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ARM9 board boots Debian in 0.69 seconds

Jun 19, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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Technologic Systems has upgraded the firmware for its quick-booting single-board computer (SBC) to make it boot even quicker. Equipped with a Marvell 500Mhz ARM9 CPU running Debian Sarge, the TS-7800 can boot Linux 2.6.21 from NAND flash in 0.69 seconds, claims Technologic.

(Click for larger view of the TS-7800)

Announced in November, the TS-7800 was touted for its two-second bootups. The SBC is equipped with a Marvell Orion 88F5182 “media vault processor” and a user-programmable on-board FPGA (field-programmable gate array) with 12,000 LUTs (look-up tables). It also includes 128MB of DDR-RAM and 512MB of NAND flash, expandable via dual SD cards. With its low power consumption and fast booting firmware, the TS-7800 is aimed at remote embedded real-time applications such as solar-powered sensor devices that wake up periodically to record and transmit settings. Thus, reducing start-up time saves power.

To break the one-second boot barrier, Technologic improved the TS-7800's bootup firmware by implementing kernel simplifications, reducing the Busybox filesystem, and improving the LinuxRC initialization script, says the company. The board boots to a minimal kernel, and then loads an initial RAM disk that is said to provide access to full-Debian binaries and libraries. After 0.69 seconds, the user receives a Linux shell prompt and access to a Busybox filesystem, enabling network services and driver access to most of the SBC's hardware. The initialization process is then completed in the background in under two seconds.

The Debian filesystem can be installed on either the on-board flash or an SD Card, says Technologic. Additional Linux services and drivers are provided as kernel modules which are loaded after bootup. Extra initialization LinuxRC scripts are provided to enable straight boot-up to on-board Flash, to an SD Card, or to an NFS root filesystem.

Availability

The updated firmware for the TS-7800 is available now, says Technologic Systems. More information may be found here.

In May, Technologic announced a TS-TPC-7390 Touch Panel Computer based on another Debian Linux-based SBC called the TS-7390 that is said to boot in two seconds.


 
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