WOA Issue 87

WOA Issue 87

In this issue

  • Arm DUC – Linaro Connect
  • SolidRun Clearfog ITX
  • Nvidia Jetson Nano
  • Linux on Qualcomm laptops – Linaro Connect
  • Broadcom Stingray SOC
  • Firefox for Windows 10 on Arm Beta
  • Chromium for Windows 10 on Arm
  • Ampere funding

Arm DUC – Linaro Connect

Carl Perry and Ed Vielmetti from Packet, Sahaj Sarup from Linaro, and David Tischler from Mininodes made a presentation at Linaro Connect in Bangkok (BKK19) on the “DUC”, the Arm “Developer Unit of Computing”. This presented a design for a mini-ITX developer system using a system on module (SOM) to provide compute resources attached to a carrier board providing interfaces.

The design points out some of the current issues in the Arm ecosystem for developers. At the moment, the typical desktop Arm-on-Arm development environment either uses a system that’s originally designed as an embedded platform and that’s relatively slow, or has the developer working in emulation mode on an x86 workstation or laptop.

SolidRun Clearfog ITX

The SolidRun Clearfog ITX is an Arm developer workstation based on the 16 core NXP LX2160A Arm Cortex A72 (2.2GHz) Com Express 7 module. Like the DUC mentioned above, this is designed to address a need in the development market by offering a mini-ITX carrier board with a sufficiently powerful Arm processor to support Arm-on-Arm development.

The module features 2 x DDR4 slots (up to 64GB), up to 100GbE, 2 x SATA (Gen III), USB 3.0, PCIe x4, and mPCIe slot. The carrier board breaks this out into an array of 4 x 10GbE SFP+ connections (2 x 2) and 1GbE RJ45 interface. Other features include 3 x USB 3.0 and 3 x USB 2.0 port, 2 x mPCIe, 4 x SATA, up to 64GB DDR4 memory, eMMC, optional M.2, microSD, and GPIO header.

This device is under development, with engineering samples expected in Q2 2019. A design goal is full SBSA compatibility.

Nvidia Jetson Nano

The $99 Nvidia Jetson Nano is now available for purchase. This 4-core A57 based device has 4 GB of memory and a 128-core Nvidia Maxwell GPU.

Initial reaction has been favorable, with inevitable comparisons with the Raspberry Pi 3 prominent in discussions. For the higher price the Nano has more memory, a beefier CPU, and a much more capable GPU for AI inference or just video graphics. Time will tell whether the rich ecosystem of Pi hardware support effectively translates into the Nano world.

Dieter Reuter from the Hypriot project reports that the version of Linux (L4T) that ships with the Nano supports a current version of Docker right out of the box – a development which should be good for containerized efforts on this platform, though there is still more work to do.

Linux on Qualcomm laptops – Linaro Connect

At Linaro Connect Bangkok’s “demo day”, Riku Voipio from Linaro showed off Linux running on Qualcomm Snapdragon based laptops from Lenovo and HP. This effort seeks to build software and driver support for a developer laptop. Peter Robinson from the Fedora project subsequently signaled their support for this effort.

In solidarity, your editor has a Lenovo Yoga C630 on order, with a specific goal to edit and produce an upcoming issue of the Works on Arm newsletter completely on Arm-based hardware.

Broadcom Stingray SOC

Broadcom’s “Stingray” system on chip is a core component of their smart NIC strategy. This technology embeds an 8-core A72 processor complex into a high performance network fabric, with a goal of providing services like network offload on board.

The PS225 SmartNIC features the BCM58802 high-performance data center SoC, which incorporates a NetXtreme E-Series advanced network controller, a high-performance ARM CPU block, PCI Express (PCIe) Gen3 x8 interface, key accelerators for compute offload and a high-speed memory subsystem including L3 cache and DDR4 interfaces, all interconnected by a coherent Network-on-chip (NOC) fabric.

Firefox for Windows 10 on Arm Beta

A build of the Firefox browser for Windows 10 on Arm is now available in their beta developer channel. Windows United (in German) reports:

Ich schreibe diese Zeilen von meinem Asus NovaGo Windows 10 ARM-Laptop, auf dem gerade die brandneue Mozilla Firefox Beta läuft, die nativ für die Plattform kompiliert worden ist.

I’m writing this on my Asus NovaGo Windows 10 Arm laptop, on which the brand new Mozilla Firefox Beta is running that’s natively compiled for this platform.

Chromium for Windows 10 on Arm

Jeremy Sinclair reports a successful build of Chromium for Windows 10 on Arm as well, signaling that a release of support for this platform should be coming soon.

Ampere funding

Santa Clara, CA. (April 11, 2019) –Today, Ampere announced a new round of funding including participation from new investor Arm, a subsidiary of SoftBank Group. Current investor The Carlyle Group led the round with participation from other existing investors. This marks the second major investment round for Ampere, which was launched in 2017. The companies did not disclose the amount of new capital or valuation.

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