WOA Issue 8

WOA Issue 8

In this issue:

Go 1.9 Beta 1 with ARM64 binaries; iPad Pro “fastest yet”; Intel, Qualcomm patents; MACCHIATObin development board and cluster; Snapdragon 835 development board; ARM at the UEFI Forum.

Go 1.9 Beta 1 with ARM64 binaries

Go Gopher

Go 1.9 Beta 1 is the latest test release of the Go systems programming language. It’s an early unstable release for Go 1.9, which is scheduled to emerge from beta at the end of July 2017. Consider this release if you are doing software development and want to test compatibility and performance of Go 1.9 on code that you currently have working on an earlier release.

This release is the first from Go to have an ARM64 binary distribution. Go maintainer Brad Fitzpatrick writes: “If we don’t hear happy reports, we won’t ship it for the final release.”

A final list of new features for Go 1.9 has not emerged yet, pending resolution of 153 open issues on the project milestone. If previous beta releases are any guide, you’ll want to get your comments in on this beta over the course of the next week or two before the next beta comes out.

Go is an important language because of its extensive use at Google and in cloud-native applications. Docker, Kubernetes, Minio, CockroachDB, and Prometheus are only a few of the packages that depend on Go. It is to be hoped that with Go 1.9 support for ARM64 that each of these systems gets that much easier in turn to build and maintain on ARM.

Alex Ellis has a short tutorial on running Go 1.9 beta binaries on a variety of hardware and on hosting providers including Packet and Scaleway.

iPad Pro “fastest yet”

Apple announced a new ARM-powered iPad Pro at the WWDC. The device, a 10.5″ or 12.9″ tablet, is powered by Apple’s own A10X chip. 9to5Mac and the BareFeats weblog ran benchmarks on graphics and CPU with the claim that and claimed that the new machine compares very favorably to the 13″ Macbook Pro.

From BareFeats, which is written by Rob Art Morgan:

I am not implying that the iPad Pro can replace the MacBook Pro. They are two different animals, though there is clearly some overlap in capability. It’s just encouraging to know that the iPad Pro development has brought it up to laptop level performance.

Intel, Qualcomm patents

Intel used the 40th anniversary of its x86 design to reaffirm its intention to protect its patent rights to the ISA instruction set used in its computer chips. This was widely interpreted by the tech press as a challenge to Qualcomm, whose parternship with Microsoft includes a just-in-time compiler for x86 capable of running Intel-based Microsoft Windows user code at full speed. The roundup at Techmeme is a good reference.

Neither Intel nor Qualcomm are strangers to the patent system, with both of them measuring out year after year in the top 10 of patents issued. Intel’s patents in computing server technology are every bit as deep as Qualcomm’s patents in mobile technology.

MACCHIATObin dev board

MACCHIATObin photo

Marvell has announced its MACCHIATObin community development board. This device, in a convenient mini-ITX form factor, features a Marvell ARMADA 8040 SoC with four Cortex-A72 Armv8 processors. It sports an impressive array of I/O channels including two 10G Ethernet interfaces, three SATA 3.0 interfaces, and up to 16G of memory. This ships at prices starting at $349. Solid Run is the manufacturer.

CNXSoft has an active discussion about this board, including reports from someone who had their device shipped in May 2017.

Maen Suleiman from Marvell provided the above photo and wrote that software support for this device includes a 4.4 based kernel and out-of-the-box support for CentOS 7. The device can boot from PXE and uses UEFI.

MACCHIATObin cluster


A case and network fabric suitable for building a computing cluster out of these MACCHIATObin boards was announced at launch time by PicoCluster, which also makes cluster cases for Raspberry Pi. The enclosure, which features space for six of these compute boards, is sold in a variety of configurations depending if you need just the case or if you are also buying the compute boards and network gear.

“Shipping is expected to occur by the end of September 2017 subject to board and switch availability.”

ARM, ENEA, Marvell and PicoCluster all cooperated to produce a the NFV Picopod version of this cluster, complete with a full software stack that runs the OPNFV Danube software release for ARM. This software and architecture is designed to be a lab-in-a-box for developers of network functions virtualization (NFV) code.

Snapdragon 835 development board from Intrinsyc

LinuxGizmos.com reports on a development board from Intrinsyc, the Open-Q 835, which features Qualcomm’s 8-core Snapdragon 835 SoC. The dev board is in a Mini-ITX form factor and it provides access to the 835’s many functions including 4K HDMI video, dual cameras, GPS, Bluetooth and BLE, and more.

The device runs Android 7 “Nougat” with a reference to “contact sales for Windows 10” support. At a pricetag of $1,149 for the early adopter version, it is perhaps most suited to go into the hands of mobile phone engineers who are looking to incorporate the Snapdragon 835 into their designs.

ARM at the UEFI Forum

UEFI logo

The UEFI Forum board appointed Dong Wei, senior director of lead architect platforms at ARM, as vice president of this industry group which promotes firmware innovation and standardization.

UEFI – What is it? is a presentation given by Dong Wei at the spring 2017 UEFI Plugfest. It provides a good overview of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) and the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) that are used to standardize the boot process across ARM and x86 platforms.


Written with vim on a MacBook Air, on a cool quiet night at Workantile coworking in Ann Arbor.

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