WOA Issue 90

WOA Issue 90

In the news

  • Docker buildx for cross-platform builds
  • Huawei TaiShan Arm server with Kunpeng 920 (Hi1620) CPU
  • Apache Drill on ARM64
  • BIND name server updates
  • Parallelism and Jetson Nano (Ray Hightower)
  • DIY Network Video Recorder w/Jetson Nano (Extremetech)
  • HackerBoards database of single-board computers
  • Jetson Nano available in UK from Pimoroni
  • Devops’ish newsletter – Chris Short interview
  • Docker Hub unauthorized use
  • AIX 5.1 on a sub-$100 Pinebook
  • OpenRC, a dependency based init system
  • Conda on Arm
  • qrencode
  • gr-kiwisdr
  • Apache Software Foundation move to Github for source code
  • Jetson Nano serial console cable
  • Arm added to CNCF CI dashboard
  • Fedora 30
  • Building Chromium on Windows from source
  • Locking under contention
  • Rockchip roadmap
  • How fast are old Arm computers
  • Red Hat Quay 3 container registry with multi-architecture support
  • Softiron Ceph storage with AMD Opteron
  • VS Code for Linux arm64
  • Clearfog ITX first prototype
  • Olimex EdgePacer
  • SIMD speedups for Volk kernel component of GNU Radio

Docker buildx for cross-platform builds

At DockerCon 19 in San Francisco this week, Docker announced a number of enhancements and new features that target the Arm platform. Among these are a new buildx command that makes it straightforward to cross-build containers for multiple architectures and to create and push multi-architecture manifests to registries.

Carlos Eduardo has produced an excellent tutorial on cross-building arm64 images on your Docker Desktop, and Ric Harvey has a good writeup on using these images on Amazon’s a1 image types.

Huawei TaiShan Arm server with Kunpeng 920 (Hi1620) CPU

Huawei announced a TaiShan branded Arm server with a new Kunpeng 920 CPU. The Kunpeng 920 is the chip formerly referred to as the HiSilicon Hi1620, and it features up to 64 ARMv8.2 based cores on a 7nm process. The chip design includes a CCIX interconnect and PCIe 4.0 interfaces.

Apache Drill on ARM64

Apache Drill is an open source version of Google’s Dremel project. It supports a variety of NoSQL file systems and databases and provides a high performance big data query language and environment. Because Drill is schema free, you can query complex data types without transforming the data prior to query execution.

Linaro’s BigData team has put together a good introduction to Apache Drill complete with the instructions necessary to set up your own three node cluster on a set of arm64 systems, as demoed at Linaro Connect BKK19 in Bangkok.

BIND name server updates

Graham Christensen of the NixOS project reports that recent security patches to the BIND name server use atomic instructions not supported across all of the architectures that BIND supports, including arm64. A workaround is available as referenced below, which is being incorporated back into upstream.

NixOS has a very active porting process which always seeks to bring in the latest versions of code into their nixpkgsdistribution system. As such we often see NixOS as a confirmation and validation step to ensure that as broad a base of software as possible runs on arm64 systems.

Parallelism and Jetson Nano (Ray Hightower)

Ray Hightower’s presentation at the IndyCode conference looks at parallel computing on single-board computers including the Raspberry Pi and the Jetson Nano. It’s an interesting overview that brings forward the applications of algorithms and computing styles often associated with high performance computing down to the sub-$100 single-board computer market.

DIY Network Video Recorder w/Jetson Nano (Extremetech)

David Cardinal writes for Extremetech about his build of a do-it-yourself network video recorder based on a Jetson Nano, the ZoneMinder network video software, and a Honic 4K network camera. The build discusses the market for network video and the suitability of various standards to support this kind of application – apparently not all network cameras are alike!

HackerBoards database of single-board computers

HackerBoards has a regularly updated database of single-board computers from a wide variety of manufacturers. If you are considering an embedded Linux build and wish to explore a wide range of options, it’s a good resource.

Jetson Nano available in UK from Pimoroni

Pimoroni, a UK distributor of single-board computers and peripherals, has announced their intent to stock the Jetson Nano for the UK market. Pre-orders will ship on May 8.

Devops’ish newsletter – Chris Short interview

Tim Hildred interviews Chris Short, the editor of the DevOps’ish newsletter, on his series of podcasts about tech newsletters.

Docker Hub unauthorized use

The Docker Hub database exposed the sensitive data of over 190,000 users, including authentication keys. Docker Hub users are advised to rotate their passwords and keys and to check also the status of the automated systems they have interconnected with such as Github to ensure that all is in order.

AIX 5.1 on a sub-$100 Pinebook

AIX 5.1 is a 2001-era release of IBM’s Unix-based operating system, which debuted on the IBM RT in 1986. Thanks to the magic of the QEMU emulator, it is possible to quite successfully boot and run AIX on a sub-$100 Pinebook laptop. The emulation runs PowerPC instructions and full hardware support on the arm64 cores in the Pinebook, and performance is quite acceptable as seen by running Doom on this setup.

OpenRC, a dependency based init system

OpenRC is a dependency based init system used in a few Linux distributions including Gentoo and Alpine Linux. It is much, much less complex and all-encompassing than the systemd init that is in common use, and as such it may be a good alternative to consider for your resource constrained or intentionally simplified Linux run-time environment.

Conda on Arm

Conda is a thoroughly tested software distribution focusing on languages for scientific computing needs, including a very fine release of Python with a complete set of scientific libraries like numpy and scipy.

Work is underway to make a port of conda to arm64, with discussion actively happening in the conda-forgerepository on Github. Among the considerations are the appropriate setup and configuration of CI/CD infrastructure to make sure that everything is tested carefully before release. Jonathan Helmus has led quite a bit of this work.


qrencode is a library for generating QR codes, those blocky square codes often useful to convey small bits of information from your computer screen directly to your cell phone without retyping. qrencode can generate a wide range of image types, and of particular interest it is capable of using a Unicode character set to made QR codes in a terminal window.


gr-kiwisdr is a module for the GNU Radio software that provides an interface to the various KiwiSDR software-defined radio receivers located around the world. With this module you can use GNU Radio for signal analysis without the additional necessity of connecting a receiver up to your system.

Apache Software Foundation move to Github for source code

The Apache Software Foundation has announced its intention to migrate its git-based software repositories away from its self-hosted infrastructure to Github.

Jetson Nano serial console cable

The very useful Jetson Hacks weblog has a short note and some photographs supporting the use of a serial console cable for the Jetson Nano. Adafruit sells a handy $10 USB to TTL cable with plugs broken out on separate wires, giving maximum flexibility for your Layer 0 experimentations.

Arm added to CNCF CI dashboard

The CNCF CI project has added arm64 continuous integration testing to the v2.3.0 of its Kubernetes validation and verification dashboard. At the moment only Kubernetes is being tested on arm64, but there are plans to add additional CNCF projects including CoreDNS in the works.

Fedora 30

Fedora 30 has been announced, just in time for next week’s Red Hat Summit in Boston on May 7-9, 2019. Among the many enhancements in Fedora 30 include updates to the latest versions of a number of programming languages and additional support for more arm64 single-board computing hardware.

Building Chromium on Windows from source

Jeremy Sinclair has a set of notes on building Chromium on Windows 10 for Arm from sources. Chromium is one of the most demanding build environments out there, but Jeremy has successfully navigated it and shares his wisdom.

Locking under contention

On the Linux kernel mailing list, Linus Torvalds looks in detail at patches aimed at resolving an issue with locking under contention that affects the Marvell ThunderX2 chip. Linus is characteristically brusque in his assessment of the issue, noting the architectural issues that face a challenge for the Linux kernel when you have a very high number of cores.

Rockchip roadmap

Rockchip has reveals its roadmap for 2019-2020, including a new flagship 8-core RK3588 designed on an 8nm process.

How fast are old Arm computers

Marcin Juszkiewicz has been doing Arm development for quite some time and has in the course of that work assembled access to menagerie of Arm server systems. The working benchmark of his day is “check out and build a new kernel from sources”, and for this task there has been steady improvement from old systems to new ones.

Red Hat Quay 3 container registry with multi-architecture support

Red Hat has announced the Quay 3 version of its container registry. New in this version is support for multi-architecture containers, which will newly allow Quay-based projects to properly support multi-arch builds that include arm64 binaries.

Softiron Ceph storage with AMD Opteron

Softiron’s Ceph based storage arrays are powered by AMD Opteron Arm chips, per a story in The Register. The design allows for very low power, efficient operation using these CPUs.

VS Code for Linux arm64

Visual Studio Code, Microsoft’s open source code editor, runs now on Linux with an arm64 port provided by Jay (headmelted). I was able to verify correct operations on a Jetson Nano for the arm64 version, though for some reason on that platform the automated install instructions did not work. (Download the .deb files and install with dpkg.)

Clearfog ITX first prototype

Jon Nettleton from SolidRun shows off the first set of prototype boards for the Clearfog ITX, a desktop-class system being build with SBSA compatibility as a primary goal.

Olimex EdgePacer

Olimex has announced the EdgePacer, an Arm based single-board computer running SlapOS designed to provide a set of edge services.

SIMD speedups for Volk kernel component of GNU Radio

Work is underway to speed up GNU Radio by providing NEON SIMD support to a variety of kernels used in signal processing. Initial results show anywhere from a 10% speedup to a 14x speedup, with 3x-5x improvements being typical. Work is being done by Albin Stigo SM6WJM.

You can unsubscribe at any time.

Explore Topics