[cfarm-announces] New M1 machine running Linux natively: gcc103

CFarm Annoucements cfarm-announces at lists.tetaneutral.net
Fri Mar 11 09:46:22 CET 2022

We are very excited to announce the availability of an Apple M1 machine
running Linux natively! It is accessible over SSH to all current and
future compile farm users at gcc103.fsffrance.org.

To our knowledge, this is the first publicly-accessible Linux host running
on the M1 chip. We hope it will lead to interesting results. For example,
it is now possible to do performance comparisons with other aarch64 hosts
(gcc80, gcc185) or with our existing Apple M1 machine running macOS
(gcc304). It should also help in improving free software support for the
peculiar M1 chipset, especially its heterogeneous core architecture.

The CPU has 8 heterogeneous cores: 4 "efficiency" cores running at up to 2
GHz, and 4 "performance" cores running at up to 3.2 GHz. All cores can be
used at the same time. This is similar to the big.LITTLE architecture from
ARM. Don't be fooled by the 8GB of memory available on the machine:
compiling GCC with all 8 cores is incredibly fast and peaks at less than
1.5GB of total memory usage.

Providing this machine publicly is only possible thanks to the hard work
of the Asahi Linux [1] project: they have been working for months on
porting the Linux kernel to the new M1 chipset, with a focus on
upstreaming the result of this work. We are running their kernel:

  Linux gcc103.fsffrance.org 5.17.0-rc6-asahi-next-20220301-25570-gc09fe28af1d3 #1 SMP PREEMPT Thu Mar 10 09:33:48 CET 2022 aarch64 GNU/Linux

The userspace is a standard aarch64 Debian bookworm distribution.
Many thanks to Jeffrey Walton for donating the hardware, to Zach van Rijn
for figuring out how to run Debian on this hardware, to Adélie Linux [2]
for hosting it, and again to Asahi Linux for the hard work making this

For those interested in the full details, Zach has written up a complete
installation walkthrough here: https://zv.io/blog/asahi-linux/

[1] https://asahilinux.org/
[2] https://www.adelielinux.org/

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