I got two ARM devices for Christmas!  (OK, well, I have to share one of them with my wife...)

My brother is awesome and got me and my wife an iPad.  It's something I probably wouldn't buy for myself but since having it I think it's awesome.  The reading electronic books part so far is my favorite although general web surfing, YouTubing, and Angry Birds aren't far behind.  I'm currently reading Producing Open Source Software, am planning to read An Introduction to GCC, and then I'll be on to Building Embedded Linux Systems.

My wife got me a Beagle Board xM!  Something I've been wanting to get for a few months now.  I'm very interested to see what the Beagle Board can do and how good the information is regarding how to do things with it.  From what I've seen so far, there's a real lack of high quality and well written instruction on how to get Linux up and running beyond a simple precompiled distribution install.  No one seems to have a walk through of building cross compilers, building the Linux kernel, and creating a file system.  Maybe I'm not yet looking in the right parts of the Internet to find these things, but I think this could be a really cool thing to write about, in the way the Cross Linux From Scratch project does, but with the Beagle Board in mind so that it can be tailored to the hardware and be more of a hands on project that people can approach.  (One of CLFS's shortfalls is that the embedded book is too general, there are so many varieties of each type of processor that it's hard to provide info for everyone who will read it.)

What's really funny about these two gifts is how different they are yet how much inside is the same.  It all comes down to the software and packaging.  Obviously the Beagle Board doesn't care much about either since it's really just a low priced development kit, but both run a 1GHz ARM core processor, have graphics accelerators, network connectivity, flash storage, and some form of USB.

I had an awesome Christmas.  Now I need a serial cable and a 5V power brick!  Digikey, here I come!


Hi Andrew,

Best places to look for static BeagleBoard information are http://beagleboard.org, of course; http://elinux.org/BeagleBoard ; and http://code.google.com/p/beagleboard/ . However, the best thing to do is to participate in the community, particularly the mailing list and IRC channel, both linked from http://beagleboard.org. It isn't excessively organized, but that's where the latest, best, and most personal help will come from.

That being said - I have been working on a BeagleBoard book that is currently stalled. I'd be pleased to help you any way I can, for the simple cost of seeing what you need to learn. You can find me at jefro@jefro.net.

Good luck & have fun! And please keep writing about your experiences, particularly what you plan to do with the board.


04 January 2011