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.