Archive for November, 2010

Pandaboard and Gentoo: Part Two (Running Gentoo!)

November 27, 2010


This is the second post on Pandaboard and Gentoo, after the first one with the unpack and specifications. In this one i’ll speak about putting Gentoo on it.

First i’d like to announce the guide for installing Gentoo on the Pandaboard. Check it out at: and feel free to send corrections to my way, either by mail or by putting a comment on this post.

I’d like to thank my coworker Jordi Inglés for providing me an 8GB SDHC to use with the pandaboard.

Secondly here are my impressions about it. Installing Gentoo on it was easy as always, one of the first problems i encountered was that there was no information about what x-loader/uboot/kernel should everyone use, as the vanilla doesn’t work yet(or thats what i’m being told).

After i found the correct/updated x-loader/uboot/kernel i was able to boot gentoo on it, using 1GB of RAM. After doing some heavy compiling, for example when building gcc, i encountered random segfaults and sigbuses. Of course, this wasn’t documented either(Ubuntu is not Linux). There’s a bug in the kernel for the pandaboard, which gives those issues when using more than 716MB of RAM, check this link.

Regarding the hardware provided by the pandaboard, here’s what i got:
-Audio(non HDMI): Works fine with an updated kernel
-Bluetooth: Needs external tools to be able to use it.
-Wifi: The pandaboard uses a TI WL1271, but the driver in the mainline kernel doesn’t support the pandaboard yet. For now you need to use an external driver and external tools(to load the firmware) which i haven’t been able to do yet.
-Video: Haven’t had time to test it, obviously needs an external driver for full acceleration.
-SD slot: Works fine
-Ethernet: Works fine

Regarding the buildtimes, i compared it with the other Cortex A9 hardware i have, which is the Nvidia Tegra2 devkit. I used an 8GB USB stick(with an ext2 filesystem) to do the “benchmarking”, using the same stage3 and portage snapshot on both boards. The results are the following
-glibc: 1h24m <- the tegra was 13 minutes faster
-gcc: 2h6m <- the tegra was 15 minutes faster
-binutils: 12m7s <- the tegra was 5 seconds slower
-portage: 1m10s <- the tegra was 8 seconds faster

Also i'd like to announce the pandaboard overlay, for all the stuff needed to use the hardware integrated in the pandaboard. Please keep in mind that for now i've only got bluetooth to work.

Have fun!