Introducing ARMbuntu – Ubuntu for ARM processors.

Well, holed up in bed, as I am, with the flu, I finally had time to finish this off, after almost a year. ARMbuntu is an attempt to port Ubuntu (Dapper Drake) to the ARM architecture.

I built it by running a copy of Debian/ARM (Sarge) under QEMU (instructions here), and then slowly building Ubuntu’s source packages until I had enough to run a very minimal system. Usually they built cleanly, but in a few cases I had to apply some patches (glibc is one that springs to mind), and for some other packages I’ve done really dodgy things like skipping all the testing, because it was just too slow and for others. Most of the time was taken up figuring out whether Debian sarge/etch packages would work as build-dependencies, and if not, compiling up build-deps from Ubuntu’s sources.

There’s no kernel packages, currently I’m using a kernel image that I found on the QEMU website; basically, all that is available at this stage is enough to satisfy the dependencies for the ubuntu-minimal package, and build-essential.

I didn’t have any real reason for working on this… just too much spare time, last year, and too many spare cpu cycles. I know I could probably have done it faster with a cross-compiler or Scratchbox, but as I already had the QEMU/arm system working, it seemed like less effort this way.

I don’t have enough bandwidth to handle lots of people potentially trying to suck it down at once, so I’ve set up a bittorrent tracker instead. If anyone really wants a copy quickly, drop me an email and I’ll point you to a url where you can get it.

Not sure what I should do next, with it. Maybe some Ubuntu people out there have some suggestions.

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