The first steps closer to Linux on Qualcomm-powered laptops from HP, Asus, and Lenovo could make for a better-performing enjoy than Windows 10. In December 2017, Microsoft and Qualcomm introduced a partnership to pair Windows 10 and Snapdragon Arm processors for extremely-thin LTE-related netbooks with a 20+ hour battery existence. This Windows-on-Arm initiative has faced several hindrances, with the primary-generation HP Envy x2 and Asus Novato criticized for terrible overall performance and app compatibility in Windows 10, due in massive part to an inline x86 emulator for apps written for Windows on Intel or AMD processors.
Now, a set of programmers and tool hackers are operating to convey the right help for Ubuntu to Arm-powered Windows laptops, starting with first-technology Snapdragon 835 structures, just like the HP Envy x2 and Asus Novato. The aarch64-laptops challenge on GitHub provides prebuilt snapshots for the pocket above-book PCs and the Lenovo Miix 630. Although Ubuntu and other Linux distributions support aarch64 (ARMv8) through default, diverse barriers such as the layout and configuration of Qualcomm Snapdragon processors make those default pictures not practically usable. The aarch64-laptops task builders are aiming to cope with these difficulties, although work remains ongoing. Presently, the TouchPad does no longer paintings nicely at the Asus, with all three missing proper support for on-board garage and WiFi, which rely on UFS guide. According to their documentation, that is being labored on upstream.
Likewise, expanded photographs aren’t yet supported, but Linux benchmarking internet site Phoronix notes that the freedreno assignment should supply this. The aspect components are expected to be successfully incorporated right into a working day-by-day driver “within a few months.” With that to be had, it is possible that Arm-powered laptops on Linux could be more performant than on Windows, as open-source apps to be had thru Ubuntu’s package deal repository will run natively on the Arm processor instead of depending upon an inline x86 emulator. Relatedly, Mozilla introduced a partnership last December with Qualcomm to develop an adequately optimized model of Firefox for use on aarch64.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
An organization of programmers and tool hackers is operating to carry proper support for Ubuntu to Arm-powered Windows laptops, starting with first-generation Snapdragon 835 systems. This remains a piece-in-development, as UFS assist wishes to be completed to aid internal storage and WiFi. Likewise, extended pictures will depend upon freedreno integration.