Raspberry Pi has shown the power of Linux on ARM—but ARM’s many branches have driven Linus Torvalds to profanity.

A new coding effort recently folded into the next version of the Linux kernel may finally resolve the long-running problems associated with Linux on ARM processors. While devices like the Raspberry Pi have shown what can be done with Linux on the low-cost, low-power ARM processor, the burden of developing Linux on the growing number of ARM-derivative processors on the market has been, as Linus Torvalds himself has described it, “a fucking pain in the ass.”

Version 3.7 of the Linux kernel will be the first to support multiple versions of the ARM processor—a starting point toward a much-needed consolidation of Linux support for the system-on-a-chip architecture. In the long run, the changes could mean broader support for ARM by popular Linux distributions, making it easier for developers to build versions for a broader variety of target devices—everything from enterprise servers based on massive arrays of ARM processors to tablets and smartphones. And other changes in the 3.7 kernel could make it more attractive for low-cost touch tablets and other mobile devices—as well as a hacker’s replacement for Windows RT.

One build to rule them all

Linux’s fragmented support for the many variations of ARM processor architecture has been a source of frustration for Linux developers and users. Until now, each implementation of ARM by manufacturers has had its own associated kernel code tree, creating a code management nightmare.

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via Ars Technica » Technology Lab http://feeds.arstechnica.com/~r/arstechnica/technology-lab/~3/g_lR60onCy8/