In this issue

  • Cadence support on ThunderX2
  • UEFI on Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, 835, and 845
  • Kubernetes on arm64 from Ubuntu
  • Fedora 29 released, virtualization the Rockchip RK3399
  • Github downtime due to “split brain”
  • Embedded Linux Conf and KVM forum talks
  • iPhones allergic to helium?
  • Packet at IFX

Cadence support on ThunderX2

At Arm TechCon, Cadence announced support for its Cadence Verification Suite running on arm64-based ThunderX2 processors. This system is used to simulate and verify microprocessor system designs.

From the news release:

SAN JOSE, Calif., 16 Oct 2018: Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CDNS) today announced that the Cadence® Verification Suite is now enabled for Arm®-based high-performance computing (HPC) server environments. Through an industry ecosystem collaboration, software tools in the Cadence Verification Suite, including Xcelium™ Parallel Logic Simulation, run on the Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Apollo 70 System, which is built using the Marvell® ThunderX2® processor based on the Armv8-A architecture.

UEFI on Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, 835, and 845

Zhuowei Zhang has a blog post (first in a two part series) comparing Qualcomm Snapdragon’s XBL UEFI bootloaders on the 3 generations of Google Pixel phones and a Windows 10 ARM64 tablet. He looks at how UEFI is implemented in these chips.

I compared UEFI bootloaders from Google Pixel XL, 2XL, 3XL, and Lenovo Miix 630 to show how Qualcomm used the flexibility of UEFI to support Android and Windows.

The teardown is quite complete and describes in detail how Qualcomm manages to have a single boot loader that boots Android or Windows. The analysis is not yet sufficiently complete to allow further modification to boot other operating systems (such as Linux) on these chips.

Kubernetes on arm64 from Ubuntu

Canonical has announced support of Kubernetes on arm64 on Ubuntu. The distribution is known as CDK (“Canonical’s Distribution of Kubernetes”). This is offered as well as a fully-managed service.

Fedora 29 released; running under Armbian in RK3399 VM

As promised, Fedora 29 has been released. Early reports of F29 on arm64 are all positive. David Tischler from MiniNodes has Fedora 29 running as a guest on an arm64 virtual machine on a Rockchip RK3399 in an arm-on-arm configuration running under Armbian.

Github downtime due to “split brain”

Github experienced down time on October 21. Their engineering team has published a post-mortem describing the outage, what caused it, and how it was mitigated. A temporary (43 second) network outage led to a circumstance where two halves of a distributed database were out of sync. This “split brain” condition was carefully remedied, without loss of data. The incident writeup is excellent reading (recommended) for anyone contemplating management of distributed systems.

Embedded Linux Conf and KVM forum talks

Slides from talks at the recent Embedded Linux Conference and KVM Forum at now available. These conferences have a number of presentations of interest to anyone doing kernel virtualization work or wanting to understand systems design choices at the chip and kernel level.

iPhones are allergic to helium

A hospital reported that iPhones were failing after they were exposed to high concentrations of helium. The fault was traced to a MEMS oscillator in the phones which behaved incorrectly in helium-rich atmospheres.

Packet at IFX

On November 28th and 29th Packet is hosting “IFX 2018” in Las Vegas. Just a block off the strip, and in the shadow of AWS re:Invent, IFX is an infrastructure-focused “oasis in the desert” that will bring together leaders from the overlapping worlds of hardware, software, and connectivity. The event is free to attend, but please do register in advance. There will be private meeting spaces, a beer garden, great Wi-FI as well as programming in the areas of 5G, edge computing, speciality silicon and open source software.