For every ARM server, there needs to be a corresponding operating system, right?
Linaro, the non-profit engineering organization whose mission is to develop Linux-based, open-source software for ARM server architectures, announced Nov. 2 that it had formed a Linaro Enterprise Group (known as LEG) and added AMD, Applied Micro Circuits Corporation, Calxeda, Canonical, Cavium, Facebook, HP, Marvell and Red Hat as members.
The Linaro Enterprise Group will initially work on low-level Linux boot architecture and kernel software for use by system-on-a chip vendors like AMCC, as well as commercial Linux providers and OEMs in delivering the next generation of low-power ARM-based 32- and 64-bit servers for the data center.
And a release isn’t far off, either. Linaro said it expects initial software delivery before the end of 2012 with ongoing releases thereafter. For now, Linaro continues to release new versions of its OS; Linaro 12.10 was released last week, just ahead of the LEG ramp-up.
Linaro is also making early ARMv8 images available to interested developers. While hardware isn’t yet available for purchase, ARM offers a free-of-charge ARMv8 virtual platform called the “Foundation model” which allows booting Linaro’s GNU/Linux images, which is what Linaro is supporting, the organization said in a related blog post.
According to LWN.net, Linaro was the third-largest company contributor to the Linux 3.5 kernel, behind Red Hat and Intel. Linux 3.5 was released this past July.
If it sounds like the only news this week in the data center world either involves Hurricane Sandy or ARM, well, that’s not far off the mark. ARM is holding its annual developer conference in Silicon Valley this week, and the week kicked off with AMD announcing plans to develop ARM-based Opterons, followed a day later by ARM disclosing the Cortex 64-bit architecture for said Opterons. ARM and AMCC also said they would team on a server platform.
Linaro isn’t the only Linux derivative designed to power ARM servers. Ubuntu has designed Ubuntu Server for ARM, and part of the ARM-AMCC partnership involved Red Hat, which said it would “remix” Fedora 19 in time for ARM’s 64-bit chips to come to fruition.
“There will be a range of server solutions based on ARM technology as the entire business community looks to reduce cost of ownership and achieve energy efficiency,” ARM chief executive Warren East wrote in a statement. “Ultimately, it is the partnership approach which is vital to encourage innovation in this space and we are delighted to see LEG shares this vision. By changing the way we process data, the opportunity for a smarter, more connected future can be truly realized.”
The new LEG members joined existing Linaro members ARM, Samsung and ST-Ericsson to create a shared software engineering team and steering committee. Linaro members are currently holding a developer conference in Copenhagen, at which over 300 engineers from more than 80 companies have attended, Linaro said.