While Ubuntu has been taking the ARM server and desktop markets seriously for quite some time and is leading quite well on that front, Fedora has been getting behind ARM
, and other distributions like Gentoo
have their own interesting ARM Linux undertakings, openSUSE has been rather late to the party.
Earlier this month, the first release candidate for openSUSE on ARM
surfaced. OpenSUSE is initially targeting the OMAP3/OMAP4, Marvell ArmandaXP, and Freescale i.MX51 ARM SoCs.
Dirk Müller of SUSE presented about openSUSE for ARM on Sunday during their openSUSE Conference at LinuxDays in Prague. Dirk went over the current state of the openSUSE Build Service for ARM, ARM Linux support coverage more broadly, hurdles they had with bringing up ARM support, and much more.
Among the issues expressed with ARM were needing special U-Boot boot loaders and kernels for each different ARM SoC, there' over 50+ ARM variants (64 different machine types as of the Linux 3.0 kernel), and other headaches due to the fragmented ARM market. The ultimate ARM Linux goal is to have a "single zImage kernel", but in the end it will likely be four: ARMv4, ARMv5, ARMv6/ARMv7 with and without LPAE, and then ARMv8.
The situation is improving upstream for Linux on ARM hardware. The Linux 3.7 kernel is the first where a single kernel can support multiple platforms
, there is now ARM Xen virtualization support
, and early support for the AArch64 64-bit ARM architecture
. There's also been ARM activities happening within GCC
While openSUSE may not be moving as fast as Ubuntu with broad ARM coverage for desktops and servers, at least the German Linux distribution is moving in the right direction.