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The Future of ARM Linux by David Rusling, Linaro CTO

David Rusling, Linaro CTO, gave a presentation about the future of ARM Linux at Linaro Connect, in Hong Kong, at the end of May, where he discussed the current status of ARM Linux for mobile, consumer and enterprise markets, the future of ARM Linux and Linaro involvement.

He started by saying what he wants personally: A mobile phone that can’t be easily hacked, with 10 hours of battery life for any kind of applications and data must be synchronized in the cloud.

The second slide entitled “Future”, but it looked like more the present to me, addresses 3 markets:

  • Mobile: Android vs. iOS, although Windows 8 is coming
  • Post PC: The desktop fades and laptop/tablet merge (think Asus Transformer)
  • Enterprise: Cooling and Power is key and the enterprise is ready for innovation, meaning it will start using ARM platforms.

He then focuses on Linux explaining that Android has been the driver bringing ARM Linux into mobile. It’s not yet successful in tablets, but eventually will be. Linux is an amazing success in the enterprise, although not on the desktop, and development is mainly driven by the conservative x86 market. Linaro is currently trying to find way to influence kernel development in this segment.

Linaro will work on its original goal is that to unify development and do the following:

  • Finish consolidation mobile by:
    • generalizing Android support across many platforms.
    • merging Android and classic kernel
  • Kernel acceleration:
    • Graphics and audio buffer handling
    • Networking
    • RAID Crypto

Next, he said that Linaro should embrace standards such as UEFI or ACPI and be involved in new standards because the enterprise market relies on standards.

Linaro must also work to “avoid disaster” which in that case means avoid fragmentation for the work currently is progress (Cortex A15, ARMv8 and UEFI) and consolidate the kernel for the ARM architecture (the long term goal is to provide a unified kernel with ARM, like is the case for x86). This can be achieved by working on features such as Device Tree and Unified memory Management (UMM).

He concluded saying Linaro must help products enablers, by creating stable, reliable and test technology that can easily be integrated into platform, citing big.LITTLE processing as a good example.

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