November 2, 2011

The next trip report is from Andrew Turner:

On day one of the Developer summit, I attended the bmake/bus_bma and toolchain working groups. I contributed to these by announcing a patch to allow FreeBSD to be compiled from Linux. The patch is available; however, it is against an old copy of HEAD and does not apply correctly. An updated version is expected to be committed to a project branch in subversion in the next few weeks as I have the time to work on it. In the toolchain working group, I discussed the current state of the ARM EABI port. The last remaining part is getting GCC configured correctly. Until now I have been using a minimally configured copy of GCC. Due to the nature of the change, I would like to ensure it is correct as the ABI will need to work with clang in the future.

The second day of the Developer summit had interesting discussions on virtualization. This is an area that will soon pick up in the embedded area when ARM vendors release their System on Chips containing Cortex-A15 cores, as these have hardware supported virtualization.

I gave a talk in the FreeBSD track at the conference on the current state of NAND flash with FreeBSD, what I would like to change, and where NAND flash hardware is heading. The main point is that the the NAND flash framework is mostly done; however, we need a flash filesystem or flash translation layer before we can use it.

As a result of my talk, I was asked about devices we support that contain NAND flash. The OpenRD-Ultimate appears to be a device we support that developers are able to buy; however, as I have never used one, I am unable to recommend it. This lead to a discussion on getting one into one of the FreeBSD clusters. Since the conference, Wojciech Koszek has taken the lead in organising embedded devices for the Netperf cluster.