ARM Wrestling: Fedora 17 vs. Ubuntu Linux

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 4 July 2012. Page 2 of 6. 2 Comments

Setting up Fedora 17 on the PandaBoard ES was almost as smooth using Ubuntu. However, there were a few flaws. When booting the Fedora 17 ARM GA spin on the OMAP4460 board and the Xfce desktop loaded, the screen mode-set to 1024 x 768 rather than 1920 x 1080. A more pressing problem is that the Fedora 17 spin does not appear to have its Linux 3.4 kernel with the built-in cpufreq support for the OMAP4460 PandaBoard ES. Fedora developers likely just targeted the vanilla PandaBoard with its OMAP4430 and made an oversight in handling the PandaBoard ES since all of the OMAP4460 enablement should be mainline in the Linux kernel. The Phoronix Test Suite spotted it was not able to read the cpufreq information on the PandaBoard ES, which was a problem in Ubuntu 11.10 when the support was still maturing. Without the cpufreq support, the two cores might not be operating at their intended 1.2GHz frequency.

Arch Linux on the PandaBoard ES was also attempted, however, that Arch installation failed to properly boot. I have brought up Arch Linux on the NVIDIA Tegra 2 previously using the Trim-Slice, and there continues to be much information and resources at ArchLinuxARM.org, but when trying to bring up the distribution on the OMAP4460 development board it failed.

For some benchmarks to run, Fedora 17 ARM GA was compared to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and an Ubuntu 12.10 development snapshot. For Fedora 17 and Ubuntu 12.10, both the desktop (Xfce and Unity, respectively) and console versions were tested. The dual testing was done just to see if either desktop environment had a measurable impact on the system's performance due to the PandaBoard ES only having 1GB of system memory, have slow I/O due to an SDHC card, and for the dual-core Cortex-A9 if either desktop had enough services running to cripple the ARMv7 hardware.


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