Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux and responsible for the development of its kernel, does not see Raspberry boards as a serious option when developing within the ARM architecture. In fact, he defines the experience of trying it as “painful.”
The funny thing is that we know this thanks to the launch of Apple Silicon: Torvalds was giving his opinion on the new Apple ARM processors in the forums of RealWorldTech.com and, at a certain point in the debate, stated the following:
“regardless, it’s a big step for ARM. I’ve been complaining about lack of real developer hardware for a long long time.”
The father of Linux explained that he is not very friendly with 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 ” VM is well done and not overly paravirtualized”, it was “the best way to do at least some ARM kernel” with which they had until now.
“That perhaps says more about the state of non-apple ARM infrastructure than it says about the new Apple hardware. Let’s just say that I’ve been (somewhat loudly) disappointed in the ARM ecosystem for a long long time…”
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, it didn’t take long for them to ask 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 Raspberry PI 4 (ARM Cortex-A72, USB 3.0) or Graviton instances “real developer hardware”?”
II admit there’s a strong mismatch between the systems we develop on and the systems we deploy on. Apple’s A12z Mac Mini seems to be the first real system that combines them. From this point of view, it’s kinda pointless trying to optimize code on an RPi4 development platform for the iPhone or for Fujitsu’s new ARM supercomputer..
Torvalds responds to Graham clarifying that he tried to use a Raspberry a long time ago, and that his conclusion is that he does not want to try to use it again as a development platform “never ever”.
He concedes that perhaps it is better now that he has more memory, but that “trying at the time was so slow and painful that I have no desire to try again.”
About Graviton ( an Amazon Web Services service on ARM architecture), your 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 not a ‘hater’ of the Raspberry Pi
It is important to make clear that, at all times, Torvalds limits its negative opinions about the Raspberry to the field of kernel development, and that on other occasions it has expressed positive opinions about this microcomputer :
“It is so cheap that anyone can buy it as a disposable product, in the good sense of being able to ‘hook’ computers to people who would never approach them otherwise.”
“When the hardware is cheap enough, you can afford to have a bunch of kids who end up going over it if it triggers a few loose cases of people getting involved in return.”