Linux 5.14 Picks Up Support For A Tiny & Inexpensive MIPS IoT Single Board Computer
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 1 July 2021 at 04:03 PM EDT. 5 Comments
HARDWARE --
The MIPS code within the Linux kernel remains in a mature but rather stagnate state while the upstream MIPS architecture development has ceased and most vendors these days using Arm or RISC-V instead or even OpenPOWER prospects. But there still are some ongoing MIPS improvements to the Linux kernel.

Most of the MIPS kernel work we talk about these days is around the MIPS-based Loongson processors out of China that are Linux/open-source friendly and seeing new kernel work from vendor Lemote Tech. But occasionally there are other MIPS hardware work worth mentioning, such as the case here for Linux 5.14.

The MIPS code in Linux 5.14 adds support for one new board, the OpenEmbed SOM9331. The OpenEmbed SOM9331 is available as a single board computer (SBC) or system-on-module. This is a low-power MIPS embedded board out of China.


Powering the OpenEmbed SOM9331 is a Qualcomm Atheros AR9331 SoC that is intended for AP/router platforms. The MIPS 24K processor with the AR9331 operates at sub-400MHz. This OpenEmbed board has just 64MB of RAM with an 8MB flash chip. This SOM9331 board is intended for IoT and network use-cases and has been available for a few years already. Pricing on this module is $10~12 USD.

There has been out-of-tree kernel support and this board working with the likes of OpenWrt. Now with Linux 5.14, there is mainline support as part of the MIPS changes. Aside from that there isn't much else to talk about on the MIPS front this cycle.
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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 20,000 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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