seems to be bigger and slower like every other system. My laptop's are running slower now I `upgraded' their distributions. I don't think the 'open saucer' crowd's motto of 'more eyes make bugs shallower' really sums it up, I think 'enough eyes make even the worst software work'.

And i've been reading various ARM & OMAP manuals on and off. There's a great deal of complexity in that little chip. My foot's pretty ok but now I have a sore shoulder. Too much hunched over computers and soldering irons and carrying buckets of dirt.

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