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Low-cost ARM9 chip gains Linux development support

Aug 25, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 6 views

Timesys announced a new version of its LinuxLink software development framework for embedded Linux that supports the 2.6.30 kernel and Atmel's industrial- and PoS-focused, ARM9-based AT91SAM9G45 processor. LinuxLink now supports Atmel's SAM9G45 evaluation kit and provides a wide variety of peripheral drivers, says the company.

The LinuxLink support for the AT91SAM9G45 includes drivers for the processor's Ethernet, LCD/touchscreen controller, power management features, and USB 2.0 controller (in both host and device modes), says Timesys. LinuxLink also provides access to hundreds of relevant middleware packages, including Qt/Embedded for Linux, GTK, and Bluez, designed to streamline the creation of a footprint-optimized root file system (RFS) with a rich set of APIs, says the company.

Additional features include the latest GNU-based optimized toolchains enabled with uClibc and glibc libraries, says Timesys. The support is said to include access to LinuxLink's automated "Factory" build system, which offers a wizard for creating an initial Linux starting image, as well as a build engine that enables customers to build a custom Linux platform from source code. Other LinuxLink features include debugging tools within its Eclipse-based "TimeStorm" IDE, as well as technical support and documentation.

Atmel's SAM9G45

Announced a month ago, Atmel's $8 (in volume) AT91SAM9G45 is targeted at industrial applications including building automation, data loggers, point-of-sale (PoS) terminals, alarm systems, and medical equipment. The chip is touted for supporting DDR2 memory and 100Mbps+ data rates, as well as its support for LCD touchscreens, 3.3 V power, and 480Mbps USB.

Like the AT91SAM9G20, announced in May 2008, the SAM9G45 uses an ARM926EJ-S core clocked to 400MHz, as well as 32KB each of data and instruction cache. This is twice the clock speed and four times the cache of the earlier AT91SAM9260. Like the SAM9G20, the SAM9G45 provides 64K of internal SRAM.

SAM9G45 architecture

The SAM9G45's twin parallel external bus interfaces (EBI) support DDR2 memory at 133MHz, as well as SDRAM, NAND flash, and NOR flash, with dual interfaces for MMC 4.3 and SDIO/SDCard 2.0. The device provides boot from NAND flash, SDCard, DataFlash, or serial DataFlash, Atmel adds.


The new version of LinuxLink supporting the Atmel SAM9G45 chip is available now. Timesys is running its usual limited-time offer for a free trial, including the ability to configure, build, and evaluate embedded Linux on Atmel SAM9G45-EK boards, available here. Developers should enter promotion code "PR9G45".

Additional information about LinuxLink subscriptions for Atmel boards can be found here.

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