BLEP : Linux Education Project meeting summary, Oct 26 2010

There was a lengthy yet quiet meeting this morning on the BeagleBoard Linux Education Project (BLEP). Jason was on a plane, so initially it was just me and Mark Yoder (professor at Rose-Hulman University), mostly catching up with what happened at the first meeting last week and outlining the issues and goals discussed. We were joined by Jon Masters (RedHat ) and then Julie from TI’s DSP group for a rousing 5 minutes or so before Mark had to run to a class.

We talked about the bootable USB key based on Ubuntu and what it might contain - toolchain, the TI SDK, sources and binaries for standard BeagleBoard distros (Angstrom, Android, Ubuntu). We also discussed the use of a VM and why in this case it would be better to use a bootable key, mainly due to highly heterogeneous physical systems and the complexity of setting up a VM. Jon also noted that he has been working with a SheevaPlug (similar to a BeagleBoard) and that the Sheeva comes with a FTDI chip pre-installed that enables on-chip debugging, which might be a very valuable addition to a future BeagleBoard from an educational point of view. (An FTDI add-on board is available from TinCanTools.)

After Mark left, Jon and Julie and I continued to discuss the same issues until both of them had to go. I was then joined by Bill from TI’s software development organization. We revisited some of the same material, and also discussed documentation as well as pondering about the use of the BeagleBoard itself as a development platform (though that would require two boards for some operations). Documentation-wise, we agreed that a 15-page document explaining the board and providing some initial labs would be a good thing to have as part of the kit, and that we could draw from the experiences of Mark Yoder as well as Jason and Gerald’s notes from the Build-Your-Own-Embedded-System intensives at Embedded Systems Conferences over the past two years. Chris Hallinan’s /Embedded Linux Primer/ is also an excellent resource, and the newest edition to be released RSN contains some information about the BeagleBoard.

Finally, I discussed the BeagleBoard book I am writing and wondered aloud whether it might be feasible to set some of its material in a Creative Commons license for the purposes of use in this educational package. I will do more thinking and research on this - at the very least, I could possibly create some material that could be reusable.

There were definitely more people at the meeting last week, which was held an hour earlier. I believe the time slot should probably change - currently it is at 10:30amCT Tuesdays (in the US that is 11:30amET, 8:30amPT, 9:30amMT). If there is a better time to meet, and you would be there if this meeting were held at that better time, please let us know.

thanks,

Jeff

Thanks Jeff!! Can we get some responses on the time slot? I know I’ve heard many people express interest. I feel like we may be converging quickly on a project definition, but still need quite a bit to define the labs and lessons for any curriculum. As mentioned in the first meeting, I believe I can better recruit assistance once we have a clearly defined set of materials to produce. I’d hope they would fully utilize the work done by Mark and work forthcoming by Jeff.

Another thing to discuss quickly is Google Code-In. We might get a few tasks executed towards this goal using that program.

I wonder if it would be good to try to set up a physical meeting at ARM TechCon, which happens in Santa Clara in about 2 weeks. I believe Jason and I will both be there (I will be if I can get travel funding).

I will not be there, but Gerald will. I’m headed the other direction and over the pond that week.

Ah, too bad!

FWIW - I am putting together a presentation on this subject for ESC-SV. The latter paragraph covers BLEP - I am trying to keep it general enough that it will still be correct in April 2011. I would appreciate any feedback before I submit it on Friday, when the CFP for that conference is due.

Using the BeagleBoard as an Educational Tool

The BeagleBoard is an open-source single-board ARM-based computer that is very popular amongst embedded professionals and hobbyists alike. Its friendly community and low cost make it a very accessible system for educators as well. This presentation describes some of the educational efforts that have used the BeagleBoard, both in universities and in corporate training environments, and outlines some of the ways the experience could be improved from the student’s perspective.

The presentation also describes the BeagleBoard Linux Education Project (BLEP). Since the fall of 2010, BeagleBoard.org volunteers have been working on creating a set of tools to better facilitate the use of the BeagleBoard as a tool for teaching embedded Linux. These tools include documentation and a bootable USB key image designed to turn any x86-based desktop or laptop system into an embedded development host. Also available are cable kits for new users to easily get the BeagleBoard up and running.

Ah, too bad!

FWIW - I am putting together a presentation on this subject for ESC-SV. The
latter paragraph covers BLEP - I am trying to keep it general enough that it
will still be correct in April 2011. I would appreciate any feedback before
I submit it on Friday, when the CFP for that conference is due.

Using the BeagleBoard as an Educational Tool

The BeagleBoard is an open-source single-board ARM-based computer that is
very popular amongst embedded professionals and hobbyists alike. Its
friendly community and low cost make it a very accessible system for
educators as well. This presentation describes some of the educational
efforts that have used the BeagleBoard, both in universities and in
corporate training environments, and outlines some of the ways the
experience could be improved from the student's perspective.

The presentation also describes the BeagleBoard Linux Education Project
(BLEP). Since the fall of 2010, BeagleBoard.org volunteers have been
working on creating a set of tools to better facilitate the use of the
BeagleBoard as a tool for teaching embedded Linux. These tools include
documentation and a bootable USB key image designed to turn any x86-based
desktop or laptop system into an embedded development host. Also available
are cable kits for new users to easily get the BeagleBoard up and running.

Sounds awesome!