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Re: Debian ARM success story: Debian desktop on a TS-7300

In message <20060714203731.GN22682@xios>
          Wookey <wookey@aleph1.co.uk> wrote:

> +++ James [06-07-14 14:20 -0400]:
> > Bill Gatliff wrote:
> > > ARM is exclusively a 32-bit architecture now, and was a 26/32-bit one
> > > before that.  It doesn't "scale down to 8-bit uP" chips at all.  Just
> > > doesn't.  But in some instances it does indeed hold its own price-wise
> > > with competing 8-bit chips.  See Philip's line of ARM7 stuff.
> > 
> > You could not be more wrong. Lots of microprocessors (8 and 16 bit) use
> > arm cores. 
> ...
> > Arm has it's roots in 8 bit cores, but pushes the 32 bit cores today. 
> > You can licenses
> > 8 bit processor technology form ARM LTD, or you could in the past......
> This is just drivel. The very first arm CPU (the ARM2) was a 26/32-bit CPU.
> This was before ARM existed as a separate company: it was part of the
> now-defunct Acorn Computers (who's just-about to be knocked-down old HQ is
> about 400m down the road from me).
> The only sense in which 'Arm has its roots in 8 bit cores' is that Acorn
> designed and built the BBC micro based on the 6502 before they invented the
> ARM architecture and made the Archimedes machines. 
> As Bill said, thumb lets you use a 16-bit bus and memory on a 32-bit CPU,
> but all the registers are still 32-bit inside. 
> I don't know about the rest of your long opinion piece, but if this bit of
> info is anything to go by, then it is all highly suspect. 

I'd tend to agree. He started off good, but it got worse and worse into
nonsense.   The history of ARM is well documented of course in several
places on the net, and so is Acorn.

What is perhaps less known, and reference to comments made by someone
else, is that there are quite a number of ARM-based desktop machine
variations, although the overall number of them in use today is quite
smaller.  Two of these - the A5000 and RiscPC made by Acorn were used to
develop ARM Linux itself, and some of Debian ARM was also done on

The native OS of these machines is RISC OS, but most also run ARM Linux
- I did the port to the Iyonix - an IOP321 600MHz XScale machine, and
there's also the A9, which has a 400MHz Samsung part.

Also, the Psion palmtop machines had StrongARMs and PXAs in them.

On a cost and performance basis, running Linux, these machines can
hardly compete - I can pick up a new Sempron machine with Linspire for
$150, but for many embedded applications and indeed RISC OS as a
compatively lightweight desktop OS, ARM is right there.

Peter Naulls - peter@chocky.org        | http://www.chocky.org/
RISC OS Community Wiki - add your own content   | http://www.riscos.info/

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