A long overdue status update of Fedora on ARM

Well I’ve been meaning on doing a status update on ARM as well as a number of blog posts for quite sometime but I’ve had some personal changes I’ve been settling into (more on that sometime soon).

So first and foremost we’ve announced (a slightly delayed) Fedora 18 ARM alpha. There’s a some of images there for supported devices but if there’s an image you’d like that’s not there feel free to come and help out to make it happen.

We’re looking pretty good for Fedora 18. We’ve got even more packages built than what we had for Fedora 17 and we’ve fixed and improved a lot of issues. I’ve spent a lot of time massaging the kernel into better shape with the help of the Fedora Kernel team and jwb in particular. We have people polishing desktop environments like XFCE and KDE with thanks to some of the XO 1.75s that people received as part of The Fedora Summer of Fun and I look forward to seeing more of the 50 people that received one coming and helping out. Not everything was quite so rosy though as the anaconda newui work has delayed more than just the main Fedora release. We do still have a lot of work to as while the vast majority of packages build and a lot of them even run there’s a lot of testing and optimisation to do.

But it’s not all about Fedora 18 as we’re already working on Fedora 19 (that is after all the reason we branch just prior to Alpha release)! The big thing to note to date is I’ve now landed the first support for a unified kernel. We should be able to boot around 4 different SoC platforms with the 3.7 kernel but expect this to expand rapidly in the 3.8 kernel and by the time Fedora 19 is released with what will probably be the 3.9 kernel I’m hoping we should be able to much easier support a lot more devices with just a couple of kernels.

The last couple of weeks has also been quite mammoth in general ARM news. In the shipping now news the first of the new ARM Cortex-A15 chips has made it to a great and cheap device. We hope to get it running a Fedora Remix soon. It’s the first device and the Samsung SoC based on the A15 and it’s the first of many we’ll see over the next couple of months.

In other not so shipping news it’s been mega ARMv8 / arm64 announcements week. It start with Andrew Haleyannoucing Red Hat is working on openjdk for ARM64. This was followed by Linaro announcing a ARMv8 image based on Open Embedded. Then it was AMD announcing ARMv8 chips and it’s working with Red Hat on them. And then finally today was the announcement of Linaro Enterprise Group. LEG for short (I’m already sick of the puns!). This is great news! And there should be the first starts of the Fedora bring up being available soon and a lot of work to do over the next year too!

Overall it’s been a busy six months in ARM and for me personally. I’ve known about a number of the announcements and it’s finally great to have the cat out of the bag. The soon to be released (hopefully sooner rather than later!) Fedora 18 is another pretty big step forward for ARM on Fedora. The next year is going to be a fun ride!

So one of the things that people often ask me is how do I get involved in ARM stuff. Most of the boring things like builds are mostly automated so I usually recommend to get a device and start using it, hacking on it and testing it. Even the qemu image is a good way to get started. There’s almost 12,000 source packages in Fedora so it’s impossible for us to test all use cases. There’s also a lot of bits of hardware even on the supported devices like the panda boards we don’t have time or the ability to test from GPIO to various sensors etc. So that sort of stuff is a good way to begin!