Initial i.MX8 SoC Support & Development Board Possibly Ready For Linux 4.21
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 10 December 2018 at 06:23 AM EST. 7 Comments
HARDWARE --
While the i.MX8 series was announced almost two years ago and the open-source developers working on the enablement for these new NXP SoCs hoped for initial support in Linux 4.17, the Linux 4.21 kernel that will be released in the early months of 2019 is slated to possibly have the first i.MX8 support in the form of the i.MX8MQ and also supporting its development/evaluation board.

The mainline Linux kernel up to now has just seen a pinctrl and thermal driver for the i.MX8 hardware and some other bits but a bulk of the necessary support hasn't reached mainline yet. Now it's looking like the i.MX8MQ SoC and i.MX8MQ EVK board support could be mainlined for the upcoming Linux 4.21 cycle.

The latest patches were sent out on Sunday with Abel Vesa trying to get the work across the finish line for this next merge window. The support is enough to make the i.MX8MQ SoC happy and boot with the EVK board. The patch comments explain, "This is enough to get a very basic board support up and running....This is the evaluation kit board for the i.MX8M. The current level of support yields a working console and is able to boot userspace from SD card or Network."

The state of the i.MX8 kernel support is particularly important with Purism designing their Librem 5 Linux smartphone around it. Though like with most ARM hardware vendors, at least initially they are likely to be using their own downstream branch of the Linux kernel until all their necessary changes have been mainlined -- especially with the 4.21 material not being for the Purism support. Purism's current public schedule puts them with hopefully shipping the developer kits this month (December) while they delayed the phone's planned release from January now to April 2019 but even that is still a rather ambitious goal.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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