Wednesday, December 13, 2023

[fedora-arm] State of the mibility SIG, dec 2023


This will be a bit long, but I hope it will explain the current unfortunate state
of the mobility sig.

First a bit of history. The mobility sig was originally formed back in 2010.
The goal then was "… a group of Fedora contributors that are interested in
Fedora on small devices. Initially aimed at supporting NetBooks, Mobile Internet devices"
A good deal of progress on small devices like netbooks and tablets was made,
but then the members of the SIG moved on to other concerns. Then, in 2020 the
most recent version of the SIG formed. The goal was focused on getting Fedora
working well on the new pine64 pinephone, and then later when announced the new
pine64 pinephone pro.

In the last 3 years we have accomplished a lot:

The phosh stack has been packaged up
We have been producing Fedora Remixes with 3rd party kernels to provide support
for pinephone and pinephone pro.
a Phosh spin has been created and officially produced
There was a effort to get a remix working for the oneplus 6, but
still requiring a lot of manual tweaking.

Unfortunately, the active members of the sig are not able to move things forward right now.
The pinephone and pinephone pro are both old devices at this point. They were slow
when released, and thats not improved. Worse, upstreaming of patches to get either
of them working with a Fedora/Mainline kernel seems unlikely to us for a lot
of reasons, including that many of the 3rd party patches aren't in a state that
upstream would accept and many authors of them have no particular desire to
upstream them.

The phosh spin is largely not useful in the current situation as the
Fedora mainline kernel barely boots on the pinephone pro (not at all on the
pinephone) and has no wireless or display. The image could be of use to
other aarch64 single board style devices, but since they usually don't have
displays or modems, the phosh interface isn't of particular insterest.

Until the advent of some performant mobile device to target or more
contributors who wish to drive things forward, I think we should just
mark the Mobility sig inactive at this point, including:

Retire the Phosh spin in f40
Hopefully find new maintainers for the phosh stack if there's folks that want to keep them alive.
Mark the sig inactive on wiki and matrix.
respins will move to against a stable fedora release once a week or so, instead of against rawhide and more often.

Hopefully there is someday a brighter day for Fedora mobile devices.
Folks that want to try and revive the SIG and/or are able to see a good
path forward are invited to join


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