Linux Support for the ARM Architecture

Key benefits of Linux on ARM

  • Complete scalable operating system providing a reliable multi-tasking environment
  • Based on an open source model (GPL)
  • Leverage a wide range of UNIX and open source applications
  • Early availability on ARM processor-based platforms
  • Used in many ARM technology-based designs including networking and wireless products
  • Broad support through open discussion forums

Linux Operating System Development

ARM contributes support for ARM Versatile™ Express development platforms and ARM Development Studio 5 (DS-5)™  to the main Linux kernel. The other tabs contain Linux kernel images, patches and utilities to run Linux on ARM processors and ARM Versatile™ platforms. Linux is the version of Linux running on processors with a Memory Management Unit (MMU). Processors without MMU can run a modified version of Linux called uClinux. The uClinux tab provides pre-built uClinux images for specific ARM processors.

Linaro™ is created as a company to bring together the open source community and the electronics industry to jointly work on key projects, deliver open source tools, reduce fragmentation and provide common foundations for Linux based distributions and stacks to work with. More information is available from the Linaro website.

Additionally, ARM works with the open source community and Linux distributions as well as commercial Linux partners including:

Please, note that ARM does not provide generic Linux support.

GNU Tools Overview

ARM contributes to the GNU compiler project to track the evolution of the ARM architecture and CPU roadmap, to ensure availability of a high-quality GNU toolchain for ARM.

This toolchain supports all current ARM architectures and processors with a roadmap to support future processors and architectures.

The toolchain complies with the latest ARM Application Binary Interface, and interworks with ARM DS-5 Tools or any other ABI-compliant toolchain. Users can take advantage of the optimized codesize and performance of a commercial, professional toolchain from ARM together with code built using Open Source tools.

The GNU GCC compiler can be accessed from Linaro at the following location:

Monthly GCC pre-built binaries are available from