Fat Dog unleashed on ARM

Disclaimer: No puppies were harmed while writing this article. FatDogArm, a relatively new distro was released recently for ARM based computers. It is a small operating system targeted for desktop-style operations. FatDogArm achieved a new milestone with its first beta release. The distribution is quite small in size (less than 300MB). The logic behind the FatDog name is explained on the FatDog64’s site

Originally created as a “fatter” (=more built-in applications) derivative of Puppy Linux, Fatdog has grown to become an independent, mature 64-bit Linux distribution while still keeping true to Puppy Linux spirit: small, fast and efficient.

Initially FatDogArm started as a port of its big brother FatDog64. The first alpha release was built and tested on Mele A1000 device. The second alpha release bought initial support for Qemu,Pandora ,PLPC XO-4 ,OLPC XO-1.75 and A-13 based table. Proper support for OLPC XO-4 was added in third alpha release. The fourth and final alpha release bought in support for Cubieboard2 and Odroid-U2. Each supported device had it’s individual image. All the alpha versions were compiled for CPU supporting ARMv7-A with VFPv3-d32 FPU, Neon and Cortex-A8 optimizations.

FatDogArm’s Beta release is much different from the alpha ones. Instead of a port, the beta edition was built from scratch (pun intended). As you might have guessed, this release is based on Linux From Scratch (LFS) 7.4 .Hardware targets were changed in this version. The beta version now targets ARMv7-A with VFPv3-d16 without NEON. This is the same target as Debian armhf. This makes it capable of running on variety of hardware .The official support now includes Mele A1000, Cubieboard2, Odroid U2/U3, OLPC XO-4 and OLPC XO 1.75. All these devices are supported in a single image. Also 3D acceleration has been enabled for all official platforms.

FatDogARM can be ported to other ARM devices .However it will never be ported to Raspberry Pi. Raspberry Pi uses ARM11 processor which has ARMv6 instructions, incompatible with the ARMv7 required.

FatDogARM includes most of the applications for day to day usage. Here is a short list of applications included.

  • Web browser: Seamonkey
  • Email client: Seamonkey Mail
  • Calendar and PIM: Seamonkey Mail
  • Secure Email client: Sylpheed (gpg-enabled)
  • Word processor: Abiword
  • Spreadsheet: Gnumeric
  • PDF Viewer: Evince
  • Image editor: mtpaint
  • Image viewer: Viewnior
  • Media player: Xine
  • Printing system: CUPS with Ghostscript and Gutenprint drivers
  • Remote connection: VNC, SSH (both server and clients included)
  • IDE / Text Editor: Geany
  • HTML Editor: Seamonkey composer
  • Full version of the utilities (core-utils, util-linux, findutils, diffutils, etc)
  • Development tools (headers, libraries, gcc compiler, make, binutils) in its own “devx” package.

There are more packages in the repository. Packages will be added to the repository eventually.

Checkout the complete changelog of this release . Install instructions,download mirrors are available on the the forum thread.

Credits: Michael Amadio aka 01micko

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