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. 50 Comments
HARDWARE --
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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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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