Open Source Technology for Emerging Platforms

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Emerging computer platforms promise substantial benefits over current systems. For example, hyperscale ARM™ servers promise savings of up to 90% in space, power consumption, and cooling requirements. Despite the compelling benefits, adoption of these systems hinges on the availability of industry-standard software.

Open Source Technology for Emerging Platform (OSTEP) applied research at Seneca's Centre for Development of Open Technology is focused on bringing standard open source software, including Linux, web, application server, file and print, and database software, to these emerging platforms.

NSERC Industrial Research Chair

Seneca College has been awarded an NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges (IRCC) grant for OSTEP research.

The OSTEP chairholder is Chris Tyler; the term of the IRCC grant is March 2012 to March 2017.

We are grateful to NSERC for their strong support of the OSTEP program.

Linux on 64-Bit ARM Enterprise Systems

The main thrust of the OSTEP research is on Linux-based software for 64-bit ARM computer systems. These systems have the potential to reduce the power, space, and cooling requirements of datacentre server systems, and introduce new levels of competition between server architectures (we've had one dominant architecture for a while, which has led to reduced innovation and development).

LEAP: Linux for Enterprise ARM Platforms

The LEAP project produces an experimental Linux distribution for ARM64 platforms. Information on this project is hosted at http://leapproject.ca

AArch64 Porting and Optimizations

Current Linux on 64-ARM work is focused on completing some of the few remaining package ports, and optimizing performance on ARM64/AArch64.

Fedora ARM

Earlier phases of OSTEP research involved advancing the state of the Fedora ARM Secondary Architecture project, bringing the thousands of open source packages in the Fedora distribution to low-power ARM processors. Seneca operated the public Fedora ARM Koji Buildsystem until commercially-available enterprise-class ARM servers systems became available in February 2013 and the build system was subsequently moved to the Fedora data centre colocation in Phoenix AZ. OSTEP collaborates globally with members of the Fedora community to prepare the Fedora ARM software releases. Together we achieved the goal of promoting ARM from secondary to primary architecture status.

Pidora, the Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix

The OSTEP project maintains Pidora, which combines the Fedora ARM software with proprietary software and some hardware-specific packages to support the Raspberry Pi $20-35 educational computer. This software is built at CDOT in Toronto.

Build, Compose, and Release Technologies

In the process of working with ARM technologies, we developed strong expertise in building and testing software collections, composing release images, and releasing software -- and automating those processes.

We are using this expertise to help local industry partners accelerate and automate their Build & Release cycles.

Industry Partnerships

All of the applied research performed in the OSTEP program is in collaboration with an industry partner. The industry partner contributes a combination of expertise, equipment, and/or cash in support of the applied research, and where eligible, NSERC contributes an equivalient amount in cash.

Current Industry Partners

The OSTEP project is proud to collaborate with these current partners:

  • Providers of ARM64 computer systems or components.
  • NexJ Systems, a Toronto-based supplier of cloud CRM solutions for the financial, healthcare, and insurance industries.
  • BRAKERS Early Warning Systms, a Belleville-based supplier of advanced emergency alert systems.

Previous Industry Partners

Red Hat was the initial industry partner for the OSTEP project.

Courses Related to the OSTEP Program

These courses are related to OSTEP:

  • SBR600 - Software Build and Release
  • SPO600 - Software Portability and Optimization

Opportunities for Working with the OSTEP Program

There are multiple projects taking place within OSTEP; at any one time, 3-6 Research Assistants are employed (full- or part-time) by the OSTEP team.

If you're interested in working on the OSTEP Applied Research Team, keep an eye on the CDOT Job Opportunities page on this site.