Proof is in Production
Quite simply Linux is a hit on ARM, there are almost 600,000 ARM powered Linux devices shipped every day in the form of Android tablets and phones using many different SoC’s from ARM’s Partners, and using different ARM cores from ARM7 to dual core Cortex-A9. How many Linux devices are bought by consumers that are not ARM powered? Not very many is the simple answer. Surely this alone is enough to prove that the ARM architecture is the leading platform for Linux.
One Size Does Not Fit All
The ARM ecosystem is all about diversity and innovation. Unlike the PC world where there are just two suppliers, in the ARM world there are multiple suppliers developing SoC’s for different markets and market niches. Though they all use the ARM architecture, ARM does not dictate how the SoC is designed. This means that it does take a bit more effort to port Linux to a new SoC, but the upside is that this diversity drives innovation. One ARM SoC does not look like another SoC, instead each of our Silicon Partners brings their unique strength to the SoC. Perhaps the SoC brings a major cost reduction and integration allowing new markets to be opened up, or perhaps they add a new feature that no one else thought of doing, or they design an SoC for a market that no one had even thought about. The key thing is that the SoC is different, enabling unique and different devices, or allowing price points that were unthinkable a few years ago. Quite simply a centrally planned one size fits all mentality does not enable this innovation and diversity.
Linus Welcome to the "Post PC" world
As the news has shown on the last few weeks, the world has changed; computing is no longer about the “PC”. Instead it is about a wide range of devices that allow computing to be truly personal to you.
So I would respectfully suggest that anyone thinking about the “good” old days of the PC ecosystem kick back with an ARM powered Android device, play a game or listen to music from one of the great new mobile music services, and contemplate how a choice of low power computing solutions combined with open source Linux makes “computing” great for 600,000 new people a day. The Linux community has done an amazing job in both evolving and innovating the platform for the non PC era.
James Bruce, Lead Mobile Strategist, ARM, is based in Silicon Valley. James is without doubt a gadget guy who is continuously looking at the latest devices and services on them. Working for ARM allows James to see what technology will be on your mobile device in 3 to 5 years time. This view of the future combined with being based in Silicon Valley and having worked on mobile for the last 12 years allows James to have a unique view of mobile technology. At the moment James is enjoying the latest quad core CortexTM-A9, quad core MaliTM-400 smartphone, but is waiting impatiently for next years Cortex-A15 phone.
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