April 27, 2016

The GNOME Foundation welcomes ARM device donations

ORINDA CA. The GNOME Project is delighted to announce that it has received the donation of a large number of ARM hardware, which will be used for development and testing purposes. These donations were made by a variety of companies, including ARM, Banana Pi, Codethink, Endless and Qualcomm. We would like to offer our sincere thanks to each of these partners for their help in this important initiative.

The donated systems will be used to build and test GNOME technologies and applications on 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the ARM architecture. This will allow binary GNOME releases for ARM, as a part of the sdk.gnome.org initiative. ARM support for the GNOME Continuous project is also planned, so that the latest development versions of the whole GNOME stack will be continuously built and tested on ARM architectures.

The ability to run GNOME software on ARM architectures promises to open up a range of computing devices to GNOME developers and distributors. This includes low cost desktop devices, including Raspberry Pi and Endless. It also opens the possibility of running GNOME software on mobile devices more easily. In so doing, these donations help to further GNOME’s mission to bring complete Free Software solutions to as many people as possible.

The following companies and people helped secure ARM donations for the Foundation:

ARM
Andrew Wafaa from ARM quickly responded to our request and reached out internally to find us some hardware. In just a few weeks, he was able to secure an OVERDRIVE 3000 from SoftIron which has an octa-core AMD Opteron A1100 64-bit Cortex A57 ARM processor with 16Gb of RAM and 1TB hard disk. This machine is already hosted in the Red Hat Phoenix datacenter where other GNOME servers are located.

Banana Pi
Leo Xu from Banana Pi reached out to us and donated a total of five Single Board Computers with different Allwinner ARM chips. We will send them to developers interested in enabling such hardware for use with GNOME.

Codethink & Endless
Paul Sherwood from Codethink reached out to us offering us several blades on Codethink’s HP Moonshot system hosted by them in the UK. Endless is sponsoring a project with Codethink to use this hardware to make xdg-app runtime, SDK and app builds for ARM.

Qualcomm
Manik Taneja and Victor Ruiz from Canonical reached out to Ketal Gandhi at Qualcomm about GNOME’s need for ARM hardware. Gandhi was able to have Qualcomm donate four Dragonboard 410c Single Board Computers from the 96boards project. These boards will provide a great platform for application developers who want to test their apps in ARM.

Other Sources of Help

The Foundation would also like to give its thanks to several other people who offered help:

  • Arc Riley who kindly offered rack space
  • Michael Larabel from Phoronix who offered a lot of unused PandaBoards
  • Kevin Fenzi from Fedora who offered hardware from the Fedora infrastructure
  • Mikael Frykholm from Tranquillity Hosting offered us rack space
  • David Tischler from miniNodes offered to buy Raspberry Pi 3s for us if needed
  • Yann Leger from Scaleway who committed to offer ARM servers in the future

Some of the donated ARM boards have already been sent to GNOME contributors to begin development, and the Foundation encourages others to get involved.

Thanks once again to all concerned – the GNOME Foundation sincerely appreciates the support.


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