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Interest in Windows on ARM / ARM versions of apps?

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John T. Haller
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Interest in Windows on ARM / ARM versions of apps?

I was wondering if there's any interest in ARM versions of apps being included in bundles where it is low impact. These would be for Windows 10/11 on ARM devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro X, Samsung Galaxy Book Go/S, Lenovo Flex 5G, HP Elite Folio, etc as well as for folks daring enough to get Windows on ARM running on the Mac M1/M2 machines. This would only affect a handful of apps like CrystalDiskInfo/Mark, Sysinternals utilities, 7-Zip, etc and only when it makes sense size wise in relation to performance.

The main holdback for this is that I don't have an ARM machine to test on at the moment. I do see Galaxy Book S/Go used machines on ebay in the mid-$200 range though. If specific folks are interested, maybe we could do a donation ask for the wider community.

Thoughts?

Gord Caswell
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Historically, minimal requests

Looking back at requests over the years, I'm only seeing a handful of requests spread out over time, so there may only be minimal interest in this option.

With that said, dependent on the time spent vs benefit and the ability to secure testing resources, this could be an additional option where beneficial as you've noted.

mjashby
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Portable ARM Compatible Software

As an Intel Mac/Windows User I would also suggest holding fire on any significant effort on ARM compatible development, especially if the main target at present would be the minority of Mac M1/M2 Users who are running Windows 11 for ARM virtual machines, given that the Apple M1's/M2's are not directly compatible with ARM processors being used in Windows/Linux hardware. I'm not clear where 'Windows on ARM' is going, but there does not appear to be a concerted effort to push for any major hardware change; and the only significant advantage of ARM processors seems to be around the performance/power consumption of portable devices, rather than full desktop systems. Windows on ARM (and macOS) does, of course, have a built in 'translation facility' to support continued use of native x86 Windows software so change is unlikely to be rapid, unless the bottom drops out of an Intel/AMD dominated market.

Apple does not support dual-booting on its ARM powered machines, i.e. Bootcamp/Windows Drivers are not available for M1/M2 systems and Apple has openly declared that it no interest in pursuing that area of development in-house, so the only user option currently available is to run Windows 11 for ARM in a virtual machine (or to utilise a WINE-based solution), which makes the use/benefit of Windows system utilities limited, as the only real hardware a VM sees is its allocated 'share' of the Host's CPU. It also limits the capability of any other graphics intensive applications etc. I would suspect that, for most Mac users who are interested in 'portable' Windows software, the main focus is likely to be on the no-installation feature rather than portability. My own use tends to be focussed on the use of cross-system compatible applications, plus software which is both 'Windows hardware and VM friendly' e.g. primarily more 'practical use' office applications, internet, file management, Disk Partitioning etc..

Of course, things might become quite different if Microsoft followed the Apple example and signalled a move towards ending support for 32-bit software, which may not be beyond the bounds of possibility given that Windows 11 is their first 64-bit only release.

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