Linaro on Freescale i.MX53 QuickStart Board

The i.MX53 Quick Start board is a $149 open source development platform. Integrated with an ARM® CortexTM™-A8 1 GHz processor, the Quick Start board includes a display controller, hardware-accelerated graphics, 1080p video decode and 720p encode as well as numerous connectivity options ideally suited for applications such as human machine interface in embedded consumer, industrial and medical markets.

See Freescale i.MX53 QuickStart Summary.

Linaro Support

The i.MX53 Quick Start board is supported in Linaro 11.05 onwards. At the moment you'll need to get the images from the Daily snapshot.

Getting started

Install linaro-image-tools and qemu-user-static

The tool to create a bootable image is called linaro-media-create, and is provided by package linaro-image-tools. linaro-media-create will use qemu to install and run code while building the image. You need to install the latest qemu-user-static package as well.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linaro-maintainers/tools
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install linaro-image-tools
sudo apt-get install qemu-user-static

Downloading Linaro Evaluation Builds (LEB)

To get the latest Ubuntu LEB snapshots, one can download from:

If a full netbook experience is not necessary, one can download the Nano deveoper build to test some basic features in console command line mode. The Nano build can be downloaded from:

Downloading Hardware Pack

The releases of hardware pack for i.MX53 Quick Start board can be obtained from:

Creating Your Own Bootable SD Card

Insert the SD card, check with command 'dmesg | tail' to see which device it's corresponding to. For example, assume it's /dev/sdc:

linaro-image-tools/linaro-media-create --mmc /dev/sdc --dev mx53loco --hwpack hwpack_linaro-lt-mx5_20yymmdd.tar.gz --binary linaro-n-ubuntu-desktop-tar-20yymmdd-0.tar.gz

Provide the sudo password when prompted and wait until finished.

Plug the SD card to LoCo board and power on.

In the headless configuration, just connect a serial adapter (115k, 8n1 no flow control) and plug in the SD card; it should then boot into Linaro.

Test, report and fix bugs

Test the generated image, and should you find any issues, file a bug on launchpad:

And follows by discussion and fixing of this bug.


Building the Kernel from source

The kernel source from the landing team is available at:

  • git://

The branches for different kernel versions will be named like below:

  • lt-2.6.38
  • lt-3.1

And so on, the corresponding branches with debian packaging are named as:

  • lt-2.6.38-ubuntu
  • lt-3.1-ubuntu

To build a kernel package from the source, check out the lt-*-ubuntu branch on a temporary branch and one can do a cross building on a PC as below:

export $(dpkg-architecture -aarmel); export CROSS_COMPILE=arm-linux-gnueabi-
git checkout -b tmp origin/lt-2.6.38-ubuntu
fakeroot debian/rules clean
fakeroot debian/rules binary-linaro-lt-mx5

After the building is finished, the binary kernel packages will be generated in the parent directory. Note linaro toolchain has to be installed before building:

sudo apt-get install gcc-arm-linux-gnueabi

To go the simpler way for only building a uImage for testing, one can do:

mkdir ../build
cp debian.linaro/configs/config.common.ubuntu ../build
make ARCH=arm O=../build oldconfig
make ARCH=arm O=../build uImage

Change Kernel Command Line

To change the kernel command line, the best way is to modify the boot script source file 'boot.txt' on the 'boot' partition of the SD card, and generating the u-boot script file 'boot.scr' that u-boot understands. The following command will generate the boot.scr from boot.txt:

mkimage -A arm -T script -O linux -d boot.txt boot.scr

And if command mkimage is missing, one will need to install the package uboot-mkimage:

sudo apt-get install uboot-mkimage

Enable HDMI output

You will need an HDMI daughter card for testing. And the kernel command line has to be changed to add the below string:

Enable VGA output

VGA is enabled by default. In case it needs to be specified explicitly or the default parameters (e.g. resolutions) need to be changed, one can use the string below for the kernel command line:

  • video=mxcdi1fb:GBR24,VGA-SXGA vga

currently, it is not supported for both HDMI and VGA outputs to be both present, as they are using a same DDC channel, i.e. I2C bus, thus will be conflicting

Known issues

There is DDC(I2C) conflict between VGA and HDMI, so you can not make VGA & HDMI work together.

Boards/MX53QuickStart (last modified 2012-08-27 06:09:07)