The ARM University Programme has released its ninth Education Kit, which provides full courseware on developing embedded Linux products, including Linux kernel configuration and custom peripheral driver development, using low cost ARM-based single-board computers.

The courseware is highly modular and includes lecture slides with notes, as well as lab manuals with solutions, according to ARM. As with previous Education Kits from the programme, the courseware covers fundamental theoretical concepts coupled with a hands-on approach that includes real Linux implementations on an ARM Cortex-A9 based i.MX 6Solo SoC (NXP), which is available on the UDOO NEO board (pictured).

Because Linux is pervasive in embedded computing, ARM believes knowledge of how it is structured and how it functions is an essential part of any training programme. Embedded systems increasingly rely on processors capable of running full operating system stacks. The Linux operating system is increasingly popular in embedded computers given its open-source nature, large user community base and software ecosystem, customisability and extendibility. Knowledge of the Linux architecture coupled with the practical skills involved in configuring and building a full Linux operating system stack are crucial in modern computing. This, according to ARM, is why it developed the Embedded Linux Education Kit: to train students and aspiring engineers in Linux development, a skill crucially needed in today’s job market.

Partnerships with both academia and industry contributed to the courseware. From academia, Professor Massimo Violante of Politecnico di Torino, Italy, led the academic development of the courseware. Massimo has been teaching embedded systems design for many years and also has a wealth of real-world collaboration experience with the embedded systems industry.

On the industry side, ARM has worked with AIDILAB srl (Siena, Italy) and SECO USA, (Burlington, Massachusetts) who collaborated under the auspices of the UDOO project to produce the ARM Cortex-A9 based UDOO NEO single board computer (from $49.90), which is used as the target hardware in the Kit.

To offer complete solutions, including convenient access to hardware platforms, ARM has partnered with distributor Mouser to distribute the UDOO NEO boards to academic institutions worldwide.

The Embedded Linux Education Kit teaching materials are available free of charge to qualified academics from universities worldwide. In addition to providing technical support for courseware development, the UDOO project is also supporting this Embedded Linux Education Kit with seed hardware, to be donated to selected academic adopters from universities worldwide. Donation requests should be made to the ARM University Programme.