Departure into a new Age

Over the past months, we did a lot of work in giving some open source projects maintained by Pengutronix folks the attention they deserve while also being more open to the community and ease contributing to and using them.

Another notable milestone has now been finished; we have launched the new website for the PTXdist embedded Linux build system: While the domain was just a redirect to an inconspicuous sub-page of it now became a mature and stand-alone project website.

The new website comes with a responsive design allowing access from all kinds of devices. The already existing but not yet much utilized PTXdist Logo now sits at the top of the website inviting you to cook your own embedded Linux Project, from simple hobby projects to full-featured and highly customized professional Linux platforms.

It is not only giving a project a more informative landing page: With the website launch we have also put the HTML documentation of PTXdist online. Based on the old documentation that was still tex-based we started a conversion marathon about two years ago and moved everything to the more lightweight reStructuredText format. Using rst increases readability of the source while reducing the hurdle for contributors to modify and extend documentation on their own. With Sphinx PTXdist generates the full documentation in either HTML or PDF formats.

Putting the (latest) HTML version of the documentation online finally enables really useful features such as easy full text search (both JavaScript-based and in your browser), easier linking and googling, and, last but not least a quickly available solution to most of the issues you may stumble across while working with building embedded systems.

We have also put the DistroKit quick-start BSP and some core components as the Barebox bootloader and the update tool RAUC at a more prominent position to help new users taking their first steps.

Finally, on the Download page you will always find out which is the latest version of PTXdist and be able to download it.

Further Readings

License management with the ptxdist make license-report

PTXdist comes with a tool to make license management more simple, namely the command: ptxdist make license-report. This tool generates a license report in pdf format, which filters the used BSP for all known licenses. To generate and comply with the license report should be seen as minimum standard, exceeding efforts should, if possible, be done.

Static Filesystem

Whenever it is a requirement to be able to switch off an embedded device without any previous preparation, the next question is about the consistence of the used filesystem. If this filesystem is used to be written with new content and this new/changed data hasn't done it's way to the persistent media when the power is cut, this new/changed data is lost.

Jump Start your BSP using DistroKit and PTXdist Layers

A BSP (Board Support Package) in Embedded Software is the layer of software that lets you run your application on a specific hardware. For Pengutronix a BSP usually contains a bootloader, Linux Kernel and a userspace. DistroKit is our Demo-BSP that supports a variety of common evaluation boards. DistroKit gives you a head start if you want to develop an application on top of such an evaluation board with most of the hard problems already solved.