Bloomberg reported on Monday, April 2, 2018 that Apple is said to plan to move from Intel processors to their own chips for Macintosh designs by 2020. The report led to a flurry of speculation about what future Arm-powered Macs might look like, how Apple would handle the transition to a new architecture, and the future of macOS versus iOS.
The news coverage generates more questions than answers. Apple does use an Arm-powered processor to drive the “touch bar” on MacBook Pro keyboards, and their in-house designed chips were the subject of an earlier Bloomberg story describing the evolution of Apple as a chip powerhouse.
The Ubuntu 18.04 LTS release date is set for April 26, 2018. This release uses the Linux 4.15 kernel, which includes patches for the Meltdown and Spectre security flaws.
The Beta 2 releases, dated April 6, 2018, include arm64 ISO images as well as image files preinstalled for Raspberry Pi 2 armhf systems.
Fedora 28 beta has been announced. This release will have first-class support for arm64, supporing Fedora Server initially for a variety of systems including SBSA-standard arm64 servers. Images are available for download from the main Fedora Project release site.
OpenBSD 6.3 ships with improved support for arm64 on the Pine64 and Raspberry Pi 3 systems, including SMP support on these platforms and drivers for a bunch of hardware components.
Oracle Linux 7.4 targets the Raspberry Pi 3, Cavium ThunderX, and Ampere processors. It’s based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but with Oracle’s branding replacing Red Hat, and with the “Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel” replacing the Red Hat kernel.
Oracle Linux 7 for ARM64 will be a 64-bit only distribution (aarch64), with no user or kernel dependencies on 32-bit code.
Thanks to a contribution from the Works on Arm project, Alpine Linux is building arm64 binaries on a Cavium ThunderX 96-core Packet Type 2A system. Natanael Copa posts a screen capture showing all 96 cores in use during a compile.
Bellsoft has announced Liberica 10, an OpenJDK 10 binary for the Raspberry Pi (armv7) platform. The code is TCK verified. Plans and work are underway for an arm64 distribution of the code, but it’s not available yet as of this writing.
A presentation from Linaro Connect SFO17 has been making the rounds again regarding optimizing Go for arm64 assembly. The account of how 64-bit Arm systems can have algorithms sped up considerably for Go has was prelude to the current round of performance optimizations that are scheduled to be released in Go 1.11.
OpenEBS provides a persistent storage layer for containers running on Kubernetes. Murat Karslioglu has a tutorial on setting up OpenEBS on the AML-S905X-CC “Le Potato” single-board computer, which has 2GB of memory and a processor that’s 50% faster than a Raspberry Pi Model 3.
The build uses Armbian 5.38 Ubuntu Xenial for the Le Potato. installing Docker and Kubernetes and then building OpenEBS on arm64 from source. Murat has an open issue for OpenEBS to provide binary images in the official distribution, but until then he provides images which you can test from.
The article is the first in a series from Murat and we’re looking forward to hearing more about how these builds go.
At the Linaro Connect conference in Hong Kong, a presentation on Apache Bigtop discusses some of the challenges facing this big data project that produces artifacts needed for the Hadoop ecosystem.
Ampere showed off their eMAG processor at the OCP Summit, and Serve the Home stopped by their booth to take a look and do a review. They report:
Both Ampere and Qualcomm Centriq are essentially targeting a segment of the market for high performance single socket that Intel does not have a great solution for but it looks like the first generation products are going to be mostly used as lab demos rather than for broad deployments.
The MACCHIATObin Double Shot is a quad-core 2.0 Ghz Marvell Armada 8040 based system with 16GB of memory. This mini-ITX evaluation board sells for $499 and is one of the few arm64-based single-board computers to hit the 16GB memory mark.
The “Single Shot” is another Marvell product, cost-reducing the system to $269 by reducing the RAM, networking, and processor speed, while keeping the entire system configuration essentially identical from a software point of view.
Both systems claim SBSA compatibility and are available from SolidRun.