Most of my work at Linaro is around AArch64 architecture. Ubuntu cross compilers were kind of adopted by Matthias Klose (Debian/Ubuntu toolchain maintainer) so I was able to spend more time on ARMv8.
We have two projects at Launchpad:
In short: first one is about porting software to ARMv8, second about OpenEmbedded support for it. The fact that both projects are on Launchpad does not mean that they are for Ubuntu (which is common mistake). It is open for everyone. We have people working on fixing packages in Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu (when it comes to distributions) and in OpenEmbedded. All of that with usual mantra: upstream first.
So how it goes today? I would say that quite good. Since September (when we started OpenEmbedded work) we got to point when we fixed several projects and find less and less new ones to work on.
For me it is nice experience. As I am not a programmer (my last application was for AmigaOS in last millennium) I was often surprised how small changes are sometimes needed to get software running. I got X11 running with ~8 lines of code. Libav required editing of one line in configure script. NumPy was adding 4 lines. OProfile required copying few lines from kernel source. And all those got merged upstream or is on a way to it.
If you want to track our work then check “Merge ARMv8 support into OpenEmbedded” blueprint where I track every project I touch. And ignore ‘milestone’ field — it is always work in progress because every project we fix gives us new projects to build. Which often means another set of software to patch.
I prefer not to think how much it would take us without OpenEmbedded. Being able to just easily cross compile huge amount of software in automated way is great. Sure, from time to time I had to boot software model and do some native compilation or run some tests. But mostly to generate some files which are not properly built/guessed during cross compilation.
Also I would like to thank all maintainers (from OE and upstream projects) for reviewing all our patches and all help we got. But we did not finished yet — there is a long queue of things to clean up and send for merging :)