[Dev] [ARM] Parabola ARM Port

Michał Masłowski mtjm at mtjm.eu
Mon Dec 15 20:30:37 GMT 2014

> As far as I see, GTA04, BeagleBone Black and Novena are easily the
> freest ARM systems I've found, so I would prioritize supporting them
> over, for example, anything with Allwinner in it (Cubieboard), if we
> have to choose between boards. I may get a BeagleBone myself and help
> with this port...

Unless there are SoC manufacturers who care about user's freedom, there
are only accidentally compatible boards.  Some Allwinner SoCs use blobs
only for optional features (e.g. the Mali GPU: with a reverse
engineering project, unlike PowerVR used in OMAPs and other Allwinner
SoCs) and have a community-supported kernel distro.

>>Maybe everything that is already libre or can be repackaged to meet the
>>standards, as you do with normal Arch I guess. The big problem with
>>is the myriad of kernels they support. See
>>https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=1227684#p1227684 for a
>>discussion on merging Arch with ArchARM, developers from both camps
>>and discussed kernel proliferation. I just counted 48 from ArchARM's
>>repo but we may not need to support them all. The details can be found
>>my attatchment and I hope this introductory research will help Parabola
>>decide what kernels to use (deblobbed) from ArchARM if any. I could add
>>this info somewhere in the wiki during the following days if you like
>>It would be nice to do the same for u-boot.

We might need one binary package per SoC and only several source trees.
I think we should start from what boards we have and what we can easily
buy that will work with fully free software (maybe without some

I know about several wikis documenting such things, I think we shouldn't
duplicate that work.  Report an issue for each board that you have or
want to develop Parabola for?

>>>We should aim for compiling all packages
>>Even packages that don't need repackaging? Is this what you do with x86

We don't on x86, while we want to change this.

>>All in all Novena board is a good candidate: iMX6 Quadcore, 4 GiB in
>>works without nonfree software, in fact there's just a couple trivial
>>keeping it from being FSF-endorseable at the time, no treacherous
>>of course and unlike many board developers the Novena people is working
>>hard to collaborate upstream and keep their software updated. Linaro
>>interested in getting some Novenas and use them to build software

They look good (while expensive: low volume, extra features and support
for important free software projects like etna_viv).
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