Linux kernel king Linus Torvalds this week dismissed cross-platform efforts to support his contention that Arm-compatible processors will never dominate the server market.
Responding to interest in Arm’s announcement of its data center-oriented Neoverse N1 and E1 CPU cores on Wednesday, and a jibe about his affinity for native x86 development, Torvalds almost abandoned his commitment to civil discourse while doing his best to dampen enthusiasm for a world of heterogeneous hardware harmony.
For Torvalds, this supposedly unavoidable preference for hardware architecture homogeneity means technical types will gladly pay more for x86 cloud hosting, if only for the assurance that software tested in a local environment performs the same way in the data center.
During his time as Apple’s CEO, Jobs took a similar stance toward native application development, going so far as to ban Adobe’s Flash technology on devices running iOS in 2010. For Jobs, cross-platform code represented a competitive threat, bugs, and settling for lowest-common denominator apps.
For Torvalds, it may be that supporting Arm architecture complicates kernel development, demanding more work and creating more potential issues to resolve. But his argument is more about the bias encouraged by local developer hardware. Programmers ran Windows and Linux on their personal machines and those workloads shaped the server market, he suggested: craft and test code locally, confidently deploy in servers. The scarcity of developers running Arm devices for their daily work helps ensure Arm architecture won’t come to dominate the server market, the kernel chief seemed to say.
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht