Tuesday, November 6, 2012

New Funded Project: Porting Efika

The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Aleksandr Rybalko has been awarded a grant to port FreeBSD to the Genesi Efika MX SmartBook laptop and SmartTop nettop devices.

Both use the Freescale i.MX515, an ARM Cortex-A8 System-on-Chip (SoC). These low power devices will provide convenient reference platforms for FreeBSD on ARM, as they are low-cost complete systems. The Smartbook includes a 10" display, 3G connectivity and a battery life of 6 to 8 hours for $199.

When this project is completed, it will be possible to run X11 applications on FreeBSD on the Efika, with full support for sound and networking.  It will also make it much easier to support other devices, such as some Android tablets, that ship with the i.MX515 SoC.

This project will be completed by the end of 2012.


  1. Wonderful news, as I have both the smartbook and the smarttop :) Is there any URL where development can be followed, test images can be downloaded, etc.?

  2. Hi,
    project started at 1 November, so no test images yet :)
    but to watch on updates you can use viewvc interface to FreeBSD source tree.

    And feel free to ask me ray@....

  3. Isn't this a weird time to announce the funding of this project?
    The Efkika MX is a great device, no doubt, I have one of them myself running 24/7, but the shops are out of stock, probably for good, and the forums on powerdeveloper.org look like the developers have pretty much abandoned support for the devices.
    I wonder whether it is a good strategy to *start* porting to devices after they already have become legacy.

  4. I don't think so, since manufacturers of ARM SoCs with GPU inside don't do any steps to porting any BSD on such devices. And Efika MX is good enough platform to show what FreeBSD also can run on such devices.

    Anyway, there is not so much real laptop like ARM based devices. I know Efika MX Smartbook and new Samsung. So project will show another way in the future of ARM based PCs.

    Another important part of project is a basic support of Freescale ARM SoCs in FreeBSD. FreeBSD support many ARM SoC families and Freescale's PPC family. That will make it easy to start porting to some newest Freescale ARM SoC.

    It's still possible to build some products based on project results, but target more in help for future work.


  5. Unfortunately, these product are out of stock and the product has reached the end of its life.

    They will have a i.mx53 version of the smartbook ready soon.