WOA Issue 80

WOA Issue 80

In the news

  • Pinebook Pro laptop
  • Arm NUC
  • ESXi on Arm
  • Fedora IoT: interview with Peter Robinson on 96Boards open hours
  • Memory Walls
  • Swift 5 development snapshots
  • Julia Language prize award
  • Panfrost
  • PiPDP-8, emulator
  • Apple II video card with arm64 SoC
  • Jobs: Ampere Computing
  • Jobs: Arm is hiring compiler engineers


Pinebook Pro laptop

Pine64 has announced a Pinebook Pro laptop with a target price of $199, to be demoed at FOSDEM and available for order later this year. The laptop will have a Rockchip RK3399 with 2x A72 + 4x A53 cores in a big.LITTLE design, and will feature 4 GB of memory and up to 128 GB of eMMC storage.


Jon Masters from Red Hat discusses the requirements for an “Arm NUC” to be a developer-ready desktop platform for arm64 in this Twitter exchange.

Operating Systems

ESXi on Arm

The Virtually Speaking Podcast episode 102 talks to VMware ARM Tech Lead Andrei Warkentin and William Lam, discussing the details of ESXi on ARM and describing use cases in edge, embedded and IoT. VMware showed ESXi running on a Raspberry Pi in November 2018.

Fedora IoT: interview with Peter Robinson on 96Boards open hours

Peter Robinson of the Fedora Project was the featured speaker on the January 31, 2019 edition of the 96Boards “Open Hours” podcast. Fedora IoT is a variant of Fedora focused on IoT ecosystems for applications like home assistants, industrial gateways, or data storage and analytics. Peter describes the project in this call and takes questions about single-board computer design and software support.


Memory Walls

Memory performance is limited by hardware architecture, and the Memory Walls project looks to improve memory performance by trading off some CPU utilization for better effective memory bandwidth. Francesc Alted takes on benchmarking several Arm systems including the Marvell ThunderX2 and the Huawei Kirin 980.


Swift 5 development snapshots

The Swift language is evolving, and the Swift on Arm project has development snapshots of Swift 5. The new code includes support for using Tensorflow from Swift.

Julia Language prize award

The co-inventors of the Julia Language have won the James Wilkinson Prize for numerical software. The award will be presented at the 2019 Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Computational Science and Engineering conference (CSE19) in Spokane, Washington. Feb. 25-Mar 1, 2019.



Panfrost is a set of free and open source drivers for Mali Txxxx and Gxxx GPUs (Midgard and Bifrost). These drivers are reverse engineered from tracing Arm’s user space 3D drivers and the open source kernel driver from Arm. Install instructions require compiling out-of-tree kernel code.


PiPDP-8, emulator

The PiDP-8/I is a modern replica of the 1968 PDP-8/I computer, complete with a front panel with blinking lights. A Raspberry Pi drives the system, and if you have a quad-core Pi 3B you can set a few of the cores to work an incandescent light simulator so that the blinking lights appear to glow faithfully.

Apple II video card with arm64 SoC

John Brooks from Blue Shift Incorporated has designed a high-performance video card for the Apple II family. The HDMI output of the VidHD is driven by a quad-core arm64 processor, which is slaved to the Apple II bus. A full set of manuals and specifications is available from Call-A.P.P.L.E, the web site of the Apple Pugetsound Program Library Exchange.

Jobs and opportunities

Jobs: Ampere Computing

Ampere Computing is hiring. Positions include CPU, hardware, software, and administrative postings, and are located in Portland, Santa Clara, Bangalore, Ho Chi Minh City, and Taipei. “Ampere is designing the future of hyperscale cloud and edge computing with its 64-bit Arm server processor architecture.”

Jobs: Arm is hiring compiler engineers

Will Lovett from Arm says: “The Arm HPC compiler team are hiring. If any of you know of any #LLVM engineers – or very good general C/C++ engineers – looking for a new challenge, please put them in touch.”

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