Monday, 11 May 2015

Tweaks for the new Parallella image (20150130)

Upgrading to the new Parallella image: Recommended - but I have some tips and warnings.

Why Upgrade? - Performance

The first thing that you will notice when you have everything running is that it all goes a little faster. For me, the lag associated with using the Parallella has gone from just noticeable to mostly unnoticeable. The big applications still take a while to load but the day to day stuff does not annoy me any more.

Also, the reboot is a lot more reliable.

Where to get it

The Getting Started pages have been radically upgraded as has the download page. Getting the right image is easy and loading this image is a single write operation that is well explained. To expand the file system to fill the whole SD card I used gparted on my laptop which also serves as my file backup machine.

Tip and Warnings In Summary:

  1. Get your heating under control
  2. Install LXDE and tightvncserver (and code::blocks if you are using it)
  3. Upgrade to the Brown Deer OpenCL version 1.6.2
  4. Tweak your paths


First let me say that blurting out a comment that the new image is hopelessly unreliable and that you are reverting to the old one is a dumb thing to do. Just get your fan running so that the Zync stays under 70C (156F) and the new (and extremely rigorous) temperature daemon does not shut your Epiphany down. Nuff said.

PS. If you don't want to run xtemp continuously, I suggest you try olajep temperature script:

dir=$(dirname $(grep -rl xadc /sys/bus/iio/devices/*/name))

raw=`cat ${raw_file}`
offset=`cat ${offset_file}`
scale=`cat ${scale_file}`

c_temp=`echo "scale=1;(($raw + $offset) * $scale) / 1000" | bc`
f_temp=`echo "scale=1;(($c_temp * 9) / 5) + 32" | bc`

echo "Zynq Temp: $c_temp C / $f_temp F"

which will print the current temperature out on the command line.


I'm using a micro-server Parallella and I am NOT a command line jock. I need a mouse, windows, buttons, menus and all that good stuff. The image I downloaded did not come with LXDE (the Lightweight X-windows Desktop Environment) which was confusing at first. So, once you have booted up I suggest you run:

sudo apt-get update

to update the existing packages, followed by:

sudo apt-get upgrade

to pick up any upgrades. Then:

sudo apt-get install lxde tightvncserver

to install all that Xerox-Parc windowing goodness.


The image also came with version 1.6.0 of the Brown Deer OpenCL compiler. Attempting to run executables compiled with v1.6.0 will not work. To get the latest version:


to log in as root. To put the source files somewhere out of the way I used to root home directory, so:


The clone the sources files:

git clone

and from there it was plain sailing:

cd coprthr
./configure --enable-epiphany
make install (or sudo make install if you have not logged in as root)

I didn't have to install any required packages or point to any oddly placed libraries. (NB: this was my experience - as always if something goes wrong you'll have to sniff around to figure out the solution)


When I upgraded, I took a copy of my various projects and copied them, byte-for-byte to the new file system. After installing code::blocks and sorting out the compiler, I really expected them to work. What I found was that there were numerous "file not found" errors when I didn't get them before. I'm not sure why it could be either the new environment or the new compiler but you need to add a few more paths.

To find local include files the compiler search paths needs to include . (dot, the current directory).

Click Add and type .

To use the JIT compiler while Debugging your host code you need to include a PATH variable in the invocation command. 

The full string in the Executable path: text box is:

sudo -E LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/browndeer/lib:/opt/adapteva/esdk/tools/host/lib PATH=/usr/local/browndeer/bin:/opt/adapteva/esdk/tools/host/bin:/opt/adapteva/esdk/tools/e-gnu/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin EPIPHANY_HDF=/opt/adapteva/esdk/bsps/current/platform.hdf /usr/bin/gdb

This is the path from before with a cut down PATH variable inserted.

I have not checked this on Eclipse but I would presume that it would be the same.

Final Thoughts...

The only other thing I can think of is that your default login is now parallella (pwd: parallella) and so your home path is /home/parallella and not /home/linaro. If you use any explicit paths in your code or anywhere else, you'll need to change that.

If I have forgotten anything else I've tweaked I'll edit this post.

On balance, I think the upgrade was worthwhile. I use the parallella as a development machine with no massive libraries (e.g. OpenCV) and so code::blocks is the biggest thing I need. I run BOINC but getting that going is easy. If the UI response does not bother you and you have a lot of stuff installed (and are in the middle of something monumental) than maybe you might want to keep going with the old image for now.

Up Next...

More neural networks.