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schorsch_76
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:20 am    Post subject: ARM Boards + ARM SoC's Reply with quote

Hi,

currently i'm looking arround for a small arm board, just for experiments. All boards run linux of coarse, but each board needs a special kernel. Not from the mainline.

Raspberry Pi: Binary non free blob to boot the GPU and the kernel. SPecial patches for the kernel https://github.com/raspberrypi/linux
Cubieboard: Boots an uImage but kernel from git clone http://github.com/cubieboard/linux-sunxi.git
BeagleBone: Boots an uImage and kernel with patches

Is there no line which drives direction? Is there each SoC totally different? Why cant i use a kernel from kernel.org for a arm board? Why does every board needs a seperate linux fork?

Ok: i found a rant from linus torvalds to the arm guys. http://article.gmane.org/gmane.linux.ports.arm.omap/55060

Does anyone of you use an arm board regulary as mini server, mini PC? How do you handle the kernel stuff for it? Do you run gentoo on it?

Bye
schorsch
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turtles
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not entirely sure what you get out of an arm board that you cant get from an old or really really old computer other than size?
my first "board' computer to run linux was an 233mhz PPC imac board that I stripped out of a "dead" original Apple iMac - Bondi.
I found a connector to go from the Apple Video connector to VGA, I think 2 USB ports, a modem port, RJ45 port and I got a serial port out of and infra red receiver connector, I got it down in size. I got 512MB ram into that little G3 I think I still have it somewhere.
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schorsch_76
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm just thinking to replace an old via eden board which is now nearly 10 years old and consumes about 15W. Such an arm board would need about 5W.

What surprises me is, that a lot of mobile devices etc. use arm cpu's/soc's and for such small boards i need special kernel sources. Is the arm "platform" not such standarized as the PC latform?
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eccerr0r
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exactly, ARM platform/SOC is NOT standardized at the hardware level, and Linus himself has complained about it. The userland however appears standardized.

I do wonder about the Intel Quark platform though. It still has some legacy baggage (so to speak, but it is x86 after all), but because of this (and possibly cleaner design that makes its interface similar to existing machines) it can run legacy OSes as well as the newer kernels.
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

schorsch_76,

I run Gentoo on a Pi, including Apache.
It hosts a mirror for Pappys Seeds, among other things.

Being ARM it helps keep the script kiddies out, since it won't run x86 shell code.
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eccerr0r
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
Being ARM it helps keep the script kiddies out, since it won't run x86 shell code.

But it will run arm shell code...
I haven't seen one yet but I'm sure it already exists...

And of course, general cross platform scripts will also work...
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eccerr0r,

True - I'm aware. It replaced a SPARC U10 that I couldn't get to reboot after the keyboard failed.
The Pi cost less than a replacement keyboard for the U10.

I haven't tried hardened on a Pi yet but thats the next step.
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eccerr0r
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah I just wanted to point out to everyone that just like Macintoshes are not the answer to viruses, nor are raspberry pies or android - they are all just as vulnerable. I suspect that running a hardened kernel on x86 would also provide additional protection too.

I suppose the question is legacy and you get to use the same software as what you're used to, or just deal with hardware that's no longer supported just a year or two after it's introduced...

I mean, for example my Nokia N900 - it's an ARM SOC. Since there are still a ton of them out there, people are working on it, but the number of them is going down. Someday the main branch 3.x kernel will stop working on it just because people are dropping out.

Yet the even older Pentium Pro machines will still continue to run modern kernels. Without modification! Might have some RAM issues but new Linux kernels still runs...

It is indeed a tradeoff, the Pentium Pro eats power like mad but the ARM SOCs seems to not. We'll see what the Quarks do. I see a lot of negative backlash already but I'm not sure why, other than the obvious issue (likely: cost)... Will the quality of ARM SOCs get higher (and likely increase their costs?) I don't know... But manufacturers are assuming you're throwing the machine away after a few years anyway...
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Dr.Willy
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
I run Gentoo on a Pi […]

Do you also have the full toolchain on the RPi or do you crosscompile on a different machine?
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dr.Willy,

Yes and Yes. Many things will not cross compile. The path of least resistance is cross distcc.

Set up a cross build chain on your AMD64 box. It will help out.
Install distcc on the Pi and on the AMD64. Tell the AMD64 to listen.

Run pump emerge ... on the Pi, so some of the preprocessing is offloaded.

Do check you have identical gcc versions on the Pi and in the cross tool chain.

It gets really slow when distcc drops out and the Pi is running with MAKEOPS="-j8"
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