Fresh off the release of ACPI 5.1 by the UEFI Forum, Linux developers are updating their support against this latest revision to the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface. In particular, ACPI 5.1 is supposed to help out ARM.
While accessing the ACPI/UEFI specifications still require jumping through some hoops, the ACPI 5.1 update is reported to fix major gaps in supporting ACPI on ARM. Hanjun Guo has already laid out patches for providing Linux ARM64 support compliant with the ACPI 5.1 specification. ACPI 5.1 has "major changes" to the MADT, FADT, GTDT, and _DSD for bettering up this non-x86 platform support.
Beginning in 2011, Red Hat began providing assistance to the fledgling Fedora ARM distribution. I was Red Hat’s project manager for this initiative. Back then it was a humble secondary architecture under the stewardship of Seneca College. Seneca was working on an OS distribution for the Raspberry Pi, a promising educational tool. Red Hat partnered with Seneca, provided resources to advance development and helped build a community, the open source way. Though Linux had been used on ARM for many years, kernel ports tended to exist in different source trees. Likewise, many userspace packages had been written without multi-core, thread-safe ARM code, so there was a lot of work to be done.
In the mean time Eben Upton and the team at the Raspberry Pi Foundation will be focussing on the software side of the Raspberry Pi, as well as the forthcoming Raspberry Pi touchscreen display. “There’s plenty of life in Raspberry Pi 1 and there’s still plenty of low-hanging fruit on the software side. We’re still finding system level components that we can optimise that deliver really meaningful amounts of performance uplift for the user,” Upton explained.
From new cloud platforms, to changes in virtualization and container technologies, to how data is stored and transmitted, every innovation in the data center has a Linux-based or open source component, says Imad Sousou vice president of the Software and Services Group and general manager of the Intel Open Source Technology Center at Intel.
“To a great degree... the speed with which solutions can be brought online is the result of Linux and open source in the data center,” said Sousou, who is also on the OpenStack Foundation board of directors. “The amount of collaboration around the future of the data center is very encouraging.”
Today, the Raspberry Pi foundation have announced the release of an updated version of the Raspberry Pi model B, known as the B+ (the official announcement is here). There have been a couple of tweaks to the design over the past couple of years, but this is the first major revision. The big news is that it still has the same CPU, SoC and memory (which means that it should run exactly the same software as the previous version). However, there have been a number of important improvements across various parts of the board.
One of the biggest challenges with the Nouveau open-source graphics driver for NVIDIA graphics hardware in recent times has been with regard to GPU / video memory re-clocking. As a minor step forward, NVIDIA has contributed re-clocking patches for the GK20A graphics processor.
Re-clocking has long been a big challenge for the Nouveau driver to obtain maximum graphics performance while also maintaining optimal performance-per-Watt and being efficient while idling. With the Linux 3.16 kernel for select generations of GPUs is faster performance but it can be buggy while now today for Tegra K1 owners NVIDIA has come to the table with re-clocking code for the "GK20A" GPU found within this high-end NVIDIA ARM SoC.
As we've noted here many times, when it comes to the top open source stories of the past couple of years, it's clear that one of the biggest is the proliferation of tiny, inexpensive Linux-based computers at some of the smallest form factors ever seen. Surely, the diminutive, credit card-sized Raspberry Pi, priced at $25 and $35, is one of the most widely followed of these miniature systems. It's been implemented for use in home security systems, synthesizers and even in a supercomputer mashup using Lego pieces to bind the parts together, as seen in the photo here.