2013/10/31 Booting ARM64 Ubuntu Core Images (on the Foundation Model)

For a while now we have been hearing about the new arm64 machines coming
from ARM licencees. New machines are always interesting, new architectures
even more so. For me this one is particularly interesting as is seems to
offer such a much higher bang for power consume ratio than we are used to,
and that can only bring down hosted server prices. Cheap is something
we can all relate to.

There has been some awsome work going on in both Debian and Ubuntu to
bring up this new architecture as official ports. In the Ubuntu Saucy
Salamander development cycle we started to see arm64 builds, and with
the release of Ubuntu 13.10 there was a new Ubuntu Core image for arm64.

This is awsome (to geeks at least), even if right now it is almost
impossible to actually get anything which can boot it. Luckily for us ARM
offers a "Foundation Model" for this new processor. This is essentially an
emulator akin to qemu which can run arm64 binary code on your amd64 machine,
allbeit rather slowly.

As one of the Ubuntu Kernel Engineers, the release of the Ubuntu Core image
for arm64 signalled time for there to be an official Ubuntu Kernel for
the arm64 architecture. This would allow us to start booting and testing
these images. Obviously as there is no actual hardware available for
the general public, it seemed appropriate that the first Ubuntu Kernel
would target the Foundation Model. These kernel are now prototyped,
and the first image published into the archive.

As part of this work, indeed to allow validation of my new kernel, I was
forced to work out how to plumb these kernels into the Ubuntu Core image
and boot them using the Foundation Model from ARM. Having done the work
I have documented this in the Ubuntu WIKI.

If such things exite you and you are interested in detailed instructions
check out the Ubuntu WIKI:


Have fun!