I'm thinking today about what it would take to fork Mu for the Raspberry Pi. It uses ARM processors, a 64-bit instruction since the Pi 3 which was released in 2015. The 64-bit ISA looks quite nice, but it's incompatible with the Pi 1 and Pi 2. Contrast x86, where 64-bit is quite compatible with 32-bit, but grotesque as a result, with bits for a register scattered across multiple bytes. So I might make the opposite choice to x86 and support just the 64-bit ISA. Thoughts?
I just had a face palm moment, realized laptops are now a lot less important while we're all stuck home anyway. So I'm thinking of getting myself a desktop (first time ever!) with an ARM processor. Anybody have recommendations? Should probably run Linux.
Yeah, an ARM computer at my fingertips might reduce the energy barrier to getting Mu running on ARM/RPi. And it's time to stop focusing so much on my own convenience, focus instead on open platforms.
@akkartik 64-bit ARM quite possibly more future proof than the existing x86_64 fork and it targets cheaper / widely available hardware. I like this idea :)
@bamfic I thought Raspberry Pi uses ARM?
@akkartik This is something I'm also fairly interested in. I would absolutely recommend an RK3399 based SBC. The RK3399 has excellent support for libre operating systems, including a very usable blobless Linux (or linux-libre) kernel.
I know Pine64 offers an RK3399 SBC but apparently there are issues with blobless video out.
ASUS Tinkerboard 2 uses an RK3399, though I haven't heard if that machine offers blobless video out or not (or if the video out issue with Pine64's SBC offerings is fixed)
@akkartik To clarify what I mean by "very usable", the only thing that doesn't work at the moment is wireless (though there is a bounty out for that by Pine64 themselves IIRC).
Even the GPU has a libre driver (thanks to the Panfrost project)!
@akkartik Um... ARM is a proprietary architecture. I'd say check out Talos II if you can afford it, it's a 100% libre machine, uses IBM's POWER9 architecture and is really powerful. However it's quite expensive, Blackbird while cheaper is still costs quite a bit of money and isn't 100% libre as far as I know.
@person Perfect is the enemy of good. I want something more open than iOS (and the direction macOS is going). Something repairable like IBM PCs used to be. Source code for the processor is nice to have, but not if it limits the number of people I can collaborate with.
I already use x86. But there's some signs of it being an evolutionary dead end. So I'm trying to think about where the future may lie. ARM seems a good guess. Also RISC V, once it gets farther along.
@akkartik @person Here is a half-way proposal. Build a cheap ryzen desktop PC, install linux. Use qemu-arm64 or qemu-risvc to bootstrap a capability. Once you judge the settlement to be mature enough, you can migrate to it with confidence. You may even be able to allocate a dedicated video card to the qemu instance.
@akkartik I wouldn't bother about 32bit ARM these days, unless you're doing microcontroller stuff. Finding useful desktop boards at sane prices is hard; very few have PCIe for example [I think some of the PI 4 variants do? have a single link]. There are things like the Honeycomb: https://shop.solid-run.com/product-category/embedded-computers/nxp-family/honeycomb/ but you can get quite a PC for the money.
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