i.MX515 Project
Debian armhf hardfloat port

in category Linux Distributions
proposed by markos on 31st October 2010 (accepted on 5th October 2010)
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  Bits from UDS@Orlando and progress Report on the armhf port
posted by markos on 9th November 2010

It's been a few days since I have returned from my trip to Linaro@UDS conference at Orlando and from San Antonio where I visited the Genesi USA headquarters, I think it's high time that I blogged about the visits and more importantly the results!


So, initially the reason for my invitation to the UDS conference was exactly the debian-armhf port, and in particular sharing my experience in building an arm hardfloat port, what are the problems in the process, what's the gain, etc.

I attended many talks mostly about Linaro/ARM but also about codecs/NEON and Qt.
UDS 'talks' depart a lot from the traditional powerpoint presentation, in that it's mostly a discussion and a set of decisions regarding the tasks one or more particular teams have to complete in the next 6 months (that is, until the next UDS event). Of course there is always the danger of having the discussion travel elsewhere and waste time on, but it didn't happen on most talks I had the pleasure of attending. All in all, it was a very productive experience. You can see the list of talks in this link:


On my last day I initiated a discussion myself:


and a wiki page:


After the event it took only a few days to get the proceedings online:


(the results of the hardfloat discussion is the last entry in the 'Hardware' trait).

Suffice to say, we'll be tracking Linaro progress very closely, and it's very likely that our presence in the next Linaro conference (May 2010 in Budapest!) will be bigger -let's get the whole Genesi team there!

Genesi presence at UDS

Of course we could not let this opportunity go past just like that! I had contacted the Linaro guys if they would like some Smartbooks to be given to specific developers during the conference and they sent me a list of 15. Bill then sent me those to give away in the first day even -actually they were given right after the first Linaro roundtable talk :).

The response and the interest was huge! You could see all those developers drool over those sexy smartbooks -I know I was too! After the 15 were given away, there was a queue of ~40-45 people waiting to add their names on the list!

Anyway, given Genesi's past record of supporting developers, let's assume that it was an fast decision and in just 3 days -Thursday- there were ~40 more developers with Smartbooks and some Smarttops even! You can see the happiness on their faces on the picture I sent to Bill for his blog!!!

After UDS, at San Antonio

Right after UDS, I took a flight to San Antonio (via Houston) and met again with Raquel, Bill and Matt -after 6 years, no less! Last time we met in person was in SNDF 2004 in Frankfurt!

San Antonio is beautiful -I didn't see much of it, but from what I saw I loved it! Esp. the River Walk and the mexican restaurant were awesome (thanks to Maurizio and his wife for taking us there!). Business wise, there were some very interesting discussions -which I cannot talk about yet!- and some very very nice interesting new prototype hardware -which again I cannot talk about yet! :)

I did not do much coding apart the fact that I got one of the long standing problems in my TO2-based debian-armhf compile-farm fixed. Basically, TO2 is problematic with some thumb2 code, which is used on armhf, and as a symptom I was experiencing segfaults/stalls with cc1plus or even complete machine lockups on the buildds, in a totally non-deterministic fashion. This slowed down the buildds, but thankfully with new binutils -from experimental- and new debian gcc 4.4.5 which includes all the Linaro gcc patches, the problem was fixed (for those interested it's the --fix-cortexa8 option on ld).

All in all it was a very interesting experience, I'm positive that many good things will come out of that!

Debian-armhf port's progress report

Well, as mentioned above the cc1plus problem was fixed and the buildds are happily compiling all the time, we've just hit ~7100 packages (~82% of the archive) and it's increasing all the time!

There are some important packages left to fix yet like ghc6, boost1.42, gcj-4.4 (and from that bootstrap openjdk) and a few more, you can check the actual progress here:


and the wiki page shows a very very nice graph (armhf is the green line, that's fast, right?):

Well, that's about it for now, I'll post more news as they come :)
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