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Ubuntu Ports To ARM 279

Posted by timothy
from the arm-y-of-warmth dept.
nerdyH writes "Canonical will port Ubuntu Desktop Linux to the ARMv7 architecture. The announcement sets the stage for Intel to lose the traditional 'software advantage' that has enabled x86 to shrug off attacks from other architectures for the last 30 years. How long can it be before Microsoft responds with a Windows 7 port? I mean, x86 just can't do 'idle power' like ARM ... Nokia's N810 tablets can standby for several weeks, just like a cell phone, keeping you 'present' on IM, behind IPv4 NAT the whole time. The first Atom MIDs are standing by for 6-7 hours."
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Ubuntu Ports To ARM

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  • by Smelly Jeffrey (583520) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:11PM (#25749549) Homepage
    This sounds to me like a RISC-y proposition.
  • Is the OP serious? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Excelcia (906188) <kfitzner@excelcia.ca> on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:14PM (#25749571) Homepage Journal
    Is the OP serious about Ubuntu's port to ARM causing Intel to worry and Microsoft to follow suit? As much as it is a popular Linux distro, and as much as I personally like Ubuntu and wish this were true, I really don't think Intel is going to lose sleep over Ubuntu on ARM.

    Perhaps I'm misreading the tone of the summary. I honestly can't tell if it's is tongue-in-cheek or serious. The absurdity of it makes me think it's poking a little fun, but it reads to me like the guy was serious.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pipatron (966506)

      I think it's "hey, one can only hope". I know I do.

      However, I think more important is that someone can now make a "netbook" without having to stick with intel, and still get a complete and modern desktop OS. An extra bonus would be the difficulties to switch to Windows XP.

    • I know I kept looking to make sure the foot icon wasn't really there, hiding somewhere.
    • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:30PM (#25749883) Journal

      If anything, this is pretty cool for the Pandora [openpandora.org] project.

    • by omar.sahal (687649) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:30PM (#25749889) Homepage Journal
      You have a point. However many companies (VIA, AMD) are developing a chip like Intel's atom. As these chips are to be put into lower cost computers (MID sub notebooks, netbooks) there is an advantage (in terms of cost) to linux in being able to run on other platforms other than x86.
      If for instance I produced a POS till system based on Linux it would be advantageous if I could run this on an ARM processor.
      As Linux can run on many different platforms it also frees device manufactures to think differently about what computers can be in the future, and how they will be used in society (later versions of the OLPC set for 2010 are ebooks for example).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Khyber (864651)

        AMD had the Geode out first, which prompted Intel to counter with Atom and VIA to follow suit.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        If for instance I produced a POS till system based on Linux it would be advantageous if I could run this on an ARM processor.

        How? Via C7 processor will give you light power useage and you dont have to do anything special or recompile.

        Plus why not simply use one of the 6 linux distros already made for that processor?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by antifoidulus (807088)
      Its proof the OP has about 0 idea what he is talking about. ARM CPUs are not meant to compete with the Desktop/Laptop CPUs, they often lack a lot of the features that those CPUs have. You won't see a whole ton of ARM based desktops anytime soon. ARM does compete(and is already light years ahead in terms of volume) with Intel in the embedded market. Having a version of ubuntu you can customize for a large # of devices does open up a lot of opportunities, but thinking that somehow this will combat Intel's
      • by Nursie (632944) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:58PM (#25750397)

        "Its proof the OP has about 0 idea what he is talking about. ARM CPUs are not meant to compete with the Desktop/Laptop CPUs, they often lack a lot of the features that those CPUs have. You won't see a whole ton of ARM based desktops anytime soon"

        Where were desktops mentioned?

        MIDS and netbooks are the target. But with netbooks being so popular, and high battery life being an issue, ARM could make inroads to intel's current netbook dominance. And even stop it entering the MID market.

      • by LizardKing (5245) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:59PM (#25750429)
        What features does ARM lack for it to be a desktop or laptop processor? Iyonix make the RiscPC, which is a very capable desktop machines built around an ARM processor. While I don't own a RiscPC myself, I do own a two DEC Sharks that have an ARM processor, and compared to the contemporary x86 PC of the same era (1998-1999), the Shark was more powerful (233MHz, which is roughly equivalent to a 466MHz x86 processor). There is nothing in the ARM instruction set that makes it unsuitable for a desktop computer, and for a laptop it is far more suitable than an x86 chip thanks to greater efficiency. Even the Thumb instruction set (which reduces most instructions to 16bits), can be exploited by the kind of operating system that can run on a desktop machine despite being aimed primarily at small devices where code density and cheap (8bit) memory is advantageous. Frankly, it sounds to me like you simply don't know what you're talking about.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Waffle Iron (339739)

          the Shark was more powerful (233MHz, which is roughly equivalent to a 466MHz x86 processor)

          I had an iPaq PDA around that time with a 200MHz ARM CPU. I loaded Linux on it, ran some benchmarks, and I was saddened to find that its performance was not much better than a 33MHz 80486.

          I'm not sure I believe your numbers since any 466MHz X86 would be a superscalar design, and AFAIK, ARM chips from that era aren't. The X86 in the Pentium-II timeframe would typically get a real-world throughput of one simple CISC operation per clock (using each of its multiple ALUs at about 50% efficiency), whereas the ARM

      • by chrb (1083577)

        Having a version of ubuntu you can customize for a large # of devices does open up a lot of opportunities

        I wonder, what opportunities does it open up that Debian on ARM doesn't? As you rightly point out, ARM platforms tend to be embedded, and in the embedded space the end user doesn't care about what distribution the developer used to build their system, since the distribution is usually completely hidden. In fact, there usually isn't a real distribution, since there's usually no way to provide updates or i

        • by xenocide2 (231786) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @04:55PM (#25752453) Homepage

          I can't speak for the hardware vendors, but it does bring a stable release cycle. If you're basing off of Debian, do you plan for lenny or lenny+1, and what do you do when you slip, or when they slip? Several DDs seem to pride themselves on the fact that it ships "when its done". This is stupid for several reasons, the easiest of which to point out is that with no automated software testing, Debian only has a record of reported bugs, not all bugs. "Perfect" Debian releases is one more reason the software comes out later than sooner.

          Canonical also likely brings something to the table, with their build infrastructure running on ARMs hardware. You might look at it like this: Canonical knows Debian well enough to hire and work with Debian when hardware vendors can't or don't. So yes, Ubuntu/Canonical isn't much different than Debian, but they're the go-to guy when you want Debian technology.

      • by dlenmn (145080) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @04:14PM (#25751759) Homepage

        Yeah, most current ARM cpus aren't much good for general computers (your run of the mill desktop or laptop). But don't forget that ARM was originally designed for use in Desktops, and derivatives of that design were for sale until a few months ago.

        An ARM CPU could be great for a netbook or low power desktop -- the machines that currently use Intel's Atom. Multi-core ARM CPUs running >1GHz are on the way (or maybe they're already here, I haven't been keeping track), and they might easily have enough power (and power efficiency) for that task. Perhaps they'll be better suited than Atom.

        The thing stopping non x86 platforms has always been software. FOSS avoids that problem -- if you have the source code then the program is only a compile away. Of course, Linux has long run on ARM CPUs, but open source programs weren't good enough substitues for what people wanted, so it didn't matter. Now, we may finally be approaching the point where people are willing to ditch their Windows, at least for simple tasks like the ones you'd do on netbook. Such an influential Linux distribution supporting ARM CPUs might finially make the platform viable.

        Hell, perhaps a company planning an ARM based netbook asked Canonical to do this, and they saw the opportunity. This could be interesting.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARM_architecture#History [wikipedia.org]
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iyonix_PC [wikipedia.org]

        • 3D acceleration support, various binary-only drivers, flash player.

          Also, it might take some time to tune browsers/JS engines on an arch with vastly different cache performance.

          Of course all of this could get solved given some time.

    • by GiMP (10923)

      If having a popular linux distribution support a processor was all it took to migrate "the droves" off x86 processors, we'd all be running PowerPC processors a long time ago.

      • by compro01 (777531)

        I don't see this displacing x86 on the desktop anytime soon (x86 and x86-64 might outlive everyone here), but it could give x86 (and windows) some stiff competition in netbooks, MIDs, and other small stuff where keeping power consumption low (and thus battery life long while keeping weight and size low) is important.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      Maybe, maybe so.

      Maybe the OP didn't know that Intel also makes ARM processors (the StrongARM arch).

      Personally, I think this is just Canonical saying "let's get some small/low power ARM-based desktops out there, already!" - which is, IMO, a step in the right direction. ARM is more-or-less fast enough for most of what everyone does, especially with the arch's ability to have sub-processors for specific tasks.

      No, this isn't an attack at Intel, so much as it is an attack at MS and a little something to encourag

    • by Like2Byte (542992) <Like2Byte AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:38PM (#25751079) Homepage

      Intel has whored the x86 line almost to death. Microsoft, for it's part, has whored the Windows line to death - eg: Vista. The market has simply been 'fleshed-out.' There are new verticals to explore. The PC market has been played to death and that horse will continue to take a beating over the conceivable future; although, people are no longer fascinated by PCs or are no longer going to be woo'd by MS and Intel simply because they released a new OS/MB combination.

      No one can doubt the success of Windows XP. IMHO, it was too successful. People have found a system that meets or exceeds their expectations/needs. We nerds can wax philosophic all we want, the market's trend is going another direction. Small appliances with enough power to complete the jobs people need completed will be performed by footprints that are smaller and smaller - both in terms of power consumption (THINK GREEN!!) and physical dimensions.

      Maybe MS/Intel arn't worried - they should be. The next time you see a police car take a good look at all the digital equipment running inside that squad car. There are no less than 2 cameras in the cars now - 1 dash cam and 1 rear view mirror cam. Some cameras are actually built into the flashlights they use to blind you with as they approach your vehicle to site you. What kind of computers do you think are running that equipment? Let me tell you from experience: Whatever gets the job done! If they can get a free OS to perform it's job that is much more attractive to the designer/builder than the MS tax.

      There are many markets yet to explore. Some young, financially-poor, hungry engineer is now currently exploring markets unbeknown to us. He's the guy hoping the giants stay asleep. The people who build his equipment also hope the giants stay asleep. As soon as someone's idea takes off, there will be many off-shoots that will be wanting to have a piece of undiscovered market share. Ti and companies like them are counting on it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by GreatBunzinni (642500)

      Is the OP serious about Ubuntu's port to ARM causing Intel to worry and Microsoft to follow suit?

      Well, a couple of years ago it also wouldn't make much sense to claim that this little operating system kernel called linux would worry a software giant like Microsoft. Lo and behold, at this very moment we are seeing multiple multi-national OEM selling flagship products with linux-based operating systems.

      Silly things have this strange habit of really happening in real life.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Fat Cow (13247)

      True - after all, Debian has had an ARM port for years and that didn't have any earthshaking impact.

  • Ubuntu Alone (Score:4, Insightful)

    by prestomation (583502) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:16PM (#25749599)

    Ubuntu alone is not going to "set the stage for Intel to lose the "software advantage"", or anyone else for that matter, by switching to ARM.
    Sure, a few thousand people will be able to switch to an ARM device without blinking, but the rest of the 99.9% of the worlds computer users won't give a flying piece of monkey poo.

    • Re:Ubuntu Alone (Score:4, Insightful)

      by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:55PM (#25750341) Homepage Journal

      Ubuntu alone is not going to "set the stage for Intel to lose the "software advantage"", or anyone else for that matter, by switching to ARM.
      Sure, a few thousand people will be able to switch to an ARM device without blinking, but the rest of the 99.9% of the worlds computer users won't give a flying piece of monkey poo.

      Really? All it took was a a tiny company in Cupertino, CA, a rogue division in Boca Raton, FL, and a tiny company in Albuquerque, NM, to change IBM's world.

    • Re:Ubuntu Alone (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:13PM (#25750653)

      > Ubuntu alone is not going to "set the stage for Intel to lose the "software advantage"",
      > or anyone else for that matter, by switching to ARM.

      You are missing the big picture. Go look at lilliputing.com's similar story. This is about netbooks. If Canonical is investing in a full port this tells us somebody bigger than the generic Chinese outfit we already know about is planning to introduce an ARM based netbook, which also is isn't news to we who have been paying attention because ARM themselves said as much weeks ago. We still don't know WHO this mystery major vendor is though.

      > Sure, a few thousand people will be able to switch to an ARM device without blinking, but
      > the rest of the 99.9% of the worlds computer users won't give a flying piece of monkey poo.

      Have you used an EEEPC running their customized Xandros? It 'just works' and in the last month they have added a full repository where you can just click to add from a quickly growing list of additional apps. I haven't seen Ubuntu Netbook Remix yet but I'm confident that if they put their minds to it thay can produce a similarly seamless experience on a preloaded machine. And the end user won't even realize the machine isn't x86 compatible and won't care as long as it 'just works.'

      The big change will be these new ARM netbooks won't have an option for XP. Some might get roughed up enough by Redmond to offer a WinCE option but who in their right mind would pick Pocket IE and Office viewers over a full Firefox and full version of OO.o?

  • by corsec67 (627446) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:16PM (#25749601) Homepage Journal

    The announcement sets the stage for Intel to lose the traditional 'software advantage' that has enabled x86 to shrug off attacks from other architectures for the last 30 years.

    I am reading this summary as a complete joke.

    We are having problems moving to AMD64, and those processors include a full speed x86 compatibility mode. Until there is an ARM7 core that has a full x86 mode I don't think it is going to go anywhere on eliminating the "software advantage" of x86.

    We can't even get such smallish things as flash to be offered in 64-bit mode, so what happens to larger Windows only stuff?

    Plus Wine wouldn't work, since it isn't an emulator.

    • by jdowland (764773) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:27PM (#25749829)

      there are flash plugins for ARM, mind :)

    • Plus Wine wouldn't work, since it isn't an emulator.

      Some sort of "Wine CE" would probably work. Windows Mobile runs on ARM CPUs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nxtw (866177)

      We are having problems moving to AMD64, and those processors include a full speed x86 compatibility mode. Until there is an ARM7 core that has a full x86 mode I don't think it is going to go anywhere on eliminating the "software advantage" of x86.

      You might have problems running x86 software on x86-64 operating systems on x86-64 CPUs. But many issues are specific to certain operating systems. Missing 64-bit browser plug-ins can be solved by running a 32-bit browser and 32-bit plugins. It's also possible t

    • by doti (966971)

      We are having problems moving to AMD64

      ORLY?

      I run 64 for years now, and the _only_ problem I encountered was the lack of a Flash plugin, and I hope this will be rendered obsolete soon (theora, svg+js,)

    • by Nursie (632944) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:03PM (#25750487)

      Gnuflash will come along. Flash is already available for some non-x86 architectures.

      Who cares about windows-only stuff on a mobile internet device or a netbook?

      As for the rest of Linux stuff, there are already arm ports of a hell of a lot of thing, debian runs fine on arm.

    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

      The only reason x86 has a software advantage is that it runs Windows (and DOS). Linux and others have been made to run on anything from bicycle shoe strings to galactic overlords, but if you want to run (desktop) Windows, x86 is pretty much your only choice.

      • by corsec67 (627446)

        The only reason x86 has a software advantage is that it runs Windows (and DOS). Linux and others have been made to run on anything from bicycle shoe strings to galactic overlords, but if you want to run (desktop) Windows, x86 is pretty much your only choice.

        True, which is why, aside from a very small set of closed-source applications for Linux (Adobe Flash and EVE being the main ones that I use), the premise of the summary that Ubuntu being available for ARM is going to change anything on the desktop is qui

    • by chrb (1083577)

      We are having problems moving to AMD64,

      The only problems with AMD64 at the moment are related to legacy software and closed source software. Whilst the kernel and compiler obviously needed to be adapted, in user space land the changes weren't so great (an int is still 32 bits, etc.) Obviously sloppy pointer code also needed updating. But mainstream Linux distributions have supported AMD64 for years now.

      Plus Wine wouldn't work, since it isn't an emulator.

      You could probably run Wine under QEMU if you really w

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:17PM (#25749621)

    Now that Ubuntu has finally ported to the ever-popular ARM architecture, maybe 2009 will be the year of Linux on the desktop!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      A mere 10 bn processors shipped - yes, only 1e10. Wusses.

      http://electronicdesign.com/Articles/ArticleID/18043/18043.html

  • Debian did it first (Score:5, Informative)

    by paroneayea (642895) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:18PM (#25749647) Homepage

    Uhm... so Ubuntu is a derivative of Debian, and Debian has supported ARM for like... forever. Ubuntu just hasn't followed suit until now.

    Not to say this isn't significant. Just give Debian some credit.

    • by the_humeister (922869) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:33PM (#25749955)

      Debian also has had SPARC, SPARC64, Itanium, Alpha, MIPS, etc. for years. What's the big deal?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Selfbain (624722)
        The difference is the OP skipped his meds and entered a fairly tale world where Ubuntu releasing a new version is enough to destroy both Microsoft and Intel in one go.
    • by TeknoHog (164938)

      Might as well give credit to the Linux kernel, which runs on dozens of architectures, and other upstream software providers.

      I've been hoping that free software would be the way out of the x86 mess, but with all the x86 netbooks and Apple's Intel switch, things look even worse than a few years ago. Netbooks in particular seemed exciting at first, being a niche where Linux is especially strong, but most of them are still based on x86 just so that you can still run bad old Windows.

      Also, it seems to me tha

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by doti (966971)

        Might as well give credit to GCC, that compiles to all those platforms which Linux is ported to, and some more.

        It's GNU/Linux for a reason.

    • Well being that Ubuntu is a derivative distribution. But with more of a focus on Desktop use and Less on Server use. I would suspect there is still a fare amount of work to be done. Being a slower processor (and sorry Ubentu is not a super speed OS on low end systems, it is actually quite slow) So many of the default apps may need to be changed as well work in some apps to work better with the ARM platform, that Debien doesn't put in high priority. Just because you can port an App from one Architecture to

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bcrowell (177657)
      I run Linux on my ARM-based slug [nslu2-linux.org], which I use as a music player. I'm happy with the result (a cheap, always-on, low-energy music server), but it was kind of a pain to do the install, and the resulting system is broken in enough ways that I wouldn't want to use it very often as a general-purpose computer. Ubuntu is known as an easy-to-install, easy-to-use, full-featured desktop system that Just Works. If they can extend that to ARM-based subnotebooks, etc., then IMO it really is a big deal. Most people who o
  • Xscale uses the ARM architecture and is built by Intel. So, either way Intel makes money.

    • by 644bd346996 (1012333) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:30PM (#25749897)

      Not anymore. Intel sold the XScale division to Marvell in 2006. Since then, Intel has been without a good low-power processor. None of their x86 designs has come close to what a fully static ARM core can achieve in terms of battery life.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by 644bd346996 (1012333)

        Correction: Intel didn't sell all of their ARM business, just the product lines relevant to PDAs, netbooks, etc. (And Intel is still doing the manufaturing on behalf of Marvell, so they will make some money.)

  • Really. (Score:4, Funny)

    by igotmybfg (525391) <slashdot@@@danielthompson...net> on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:39PM (#25750067) Homepage

    How long can it be before Microsoft responds with a Windows 7 port?

    I see them doing this on the 7th of never.

  • N810 is AWESOME (Score:4, Interesting)

    by itomato (91092) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:49PM (#25750259)

    My Nokia n810 is everything I wanted my Newton 2100 to be several years ago:

    - smaller
    - color
    - built-in board
    - integrated wireless lan

    However, it lacks much of what made the Newton lovable. Perhaps a full Ubuntu port will let me push the limits. Multi-touch X and an alternative window manager would do a lot.

    We can run Android, but it's less than optimized for the n810.

    We can also run Einstein (http://www.oreillynet.com/mac/blog/2007/07/if_iphone_is_too_closed_try_ne.html) for the full Newton experience.

    What we need is the same level of hardware attention being paid to Atom, as in more specialized vendors producing high-performance ARM hardware. Someone please build an ARM device with HIGH Performance video, better clock speeds, more RAM and storage, and more expansion options (USB, Mini-PCI, etc..).

    If I have to link it with a pocket-sized projector or external LCD panel, so be it.

    • by tepples (727027)

      Someone please build an ARM device with HIGH Performance video, better clock speeds, more RAM and storage, and more expansion options (USB, Mini-PCI, etc..).

      Then you'll have to wait for next year to order one of the second batch of the Pandora PDA [wikipedia.org]: 600 MHz ARM CPU, PowerVR GPU, 256 MB RAM, two USB 2.0 ports, two SDHC/SDIO slots, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.

  • Mobile devices (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@g m a il.com> on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:01PM (#25750451) Homepage Journal

    I never bought into the hype for all these years that we'd give up desktops and do most of our computing on mobile devices. The screens were too small, they all had unique software, didn't operate with another, and couldn't perform the tasks I need.

    However I can take a Nokia i810 tablet, install KDE 4 and have a modern, fully function OS on it that can do anything my desktop can do, and interoperate with my desktop.

    Seriously, now we're talking. Give me a slightly better tablet with 1 gig of memory and then I'm not sure I'd look at a laptop again.

  • the nokia n800 and n810 tablets have ARMv6 processors, not ARMv7. sadly, this won't help us in the least.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARM_architecture#ARM_cores [wikipedia.org]

  • by Eil (82413) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:20PM (#25750769) Homepage Journal

    Nokia's N810 tablets can standby for several weeks, just like a cell phone, keeping you 'present' on IM, behind IPv4 NAT the whole time.

    I own an N810 and this is such an exaggeration as to be patently false. Not even Nokia claims you can get that kind of battery life out of these.

    An N810 can only go about 48 hours between each charge. And that's if the bluetooth and wifi radios are turned off and all programs are exited. If the battery is new, you might get up to three days.

    If you have the wifi radio on and are idling on IM, I'd expect that you could maybe get 12 hours of infrequent use and even that might be pushing it.

    When actively using the device (browsing the web, listening to a stream, etc), the CPU kicks in and you'll get between 4 and 6 hours of use depending on what you're doing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rindeee (530084)

      Not so. I routinely get over a week of standby out of my 810 (far better than from my 800). In fact, I left town for almost two weeks and left the 810 in my glove box powered on. Came back, opened the glove box, good to go. My own first hand experience.

  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:35PM (#25751005) Homepage Journal

    How long can it be before Microsoft responds with a Windows 7 port?

    There's no point in doing this. The reason people install Windows on their x86-based netbooks is so they can make use of the existing selection of Windows software titles. In the non-x86 world, there is no such thing, so the advantage goes to Linux.

  • by John Sokol (109591) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:45PM (#25751201) Homepage Journal

      ARM kicks ass.

      They really have made an excellent platform for making pda's/laptops and desktops, but few have really taken advantage of it so far. Just Set top boxes, and embedded platforms, which is where I have been using them.

    I just don't understand why OLPC didn't use ARM...

  • by Torne (78524) <torne@wolfpuppy.org.uk> on Thursday November 13, 2008 @04:37PM (#25752117)

    Lots of people are getting mixed up, and/or saying "big deal Debian already supports it". ARM has a slightly confusing numbering scheme: ARM7, ARM9, ARM11, Cortex-A8 are processor models, whereas ARMv4, ARMv5, ARMv6, ARMv7 are their respective architecture versions.

    Pretty much all current ARM devices are ARM9 or ARM11 based (smartphones, Nokia's internet tablets, etc). This means they are too old to run this :)

    The Pandora, and other upcoming devices, are based on the Cortex-A8, an ARMv7 architecture processor and the most recent ARM currently generally available: this is what Ubuntu are targeting here.

    Debian's ARM port is for any ARMv4t or higher currently, which includes ARM11, ARM9 and even ARM7TDMI. This is rather suboptimal for chips like the Cortex-A8 which have many, many more instructions available, so Ubuntu are indeed doing something different here.

  • by seeker_1us (1203072) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @06:10PM (#25753611)

    I mean, x86 just can't do 'idle power' like ARM

    Are you sure about that? Intel have been working on Atom and say it's better than ARM now [itexaminer.com],

    Even back in April, atom had an idle power range of 80-100mW. [intel.com]

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