October 19, 2017

Debian Stretch 9.2 for i.MX6/7 boards – October 2017 (kernel 4.1.15)

 

Debian Stretch 9.2 – XFCE4 Desktop

As it happens every other year, Debian released a new version of its distribution named Stretch. We are glad to offer new images for i.MX6/7 boards with the current 4.1.15 kernel.

As earlier, we used XFCE4 desktop since it offers the best trade-off speed/size for Debian GUI desktop environment. As usual, a console image is also available for those who don’t need a GUI desktop.

This time we also created an other GUI desktop image without the demo applications.

These systems contain NXP/Freescale licensed content, so you will need to register on our web-site and log in before you can accept the license agreement and download the images from here:

Important !

Before installing this image please check your U-Boot version. The 4.1.15 kernel requires U-Boot version 2015.07 or higher, U-Boot version 2017.07 is recommended. You can find the bootscript in the /boot subdirectory now, its named boot.scr . The partition labels are set if you use dd or ddrescue to create the disk. If you use your own method please check the boot partition labels, because the fstab boots by label (LABEL=sys-16h for example) now. You can use ext2label to modify partition label.

Programming the image

The image is a slightly-less-than-4GiB image file containing the partition table.  Inspired by ubuntu-mate.org, I changed over from dd to another disk copy program called ddrescue. It is a much more talkative program, although dd does do it’s job honestly. I don’t like mute programs, you never know whats happening in a given moment. For example, if you want to create an SD card for a console image, you need to do the following :

$ sudo apt-get install gddrescue xz-utils util-linux
$ gunzip 20171018-nitrogen-4.1.15_2.0.0_ga-stretch-en_US-devcon_armhf.img.gz
$ sudo ddrescue -D --force 20171018-nitrogen-4.1.15_2.0.0_ga-stretch-en_US-devcon_armhf.img /dev/sdX

You have to replace sdX with your actual SDHC reader/writer device. Use the lsblk command to check it.

Type lsblk with unplugged SDHC reader, then insert the device, and type lsblk again. A new node will be added , that is your SDHC reader/writer device.

Usernames and passwords

Two users are defined for use on the system: debian and root. The password for each is Boundary (capital B).

An ssh server is configured on the system, though it does not allow password-based authentication for user root.

User debian has sudo privileges, so you can place your ssh public key (normally $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa.pub) to the system like so :

debian@nitrogen:~$ sudo mkdir /root/.ssh
[sudo] password for debian:
debian@nitrogen:~$ sudo nano /root/.ssh/authorized_keys
... paste content of $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa.pub here
debian@nitrogen:~$ sudo chmod 600 /root/.ssh/auth*
debian@nitrogen:~$ sudo chmod 600 /root/.ssh/

What’s supported

Since the images above include our stable 4.1.15 kernel, essentially everything is supported including :

  • Vivante GPU accelerations
  • C&M VPU accelerations
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules for Tiwi-BLE, BD_BCOM, BD-SDMAC
  • All kind of storage devices , SDHC card, eMMC, SATA hdd, USB pen sticks, cell modems
  • All of our supported touch panels
  • IMX Capture devices including OV56xx parallel and mipi cameras, Toshiba BD-HDMI-MIPI converter, UVC cameras
  • It supports i.MX6Q/DL/SX and i.MX7D board’s BSP

The packaging (inluding kernel) is done in the normal debian way, so apt-get update/dist-upgrade will keep your image up and running the latest as patches come out.

What’s new in this release

  • The Linux kernel was upgraded to 4.1.15 ( meta-package name: linux-boundary-12s )
  • GPU driver was upgraded to Vivante 6.2.2p0 ( meta-package name: imx-gpu-viv-s13-… ).
  • The module galcore (CONFIG_MXC_GPU_VIV) was removed from the kernel, and it’s an externally built module. This change makes the graphics system modular, and more upgradeable, at the price of longer kernel upgrading time. Upgrading kernel takes about 3-4 minutes now, instead of 30 seconds, because every kernel upgrade rebuilds the galcore driver from sources, because its a DKMS module.
  • The package gstreamer-imx was upgraded to 0.12.3-5
  • The new NXP/Vivante GPU SDK was added : imx-gpu-sdk 4.0.2 . You can get the source with the usual apt-get source command. This is a brand new SDK with many new demos, for example OpenCL, OpenVG,G2D, and for OpenVX and Vulkan, but those demos will be supported only by the i.MX8 SoC.
  • The distribution was upgraded to Stretch 9.2 . Here are some main component versions :
    • Xorg server 1.19.2
    • gstreamer1.0 1.10.4
    • bluez 5.43
    • Qt5 5.7.1
    • apt 1.4.8
    • chromium 59.0.3071.86-1
    • dpkg 1.18.24
    • gcc/g++ 6.3.0
    • firefox-esr 52.2.0esr
    • libwayland 1.12.0
    • weston 1.11.0-1
    • XFCE Desktop Environment 4.12.3
  • The desktop icon structure is similar to Ubuntu now, the demo icons are grouped in the same way.
  • Silex WiFi / Bluetooth is now supported in Stretch also, not only in Xenial and Jessie.

 


Let’s see some interesting new demos,  this is a screen of the imx-gpu-sdk OpenGLESv2 Blur demo, a spinning bubble with environment mapping:

IMX GPU SDK 2.2.2 Gaussian Blur demo

IMX GPU SDK 4.0.2 Gaussian Blur demo

You can find many other interesting samples and framework in the SDK, including GLESv2, GLESv3, OpenCL, OpenVG.


This Qt5  Qml demo below shows how to apply various effects on a running video stream, using GPU shaders :

Qt 5.7.1 Cinematic Experience demo

Qt 5.7.1 Cinematic Experience demo

You can apply various effects on a playing video and/or recording camera screen . Source is available.


Chromium browser now supports WebGL. This is an example from the web:

Chromium WebGL demo

Chromium WebGL demo

 

GPU development libraries

The package imx-gpu-viv-s13-dev ( development headers and libraries for OpenGL / ESv2 / ESv3 / Khronos / OpenVG / OpenCL /G2D ) is installed by default. You have to set the headers path, before any other headers, or you might include the mesa headers first, and you don’t want to do that. For example :

export CFLAGS="-I/usr/include/vivante ${CFLAGS}"

and you have to set the library path as well :

export LDFLAGS="-L/usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/vivante ${LDFLAGS}"

Alternatively you can use the much more precise pkg-config way, in the makefile. Setting the flags in case of X11 system :

PKG_CONFIG_PATH = /usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/vivante/pkgconfig

EGL :

CFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --cflags egl_x11)

LDFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --libs egl_x11)

GLESv1 :

CFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --cflags glesv1_cm_x11)

LDFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --libs glesv1_cm_x11)

GLESv2 :

CFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --cflags glesv2_x11)

LDFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --libs glesv2_x11)

OpenVG :

CFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --cflags vg_x11)

LDFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --libs vg_x11)

In case of FB backend change the _x11 postfix above to _fb, thats all.

OpenCL is the same at both fb and x11 :

CFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --cflags opencl)

LDFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --libs opencl)

Check the directory /usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/vivante/pkgconfig for more information


 

As always, please give us some feedback and let us know how things work for you.