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[embed-cdt-dev] Project major milestones

(I'm adding some addresses as Cc: since they are not on the list and might be interested)

# Intro

A few years ago, when the first versions of Raspberry Pi were introduced, it was hard to foresee that this toy will start a small revolution, but last year, when Raspberry Pi 4 was announced, with quad-core A72 and 4 GM of RAM, things changed, the new machines proved powerful enough to be worth considering even for software development; and there are millions of them. 

Given that Apple also announced to switch its Macs from Intel to Arm is another sign that Arm CPUs might represent the future, and since I would like to be part of it, my first move was to update the xPack project, which now is fully available on Arm. xpm is available on Arm, and all binary packages are functional on Arm. (one of the most amazing thing to see was qemu blinking the 4 leds of the stm32f4discovery emulated board on a Raspberry screen).

The next move is to provide a version of Eclipse for Arm.

By 'Arm support' I specifically refer to the major Arm GNU/Linux distributions, which use the armhf and aarch64 architectures. All other older Arm architectures are not of interest.

The reference systems to be used for tests are Raspberry Pi OS 32-bit, and the new Raspberry Pi OS 64-bit, currently in beta. Both are based on the conservative Debian 10, so they are generally quite stable.

There are also bleeding edge distributions like Manjaro that run on Raspberry Pi, so there are plenty of options.

# M1 - New releases for all binary xPacks

Apparently not directly related to the project, but actually quite important, new versions for all binary xPacks were released

- arm-none-eabi-gcc
- riscv-none-embed-gcc
- openocd
- qemu-arm
- windows-buil-tools

New binary xPacks are under development

- cmake
- ninja-build
- gcc
- meson

As mentioned before, the real novelty is that all xPacks (except windows-build-tools which are specific to windows) include binaries that run on armhf and aarch64 GNU/Linux distributions.

This was made possible by the new xPack Build Box v3.2, which now includes two more Arm Docker images, for armhf and aarch64.

Unfortunately putting everything together took more time that initially planned, and this delayed the Eclipse releases... :-(

From my point of view, having a complete set of development environments for building the multi-plaftorm binary xPacks, including the new Arm binaries, was a major milestone, since it opens the doors for many future developments, and I'm quite happy that this milestone was finally reached.

# M2 - New Eclipse Embedded CDT releases, including Arm versions

My next major milestone (in the mid-term timeframe) is to add support for Arm in Eclipse, and be able to run the Embed CDT plug-ins on Raspberry Pi 4.

A few months ago when I checked, there were some Arm related files in the repositories, but there was not complete solution.

Q: I would like to ask Jonah/Alexander what are the Eclipse Foundation plans for adding Arm support to Eclipse, and in case the Foundation is also interested in this, what help can I get from the Foundation in this endeavour?

My plan is to start by forking some Eclipse projects and patch them to add Arm support, then use them to build the Eclipse Embedded CDT binaries, including those for Arm.

Please note that I don't ask the Foundation to provide Arm binaries as part of the SimRel, I'd be happy only to see that the new Arm binaries and configurations are accepted upstream, such that if a project has a custom EPP configuration and wishes to generate packages for Arm, to be possible, without having to maintain lots of forks.

I'd be happy to work with Alexander on this, if he is also interested in such a challenge.

# M2.1 Complete migration and release of v5.1.1

On short term, the immediate milestone is to complete the migration to the Foundation, which means:

- to finally release Embed CDT v5.1.1, first with 2020-03, then with 2020-06 (without Arm support)
- to create the new documentation web site

The source code is ready, just that we need to fix some details related to the build procedures; again, the Foundation procedures proved not very fortunate, which means additional delays and frustration. :-(

More details in a separate message to be sent to the list, since it is addressed only to the project committers.



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