3.16 Fedora ARM kernel status

So 3.16 is has quite a few new features in terms of newly supported devices, also some what surprisingly this blog post will be out before 3.16! In terms of new device support all the SoCs listed here are exciting for a number of reasons for Fedora ARM. Aarch64 (ARM64) makes it’s first debut with support of real hardware although we’ve actually had kernel support enable for it for some time in Fedora even if only usable on the glacial Foundation emulator.

The 3.16 release is also very likely to be the kernel that ships with Fedora 21 GA and with the Alpha due in about a month we’re starting to polish and test all the platforms and devices we want to support for GA.

Anyway without any further a do let’s get into the gritty details:

  • NVIDIA Jetson TK1 support: While we’ve had the basics of this for a while all of the bits are there now.
  • EXYNOS support: This SoC is probably the most asked about platform and finally after a long wait the multiplatform support has landed upstream. We currently ship around 20 dtb files for exynos4 and 5 (Chromebook support anyone?). Testing is sought and feedback and greatly appreciated.
  • Qualcomm MSM 8×60, 8960 and 8974 support: While the multiplatform support for these devices landed upstream a few releases a go they’re now to the point they should be relatively usable so it’s time to get wider testing. This should be the beginning of supporting the venerable ifc6410 and dragonboard devices.
  • APM X-GENE support: One of our first aarch64 supported pieces of hardware. Similar to the QCom SoC the initial support has been upstream for a while but with 3.16 it becomes usable with the vast majority of basic support upstream so minimal patches are needed. More on aarch64 soon.
  • AMD Seattle support: The other of our aarch64 supported pieces of hardware if you’re lucky enough to get your mits on a device.

The other feature we’re starting to see mature is GPU and Graphics support. I’m not exactly sure yet as to what the final state of this functionality will be for Fedora 21 GA but we potentially will have suppport for:

  • nouveau/mesa support on the NVIDIA Tegra K1
  • freedreno/mesa support on the Qualcomm boards
  • etnaviv/mesa support on i.MX6 devices
  • improved modesetting support for a number of other devices. Some of this has already landed and is usable in rawhide now.

What covered above is just a high level overview of what’s new in the upcoming release. There’s been numerous other improvements in existing supported SoCs and devices all over the place that would take too long to cover off here but in short with all the shiny that’s landed in 3.16 what Fedora ARM will look like as part of the Fedora 21 GA release is quickly starting to take shape.

Fedora ARM on the Google Chromebook

I’ve been asked numerous times about Fedora ARM’s plans to support the Samsung Chromebook so I thought I would do a quick blog post to outline our plans. In short “ABSOLUTELY” and “As soon as possible” are the answers 🙂

So of course we plan to support it. As a device the Samsung device is what we’ve all been waiting for in an ARM device in that it’s cheap, nice looking, has relatively decent specs and is all nicely packaged.

Unfortunately initially we’re going to need to support it as a Fedora Remix as there’s some bits that haven’t landed upstream that will require us to fork things and in particular the kernel. So in the short term we’ll do a remix and hope to have a usable version of that out soon and a more stable one not too far behind the Fedora 18 mainline release.

So what is there to be done I hear you ask? That’s a difficult answer but it breaks down roughly as follows:

  • uBoot / DevMode and how best to support it (and if we’ll be able to remove the horrible 30 second boot message)
  • Kernel support, both initially a fork and then as mainline.
  • Xorg / GPU support. We have the basics of this already in Fedora 18 but we want it to go as fast as possible 😀
  • Sound. Be aware that at the moment you’re likely to fry your speakers if you try to use it now. We don’t want that. It means we’re going to need to deal with UCM and associated support bits. It’s something I’ve only just found out about and I’m researching what we’re missing. It will be useful for all ARM platforms (and x86 too).
  • Improved HW support – basically make sure everything works as expected whether it be HDMI or WiFi.

That’s basically it (and it’s no small amount of work) but most of the rest of Fedora ARM hardfp should run just fine and dandy on it so all of that hard work is done. There’ll likely be some optimisations that can be made so it runs even faster but we should soon be able to support another stunning little device with Fedora ARM 🙂

Watch this space