This week heralded the announcement of Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server for ARM Development Preview 7.1, the next milestone in Red Hat’s exploring the potential for ARM servers. There is a lot in a name, and this one is a mouthful.
The Linux kernel is famous – it is the namesake of the complete operating system, but it does not exist on its own. A complete OS runs on hardware, starts out in firmware, loads the kernel, which in turn loads a software and service initialization system, all of which require function libraries, all of which were built with compiler tools that do the magic conversion from human readable source code to machine readable binaries. When ARM designed the AArch64 architecture, they also had to provide ports and specifications for the firmware, the kernel, the libraries, the compiler, and so on. Hundreds of packages were affected. Not only did they need to provide ports, those ports needed to be designed, written correctly, in a style acceptable to each of the communities whose coding standards are frequently rigorous, distinct, and strictly enforced. To top it all off, this work needed to be done before the actual hardware existed, necessitating writing software simulators to check all the work and extensive documentation to empower community collaboration.
Continue reading “The ARM Arc Part 3”