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Free Linux BSP helps users evaluate Atmel MCUs

Sep 18, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

TimeSys is giving away a free (with registration) Linux BSP (board support package) said to support all of Atmel's AT91SAM9-series microcontrollers. The BSP could help users more easily evaluate the $6-$10 ARM9-based parts under Linux, without having to pony up for TimeSys's full annual support service subscription for the parts.

TimeSys says the BSP includes everything developers need to validate Linux with Atmel microcontroller units (MCUs): Atmel's Linux kernel and drivers, cross-tools for Linux hosts, and a small root file system based in part on busybox and glibc. The BSP even comes with limited support, including access to a “self-service” knowledgebase, and installation help (with no response time guarantees.)

Just as with TimeSys's full LinuxLink subscription service for Atmel MCUs, the free BSP is said to support Atmel's entire SAM9 product range, and to include board-specific device drivers and bootloaders. The BSP will also support any new SAM9 parts, TimeSys said, as long as Atmel remains in TimeSys's Onboard Program.

Atmel joined the Onboard program in 2006, declaring TimeSys its “primary Linux distribution mechanism” for ARM9-based products. So far, the SAM9 product family includes the AT91SAM9260, AT91SAM9261, and AT91SAM9263, all based on ARM926EJ-S processor cores.

In a statement, Alfredo Vadillo, managing director of 32-bit MCUs at Atmel, said, “The success of our ARM-based microcontrollers depends on the quality of the infrastructure that we build around it. The Linux community is an essential part of this infrastructure, and the extended agreement with TimeSys enables us to provide our joint customers with a faster method to deploy Linux on our processors.”

TimeSys CEO Atul Bansal added, “We worked closely with Atmel to develop this offering. Our goal is to simplify and accelerate the work embedded developers undertake to create a custom Linux platform.”


The free BSP for AT91SAM MCUs can be downloaded now (with registration) here. TimeSys says the free offering can be enhanced by a standard LinuxLink subscription, which adds more cross-compiled packages, support for Windows development hosts, uClibc libraries, faster support turnaround, and more frequent updates to toolchains, kernels, and patches. Additionally, a Professional LinuxLink subscription adds TimeSys's mature Eclipse-based TimeStorm graphical toolkit and on-line custom distro builder. A chart comparing the free BSP to TimeSys's full LinuxLink subscription is available here.

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