We're very glad to announce that our work to have DoudouLinux running on ARM™ devices has much progressed during the past few weeks. As shown on the photo below, we're now able to run the full DoudouLinux environment on the Efika MX smartbooks that Genesi graciously offered our project. Although not everything is perfect right now, this is an important step forward on our way to ARM™. We're now planning to upload a first Genesi/Efika disk image quite soon, to let enthusiastic people test and hopefully enjoy :).

DoudouLinux on Genesi/Efika

This work has been achieved by DrEagle for the Debian ARM™ base image and Jean-Michel (me) for the packaging of DoudouLinux tricks that turn a light installation of Debian Squeeze armel into a DoudouLinux environment. DrEagle has worked on writing a generic disk image generation process in order to be able to address any ARM™ hardware in the future. He first focused on producing a standard Debian image and he's now moving on to producing an armel DoudouLinux image directly. In the meanwhile I focused on splitting the DoudouLinux environment tricks into generic tricks and live-specific tricks[1], then put them into standard Debian packages. As a result, installing our latest custom packages should be enough to turn any Debian or Debian-like machine into a DoudouLinux computer, whatever the target architecture (no real test has been performed though ;) ). A dedicated post will be written soon.

Now next steps are the following:

  1. Setup a buildd package server in order to ease our work of releasing binary packages for 4 architectures and 3 distribution code names.
  2. Move from the slow armel port to the faster armhf port[2].
  3. Terminate the migration of the live environment tricks into Debian packages.
  4. Build images for other ARM™ hardware, especially the new Genesi hardware to come.
  5. Prepare our next official, stable release that will be the base for a first official ARM™ release.
  6. Test and debug – not too much we hope!

As you can see there is still quite a long way to go but we've shown that this is not wishes only but rather a matter of perseverance and hardware availability. Of course we're very thankful to Genesi to have supported us in our early ARM™ development stages. We're now eager to test DoudouLinux on the very latest ARM™ hardware available :). Stay tuned!

Notes

[1] Recall that DoudouLinux was basically designed to be a LiveCD, not a standard Linux system.

[2] We have to confess that currently the armel port combined with the quite low graphic performances of the old generation of ARM™ smartbooks doesn't allow all the DoudouLinux applications to run smoothly. While there is still uncertainty for real 3D games like SuperTuxKart, we believe that armhf on the latest generation of hardware should lead to a really attractive environment for children and… parents!