Ogg-support 0.8: Diablo

I finally compiled ogg-support for Diablo too. It’s available through the maemo downloads page.

I don’t know why the Chinook version didn’t work in Diablo any more. And I didn’t really want to start debugging why the Maemo’s mime libraries and the closed source Metalayer Crawler don’t want to work with the mimetypes copied from a desktop system. So, now there’s only one mimetype: audio/x-vorbis and no support for speex or theora anymore. On the good side, e.g. File Manager can now start OGGs to Media Player.

New feature is a Control Panel plugin to ignore the OGGs from the Maps application. After installing ogg-support wait several minutes for the Metalayer Crawler to finish and then start the CP plugin. Metalayer Crawler seems to be much much slower if you have the Media Player open while it indexes the files.

Linux on ARM

ARM (and Movial) has published a new site that provides Open Source components, middleware and utilities used to build a Linux Mobile software stack on ARM.

All components (applications, libraries, etc) are in GIT repositories. The build tool is called Matrix. Matrix clones all components under one directory and compiles them with a single command. With another command you get JFFS2 image although that’s not as simple as it should be.

ARM would like to get all contributions directly to upstream instead of providing large code dumps and states that developers are encouraged to participate in discussion forums and developer community of respective components used on this site. That’s why there are no new mailing lists nor forums available for the platform. There is #matrixhelp (#matrix was taken) on irc.ipv6.oftc.net for Matrix related issues though. Developing the components is convenient if you are familiar with GIT. It’s easy to test if your patch works and send it to the upstream project.

One of the supported hardware platforms is n8x0 which is nice as it’s commonly available. The downside is the closed source nature of it. There are two projects, example-project and Kaze that has n8x0 configured as one target platform. Kaze has XFCE desktop instead of Matchbox desktop that the example-project uses.

Kaze boots but most features need still work. WLAN works without encryption but WEP and WPA encryptions need to be fixed. ALSA works with alsa plugins through the DSP but the closed source DSP tasks need to be copied to the build system. Kaze has normal X.Org instead of Xomap, so there’s no XV extension, only stubs.

GCC options and floating point

There was (again) some discussion on #maemo about gcc options regarding VFP usage so I decided to make a simple test with different gcc options using the Maemo’s cs2005q3.2-glibc2.5-arm toolchain. Nothing new here for people already familiar with the floating point stuff.

In the test I compiled a very simple test code with different -mfpu and -mfloat-abi options, -O2 and -march=armv6 were given in all cases. The asm code is linked in the table. The code is a simple for loop which could be optimized to one round but based on the results it looks like the gcc didn’t do this kind of tricks.

Although you can ask the default options from the gcc I decided to test also without the options. The test was run on n810 and results are in the table below.

GCC none hard soft softfp
none 0m 31.11s
0m 31.01s
0m 0.00s

0m 31.24s
0m 31.00s
0m 0.00s
0m 4.38s
0m 4.37s
0m 0.00s
fpa 0m 30.64s
0m 30.54s
0m 0.00s
5m 52.53s
0m 21.25s
5m 30.66s
0m 30.57s
0m 30.55s
0m 0.00s
5m 52.56s
0m 21.06s
5m 30.69s
vfp 0m 31.09s
0m 30.99s
0m 0.00s

0m 31.08s
0m 31.00s
0m 0.00s
0m 4.40s
0m 4.39s
0m 0.00s

Looks like the default for -mfpu is vfp and the default for -mfloat-abi is soft.

There are three different values, one takes some seconds, one takes some tens of seconds and one takes some minutes.

This was expected as there are three different ways to do floating point math. In the slowest one the kernel emulates the fpu after cpu has run into undefined floating point opcode. This is extremely slow as there are a lot of context switches. A faster way to do the floating point math without the hardware is to let the gcc to compile the floating point math to the binary itself (and something in libgcc?). The fastest way is to use the VFP hardware.

2.6.25 and BT working on Gumstix

I finally got the Bluetooth working with my Gumstix running 2.6.25 and my linux setup. My patches are against two weeks old kernel but hopefully apply to current HEAD too. The patches include my kernel config: gumstix-verdex-bt.config too.

I had to configure the BT hardware using pxaregs and /prog/gpio in my startup scripts (copied from some OE image):

echo -n "Starting 32kHz clock..."
/usr/sbin/pxaregs OSCC_OON 1
while /usr/sbin/pxaregs OSCC_OOK | tail -n 1 | grep -q -v 1;do
echo -n '.'
sleep 1
echo "Settled"

/sbin/modprobe gumstix_bluetooth
/sbin/modprobe proc_gpio

echo "AF3 out" > /proc/gpio/GPIO9

echo "AF1 in" > /proc/gpio/GPIO42
echo "AF2 out" > /proc/gpio/GPIO43
echo "AF1 in" > /proc/gpio/GPIO44
echo "AF2 out" > /proc/gpio/GPIO45

I also had to patch my hciattach from bluez-utils 3.29. Those patches are here.

Ogg-support 0.7: Canola interoperability

Light Media Scanner now uses libivorbis (Tremor) instead of floating point libvorbis. Ogg-support now depends on newer build of libivorbis that exports the symbols needed by LMS.

There’s now ogg-support-lightmediascanner meta package which depends on lightmediascanner0-ogg for easier installation with the Application Manager.

Unfortunately all other issues with ogg-support still remain.

UBIFS and Gumstix

I wanted try something other than JFFS2 as the rootfs and decided to go with UBIFS. Thanks to GIT’s brilliance I had no trouble pulling the UBIFS kernel patches from their tree to mine.

It seems that the UBIFS hasn’t had many NOR flash users before me and it needed some fixes. Artem Bityutskiy was extremely helpful in fixing the deficiencies and helping me out. After a few debug rounds I now have UBIFS root on my Gumstix.

I created the UBIFS image with the following commands:

sudo mkfs.ubifs --compr=zlib -r /tmp/rootfs -m 1 -e 130944 -c 120 -o ubifs.img
ubinize -o ubi.img -m 1 -p 128KiB -v ubinize.cfg

With this ubinize.cfg:


Note that I have reserved 2MiB for the kernel partition.

I had to add one extra parameter to the kernel args to specify what MTD partition I wanted to use:

console=ttyS0,115200n8 root=ubi0:rootfs rootfstype=ubifs reboot=cold,hard ubi.mtd=1

Now my Gumstix boots with simplified kernel to busybox shell in roughly 4.2 seconds (counted from the bootm command in U-Boot).

2.6.25 running on Gumstix

I had to add a new category after all: gumstix. The embedded word has too broad a meaning.

Updating the kernel wasn’t such a big thing after all, even for a kernel n00b like me. I git cloned the vanilla tree from kernel.org and patched the generic (and one bluetooth) Gumstix patches from OE: arch-config.patch, board-init.patch, header.patch, mach-types-fix.patch, modular-init-bluetooth.patch, tsc2003-config.diff, tsc2003.c, and uImage-in-own-partition.patch. Most of them applied fine, I just had to manually apply simple Makefile patches and change pxa_init_irq call to pxa27x_init_irq.

I don’t know if it really works, but at least it booted:

root@gumstix-custom-verdex:~$ uname -a
Linux gumstix-custom-verdex 2.6.25-rc8-00151-gdc41023 #2 Fri Apr 4 23:43:25 EEST 2008 armv5tel unknown


It’s time to create a new category in my projects blog: embedded.

I got interested in microcontrollers some years ago and wrote something simple for 16F88 with assembler. Then I connected it to an old IPAQ using a serial connection. But the IPAQ isn’t a very good development platform so now I decided to buy a gumstix.

Gumstix Verdex

It’s 400Mhz verdex mainboard with 64M RAM and 16M flash. And a bluetooth. The mainboard is the smaller board upside down in the picture. The bigger board is a expansion board including 3x rs232, power plug, a USB mini-B connector and a bunch of GPIO lines.

The bootloader is U-Boot and the Linux distribution is based on OpenEmbedded. U-Boot is nice as I’m somewhat familiar with it but the OE I’m going to replace with something else.

I just booted it up to see how it looks inside:

cat /proc/cpuinfo
Processor : XScale-PXA270 rev 7 (v5l)
BogoMIPS : 415.33
Features : swp half thumb fastmult edsp iwmmxt
CPU implementer : 0x69
CPU architecture: 5TE
CPU variant : 0x0
CPU part : 0x411
CPU revision : 7
Hardware : The Gumstix Platform

Maybe the first thing would be to configure the kernel to support only those features included in my hardware setup.

Ogg-support: Issues

The ogg-support is listed as the The Pearl for OS2008, thanks! :)

Even though the ogg-support has got nice ratings in the download page, it doesn’t work perfectly on the OS2008. Most of the issues has some sort of workaround so I decided to make a summary post of them.

Ogg-support breaks VOIP calls

Ogg-support adds Speex voice codec to the system and it seems that the VOIP client advertises it as the first choice. If both parties have it installed, it’s selected. But. The VOIP engine (or whatever) doesn’t know or just refuses to use Speex, so the VOIP stream is not actually sent, properly at least.

If you delete the Speex’ GStreamer plugin, the calls seems to work nicely.

Bug report (#2811).

All Oggs from Map are listed in Media Player

The Metalayer Crawler adds all known media files to the Media Player’s Library. With ogg-support also Ogg files are recognized and added to the Library. Problem is that the Map application includes almost 2000 Oggs with N810 so they are added to the Library too.

A workaround is mentioned in the ogg-support’s help forum. It requires editing the SQL database after the files are added to the Library.

Bug report (#2772).

File Manager doesn’t launch Media Player for Oggs

I had to modify the mime type XML a bit to get File Manager to recognize videos and audios in Ogg container separately instead of just showing all *.ogg files as e.g. audio/x-vorbis. To be specific I had to remove the *.ogg pattern from the XML file.

It seems that the hildon_mime_open_file() in libhildonmime doesn’t launch the file without the *.ogg pattern tag in XML.

No workaround for this one.

Bug report (#2521).

PS. Many problems are reported in the Internet Tablet Talk’s forums. I don’t follow those frequently so please notify me in the garage’s forums about possible bugs, issues or workarounds. I do get a instant mail notification about those. Thanks.