Category: Ubuntu

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WebM Running on TI OMAP 4

Posted by Charbax – November 1, 2010

WebM might eventually become the main video codec for the web, it's Google's open source video codec now being hardware accelerated by ARM Processor vendors such as Texas Instruments here demonstrating WebM 1080p playback on the upcoming OMAP4 ARM Cortex-A9 processor in both Android and Ubuntu:

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Linutop OS 4.0, custom Ubuntu for web-kiosks

Posted by Charbax – October 28, 2010

Linutop sells small, silent and low power PCs based on AMD Geode and VIA C7 processors to use in business and industrial environments. Now they are launching Linutop OS 4.0 that anyone can download at to boot from a USB stick or CD/DVD on any x86 computer. They are also considering providing this solution for ARM Powered desktop systems as soon as several popular low-cost designs are released. This video features Linutop founder and CEO Frederic Baille talking about Linutop and a screencast to show the principal features of this OS.

PandaBoard OMAP4 ARM Cortex-A9 development board released for $174

Posted by Charbax – October 21, 2010

If you are an ARM Powered mobile computing app developer, if you want to prepare OS and apps for TI's upcoming ARM Cortex-A9 platform, shipping from around the end of November, you can pre-order the PandaBoard now for $174 at

OMAP4430 Processor (Highlights)

Dual-core ARM® Cortex™-A9 MPCore™ with Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP) at 1Ghz each. Allows for 150% performance increase over previous ARM Cortex-A8 cores.
Full HD (1080p) multi-standard video encode/decode
Imagination Technologies’ POWERVR™ SGX540 graphics core supporting all major API's including OpenGL® ES v2.0, OpenGL ES v1.1, OpenVG v1.1 and EGL v1.3 and delivering 2x sustained performance compared to the previous SGX530 core
Low power audio (upto 140+ hr CD-quality audio playback)

ARM Cortex-A9 as in this OMAP4 may be the ARM Processor generation that we have been waiting for to realize full ARM Powered desktop performance in devices such as for Laptops, Desktops, set-top-boxes for HDTVs and other high resolution full desktop user experiences. So this new processor is not only about speeding up Smart Phones, it's also to start supporting higher resolution larger screen devices and provide ARM Powered full computing as credible challenger to x86. The OMAPvideo YouTube channel is releasing some videos to demonstrate PandaBoard's setup and performance, here is a video of Ubuntu 10.10 booting on this development board:

At mobile world congress, a TI spokesperson told me after I filmed my OMAP4 demonstrations video, that real-time video encode on OMAP4 is within 2% of x86 based multi-pass encoding. I wonder if that is really true, or if he meant within 2% only for real-time encoding.

Hopefully 1080p playback on OMAP4 is impeccable, so 1080p high profile at very high bitrates h264 and mkv works fine so Boxee type people can't complain like they complained on video playback performance on Tegra 2 so it isn't mysteriously replaced with Intel CE4100.

Source: and OMAPvideo on YouTube
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Canonical explains the status of Ubuntu on ARM Powered Laptops

Posted by Charbax – July 5, 2010

In this video, Jerone Young, Partner Engineer at Canonical explains the status of software optimizations and development to make ARM Powered Laptops and Desktops a reality. He tells about some of the fascinating challenges where Canonical is working together with the their partners at the Linaro group of companies (ARM, Freescale, IBM, Samsung, ST Ericsson, Texas Instruments...) to realize a full desktop experience on ARM Powered devices, including full and fast web browsing and full access to most of the most useful Ubuntu applications.

It's about hardware acceleration, about standardization of boot process and other aspects of the ARM platforms, this is about focusing development efforts to solve the most important challenges and provide thus open source and free software tools to be used by all ARM Powered Linux based products. With faster memory bus speeds coming up in the next generation of Desktop-centric ARM Processors, such as support for DDR3 RAM speeds, the implementation of multiple cores as in upcoming ARM Cortex A9 processors, the standardization of how to use graphics and video hardware acceleration to speed up user interfaces, applications and features. Those are the challenges that Canonical and its partners are working very hard on and plan to implement in actual products that can start to be sold to the mass market during these coming months.

As you have been able to see in hundreds of videos here on, many, many prototypes of ARM Powered laptops are being shown at trade shows. Huge laptop makers like HP, Toshiba, Dell, Lenovo, Quanta, Compal, Inventec, Pegatron, all of those and many more have shown or have announced ARM Powered laptop projects. Yet to actually launch these to a very large market, the ARM Partners are first collaboratively making sure that those devices provide a user experience that is fast enough for most consumers.

This story as discussed on Slashdot:

Microsoft Word on ARM Powered Laptop using Genesi and Citrix solutions

Posted by Charbax – June 23, 2010

Genesi Americas is presenting this awesome looking ARM Cortex A8 based Smartbook design, presented by Genesi who designed the hardware in collaboration with Pegatron of this latest generation of this Freescale Powered Smartbook design. For fun, we are running Microsoft Office through a high resolution version of Citrix viewer on the latest version of Ubuntu 10.4 for ARM processors. This could provide a one click online based software as a service solution. Want to run any X86 application on your ARM Laptop? Just click through the Citrix virtualization stuff and you can have it all running and smoothly. In theory, the apps could be processed by a grid and delivered much faster than on a single x86 processor based device.

Genesi are providing the hardware and software integration solution, in combination with Future Electronics, they can provide the whole solution to carriers, distributors, with the full bill of material, setting up the manufacturing and making the whole thing work and be sold to the market.

Genesi's main IP is their Aura firmware solution:

Aura, the Genesi Firmware offering, implements a run-time, re-entrant hardware abstraction layer supporting the industry standard IEEE 1275 (OpenFirmware) and UEFI firmware specifications, with significant added functionality.

These additional features provide cost reduction of systems and faster time-to-market of hardware. Genesi provides board bring-up services and firmware for other Power Architecture and ARM hardware suppliers, up to and including a Linux desktop, based on our firmware.

Genesi is an active Open Source supporter, having donated a lot of hardware over the years to Debian, OpenSuSe, Gentoo, Crux and many other Linux distributions.

Genesi are very active in optimizing software specifically for ARM Cortex by porting libraries to the NEON unit in these devices resulting in large speedups.

Genesi has a developer forum:

Ubuntu 10.7 Smartbook Edition coming for ARM!

Posted by Charbax – June 22, 2010

Canonical is showing the Freescale i.MX51 Pegatron Laptop reference design running the latest version of Ubuntu Netbook Edition optimized for ARM for speed (could they be calling this the Ubuntu Smartbook Edition?). In this video, the representative of Canonical explains some of the things that are being worked on to optimize Linux as a full laptop experience on ARM platforms like the ARM Cortex A8 and the multi-core ARM Cortex A9 that are coming out soon. I will film another video with Canonical to try to get more details on how the upcoming ARM Powered laptops are going to look like and how Linux is being optimized for it.

Ubuntu 10.4 on Marvell Armada 510

Posted by Charbax – June 3, 2010

Sharp PC-T1 Ubuntu Tablet

Posted by Charbax – June 2, 2010

This is the tablet version of the Netwalker on sale in Japan. It has a resistive touchscreen and is powered by a Freescale i.MX51 processor.

Ubuntu 10.4 optimized for the ARM Processor

Posted by Charbax – May 27, 2010

Ubuntu has been working over these past couple of years with ARM and ARM partners such as Freescale to optimize the Ubuntu OS for ARM Processors. Here's a demonstration of the latest version of Ubuntu 10.4 running on a Freescale i.MX51 development board. In theory this Ubuntu desktop could be sold for below $100 without the screen, keyboard and mouse. Banchmark comparisons of ARM Cortex A8 against Intel Atom N450

Posted by Charbax – April 14, 2010

At about 3x lower power consumption, much lower heat dissipation and much lower overall system pricing, the Freescale i.MX515 platform in a development board developed by Pegatron, is used for benchmarks of all kinds of performance areas by processor benchmarking expert Van Smith at this 9-page benchmarking article at

While this specific ARM Cortex A8 implementation performs great on integers, power consumption, heat dissipation, price, floating-point performance still needs some improvement with ARM Cortex designs to come. Consider also that Ubuntu 9.04 used in this test is only the first implementation of Ubuntu for ARM Cortex and that Ubuntu 10.4 which is imminently going to be released will significantly improve ARM performance of those benchmarks.

The ARM Cortex-A8 sample that we tested in the form of the Freescale i.MX515 lived in an ecosystem that was not competitive with the x86 rivals in this comparison. The video subsystem is very limited. Memory support is a very slow 32-bit, DDR2-200MHz.

I guess it's not yet possible for Van Smith in this test to make an apples to apples comparison as the current ARM Cortex A8 are still oriented at Smart Phones and thin and light Tablets rather than full SmartBooks for full desktop-like performance requirements of the more desktop-performance oriented next generation ARM Cortex designs.

The goal for ARM when reaching the markets of Laptop and Desktop form factors is to reach the level of performance required to run full high resolution Web Browsers at full speed, where the OS with the browser boots instantly, with fast enough RAM where unlimited tabs open instantly, where hardware acceleration of embedded videos functions smoothly and where even the Native Client and 3D features run fully within the ARM Powered Web Browser. Once that level of performance is reached, further performance improvements will be less important than lowering the power consumption and lowering the cost of the next processors. Once everything most users need to have processed on their devices seem to run instantly, reaching the instant browser performance level, why would anyone want to increase the performance of client device oriented processors further?

You can find the benchmarks at:

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