August 30, 2011

Getting OpenChronos building on Ubuntu 11.04

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="The Chronos kit"]Chronos[/caption]

".. and how to avoid the pain"

TI was running a deal, and I snagged myself a Chronos ez430. It's an excellent low power dev. platform, and you can program your watch! How cool is that?

However, my enthusiasm was constantly battling the dismal state of information online on building OpenChronos (a fork of the official Chronos firmware, so you don't have to use the restrictive and proprietary TI compilers, and stick with good ol' gcc!).

mspgcc4, not mspgcc

These are two different projects. mspgcc4 is what you use to build OpenChronos. mspgcc will NOT work (unless you port the codebase. Update: done. see below!). mspgcc4 is also deprecated and no longer maintained. There are no official packages on Ubuntu. The source will not build on Ubuntu 11.04. There is no binary tarball (that i could find) anywhere. Long story short.. you really tear your hair trying to figure out a way to get OpenChronos to build.

I reached out to a bunch of folks who have forked OpenChronos on github,to see if any of them are on Ubuntu, and if they could share their compiler set. rdmiller3 responded, and I now have the pleasure of sharing this binary build widely.

Download msp430-gcc-4.4.5_gdb_7.2.tar.bz2 [mirror] for Ubuntu 11.04 -x86.

Building OpenChronos

It's as simply as grabing the copy from github, make config, and make!

I have some ideas on how I want to change the firmware. I'll hopefully get time to work on it.

Centralizing the Information

I've been considering throwing up a wiki to organize all the information there is on the platform, in one accessible place. If you are a Chronos developer what do you think?

[update] : dobfek successfully got mspgcc4 to build on Ubuntu 11.04, and sent across these instructions.

[update 2] : not 24 hours have passed, and i found out work was afoot to port to mspgcc. I've merged these changes into my github fork. Thanks to Angelo Arrifano. You can install the mspgcc package from this repository on Ubuntu 11.04.

[update 3] : All of us OpenChronos devs are rallying around at the google group. It's the place to get answers or collaborate on Chronos development.The current effort is to make the code structure more modular, so you don't have to edit a bunch of files to get your app in there. It's shaping up well!