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Mini Linux targets mini PowerPC mobo

May 29, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive

A project maintaining lightweight Linux distributions targeting experienced users says it will support a new passively cooled PowerPC- and FPGA-based mini-ITX motherboard. The CruxPPC project will collaborate with ACube Systems to support ACube's Sam440ep, an Amiga-oriented board that shipped last month.

(Click for larger view of ACube Sam440ep)

Crux aims to maintain a simple, streamlined Linux distribution for experienced Linux users and 686 processors. As such, it could prove useful as a basis for embedded systems development.

The project's professed goals include:

  • “Simplicity over automation”
  • Source-based packaging similar to BSD's ports collection
  • Stripped of documentation and non-native language features
  • KISS (keep it simple, stupid) system and dev process

The Crux PPC project, meanwhile, maintains a PowerPC version of Crux. It is said to support “Apple NewWorld (both 32 and 64bit) PowerPCs, Genesi Pegasos-II workstations and EFIKA embedded boards, [and] IBM RS/6000 CHRP and pSeries servers.”

Additionally, CruxPPC will “soon” support ACube's Sam440ep modular mini-ITX motherboard, the companies said.

Amiga-oriented board named for Yosemite Sam

The Sam440ep is an interesting mini-ITX board based on an AMCC 440ep, a general-purpose embedded SoC (system-on-chip) with lots of on-chip peripheral interfaces, including built-in memory controllers for flash and DDR RAM. Clocked at 533MHz, the chip is said to draw only 3 Watts. The ACube board also integrates an FPGA (field-programmable gate array) said to be capable of emulating the processors used in early Amiga computers, resulting in full software compatibility.


ACube's Sam440ep mini-ITX motherboard
(Click to enlarge)

Other touted features of the Sam440ep mini-ITX board include:

  • ATI Radeon Mobility M9 graphics controller
  • Cirrus audio controller
  • PCI controller
  • USB 1.1 host and USB 2.0 device controller
  • 2 x Ethernet 10/100 ports
  • 4 x serial ports
  • 2 x 12C ports
  • SPI
  • 64 GPIOs

Availability

The Sam440ep mini-ITX motherboard appears to be available now. The CruxPPC port for it will become available “soon,” a project spokesperson said.

In addition to Linux 2.6.19, the Sam440ep can also run AmigaOS 4, MorphOS, and Aros, according to an article in BitPlane.


 
This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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