Linux Kernel Developers Discuss Dropping A Bunch Of Old CPUs
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 10 January 2021 at 09:12 AM EST. 66 Comments
LINUX KERNEL --
With Linux 5.10 having shipped as the latest Long Term Support (LTS) release to be maintained for at least the next five years, a discussion has begun over dropping a number of old and obsolete CPU platform support currently found within the mainline kernel. For many of the architectures being considered for removal they haven't seen any new commits in years but as is the case once proposals are made for them to be removed there are often passionate users wanting the support to be kept.

Longtime kernel developer Arnd Bergmann looked at ARM platforms that could be removed following Linux 5.10 LTS as well as other CPU architectures without any real signs of life.

Bergmann has proposed removing from the Linux kernel tree the following ARM targets:

- ASM9260
- AXXIA
- BCM/Kona
- DigiColor
- Dove
- EFM32
- NSPIRE
- PicoXcell (already slated for removal)
- PRIMA2
- Spear
- Tango
- U300
- VT8500
- ZX

For most of those, they haven't even seen any real changes in more than a half-decade.

Some additional ARM platforms being considered for removal include:

- CLPS711x
- CNS3xxx
- EP93xx
- Footbridge
- Gemini
- HISI
- Highbank
- IOP32x
- IXP4xx
- LPC18xx
- LPC32xx
- MMP
- Moxart
- MV78xx0
- Nomadik
- OXNA
- PXA
- RPC
- SA1100

Those ARM targets are still seeing some interest/code, but if the maintainers of them agree, they might be dropped too.

Some non-ARM platforms that might also be candidates for removal include:

- H8300
- C6X
- SPARC/Sun4M
- PowerPC/CELL (separate from the PlayStation 3 code)
- PowerPC/CHRP
- PowerPC/AmigaOne
- PowerPC/Maple
- M68K for Apollo, HP300, Sun3, and Q40.
- MIPS JAZZ
- MIPS Cobalt

Furthermore there are some CPU platforms that are just very old and might be time to retire them:

- 80486SX/DX
- Alpha 2106x
- IA64 Merced (first-gen Itanium)
- MIPS R3000/TX39xx
- Select older PowerPC models past the original 601 that was recently removed.
- SuperH SH-2.
- 68000/68328 (Dragonball)

Nothing has been firmly decided yet but this is the latest discussions. The discussion over dropping old CPU support was started Friday within Old platforms: bring out your dead.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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