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You can now run Ubuntu Server on RISC-V

(Image credit: RISC-V International)
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Canonical has announced that its Ubuntu Server (opens in new tab) operating system now supports two RISC-V boards from SiFive, the HiFive Unleashed and HiFive Unmatched.

The announcement is significant as SiFive is gearing up the RISC-V platform to take on Arm (opens in new tab). With SiFive being courted by the likes of Intel (opens in new tab), it wouldn’t be a surprise if RISC-V soon starts to pitch itself as a viable alternative to Arm, not just for powering embedded and IoT devices, but also for certain types of cost-effective and power-efficient small business servers (opens in new tab).

Speaking to TechRadar Pro, Aniket Ponkshe, Director, Strategic Alliances at Canonical said the release not only allows developers to prototype their solutions, but also provides a path to market, something that has been missing in the RISC-V ecosystem.

“As the ecosystem scales, there is a natural centre of gravity that develops around 'free to use' silicon IP...Getting a first-class Ubuntu working on this exciting new set of silicon provides a great starting point,” said Ponkshe.

More to follow

The Ubuntu Server RISC-V releases were jointly developed by engineers at both Canonical and SiFive as part of a “long-term collaboration between the two companies,” noted Canonical in the announcement (opens in new tab).

Ponkshe told us that last week’s announcement was just the first of many. When asked if Canonical plans to support the newly announced SiFive Performance P550, touted as the highest-performance RISC-V processor that offers significant performance-per-area advantage than Arm Cortex-A75 (opens in new tab), Ponkshe responded with an emphatic yes.

“As companies integrate this core in their SoCs and come to market, Canonical/Ubuntu will naturally work with our silicon partners to bring Ubuntu support to development kits, and help customers take these to production,” said Ponkshe, adding that some “exciting stuff” should materialize in the coming months.

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.