Using ARM based machines
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  1. #1
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    Using ARM based machines

    I am curious about using Fedora on an ARM based machine. I see that there are ARM versions of most of the composes. Even Workstation which surprised me. I've always thought of ARM machines as being single bord machines intended for operating some hardware machine or a kiosk.

    Is there someplace where I can read an overview of what people are using arm machines for. I would also like to understand hardware issues like how much memory they have and do they have interfaces for network, keyboard, mouse, and display.

    Thanks in advance for your help on this.
    Have a Great Day!

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    Re: Using ARM based machines

    I use several raspberrypi devices. For example, some of them are glued at the back of large TV screens, which boot directly into firefox and display a special AJAX/JSON based application that displays important information.

    Unfortunately, every time I tried to use Fedora, it failed miserably. I am not sure why and I never had the free time to debug the problems. Thus, I use the original raspbian distro that comes with raspberrypi.

    Another great use, is for running various services (web server, email server, http proxy, etc) without using a real PC. While most people use VMs for that sort of thing, if the host machine dies, then all VMs die with it, while independent raspberrypi devices give you an extra layer of independence.

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    Re: Using ARM based machines

    Currently I write Python code to operate mechanisms that are connected to a desktop PC via USB. The PCs run Fedora Workstation including the Python libraries I use and an IDE (Eclipse). Initially I thought these ARM SBCs were for running information displays and perhaps things like candy machines, but then I saw that Fedora Workstation is available for them. This led me to think it might be a good thing to deploy an ARM SBC with a mechanism to operate the mechanism instead of a desktop PC.

    What I'm really trying to get a feel for is if any one is running Fedora Workstation on ARM SBCs and what the issues are with regard to connecting a display, keyboard, mouse, and USB. Also, is it feasible to load and run an IDE like Eclipse, or possibly Thonny. I wouldn't plan to develop the code on the ARM SBC but I like to have the IDE in case there is a problem in the deployed system that I need to troubleshoot.

    Thanks again for your continued help on this.
    Last edited by TablePC; 2nd August 2019 at 09:48 PM.
    Have a Great Day!

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    Re: Using ARM based machines

    The specs on the latest RaspberryPi are probably good enough for most tasks:
    https://www.raspberrypi.org/products...-pi-4-model-b/

    In fact it is probably over-kill for a lot of projects where an Arduino would be a better choice.

    [I am currently doing some initial research for a project that will involve a RaspberryPi and numerous Arduinos chatting over Bluetooth, but its very early days yet, so I don't have much that I can contribute.]

    User error. Please replace user and try again

  5. #5
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    Re: Using ARM based machines

    As a hardware "Geek", I find the ARM architecture a very interesting place to invest my time. Although the licensed design is common, the actual chip implementations produced by each manufacturer vary significantly. Then when you add a selected ARM chip to a SBC design you get even more variation. The result in today's state of the ARM world is that you are faced with a choice between selecting an SBC implementation and using one of the Linux distributions which support that device, or selecting a Linux distribution and using one of the SBC's supported by that distribution.

    Setting up a complete development environment directly on your selected ARM SBC even further constrains your Linux distribution options. I have been "playing" at implementing Fedora on three different ARM SBC's for the past couple of years with varying degrees of success. My ARM SBC's of choice are Raspberri Pi 3 by Raspberry Pi Foundation, BeagleBone Black by TI, and TinkerBoard by ASUS.

    Of course the hardware I find most attractive, the TinkerBoard, is least compatible with my preferred distribution, Fedora. One of the biggest problems, is that after spending much time and energy getting all the system components properly configured to actually achieve a successful "Boot", everything falls apart with the next release.

    What I have now decided is to do all my development on a virtual aarch64 machine and produce complete boot images for target ARM SBC's. Just made this decision as of Fedora 30, so TBD on how well any solutions I build transition across releases.

    Do not take any of my comments above as criticism, I'm learning a lot and enjoying every minute. The ARM world is very much like the challenges of Linux in early 2000's.

    See if this helps:
    https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Archi...8/Installation
    Laptop: Toshiba / Intel B960 2.20Ghz x2/ 4GB/ 320GB SataII/ Intel HD/ fc30.x86_64
    Tower: GigaByte (970A) / AMD FX 8320 3.5Ghz x8/ 16GB/ 9TB Sata III/ AMD 6770HD/ fc30.x86_64
    Bookshelf: Shuttle DS61 (H61)/ i3-3225 3.3Ghz x2/ 16GB/ 320GB Sata II/ Intel HD 4000/ fc29.x86_64
    Embedded: BeagleBone Blk / ARM AM3358 1 GHz x1/ 512MB/ 2GB eMMC/ PowerVR SGX530/ fc27.armv7hl

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    Re: Using ARM based machines

    Well there certainly are a lot of model variants to choose from. I wasn't aware that Beagle bone black was in this group. About three years ago I bought one and never had any success loading anything to it that would run. On the other hand I didn't devote lots of time to it.

    Basically I'm just looking to reduce the physical foot print of the mechanism controllers I create. Foot print seems to be all I will get too. The prices I've seen for the ARM SBCs is in the same range I pay for the desktop PCs I use for controllers now.

    From what you all have said, I'm guessing that there is only a small chance of success. That being said the investment to try isn't huge. So I'm thinking I'll go ahead and buy one. Which ARM SBC do you think I'd have the best chance of loading Workstation on and having it run? I won't be giving you any trouble if it turns out that I can't get it to work.

    Thanks for your continuing help.
    Have a Great Day!

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    Re: Using ARM based machines

    It was not my intent to discourage you from getting into this. If you are going to use the Fedora distribution the best place to start is here:

    https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Archi...M/Installation

    After you install the "arm-image-installer" you can check out the file " /user/share/doc/arm-image-installer/SUPPORTED-BOARDS " for the current list of SBC's. (it does change over time)

    Reading the current list it looks like the TI "am335x_evm" looks to be a good candidate for Beaglebone Black ( I'm still running F27 image due to changes I haven't invested the time required to deploy). The "rpi3" looks promising for the Raspberry Pi 3 SBC.

    The problem with the Raspberry Pi 3 is the micro USB power source is marginal under even moderate loads. The newer Raspberry Pi 4 implements a USB C port which will deliver adequate power. The risk is the rpi 4 "may" not be totally transparent upgrade from rpi 3. If I were spending my $, I would buy the rpi 4 and if necessary wait for any updates to support.

    I still like the TinkerBoard from ASUS as the best current hardware implementation. Once you get up the learning curve and feel better about working with the software components, it yields a highly capable platform to build solutions on.
    Laptop: Toshiba / Intel B960 2.20Ghz x2/ 4GB/ 320GB SataII/ Intel HD/ fc30.x86_64
    Tower: GigaByte (970A) / AMD FX 8320 3.5Ghz x8/ 16GB/ 9TB Sata III/ AMD 6770HD/ fc30.x86_64
    Bookshelf: Shuttle DS61 (H61)/ i3-3225 3.3Ghz x2/ 16GB/ 320GB Sata II/ Intel HD 4000/ fc29.x86_64
    Embedded: BeagleBone Blk / ARM AM3358 1 GHz x1/ 512MB/ 2GB eMMC/ PowerVR SGX530/ fc27.armv7hl

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    Re: Using ARM based machines

    Well, the vast majority of computers in the world are ARM based SBCs. There are several billion of them out there and every year hundreds of millions more are added.

    However, the way to get one working, is to go to the original manufacturer of the board and see what they offer. So you basically have to buy the board with its custom version of Linux. There is no generic version that will work on anything. Making your own custom version of Linux for your own board, is a huge job - been there, done that, not again, thanks. I now got better things to waste my time on, but basically, you got to have Linux with all the sources, uboot, dropbear and busybox, plus an infinite supply of coffee and chocolate bars...
    --
    Have fun!
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    Re: Using ARM based machines

    is it feasible to load and run an IDE like Eclipse
    Well, maybe on a PI-4 with 2G or 4G onboard. Since Eclipse is Java based it will probably run 'slow' and slow to load. Not sure what you would need Eclipse for as you plenty of other fast editors for python3 applications. I've done a lot of python work and I've only used notepad++(windows) or Geany/nano in the Linux world for development. I tend to not use the RPI GUI as I do all my work on a Linux host PC and keep the RPIs headless. Anything I need done on the RPIs can be done at the command line through SSH.

    As for Fedora on RPI, I have not tried it. I did experiment with other OSs but always went back to Raspbian. It does everything I need a Linux OS to do and comes pre-'wired' with libraries and such to work with RPI GPIO.

    What do I use the RPI/Beagle Bone/etc. for? For fun of course. I use the ARM SBC (RPIs mostly) for controlling lights, sensing, robotic development (hobby style). With the RPI4, I have been looking at a simple file server since it now has fast USB 3 support. I've used a PI-Zero for the PI-Hole application. Work as a DNS server. I have one working as a PDP-11 simulator which was a fun project. People also using them for retro computing (games/simulation). My son has one helping with 3D printing....
    Last edited by rclark; 6th August 2019 at 05:24 PM.

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