[U-Boot-Users] Board/driver bragging list proposal

Wolfgang Denk wd at denx.de
Thu Nov 6 17:35:59 CET 2003


in message <8039970AF146314597457D3B51A68B382E0429 at cossmgmbx02.email.corp.tld> you wrote:
> This is a good opportunity for me to trot out a thought I've been thinking

Actually it is not. You are a couple of weeks early.

Now I have to explain a few ideas in the public which  I  rather  had
more time to think about internally.

>  for a while, but have not been able to put together as a cohesive
>  proposal.  It would be nice, and the new wiki makes it achievable, to have
>  a feature list where people could identify what whas available and what
>  they felt were the best features (and which implmentations should be
>  steered clear of) which would serve as guidance for newcomers.  Some of
>  this information is in the README file, but it is hard to keep up to date
>  and tends to not warn of lesser implmentations nor point out good
>  implementation.

I agree.

> Before the wiki, it would have been impossible for one person (Wolfgang) to
>  maintain.
> With the wiki, it still may not work, because people may not contribute and
>  there is a risk of people getting into "my implementation is better than
>  your implementation" fights.  Hopefully we are all smarter than that.

When we decided to use a wiki it was one of our intentions  to  allow
board  maintainers to take care about the documentation for their own

> Another problem is organization: should we organize by processor and board
>  (which is intuitive but not necessarily the best for looking up
>  information) or by feature (flash type, ethernet interface type, SDRAM
>  type, etc.), or by both?  Probably both of the above :-/.

The setup as is now is organized by boards. This may be  non  perfect
in  all  situations, but I am convinced that everything else would be

> Perhaps we can start a wiki documentation branch by having each board
>  maintainer make an entry for their board in a list, branching to a short
>  description of the board and a list of the features.  The list of features
>  could then branch to a description of that feature, many of which would be
>  shared by several boards as they use the same driver.

Please wait a bit.

> There currently is a board selection box in the DULG wiki
>   http://www.denx.de/twiki/bin/view/DULG/BoardSelect
> but it only has two boards listed and displays the Denx documentation, not
>  really what I have in mind.  Also, I am thinking more of a whole page list

Wait, wait, wait.

What you may have missed, and what is not directly  obvious,  is  the
fact  that  this  "DENX  documentation" actually uses a constant text
framework (which is augmented with a lot of conditional text modules)
and a set of include files. The include files contain for example all
the examples in the document. These include files  are  automatically
generated when we run our regression tests for U-Boot.

The idea is:  you  build  a  new  version  of  U-Boot,  you  run  the
regression test suite, which not only tells you if the new version is
working OK, but which also automagically creates a new version of the
documentation which matches EXACTLY the code that has been running on
your board...

The problem at the moment is that our regression test suite (a set of
TCL / expect scripts) is not  in  a  state  which  I  would  like  to
proesent  to  the  public; also it is much too painful to add support
for new boards.

We are working on a better solution.

Once this is ready, everybody  (not  only  a  board  maintainer,  but
really  _everybody_  who  cares)  will  be able to set up and run the
regression tests for his own board, and (if he wants) submit the test
results to the wiki.

This would allow for a lot of nice features:

* You will be able to see which version of U-Boot was  the  last  one
  running successfully on a specific board.

* Problems in a specific implementation will show up more easily - we
  have a pretty well-equipped test lab, but we cannot nor do we  want
  to test on all existing boards ;-)


You may also have noticed that  we  took  over  maintenance  for  the
orphaned  Embedded  PowerPC  HOWTO file. It has been converted into a
wiki, too. I can easily imagine to merge both resources into  a  more
general  document. I can imagine to give hardware vendors an easy way
to  enter  their  U-Boot  /  Linux   capable   hardware   into   this
documentation  system.  Of course maintainers of code (U-Boot, Linux,
additional packages, ...) could enter their information there, too.

> Now the problem is, I'm not that familiar with the Denx wiki (sorry,
>  Wolfgang, I just haven't had the time to crawl through it) so I don't know
>  if I'm proposing something that already exists.  If it doesn't exist, I

Nothing exists in a working state, but we have some plans that target
into a very similar direction.

>  don't know the best place to splice in my proposal.  Also, the proposal
>  will only be successful if most or all the board supporters kick in some
>  effort.

Actually no. My idea is to provide an easy mechanism so  that  every-
body  who  cares can contribute, and those who don't want just don't.
If somebody checks and sees that board XXX has been verified  to  run
the  latest  version  of  U-boot just a couple of days ago, while the
last successful test of board YYY is 2 years old,  and  test  resutls
for  board  ZZZ  have never been submittet at all this too gives some
valuable information about the quality of community support for these

Arghhh...  Sorry,  I  probably  missed  many  things  we  have   been
discussing  internally.  Detlev,  maybe  you can fill in some more of

In any case - these are just  ideas.  Some  of  this  is  under  work
actually,  but  please  do  not  expect  to  see  something  ripe for
distribution soon.

Best regards,

Wolfgang Denk

Software Engineering:  Embedded and Realtime Systems,  Embedded Linux
Phone: (+49)-8142-4596-87  Fax: (+49)-8142-4596-88  Email: wd at denx.de
"The question of whether a computer can think is no more  interesting
than the question of whether a submarine can swim"
                                                - Edsgar W.  Dijkstra

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