A single Linux kernel build that can run on various ARM-powered kit from competing manufacturers has come closer to reality, much to Linus Torvalds' relief.
Unlike the world of x86 PCs, which has standardised and well-documented hardware, there is little consistency across ARM-compatible systems beyond the basic processor instruction set. Just about every chip and device is custom designed, as this chart of cheap development systems illustrates. This fragmentation forces programmers to create new kernel ports for individual devices and system-on-chips (SoC).
But now Linux chieftain Torvalds has committed source code into the kernel to provide multi-platform support on ARM. The brains behind the update Olof Johansson commented: “This is a pretty significant branch.”
“It is now possible to build one kernel that contains support for highbank, vexpress, mvebu, socfpga, and picoxcell. More platforms will be converged over in the next few releases,” he said.