I just published a blog post on ARM’s corporate blog with an overview of the recent openSUSE ARM Hackathon. We didn’t quite manage all the tasks that we had hoped for, but we did get the big ones done. For me it was great to meet so many old friends, and some new ones. I’d like to say a few thanks to some of the people involved, they all did so much and this is just some of the things that they did:
Get openSUSE 12.3 Now that openSUSE 12.3 is out, the openSUSE ARM Team want to step up a gear. As the cycle was shorter than normal, there are a few wrinkles that need to be ironed out and also a whole heap of new things that can be added. After some discussion at FOSDEM, it was decided to hold a Hackathon to address these items. The Hackathon will take place on 08 to 12 April, both at the SUSE offices in Nuremberg as well as online for those that can’t attend in person.
I have blogged about how to get Linux on the Chromebook in the past; and whilst the process works, it isn’t the easiest or most friendly way. Thanks to the tireless work of the openSUSE ARM Team (especially Alex Graf and Marcus Schäfer) we now have a simpler way to get openSUSE on the Chromebook. We now have an installable image that can be dd’ed directly to either an SD card or USB drive (I’ve not tried the internal eMMC) just like any other ARM device.
There is now real hardware from ARM’s partners that offers the ability to leverage hardware virtualisation, in a similar fashion to Intel and AMD. So far three devices are shipping to the general public – the new Series 3 Chromebook, the Nexus 10 and the Arndale board. They all have one key factor in common, the Samsung Exynos5 SoC. This fine piece of silicon is a member of the Cortex-A15 family which introduces the required virtualisation extensions.
After my post yesterday on getting openSUSE on the new ARM Chromebook, a lot of interest was generated with discussions on various forms of media – heck I even got Slashdotted (thanks :-) ). I read some but not all of them and even the comments. One thing popped out to me, and I feel I need to clarify some things. Whilst I do indeed work for ARM, my device was a private purchase and not provided to me by my employer.
I was lucky enough to get into work today to have a lovely package waiting for me, a shiny new ARM powered Chromebook! o/ I ordered it specifically to have a good mobile ARM development platform. So after having used the bundled ChromeOS for the first half of the day I decided it was time to get this machine’s Geeko on. Thankfully one of the Google employed developers , Olof Johansson, was kind enough to post his steps to get Linux on the machine.
Next week I’ll be in Orlando attending both SUSE Con, and also openSUSE Summit. Not only will I be attending the Summit, but I’ll also be joining Michael Miller in the Opening Ceremony. In addition to you being able to see, talk and interact with me, I’ll also be giving away a whole heap of goodies ;-) So if you’re in the area and have an interest in ARM or most things Geeko, please give me a shout.
Earlier this week, some of the fine chaps over at Geeko Central managed to get the delightful little CuBox working with openSUSE. This was helped by the fine folks at SolidRun sponsoring a couple of devices for the work, thanks SolidRun! It isn’t 100% feature complete, but it is good enough for use as a server. The missing components are Audio and Video, so it is pretty much a headless style configuration at the moment like the Snowball.
After five years at Fujitsu it is time for me to move on. I’ve had a blast, both good and bad, whilst there and was lucky enough to have experienced and hopefully learnt a lot. Whist there I’ve worked in all sorts of verticals; including but not limited to Government, Financial, Education, Science and HPC. Although I was brought in to deal with Linux and Open Source it was never limited to that and was lucky enough to have been exposed to a multitude of technologies that I wouldn’t have known about had it not been due to work.
I’m somewhat surprised at how many people are getting upset about the RaspberryPi. They are grumbling about how it is a weak, underpowered device with the only plus point being the exceptionally low price. People, this device was devised and built for a specific task – getting children coding and learning about computers in general!! The price point is crucial, one could give it to a 4yr old (or 40yr old) and not worry too much if it accidentally gets juice poured on it or covered in chocolate spread.
I’m here in the belly of the Geeko at SUSE’s offices in Nuremberg, due to the fact that the new openSUSE Board had their Face to Face meeting yesterday (whole different topic needing its own post ;-) ). As I was coming here I thought it would be prudent to try and get the various people dealing with and interested in the ARM port around a table at some point to discus the status of things.
It’s been a little over a month since the last update and as always there has been progress :-) First let’s get some of the numbers out of the way, currently we have 4202 packages built successfully, with 120 failed which is leading to 582 unresolvable. Remember this is for a full openSUSE Factory (12.2) build. Not bad, but we still have a way to go if we want to have an ARM port ready for 12.
It’s been almost a month since the last ARM porting update so here’s a little christmas present to you all. Dirk Müller sent out a status update to the mailing list, but I thought it would be a good idea post here for you scoundrels that aren’t subscribed :-) Thanks to some great work by loads of people including (but not limited to) Alex Graf, Adrian Schröter, Dirk Müller, Marcus Schäfer, Joop Boonen openSUSE’s ARM port has come along nicely.
I am very pleased to announce that ARM Holdings has joined our current sponsors, by providing a pile of Texas instruments OMAP4430 powered Pandaboards and some Samsung Exynos4210 powered Origen boards! Many thanks to the fine folks in Cambridge for their most generous donation. In addition to that, thanks to the community’s donations, we have also obtained an ST-Ericsson Nova A9500 powered Snowball board. Huge thanks to everyone that has made this happen.
Sorry that no news has been dished out with regards to the openSUSE ARM porting effort, but that’s mostly because things have been busy (honest!) For starters we have now successfully built around 3500 packages out of a total of about 4700 for the full openSUSE ditribution. So we are well on our way. It hasn’t been easy going though, and we still have lots of hurdles, hoops and obstacles to overcome.
The big update is that a couple of kind companies have stepped up and sponsored some hardware for the effort to get openSUSE on ARM. Huge thank you to: They have kindly sponsored and shipped several EfikaMX devices. Thanks to Peter Czanik for organising this on our behalf. Ti in association with the PandaBoard community have kindly sponsored and are shipping several PandaBoards. Thank you, this is a huge help.
So HackWeek VII has been and gone, but work has not stopped in getting our beloved Geeko some ARMs. Now I’ll be the first to admit, things have been a wee bit scrappy in places. This isn’t anyone’s fault, it’s just that we want to get things rolling ASAP. Thing is, we need more haste less speed; we need to be somewhat more concerted with our efforts. So instead of trying to get everything to build in one hit (would be great if that was possible), we are going to target patterns of packages.
As I mentioned before, we have an initial target platform identified for testing the work of all those involved in the openSUSE ARM port. The problem is we need to obtain the hardware. I am in discussions trying to get some corporate sponsorship of hardware, but we can not rely soley on those kind companies that would like to see us succeed. We as a community need to help ourselves succeed, as such I’ve set up a campaign on Pledgie to enable us the community to contribute to the effort for obtaining hardware.
I just sent this into the -arm mailing list. This is a hot topic, and one that seems to generate the most noise. I’ve had a discussion with several people about target hardware, and I’ve also looked at what our peers are doing and saying. At the same time I’ve been trying to see what options we have for getting some sponsorship for hardware. There were three devices in the running, all are classed as development boards – so no case or external prettyness (beauty comes from within anyway):
One of the things that came out of the recent Geeko Love-In for me was a new project to immerse myself in within openSUSE. Yeah I know, we have enough existing projects already so why create a new one? Simples! Believe it or not but openSUSE is behind the curve in a specific segment, and that segment has yet to explode to its full potential. That segment is ARM. No I’m not talking about your upper body appendages, but the architecture that powers most of your little devices (and some bigger ones too).