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Linux 4.12 Release – Main Changes, ARM & MIPS Architectures

July 3rd, 2017 6 comments

Linus Torvalds has just released Linux 4.12:

Things were quite calm this week, so I really didn’t have any real reason to delay the 4.12 release.

As mentioned over the various rc announcements, 4.12 is one of the bigger releases historically, and I think only 4.9 ends up having had more commits. And 4.9 was big at least partly because Greg announced it was an LTS kernel. But 4.12 is just plain big.

There’s also nothing particularly odd going on in the tree – it’s all just normal development, just more of it that usual. The shortlog below is obviously just the minor changes since rc7 – the whole 4.12 shortlog is much too large to post.

In the diff department, 4.12 is also very big, although the reason there isn’t just that there’s a lot of development, we have the added bulk of a lot of new  header files for the AMD Vega support. That’s almost exactly half the bulk of the patch, in fact, and partly as a result of that the driver side dominates  everything else at 85+% of the release patch (it’s not all the AMD Vega headers – the Intel IPU driver in staging is big too, for example).

But aside from just being large, and a blip in size around rc5, the rc’s stabilized pretty nicely, so I think we’re all good to go.

Go out and use it.

Oh, and obviously this means that the merge window for 4.13 is thus open. You know the drill.

Linus

Linux 4.11 provided various improvements for Intel Bay Trail and Cherry Trail targets, OPAL drive support, pluggable IO schedulers framework, and plenty of ARM and MIPS changes.

Some of the most notable changes in Linux 4.12 include:

  • Initial AMD Radeon RX Vega GPU support
  • BFQ (Budget Fair Queuing) and Kyber block I/O schedulers have been merged, meaning the kernel now has two multiqueue I/O schedulers suitable for various use cases that should improve the responsiveness of systems.
  • Added AnalyzeBoot tool to create a timeline of the kernel’s bootstrap process in HTML format.
  • Implemented “hybrid consistency model” for live kernel patching in order to enable the applications patchsets that change function or data semantics. See here for details.
  • Build of Open Sound System (OSS) audio drivers has been disabled, and will likely be removed in future Linux releases
  • AVR32 support has been removed

Some of the bug fixes and improvements for the ARM architecture include:

  • Allwinner:
    • Allwinner H3 –  USB OTG support
    • Allwinner H5 – pinctrl driver, CCU (sunxi-ng) driver, USB OTG support
    • Allwinner A31/H3 SPI driver – Support transfers larger than 64 bytes
    • AXP PMICs – AXP803 basic support, ACIN Power Supply driver, ADC IIO driver, Battery Power Supply driver
    • Added support for: FriendlyARM NanoPi NEO Air, Xunlong Orange Pi PC 2
  • Rockchip:
    • Updates to Rockchip clock drivers
    • Modification for Rockchip PCI driver
    • RK3328 pinctrl driver
    • Sound support for Radxa Rock2
    • USB 3.0 controllers for RK3399
    • Various changes for RK3368 (dma, i2s, disable mailbox per default, mmc-resets)
    • Added Samsung Chromebook Plus (Kevin) and the other RK3399 “Gru family” of ChromeOS devices.
    • Added Rockchip RK3288 support for ASUS Tinker board, Phytec phyCORE-RK3288 SoM and RDK; added Rockchip RK3328 evaluation board
  • Amlogic
    • New clock drivers for I2S and SPDIF audio, and Mali GPU
    • DRM/HDMI support for Amlogic GX SoC
    • Add GPIO reset to Ethernet driver
    • Enable PWM LEDs and LEDs default-on trigger
    • New boards: Khadas VIM, HwaCom AmazeTV
  • Samsung
    • Split building of the PMU driver between ARMv7 and ARMv8
    • Various Samsung pincrl drivers updates
    • ARM DT updates:
      • Enhancements to PCIe nodes on Exynos5440.
      • Fix thermal values on some of Exynos5420 boards like Odroid XU3.
      • Add proper clock frequency properties to DSI nodes.
      • Fix watchdog reset on Exynos4412.
      • Fix watchdog infinite interrupt in soft mode on Exynos4210, Exynos5440, S3C64xx and S5Pv210.
      • Enable watchdog on Exynos4 and S3C SoCs.
      • Enable DYNAMIC_DEBUG because it is useful for debugging
      • Increase CMA memory region to allow handling H.264 1080p videos.
    • ARM64 DT updates:
      • Exynos power management drivers support now ARMv8 SoC – Exynos5433 – so select them in ARCH_EXYNOS
      • Enable few Exynos drivers (video, DRM and LPASS drivers) for supported ARMv8 SoCs (Exynos5433 and Exynos7)
      • Add IR, touchscreen and panel to TM2/TM2E boards
      • Add proper clock frequency properties to DSI nodes
  • Qualcomm
    • Enable options needed for QCom DB410c board in defconfig
    • Added new PHY driver for Qualcomm’s QMP PHY (used by PCIe, UFS and USB), and Qualcomm’s QUSB2 PHY
    • Qualcomm Device Tree Changes
      • Add Coresight components for MSM8974
      • Fixup MSM8974 ADSP XO clk and add RPMCC node
      • Fix typo in APQ8060
      • Add SDCs on MSM8660
      • Revert MSM8974 USB gadget change due to issues
      • Add SCM APIs for restore_sec_cfg and iommu secure page table
      • Enable QCOM remoteproc and related drivers
    • Qualcomm ARM64 Updates for v4.12
      • Fixup MSM8996 SMP2P and add ADSP PIL / SLPI SMP2P node
      • Replace PMU compatible w/ A53 specific one
      • Add APQ8016 ramoops
      • Update MSM8916 hexagon node
      • Add PM8994 RTC
  • Mediatek
    • New clock drivers for MT6797, and hi655x PMIC
    • Fix Mediatek SPI (flash) controller driver
    • Add DRM driver and thermal driver for Mediatek MT2701 SoC
    • Add support for MT8176 and MT817x to the Mediatek cpufreq driver
    • Add driver for hardware random generator on MT7623 SoC
    • Add DSA support to Mediatek MT7530 7-port GbE switch
    • Add v4l2 driver for Mediatek JPEG Decoder
  • Misc
    • Added ARM TEE framework to support trusted execution environments on processors with that capability (e.g. ARM CPUs with TrustZone)
    • ARM64 architecture now has kernel crash-dump functionality.
  • Other new ARM hardware platforms and SoCs:
    • NXP – NXP/Freescale LS2088A and LKS1088A SoC, I2SE’s i.MX28 Duckbill-2 boards, Gateworks Ventana i.MX6 GW5903/GW5904, Zodiac Inflight Innovations RDU2 board, Engicam i.CoreM6 Quad/Dual OpenFrame modules, Boundary Device i.MX6 Quad Plus SoM.
    • Nvidia – Expanded support for Tegra186 and Jetson TX2
    • Spreadtrum – Device tree for SP9860G
    • Marvell – Crypto engine for Armada 8040/7040
    • Hisilicon – Device tree bindings for Hi3798CV200 and Poplar board
    • Texas Instruments – Motorola Droid4 (OMAP processor)
    • ST Micro – STM32H743 Cortex-M7 MCU support
    • Various Linksys platforms,  Synology DS116

The MIPS architecture also had its share of changes:

  • Fix misordered instructions in assembly code making kenel startup via UHB unreliable.
  • Fix special case of MADDF and MADDF emulation.
  • Fix alignment issue in address calculation in pm-cps on 64 bit.
  • Fix IRQ tracing & lockdep when rescheduling
  • Systems with MAARs require post-DMA cache flushes.
  • Fix build with KVM, DYNAMIC_DEBUG and JUMP_LABEL
  • Three highmem fixes:
    • Fixed mapping initialization
    • Adjust the pkmap location
    • Ensure we use at most one page for PTEs
  • Fix makefile dependencies for .its targets to depend on vmlinux
  • Fix reversed condition in BNEZC and JIALC software branch emulation
  • Only flush initialized flush_insn_slot to avoid NULL pointer dereference
  • perf: Remove incorrect odd/even counter handling for I6400
  • ftrace: Fix init functions tracing
  • math-emu – Add missing clearing of BLTZALL and BGEZALL emulation counters; Fix BC1EQZ and BC1NEZ condition handling; Fix BLEZL and BGTZL identification
  • BPF – Add JIT support for SKF_AD_HATYPE;  use unsigned access for unsigned SKB fields; quit clobbering callee saved registers in JIT code; fix multiple problems in JIT skb access helpers
  • Loongson 3 – Select MIPS_L1_CACHE_SHIFT_6
  • Octeon – Remove vestiges of CONFIG_CAVIUM_OCTEON_2ND_KERNEL, as well as PCIERCX, L2C  & SLI types and macros;  Fix compile error when USB is not enabled; Clean up platform code.
  • SNI – Remove recursive include of cpu-feature-overrides.h
  • Sibyte – Export symbol periph_rev to sb1250-mac network driver; fix Kconfig warning.
  • Generic platform – Enable Root FS on NFS in generic_defconfig
  • SMP-MT – Use CPU interrupt controller IPI IRQ domain support
  • UASM – Add support for LHU for uasm; remove needless ISA abstraction
  • mm – Add 48-bit VA space and 4-level page tables for 4K pages.
  • PCI – Add controllers before the specified head
  • irqchip driver for MIPS CPU – Replace magic 0x100 with IE_SW0; prepare for non-legacy IRQ domains;  introduce IPI IRQ domain support
  • NET – sb1250-mac: Add missing MODULE_LICENSE()
  • CPUFREQ – Loongson2: drop set_cpus_allowed_ptr()
  • Other misc changes, and code cleanups…

For further details, you could read the full Linux 4.12 changelog – with comments only – generated using git log v4.11..v4.12 --stat. You may also want to ead kernelnewsbies’s Linux 4.12 changelog once it is up.

ARM Chromebooks Run Android Apps Better, Exhibit Longer Battery Life than Intel Chromebooks (Study)

May 24th, 2017 5 comments

Google has been working on supporting Android apps and the Play Store on Chromebooks, which are normally sold with either ARM or Intel processors. So the ability to run Android apps well is one of the things to consider before purchasing a Chromebook. Shrout Research has published a paper entitled “Chromebook Platform Choice Important for Android App Performance” comparing an Acer Chromebook R13 with a Mediatek MT8173C ARM Cortex A72/A53 processor to Acer Chromebook R11 with an Intel Celeron N3060.

Click to Enlarge

The Intel Chromebook has a smaller resolution so this could be an advantage, so less resources are needed to update the display. However, the ARM processor is significantly more powerful than the Intel one according to GeekBench results, and Chromebook R13 is sold for $399 on Amazon US, while Chromebook R11 goes for $299 (and lower during promotions). So it’s not a perfect comparison, but it should give an idea especially when it comes to app stability.

Click to Enlarge

The ARM Chromebook can run Android apps “well” (only minor issues) and “very well”, while the Intel Chromebook also did a good job for entertainment and productivity apps, but performed unreliably, and in some cases very poorly with some social media apps, and games. Since most mobile phones are based on ARM, developers spent more time optimization code for the platform. Some performance issues may also be partially due to different CPU and GPU performance, but the study did not address this at all, except when saying R11 screen resolution was lower.

Click to Enlarge

The research company also ran “education simulation” in both Chromebooks, not using Android apps, but instead various website and apps in the web browser such as Edmodo, Google Docs, Solar Explorer, etc… and found out the Intel chromebooks was depleting the battery faster with the ARM Chromebook uses 11.5% less power.

One last point shown in the disclaimer at the end of the paper:

This paper was commissioned by ARM Holdings. All testing, evaluation and analysis was performed in-house by Shrout Research and its contractors. Shrout Research provides consulting and research services for many companies in the technology field, other of which are mentioned in this work

Via Brent Sullivan on G+

Samsung Chromebook Plus / Pro with ARM Based OP1 / Intel Core m3-6Y30 Processor to Sell for $449 and Up

January 9th, 2017 14 comments

Samsung Chromebook Pro was first discovered last October on some reseller’s website with a Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core processor, 4GB RAM, and a $499 price tag. The company has finally announced two new Chromebooks at CES 2016 with Chromebook Pro actually based on an Intel Core m3-6Y30 “Skylake” processor, and Chromebook Plus powered by “OP1” hexa-core ARM Cortex-A72/A53 processor.

samsung-chromebook-pro-plusWe’ll that apart from the different processor, both new Chromebook have exactly the same specifications

Model Code XE513C24-K01US XE510C24-K01US
Chromebook Plus Chromebook Pro
Operating System Google Chrome
Processor / Chipset OP1, Made for Chromebooks.
Hexa-core (Dual A72, Quad A53)
Intel Core M3 Processor 6Y30
(0.90 GHz up to 2.20 GHz, 4 MB L3 Cache)
Graphic Internal Graphics Intel® HD Graphics 515
Display 12.3″ 2400×1600 LED Display (3:2 aspect ratio) with Touch Screen Panel
Memory 4GB LPDDR3 Memory (on BD 4GB)
Hard Drive 32GB e.MMC
Color Platinum Silver
Multimedia Internal Dual Array Digital Mic
Stereo Speakers ( 1.5 W x 2 )
720p HD Camera
Network 802.11 ac (2×2)
Bluetooth v4.0
Ports 1 Headphone out/Mic-in Combo
2 USB-C [up to 5Gbps*, 4K display out with optional adapter, Charging]
MicroSD Multi-media Card Reader
Input Clickpad
Touch screen
Island-type keyboard
Pen
Power 30 W USB-C™ Adapter
39Wh battery
Dimension 280.8 x 221.6 x 12.9 ~ 13.9mm (11.06″ x 8.72″ x 0.51″ ~ 0.55″)
Weight 1.08Kg (2.38lbs)
Software ※ Software can be changed without notice.
Google Play Store (Beta)
AirDroid Premium (free one-year subscription, full version)
ArtCanvas
Etc Accelerometer Sensor
Gyro Sensor

It’s very likely that OP1 processor is Rockchip RK3399, also using a 2xA72 + 4xA53 configuration, or a modified version, as Rockchip processor with Chromebooks used to have the “C” suffix, e.g. RK3288C. Charbax has a video of Chromebook Plus model showing the screen with an impressive viewing angle.

Chromebook Plus (ARM) is available now for $449 on Amazon US, while Chromebook Pro (Intel) will be released this spring at a yet-to-be-disclosed price.

ARM based Acer Chromebook R13 is Now up for Sale for $349 and up with Chrome OS or Windows 10

December 29th, 2016 25 comments

Acer Chromebook R13 was unveiled in September as one of the first 64-bit ARM Chromebook. Based on Mediatek MT8173C quad core Cortex A72/A53 processor with 4GB RAM, the “Chromebook” now ships in three variants running either Chrome OS as expected, but also Windows 10 Home.

acer-chromebook-r13All three models share the same specifications, except for storage and operating system options:

  • SoC – Mediatek M8173C quad core processor with 2x ARM Cortex A72 cores @ up to 2.1 GHz, 2x ARM Cortex A53 cores, and a PowerVR GX6250 GPU
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • Storage
    • CB5-312T-K8Z9 / K6TF – 32 GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot
    • CB5-312T-K0YQ- 64GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot
  • Display – 13.3″ touchscreen IPS LED display; 1920×1080 resolution; 10-point touch; 360-degree hinge design
  • Audio – Integrated microphone, dual built-in speakers, microphone and headphone jacks
  • Video Output – HDMI
  • Camera – HD webcam (1280×720 resolution) with HDR and 720p HD audio/video recording
  • Wireless Connectivity – 2×2 MIMO 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 3.1 type C port for data, video, and power
  • User Input – Touchpad and keyboard
  • Battery – 4670 mAh LiPo battery good for up to 12 hours
  • Power Supply – 45W max
  • Dimensions – 326 x 228 x 15.5 mm
  • Weight – 1.49kg

Acer_Chromebook_R13The official prices listed on Acer website for the three models above are respectively $399.99, $429.99 (64GB storage), and $399.99 (Windows 10 Home), but CB5-312T-K8Z9 (32GB + Chrome OS) model is now on sale on BestBuy for $349, while the 64GB model is sold for $439.99 on TigerDirect, and CB5-312T-K6TF Windows 10 “ChromeBook” goes for $407.99 on TigerDirect.

Thanks to Martin for the tip.

Samsung Chromebook Pro Powered by Rockchip RK3399 SoC to Sell for $499

October 15th, 2016 19 comments

Considering Linux kernel commits related to RK3399 processor almost always involves developers with a chromium.org email address, beside rock-chip.com ones, we had to expect a Rockchip RK3399 based Chromebook sooner or later, and based on various leaks, Samsung Chromebook Pro appears to be one the RK3399 Chromebooks to come to market very soon.

samsung-chromebook-proWe’ll see some of the key features and pictures, and technical details on websites such as Adorama, so we can have a pretty good idea of Chromebook Pro OP1 / 513C24I specifications, even though Samsung and Google have yet to officially launch the device:

  • SoC – Hexa core processor with 2x ARM Cortex A72 cores @ up to 2.0 GHz, 4x ARM Cortex A53 cores (Which has to be Rockchip RK3399 SoC, or a special RK3399-C specific to Chromebooks)
  • System Memory – 4 GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • Storage – 32 GB eMMC Flash Storage
  • Display – 360°-rotatable 12.3” LED touchscreen display;  2,400 x 1,600 resolution; 400 nits brightness
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Camera – 1x front-facing webcam
  • USB – 2x USB type C ports
  • Misc – Power and volume buttons, digital pen
  • Battery – Up to 10 hours of battery usage; 70% battery capacity retention expected after 3 years
  • Dimensions – 280 x 221 x 12.9 to 13.9 thickness (All metal body)
  • Weight – 1.08 kg

Chromebook Pro will run the latest version of Chrome OS, include Google Play Store to let you use Android apps, as well as “value added software”, such as a one-year subscription to AirDroid browser-based web app service to easily access files from any of your devices.

samsung-chromebook-pro-pen

It’s also the first Chromebook that I’m aware of coming with digital pen input to interact with the touchscreen. Samsung Chromebook Pro won’t be the first ARM Cortex A72 Chromebook to be launched, as Acer Chromebook R13 was already launched with a Mediatek processor for $399 and up. Adorama list Chromebook Pro OP1 for $499, and Chrome Unboxed also noticed a now-deleted B&H listing for Chromebook Pro (referred to Kevin to the codebase) going for the same price, and allegedly starting to ship on October 24th.

Via Liliputing

Acer Chromebook R13 is Powered by Mediatek MT8173 64-bit ARM Processor

September 1st, 2016 8 comments

The just announced Acer Chromebook R13 is both the first Mediatek Chromebook and the first 64-bit ARM Chromebook thanks to its Mediatek MT8173(c) quad core processor with two ARM Cortex-A72 cores, and two ARM Cortex-A53 cores. The Chromebook is also fitted with a 13.3″ touchscreen display, 4 GB RAM, and up to 64GB internal storage.

Acer_Chromebook_R13
Acer Chromebook R13 specifications:

  • SoC – Mediatek M8173C quad core processor with 2x ARM Cortex A72 cores, 2x ARM Cortex A53 cores, and a PowerVR GX6250 GPU
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • Storage – 16, 32 or 64 GB eMMC flash
  • Display – 13.3″ touchscreen IPS display; 1920×1080 resolution; 10-point touch; 360-degree hinge design
  • Audio – Integrated microphone, dual built-in speakers, microphone and headphone jacks
  • Video Output – HDMI
  • Camera – HD webcam (1280×720 resolution) with HDR and 720p HD audio/video recording
  • Wireless Connectivity – 2×2 MIMO 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – USB 3.0 port, USB type C port for data, video, and power
  • Battery – Up to 12 hours of battery life
  • Dimensions – 326 x 228 x 15.5 mm
  • Weight – 1.49kg

The Chromebook will also support Android Apps via Google Play Store (WIP). The 360-degree hing will allow you to use your Chromebook as a “ChromePad”/”ChromeBlet”, or “ChromeTent” as show in the picture below.

 

Mediatek_ChromebookJust like Rockchip made a specific RK3288C processor for Chromebooks out of its RK3288 processor, Mediatek provided MT8173C specifically for Chromebook, but it’s unclear what the differences are with the original MT8173 processor. You can find part of the source code, including the device tree file on Chromium OS public repositories.

Acer Chromebook R13 will sell for $399 and up in North America, and in Europe, Middle East and Africa zone for 399 Euros and up starting in October.

Via 9to5Google

Google Play and Android Apps Are Coming to (Recent) Chromebooks, Chromeboxes, and Chromebases

May 20th, 2016 1 comment

There’s been talks about Android and Chrome OS merging for many years, and while it’s unclear whether it will ever happen, both operating systems’ features are converging, with the latest development officially bringing Android apps and the Google Play store to Chromebooks.

Chrome_OS_Android_AppsDevelopers will have very little to modified on their Android apps, except possibly setting touchscreen support, and a few other options in the manifest file. Google listed a few benefits of Android apps on Chromebooks:

  • Android Apps can be shown in 3 different window sizes
  • Users can multi-task with multiple Android apps in moveable windows along with a full desktop browser within Chrome OS interface.
  • Keyboard, mouse, and touch input will seamlessly work together
  • Users will get Android notifications on their Chromebooks
  • Android apps benefit from the Wifi or Bluetooth connectivity setup by the user or the administrator
  • File sharing is seamless between Chrome and Android apps through the Files app
  • Performance of demanding apps such as games or design apps is excellent

The company will launch the features in stages, starting with Asus Chromebook Flip, Chromebook Pixel (2015) and Acer Chromebook R11 in early June, mostly to let developer time to test their apps, before being enabled on other recent Chromebooks, Chromebases and Chromeboxes later this year.

HP Chromebook 13 G1 Features Skylake Pentium or Core M Processor, 4 to 16GB RAM, and a 3200×1800 Display for $499 and Up

April 29th, 2016 No comments

HP Chromebook 13 G1 is the middle ground between Google’s $1000 Chromebook Pixel and the cheap Rockchip RK3288 chromebooks, thanks to a choice of low power Skylake Core M processor,  plenty of memory, and for people who loathe 1366×768, or even 1920×1080 displays, a 13.3″ display with 3200×1800 resolution.

HP_Chromebook_13_G1HP Chromebook 13 G1 specifications:

  • SoC (four options)
    • Intel Pentium 4405Y dual core / quad thread processor @ 1.5 GHz with Intel HD Graphics 515 GPU @ 300/800 MHz (TDP: 6W)
    • Intel Core m3-6Y30 dual core / quad thread processor @ 900 / 2.2 GHz with Intel HD Graphics 515 GPU @ 300/850 MHz (TDP: 4.5W)
    • Intel Core m5-6Y57  dual core / quad thread processor @ 1.1 / 2.8 GHz with Intel HD Graphics 515 GPU @ 300/900 MHz (TDP: 4.5W)
    • Intel Core m7-6Y75 dual core / quad thread processor @ 1.2 / 3.1 GHz with Intel HD Graphics 515 GPU @ 300MHz/ 1 GHz (TDP: 4.5W)
  • System Memory – 4 GB (Pentium and Core m3), 8GB (Core m5), or 16GB (Core m7) LPDDR3
  • Storage – 32 GB internal storage + micro SD slot
  • Display – 13.3″ IPS screen with 3200×1800 resolution (non-touch)
  • Connectivity –
  • Camera – Front camera
  • Audio – Line out, speakers, and microphone
  • USB – 2x USB type-C ports for power, data, and display, 1x USB 2.0 port
  • Integrated keyboard
  • Battery –  45 or 67 Whr Li-ion Polymer battery good for 11.5 hours based on power LoadTest
  • Dimensions – Approx. 32 x 23 x 1.3 cm (aluminum lid and palmrest)
  • Weight – 1.22 kg

A few Chromebook 13 G1 has been sent to popular US blogs such as Arstechnica, who quickly checked out the Core m3 versions, and were rather positive about the device, although noting it’s targeting business and enterprise users.

Chromebook_13_G1_USB-C_Audio

All four models can be ordered on Promevo, with the Pentium, Core m3, Core m5, and Core m7 selling respectively for $499, $599, $819, and $1029. HP Chromebook 13 G1 is also listed on Google.com, where they mention a $50 management fee for the first year.