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Mini Linux targets mini PowerPC mobo

May 29, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 21 views

A project maintaining lightweight Linux distributions targeting experienced users says it will support a new passively cooled PowerPC- and FPGA-based mini-ITX motherboard. The CruxPPC project will collaborate with ACube Systems to support ACube's Sam440ep, an Amiga-oriented board that shipped last month.

(Click for larger view of ACube Sam440ep)

Crux aims to maintain a simple, streamlined Linux distribution for experienced Linux users and 686 processors. As such, it could prove useful as a basis for embedded systems development.

The project's professed goals include:

  • “Simplicity over automation”
  • Source-based packaging similar to BSD's ports collection
  • Stripped of documentation and non-native language features
  • KISS (keep it simple, stupid) system and dev process

The Crux PPC project, meanwhile, maintains a PowerPC version of Crux. It is said to support “Apple NewWorld (both 32 and 64bit) PowerPCs, Genesi Pegasos-II workstations and EFIKA embedded boards, [and] IBM RS/6000 CHRP and pSeries servers.”

Additionally, CruxPPC will “soon” support ACube's Sam440ep modular mini-ITX motherboard, the companies said.

Amiga-oriented board named for Yosemite Sam

The Sam440ep is an interesting mini-ITX board based on an AMCC 440ep, a general-purpose embedded SoC (system-on-chip) with lots of on-chip peripheral interfaces, including built-in memory controllers for flash and DDR RAM. Clocked at 533MHz, the chip is said to draw only 3 Watts. The ACube board also integrates an FPGA (field-programmable gate array) said to be capable of emulating the processors used in early Amiga computers, resulting in full software compatibility.

ACube's Sam440ep mini-ITX motherboard
(Click to enlarge)

Other touted features of the Sam440ep mini-ITX board include:

  • ATI Radeon Mobility M9 graphics controller
  • Cirrus audio controller
  • PCI controller
  • USB 1.1 host and USB 2.0 device controller
  • 2 x Ethernet 10/100 ports
  • 4 x serial ports
  • 2 x 12C ports
  • SPI
  • 64 GPIOs


The Sam440ep mini-ITX motherboard appears to be available now. The CruxPPC port for it will become available “soon,” a project spokesperson said.

In addition to Linux 2.6.19, the Sam440ep can also run AmigaOS 4, MorphOS, and Aros, according to an article in BitPlane.

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