Tag Archives: architectures

Not very serious quest to run Linux on every architecture

Just looking at the Debian Ports page, how many of these architectures do I own?

Arch Notes
Alpha Good, working Alpha hardware is getting hard to obtain these days.
amd64 (x86-64) Obviously …
ARM (32 bit) I don’t really care about anything less than ARM version 7 these days, although I do have a Sheevaplug which I think is v5 or v6. My “go-to” 32 bit ARM board is the Cubietruck.
ARM (64 bit) I don’t own, but have under my desk at work, the Applied Micro X-gene (picture), and a lovely piece of kit it is too.
HP-PA I would love to get my hands on some HP-PA RISC hardware, but it’s even harder to get hold of than Alpha. Edit: If you really want HP PA then the HP C8000 workstation is available on eBay for $300 or so.
i386 I own a Lenovo X60s laptop, which is one of the few 32 bit Intel processors with (very slow) hardware virtualization
ia64 HP Itanium RX2620
M68K As I started out my professional career writing 68k assembler, I’d love to buy an MVME crate, but incredibly they go for upwards of $1000 on ebay, even 20 years after they stopped being made.
MIPS ✓/✗ I just bought the MIPS Creator CI20. I don’t own any Big Endian MIPS hardware, nor any 64 bit MIPS hardware.
OpenRISC I have this burned into an FPGA, but in storage.
PPC (32 bit) I recently sent a couple of old 32 bit Mac G4s to recycling.
PPC/POWER (64 bit) ✓/✗ I own a Mac G5 running Linux (picture). However I don’t own, and as far as I know cannot get my hands on any of the more interesting POWER7 or POWER8 hardware, although I have remote access to it through Red Hat.
s390/s390x Similar to ppc64, no possible way to own it, but I am able to remote access it through Red Hat.
SPARC (32 bit) Currently sitting in storage, but it’s there and it used to run Linux, albeit with only 128 MB of RAM
SPARC (64 bit) Is it possible to buy 64 bit SPARC hardware for a reasonable price?

Looks like I’m about half way there!

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virt-builder running on ARM

Virt-builder runs fine on an ARM host (the ODROID-XU, no hardware virtualization available which is one of the reasons why it’s a bit slow):

$ virt-builder fedora-19
[   0.0] Downloading: http://libguestfs.org/download/builder/fedora-19.xz
[  21.0] Creating disk image: fedora-19.img
[  22.0] Uncompressing: http://libguestfs.org/download/builder/fedora-19.xz
[  74.0] Opening the new disk
[ 165.0] Setting a random seed
[ 165.0] Random root password: bugfPn1KBwE7reZ0 [did you mean to use --root-password?]
[ 165.0] Finishing off
Output: fedora-19.img
Total usable space: 1.9G
Free space: 1.2G (65%)
$ uname -a
Linux odd.home.annexia.org 3.4.5 #1 SMP PREEMPT
Fri Sep 27 02:59:27 BRT 2013 armv7l armv7l armv7l
GNU/Linux

Although the host is ARM, it’s building an x86-64 guest and this means that you cannot install packages at build time (you can install them at firstboot time instead). The reason is basically because the libguestfs appliance is ARM, so it cannot run yum/apt from the x86-64 guest.

Five years ago when we started off writing libguestfs we had this idea that the appliance code shouldn’t be tied to the same architecture as the host. QEMU can quite happily run an x86-64 emulator on an ARM host, and the XDR protocol that is used between the daemon and the host is fully arch-independent, so you can run a different arch appliance from the host (slowly). For year(s) the libguestfs daemon directory had its own ./configure script so you could reconfigure it with a different architecture, although no one ever did and we dropped that.

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