History of the LEAP Project

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LEAP was created at the end of 2014 when an ARM64 vendor contacted Chris Tyler, the Industrial Research Chair in Open Source Technology for Emerging Platforms (OSTEP) at Seneca College in Toronto, about preparing a build of the CentOS sources for ARM64 systems.

The OSTEP team had a lot of experience building software on ARM systems, and had been involved in the Fedora-ARM project and related projects for several years. Since neither RHEL nor CentOS were available for ARM64 at the time, it made sense to build a software distribution based on the CentOS x86_64 sources to provide an initial test platform for evaluation and field tests of ARM64 server hardware. A partnership was formed, hardware was added to the Seneca Enterprise Hyperscale Lab, and work began on building the software. Public release of the distribution was embargoed until July 1, 2015.

In parallel, the CentOS project began work on their ARM64 build, and Red Hat continued to work on their Partner Early Access Program (PEAP) distribution for ARM64. At Linaro Connect in Hong Kong in February 2015, discussions were held with a number of other ARM64 vendors who had become aware of the project.

An early release of the LEAP software was provided to the industry partner in the spring of 2015.

In July 2015, the LEAP software was ready for public release. The ARM64 landscape had shaped up significantly since the LEAP project had started: CentOS had released their beta ARM64 build, and Red Hat had announced the availability of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server ARM Development Platform (RHELSADP). The LEAP team decided that there was sufficient difference in direction between the various projects that there was value in releasing LEAP as a distinct distribution.

For more information about LEAP's distinctive qualities, current state, and future plans, please see the Frequently Asked Questions page.