Monday, May 17, 2010

Death to ARM, Long live ARM!

Not all that long ago I wrote a blog post that expressed some frustrations I was having with ARM as a platform but in retrospect I think my statements were a bit hasty and overzealous. I stepped away from the unique aspect of ARM boards that make them so appealing, they are different, they are disjoint, but they are also extremely capable. We live in a world where you can't walk into the middle of a town and throw a rock in any direction without hitting a person carrying an ARM device which is an extremely powerful statement. Its a platform where extremely cool things are happening, it is the reigning champion of consumer embedded devices and as cloud computing (yes, I hate the term too but bear with me) becomes more and more the way of the future, embedded computing really will be a more viable solution for the dawn of tomorrow.

What does this mean? Well, that depends on who you are and where you sit in the world. It means to me that I think we within the Fedora Community need to put more efforts into the Fedora ARM SIG and even though I am an ARM SIG member I probably made my fellow Fedorans(?) a bit upset with my outcry as well as dealt myself a bit of a credibility blow which I have only myself to thank. In an effort to bring myself back from my current state I in the process of gearing up for doing some actual contribution to the Fedora ARM port, I've got a book entitled "Embedded Linux Primer" by Christopher Hallinan that I'm almost half way through and I've got a GuruPlug on order from GlobalScale because even if I hit fits of frustration along they way it would be ignorant of me to claim that embedded computing doesn't power the world, ARM is leading the way in that market, and I feel this is an area that Fedora could be great in. So lets hope that Apple doesn't buy ARM and screw us all. Long live Fedora and long live ARM!

UPDATE: I have cancelled my previous order of the GuruPlug in favor of a SheevaPlug for two reasons. 1) The GuruPlug requires me to buy JTAG board to do dev work and I don't want to shell out the extra cash. 2) I'm hearing reports of GuruPlugs doing random reboots when using the ethernet port. So now I just have to wait for my SheevaPlug in the mail!


gbraad said...

The statements were harsh and as you said; overzealous ;-). But still thye contained an important point; the issue with being able to support the diversity of configurations. Supporting a subset of configurations out-of-the-box would be an ideal solution; beagleboard, sheevaplug, etc.

We have the same issue with the kernel as MIPS SIG as you guys are having. Be glad you only have one ABI and one endianness to deal with; we have 3 differents ABI and two endianness to deal with if we want to fully support the MIPS architecture. :-s

Jonathan Pritchard said...

ARM is increasingly more relevant. So it's important for Fedora to have a presence.

I'm also interested in getting one of those GuruPlugs. I've got a Pandora console ordered too, which is running an OpenEmbedded Angstrom distribution, I'd love to see Fedora on there too.

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