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“I tried at the time and it was painful”

26 mayo, 2021

Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux and responsible for the development of its kernel, you don’t see Raspberry boards as a serious option when developing within the ARM architecture. In fact, he defines the experience of trying as “painful.”

The funny thing is that we know this thanks to the launch of Apple Silicon: Torvalds was giving his opinion on Apple’s new ARM processors on the forums and, at one point in the discussion, stated the following:

“In any case, this is a big step for ARM. I have been complaining about the lack of hardware for a long, long time. [ARM] make it a real option for developers. “

Linux’s father explained that he he is not very fond of developing the kernel using virtual machines (I know it sounds strange: many people love it because it facilitates some things), but if that virtual machine “is well made and is not too paravirtualized”, it was “the best option to develop the kernel in ARM” with which counted until now.

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“Maybe that says more about the state of the non-Apple ARM infrastructure than it does about the new hardware from this company. Let’s just say that the ARM ecosystem had been disappointing for a long time (and I haven’t shut up either).

Why wouldn’t you want to develop on Raspberry, Linus?

Faced with such a statement, we all ask ourselves the same question… and, of course, they did not take long to raise it in the same forum, through the mouth (or keyboard) of Robert David Graham, creator of the intrusion detection software BlackICE:

“Why don’t you consider the Raspberry Pi 4 or Graviton instances to be ‘real options for developers’?

I admit that there is a strong mismatch between the systems in which we develop and in which we implement […] but I use the Raspberry Pi 4 full time as a developer.

[…] I’m curious why you wouldn’t want a RPi in your lab. “

Torvalds responds to Graham clarifying that a long time ago he tried to use a Raspberry, and that his conclusion is that he does not want to try to use it again as a development platform “never again”.

Grant that maybe it’s better now that he has more memory, but that “trying at the time was so slow and painful that I don’t want to try again.”

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About Graviton (an Amazon Web Services service on ARM architecture), his opinion is clear:

“Remote just doesn’t interest me. Why should I, if I don’t even use it as my desktop? I have no interest in a remote piece of hardware.”

Torvalds is no Raspberry Pi hater

It is important to make clear that, at all times, Torvalds limits his negative opinions about the Raspberry to the realm of kernel development, and that at other times yes you have expressed positive opinions about this microcomputer:

“It is so cheap that anyone can buy it as a disposable product, in a good sense of being able to ‘hook’ people to computers who would never otherwise go near them.”

“When the hardware is cheap enough, you can afford to have a bunch of kids go through with it if it triggers a few loose cases of people getting involved in return.”

Image | Based on originals by JericoDelayah & Wallpaper Flare