Novell may have no intention of offering SLED or whatever on ARM
openSUSE will be available on ARM if openSUSE choose to do it, openSUSE != Novell
Commercial Linux distributor Novell today announced that the openSUSE Project, which drives the development variant of its Linux, will support the creation and packaging of various Linuxes for ARM processors using the openSUSE Build Service version 1.6. According to Novell, the support for building application stacks and Linux …
Every open source OS and their dog can support ARM as a bulid target, and have done for many years. The fact that a specific distro has broadened its horizons away from x86 doesn't really say much.
What are the actual *platforms* this build can run on?
It's all very well saying 'ooh, it runs on ARM! That's used for everything smaller than a laptop!' but I guarantee you that you won't be running this on your PDA or your smartphone or your washing machine out of the box.
But will it do "first-generation" ARM targets?
This architecture is no longer encumbered by patents, nor is it particularly encumbered today by the price of memory (32 bits for a register-to-register MOV was always seen as a bit on the wasteful side, but it's nothing compared to the code bloat in Windows). So it's a prime candidate to be cloned by a far-East manufacturer, as long as a suitable software stack can be put together.
RISC OS, the operating system of the original Arm computer, the Acorn Archimedes, is still very much alive – and doing relatively well for its age.
In June 1987, Acorn launched the Archimedes A305 and A310, starting at £800 ($982) and running a new operating system called Arthur. At the time, it was a radical and very fast computer. In his review [PDF] for Personal Computer World, Dick Pountain memorably said: "It loads huge programs with a faint burping noise, in the time it takes to blink an eye."
Arthur was loosely related to Acorn's earlier MOS, the BBC Micro operating system but looked very different thanks to a prototype graphical desktop, implemented in BBC BASIC, that could charitably be called "technicolor."
One of the longest-lived GUI operating systems in the world has its origins as an emergency project – specifically the means by which Acorn planned to rescue the original Archimedes operating system.
This is according to the original Acorn Arthur project lead, Paul Fellows, who spoke about the creation of RISC OS at the RISC OS User Group Of London, ROUGOL [after some helpful arrangements made by Liam Proven – Ed].
On Monday, your correspondent hosted and moderated a reunion of four of the original developers of Acorn's RISC OS.
Analysis Supermicro launched a wave of edge appliances using Intel's newly refreshed Xeon-D processors last week. The launch itself was nothing to write home about, but a thought occurred: with all the hype surrounding the outer reaches of computing that we call the edge, you'd think there would be more competition from chipmakers in this arena.
So where are all the AMD and Arm-based edge appliances?
A glance through the catalogs of the major OEMs – Dell, HPE, Lenovo, Inspur, Supermicro – returned plenty of results for AMD servers, but few, if any, validated for edge deployments. In fact, Supermicro was the only one of the five vendors that even offered an AMD-based edge appliance – which used an ageing Epyc processor. Hardly a great showing from AMD. Meanwhile, just one appliance from Inspur used an Arm-based chip from Nvidia.
The UK government is continuing efforts to have chip designer and licensor Arm listed on the London Stock Exchange after its public offering rather than New York, as is the current plan.
At stake is whether Arm moves its headquarters to the US, potentially leading to the further loss of UK jobs.
Speaking to the Financial Times, UK minister for Technology and the Digital Economy Chris Philp said the government was still "working closely with" Arm management on the IPO process, despite its parent SoftBank having previously indicated that it was planning to list Arm on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York.
Arm is most likely to list on the US stock exchange Nasdaq, according to Masayoshi Son, chief executive of SoftBank Group, which bought the chip designer in 2016 for $32 billion.
Although he stressed no final decision had been made, Son told investors that the British chip designer was better suited to a US listing. "Most of Arm's clients are based in Silicon Valley and... stock markets in the US would love to have Arm," Son told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting.
He said there were also requests to list Arm in London without elaborating on where they came from. The entrepreneur did not say whether the conglomerate is considering a secondary listing for Arm there.
The UK government is upping the ante in attempts to have Arm listed on the London stock exchange, with reports suggesting it is considering the threat of national security laws to force the issue with owner SoftBank.
According to the Financial Times, the British administration is considering whether to apply the National Security and Investment Act (NSIA), which came into force at the start of the year, in a bid to have SoftBank change its mind over listing Arm exclusively on the Nasdaq in New York, as it has previously indicated.
The FT cites the usual "people familiar with the matter", who indicated there had not yet been a formal debate over using national security legislation, and the idea was opposed by some government officials.
Interview 2023 is shaping up to become a big year for Arm-based server chips, and a significant part of this drive will come from Nvidia, which appears steadfast in its belief in the future of Arm, even if it can't own the company.
Several system vendors are expected to push out servers next year that will use Nvidia's new Arm-based chips. These consist of the Grace Superchip, which combines two of Nvidia's Grace CPUs, and the Grace-Hopper Superchip, which brings together one Grace CPU with one Hopper GPU.
The vendors lining up servers include American companies like Dell Technologies, HPE and Supermicro, as well Lenovo in Hong Kong, Inspur in China, plus ASUS, Foxconn, Gigabyte, and Wiwynn in Taiwan are also on board. The servers will target application areas where high performance is key: AI training and inference, high-performance computing, digital twins, and cloud gaming and graphics.
Amid the renewed interest in Arm-based servers, it is easy to forget that one company with experience in building server platforms actually brought to market its own Arm-based processor before apparently losing interest: AMD.
Now it has emerged that Jim Keller, a key architect who worked on Arm development at AMD, reckons the chipmaker was wrong to halt the project after he left the company in 2016.
Keller was speaking at an event in April, and gave a talk on the "Future of Compute", but the remarks were unreported until picked up by WCCF TECH.
There was good news overnight for the niche of Windows on Arm users as Microsoft released a native Arm64 version of PowerToys.
PowerToys is an increasingly essential component for Windows users, with features ranging from assistance for keyboard shortcuts, though a nifty window manager to the very handy PowerToys Run function.
The first pre-release arrived on GitHub in 2019 and the PowerToys team has added functionality to the suite ever since (although, thankfully, not the TweakUI that blighted many a Windows system more than 20 years ago.)
Qualcomm has reiterated it would like a stake in Arm and help create a consortium that would keep the Brit chip designer neutral, or out of the hands of any single chip company at least.
The latest development in the Arm IPO saga comes from Qualcomm's chief executive, Cristiano Amon, who told the Financial Times that his company was interested in investing in Arm, and that Qualcomm could join forces with other chipmakers to buy Arm outright from owner SoftBank.
"It's a very important asset and it's an asset which is going to be essential to the development of our industry," Amon said.
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