Linux 4.17 Spring Cleaning To Drop Some Old CPU Architectures

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 17 March 2018 at 08:05 AM EDT. 51 Comments
Longtime Linux kernel developer Arnd Bergmann is working to drop a number of old and obsolete CPU architectures from the next kernel cycle, Linux 4.17.

The obsolete CPU architectures set to be removed include Blackfin, CRIS, FR-V, M32R, MN10300, META (Metag), and TILE. Managing to escape its death sentence is the Unicore32 architecture with its port maintainer claiming it's still actively being used and maintained.

Potentially being dropped at a later date in the near term is still OpenRISC, since RISC-V is in much better shape, and Qualcomm's Hexagon.

Arnd has begun submitting the patches for dropping the old architectures and will follow-up with removing the device drivers specific to these obscure architectures. The work is being queued via his asm-generic Git tree.

Arnd ended this week's kernel mailing list post with:
In the end, it seems that while the eight architectures are extremely different, they all suffered the same fate: There was one company in charge of an SoC line, a CPU microarchitecture and a software ecosystem, which was more costly than licensing newer off-the-shelf CPU cores from a third party (typically ARM, MIPS, or RISC-V). It seems that all the SoC product lines are still around, but have not used the custom CPU architectures for several years at this point.
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