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Open Source Linux Hardware

ARM Publishes 64-bit "AArch64" Linux Kernel Support 90

Posted by timothy
from the avoiding-the-wrath-of-linus dept.
An anonymous reader writes "ARM Holdings has made available Linux kernel support for AArch64, the ARMv8 64-bit architecture. No 64-bit ARMv8 hardware is yet shipping until later this year, but ARM has prepared the 36 patches amounting to 23,000 lines of architecture code for mainline integration."
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ARM Publishes 64-bit "AArch64" Linux Kernel Support

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  • Well done (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lefty2446 (232351) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @04:08AM (#40574107) Homepage

    It's awesome that a major chip manufacturer is willing to invest time to implement a new architecture in the Linux kernel.

    Pity that windows isn't open sourced, they wont benefit from this effort ;-)

    • Another pity is that (almost) no commercially available devices that will implement this chip will actually run a free OS....

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This may help though. This means that much less time and investment is needed to get your new device up and running, providing a convincing a convincing case for switching to free software. Had Linux been ported later, this advantage would have been lost.

        • by Kalriath (849904)

          He means that all the ARM hardware will be shipped with Windows 8 and SecureBoot enabled and locked to only run Windows 8 (actually, this isn't strictly true - Microsoft only dictates that SecureBoot be on and locked enabled on ARM, but if you could convince an ARM manufacturer to ship with a Linux SecureBoot signature, then you could still run Linux on it).

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            Actually the ironic part is most will run Linux...and be just as locked down as WinARM. It seems more and more of the manufacturers have figured out its easier to make them replace the unit if they don't allow upgrades and since Android is strictly GPL V2 there is nothing to stop them from doing so.

            You just have to be amazed at the sheer irony when some many get their panties in a twist over a version of Windows that most likelye won't ever sell above single digits and will end up being dumped on woot! li

            • by Anonymous Coward

              FYI: Stop buying some cheap Chinese shit. Buy Google reference devices, so you can upgrade them later.

              And btw Android is under Apache license, for the most part.

              • Google reference devices ARE cheap Chinese shit. Just because they make the die-cast case in the USA and also screw the device together here, does not mean it is made in the USA. Most of the thing is made by Foxconn.

            • by oakgrove (845019)

              in my own family we've gone through 3 Android phones so far that couldn't be updated and we aren't even a smartphone heavy family, if we went through 3 in 2 years i can imagine how many more are sitting in sock drawers right now because they can't run the new version.

              That's why for the premium Android experience I always suggest people buy the Nexus device. I have a Nexus S and a Galaxy Nexus and both have the latest Android and have been guaranteed to get the jelly bean treatment. As far as I know the Galaxy Nexus is available for all major US carriers as well.

              • That's why for the premium Android experience I always suggest people buy the Nexus device. I have a Nexus S and a Galaxy Nexus and both have the latest Android and have been guaranteed to get the jelly bean treatment. As far as I know the Galaxy Nexus is available for all major US carriers as well.

                The verizion Galaxy S is locked down

                http://www.xda-developers.com/android/no-root-for-verizon-galaxy-s-iii-petition-started/ [xda-developers.com]

                • by Anonymous Coward

                  The Samsung Galaxy S and the Samsung Nexus S are different devices.

                  The Nexus S is a Google branded device and it is not locked down.

          • by unixisc (2429386)
            But that's only true about ARM tablets from Microsoft. The rest of them - from Samsung, Google Nexus, Mot Xoom, HTC, et al - are all shipping w/ Android, and are not gonna go Windows RT. And w/ Microsoft planning to price them @ par w/ the iPhones and iPads, one can be sure that they won't be selling much either - in the end, they may just have to do what HP did w/ TouchPads.
      • ah yeah they will just not for consumers it will be used in linux servers

        • by symbolset (646467) *

          HP could go a couple ways yet. They've got a 'softy leading them right now.

          But this is interesting tech. [hp.com]

        • by symbolset (646467) *
          Have you heard of this weird Android thing? It seems people like their Linux nicely wrapped.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I have a Gumstix Overo Fire COM - "Computer On Module". It really is about a size of a stick of chewing gum, however the I/O board it mounts on is much bigger. I'm heavily into woodworking, so I'm planning to make a real nice hardwood case for my Gumstix Android Tablet.

        Gumstix sells individual units to hobbyists, but most of us have commercial products in mind, at which point Gumstix offers volume discounts.

        The schematics of the I/O boards are Open Source.

        Mich [dulcineatech.com]

        • Great links. Thanks for tipping a nerd into the right direction. Unfortunately you make exactly my point. To go from a gumstix module to a tablet or wearable device is a long, long way. Long enough for me too to start pondering if it is worth it to dump my next year's free time onto creating one single device (not even pondering the costs).

          • by Anonymous Coward

            The Kindle 1 team started development using gumstix boards. Once they got the software to a certain point, they were able to make better decisions on what hardware to use in the released product and had a custom board built. (not based on gumstix at all)

      • Re:Well done (Score:5, Informative)

        by jd (1658) <imipak@noSPam.yahoo.com> on Saturday July 07, 2012 @05:24AM (#40574317) Homepage Journal

        Don't be so sure - first to market is a major factor in business and if Linux is likely to beat all other rival OS' by a large enough margin in time, commercial vendors will look at that very seriously. More than a few would likely "gamble" (*cough*) on a free OS and gain marketshare when the profits are high than risk coming in very late when there's much less money floating around, a much higher entry fee and customers unhappy with them being late to the party.

        It is, of course, essential that the chip works (remember Transmeta?), but hardware sells when there's software and if there's Linux support then there's software - and a lot of it. Assuming nobody has messed up, the chip is going to get deployed. The question is only one of where. Phones, yes, but not necessarily immediately as a lot of apps are compiled natively (not to an intermediate form) and the market is crowded with patent trolls right now.

        • Well, sort of.

          All mobile devices I have seen with a modifiable bootloader weren't what you would call top of the line products.
          And there exactly lies my rant in. All mobile devices worth working on (except the now abandoned n900 and n9)
          are locked down into some sort of proprietary eco system, yes that's right I'm calling Google a proprietary eco
          system.

          It's plainly disappointing.

      • by symbolset (646467) *

        I'm pretty sure that within an hour of it being public, somebody was working on it.

        But not me.

      • Not true. nvidia's project Denver [wikipedia.org] will have to run a free OS if it is really going to be available for "personal computers, servers, and supercomputers"

      • Another pity is that (almost) no commercially available devices that will implement this chip will actually run a free OS....

        Huh? What are you smoking? This thing will probably run nothing but Linux.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Another pity is that (almost) no commercially available devices that will implement this chip will actually run a free OS....

        I'm certain there will be lots - 64-bit isn't currently too important for the consumer space (really, you need 4GB of RAM in your phone?).

        No, the real benefit will come from the high end stuff - servers mostly. And you can bet that servers run Linux. Now there's a lightweight lower-power machine that can probably do 90% of the server tasks Sure it won't run a DBMS in most cases, but

        • Well, tbh when I first composed that comment I was actually only thinking of mobile devices.

          Truth is arm servers could do great as caches or file servers.

    • Of course MS will benefit. Their ARM Surface computers will fail due to lack of win32 x86 compatibility.

      2015 will be the year of Office on 64bit Android.

    • Re:Well done (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ginger Unicorn (952287) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @05:56AM (#40574409)
      ARM holdings isn't a manufacturer, they're a design company that license the architecture to many manufacturers.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        That makes it even more awesome. AMD actually makes their own shit and yet they never bothered to contribute proper power saving for (among others) Athlon 64 L110 for Linux. They haven't given out proper support for R690M chipset or the graphics in it which are referred to as X1250. That ARM holdings is willing to do what AMD apparently can not or will not do makes me appreciate them all the more simply for recognizing what can and should be done.

        • by Idbar (1034346)
          No, it doesn't make it more awesome. It's necessary for them given they license their product. No manufacturer will buy stuff that it's not properly supported, and more when they still have to put additional hardware in the chip and integrate they whole system. This is just properly putting your tools in place for real manufacturers to start developing.
    • by pmontra (738736)
      Linux could be the kernel for most of their chips because of Android, unless/until Win8 tablets and phone will really storm the market.
    • Pity that windows isn't open sourced, they wont benefit from this effort ;-)

      I assume porting to the NT kernel would require virtually re-writing them from the ground up to fit NT's structure, so not much lost there.

      • At one point the NT kernel was on i386, Alpha, and PowerPC. Later ports had AMD64 and Itanium support. With Windows CE/Windows Phone, and the Zune OS, MS has a lot of experience with multiple chipsets. I don't think they would have as much of a problem as you think.

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      The kernel bits this needs were designed by the Linux kernel geeks who drew the silicon. That's what vertical integration is. The software was ready before the silicon blank was wet.
    • by lennier1 (264730)

      They basically realized that the possible revenue warrants the investment.
      Good business sense, a rare sight these days.

    • by IYagami (136831) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @10:52AM (#40575521)

      I think that what is really awesome is that adding just 23k lines of code gives you support for a new CPU architecture!

  • But will they encourage the implementers (chip makers) to create chips with architecture to truly support 64-bit computing. At the moment, most ARM architectures might as well be 16-bit when it comes to bus bandwidth and data transfer. No use having high speed RAM of 512-2048 MB when the interface to the storage (typically flash) can't even touch SATA 1.0 speeds.

    Seriously, ARM would do more good for itself pushing vendors to adopt proper multi-channel PCIe (>x4) in their architectures to multiple devic

    • Re:Bandwidth? (Score:5, Informative)

      by romiz (757548) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @06:00AM (#40574421)
      Do you realize that the chip on the other end of a SATA link - typically the controller in the SSD you're using right now - has a lot of chances to be an ARM chip ? It is the case for common SSD disk controllers (Marvell or Sandforce).

      And even if it is not common in today's products, there are a lot of recent high-level ARM SoCs that offer SATA - not least because its low pin count makes it easier to route on the board in the end than a parallel bus. For example, TI's OMAP5, Freescale i.MX53 or CSR's Prima 2 have SATA support.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well, there's plenty of use to having lots of memory, especially because the storage is slow.

      if you'd like to start using them for clustered db's etc, then the memory is very useful.

      afaik it's 48bit memory addressing though what it supports.

    • by expatriot (903070)

      Even for 32-bit instructions, the bus to physical memory can be 32, 64, or 128 bits wide. The reason is that on-chip clocks to cache can be 10 times or more higher than external memory. PCI is not the only or fastest bus system.

      Also the ARM-based server chips do have PCI and SATA.

  • In 2012, the must-have feature for smartphones is an amount of CPU cores twice as big as the one of the previous generation.
    In 2013, the new cool thing to have will be a 64-bit processor! Like in the good old times of the console wars.

    Seriously though, in the near future the amount of available address space to be shared between userspace, kernel, GPU etc. might start to become too tight in 32 bits even for smartphones, at least the biggest ones.

  • The company that I work for (non-IT) just decided to upgrade from WinXP to Win7, but they are still sticking with 32bit! What an insane decision. This means the lease of more than 10.000 brand new computers that will stubbornly cling to the past by refusing to make the step to 64bit. I had to raise my voice significantly, explicitly stating that I will not be able to do my work unless I get a 64bit machine with a 64bit OS (which is true). I finally got it, but I guess the folk down at the IT department all

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      I finally got it, but I guess the folk down at the IT department all know my name and hate me for not sticking with the rules.

      As the should dislike all trouble makers.

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      Aside from the memory thing, which you dont need to run IE, and Office, I have yet to see a significant reason to run 64 bit windows clients, and it usually saves a little bit of money as well. So unless you want to pay for it (and how did you do your work on a 32 bit win xp machine but now need a 64 bit os?)

      Now linux 64 bit is about as useful as windows XP 64, you want a throwback, hardly anything works out of the box and you spend your time hand compiling what seems like every piddleshit thing. Now grante

      • by xaxa (988988)

        That's the complete opposite of my experience with 64-bit Linux -- everything has worked as well (or not) as it did on 32-bit Linux. Why shouldn't it? Obviously the code needs to be recompiled, but generally someone else does that, or else I'd need to do it myself on 32-bit anyway.

        On Windows 64-bit we've had many problems with odd (often old-ish) drivers not being supported, and old software being buggy, even in "32 bit mode". So far, we only have about 15 machines running 64-bit Windows 7, but all the L

      • Lots of stuff works in x86_64 in Linux. What problems are you having?

      • how did you do your work on a 32 bit win xp machine but now need a 64 bit os?

        I didn't. I used a 32bit XP box for Office-work and internet browsing and I logged in to a 64bit SUSE sever via PuTTY for doing serious work. But then I bought a 6-core desktop computer with 24 GB RAM and, of course, I just couldn't let the IT people just slap their 32bit Win7 image on it. It would just beat the purpose of having such a machine.

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