Shuttleworth: Excited by Linux on ARM movement

By   |  June 3, 2010

Earlier today we wrote about the new ARM alliance providing backing for Linaro to boost Linux on the ARM platform. We’re not the only ones excited by the prospect of greater development on ARM/Linux.

Canonical chief Mark Shuttleworth has penned a long post on his blog in which he says that the project is exciting because it will make it “much easier for developers to target ARM generally, and build solutions that can work with the amazing diversity of ARM hardware that exists today.”

“The ARM platform has historically been superspecialized and hence fragmented – multiple different ARM-based CPUs from multiple different ARM silicon partners all behaved differently enough that one needed to develop different software for each of them. Boot loaders, toolchains, kernels, drivers and middleware are all fragmented today, and of course there’s additional fragmentation associated with Android vs mainline on ARM, but Linaro will go a long way towards cleaning this up and making it possible to deliver a consistent platform experience across all of the major ARM hardware providers.”

Time to market boost

As well as making for a consistent platform for Linux across all major ARM devices, the other major advantage of the initiative, says Shuttleworth, is that it will speed up time to market for developers. “If you can develop your software for ‘linux on ARM’, rather than a specific CPU, you can choose the right hardware for your project later in the development cycle, and reduce the time required for enablement of that hardware.”

Canonical-Linaro links

Shuttleworth praised the Linaro project for its openness. He says that the teams behind the work are committed to contributing their work back upstream for use by other developers.

He doesn’t specify the exact relationship between Linaro and Canonical but does say that “we’re [Ubuntu] working closely with the Linaro team, so the cadence of the releases will be rigorous, with a six month cycle that enables Linaro to include all work that happens in Ubuntu in each release of Linaro.”

The Linaro site adds a little more detail:

Canonical are an engineering partner working alongside Linaro software developers. Linaro software developers are made up of a mixture of developers from the key Member companies and Community Members.

In answer to the question “Is this just Ubuntu on ARM?” Linaro says:

No. We aim to work with as many Linux distributions and software stacks as possible. However, the development will leverage some of Canonical’s infrastructure such as LaunchPad, bringing a tried and tested structure to the organization.


One Response to “Shuttleworth: Excited by Linux on ARM movement”

  1. Marco
    June 3rd, 2010 @ 10:14 pm

    Great to have tectonic back and active again!

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