Linux is omnipresent in your life via gadget running Android, but in the desktop world, as many of you already know, it’s not straightforward to get a Linux distribution fully work on ARM platform, because each ARM SoC or board is different, and above all binary blobs used for GPUs, VPUs, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chips can make it extremely complex, even impossible, to have a fully working ARM Linux distribution for a given hardware.
After considering that ARM Linux required too much effort, and was not used by many people, Bodhi Linux developers decided to call it a day in October this year, and dropped official support for ARM hard-float images:
Effective immediately Bodhi is dropping official support for ARM devices. What does this mean?
We will no longer be advertising an ARMHF download link on our front page Updates to ARM images will be infrequent/not at all. The ARM repo will be slow to receive package updates
The primary reason for this change is that maintaining ARM images is a lot of work for very little return. Keeping one ARM image up to date is more work than maintaining all three of our desktop disc images. Every ARM image is used far less than any one of our desktop releases, so it just isn’t worth the investment. A secondary reason for this is the closed source nature of ARM hardware. It is near impossible to get ARM hardware fully functional under a normal Linux distribution in a reasonable amount of time. Often by the time we get all the kinks worked out the hardware is so old it isn’t truly useful any longer. We will continue to maintain an ARM discussion forum here. Users are free to ask questions about the existing images we have there (or post their own). I do hope to try and maintain ARMHF packages for E17 in our repo for Debian Wheezy moving forward still – but these updates will come slower than the desktop repos get updates.
The download links are indeed not available via Bodhi Linux website, but images for boards and devices such as the Raspberry Pi, and the Chomebook can be found in Sourceforge.net.
Some Linux distributions such as Ubuntu have decided to take a pragmatic, and at first, resource intensive, approach to the problem by decide to use Android drivers and libhybris. So Ubuntu 14.04, and later, will then receive driver updates as fast as Android devices do, which solves one of the binary blob issues, and Device Tree, UEFI and ACPI promise to eventually handle ARM fragmentation by automatically configuring hardware at boot time, just like it happens in x86 world.
Thanks to appleboor for the tip.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.
2 Replies to “Bodhi Linux Distribution Has Dropped Official ARM Support (For a While)”
Is Device Tree all it’s cracked up to be? I’ve heard some things…
I’ve also read there are issues, but hopefully it’s part of the solution.