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Works on Arm News 2019-W16

In the news

  • Isambard performance at Cray User Group Montreal
  • Lenovo Yoga C630 first impressions
  • Firefox Beta for Windows 10 first impressions
  • Git and Github setup for Windows 10 on Arm
  • Chocolatey package manager for Windows 10 on Arm
  • Fedora 30 on Jetson TX1/TX2 status
  • Kubernetes on Jetson TX2
  • Debian Buster on Hisilicon D03/D05 servers
  • Optimus Prime embedded Linux system
  • Jetson Nano review forthcoming

Isambard performance at Cray User Group Montreal

Simon Mcintosh-Smith from the University of Bristol is planning to publish the first Isambard full scaling results at the CRAY User Group (CUG) conference in Montreal next month. The presentation will show results on up to 164 dual socket TX2 nodes for the first time. The results show Isambard matching an equivalent Skylake based Cray system at that scale.

The Cray User Group meeting (CUG) is in Montreal on May 5-9 2019 at the Hotel William Gray.

Lenovo Yoga C630 first impressions

I'm writing this from a Lenovo Yoga C630, a laptop based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 8-core arm64 CPU. It's running a Windows Insider version of Windows 10 on Arm, currently 18362.30.

I'm trying very hard to make this my only use daily machine for work, and have gotten pretty far so far. My daily routine includes a browser (Firefox), two-factor authentication (Authy), a Linux shell (Ubuntu under WSL), video conferencing (Zoom), and git, plus generally trying things out to see how they work.

The hardware is quite reasonable, and I'm getting to be fond of having a laptop with a touch screen. The keyboard works just fine, though my fingers have had to adjust to Windows keyboard combos instead of Mac keyboard combos.

One goal all along for Works on Arm has been to put together a complete end-to-end Arm powered production pipeline for the newsletter. This edition has been prepared using vim 8.0.1453, which ships as part of the Ubuntu subsystem for WSL. So far so good!

Firefox Beta for Windows 10 first impressions

The daily browser for this laptop is Firefox, which was first out of the gate to deliver a stable beta for Windows 10 on Arm.

First impressions are good, coming from this long-time Chrome user. Pages load pretty much the way you'd expect them to, the system is snappy and responsive, and generally there have been few surprises.

One glitch that I ran into which seems to be remedied is running video conferencing systems (Zoom and Jitsi) from within the browser. Asa Dotzler of Mozilla described the issue to me as follows: "Our WebRTC implementation relies on Direct2D, which doesn't currently have ARM64-native DLLs. The fix is coming in the next Windows update, and it should just work when that gets upgraded." And sure enough, when I did my latest upgrade, something changed and the problems I had been seeing seem resolved.

Git and Github setup for Windows 10 on Arm

Part of my daily routine is Git and Github, and so that was an early task of setting up this Windows 10 on Arm laptop. My preferred environment on it is Linux, so I'm using it within the Ubuntu WSL shell. However, git has always been confusing to me regarding setting up authentication, and I wrestled a bit with two-factor auth to convince it to know who I was and that I was authorized.

Kristaps Štrāls is in the same situation, and he wrote up a good and useful tutorial on how to integrate Github authentication into the Windows environment. His approach is clever: use a native Windows version of git ("Portable Git") as the credential store, and then point your credential helper at this Windows binary. This gives you a native UI so that you can enter your two-factor auth code when prompted. It wasn't an obvious approach, but it works quite well. Make sure you get the 32-bit Windows version to allow it to run under emulation.

Alas for me, this worked once, and then the next day I wasn't able to get it to work - not sure yet whether it's user error, or something that got updated in a system update, or something mysterious. My last try at "git push" from the WSL Ubuntu command line failed, so I had to cut and paste this into a browser window. Something more to learn!

Chocolatey package manager for Windows 10 on Arm

Chocolatey is a package manager for Windows, allowing you to have a familiar workflow to install applications and their dependencies from a common command line interface.

Out of the box, Chocolatey runs on Windows 10 on Arm, but in some cases it will pick the wrong version of software to install, choosing a 64-bit version when the 32-bit version is required. This is fixed in a forthcoming point release of the software, and you can work around it until that release is out by a command line override:

choco install vlc --forcex32

Details of forthcoming additional Chocolatey support for Windows 10 on Arm can be found on Github or in the Chocolatey Community Slack.

Fedora 30 on Jetson TX1/TX2 status

Peter Robinson of the Fedora project reports progress on getting Fedora 30 to run on the Jetson TX1 and TX2 systems and the Jetson Nano. No releases yet, but tune into Peter's Twitter account for news.

Kubernetes on Jetson TX2

Github user buptliuwei has a writeup of issues identified and obstacles overcome in bringing up Kubernetes on the Jetson TX2. The project has a goal of building a multi-platform Kubernetes cluster and scheduling CPU and GPU jobs appropriately.

The writeup notes several kernel issues that need to be addressed, including support for nf_conntrack, xt_set, vxlan and openvswitch.

Debian Buston on HiSilicon D03/D05 servers

Debian Buster (Debian 10) is in development. It has a Linux 4.19 based kernel, and should run unmodified on SBSA standard arm64 servers.

An issue has been identified on HiSilicon (Huawei) D03/D05 servers, where a necessary kernel patch to support network drivers was not successfully upstreamed. If you have this equipment, you'll want to be attentive to the discussion.

Optimus Prime

The Optimus Prime is an Allwinner H5 and H6 based embedded Linux system, built with a SOM on a carrier board. It is designed for environments where a rugged embedded system will need to have extended temperature range.

Jetson Nano review forthcoming

Your editor has purchased a Jetson Nano and will be plugging everything in over the next few weeks with the hope of producing a review. This quad core, 4GB, 128 GPU device looks to be promising as either a headless compute and inference engine or as a desktop computer - we'll see which use case wins out. Shipment direct from Nvidia was prompt.

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