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x86 SBCs gain flashy new Linux SDKs

Dec 16, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 8 views

Diamond Systems announced software development kits (SDKs) that include solid-state IDE flashdisk modules. Preloaded with Linux 2.6.23, the bootable modules plug directly into Diamond's boards, supplying all required drivers, the company says.

Diamond's new bootable flashdisk SDKs are designed to work with Diamond's single board computers (SBCs) and embedded-ready systems, creating solid-state Linux-based computers, says the company. For example, one supported product is the Neptune board (pictured below), which can run ETX modules equipped with AMD Geode, Intel Celeron, or Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs.

Side view of Diamond's Neptune sub-system

Diamond also includes SDKs for the Helios and Athena II SBCs, which are based on the DMP Vortex86DX and the Via Mark CoreFusion CPUs, respectively. In addition, the company offers an SDK for the Hercules II, which appears to be an updated version of the Hercules-EBX board, and which, like the Athena II, runs a Via Mark CoreFusion processor.

Diamond's (1.2 x 1.7-inch flashdisk, available with the new Linux SDKs
(Click to enlarge)

Each new Linux SDK includes a Linux 2.6.23-based filesystem tailored for whatever Diamond system the customer is working with, says the company. Each Linux image is said to include preconfigured and preinstalled drivers that support peripherals, including:

  • PS/2 mouse and keyboard
  • RS-232 serial ports
  • IDE storage devices
  • Ethernet networking

Each SDK also includes Diamond's "Universal Driver," which supports the onboard data acquisition functions of each Diamond board's associated processor, says the company. Diamond also provides demo programs for analog and digital I/O operation.

In addition to the above drivers, each Linux filesystem is said to include:

  • Slackware 2.6.23 Linux kernel
  • EXT3 filesystem
  • Grub 0.97 bootloader
  • BusyBox 1.10.4 utilities
  • DHCP, SSH, SCP, FTP utilities
  • GCC version 3.2.3 toolchain, including gcc, g++, and gdb
  • Text-only interface (but GUIs can "easily be added")

In addition to the filesystem, each Linux SDK is said to include:

  • Linux 2.6.23 SDK CD for the target SBC
  • Flashdisk (1.2 x 1.7 inches) with a bootable Linux image for the target SBC
  • Installation guide

The aforementioned Linux 2.6.23 SDK CD includes a binary image of the flashdisk's contents, which "can be copied freely onto additional flashdisk modules during the end product's manufacturing process," says Diamond. The CD also contains full source code of the kernel and the root filesystem, as well as a GNU development toolchain for adding code, libraries, or applications.


The following Linux 2.6.23 SDK models are immediately available, each linked to a particular Diamond product, at the following prices. All are 512MB images except for the image for the Helios SBC, which is 128MB:

  • SDK-ATHM-LNX (Athena II SBC) — $235
  • SDK-HLV-LNX (Helios SBC) — $200
  • SDK-HRC-LNX (Hercules II SBC) — $235
  • SDK-NPT-LNX (Neptune embedded-ready system) — $235

More information on Diamond's Linux SDKs may be found here.

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