Friday, November 14, 2008

Ubuntu on ARM

So the wraps are off on this one - Ubuntu will soon come to a ARMv7-based SoC near you. Here are the press releases from ARM and Canonical if you are into reading those.

I'm going to be adding support for several popular ARM-based devices to the Ubuntu kernel soon.

Please refer to my other post to get familiar with nomenclature in the ARM world if you need.

If you've followed Debian, they've had an armel port (ARM-endian-little), based on the new ARM ABI for a while now. A link to the excellent Debian EABI is in order for people interested in the nitty-gritty of ABIs. The Debian armel port is compiled for armv4t to support every ARM EABI-capable processor.

Ubuntu is going to concentrate on ARMv7-based processors, including the Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9. In practice, that would mean bootstrapping the distro for ARMv5 architecture and then optimizing critical libraries and applications for the ARMv7 architecture.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nomenclature in the ARM world

The ARM processor architecture naming/numbering scheme is confusing.

Architecture versionFamilySample devices
ARMv4ARM7 (and some ARM 9s)iPod, Lego NXT
ARMv5ARM9OMAP1 (Nokia 770), Nintendo DS
XscaleSharp Zaurus, Palm Tungsten, Gumstix
ARMv6ARM11OMAP2(N95, N800, N810), iPhone
ARMv7Cortex-A8/A9OMAP3, no major devices yet

The table above is a cheatsheet that I use to get my numbers straight. For all the gory details refer to wikipedia. Each family above has several cores each, differentiated by the various feature sets they offer such as Jazelle, DSP, Thumb, etc. The devices listed are ones that I have owned/worked on.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex 8.10 is out

6 months of work ended with the release of Ubuntu 8.10 (codenamed Intrepid Ibex).

We've tried to be a little more ambitious with our kernel this time by switching to 2.6.27 that was released only a few weeks before our freeze. On the whole it has been a good move, especially since Adrian Bunk has decided to make 2.6.27 a long term support release

I would like to ask people to install the kerneloops package in order to help upstream gather and fix any crashes in the kernel. I will be working toward making kerneloops part of the default Ubuntu install for 9.04.

On now towards 9.04 or Jaunty Jackalope...