On June 10th 2008, Technologic Systems released new kernel images and drivers for the TS-7800 single board computer and started shipping products with this new software load. After 8 months of development, hundreds of boards shipped, and experience reports from our customers, we believe we have reached a more mature and stable product in terms of software and hardware.
The following is a list of the major issues resolved and improvements so far:
- Initial Ramdisk and Kernel were modified/reduced to allow bootup time as fast as 0.69 seconds from on-board Flash; Many hardware drivers once included into the Kernel now are available as modules through the Debian Linux distribution for the TS-7800;
- Debian Filesystem on the SD Card now uses JFS instead of EXT3. JFS is more appropriate for embedded systems, with good performance and more reliability regarding unsafe power down;
- SD Card and NAND driver gained substantial performance improvements through shared use of the DMA resource; SD Card driver performance is, depending upon the card brand, 7-9 MB/s for writing and 14-16 MB/s for reading;
- Kernel 2.6.21-ts: conflicts between serial drivers and NAND driver were resolved, DMA driver was added, bugs related to time measurement were fixed;
- Debian Sarge and user-space tools: udev was fixed, rtc7800 utility was fixed, pump and dhcp were fixed;
- Eclipse IDE now supports OABI cross-compilation through Cygwin, thus allowing development with the TS-7200 computers and OABI Kernels/Distributions;
Please, contact Technologic Systems if you want a complete report of software and hardware issues addressed so far for the TS-7800, or see the internal version log.
Upgrading the TS-7800 Software Load
The easiest way to update a single TS-7800 board is through a 512MB SD Card. Copy the most recent image to a 512MB SD Card and boot to the TS-7800 using the card (jumper 1 ON). Execute the command 'createmtdroot' to update the whole on-board NAND flash with the contents from the SD Card (including Kernel, initial ramdisk and Debian). Notice that this command will erase the current contents of the on-board flash. In case you want to keep the contents of the YAFFS Debian partition (third), use the command 'createmtdboot' and only the Kernel (first) and initial ramdisk (second) partitions will be updated.
The latest 512MB SD Card image for the TS-7800 can be found at:
Alternatively, the user can individually upgrade the Linux Kernel (1st partition of NAND and 2nd of the SD), initial ramdisk (2nd partition of NAND and 3rd of the SD) and Debian filesystem (3rd partition of NAND and 4th of the SD). Please notice that the new drivers will only work with the new Kernel. The following are the files of interest:
Please, contact Technologic Systems if you are having problems upgrading your TS-7800 platform.
TS-7800 Development Continuity
For current and future customers planning on including the TS-7800 in their long-term designs, we announce that the TS-7800 product has reached a more mature state with most of the known-issues resolved. Similarly, we have decided that the Linux Kernel and the Debian distribution versions are not going to change from now on. We are always going to ship the same software versions, following our compatibility and long life-cycle policy already established for other products. The TS-7800 official Linux Kernel version is 2.6.21-ts with support for EABI. The TS-7800 official Debian version is Sarge using old-ABI libraries and binaries.
We also want to mention that our future development target for the TS-7800 may include new software solutions such as Debian Etch, Debian Armel for EABI, and a new Linux Kernel including mainline support. However, any additional development involving version changes will be made available through our website only and will not be incorporated in the default TS-7800 shipped solution as defined above.
Technologic Systems will continue to improve the TS-7800 SBC. New software releases including new tools and any necessary problem fixes for the current version will occur. We are looking forward to hearing back from customers with suggestions, complaints or bug reports. Likewise, we are very thankful to all the customers who have worked with the TS-7800 product since its initial release and have helped us throughout the critical development stage. Technologic Systems looks forward to repeating this successful experience with the design and development of our future products.