ARM multiprocessor support

November 06, 2014 posted by Martin Husemann

Those following the source-changes mailing list closely may have noticed several evbarm kernels getting "options MULTIPROCESSOR" in the last few days. This is due to those configurations now running properly in SMP mode, thanks to work mostly done by Matt Thomas and Nick Hudson.

The list of supported multiprocessor boards currently is:

  • Banana Pi (BPI)
  • Cubieboard 2 (CUBIEBOARD)
  • Cubietruck (CUBIETRUCK)
  • Merrii Hummingbird A31 (HUMMINGBIRD_A31)

Details how to create bootable media and various other information for the Allwinner boards can be found on the NetBSD/evbarm on Allwinner Technology SoCs wiki page.

The release engineering team is discussing how to bring all those changes into the netbsd-7 branch as well, so that we can call NetBSD 7.0 "the ARM SoC release".

While multicore ARM chips are mostly known for being used in cell phones and tablet devices, there are also some nice "tiny PC" variants out there, like the CubieTruck, which originally comes with a small transparent case that allows piggybacking it onto a 2.5" hard disk:

Image from under creative commons license.

This is nice to put next to your display, but a bit too tiny and fragile for my test lab - so I reused an old (originally mac68k cartridge) SCSI enclosure for mine:

Image by myself under creative commons license.

This machine is used to run regular tests for big endian (!) arm, the results are gathered here. Running it big-endian is just a way to trigger more bugs.

The last test run logged on the page is already done with an SMP kernel. No regressions were found so far, and the other bugs (sligtly more than 30 failures in the test run is way too much) will be addressed one by one.

Now happy multi-ARM-ing everyone, and I am looking forward to a great NetBSD 7.0 release!




Hi, how is the USB OTG support doing? It's a weak spot for Allwinner chips running Linux. Do you know if the OTG port could handle a webcam under Netbsd?

Posted by Jack on November 08, 2014 at 05:54 AM UTC #

Hi! Is the Exynos 4412 board supported? This chip is used in my Odroid U3.

Posted by Anonymous on November 10, 2014 at 05:47 AM UTC #

The Exynos 4412 based Odroid U3 is currently still a WIP, but its capable of booting NetBSD single CPU, with working ethernet and USB. Time has been limited for me but SMP is surely on my short list of TODO, next to eMMC.

Posted by Reinoud Zandijk on November 11, 2014 at 04:39 PM UTC #

BananaPI with Linux shows the anonmaly that writing to fast disks (like WD red) is limited at approx. 30MB/s, while reading gets above 100MB/s which is in the range of the disk specification. Any such measurements with bsd?

Posted by LinAdmin on December 02, 2014 at 03:59 PM UTC #

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