FatdogArm on Odroid-U2

I've just received an Odroid-U2 board a few days ago, from a nice person who wish to remain unnamed (thank you!).

Odroid-U2 is a board with Samsung Exynos4412 Prime SoC, a 1.7GHz, 4-core Cortex-A9 CPU with 2GB of memory. It's very small (smaller than cubieboard2) yet it is very capable; it demonstrates lucidly where ARM is going (and Exynos4412 is actually last year's product - the newest one being Exynos5 which is an 8-core CPU).

I immediately set to task to get FatdogArm running on it, after confirming that the board works by running stock Hardkernel Ubuntu ARM on it.

I went with the (now) standard procedures of building the bootloader (u-boot), building the kernel, and preparing the initrd (mainly for kernel modules), and put them into SD card.

I immediately hit a snag - the system seemed to boot but my screen was blank. After a few visits to odroid/hardkernel forum, it was made obvious that odroid doesn't have a working framebuffer console for HDMI output to due quirky way the HDMI output driver had been written. For the better or worse, I don't have an UART serial cable to go with it - which means I'm blind, I don't know whether the board works or not (and if not, what is the error).

But thankfully Hardkernel guys (the manufacturer of this board) has been working hard to prepare a kernel that is rock-solid - the board actually worked the first time, it's just that I can't see the output. I typed the output blindly (I know what to expect if things goes right), slotted in my USB flash drive and piped command output to the flash drive, and read the output on my laptop. This way of working soon got me a working ssh server on the odroid, and with that I'm no longer blind. Sure I still can't see what happens before the ssh server is started but that's not so important at the moment.

With ssh working, I managed to get X desktop working shortly afterwards (as it turned out, there is nothing special required except to specify the correct framebuffer device), here's a simple screenshot based on a tweaked Alpha4 release (it must be tweaked because verbatim Alpha4 release has a boot-up command (/etc/init.d/02-cpuspeed) that causes the kernel to crash).



Posted on 3 Dec 2013, 4:59 - Categories: FatdogArm Linux Arm
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