First notable example of ARMX6 development benefiting other hardware.
R-Comp have released an upgraded operating system for users of their PandaBoard-based ARMiniX computers, and for PandaBoard users who are subscribed to their PandaLand support scheme. Released just a week before the Southwest Show, at which R-Comp will be officially launching their new i.MX 6-based
ARMSX ARMX6 computer, the update appears to largely be a result of work done for the new machine.
According to Andrew Rawnsley, many issues and bugs in RISC OS have been dealt with in the course of developing the ARMX6, a task that was essential to ensure stability and high performance on the new system. Andrew previously said that such fixes were being fed back into the RISC OS source tree, which is looked after by RISC OS Open Ltd, and that they would therefore benefit users of RISC OS on other hardware platforms, PandaBoard users in particular. Incorporating the improvements, fixes and enhancements that have been made to the operating system as a result of the ARMX6 work, this update is an example of just that.
A more specific example is that the Cortex-A9 processor – which is found in both the Freescale i.MX 6 series as used in the ARMX6, and the OMAP4430 as used on the PandaBoard – has a separate cache controller, which RISC OS was doing nothing with; the L2 cache on the CPU was therefore operating with no sensible controls. This needed to be addressed, so RISC OS now has support for the Cortex-A9 cache controller.
Andrew says that the update – dubbed OS Update 8 – “should be the best and most robust OS release yet for the ARMiniX/PandaLand users, and ensures ARMiniX users have an OS that is in line with that of the new ARMX6.”
ARMini owners (and BeagleBoard users who are subscribed to the original “DIY Software Support Scheme”) shouldn’t feel left out: An upgrade to RISC OS 5.22 should be coming soon. The improvements primarily benefit the ARM Cortex-A9 architecture, so there was a pressing desire to release an update for ARMiniX and PandaLand first.
OS Update 8 is available free of charge from the private users download site.