Architectures/ARM/Planning/Primary

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Contents

Introduction

ARM processors are the most popular CPUs in the world. While historically found in embedded devices, ARM systems suitable for general purpose computation are becoming increasingly common. As ARM based laptops and desktops become people's everyday devices it is important that Fedora be available and well supported. This page contains the rationale for promoting ARM to a primary architecture. We include suggested criteria for evalauting this proposal as well as the technical and administrative steps that might be taken to ensure a smooth transition.

Criteria

  • Readily Available Hardware
  • Strategic value, alignment with Fedora goals
  • Proof of concept as a secondary arch

The Argument For and Against

  • The reason PPC was demoted is the same reason ARM should be promoted
  • Builders are individually slower, but in aggregate can complete rebuilds faster
  • What is Fedora? NetworkManager, SELinux, Pulse Audio, Systemd, gnome-desktop, these are all things * which work on ARM today.

The argument against, with rebuttals

  • Kernel not standardized: But only a small subset of ARM systems must be supported at first.
  • Slows down x86_64 build speed: Compare build times
  • Adds burdon to packagers: Packages that do not currently work with ARM will be excludearched, ARM team to work with maintainers to fix issues.
  • LSB does not exist, but ARM does not need it.


Steps To Primary

  • Begin by moving koji services to colo facility
  • Drive builds from Koji during F18 rawhide cycle
  • Once server hardware is available for PHX, switch over for F18 final

Package Set Support

  • All packages build or are excludearched
  • Functionality may vary according to platform
  • A package need only build, not function fully, to not interfere with other packages.

Evidence for viability

  • Build history shows near-concurrent release with primary
  • ARM support will not significantly slow down primary builds
  • Similarity in critical-path package set demonstrates multiarch problems sooner

Installation

  • CD-ROM style install not needed
  • Official rootfses initially
  • Network and USB install with anaconda eventually