Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Crowdfunding better GCompris graphics

GCompris is the most established open source kids educational game. Here we practice use of mouse with an Efika smartbook. In this subgame, mouse is moved around to uncover a image behind.

While GCompris is nice, it needs nice graphics badly. Now the GCompris authors are running a indiegogo crowfund exactly for that - to get new unified graphics.

Why should you fund? Apart from the "I want to be nice for any oss project", I see a couple of reasons specific for this crowdfund.

First, to show kids that apps can be changed! Instead of just using existing iPad apps as a consumer, Gcompris allows you to show kids how games are built and modified. With the new graphics, more kids will play longer, and eventually some will ask if something can be changed/added..

Second, GCompris has recently become QT/QML based, making it more portable than before. Wouldn't you like to see it in your Jolla tablet or a future Ubuntu phone? The crowfund doesn't promise to make new ports, but if you are eager to show your friends nice looking apps on your platform, this probably one of the easiest ways to help them happen.

Finally, as a nice way to say happy new year 2015 :)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Adventures in setting up local lava service

Linaro uses LAVA as a tool to test variety of devices. So far I had not installed it myself, mostly due to assuming it to be enermously complex to set up. But thanks to Neil Williams work on packaging, installation has got a lot easier. Follow the Official Install Doc and Official install to debian Doc, roughly looking like:

1. Install Jessie into kvm

kvm -m 2048 -drive file=lava2.img,if=virtio -cdrom debian-testing-amd64-netinst.iso
2. Install lava-server
apt-get update; apt-get install -y postgresql nfs-kernel-server apache2
apt-get install lava-server
# answer debconf questions
a2dissite 000-default && a2ensite lava-server.conf 
service apache2 reload
lava-server manage createsuperuser --username default
$EDITOR /etc/lava-dispatcher/lava-dispatcher.conf # make sure LAVA_SERVER_IP is right
That's the generic setup. Now you can point your browser to the IP address of the kvm machine, and log in with the default user and the password you made.

3 ... 1000 Each LAVA instance is site customized for the boards, network, serial ports, etc. In this example, I now add a single arndale board.

cp /usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/lava_dispatcher/default-config/lava-dispatcher/device-types/arndale.conf /etc/lava-dispatcher/device-types/
sudo /usr/share/lava-server/ -s arndale arndale-01 -t 7001
This generates us a almost usable config for the arndale. For site specifics I have usb-to-serial. Outside kvm, I provide access to serial ports using the following ser2net config:
7001:telnet:0:/dev/ttyUSB0:115200 8DATABITS NONE 1STOPBIT
7002:telnet:0:/dev/ttyUSB1:115200 8DATABITS NONE 1STOPBIT
TODO: make ser2net not run as root and ensure usb2serial devices always get same name..

For automatic power reset, I wanted something cheap, yet something that wouldn't require much soldering (I'm not a real embedded engineer.. I prefer software side ;) . Discussed with Hector, who hinted about prebuilt relay boxes. Chose one from Ebay, a kmtronic 8-port USB Relay. So now I have this cute boxed nonsense hack.

The USB relay is driven with a short script, hard-reset-1

stty -F /dev/ttyACM0 9600
echo -e '\xFF\x01\x00' > /dev/ttyACM0
sleep 1
echo -e '\xFF\x01\x01' > /dev/ttyACM0
Sidenote: If you don't have or want automated power relay for lava, you can always replace this this script with something along "mpg123 puny_human_press_the_power_button_now.mp3"

Both the serial port and reset script are on server with dns name aimless. So we take the /etc/lava-dispatcher/devices/arndale-01.conf that created and make it look like:

device_type = arndale
hostname = arndale-01
connection_command = telnet aimless 7001
hard_reset_command = slogin lava@aimless -i /etc/lava-dispatcher/id_rsa /home/lava/hard-reset-1
Since in my case I'm only going to test with tftp/nfs boot, the arndale board needs only to be setup to have a u-boot bootloader ready on power-on.

Now everything is ready for a test job. I have a locally built kernel and device tree, and I export the directory using the httpd available by default in debian.. Python!

cd out/
python -m SimpleHTTPServer
Go to the lava web server, select api->tokens and create a new token. Next we add the token and use it to submit a job
$ sudo apt-get install lava-tool
$ lava-tool auth-add http://default@lava-server/RPC2/
$ lava-tool submit-job http://default@lava-server/RPC2/ lava_test.json
submitted as job id: 1
The first job should now be visible in the lava web frontend, in the scheduler -> jobs part. If everything goes fine, the relay will click in a moment and the job will finish in a few minutes.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Using networkd for kvm tap networking

Setting up basic systemd-network was recently described by Joachim, and the post inspired me to try it as well. The twist is that in my case I need a bridge for my KVM with Lava server and arm/aarch64 qemu system emulators...

For background, qemu/kvm support a few ways to provide network to guests. The default is user networking, which requires no privileges, but is slow and based on ancient SLIRP code. The other common option is tap networking, which is fast, but complicated to set up. Turns out, with networkd and qemu bridge helper, tap is easy to set up.

$ for file in /etc/systemd/network/*; do echo $file; cat $file; done



Diverging from Joachims simple example, we replaced "DHCP=yes" with "Bridge=br0". Then we proceed to define the bridge (in the kvm.netdev) and give it an ip via dhcp in From the kvm side, if you haven't used the bridge helper before, you need to give the helper permissions (setuid root or cap_net_admin) to create a tap device to attach on the bridge. The helper needs an configuration file to tell what bridge it may meddle with.
# cat > /etc/qemu/bridge.conf <<__END__
allow br0
# setcap cap_net_admin=ep /usr/lib/qemu/qemu-bridge-helper
Now we can start kvm with bridge networking as easily as with user networking:
$ kvm -m 2048 -drive file=jessie.img,if=virtio -net bridge -net nic,model=virtio -serial stdio
The manpages and systemd.netdev(5) do a great job explaining the files. Qemu/kvm networking docs are unfortunately not as detailed.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Booting Linaro ARMv8 OE images with Qemu

A quick update - Linaro ARMv8 OpenEmbbeded images work just fine with qemu 2.1 as well:
$ qemu-system-aarch64 -m 1024 -cpu cortex-a57 -nographic -machine virt \
 -kernel Image -append 'root=/dev/vda2 rw rootwait mem=1024M console=ttyAMA0,38400n8' \
 -drive if=none,id=image,file=vexpress64-openembedded_lamp-armv8-gcc-4.9_20140727-682.img \
 -netdev user,id=user0 -device virtio-net-device,netdev=user0  -device virtio-blk-device,drive=image 
[    0.000000] Linux version 3.16.0-1-linaro-vexpress64 (buildslave@x86-64-07) (gcc version 4.8.3 20140401 (prerelease) (crosstool-NG linaro-1.13.1-4.8-2014.04 - Linaro GCC 4.8-2014.04) ) #1ubuntu1~ci+140726114341 SMP PREEMPT Sat Jul 26 11:44:27 UTC 20
[    0.000000] CPU: AArch64 Processor [411fd070] revision 0
Quick benchmarking with age-old ByteMark nbench:
Index Qemu Foundation Host
Memory 4.294 0.712 44.534
Integer 6.270 0.686 41.983
Float 1.463 1.065 59.528
Baseline (LINUX) : AMD K6/233*
Qemu is upto 8x faster than Foundation model on Integers, but only 50% faster on Math. Meanwhile, the Host pc spends 7-40x slower emulating ARMv8 than executing native instructions.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Testing qemu 2.1 arm64 support

Qemu 2.1 was just released a few days ago, and is now a available on Debian/unstable. Trying out an (virtual) arm64 machine is now just a few steps away for unstable users:
$ sudo apt-get install qemu-system-arm 
$ wget
$ wget
$ qemu-system-aarch64 -m 1024 -cpu cortex-a57 -nographic -machine virt -kernel trusty-server-cloudimg-arm64-vmlinuz-generic \ 
-append 'root=/dev/vda1 rw rootwait mem=1024M console=ttyAMA0,38400n8 init=/usr/lib/cloud-init/uncloud-init ds=nocloud ubuntu-pass=randomstring' \
-drive if=none,id=image,file=trusty-server-cloudimg-arm64-disk1.img \
-netdev user,id=user0 -device virtio-net-device,netdev=user0 -device virtio-blk-device,drive=image 
[    0.000000] Linux version 3.13.0-32-generic (buildd@beebe) (gcc version 4.8.2 (Ubuntu/Linaro 4.8.2-19ubuntu1) ) #57-Ubuntu SMP Tue Jul 15 03:52:14 UTC 2014 (Ubuntu 3.13.0-32.57-generic
[    0.000000] CPU: AArch64 Processor [411fd070] revision 0
ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ cat /proc/cpuinfo 
Processor       : AArch64 Processor rev 0 (aarch64)
processor       : 0
Features        : fp asimd evtstrm 
CPU implementer : 0x41
CPU architecture: AArch64
CPU variant     : 0x1
CPU part        : 0xd07
CPU revision    : 0

Hardware        : linux,dummy-virt
The "init=/usr/lib/cloud-init/uncloud-init ds=nocloud ubuntu-pass=randomstring" is ubuntu cloud stuff that will set the ubuntu user password to "randomstring" - don't use "randomstring" literally there, if you are connected to internets...

For more detailed writeup of using qemu-system-aarch64, check the excellent writeup from Alex Bennee.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Arm builder updates

Debian has recently received a donation of 8 build machines from Marvell. The new machines come with Quad core MV78460 Armada XP CPU's, DDR3 DIMM slot so we can plug in more memory, and speedy sata ports. They replace the well served Marvell MV78200 based builders - ones that have been building debian armel since 2009. We are planning a more detailed announcement, but I'll provide a quick summary:

The speed increase provided by MV78460 can viewed by comparing build times on selected builds since early april:

Qemu build times.

We can now build Qemu in 2h instead of 16h -8x faster than before! Certainly a substantial improvement, so impressive kit from Marvell! But not all packages gain this amount of speedup:

webkitgtk build times.

This example, webkitgtk, builds barely 3x faster. The explanation is found from debian/rules of webkitgkt:

# Parallel builds are unstable, see #714072 and #722520
# ifneq (,$(filter parallel=%,$(DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS)))
#   NUMJOBS = $(patsubst parallel=%,%,$(filter parallel=%,$(DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS)))
# endif
The old builders are single-core[1], so the regardless of parallel building, you can easily max out the cpu. New builders will use only 1 of 4 cores without parallel build support in debian/rules.

During this buildd cpu usage graph, we see most time only one CPU is consumed. So for fast package build times.. make sure your packages supports parallel building.

For developers, is porter machine with Armada XP. It has schroot's for both armel and armhf. set "DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS=parallel=4" and off you go.

Finally I'd like to thank Thomas Petazzoni, Maen Suleiman, Hector Oron, Steve McIntyre, Adam Conrad and Jon Ward for making the upgrade happen.

Meanwhile, we have unrelated trouble - a bunch of disks have broken within a few days apart. I take the warranty just run out...

[1] only from Linux's point of view. - mv78200 has actually 2 cores, just not SMP or coherent. You could run an RTOS on the other core while you run Linux on the other.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Where the armel buildd time went

Wanna-build, wanna-build, which packages spent most time on armel buildd's since beginning of 2013?
         package         | sum(build_time)
 libreoffice             | 114 09:16:34
 linux                   | 113 02:58:50
 gcc-4.8                 | 064 01:21:09
 webkitgtk               | 059 19:09:27
 acl2                    | 043 16:40:50
 gcc-4.7                 | 028 14:03:53
 iceweasel               | 026 19:02:13
 gcc-snapshot            | 026 01:31:21
 openjdk-7               | 020 02:41:53
 php5                    | 019 16:13:22
 llvm-toolchain-3.3      | 017 19:05:38
 qt4-x11                 | 017 02:57:09
 espresso                | 016 03:50:37
 pypy                    | 015 07:07:25
 icedove                 | 014 18:57:08
 insighttoolkit4         | 014 17:16:43
 qtbase-opensource-src   | 014 12:39:09
 llvm-toolchain-3.4      | 012 03:06:15
 mono                    | 011 22:30:13
 atlas                   | 011 20:40:54
 qemu                    | 011 17:11:09
 calligra                | 011 16:05:55
 gnuradio                | 011 15:19:35
 resiprocate             | 011 10:14:56
 llvm-toolchain-snapshot | 011 02:04:44
 libav                   | 010 13:52:03
 python2.7               | 009 18:58:33
 ghc                     | 009 18:28:48
 gnat-4.8                | 009 13:59:57
 axiom                   | 009 12:40:24
 cython                  | 009 00:47:04
 openjdk-6               | 008 16:38:14
 oce                     | 008 10:29:20
 eglibc                  | 008 06:04:26
 ppl                     | 007 20:48:45
 root-system             | 007 17:32:16
 openturns               | 007 10:12:53
 gcl                     | 007 08:02:42
 gcc-4.6                 | 007 02:50:48
 k3d                     | 007 00:36:11
 python3.3               | 007 00:25:42
 llvm-toolchain-3.2      | 007 00:17:59
 vtk                     | 006 17:53:28
 samba                   | 006 17:17:27
 mysql-workbench         | 006 14:36:46
 kde-workspace           | 006 07:31:12
 gmsh                    | 006 04:32:42
 psi-plus                | 006 04:30:08
 octave                  | 006 04:17:22
 paraview                | 006 04:13:25
Timeformat is "days HH:MM:SS". Our ridiculously stable mv78x00 buildd's have served well, but has come to become let them rest. Now, to find out how many of these top time consuming packages can build with parallel make and are not doing so already.