Upgrading the Chumby 8 Linux kernel #Chumby #Linux

The Chumby 8 came out over a decade ago. It’s an 8″ touchscreen device powered by the Marvell PXA166 processor. It is essentially a souped-up digital picture frame with extra capabilities like speakers, a microphone, and WiFi. There are little Flash-based “apps” you can install for stuff like pictures, music, sports scores, weather, games, etc.

Downtown Doug Brown has been working on upgrading the Linux kernel in the Chumby.

I’ve been getting my Chumby working with the mainline Linux kernel and slowly trying to submit fixes upstream for issues as I find them. To be clear, I’m not trying to get the stock Chumby software working with the new kernel. That’s likely impossible. The stock software is heavily dependent on Flash which is a dead end. I’m just getting the new kernel running well enough so that I can develop my own custom software for it. I’m going to write a few posts about that process and some of the fun challenges I had to overcome. This first post in the series will talk about some of the work I did with U-Boot.

Earlier this year when I started working on this again, I set a ground rule. I wanted to be able to build the whole bootable SD card image for my Chumby from scratch using buildroot.

I started out by trying to figure out the boot process. I wanted to use a modern U-Boot under the assumption that it would be more likely to work properly with a modern kernel.

Read more on how the work has progressed in the post here and on hackaday.


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