Dev Week -- Something about ARM -- ogra -- Tue, Aug 28th, 2012

   1 [17:01] <ogra_> yay
   2 [17:01]  * ogra_ waves
   3 [17:01] <ogra_> hello everybody
   4 [17:02] <ogra_> soo, i'm here to tell something about arm :)
   5 [17:02] <ogra_> arm is the most recent addition to the supported arhitectures in ubuntu
   6 [17:02] <ogra_> (sorry for my typos i just got a new kbd and am not 100% used to it yet, feel free to laugh about them as you like ;) )
   7 === someone is now known as Guest98978
   8 [17:03] <ogra_> so about 4 years ago there was the ubuntu-mobile team ... originally founded for building ubuntu on MID devices
   9 [17:03] <ogra_> (MID means mobile internet devices, i.e. tablet)
  10 [17:04] <ogra_> but somehow these devices didnt take off on the market ... (until the ipad came)
  11 [17:04] <ogra_> so the focus of this group moved forward to support ARM
  12 [17:05] <ogra_> with jaunty we actually had our first arm release ... back then for the freescale babbage board, a poorly powered 700MHz single core machine with 512M ram
  13 [17:06] <ogra_> back then the fcus was still on just getting it to work, we didnt invest much but pulled the debian arm port into ubuntu and made sure everything builds
  14 [17:07] <ogra_> with the more powerful devices showing up (specifically the pandaboard from TI) and ARM getting intrested in ubuntu and joining a partnership with canonical, the focus shifted towards optimizing for the new CPU architectures
  15 [17:07] <ogra_> so we can get the most out of the HW
  16 [17:07] <ogra_> originally the debian port is buiolt for the ARMv5 architecture, which in the intel world would probably comparable to 486
  17 [17:08] <ogra_> we now wanted to have all the bells and whitles and after some work with the people from ARM we decided to switch to the ARMv7 architecture ... which in the intel world you would see as 686
  18 [17:09] <ogra_> so from lucid on you could opnly isntall on armv7 HW ...
  19 [17:09] <ogra_> with the lucid cycle we also joined a deep partnershipü with TI to develop on the pandaboard
  20 [17:10] <ogra_> even though the contract ran out today, we still work closely together
  21 [17:10] <ogra_> around the same time linaro was founded by canonical and arm ... to actually solve the huge fragmentation in the arm market
  22 [17:11] <ogra_> most pf the low level work (kernel, toolchain, drivers etc) moved over to linaro and the ubuntu team could concentrate on making ubuntu doesktop rock on the architecture
  23 [17:11] <ogra_> this we did until precisee ...
  24 [17:12] <ogra_> during this time the canonical management saw how well arm worked and wanted to try to get arm out of its second class citizen status
  25 [17:13] <ogra_> i.e. until then there was always this arm team you coudl dump your bugs on as a member of another ubuntu team ;)
  26 [17:13] <ogra_> so the arm team was split up and spread across the different other teams, more hardware was bought and now every team should have pandaboards for developemtn and testing
  27 [17:14] <ogra_> with this split and nobody actively focusing on arm the developemtn side already works pretty well...
  28 [17:14] <ogra_> but we are still lacking QA from the community ... so if you have a panda, feel free to help out ;)
  29 [17:14] <ogra_> .... so much about the past ...
  30 [17:15] <ogra_> btw, if you have any questions, feel free to just ask ...
  31 [17:15] <ogra_> oh, i just learned that i have to driver the classbot myself :)
  32 [17:15] <ogra_> !q
  33 [17:16] <ogra_> !y
  34 [17:17] <ogra_> whoops, seems tehere are issues with Classbot
  35 === ogra_ is now known as ogra
  36 [17:18] <ClassBot> prashanth asked: heard that if you get the source code using "apt-get source <package>" is old compared to ones posted in git is it true?
  37 [17:18] <ogra> yay
  38 [17:18] <ogra> sorry :)
  39 [17:18] <ogra> that looks like a leftover from dholbach :)
  40 [17:19] <ClassBot> netzvieh asked: So there won't be any ARMv6-Supoort?
  41 [17:19] <ogra> well
  42 [17:20] <ogra> we currently build armhf and armel architectures, while the former is still there it isnt actually actively cared for or actively supported
  43 [17:20] <ogra> but with the begin of the quantal cycle armel was switched to build for ARMv5
  44 [17:20] <ogra> sadly it isnt clear yet if the armel port will stay around at all
  45 [17:21] <ogra> so for now onl yarmhf and the ARMv7 build is supported
  46 [17:21] <ClassBot> FlowRiser asked: What does the "intel world" reference thingy mean ?
  47 [17:21] <ogra> well, i try to make people that never got in touch with arm understand the differences
  48 [17:22] <ogra> you surely dont want to run ubuntu on a 486 machine nowadays :)
  49 [17:22] <ogra> and this is similar to running ubuntu on an ARMv5 system
  50 [17:23] <ClassBot> FlowRiser asked: Does Ubuntu support ARMv8 ?
  51 [17:23] <ogra> linaro works on the v8 port and their achievements will immediately land in ubuntu once they are done
  52 [17:23] <ClassBot> Letozaf__ asked: I do not understand the difference between armhf and armel a part that one goes on ARMv5 and the other ARMv7. What is the diffrence?
  53 [17:24] <ogra> CPUs have floating point units (thats what the f in armhf stands for) ...
  54 [17:25] <ogra> older ARM ports used a software emulated floating point unitt (softfp)
  55 [17:25] <ogra> so does for example ARMv5
  56 [17:26] <ogra> with newer hardware actual floating point unity in hardware shoed up
  57 [17:26] <ogra> *showed
  58 [17:26] <ogra> thats usually the case for ARMv6 and newer
  59 [17:27] <ogra> with the decision to make use of this floating point unit the whole archive has to be recompiled for this, hardfloat binaries can not run under a softfloat userspace (binary incompatible), so a new architecture was introduced in debian for this ... called armhf
  60 [17:28] <ogra> thats why we currently have two arm ports (but only one supported one of which we build actual distro images)
  61 [17:28] <ClassBot> ajitesh asked: As android kernel code has been merged with linux, will ubuntu desktops will be able to run .apk files without an emulator?
  62 [17:29] <ogra> i dont think that enough code has been merged upstream yet to do this, once the mainline kernel fully supports this out of the box we will likely see such support in ubuntu arm
  63 [17:29] <ogra> on the distro side nobody is actively working on it to my knowledge though (patches accepted indeed :) )
  64 [17:30] <ClassBot> ajitesh asked: Wat about android application support in ubuntu for mobiles?
  65 [17:30] <ogra> well, the same applies i think :)
  66 [17:30] <ogra> i know there are community projects for this but i doubt anyone ever worked on ubuntu integration for it
  67 [17:31] <ogra> the probelm i think is that you still need to (from a linux distro perspective) rip open a few security holes in your kernel to make it work properly
  68 [17:31] <ClassBot> marcosb asked: ubuntu mobile isn't a environment to use ubuntu as desktop with a dock?
  69 [17:32] <ogra> no, ubuntu-mobile is long dead ... even predates the android hype :)
  70 [17:32] <ogra> ubuntu-mobile was actually focusing on creating a desktop for touch on MID devices
  71 [17:33] <ogra> i think what you are talking about is ubuntu-on-android
  72 [17:33] <ogra> about which i sadly dont have any infos, it is developed by a different team i dont work much with
  73 [17:33] <ClassBot> marcosb asked: s/'ubuntu mobile'/'ubuntu for smartphones'/g
  74 [17:34] <ogra> right, thats ubuntu-for-android then
  75 [17:34] <ogra> to my knowledge this is a full yubuntu desktop you run once you dock your phone to a tablet of laptop dock ... but there isnt much more i can tell you abut
  76 [17:35] <ogra> i dont belive you will see it in the mainline ubuntu distro, it is rather something that (by design) has to be built together with a HW vendor
  77 [17:35] <ogra> so we had the past of arm and a bunch of questions ... lets take a look at the precence :)
  78 [17:36] <ogra> up to quantal ubuntu arm was proivided on images that were actually speficially focusing on the target hardware with their installation ...
  79 [17:37] <ogra> they were so special that they always needed handholding if minor HW aspewcts of an arm board changed ... not so great as you can imagine
  80 [17:38] <ogra> so with quantal we dropped all these specialized images, if you install  on a panda today tah install is 100% identical to an install on an x86 machine ... you wont see a difference ...
  81 [17:38] <ogra> (and in fact there isnt any beyond a different kernel and bootloader setup)
  82 [17:39] <ogra> we also dropped a lot of the heavyweight images and only kept desktop for panda (i'll explain later why), a bunch of server images (ubuntu server was introdusced in precise for various target arches) and the netinstall images
  83 [17:40] <ogra> the graphics driver situation on arm is way worse than i.e. nvidia or fglrx on x86
  84 [17:40] <ogra> luckily TI managed to get us a distributable version of the driver for the pandaboard
  85 [17:41] <ogra> with the drop of unity-2d and the full switch to needing GL capable HW on the target devices, we cant really build images for arm without having a GL capable driver installed
  86 [17:43] <ogra> so we moved all non panda images to other desktops (i.e. for teh ac100 netbook which is widely used in the ubuntu community we switched to lubuntu-desktop) or left them as netinst images (whcih mens more complex install but also more flexibility)
  87 [17:43] <ogra> the different sources for info about the different images are on the ubuntu wiki
  88 [17:44] <ogra> namely: for the panda and beagleboard ... for ac100 netbooks and for all the netboot images
  89 [17:45] <ogra> even though there is no dedicated arm team anymore, all people with interest in ubuntu-arm usually hang around in #ubuntu-arm on freenode
  90 [17:45] <ogra> so inb case you have any questions, want to help out with install tests, have an arm device you want to port ubuntu to (if its not the raspberry :)) or are just curious, feel free to drop by there
  91 [17:46] <ogra> it doesnt look like there are many more questions
  92 [17:46] <ogra> and i dont really have much more to say :)
  93 === itnet7_ is now known as itnet7
  94 [17:48] <ogra> ♩  ♪ ♬ ♫
  95 [17:48] <ogra> (TheLordOfTime suggested i shoudl sing )
  96 [17:49] <ClassBot> FlowRiser asked: ARM vs x86;
  97 [17:49] <ogra> easy answer:
  98 [17:50] <ClassBot> TheLordOfTime asked: What's the advantages/disadvantages between ARM and x86? (FlowRiser)
  99 [17:50] <ogra> ARM draws abouth a thenth of the power of an x86 machine
 100 [17:50] <ogra> (even the lowest end atom draws lots and lots more still)
 101 [17:50] <ClassBot> There are 10 minutes remaining in the current session.
 102 [17:51] <ogra> that also the reason why datacentres are massively intrested in arm, you can run a big datacenter without any air conditioning if you run it on arm machines
 103 [17:52] <ogra> the ac100 netbook i mentioned above currently runs >8h with a 3 cell battery under ubuntu (note normal intel laptops usually have 6-9 cell ones)
 104 [17:52] <ClassBot> goddard asked: what sorts of stuff do you do with ARM?
 105 [17:53] <ogra> for ubuntu i just care that the images work :)
 106 [17:53] <ogra> privately my heatinf and solar system of my house completely run under ubuntu arm driver beagleboards :)
 107 [17:53] <ogra>
 108 [17:53] <ogra> and
 109 [17:54] <ClassBot> paulo_gomes asked: i dont understand, so there's no arm team, who takes care of development and integration?
 110 [17:54] <ogra> everybody !
 111 [17:54] <ogra> the desktop team takes care for all desktop issues on x86, amd64 and arm ... server for all server issues, foundations for the plumbing etc etc
 112 [17:55] <ogra> the work and responsibility is actually on all teams, not on a single arm team anymore
 113 [17:55] <ClassBot> There are 5 minutes remaining in the current session.
 114 [17:55] <ClassBot> goddard asked: What sorts of work does orgra personally do ?
 115 [17:56] <ogra> well, taking care for the arm images, helping colleagues to get their arm systems set up, so they can fix unizty bugs etc ;)
 116 [17:56] <ClassBot> FlowRiser asked: How can we find arm compatible hw, what do we look for ?
 117 [17:56] <ogra> if you want the best ubuntu support, go to
 118 [17:56] <ClassBot> paulo_gomes asked: any links of use of ARM in home automation?
 119 [17:57] <ogra> i think i linked the stuff i used from the pages above (on grawert,net)
 120 [17:57] <ogra> there are also some infos on, i usually blog about changes to my home automation thingies :)
 121 [17:58] <ogra> (and usually also link to the SW i use)
 122 [17:58] <ogra> k, seems the time is up, thanks for participating everyone !
 123 [17:58] <bilal> Thanks to you too, ogra, that was an informative session
 124 [17:59] <ogra> if you have any more questions etc, i'm available in #ubuntu-arm around european business hours usually
 125 [17:59] <ogra> and many thanks to the organizers of this event, you guys do an awesome job !

MeetingLogs/devweek1208/SomethingAboutARM (last edited 2012-08-29 10:33:51 by dholbach)