UbuntuARM

Dev Week -- Ubuntu ARM and the OMAP4 images -- ogra -- Wed, Mar 2nd, 2011

   1 [18:02] <ogra> hey hey
   2 [18:03] <ogra> so i will give a short insight into Ubuntu ARM, the team and the images we care for, i dont expect this to take much time so there should be plenty of time for questions (if there are any)
   3 [18:04] <ogra> the ubuntu arm team (as the name suggests) cares for the arm port in ubuntu
   4 [18:04] <ogra> we build images for different types of arm hardware
   5 [18:04] <ogra> target audience for these images are endusers
   6 [18:05] <ogra> and we try to make them an identical experience to any other ubuntu architecture, so you can expect identical functionallity as in any other ubuntu install
   7 [18:06] <ogra> initially the ubuntu arm team consisted of 8 developers that cared for the whole archive
   8 [18:06] <ogra> all builds (and their failures) as well as all images had to be maintained by this small bunch of people
   9 === daker is now known as Ghost_of_daker
  10 [18:07] <ogra> recently ARM recognized how important ubuntu was for them, so they started linaro ...
  11 [18:07] <ogra> linaro is a consortium of companies taking care of improving arm and the arm experience
  12 [18:08] <ogra> i.e. nowadays if you get an arm board you will need a linux kernel from the vendor, a so called BSP
  13 [18:08] <ogra> usually that has tons of incompatible changes so the kernel couldnt be merged upstream in linus tree
  14 [18:08] <ogra> and you will also not run a kernel for board A on board B
  15 [18:09] <ogra> linaros mission is to fix such issues
  16 [18:09] <ogra> so that at some point you have someting like the linux-generic package that runs on all arm hardware
  17 [18:09] <ogra> they also care about the toolchain and compiler to get the best optimization out of them
  18 [18:10] <ogra> and they help a lot with failures to build from source
  19 [18:10] <ogra> so since linaro is around, the work of the ubuntu-arm team got a lot easier, we stand on their sholders now
  20 [18:10] <ogra> ...
  21 [18:11] <ogra> over the recent releases we built images for a variety of boards ... starting with freescales imx51 babbage board, marvells dove board (which is known from the press as armada board nowadays) and the very popular beagleboard from TI
  22 === cmagina-lunch is now known as cmagina
  23 [18:12] <ogra> with maverick we started to work closely with TI to make ubuntu the reference platform for their OMAP4 pandaboard
  24 [18:12] <ogra> this was released in 10.10 and gets improved in 11.04 now
  25 [18:12] <ogra> as architectures come and go the babbage and dove architectures vanished from our list of ports, omap 3 and 4 persist
  26 [18:13] <ogra> if you want to help out with arm development i would highly suggest to take a look at the pandaboard on http://pandaboard.org
  27 [18:13] <ogra> its is available for $175 and has all HW you can imagine
  28 [18:14] <ogra> with the ubuntu install and the TI addons it is fully capable of playing 1080p video
  29 [18:14] <ogra> so if you are intrested in arm development on ubuntu a beagleboard (see beagleboard.org) or a panda is the way to go
  30 [18:15] <ogra> for people that cant afford hardware we also worked out cross ways of building and testing arm packages, the qemu-kvm-extras-static package brings all you need to run an arm chroot on your x86 boax
  31 [18:15] <ogra> for testing and devevlopment thats a good start
  32 [18:16] <ogra> for the highly embedded thinking people linaro offers a cross toolchain and the xdeb packages that makes it possible to cross build packages for arm on an x86 host
  33 [18:17] <ogra> if you are intrested in tryinf out our images you can find install instructions and download links at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ARM/OMAP it sill always list links to the different release centric instructions
  34 [18:17] <ogra> ok, enough of me babbling i think :)
  35 [18:18] <ogra> there are some questions
  36 [18:18] <ClassBot> darkdevil75 asked: arm?
  37 [18:19] <ogra> yes :)
  38 [18:19] <ClassBot> monish001 asked: arm port means arm hardware architecture platform?
  39 [18:19] <ogra> right, it means the CPU you carry in your mobile phone, tablet or (rarely) in your netbook
  40 [18:19] <ClassBot> monish001 asked: why is arm hardware important?
  41 [18:20] <ogra> heh, well, as you see above it runs very transparently in many devices ... you can find arm in your dishwasher as well as in your mobile phone or the ipad
  42 [18:20] <ogra> even in TVs
  43 [18:21] <ogra> ARM CPUs usually eat a tenth of the power of an x86 CPU while providing the same computing power
  44 [18:21] <ogra> that means you usually dont need a fan for example
  45 [18:22] <ogra> within the last years ARM CPUs turned from very low profile embedded things into powerful CPUs
  46 [18:22] <ogra> i'm currently typing on a netbook (toshiba ac100) that is powered by an arm dual core cpu and can easily take it up with an atom
  47 [18:22] <ogra> but it only weights 700garms and has no fans
  48 [18:23] <ogra> in the next years you will very likely see arm approaching the server market
  49 [18:23] <ogra> in a datacenter the most power is used to keep the air condition running ... wirth arm CPUs that cost will drop significantly
  50 [18:23] <ogra> ...
  51 [18:24] <ogra> thats why arm is an important arch
  52 [18:24] <ogra> (and in my personal opinion the future)
  53 [18:24] <ClassBot> beachbrake asked: Why are ARM development boards more expensive? (from the point of view of a student)
  54 [18:25] <ogra> well, i dont think the beagle or pandaboards are much more expensive than and intel mainboard+cpu+graphics card+network card
  55 [18:25] <ClassBot> chadadavis asked: are compiler developers (i.e. GNU) also involved, or is Linaro also taking that upon themselves?
  56 [18:25] <ogra> linaro is working with gcc upstream and if you know a bit about arm you will know about codesourcery, they are part of linaro
  57 [18:26] <ogra> so all work done on the compiler is done very closely with all entities that are involved in arm gcc nowadays
  58 [18:26] <ClassBot> bullgard asked: "recently ARM recognized how important ubuntu was for them" <- Why is ARM important for Ubuntu end users?
  59 [18:27] <ogra> well, once you can buy netbooks with arm cpu and have a battery life of 3days you will know ;)
  60 [18:27] <ogra> honestly though, tablets, netbooks and mobile phones are the future
  61 [18:28] <ogra> while ubuntu doesnt offer any UI options for the latter two, having the distro running on such platforms enables the developer community to work on them
  62 [18:29] <ogra> so you can work on your concept of porting unity to a mobile phone if you are intrested for example ;)
  63 [18:29] <ClassBot> fisch246 asked: when will Ubuntu Server support ARM?
  64 [18:29] <ogra> well, theoretically it already does
  65 [18:29] <ogra> you can turn a pandaboard into a server and i.e. use it as webserver etc
  66 [18:30] <ogra> practically we might work on server images in future releases, server has always been on our list of devices to support, currently we only focus on netbook though
  67 [18:30] <ClassBot> bullgard asked: What do you mean by "low profile" in "ARM CPUs turned from very low profile embedded things into powerful CPUs"? ("low profile" appears to have several meanings in English.)
  68 [18:30] <ogra> well, i actually meant "underpowered"
  69 [18:30] <ogra> :)
  70 [18:31] <ogra> arm CPUs in the past were designed exactly for a low power task ... i.e. run your dishwasher or your TV settop box
  71 [18:31] <ogra> there was no focus in running a desktop or full server on them
  72 [18:32] <ogra> (though there were many embedded servers around ... your router might run an embedded arm with a webserver UI)
  73 [18:33] <ogra> over the recent years arm simply "grew up" your smartphone is as powerful as your PC was 5 years ago nowadays and you can play games you wouldnt have imagined a few years ago
  74 [18:33] <ogra> (or watch HD movies or ... or ...)
  75 [18:33] <ClassBot> bullgard asked: Is a Ubuntu image enough software or does one need additional software to run Ubuntu from an ARM board?
  76 [18:33] <ogra> depends what hardware you look at
  77 [18:34] <ogra> the omap3 and 4 images we provide also offer you the missing bits and pieces (closed source drivers etc) in an easy way so you can get up and running within minutes
  78 [18:35] <ogra> though the bare image is always good enough to start working right away
  79 [18:35] <ogra> the install isnt harder than on x86 and it doesnt behave different in userspace
  80 [18:35] <ClassBot> balau asked: Debian is working on ARM ports, too. Is Ubuntu (and Linaro) coordinated with Debian on this front?
  81 [18:35] <ogra> INDEED !!!
  82 [18:36] <ogra> i just returned from the emdebian sprint this weekend where debian, linaro, ubuntu and genesi met for working on improvements of the arm port
  83 [18:36] <ogra> and as with x86 debian is our upstream for packages, even though ubuntu is optimized more
  84 [18:37] <ogra> ubuntu builds focus only on the last two generations of arm cpus while debian tries to be backwards compatible for a lot more boards
  85 [18:37] <ogra> but that goes at the cost of performance
  86 [18:38] <ogra> the first arm port in ubuntu was a nearly unmodified rebuild of debian
  87 [18:38] <ogra> optimizations and architecture specific improvements happened since though
  88 [18:38] <ClassBot> jderose asked: what hardware do you recommend for uTouch + ARM?
  89 [18:39] <ogra> oh, thats hard to say since i dont know what HW utouch supports yet, i would recommend talking to the utouch guys for this
  90 [18:39] <ogra> theoretically all hardware that runs on x86 will also run on arm
  91 [18:40] <ogra> i.e. a usb touchscreen you attach to x86 that is supported by utouch will definitely also work on an arm device
  92 [18:40] <ClassBot> chadadavis asked: Are licenses required to distribute the necessary drivers?
  93 [18:40] <ogra> yes
  94 [18:41] <ogra> powervr (which you might know as poulsbo from the intel world) is the most sold 3D chip in the arm world
  95 [18:41] <ogra> sadly the situation isnt much better than with nvidia drivers here
  96 [18:41] <ogra> the drivers are freely usable but not distributable in images
  97 [18:42] <ogra> so we have a set of PPAs for these and a process that automatically installs them after first boot if you chose so
  98 [18:43] <ogra> in cases where you have to accept an EULA this is shown and you can approve or decline it
  99 [18:43] <ClassBot> jderose asked: speaking of drivers, embedded graphics drivers are a big concern for me... looking at ARM website, I got the impression the Mali-T604 might have fully open-source drivers... do you know if this is true?
 100 [18:43] <ogra> i know there are plans that all drivers should go opensource but i dont know if this is already the case
 101 [18:44] <ogra> in fact there is only one board that just came out that uses the mali engine, the linaro guys might know more about this board
 102 [18:44] <ClassBot> abhinav19 asked: so your work involves working at the kernel level or user space packages also need to be modified ? and also, how can new developers get started if they are interested in contributing or learning ?
 103 [18:44] <ogra> our work involves everything that makes up ubuntu
 104 [18:45] <ogra> from the kernel up to UI we make sure everything works on the platform
 105 [18:46] <ogra> while i'm not particulary a kernel guy we gave persons in the team that cover that area and we have community developers that help out as well
 106 [18:46] <ogra> if you want to get started i would suggest dropping by ion #ubuntu-arm, this is the channel where we all hang out
 107 [18:47] <ogra> and there is also the #linaro channel if you are more intrested in the hardcore lowlevel stuff ... like assembler, hacking on toolchains or any other bit thats very close to the hardware
 108 [18:48] <ogra> jederose said he was hoping i could give him a recommendation for a touchscreen regarding his question above
 109 [18:48] <ogra> i cant really, what i know is that the liliput displays work quite well
 110 [18:49] <ogra> they are mainly for car entertainment, but they are cheap and can do full HD
 111 [18:49] <ogra> (and come with a USB touchscreen by default)
 112 [18:49] <ogra> afaik there is no actual recommendation from TI for pandaboard touchscreens
 113 [18:50] <ogra> you could ask in #pandaboard though :)
 114 [18:50] <ogra> so there are 10min to go but no questions left
 115 [18:51] <ogra> i hope i could give some insight in the ubuntu world of arm, linaro and the omap images, thanks for the questions :)
 116 [18:51] <ClassBot> There are 10 minutes remaining in the current session.
 117 [18:51] <ogra> tsimpson, i think i'm done, feel free to take the stage
 118 [18:52] <tsimpson> give me a minute to get my notes :)
 119 [18:53] <ogra> oh, there is another question ...
 120 [18:53] <ogra> i can answer while tsimpson gets his notes
 121 [18:53] <ClassBot> jderose asked: have the Linaro members (TI, Freescale, IBM, Samsung, etc)... been sympathetic to the importance of fully open-source drivers?  Are you optimistic about improvements on this front?
 122 [18:53] <ogra> i think tehy see the need but after all they are all business people indeed
 123 [18:54] <ogra> in fact though, the powervr situation changed a lot during the last year
 124 [18:54] <ogra> part of that is because of TI pushing for more openess
 125 [18:55] <ClassBot> abhinav19 asked: thanks. well I dont have the capacity to buy ARM hardware right now. So if one wants to do application level development, is there some thing like a simulator or emulator to run on PC ?
 126 [18:55] <ogra> yes, as i noted above, there is the qemu-kvm-extras-static package that gives you a chroot ... and indeed you can run qemu VMs
 127 [18:56] <ClassBot> There are 5 minutes remaining in the current session.
 128 [18:57] <ogra> if there are remaining questions, feel free to come by in #ubuntu-arm at any time, the team is there and happily helps
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MeetingLogs/devweek1103/UbuntuARM (last edited 2011-03-03 13:21:26 by pendulum)