Linux News Today: BQ Ubuntu Tablet Has 64-bit CPU and Will Be Able to Run 32-bit ARM Apps
The BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu tablet is powered by a 64-bit ARM processor, so the users have already started to ask around if they will be able to run the 32-bit apps from the phone on the tablet. The short answer is yes. The long answer is that it will take a little bit of work.
More and more devices are shipping with 64-bit ARM processors, but this is the first one that runs Ubuntu. All the other phones that have been made available until now have 32-bit ARM processors, and the same can be said about the community maintained one. Here enters the BQ Aquaris M10 with its 64-bit processor, so the natural question is about 32-bit apps from the regular phone running on the new tablet.
We all know that we can run 32-bit apps on 64-bit Linux systems, and, for the most part, there aren’t any major issues. This takes a little bit of work, but it’s doable, so it’s easy to surmise that it will be possible on the tablet as well, although it’s possible that Canonical will have to do a little extra work.
A single app for all platforms
Canonical spent a lot of time and effort to inform the community that in a converged universe developers will only have to build a single application that runs on all form factors, but that should also apply to processor architecture.
An Ubuntu user asked this very question in the official mailing list, and he got his answer pretty quickly.
“Thanks to multiarch support in dpkg you should technically be able to run them. practically i have no idea how much hackery to the system that requires to get working though, after all you still have a read only system image (and I’m not sure how far the snappy support on the tablet is yet, which would allow you to simply bundle the 32bit libs very easily via snapcraft in case the changes would be harmful to the OS itself),” Ubuntu developer Oliver Grawert explained.
Also, Canonical’s Stephen M. Webb explained pretty much the same thing, but he was a little bit more confident. “At the moment the Linux kernel is 64-bit to match the CPU, but the userspace runtime is effectively the same 32-bit armhf runtime we use on other Ubuntu Touch devices. tl;dr you will be able to run the same 32bit arm applications on it.”
One thing is certain, the BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu tablet will definitely shake things up in the market.