Expanding architectural choices to better arm Red Hat Enterprise Linux developers

Red Hat Enterprise Linux continues to deliver the best possible experience for enterprise system administrators and developers, as well as provide a solid foundation for moving workloads into both public and private clouds. One of the ways to enable such ubiquity is Red Hat’s multi-architecture initiative, which focuses on bringing Red Hat’s software portfolio to different hardware architectures.

Last week, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5 went live. It brought forward several improvements relevant to developers and system administrators such as advanced GUI system management via the Cockpit console, which should help new Linux administrators, developers, and Windows users to perform expert tasks without having to get into the command line.

This release also marks a new milestone for Red Hat Enterprise Linux: all supported architectures are now simultaneously enabled. The list of supported architectures includes x86_64, PowerPC Big Endian and Little Endian, s390x, and the more recently introduced 64-bit Arm and IBM POWER9 architectures.

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ARM TechCon 2017 – Embedded, IoT, Networking, and more…

Arm TechCon 2017 – Embedded, IoT, Networking and no Server focus

Last month was Arm TechCon, the annual developer conference showcasing offerings from Arm and its partners. Arm laid out its vision and strategy to achieving even greater integration in its processors and circumventing the slowing Moore’s law. As always, there was a bevy of new product announcements but overall, the show seemed to lack the energy of the last few years and especially the excitement of last year after Arm was acquired by Softbank. For example, there was no big vision keynote like the one last year from Masayoshi Son (Chairman & CEO of Softbank) who had talked of IoT enabling a Cambrian Explosion (which enabled thousands of new species on Earth), leading to 1 trillion IoT devices in 20 years.

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After Years of Linux on ARM, when is the Year of Red Hat on ARM servers?

From hobbyist SoC devices such as the ubiquitous Raspberry Pi to a complete domination of the mobile device market, ARM processors have proven the value of the architecture. It is easy to see why ARM processors were able to explode in this market, given that they are able to pack quite a bit of performance into a rather small physical space. Take for instance Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400 processor, which is used in many products including the Huawei Watch This processor provides a dual core, fast, performance using 14-nanometer design. This makes it small enough to fit on your wrist, and it is efficient enough to limit power consumption enough to run on a battery, which can also fit on your wrist. The usefulness in these spheres of ARM processors is well known, and the fact that RHEL seems to have little interest in the mobile, embedded device, or hobbyist market is also fairly well known. What should be of interest to Red Hat developers, though, is the potential for the Enterprise Server market that ARM processors seem to be displaying. While x86 devices likely are to remain in place for workstations and laptops, the low power usage and small physical design of ARM processors make it interesting to the server market, where power consumption and space are also limitations.

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New Red Hat Developer Toolset 6 now in beta

Today, Red Hat announced the beta availability of Red Hat Developer Toolset 6.0 Beta. Accessible through the Red Hat Developer Program and related Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions, including the no-cost Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer subscription, Red Hat Developer Toolset enables developers to compile applications once and deploy across multiple versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Updated components within Red Hat Developer Toolset 6.0 Beta include versions of:

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December ’15/January ’16 GNU Toolchain Update

First of all I have an apology to make. I managed to reformat my hard drive over the holidays, wiping away all of my notes for this blog. In particular I was contacted by a reader about an enhancement to gcc’s inline assembler support which I have now totally lost. 🙁 So, dear reader, wherever you are, I apologise, and if you contact me again I will make sure that the extended asm enhancement gets mentioned in the next blog post.

The big news, for me at least, is that binutils 2.26 is now out.  This release contains lots of bug fixes of course, plus a few new features:

  • A new configure option:  –enable-compressed-debug-sections=[all,gas,gold,ld,none]
    This decides whether DWARF debug sections should be compressed by default. For now this option is off for all of the tools, although of course it can be enabled via a command line option.  In future releases of binutils however, the option will be enabled by default.
  • Support for the ARC EM/HS and ARC600/700 architectures.
  • Support for the LLVM plugin.
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The ARM Arc Part 3


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.

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Red Hat ARM Partner Early Access Program enables 64-bit ARM platforms

If you are paying close attention to the growing 64-bit ARM ecosystem you may have already seen yesterday’s press release announcing several milestones for the Red Hat ARM Partner Early Access Program, that was announced in July of last year. While the release talks about the program at a high level, there are several takeaways that may affect the developer community in the near future.

Fundamentally, the ARM Partner Early Access Program was launched to benefit hardware and software vendors that are exploring the 64-bit ARM ecosystem. For hardware vendors, the benefit stems from the development of an open standards-based operating system that is easily consumable by the enterprise end user, driving faster adoption of their technologies. Independent software vendors (ISVs), given sufficient demand, would like to offer software to their customers, regardless of the underlying hardware architecture in their datacenters. Through the ARM Partner Early Access Program, ISVs gain, as the name states, early access to stable and verified hardware and operating system combinations thus creating a potential porting platform for evaluation in response to customer requests to port applications to 64-bit ARM architecture.

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The ARM Arc Part 2

This is a continuation to The ARM Arc Part 1 published in July.

ARM_LogoIt all started in 2012 when the Fedora ARM community decided to move from the legacy ARMv5 software floating point ABI to the new ARMv7 hard float ABI.  The move meant better performing code, native atomic operations, threading support, and other modern OS features becoming available to ARM software developers on a general purpose OS.  Doing the work required a way to bootstrap a new architecture, which is notoriously difficult due to Fedora’s inter-dependent package structure.  When building package A depends on having package B, and building package B depends on having package A, and you have 15000 such packages, it poses an epic challenge.

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Red Hat Developer Newsletter – August 2014

Welcome to the Red Hat® Developer Newsletter.

As we’re in the season for covering our arms and faces with sunscreen, here’s another ARM for your attention.

Last month, Red Hat announced the launch of the Red Hat ARM Partner Early Access Program to enhance partner collaboration and facilitate partner-initiated system designsbased on the 64-bit capable ARMv8-A architecturethat include Red Hat software.

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Red Hat Announces ARM Partner Early Access Program

Today Red Hat announced the launch of the Red Hat ARM Partner Early Access Program (PEAP) to enable partner designs built upon the evolving 64-bit ARM architecture. The program is aimed at silicon vendors, independent hardware vendors (IHVs), original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and original design manufacturers (ODMs), and launches with participation and support from several ARM ecosystem leaders, including AMD, American Megatrends, Inc., AppliedMicro, ARM, Broadcom, Cavium, Dell, HP and Linaro.

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