Recompiling the Coral Dev Board Mendel Linux Kernel

Coral dev boards are rather amazing single board computers. They are designed to run Tensorflow in a tiny little box. They run NXP’s iMX8, have a sound card, ethernet, USB-C, HDMI, and a built-in USB serial terminal.

Google shipped these with a custom Debian-based Linux distribution called Mendel which is yet another Linux distro. I was lucky enough to receive one of these boards to test out, and some 12 months later, I finally had a reason to do it.

Everything worked out of the box for my use case, except I have a RS232 connection to my home audio matrix / volume controller, and the USB to RS232 cable was not recognized. There was a missing kernel module which required me to build a new kernel. The remainder of this articles outlines how I did that in the hope that it might help someone in the future, or even future me.

  1. First, follow the instructions to get the source code.

2. Edit packages/linux-imx/debian/defconfig to add the config options you want to the kernel.
In my case add the missing kernel option.
CONFIG_USB_SERIAL_PL2303=y

3. Time to build the kernel
m docker-linux-imx

4. Install the new kernel
j product
cd packages/bsp/
mdt install ./linux-image-4.14.98-imx_11–4_arm64.deb

5. Reboot

Hope that helps you! This is one of the coolest bits of kit I have ever used, and I’m really happy now I can do whatever I want to do with it.

Google Developer Platform. Advanced Trauma Life Support. Open Source. Abominator Class.