The SARPi64 Project
What is the SARPi64 Project?
The reason it exists, and the main purpose of the SARPi64 Project, is to; be supportive, be constructive, collaborate, and contribute, in any way possible towards 64-bit ARM architecture running Slackware. It's not really about the Raspberry Pi. It's about Slackware, and obviously Slackware ARM in particular. There really is no better platform on which to learn Linux than Slackware. It's one of the most involving operating systems available and the best educational tool you can use, and on that basis Slackware remains peerless. It's also one of the most rewarding in terms of experience and knowledge acquired from using the operating system. "Use Slackware, learn Linux." ;-)
The SARPi64 Project recognises Slackware as the most comprehensive and unabridged Linux distribution of them all.
The SARPi64 Project is involved in the building, testing, and efficacy of ARM64 AArch64 compiled kernels and packages running on Slackware ARM. The project began circa September/October 2016 on the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. Progress has been slow since that time, mainly due to the RPi3 device not really being a suitable device on which to efficiently build 64-bit binaries (e.g. compiling 64-bit binaries from source code can take somewhat longer than their 32-bit cousins).
So, with the advent of the Raspberry Pi 4 [24 June 2019] the mission will be to see if this ARM SBC device is up to the task of compiling 64-bit Slackware packages more productively and efficiently than it's predecessor(s). The ultimate goal would be to see the manifestation of a full Slackware ARM64 AArch64 operating system. However, that is a long way off but always a feature on the "pipe-dream todo" list.
"Why does the SARPi64 Project use the Raspberry Pis for this task when there are much more suitable devices on the market?" you may wonder. The answer is simple; 64-bit ARM operating systems are few and far between right now. There's more Raspberry Pis on the face of the planet than any other ARM SBC device. Therefore, it makes good sense to choose a device that is very well supported and frequently updated. So for example, if something (e.g. firmware) wasn't working for whatever reason(s), even with ARM64 AARCH64 builds, there's a greater chance of it being fixed upstream because the Raspberry Pi devices have the largest userbase of any SBC device and a very active support team behind them. The Raspberry Pi is also very easy to work with, compared to a lot of other ARM SBC devices, regarding booting and firmware. Unfortunately, the firmware provided by the Raspberry Pi Foundation is closed-source and specific to their SBC devices.
Most of the work which the SARPi64 Project is involved in is unorthadox and often ventures into uncharted territory. So, the more facilitating a device is to work with, the more acquiescent it is, in this precarious environment. Although the firmware for the device(s) is closed-source, the Raspberry Pi Foundation engineers [i.e. the maintainers] do a very good job with updates, as well as keeping on top of any issues that arise, and are very accommodating towards the end-user. Even for rogue-maverick projects like ours! :-D
Just be mindful that everything involved in the SARPi64 Project is prototype and experimental. ;-)
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Updated: 11 Jan 2020 09:35:07