The last two days I was adding support for USB serial (cdc_acm compatible) to u-boot for the Neo1973 phone. This is definitely a nice way to give developers access to the boot loader prompt, without having to have any special cables, the debug board, hackers lunch box or else.
Obviously, it's not the same as a real serial port. But given that you have a working u-boot in flash, and given you don't want to do boot loader development and rather concentrate on kernel/user space issues, then this definitely is a nice option.
The basic cdc_acm patch came from the handhelds.org SX1 project, so I mainly had to add a s3c2410 USB device controller driver for u-boot. Usually this is not that much of a challenge. The lack of documentation by Samsung is compensated by the handhelds.org s3c2410_udc.c kernel driver, of which by now I know every single line.
However, this one was really hard. I couldn't even get the control pipe to do all the tasks to enumerate properly on the bus. And that after having implemented the control pipe handling for a different device (OpenPCD) only half a year ago, so I basically still knew quite detailed what had to be done.
I read, and re-read, and re-read the code. Looked and verified the assembler output. At some point, I was convinced the logic of my code is correct. It must be some auxiliary issue. PLL configured wrongly, GPIO settings not right, whatever. I still couldn't find it.
After two days (one of which had 16 hours straight) it turned out that the problem wasn't actually the logic of the code, but it was pure timing. The u-boot usbdcore.c EP0 implementation had done a memcpy of 18 bytes in a code-path that turned out to be extremely time critical. Just not copying the device descriptor (which is only done for on-the-fly patching the correct EP0 packet size) everything immediately worked.
What a relief. I can finally get back to work on GSM related stuff.