Linus Torvalds Is Doing More ARM64 Linux Testing Now That He Has A More Powerful System

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 14 May 2024 at 08:29 PM EDT. 27 Comments
Linux kernel and Git creator Linus Torvalds is known for his current use of an AMD Ryzen Threadripper workstation as his main system after years of using Intel hardware. The past few years he's also been doing more ARM64 testing now that he has an Apple MacBook using Apple Silicon that serves as a nice travel device and for routinely compiling new ARM64 Linux kernel builds. More recently, his ARM64 Linux testing has increased now that he has a more powerful AArch64 system to complement his collection of routine gear.

Tucked away within the Linux 6.9 kernel release, Linus Torvalds commented in his mailing list announcement a change worth warranting its own article and forum discussion. Linus wrote:
"I now have a more powerful arm64 machine (thanks to Ampere), so the last week I've been doing almost as many arm64 builds as I have x86-64, and that should obviously continue during the upcoming merge window too. The M2 laptop I have has been more of a "test builds weekly" rather than "continuously".

Not that I really expect that to really show any issues - the laptop builds never did - but I feel happier having a bit more coverage."

Torvalds is now personally building more ARM64 Linux kernels for testing now that he has an Ampere workstation/server for testing with its many Armv8 cores. That's good news for helping to ensure the quality of the ARM64 kernel while obviously there is already the AArch64 testing invested by various stakeholders and other parties, now the AArch64 kernel can come under greater scrutiny and verification by Linus Torvalds himself.

Ampere Altra processor

Linus Torvalds didn't indicate his Ampere system specifics, but given the extremely limited availability still around AmpereOne, it's presumably some Ampere Altra (Max) system. There's a robust variety of Ampere Altra platforms these days down from micro-ATX boards to AI/GPU compute Ampere servers. Ampere Altra still performs well and doesn't have much competition outside of the hyperscalers / cloud providers for high-end ARM64 systems/servers albeit still we are eager to see AmpereOne and/or other new options given these CPUs are now four years old. In any event it's great seeing Ampere Computing help out to provide for more ARM64 Linux kernel testing by Torvalds himself.

Now how long until there is a powerful RISC-V system that attracts Torvalds' interest?
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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