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Toradex Embedded Linux BSP Support Strategy

 
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Quarterly Embedded Linux BSP Beta Releases

Toradex announces its quarterly Embedded Linux BSP beta releases together with their feature set and bug fix planning via roadmap as Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 of a particular year. Once the release planning is finalized and close to an actual release, a concrete version number e.g. 2.8b3 gets assigned.

Toradex may put older platforms on maintenance which means no quarterly releases are done for these platforms anymore unless required for major issue resolving.

Stable Embedded Linux BSP Releases

If a release is to be declared as stable it has to be fully validated & verified on respective volume production hardware. Only then it gets released as a stable version by dropping the beta e.g. b3 part in its version number. A new tag on the repositories is created and the binary image packages get renamed. The binary image isn't rebuilt. The process is as follows: First there is a regular quarterly beta release. Additional testing is done by Toradex after the public beta release. Once the validation & verification of such a release is accepted, Toradex simply removes the beta part from this image and declares it stable. Toradex releases such stable versions on a regular basis after bigger bugs have been fixed or important features have been added.

For volume production hardware, stable releases are deployed roughly once a year.

Long Term Support

Stable releases are long term supported versions meaning Toradex does continued maintenance on them. New hardware revisions are integrated, tested and fully validated & verified. Toradex guarantees that any software modifications required to support changes in hardware are back ported over the full hardware availability period. Additionally, the U-Boot boot loader, Linux kernel as well as the OpenEmbedded/Yocto Project parts of our BSPs get updated as long as respective part's version do get updates which is typically the case over a period of two to three years. Toradex uses LTS/SLTS Linux kernels for its own stable releases whenever possible in order to increase the update period of the Linux kernel.

Beta releases on the other hand are not supported across releases meaning they get superseded by any subsequent beta or stable release. Such beta releases are only intended for development purpose and no further support is provided.

Meta Data & Source Code

Toradex does provide meta data and source code on its own git server infrastructure.

Besides regular stable branches Toradex is fully transparent about its development and does maintain -next branches showing current work in progress subject to change.

On a repository manifest level Toradex maintains a -integration branch pointing to -next branches of all meta data and source code hosted by us. Additionally Toradex maintains a -next branch pointing to -next respective tip of branches on external layers.

For the U-Boot boot loader and Linux kernel this may additionally be combined with building respective tip of -next branch using the AUTOREV methodology by adding the simple machine overrides directive use-head-next: as e.g. also noted in the following commit message.

Continuous Integration

As part of Toradex' CI platform automatic nightly/weekly builds of certain images off certain branches are done which get some level of automatic testing. You may also install such images directly from within the Toradex Easy Installer by enabling Feeds (f) - (3) Toradex Continuous Integration Server (testing) however those are purely intended for development/evaluation purpose and not supported in any other way.

Software Alerts

Critical software issues get announced via customer information notification emails to customers who purchased affected products.