Debian Jessie 8.6 for i.MX6/7 boards – December 2016 (kernel 4.1.15)

Published on December 12, 2016

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Debian Jessie 8.6 - XFCE4 desktop Debian Jessie 8.6 - XFCE4 desktop For those of you who prefer Debian over Ubuntu, we're glad to offer an updated Debian Jessie with the newest 4.1.15-2.0.0 kernel . The same good old XFCE4 was used since it offers the best trade-off speed/size for Debian GUI desktop environment. As usual, a console image is also available for those who don’t need a GUI desktop. These systems contain NXP/Freescale licensed content, so you will need to register on our web-site and log in before you can accept the license agreement and download the images from here:

Update#1 : Important ! Before installing this image please check your U-Boot version. The 4.1.15 kernel requires U-Boot version 2015.07 or higher, version 2016.03 is recommended. With this U-Boot you can use the new USB Mass Storage Gadget to program the eMMC. Tip: If you want more free space on the console image's SD card, you can uninstall demos anytime, they take lot of space : $ sudo apt-get purge imx-gpu-sdk-j8-fb $ sudo apt-get purge imx-gpu-viv-j8-test

Programming the image

The image is a slightly-less-than-4GiB image file containing the partition table.  Inspired by, I changed over from dd to another disk copy program called ddrescue. It is a much more talkative program, although dd does do it's job honestly. I don't like mute programs, you never know whats happening in a given moment. For example, if you want to create an SD card for a console image, you need to do the following : $ sudo apt-get install gddrescue xz-utils util-linux $ gunzip 20161207-nitrogen-4.1.15_2.0.0_ga-jessie-en_US-console_armhf.img.gz $ sudo ddrescue -D --force 20161207-nitrogen-4.1.15_2.0.0_ga-jessie-en_US-console_armhf.img /dev/sdX You have to replace sdX with your actual SDHC reader/writer device. Use the lsblk command to check it. Type lsblk with unplugged SDHC reader, then insert the device, and type lsblk again. A new node will be added , that is your SDHC reader/writer device.

Usernames and passwords

Two users are defined for use on the system: debian and root. The password for each is Boundary (capital B). An ssh server is configured on the system, though it does not allow password-based authentication for user root. User debian has sudo privileges, so you can place your ssh public key (normally $HOME/.ssh/ to the system like so : debian@nitrogen:~$ sudo mkdir /root/.ssh [sudo] password for debian: debian@nitrogen:~$ sudo nano /root/.ssh/authorized_keys ... paste content of $HOME/.ssh/ here debian@nitrogen:~$ sudo chmod 600 /root/.ssh/auth* debian@nitrogen:~$ sudo chmod 600 /root/.ssh/

What's supported

Since the images above include our stable 4.1.15 kernel, essentially everything is supported including :
  • Vivante GPU accelerations
  • C&M VPU accelerations
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules for Tiwi-BLE, Murata, BD_BCOM, QCA9377/Silex
  • All kind of storage devices , SDHC card, eMMC, SATA hdd, USB pen sticks, cell modems
  • All of our supported touch panels
  • IMX Capture devices including OV56xx parallel and mipi cameras, Toshiba BD-HDMI-MIPI converter, UVC cameras
  • It supports i.MX6Q/DL/SX and i.MX7D board's BSP
The packaging (inluding kernel) is done in the normal debian way, so apt-get update/dist-upgrade will keep your image up and running the latest as patches come out.

What's new in this release

  • The Linux kernel was upgraded to 4.1.15 ( meta-package name: linux-boundary-12j )
  • GPU driver was upgraded to Vivante 5.0.11p7.4 ( meta-package name: imx-gpu-viv-j8-... ). Unfortunately this is not the latest driver, because the latest one had some problems with chromium-browser. I preferred stability, I'll upgrade this later when all the problems were eliminated for sure.
  • The module galcore (CONFIG_MXC_GPU_VIV) was removed from the kernel, and it's an externally built module. This change makes the graphics system modular, and more upgradeable, at the price of longer kernel upgrading time. Upgrading kernel takes about 3-4 minutes now, instead of 30 seconds, because every kernel upgrade rebuilds the galcore driver from sources, because its a DKMS module.
  • The package gstreamer-imx was upgraded to 0.12.3
  • The new NXP/Vivante GPU SDK was added : imx-gpu-sdk 2.2.2 . You can get the source with the usual apt-get source command.
  • The distribution was upgraded to Jessie 8.6 . Here are some main component versions :
    • Xorg server 1.16.4
    • gstreamer1.0 1.4.4
    • bluez 5.23
    • Qt5 5.3.2
    • apt
    • chromium-browser 48.0.2564.82
    • dpkg 1.17.27
    • gcc/g++ 4.9.2
    • firefox 45.5
    • libwayland 1.6.0
    • XFCE Desktop Environment 4.10.1
  • The desktop icon structure is similar to Ubuntu now, the demo icons are grouped in the same way.
  • Silex WiFi / Bluetooth is now supported in Jessie also, not only in Xenial.

Let's see some interesting new demos,  this is a screen of the imx-gpu-sdk OpenGLESv2 Blur demo, a spinning bubble with environment mapping: IMX GPU SDK 2.2.2 Gaussian Blur demo IMX GPU SDK 2.2.2 Gaussian Blur demo You can find many other interesting samples in the SDK, including GLESv2, GLESv3, OpenVG.
This Qt5  Qml demo below shows how to apply various effects on a running video stream, using GPU shaders : Qt 5.3.2 QML Video Fx demo Qt 5.3.2 QML Video Fx demo You can apply various effects on a playing video and/or recording camera screen . Source is available.
Chromium browser supports WebGL , although its not very fast, it could help a lot to realize some tasks. This is an example from the web: Chromium WebGL demo Chromium WebGL demo
We added a modified uvcview for better UVC camera support : UVC-View UVC-View The above program shows the most popular HD C920 camera, but if someone is willing to spend more on a HDMI -> USB3.0 capture device, the result is even better, almost perfect, crystal clear 1080p video stream depending on the camera, for example Canon/Nikon/Sony DSLR's or Sony Handycam. The 1920x1080p 30fps is still the barrier, the 4k video comes with the new i.MX8 SoC.
The command line tool bluetoothctl is the same as before, you can create connections, pair up with nearby devices. Just a reminder : debian@nitrogen:~$ sudo bluetoothctl [NEW] Controller 84:DD:20:DA:B1:8F Nitrogen6_max TiWi-BLE [default] [bluetooth]# scan on Discovery started [CHG] Controller 84:DD:20:DA:B1:8F Discovering: yes [NEW] Device 0C:1D:AF:A2:E3:78 Redmi [bluetooth]# info 0C:1D:AF:A2:E3:78 Device 0C:1D:AF:A2:E3:78 Name: Redmi Alias: Redmi Class: 0x5a020c Icon: phone Paired: no Trusted: no Blocked: no Connected: no LegacyPairing: no UUID: OBEX Object Push (00001105-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb) UUID: Audio Source (0000110a-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb) UUID: A/V Remote Control Target (0000110c-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb) UUID: Headset AG (00001112-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb) UUID: PANU (00001115-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb) UUID: NAP (00001116-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb) UUID: Handsfree Audio Gateway (0000111f-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb) UUID: Phonebook Access Server (0000112f-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb) UUID: PnP Information (00001200-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb) UUID: Message Access Server (00001132-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb) RSSI: -66 [bluetooth]# pair 0C:1D:AF:A2:E3:78 Attempting to pair with 0C:1D:AF:A2:E3:78 [CHG] Device 0C:1D:AF:A2:E3:78 Connected: yes [CHG] Device 0C:1D:AF:A2:E3:78 Modalias: bluetooth:v001Dp1200d1436 [CHG] Device 0C:1D:AF:A2:E3:78 UUIDs: 00001105-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb [CHG] Device 0C:1D:AF:A2:E3:78 UUIDs: 0000110a-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb [CHG] Device 0C:1D:AF:A2:E3:78 UUIDs: 0000110c-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb [CHG] Device 0C:1D:AF:A2:E3:78 UUIDs: 00001112-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb [CHG] Device 0C:1D:AF:A2:E3:78 UUIDs: 00001116-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb [CHG] Device 0C:1D:AF:A2:E3:78 UUIDs: 0000111f-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb [CHG] Device 0C:1D:AF:A2:E3:78 UUIDs: 0000112f-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb [CHG] Device 0C:1D:AF:A2:E3:78 UUIDs: 00001132-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb [CHG] Device 0C:1D:AF:A2:E3:78 UUIDs: 00001200-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb [CHG] Device 0C:1D:AF:A2:E3:78 UUIDs: 00001800-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb [CHG] Device 0C:1D:AF:A2:E3:78 UUIDs: 00001801-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb [CHG] Device 0C:1D:AF:A2:E3:78 Paired: yes Pairing successful [bluetooth]# exit [DEL] Controller 84:DD:20:DA:B1:8F Nitrogen6_max TiWi-BLE [default] debian@nitrogen:~$ Of course you can use the GUI bluetooth tools as well when you are in the XFCE desktop.

GPU development libraries

The package imx-gpu-viv-j8-dev ( development headers and libraries for OpenGL / ESv2 / ESv3 / Khronos / OpenVG / OpenCL /G2D ) is installed by default. You have to set the headers path, before any other headers, or you might include the mesa headers first, and you don't want to do that. For example : export CFLAGS="-I/usr/include/vivante ${CFLAGS}" and you have to set the library path as well : export LDFLAGS="-L/usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/vivante ${LDFLAGS}" Alternatively you can use the much more precise pkg-config way, in the makefile. Setting the flags in case of X11 system : PKG_CONFIG_PATH = /usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/vivante/pkgconfig EGL : CFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --cflags egl_x11) LDFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --libs egl_x11) GLESv1 : CFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --cflags glesv1_cm_x11) LDFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --libs glesv1_cm_x11) GLESv2 : CFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --cflags glesv2_x11) LDFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --libs glesv2_x11) OpenVG : CFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --cflags vg_x11) LDFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --libs vg_x11) In case of FB backend change the _x11 postfix above to _fb, thats all. OpenCL is the same at both fb and x11 : CFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --cflags opencl) LDFLAGS += $(shell pkg-config --libs opencl) Check the directory /usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/vivante/pkgconfig for more information
As always, please give us some feedback and let us know how things work for you.