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8th Nov 2012
by Matt
matt 2012110800 RADclock on Raspberry Pi: cooking some patches We got some Raspberry Pi to play with, today we start with describing how to put everything together. raspberry pi patch

It took quite some time, but we are making small steps towards implementing RADclock on embedded systems. In fact, we got a couple of Raspberry Pi to play with!


Apparently, over half a million of units have been sold, and unless you add a real time clock yourself, they all rely on network timing (NTP) to keep track of time. Since there is no RTC, there is a need for sourcing time from somewhere (e.g. network), therefore this is an ideal case to experiment with RADclock.

We still have yet to propose our feed-forward kernel patches to the Linux community. In lieu of that, you can patch a Raspbian kernel yourself, using our patches, which will enable RADclock support for your Pi. The easy option is to grab a kernel package for Raspbian from the RADclock download page , which contains the kernel patches.

If you are unfamiliar with patching a Raspberry Pi Raspbian kernel, then you probably want to read on...

How to Build a Raspberry Pi + RADclock Kernel

We have included the patches for Raspbian into RADclock's development branch (0.4.x). As mentioned above, this can be snagged from the latest RADclock development tarball on the download page or clone the official SyncLab repo on GitHub.

Download the patch above, and the following steps below will be dedicated to creating a RADclock Linux kernel with RADclock support for the Raspberry Pi. The instructions assume that you will be performing a build on an external machine (cross-compiling).

  1. Get the Raspberry Pi kernel:
    git clone git://
    (Note: The version used in this post was revision: git hash: 10182a3bc434b27740f81c2b836a1af943060241)
  2. Get the RADclock software and kernel patches (you can skip this step if you have already downloaded the patches from the RADclock 0.4.x tarball mentioned above
    git clone git://
    (Note: The version used in this post was revision: git hash: 962f7f56dc9f77dbe7687e52e0ae8745db3aa153)
  3. Jump into the Linux kernel directory for the Raspberry Pi:
    cd linux
  4. Apply all of the RADclock patches (3.2.2 patches work fine on a 3.2.27 kernel) in the 'radclock' directory that was obtained above: '../radclock/kernel/linux/3.2.2/'. Since you are still in the root of the 'linux' directory use 'patch' with a '-p1' option. It is recommended that you use the '--dry-run' option with the 'patch' utility to test that your 'patch' settings are correct. If a dry run seems to patch successfully, then patch away:
    for i in `ls ../radclock/kernel/linux/3.2.2/*.patch`; do patch -p1 < $i; done
  5. Now apply the RADclock patch for ARM/Raspbian support
    patch -p1 < ../radclock_arm.patch
    Note: The above patch uses the ARM's 'cutdown' kernel .config and inserts the CONFIG_RADCLOCK setting. Other kernel configurations can be used. When the "make oldconfig" is called below (step 6) the build system will add in the CONFIG_RADCLOCK setting automatically, if it was not already added.
  6. Configure your modified Raspberry Pi + RADclock kernel (this assumes you cross compile). When you configure, you can accept all defaults (there are a ton to accept).
    make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=/usr/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf- oldconfig
    Note: We are using the 'hf' cross compilation toolchain, since the Raspberry PI CPU can support hardware floating point computations.
  7. Build your modified Raspberry Pi + RADclock kernel. Since this is a cross compile, you can considerably improve the speed of compilation by using make's '-jn' option, where 'n' is the number of available CPUs on your build machine:
    make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=/usr/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf- -j 8
  8. Since we are cross compiling, the kernel modules will be built and installed into a separate directory, which we will upload to the Raspberry Pi at a later time:
    mkdir /tmp/rpi-modules
    make ARCH=arm modules_install INSTALL_MOD_PATH=/tmp/rpi-modules/
  9. Clean up the module install directory to avoid copying a bunch of uneeded files to the Raspberry Pi:
    rm /tmp/rpi-modules/lib/modules/3.2.27-cutdown-radclock+/build
    rm /tmp/rpi-modules/lib/modules/3.2.27-cutdown-radclock+/source
  10. Backup the kernel.img (which we will copy over) located in the /boot directory of the Raspberry Pi. The modules will have a 'radclock' named directory, so you should not have anything to backup for that.
  11. Copy the kernel to the Raspberry Pi:
    scp arch/arm/boot/Image user@your_pi_server:/boot/kernel.img
  12. Copy the kernel modules to the Raspberry Pi:
    scp -r /tmp/rpi-modules/lib/modules/3.2.27-cutdown-radclock+/ user@your_pi_server:/lib/modules/
  13. Now you are done... reboot the Pi and you are ready to install RADclock.

How to Build a Raspberry Pi + RADclock Kernel Debian Package (.deb)

The following instructions are for those users who want to build a Debian kernel package (.deb) for a RADclock patched Raspberry Pi kernel. This assumes that the patches installed in steps 4 and 5 above have already been accomplished. The following is to be performed from the 'linux' directory created in step 1.

  • The following bash command will use make-kpkg to build a Raspberry Pi:
    CONCURRENCY_LEVEL=8 DEB_HOST_ARCH=armhf fakeroot make-kpkg --append-to-version -radclock-kv1 --revision 2012112909 --arch arm --initrd --cross-compile /usr/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf- kernel_image kernel_headers
    The CONCURRENCY_LEVEL is optional and is similar to make's '-j' option where the value represents the number of cores to use for speeding up the build. The Raspberry Pi supports the 'armhf' hardware floating point capability, this is necessary since a Debian (Raspbian) distribution will check that the architectures (host architecture and kernel package architecture) match. The '--revision' and '--append-to-version' are optional, but help improve identification of which kernel package is installed.
  • The result will be two .deb files which should be copied to the Raspberry Pi:
    scp ../linux-headers-3.2.27-radclock-kv1-cutdown-radclock+_2012112909_armhf.deb user@your pi server:/tmp
    scp ../linux-image-3.2.27-radclock-kv1-cutdown-radclock+_2012112909_armhf.deb user@your_pi_server:/tmp
  • Once the packages are copied to the Raspberry Pi, they can be installed. So log into the Pi and hop into its /tmp directory. sudo dpkg -i linux-headers-3.2.27-radclock-kv1-cutdown-radclock+_2012112909_armhf.deb linux-image-3.2.27-radclock-kv1-cutdown-radclock+_2012112909_armhf.deb
    This will install the kernel at /boot/vmlinuz-3.2.27-radclock-kv1-cutdown-radclock+ For the Raspberry Pi system to locate the kernel at boot, the above file must be renamed to /boot/kernel.img
  • Reboot!