Some random musing about Ubuntu ARM Netbook Edition.
Last month Canonical held its Ubuntu Platform Team rally in Dallas TX. During this rally the Unity 2D launcher was added to the public archive for use with the Ubuntu ARM Netbook edition. We had hoped it would be fairly simply to replace the existing EFL (Enlightenment Foundations Library) launcher with the QT based Unity launcher.
What a surprise, it was not as easy as we hoped, what happened was we discovered a nasty crash bug that only effected the ARM QT builds. It took quite a lot of time to isolate the issue. It finally turned out to be a compiler bug that only raised it’s nasty head in specific C++ code! Once we were able to show the error, we handed it over to the Linaro tool/compiler team and they were able to fix it in less then 2 weeks! Yea.
We now have an ARM image for OMAP that uses the Unity 2D interface as default. It’s fast, clean and works pretty well. Why 2D? Well most ARM SoC’s don’t have open source 3D drivers, though most do have 3D capabilities, so the default image will use the 2D Unity interface. Later once Compiz and the NUKs libraries are ported to Open GL ES then we can worry about getting the 3D Unity working on ARM too. Since Linaro is working on this now, I don’t expect this will take too long to happen. From the looks of the Linaro schedules it looks likely that Compiz and NUK’s will understand Open GL ES right after Ubuntu 11.04 is released.