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Jason Haas on LinuxPPC -- and Drunk Drivers 150

Posted by Roblimo
from the attack-of-the-Linux-Mac-people dept.
We got a bunch of cool questions Monday for LinuxPPC dude (and recent near-death drunk driver accident victim) Jason Haas. Here, today, are his responses.

Math intensive server stuff
(Score:4, Interesting)
by drenehtsral

I'm working on (or more accurately about to start) a very math intensive client server system, where the server has to do a metric ass-load of calculations mostly on 64-bit signed integers on behalf of client machines. The data are all going to be in ram, and multi-cpu support is a good thing.

Would you recommend a PPC machine over a x86 machine for a task like this? I guess this is mainly a chipset/etc... question, but i have been unable to find that sort of information elsewhere, and i figure who better to ask, 'cause you probably have a decent gut-feeling for how the architecture works in practice on real-world data =:-)

Jason:

Wow, nothing like a nice, simple question to start your day. ;-D

If you're going to be working with 64-bit numbers, I would try to do a real-world test. That is, get Athlon, Alpha, Pentium 4, and PowerPC 7400 (G4) machines, and try some tests to see how quickly each of them handle integers that big. I know the PowerPC 7400 (G4) has an awesome vector calculation module (128-bit vector registers can be fun), but that's not the same thing as integers. The 7400 doesn't have any specialized integer units, whereas the Athlon and P4 do. (I'm pretty sure of this, but you should definitely do your homework before making any decisions based on this information.) It might be great for decompressing video, but for hard-core (sounding) tasks like handling 64-bit signed integers, I'd definitely test everything possible. Definitely try the Alpha and MIPS, too. Alpha's sort of known for handling these sorts of things.

I'd also ask on the linuxppc-devel mailing list. People that probably can help you are on that list. (http://lists.linuxppc.org/)

Re:Math intensive server stuff
(Score:5, Interesting)
by Smitty825

One other important thing to ask is the state of the GCC complier for the PowerPC Platform. IIRC, it isn't as efficient as the ones available for the x86 and Alpha platforms. How much would LinuxPPC benefit from an optimized compiler and what sort of performance could be expected from LinuxPPC compared to Linux86/Alpha/others?

Jason:

Franz Sirl, a Linux/PowerPC developer, has done a lot of work on optimizing GCC for PPC. Look at PPC vs. x86 benchmarks. Theoretically, PowerPC kicks x86's butt, but if things aren't optimized for it (as often happens in this x86 world), it may not seem like such a hot processor. With more optimization, performance should continue to improve. Again, I'd ask about this on the linuxppc-devel list.

Platform Issues
(Score:5, Interesting)
by IanCarlson

Is LinuxPPC a viable alternative to x86 Linux? Can I run my department on a LinuxPPC-based server with the same peace-of-mind that I get on an i386-based box running Linux? Will I still enjoy the almost surrealistic uptimes I get with my current Linux server? Does the LinuxPPC code still suffer from chronic flakey-ness?

I'm currently looking into obtaining a PowerPC box to test out the current state of Linux on the PPC platform.Hopefully your answers will point me down the path of RISC utopia.

Jason:

That's a good place to be. Of course it's an alternative. For some of us, it's reality. ;-) You can run on a PPC box as well as an x86 box. I know of many places that are using PPC boxes for everything from basic stuff like web servers to netatalk servers to controlling puppets. (Jim Henson's Creature Shop!) There are a lot of real world examples of Linux/PowerPC in action. We have a few in our office. Most of our servers have the same legendary uptimes that Linux is known for. Servers outside our office have them. Other people's servers have them. It's everywhere. ;-)

The PowerPC 604 is an incredibly stable processor for Linux use, and the 750 (Apple's G3) is very solid. The 7500 (G4) is getting there fast.

I'm not sure what you mean by "chronic [code] flakey-ness". Code not optimized for PPC? Yes, though not as much now. Unstable code? Yes, but that seems universal. A lot of times, it can be traced to simple things like bad RAM. Try replacing the RAM if your machine is acting quirky. It could make a big difference! (He says to an audience in which 512 MB of RAM may not be uncommon....)

ATX motherboard availability?
(Score:4, Interesting)
by glrotate

I think one thing that would foster Linux PPC adoption, and PPC in general would be a relatively cheap PPC motherboard. I remember IBM released their reference design some tine ago and there was some noise from 3rd parties about product anouncements, but nothing materialized. Does anyone know when we might see something?

Jason:

Oh, that would rock if those came into reality. I do know about it but I can't comment about it beyond saying that I hope it actually happens.

What I can say: it needs to happen.

merge with RedHat?
(Score:5, Interesting)
by A moron

I've tried LinuxPPC several times over the years and have actually been disappointed. It just hasn't seemed polished and LinuxPPC, the company, has had some serious customer service problems.

Have you ever thought about or actually talked to RedHat as making LinuxPPC the RedHat Distro for PPC?

Jason:

Yes, and I can't comment about that. In September of 2000, we committed to customer service, as things really were bad. But then, a major hunk of the company was unable to think straight, or remember what he was just about to say. (That "hunk of the company" == me!) The good news is that customer service is still a major priority, and I'm well enough that I can see to it that it stays that way, and make sure that people are helped.

Your Perception Before and After the Accident
(Score:5, Interesting)
by TheNecromancer

Jason,

First of all, I'd like to commend you and your wife for your courage and determination through your ordeal! I also hope they throw the book at the jerk who caused the accident!

My question is this: Do you find that your perception of the world and what your interests, passions and abilities are, different than before your accident? Has the accident changed your interests towards the computing industry?

Jason:

First off, thank you. :-) I've been through hell, many times. People don't know what it's like to have a traumatic brain injury, or permanently lose vision in an eye. It's not fun. ;-)

Say, Cassie (my wife) is a major hero here. Thanks to everyone who wrote in and expressed support for her. Do it some more, she'd appreciate it. ;-D

They will be throwing the book at "Jerk Boy" (my name for the ...drunk.... who hit me). He faces three felony charges, including driving under the influence and driving with intent to cause harm. Considering that he had a 0.25 BAC (blood-alchohol content), I don't know how they could defend against it.

Yes, my injuries changed a lot of things, including how I see the computing industry. Part of me realizes how big a help it's been (and at the same time a bloody pain the ass!), and part of me wants to get out of it. To me, living well (being content with your situation, loved ones, etc.) is much more important than having the latest box, biggest monitor, or best domain name is. (It was that way before, too, but now it's even more so.)

Linux and Accessibility
(Score:5, Interesting)
by FourG

During your recovery period, did you find the need to use any accessibility tools to accomplish tasks? If so, what were your impressions? Does Linux have the tools people with alternative interface needs (like text-to-speech) need to access their information?

Jason:

I didn't have any experience with that stuff, unfortunately. I think the State of Georgia's health department may have been able to help me with a bit of that, but I'm sure it all would have been for Windows or the Mac OS. (And useless to me.)

A moment of victory for me was about four months after I got hit; I was back at home, and still was able to use vi. I'm not sure what that says about the effects of a brain injury. ;-D

Altivec and MP G4's?
(Score:4, Interesting)
by esome

ok, newbie questions but:

1)How much can a PPC linux distro can benefit from Altivec optimization?

2)Does LinuxPPC enjoy the same degree of improved performance from additional processors that OS-X does?

Jason:

AltiVec: Apps that use features that AltiVec can help will benefit. The OS itself probably won't get much benefit. AltiVec was designed to help things like video and audio, things that people in Apple's markets are interested in. Linux doesn't have much software that can benefit from that. I don't know how much an AltiVec-friendly kernel or version of Apache would improve things, if at all. As Linux gets more "desktop" and "multimedia" software, AltiVec support will probably become a more interesting topic for Linux.

Oh, you could probably jigger Enlightenment to use AltiVec.. oh my...

SMP support is still improving. Until recently, there wasn't much in the way of SMP hardware out there. Before Apple introduced the multiprocessor G4s, there simply wan't that much at all. There were a number of MP PPC 604 machines, but they're no longer in production, unless you find an obscure Motorola box.

With Apple (the major PPC player) making MP boxes, MP support will improve. With Apple making boxes that have AltiVec, support for that'll improve too. Assuming that they keep using AltiVec.

Why should my next purchase be a PowerPC?
(Score:5, Interesting)
by rjh

Intel hardware is a commodity; it's cheap, there are lots of peripherals for it, you can buy individual components and build your own box easily, and prices are very low.

AFAIK (which isn't far), PowerPC hardware is mostly proprietary, controlled by Apple, is more expensive, has less variety in peripherals, and you're more or less stuck buying a Macintosh just to get your PC. Not just that, but many components of many PowerPC-based computers have marginal to no support under Linux (USB is marginal, Firewire is nonexistent right now, etc).

Given all this, where is the major win in the PowerPC? Why ought my next purchase for a PC be a PowerPC running LinuxPPC/Yellow Dog/MkLinux?

I'm not trolling here; I'm just uneducated. :) Educate me.

Jason:

Very good question! You're right: unless you get an oddity of a system, you're buying a Mac to get a PPC box. The TiVo is a Linux/PPC box, but I don't think that it can run Apache. ;-) (then again, Paul Mackerras and company have added an Ethernet card... anyway...)

For what it's worth, USB on Linux is coming a long way (printers now work, for example), and FireWire's getting there.

The advantage of PPC over x86 is/was that at a lower clock speed, you got higher performance. But 1 GHz PCs are coming out left and right, and Apple's fastest is 500 MHz. For some things, they will be the same speed. But you can get a Celery (er, Celeron) box super-cheap, with a lot more stuff that you get with an iMac. It's becoming quite difficult to have a viable alternative when you can't get a super-cheap box.

PPCs are smaller, faster, and cooler (literally and figuratively) than x86 chips. The PPC 7400 doesn't need a CPU cooling fan. Get a Mac (I'd name some other cheap PPC boxes, but there aren't any!) and you'll get a super-cool case and the cool-looking one-button optical mouse.

Where's the real advantage, though? Again, good question. As the computer world changes, and no third party desktop PPC boxes appear, it's getter harder to answer. I think the real problem here is that there are no real third-party alternatives for PPC hardware. And that needs to change. Should IBM's POP board see the light of day, ask me again, and I'll have a different answer for ya. As I said above, it needs to happen.

=---

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Jason Haas on LinuxPPC -- and Drunk Drivers

Comments Filter:
  • by proxima (165692) on Friday January 05, 2001 @07:25AM (#528032)
    Why should my next purchase be a PowerPC? by rjh Intel hardware is a commodity; it's cheap, there are lots of peripherals for it, you can buy individual components and build your own box easily, and prices are very low....Given all this, where is the major win in the PowerPC? Why ought my next purchase for a PC be a PowerPC running LinuxPPC/Yellow Dog/MkLinux?

    Jason: Very good question!...PPCs are smaller, faster, and cooler (literally and figuratively) than x86 chips. The PPC 7400 doesn't need a CPU cooling fan. Get a Mac (I'd name some other cheap PPC boxes, but there aren't any!) and you'll get a super-cool case and the cool-looking one-button optical mouse. Where's the real advantage, though? Again, good question.

    Though I've had limited experience with it, I like the RISC architecture because of it's tendancy to run cooler and that it's just a more efficient processor. I'd hardly say that a cool case and mouse consititute a valid reason to switch processor types :-). However, I just don't see how (at this time) the benefits outweigh the costs of a PPC based system (or Alpha, or MIPS, except for servers). x86 processors are the cheapest and best supported (in terms of motherboards, etc). In addition, the peripherals of a Mac aren't nearly as abundant as those of your common PC.

    I can't see myself or anyone else justifying a purchase of a ~$3000US G4 cube with 2 500 Mhz processors compared with the ultra cheap Athlons and P3's (and 4's) now available. When Athlon motherboards support multi-processors (last I heard the chipsets were in the works, out very soon), the ability to have two, say, 800 Mhz Athlon processors just blows away the processor costs of MIPS, Alpha, and PPC, because each of those 800 Mhz Athlon processors are only a little over $100!.

    What would be more interesting is to find accurate answers to the first person (Math intensive server stuff by drenehtsral) as to how the PPC does raw calculations compared to x86s of similar price, and not Mhz. There might be an advantage there.

    In short, it's too bad Apple killed the clones, or we'd have cheaper PPCs to play with.
  • Congratulations... i think i'm less intelligent for even reading your post... i guess i'm not suprised you're an Anonymous Coward
  • Jerk Boy is/was a college student at Princeton. I don't know what he was doing in Savannah that day.

    And he is caucasian/white.

    Haaz: Co-founder, LinuxPPC Inc., making Linux for PowerPC since 1996.
  • Siberia? That's too good for them! They should be kept in a special facility at the Amundsen Scott South Pole Station and be forced to clean the runway with their tounges, every day!!! :-)
  • Heya,

    I'm still healing. But thanks. :)

    When someone asks how I'm doing, I say, "much better, thank you!" ;-)

    Haaz: Co-founder, LinuxPPC Inc., making Linux for PowerPC since 1996.
  • and the bonus of non-dongle ethernet

    Funny, everyone else has been using Xircom Realport cards [xircom.com] for ages, and many of the corporate-aimed laptops nowadays have a 10/100baseT port built in.

    Sorry, not a reason to buy a Powerbook at all...

  • A moment of victory for me was about four months after I got hit; I was back at home, and still was able to use vi. I'm not sure what that says about the effects of a brain injury. ;-D

    Well, the obvious. That vi is already a brain damage, so it can't really be affected by other damages of the same nature... ;-)

    Vasilis
  • the only problems with simple solutions are simple ones. unfortunately, drunk driving is far from this. as long as people believe it wont happen to them, and have (at the time misplaced) confidence in themselves, its not going away anytime soon.
  • Something just doesn't sit right with me when you have to have a small MAC partition to install Linux. This just isn't true. Don't use BootX, use Quik. BootX is easier to use, but requires MacOS. Quik is more like lilo (although it's based on the Solaris boot loader (silo?)). The RedHat based PPC Linux distros are "optimized" for installing/booting from MacOS. Debian is the best PPC Linux distro I've used.
  • by iso (87585) <slashNO@SPAMwarpzero.info> on Friday January 05, 2001 @10:56AM (#528041) Homepage

    ok, let me get this straight: an interview with one of the leading developers of LinuxPPC and not one question that pertained to MacOS X!? did no MacOS X question get asked, or did he just ignore them?

    i'd like to know, because i've tried both, and after getting used to MacOS X, i really can't see any reason to run LinuxPPC as a desktop machine. (i may pick up an old mac to run as my firewall, however. my old PC just blew up, literally; smoke and all).

    but servers aside, can anybody give me any one good reason why i should use LinuxPPC over MacOS X? because i can't think of one. on my machine (B&W G3) MacOS X has been more stable, it runs my old Mac programs, it's up-to-date and compatible with all Macs, excellent SMP (i'll get a dual processor box next), and to top it all off it's got a more consistant and cleaner interface (no linux GUI i've tried has come close, and i've learned Aqua is very "tweakable").

    so apart from my little firewall (that would really best be searved with FreeBSD on an x86 box), remind me again why i would have any good reason to run LinuxPPC? and "because it's GPL" doesn't count as a good reason for me, especially after Apple has "refined" the APSL.

    - j

  • If you are designing an embedded system (TiVo, VoIP router, cell phone base station, industrial control or ispection, autonomous robot) then the power advantages of the PPC and on-chip peripheral sets offered by Motorolla make x86s not even show up on the radar.

    Now that is interesting. I keep forgetting that there's more to life than the desktop. I guess I should try find out what percentage of Moto's business dollars is in the embedded world...

  • err actually ppc's are used in lots of other places where they are really the best processor there is. just not pc's. because they are expensive. has nothing to do with motorola. they aren't going to make them cheaper to sell more because they wouldn't sell enough more.
  • exactly - a year and a half of loss. just what i was saying ;) thanks!
  • by Strider- (39683) on Friday January 05, 2001 @07:34AM (#528045)
    Based on my understanding of the AltiVec unit, I think there are a few kernel level options that AltiVec may be useful for.

    The most obvious is optimizations to the firewalling and routing code within the kernel. The AltiVec unit has a "permute" function that allows you to generate a 128 bit vector by picking and choosing words from two other 128 bit vectors. Aparently, Motorola has built a software router around a 7400 capable of doing software routing on multiple T3s. In this situation, the AltiVec unit simply becomes a glorified switching fabric.

    The second optimization that I can see would be in kernel level encryption, for doing things like IPSec and/or encrypted filesystems. If I remember correctly, this use was sugested in one of the documents available on Motorola's web site.

    Esentially, if you stop thinking of the AltiVec unit as a media processor, and think it more of a parallel processing unit, you can use it for a lot of different tasks.
  • by Brazilian Geek (25299) on Friday January 05, 2001 @07:34AM (#528046) Journal
    And I say that at the risk of being redundant - not only did he survive a few months without even looking a linux terminal, only Windows and Mac OS but he still remembered how to work vi! Weaker men would have buckled under similar circumstances and used notepad (or Mac OS' equivalent)!

    But seriously, you gotta admire someone like Jason, not only did he pull through but he managed to keep his spirits up during the whole time and laugh (at least in ASCII) about it.

    --
    All browsers' default homepage should read: Don't Panic...
  • Just to get back at Jobs for killing the clones.

    V..e..r..y....i..n..t..e..r..e..s..t..i..n..g.. .... but is it true?

  • there was a typo in line 3, i think you meant sun hardware, running solaris.
    you're welcome.
  • It's true, slow drivers are a problem. I don't know about other places really, but here in South Africa we have one of the highest car accident rates in the world. I was in Germany in Munich recently, and I was quite stunned by how *sensibly* most people there drive. I think the problem in South Africa is that the roads are a very heterogenous environment - there are many many people on the road that drive really slowly (70 - 100 km/h on the highway, 40-60 km/h in urban areas) and there are also just as many who like to driver really fast (e.g. 180-200 km/h on the highway.) So on the highway you'll have a bunch of really slow people, a whole lot of "average" people, and a bunch of really fast people dodging everybody else. Also the quality of cars varies a lot. In Germany, it seemed to me that not only was the quality of cars a lot more homogenous, but also the people had a much smaller range of speeds that they travelled. None of the really slow drivers or the really fast drivers - most people just stayed between 110 and 140 km/h.

    As you say, slow people are a big danger, even to people who are staying under the speed limit. South Africans drive like crap. There is also a lot of road rage and general aggression on the roads here, people often cut you off, pull in front of you, etc.

  • Too bad IBM's focus for the PPC is high end servers (very high end servers...), and Moto's focus has been the embedded market, leaving Apple and its customers to suffer.

    Hopefully the new faster CPUs will help remedy this situation.

  • I live in London. I get a train to work every morning. It *sucks*. You can't eat, sleep or be drunk, because there's _barely_ enough space to stand (read a book if you're lucky). You have to wait out in the cold on the platform (this might not be a problem in some parts of US, but it's a problem here). Trains are often delayed or canceled, they are also vunerable to weather.

    Now, part of these problems are to do with the fact that it's London, and the train organisation/managment/funding is so screwed up. Also, we have a very high population density here, which doesn't help.

    If someone did this in the US it *might* be cool, but it would very much depend on who owned it and how smart they were.

    All I'm saying is that while road travel in the US might be pretty bad, train travel over here is not much better.... (if the recent track record - no pun intended - is anything to go by, they're not much safer either!)

    One other thing to say: I used to get this boat [thamescat.com] to work in the morning. This is the way to travel. There's no stress, it's safe, not crowded, this wins all the time.

  • Why can't Apple keep up?
  • This may seem trivial, but when I went looking for something to replace my aging LinuxPPC box (a Power Computing clone), the two biggest deciding factors for me were:

    1) Low cost
    2) A 3U rack mount case

    The first point can be questionable and debated, but the second one was a slam dunk for the x86 platform. I ended up with a Socket A ATX board running an AMD offering. Cost? Minus the case, the whole computer was around $450. I could build two of these things for the price of a single new iMac, and and two $280 rack cases for the price of a single G4 tower.

    Now, if that cheap ($100 ballpark) PPC board were out there and the chips cost the same as the x86 stuff, we'd have a whole different story here.

    --

  • power computing (the big clone company) was always in the red. power computings strategy was to sell at a loss in order to gain mindshare and marketshare. apple supposedly warned them in private not to do this and asked clone makers to expand the market (clone makers only advertised in mac magazines), then finally killed cloning

    you can argue that apple should be a software company, but with the current size of the market im not sure they could support themselves. it is also hard to argue that apple produces uncompetitive hardware when new imacs start at $799 (w/monitor, firewire, good graphics, etc)

    the mhz war has see-sawed before (when ppc was at 250 mhz the pentium was breaking 100 mhz) and i expect apple to match/exceed x86 by years end. why ppc? alternatives are good, and ppc is an efficient and powerful design. the ppc forte is math intensive and streaming media servers
  • by TDScott (260197) on Friday January 05, 2001 @07:03AM (#528055)

    Considering that he had a 0.25 BAC (blood-alchohol content), I don't know how they could defend against it.

    Simple. Draft in the presidential-race lawyers.

    [No offence meant to Mr. Haas with this... obviously, I wish him all the best, and that Jerk Boy goes down for a good few years.]

  • That would be kind of silly; Power4's are huge, power consuming beasts. Apple would almost certainly have to make a new case to fit them in. And besides, it would cost like $10,000 USD. Maybe if Apple re-entered the high-end server market, it would become a reality.

  • If you need to do 64-bit integer calculations, the most important thing is to make sure you have a compiler that does them properly. IEEE-compliant FPUs have 64-bit integer capability, but not all compilers generate code to use it. This is a bigger factor than x86 vs. PPC.
  • by Delirium Tremens (214596) on Friday January 05, 2001 @07:05AM (#528058) Journal
    Bad drivers are always responsible for the worst crashes.
  • There's an easy way of doing it... press shift + numlock to put numpad in a kind of "mouse emulation" then keypad_0 and keypad_comma work as mouse 2 & 3 don't remember exactly at which order. anyway I'm thinking of getting a 3-button mouse ... pity since the 1 button optic mouse is simply wonderful except for the missing buttons.
  • Nintendo's GameCube revolves around a 400 MHz PPC knockoff, correct? That means we'll have linux on it in no time at all! Whee!

    I wonder how much IBM is making from the Nintendo deal, I believe they're the ones making the Gekko [sp?] processor...
    --
    Peace,
    Lord Omlette
    ICQ# 77863057
  • That wouldn't make any sense.
  • streaming media, compression, encryption, you get the picture (yes, x86 may be cheaper for text editing)

    when using altivec, ppc has strong advantages over even the 1.4 ghz p4

    and no, they dont cost >$3k (as stated elsewhere). g4s start at $1299 (new, w/gigabit ethernet)
  • "ok, let me get this straight: an interview with one of the leading developers of LinuxPPC and not one question that pertained to MacOS X!? did no MacOS X question get asked, or did he just ignore them?"

    I think some got asked - they just didn't get Moderator attention =). On the other hand the OSX vs. LinuxPPC comparison has to belong in a FAQ by now.

    i'd like to know, because i've tried both, and after getting used to MacOS X, i really can't see any reason to run LinuxPPC as a desktop machine. (i may pick up an old mac to run as my firewall, however. my old PC just blew up, literally; smoke and all).

    Hmm , I had OSX DP4 and then OSX PB on my PowerBook G3 400 (/w 192 MB ram)- and I went back to LinuxPPC because of two reasons:

    1. AQUA was very, very sluggish.
    2. I wanted to use OSX because it had Java 2 support - but it was not very stable. LinuxPPC's Java 2. (even has Java Enterprise edition) was much better. LinuxPPC's java can run NetBeans IDE [netbeans.org] too =)

    "so apart from my little firewall (that would really best be searved with FreeBSD on an x86 box), remind me again why i would have any good reason to run LinuxPPC? and "because it's GPL" doesn't count as a good reason for me, especially after Apple has "refined" the APSL."

    well the above were my reasons. Mind you when OSX finally get's released things may (hopefully) have been improved.
    --

  • My computer has a drunk driver. It's my sound card driver. It sings to me sometimes, but i can't really understand it.
  • by naken (132677) on Friday January 05, 2001 @07:39AM (#528065) Homepage
    Motorola used to sell PPC motherboards.. With PCI and AGP and everything. Take a look: http://www.mcg.mot.com/cfm/templates/product.cfm?P ageID=875&ProductID=39&PageTypeID=1

    I'm not sure if this is what I found before, but it's worth a look...
  • Though I'm not defending drunk drivers, I don't see how they can prove intent to cause harm.

    If driving with a bac of .25 is so bad (and it is) they should just increase the DUI penalty in your state. I think that the additional charge is just a way to punish those without political connections.
  • A "Mac" Truck?

    My, Mr. Haas DOES lead a dangerous life!

    ;]

  • Well, keep healing. Tell your wife that's she is in a great hall of honor somewhere for her dedication and strength.

  • Does anyone know of any benchmarking done comparing performance of LinuxPPC vs Darwin or MaxOSX? I'm not sure if there is a reasonable suite that benchmarks meaningful data, but it could be an interesting way to keep Apple on their toes.

  • Actually, we have seen it. It's called "AMD". They take the CISC instructions and translate them into RISC instructions that can be more highly optimized

    All Intel processors from the Pentium Pro onwards have done this, too. You'll be hard-pressed to find an x86 clone that *doesn't* do this, as it makes a lot of the hardware design much easier.
  • Anybody who's seen IBM's plans for the Power4 chip will be drooling at this point for IBM to incorporate AltiVec into a "consumer-grade" Power4 (dual CPU on chip, SOI, Copper, 1Ghz) that could work quite nicely in a (let's call it) Macintosh P4 Tower.

    One can dream...

  • Anyone can buy PPC CPUs and CHRP is an open architecture, and Linux for PPC is free.

    Where?

    Seriously. If I can buy a G4 and an ATX MB and toss it into my system w/ standard parts, I'd do it in a second.

    --
  • Why Why Why....Why do you run linuxppc??? A great Linux box. We have NT, Novell, a Citrix server, Mac 9.04, and one LinuxPPC. And do you know what??? The LinuxPPC box runs better then them all!!! We have about 50 users using the network and that's not including our WAN. And the G3 233MHZ Mac out does them all. I have 128 MB of ram, 80 Gigs of disk space, and runs LinuxPPC 2000. And I never ever had a problem with the install. Never!!! I have only 2 crashes with the box since I put it up. It's almost two years now.....The NT box restarts weekly. I don't use the GUI on the linux box...WHY would you??? I only want great speed and access time. I want my performance, man!!! We use a ton of connections and it still can take more.... And now for MacOS X...We will upgrade our macs, when the full version comes out. But that's for workstations....It's simple for them.... But for networking our company...LinuxPPC will still be there. SO what I'm trying to say.... If your only want a workstation then run MacOS X.. If you want networking with better performence... Run LinuxPPC or Intel...Because you don't need a GUI......plus shell scripts with cron really run the system...I just sit back and watch....... -Knowing them all really got me my 6 a year...;) CS out
  • That's about as insightful as it gets.

    I'm 26, and the alcohol I've consumed could fit into a couple big mouthfulls. This just reminds me why I don't want to touch the stuff.
  • The Greyhound station in Chicago is about 4 blocks from the Amtrack station. Yeah... I know... it was a retorical question, but since I work 2-3 blocks from each, I thought I'd mention it.

    -- Michael Chermside

  • ..."remind me again why i would have any good reason to run LinuxPPC?"

    uhh.. how about speed. I ran MacOSX on my powerbook 400 with 192 mb ram and it was SLOW. Granted it is a beta version but it will never compare to wm, afterstep, blackbox or any other fast window manager.

    Not everyone has the $$$ for an SMP box with gobs of ram.
  • Insead of PowerPC you can use AplhaLinux; but you should read first http://www.aceshardware.com/Spades/read.php?articl e_id=145 gcc has not been designed for the Alpha platform, while Compaq adapted his compiler from Tru64Unix to Linux. You can get the this compiler and more from http://www.support.compaq.com/alpha-tools/index.ht ml
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Have you read P.J. O'Rourkes How to dirve fast on drugs while getting your wing wang squeezed?

    It's from National Lampoon, back when both he and it were funny, and elucidates much the same feelings.

    I prefer to drive high, though my bong tneds to block my view when I'm driving.
  • Have you looked at the back or Running Linux? I saw something in there. In any case on the only LinuxPPC box that I deal with on a regular basis it has a Logitech trackball that works very well.
  • Listen, get out and travel a bit. I'm from the South and parts of my family go back 300 years in French Louisiana. Now, while there is too much prejudice down there, it's worse here in NYC area where I now live. My experiences living in both parts of the country tell me that the South has by and large (with some extremist exceptions) learned to live integrated with European, Hispanic, African and other Americans much better than good ole Westchester Co., NY.
  • Hopefully the 133 bus in the 733 MHz speed of the next G4s will be a bit better. Then again, if they put them up against a dual 500 and show the single 733 beating the dual 500, then they'd lose a lot of respect from me.

    After claiming two heads are better than one, they go back to one head.. Still, this is no reflection on Moto, but more one on Apple and their quick buck mentality.

  • by cswiii (11061) on Friday January 05, 2001 @07:45AM (#528082)
    Has anyone here compared the performance and/or functionality of these two distros? I just installed Yellow Dog 1.2.1 on a G3 laptop the other day, and was sorely disappointed... especially considering that it's based on the "Easy-to-Use" Redhat. A few issues I had w/ YDL:

    * Would lock or power-down on me if I booted straight "linux"; could only sucessfully do things booting to "linux-novideo". This may be a somewhat known issue, but it keeps me from using > 256 colours.

    * Gnome was crap on my machine. The task bar (gnome-session?) cored every time I tried to load up X. the mouse cursor would "float" as it approached max/min/etc buttons on the window.

    * KDE was better, but only somewhat. If screen blanked, palette never shifted back to normal colours.

    * Since there doesn't appear to be any real "text" mode, minicom had everything shoved into an 80x25 corner of my display, leaving 2 inches of blank black space to the bottom and right.

    * Could not alt-Fx between terminals. Could alt-F7 to the blank one reserved for X -- but could not get back to any other terminals.

    * Other little, nagging issues.

    I haven't been able to easily find information on most of these issues, either. I guess what I'm trying to say is, when Jason tells us "You can run on a PPC box as well as an x86 box", I just certainly hope this is true, and that my YDL experiences won't be repeated with in Yet Another Linux Distro. Based on what I've seen, it didn't perform or function "as well as an x86 box", and it certainly won't be easy for joe user to find ways to fix these issues.

    I'm an ardent linux user. I use it almost exclusively. However, unless LinuxPPC is any better, I'm gonna to take a look at OSX or *BSD.
  • I like the RISC architecture because of it's tendancy to run cooler and that it's just a more efficient processor. However, I just don't see how (at this time) the benefits outweigh the costs of a PPC based system.

    I've never understood this attitude. A is objectively better than B. It's niftier, and you like it better. But everyone else is going with B so you do too. Why? Why not throw some support behind A so that it will grow and everyone will be able to enjoy the benefits down the line when it becomes mainstream. Isn't this what killed Betamax and left us with VHS?

    I've often thought you could make the same sort of argument for politics, with the minor difference that A is subjectively better than B. Throw your weight behind A rather than leaving us stuck with the Repubocrats. Third parties are good.


  • The cloners had the advantage that Apple was carrying all the R&D work for them. Also with smaller orders to fill, they were able to get more consistent deliveries from Motorola.

    Also the cloners were supposed to grow Apple's market in the consumer field. Instead, they just poached the high-end pro users, cutting into Apple's market share at a point where they could not have sustained the loss.

    There was a time and may yet be a time for Apple to try to do buisness the way Microsoft does it. It wasn't then, and it isn't now.
  • If your only want a workstation then run MacOS X.. If you want networking with better performence... Run LinuxPPC

    i would argue that running a server would best be served with Darwin. it's an opensource OS with high-performance networking, but it's got Apple's development time and dollars behind it. ultimately that will mean it will be a better fit for the hardware, as the same people making the hardware can advise in the software. as for machines "unsupported" buy Apple, you've got additions from the community (already happening), and you're no worse off than Linux, and maybe better off if you consider the benefit of the hardware vendor supplying the rest of the code.

    so again, there's no point in running LinuxPPC in my mind. if you need a workstation, use OS X, if you need a server, use Darwin.

    - j

  • A lot of people say that speed kills. True. It does. But lets also consider another factor that kills, other than drinking. Slow drivers. You may not think about it but really... You are going down the road at around 55-58 in a 55 zone. There is some idiot in front of you going 35-40, and there is only one lane, and you can't pass him without having a head-on with another car. People get real aggitated at this. I guess you could call it 'natural road-rage'. You get pissed, you try to pass him, BOOM, a Mac Truck takes you through its radiator.

    Don't troll me. This is a serious matter. Ive almost had a wreck because of these damn road hogs. Its most annoying really. There should be a minumum speed, just as there is a maximum. I know this to be true in Florida in some places, and have seen it a few times where I live. Ca. Does anyone else have minimum speed limit signs?

  • To me OSX is like linux, but not free and tied to one company.

    wow, then you're really short-sighted (and paranoid). it is exactly linux, but more stable (on PPC), a better interface, easier to use and configure, runs older MacOS programs, and will have a huge install base (which is more than i can say for the handful of people who use LinuxPPC).

    Why develop for OSX?" I mean, if I write software with a GTK interface, I can run it anywhere including OSX and Windows (see the recent slashdot article about GNOME on Win32). If I use Apple's API, I can only run it on OSX. What's the point?

    i'd program for Cocoa over Gnome as i'd like to have code that can reach a real marketshare. GTK on Win32 is (currently) a hack, and GTK doesn't currently run on MacOS X. GTK is designed for Linux, not for MacOS & Windows. i see people complain about the quirks in designing Java for "all platforms." i can't believe that designing for GTK will give you satisfactory performance on all platforms. thre are much better solutions if you're that concerned with portability.

    of course, if you're dead set on simply marketshare, why not just program for Win32 and be done with it? it would entirely depend on your application. the GTK is not some kind of 'silver bullet' of compatibility.

    additionally, how about the fact that the development environment is much nicer to code in? have you tried Project Builder? it's very slick. plus it's much easier to end up with a clean and useful user interface than with any Linux development tools i've seen.

    i have no doubts about Linux' potential on the x86 platform, and i believe that it's the best solution for many tasks on that hardware. but running Linux on PowerPC will be difficult to justify once MacOS X is in full production.

    - j

  • That's CNets rumor. The AppleInsider rumor is the opposite. More people seem to believe AppleInsider, but we won't know until Tuesday, when Steve hold his show.
  • There is one reason I prefer: your not giving money to Microsoft! But, aside from this the prosessor is a lot more effentient (more than 2x average) of corse that can vary a lot depending on what you are doing... (so a 500mhz mac still compeats, not to mention in a laptop!) Given the individual hardware is more expensive, sometimes a lot. I'm not a Mac user but I soon hope to get a g4 for linux... Mmmmmm.....
  • Heh, the more appropriate question would be;

    "how do you feel, living in a country where the president and the vice president have BOTH had DUI's?" (along with much anecdotal evidence that at least Bush got away with it almost habitually - only one DUI, $25 fine).

    Well, at least with the Secret Service limos, two drunks are off the streets.
  • hi there, you're a moron.

    yes, the fan quit, and the power supply blew (specifically a capacitor blew, not a transistor). but before the power supply gave out, the spike travelled through the power cord and one of the motherboard chips put a nice nasty black mark just as it was dying. in addtion, the Trident chip on my video card also decided its time was up, and the interal explosion caused the outer plastic to buckle in the point of failure.

    so in closing, yes my PC is completely toast, and you, my kind sir, a complete fucking idiot.

    - j
  • This is a major annoyance out here. Basicly, when driving on the interstate you pass on the left. Nothing I hate more than driveing in the left lane and seeing the car infront of me leaveing a bigger and bigger gap between it and the next car, and cars constantly switching lanes to pass infront from the right lane. Out here noone drives the limit, i66 is still 55mph and everyone drives 65-70. I don't care if a person is following the speed limit, if you are going to drive slower than 90% of the people on the road you get in the right lane, simple as that.
  • Hi all,

    Just wanted to say "thanks!". So, thanks! ;-)

    If you have a question for me, just ask! The only thing that I don't like about answering questions is typing a lot if they require long answers. ;-)

    I'll be responding to some of the comments here, too. Thanks again! We may not always see the brightest stones in the mine on here, but the ones that we do find are treasures.

    Last time: thanks again!

    Oh, if you've mailed me, I have about 70 other mails to reply to, so I'll be a bit slow. And I'm going to Macworld Expo on Sunday, so I'll be tied up with that. Please understand if I don't immediately reply. Thanks! (Again^6! ;-)

    Haaz: Co-founder, LinuxPPC Inc., making Linux for PowerPC since 1996.
  • Mmm, that's not harsh enough. ;->
    • $100,000 fine if it's as bad as Jerk Boy's deed. (0.25 BAC (you're supposed to be nearly unconcious with that much blood in your alchohol stream. er....)

    • Singapore-style caning is good. Yes.

    • Exile to Siberia.

    • Lose all driving priveledges for at least five years. That would be really tough to push, especially in such a car-dependant country as the U.S..

    That's just my opinion. Take it for what it's worth.

    Haaz: Co-founder, LinuxPPC Inc., making Linux for PowerPC since 1996.
  • The Motorola issue isn't incompetence.

    The issue is politics. Some dickwad there hates Apple, always has, and he took the clone killing thing personally, and got the PPC budget slashed, PPC projects cancelled, Moto pulled out of Somerset, and he replaced all machines at the company with Dells running NT.

    Just to get back at Jobs for killing the clones.
    Which admittedly was a shitty thing to do, and is the major reason we don't have CHiRP today. But also, is the major reason Apple is in business, which is the only compelling reason why 99% of PPC boxes are sold. (ie. consider the scenario where cloning continued, Apple went out of business and left a crater in Cupertino - the remaining market for PPC machines was Be and LinuxPPC, maybe BSD PPC, was there such a thing? and NT PPC - which was later cancelled. Be MAY have saved the PPC platform, but realistically, Be was already moving to x86. Without Apple, I believe PPC would have died completely (except for proprietary IBM boxen).

    So - the very immature dickwad at Motorola is more to blame than the engineers at Motorola. With copper, and xerogel, and AltiVec, they had a solid track record of pushing chip technology way, way farther than nearly any other player in the biz. but when funding was cut, OF COURSE they wouldn't be able to rescue production.
  • by lupa (218669) on Friday January 05, 2001 @07:52AM (#528101)
    In short, it's too bad Apple killed the clones, or we'd have cheaper PPCs to play with.

    well, according to my research, the given reason why Apple pulled in the clones was because the company was consistenly operating in the red, and clones like the Radius were blamed for the serious decline of consumer purchases of Apple products. i'm not sure if that's strictly true or not, but after they pulled back the clones, the *next quarter* they posted their first fiscal gain in a year and a half.

    whatever the reason for doing it, it had the desired result.

  • by Don Negro (1069) on Friday January 05, 2001 @07:52AM (#528102)
    One word... PowerBook.

    With a 500Mhz PB G3 running LinuxPPC, you'll have the fastest notebook available, with impressive battery life, and the bonus of non-dongle ethernet.

    Right now, that is the PPC world's only real area of advantage. (...grumble, grumble, Moto, grumble, fscking incompetent, grumble...)

    If the speeds go up, then you can start looking at real price/performance advantages on the desktop again. And of course, you can always buy old hardware and stick a faster processor card in it, I've found that works really well. $300 dollar used PowerComputing box + $300 G3 card -- you get the picture.

    Don Negro

  • "It needs to happen." Does anyone know the details for why the POP boards never materialized? What ever happened to Silicon Fruit, Eternal Computing, Total Impact, etc? Is the lack of production a result of perceived lack of market, or a missing part from Motorola, or what?

    FWIW, some of the ex Phase 5 (a former Amiga addon manufacturer) guys, in the hope of having a good platform to run their MorphOS Amiga-like OS [morphos.de] on, have started a company [bplan-gmbh.de] to produce some PPC motherboards. Ralph Schmidt has stated [flyingmice.com] that the hardware will be "mostly generic" and running LinuxPPC on it should be possible. Whether that means it will be compliant with the PREP/CHRP/POP/whatever standards is still not clear to me. And of course any time products even tangentially related to the Amiga are mentioned, peoples' Vapor Warning lights go off. Nevertheless, it's at least a ray of hope for people who are interested in such things, so I thought I would mention it here.


    ---
  • Here is an article [targetpc.com] about a PPC motherboard product called RioRed.

    The company is called SiliconFruit, and this board seems like vapor. However, it is still a very interesting read about their ambitions.
  • You get used to it fast. When OS 8 out and introduced the Contextual Menu in 97, I picked it up quick, mouse with the right and pinkie finger to the Control key with the left . Then I went out a few monthes later and got my Kensington Orbit.

    Now I have an MS Intellithingy Explorer. Really nice mouse on a Mac. Oh and I still have my Kensington Orbit for playing Q3 and UT, because I just can't get used to a mouse in those two games.
  • I have accomplished this on my PowerBook Pismo running debian and BenH's vmlinux-2.2.17pre20-ben3 kernel... However, I haven't fiddled with this in a looong time, and can't remember exactly how to do it.

    Essentially, you have to either:

    1) set some kernel arguments at boot time (e.g., adb_buttons=1,x,y where x and y = the keycodes for the keyboard buttons that will emulate the second and third mouse buttons respectively.

    or

    2) create a init script that runs at boot time that sets the values of files in /proc/sys/dev/mac_hid/ (see Franzo's blurb [netsurf.de])

    I have gotten both methods to work, but use the second one on my PowerBook

  • For workstation use, the value of the cooling and noise is marginal, but for high density racks or embedded applications such as the TiVo it's probably a big win. No fan means the system can be mechanically more simple and rugged. PPC SBCs are available with quad processors, 100BaseT Ethernet, Utra Wide SCSI and some with the ability to withstand up to 14Gs of acceleration.

    I'd love to see something like this packaged like a netwinder.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The link you referenced has "The Leader in Embedded Engineering" at the top and the description reads

    "MTX targets communications, industrial automation, and electronic imaging applications with an exciting combination of processor power and connectivity including 10/100Mb/s Ethernet, EIDE, and SCSI. Expanding MTX is easily done by adding either standard PCI adapters or low profile PMC modules. MTX is supported with industry leading embedded operating environments to help get OEM applications to market quickly...and Motorola's OEM support policies for MTX help maintain those applications for years into the future. All these combine to make MTX the right choice for high-end embedded processing, and Motorola the right partner for the long-term." (empahsis added)

    So it seems the eariler poster was right: PPC is dead - Motorola definately seems to be targeting the PPC at embedded systems, read: routers and switches, which I have read accounts of > 80% of PPC sales.

    Apple must be in a real funk over this - their business model depends on proprietary hardware yet a move to a different CPU seems inevitable. Are there any alternatives besides Alpha and x86? Mac OS/X is already being ported to x86 - perhaps Apple is transitioning themselves to a pure-software company. Maybe that will mean us x86'ers can run that kewl Aqua GUI on our existing boxes :-)

  • The only thing RISC makes more sense in is writing assembly. Everything up from that (including most code jobs) makes complex instruction sets practically invisible to the programmer.

    Read The Hardware Software Interface for a more thorough investigation.

  • If you're not holding onto the little 'tabs' (for want of a better word) at each side of the mouse, you will drop the files.

    ::Searches for a good way to say this::
    ::fails::

    Well, that's why those bleeding 'tabs" are there!!
  • misinformation!

    OS X is NOT being ported to x86.

    Darwin already runs on x86, but the Quartz, Aqua, Cocoa and Carbon components are PPC-only. Without those, Darwin is basically a flavor of BSD. Porting these other VERY CRUCIAL pieces is non-trivial.
  • I believe that that defence was actually used in Canada as a defence against a murder charge. Sucessfully. There was some serious question as to whether or not it would apply to a drunk driving charge.

    "I was so drunk that I couldn't form the necessary criminal intent."
    `ø,,ø!

  • Maybe I'm the only one who finds this a tad in bad taste? I'm not completely humorless, but I guess having been close to someone who was killed by a drunk driver, I don't find this very funny.
  • Apple is one of the most consistently profitable computer companies. There were a couple of quarters of red ink after the NeXT buy-out, plus one recently.
    Apple scrapped the clones because they directly affected sales of their hardware. I know, I used to own a clone! It was cheaper and more powerful than what Apple had at the time, so I bought it.

    Clones were supposed to grow the MacOS's marketshare, and all they did was poach Apple sales. The thing that increased MacOS's market dramatically was the iMac.

    Pope

    Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Monopolies offer Choice!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    the thing is that the PPC processors and boards are very different at a low level from x86 processors and boards (duh). the busses are different. A PC will bottleneck is a number of instances at the boards, and cranking the MHZ is only going to do so much., Thats why AS/400s and RS/6000 machines are so great for server applications: they are wider. the memory access (of any kind) on new as400s is incredible. and thats the real issue for server type applications (which seems to maybe be the future), processor speed is important for a number of things, (multimedia) but IO is super important for server applicatiosn, databases etc. So the PPC has quite a future, just maybe not on your desktop, and thats also why linux is so important on the PPC, is because it is great for servers: IBM is planning on releasing it (for example) on the 400 which, pricewise is a fantastic deal. at any rate, the PPC I think has a realatively long life ahead of it. Especially when we move into 64 bit processing. the 64 bit PPCs are great and supposedly the backward compatibility is good. -zeke
  • Uh, really, why do you folks keep bringing up the damn CUBE when making hardware/price comparisons? It's an executive toy and should be ignored at all costs. Get the MP towers instead.

    As for the G4 chips (or 7400/7500 family) the next batch will have DUAL AltiVec units! Now there's some tasty FP waiting to happen.

    Pope

    Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Monopolies offer Choice!
  • The idea that someone could have the nerve to show up and plead anything other than guilty, or, at most guily with mitigating circumstances, leavesme breathless in these sorts of cases.

    I'm sure, in the US, that someone could get away with a defense stating
    1. "I'm not guilding of
    2. driving under the influence, because I was drunk and didn't know what I was doing"
    There was a well-known football player that got away with murder when we saw everything but a live broadcast of the murder itself.

    Though, if he had a copy of DeCSS on a CD in hid car ...

    Karma karma karma karma karmeleon: it comes and goes, it comes and goes.
  • A pretty critical comment is:
    Where's the real advantage, though? Again, good question. As the computer world changes, and no third party desktop PPC boxes appear, it's getter harder to answer. I think the real problem here is that there are no real third-party alternatives for PPC hardware. And that needs to change. Should IBM's POP board see the light of day, ask me again, and I'll have a different answer for ya. As I said above, it needs to happen.
    Without the third party stuff, without the "cheap motherboards," the PPC stuff is going to continue to get "eaten" by the continually-getting-souped-up IA-32 hardware.

    Altivec may be cool stuff; StrongARM and MIPS have their own bits of "coolness," but all are suffering from the "no cheap motherboards" problem. In order to deploy these for substantial applications, you need either to:

    • Commit to paying for a whole pile of hardware, which means you need to have deep pockets and have Vulture Capitalists willing to trust Motorola and Apple (apparently the case for TiVo), or
    • Run the risk that the hardware will be obsolete, with no upgrade path.

      Which is why Cobalt's newer hardware was using IA-32 rather than MIPS, and why "Rebel Computing" isn't doing too well.

    I'd love to see the POP motherboards come out; I'd love to see the F-CPU [f-cpu.org] project get to generating actual silicon, and if they actually produced a board and CPU, I'd almost certainly buy one of those even if it was just a fraction as fast as the latest "Pentium 4." Unfortunately, considerable skepticism is necessary.
  • With a 500Mhz PB G3 running LinuxPPC, you'll have the fastest notebook available, with impressive battery life, and the bonus of non-dongle ethernet.

    And right now (as in this week, until they finish clearing their inventory for the expected G4 models) they're cheap enough to be worth buying. $2200 from the Apple Store web site. (I got mine a couple of weeks ago for $2100 via a special offer to developers.) A mere six months ago it cost $3500.

    Consider that those dinky little portable DVD players cost $1000-$1100, and you're getting more than just a laptop. And the current "LG" DVD-ROM drive has a command that disables the RPC-2 region protection until the next reset, so you can easily bypass the evils of region coding, too.

    Of course I don't think you'll be able to play DVDs under LinuxPPC for a while. But when OS X is released, you should be able to get most of the benefits of LinuxPPC, at the cost of a bit more RAM.

  • Indeed, even Mac 'enthusiasts' are hard pressed to find good technical reasons for buying PowerPC. Had Moto been at 900MHz by now, then, well, maybe.

    There's one excellent reason for choosing a Mac over Windows or Linux/x86: better ease of use. Using a Mac is easier than using a PC. (And yes, during the day I spend all my time working on NT, so I know whereof I speak.) The relatively small price delta between a Mac and a comparable PC is worth the the time and grief I am saved when working on my Mac.

    Linux/PPC takes away that advantage, which is why I've never bothered to install it.

    -jon

  • All the new towers have twin G4 processors.
  • The x86 ISA is older than I am...and I'm not a kid niether. Intel's most recent high volume CPU core was released in 1994 (pro) and has been the basis for what their doing for a long time. The p4 is slower than the p3. Until I see it in stores, Itanium is vapor.

    My G4 is a bit more with the times, as far as computing technology than most implementations of the x86 ISA. Athon's a viable alternative, but remeber, they licensed thier copper fabrication process from....Motorola.

    Als0 als0 wik:
    IBM's got some nifty stuff coming down the pipe (SOI, POWER 4) that really should blow the doors of most x86 implementations.
  • by Bongo (13261) on Friday January 05, 2001 @08:20AM (#528150)

    Indeed, even Mac 'enthusiasts' are hard pressed to find good technical reasons for buying PowerPC. Had Moto been at 900MHz by now, then, well, maybe.

    But people don't necessairally start asking "What chip?". They average masses just ask "Which PC?". But they could also start asking "Which OS?" -- and this reveals one of the great potential* benefits of Linux -- that you can choose Linux first, and worry about your hardware second (as opposed to, say, the Mac, where choosing Mac OS X 'limits' you to Apple HW). And this is highly exciting for the IT industry, not to mention 'World Domination'...

    For while Windows went 'everywhere' horizonatally (across all** desktops), Linux is busy going everywhere vertically (to most scales, CPUs etc.). -- So while MS has been successful keeping horizontal competition out, they are about to get vertically out-flanked.

    When Linux is running on the company server, and on your PDA, the only bottleneck will be that 'troublesome' desktop running 'incompatible' Windows ;-)

    Note the problem won't be what chip is in your desktop. It won't be the styling of the plastics. It'll simply be a matter of installing the right OS. And most of the time, that'll be Linux.

    Is there a "Fanaticism FAQ" ?

    * Potential for the masses, but real and current for those who know...
    ** In so far as 90% == 100%.

  • by wnissen (59924) on Friday January 05, 2001 @08:22AM (#528151)
    Actually, we have seen it. It's called "AMD". They take the CISC instructions and translate them into RISC instructions that can be more highly optimized, especially in parallel. Read about it at this Byte article [byte.com] on the AMD K6 (nee Nexgen Nx586). For those who need to read about the latest and greatest, try this Althon architecture overview [xbitlabs.com] (about a third of the way down). Without RISC, AMD would never have been able to efficiently make use of all those "extra" logic units.

    Sure, we'll probably never get to see how a mature RISC chip will perform, but even "CISC" chips are getting more RISCy. And maybe Compaq will really put some oomph behind the Alpha one of these days.

    Walt
  • by Flavio (12072) on Friday January 05, 2001 @08:33AM (#528153)
    Has anyone here compared the performance and/or functionality of these two distros? I just installed Yellow Dog 1.2.1 on a G3 laptop the other day, and was sorely disappointed...

    the weird thing is that my experience was the opposite. My burn of LinuxPPC2000 wouldn't install on my iMac. The RPMS were in the *wrong directory* in the CD, and I couldn't use the graphical installation because at the time my iMac (classic) had only 32 MB of ram and the installation obviously doesn't init any swap.

    After copying the CD's contents to another machine that's networked with the iMac I actually setup an FTP install and that also didn't work because some packages had different names than the packages the install program searched for. I ended up renaming about 30-40 packages until I realised about 40% of the RPMs had wrong names. By this time I gave up on the install and installed YellowDog. I now use lots of packages from LinuxPPC, but to this day I haven't figured out what's wrong with that CD. This coming from an experienced Linux user.

    Anywho, to your questions:

    * Would lock or power-down on me if I booted straight "linux"; could only sucessfully do things booting to "linux-novideo". This may be a somewhat known issue, but it keeps me from using 256 colours.

    I also had several problems in the yaboot install process. This was the first time I did a LinuxPPC install so I had to learn some stuff the hard way. The OpenFirmware setup went along fine, but some bugs like the

    image = hd:,\\\\vmlinux

    line in yaboot.conf (now documented in their support site; there was a typo in the official version) gave me some headaches =)

    In any case, read the yaboot docs and you should be running in at most half an hour because you'll already know about the yaboot.conf bug.

    * Gnome was crap on my machine. The task bar (gnome-session?) cored every time I tried to load up X. the mouse cursor would "float" as it approached max/min/etc buttons on the window.

    I also had some issues with Gnome, but not as bad. Either recompile it or use KDE. I personally use Window Maker for the speed and memory usage so I didn't have the problem.

    * KDE was better, but only somewhat. If screen blanked, palette never shifted back to normal colours.

    Weird, KDE ran fine with me.

    * Since there doesn't appear to be any real "text" mode, minicom had everything shoved into an 80x25 corner of my display, leaving 2 inches of blank black space to the bottom and right.

    recompile the kernel with larger fonts.

    * Could not alt-Fx between terminals. Could alt-F7 to the blank one reserved for X -- but could not get back to any other terminals.

    it's actually command-Fx on the mac. If you did try command-Fx and it didn't work... well, you've got to enable the terms in /etc/inittab. Perhaps I did that myself and can't remember.

    * Other little, nagging issues.

    That's Linux for you. I always customize my installs, because anything I consider not to my liking is a nagging issue (like the lack of --color=yes in RedHat's 'ls' command).

    I haven't been able to easily find information on most of these issues, either.

    Google should simplify your life. Use lists.linuxppc.org as well.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, when Jason tells us "You can run on a PPC box as well as an x86 box", I just certainly hope this is true,

    It is VERY true. My iMac now has 96 MB of RAM and it runs like a charm. I love using that box now (it's actually my Mom's -- she couldn't stand MacOS's sluggishness and crashes; I couldn't stand MacOS). It has _NEVER_ crashed on me, runs as fast as my 400 MHz Celeron, looks and feels just like Linux on an i386.

    and it certainly won't be easy for joe user to find ways to fix these issues.

    Agreed. Some of the stuff's well above joe user's head. In any case, I love LinuxPPC and I'd like to give a big thanks for Haas and all developers out there.

    Flavio
  • by earlytime (15364) on Friday January 05, 2001 @08:41AM (#528156) Homepage
    Don't forget that IBM is part of the PPC triumverate. In my eyes, over the last 5 years, not even Intel can hold a candle to IBM in terms of making advnces in microprocessor fabrication, and design. Things like copper interconnects, and SOI have helped IBM make lots of money licensing technology, or simply manufacturing other people's chips with IBM's state of the art processes.
    It wasn't too long ago that AMD had a majority or their chips made by IBM. (or was that cyrix? i don't remember)

    -earl

  • Yes, it's too bad Apple killed the clones, or else we'd all have PPC boxen on our desks.

    But the good thing about the death of the clones is the exact reason why to buy a PPC box:
    Yes, there are less peripheral choices for pci cards (tho you really don't need to worry about that: the pci cards I had to buy for my pc are integrated devices on my powermac mobo.) and all the periherals for mac work... compatibility is a non-issue for mac.

    Considering that one of the values I cherish most when discussing machines is compatibility and reliability, Apple wins everytime.

    besides, the public beta rocks.

    A host is a host from coast to coast, but no one uses a host that's close
  • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Friday January 05, 2001 @09:59AM (#528162) Homepage

    A is objectively better than B. It's niftier, and you like it better. But everyone else is going with B so you do too.

    It price to performance ratio. Object A is objectivly niftyer than Object B, but when you figure in the facts that:

    A) Though the RISC has a better architecture design, it is not sufficently better for most tasks to overcome the difference in Mhz available (ie, a 1Ghz PPC CPU would be manifestly better than a 1Ghz x86 CPU, but the x86 CPU's are up around 1.2Ghz, and the PPC's are still at 500Mhz. The superior design is insufficent in most cases to overcome that greater than 2x speed difference.)

    B) The price differnces are staggering. Comparing the cost of a technically superior, but practically equivliant (or even inferior depending on the app) PPC CPU to that of the x86 CPU will yeild differnces of nearly 2x.

    C) I have to deal with Apple to get a PPC system. I mean come on, we are talking about a company that "punished" ATI for blabing about a product early by releaseing that product with an inferior video card. They could care less about their customers. At least with all the companies making x86 hardware they have to at least pretend to care what the customer think or they will be forced out by someone who does.

    Let's play out your politcal analogy here. Let's say I have a friend named Bob,and Bob is running for Mayor. I like Bob and he agrees with me on all of the issues, so I should vote for him, right? But wait, let's look at this further: First, Bob has no political experience, and if elected will most likely not be able to accomplish as much as his opponent, whom I also agree with on most important issues, just not ALL the issues. Second, Bob is kinda broke, and needs me to help pay for his campaign or there is no chance he will be elected. Finally, there is the fact that if I vote for Bob and he gets into office, he will probably appoint Tim Chief of Police. Tim is a jerk, but Bob likes him, so If I want Bob I gotta accept that Tim is coming along for the ride. So I can choose to get someone I agree with completely (other than thte Tim thing), but who will be less effective, and cost me money (and strap me with someone else I dont like), or I can choose some one that I can usually agree with, but who is cheaper, more likely to actually accomplish the purpose I elected him for, and will not come with baggage I don't like. I'll normally take the opponent unless there is compelling reason to do otherwise.

  • I didn't find it funny because I didn't get whatever the reference was (its after lunch on a friday...not the best time for mental capacity).

    However I would point out a couple of things:

    1) "Bad Taste" is subjective. Most funny things are in Bad taste according to someone. Andrew Dice Clay made alot of jokes in bad taste, and even stuff that I don't agree with on alot of levels, but he was still damned funny

    2) Sorry to hear about your fammily member but... I have always felt that it is unrealistic to expect the world to conform to the way that I wish it would be.

    3) Humor and pain seem to go hand in hand. Its an interesting thing to note but they seem so linked on a very basic level.

    Then again.... I have always been told that y sense of humor can be quite morbid. Death is a natural part of life, it is the one thing that no being can avoid, you might as well get a good chuckle out of it now and again.
  • by gabe (6734) on Friday January 05, 2001 @10:08AM (#528165) Homepage Journal
    I've been following this closely since I first heard about the boards from a nice IBM fellow at the first or second LWCE in San Jose. At that time they were waiting for a chip company, I think Via, to finish the Northbridge chip for the board. I caught up with the same IBM fellow at LWCE in San Jose last August and discovered that the Northbridge chip had been cancelled by the company that was designing it and that, since they had no Northbridge chip, the ref. board was delayed. From what I know, IBM is now working on a Northbridge chip for the board themselves, and as soon as that is done, there should be cheap PPC boards galore. Keep tabs on openppc.org.
    --
    Gabriel Ricard
    Linux Fanatic
  • meheheh.. none taken. ;-)
    Haaz: Co-founder, LinuxPPC Inc., making Linux for PowerPC since 1996.
  • the competition thing is a mixed blessing, on the one hand, Intel and AMD are devoting nearly all of their resources to getting the fastest x86 chip out the door, and it makes them lean and mean. On the other hand, it's a profitable market, but margins are razor thin for both parties. If you don't have the profits to do the R&D, and to build the fabs, it's hard to stay comptitive in that cut-throat market. IBM gets the benefit of having a diversified product strategy, and also because they use PowerPC in alot of their own systems (RS/6000, big iron) they get to sell PPC systems in two higher (than x86 desktop) margin markets: midrange and high-end servers. Plus they get service and support revenues from the product lines as well.
    And as we all know, it takes a whole lot more than CPU power to make a powerful server. Ask Sun, they have one of the weakest processor offeings in the server market, but because they build balanced systems, having a weak CPU isn't hurting them. But that is beside the point.
    Intel and AMD already own the desktop CPU market, and when they offer 64-bit CPUs, AMD will pull in a big share of the mid-range server market but they'll both expand into the the high-end server market as well.
  • It's very worth mentioning that Macs are not the only things that use the PowerPC processor, but they probably are the most well-known. Second place goes to TiVo -- it's a Linux/PPC box!

    There are many other things that have PPCs in them. Ford cars apparently do. (Anyone tried hooking up an Ethernet card to a Taurus? ;-) However, most of these "other" devices are not anything resembling a traditional computer (ATX form factor logic board, etc.)

    BTW, if you thought YDL's installation was a bitch, check out LinuxPPC 2000 Q4. No Mac OS required. :)

    Haaz: Co-founder, LinuxPPC Inc., making Linux for PowerPC since 1996.
  • Apple must be in a real funk over this - their business model depends on proprietary hardware yet a move to a different CPU seems inevitable. Are there any alternatives besides Alpha and x86? Mac OS/X is already being ported to x86 - perhaps Apple is transitioning themselves to a pure-software company. Maybe that will mean us x86'ers can run that kewl Aqua GUI on our existing boxes :-)

    actually there's no reason why apple can't design computers exactly as they have been now but put an x86 processor in there instead of a PPC (except, of course, we'd kiss 'fanless' goodbye). they then make the MacOS still run on "Apple" hardware, but with the benefit (? i still prefer PPC) of having x86 processors. then they clearly say "MacOS only runs on Apple computers."

    of course, you may be able to hack OS X to run on your cheap-taiwanese-generic motherboard (especially with access to the kernel), but it's not guaranteed to work, and Apple doesn't need to take you into account when upgrading the OS.

    making Apple a software-only company would be stupid. they make lots of money off of hardware, and also design some really really really nice hardware. if PPC chips weren't stuck at 500Mhz, they'd be the best consumer PCs out there by far.

    - j

  • by haaz (3346) on Friday January 05, 2001 @09:55PM (#528177) Homepage
    In my "ideal world," we don't have massive, road-hogging, gas-guzzling SUVs (Expedition, Excursion, newer Exploders, Tahoe, Suburban, any GM models) clogging the roads (and hurting people). We would have a few less roads, and something that has been working really well in Europe for quite a while: passenger trains.

    I would _love it_ if I could take a train from Madison, Wisconsin (where I live now, thank goodness) to Chicago, or to Minneapolis. Or to San Francisco. Or NYC.

    I can take a _bus_ to Chicago, then get on a train there (I think), but I'm not sure how I'd get from the bus station to the train station. (Taxi? Call one of my Chicago contacts?)

    Trains can move more people at once than a car, obviously. They don't take up too much space. The space is made a rail _once_, and you shouldn't have to add much more if it's planned right. (Don't get me started on modern urban "planners"....)

    We wouldn't have to stay focused all the time. We could eat, sleep, or be drunk, all of which people do in cars anyway.

    The interest in passenger trains seems to be growing, which I'm glad of. I just wish that back in the 1950s, instead of GM doing their best to get rid of trains, trains multplied. I might not be the subject of a Slashdot interview. There are definitely people who would like that. ;-) Isn't that worth it?

    I'm done ranting now. Have fun.

    Haaz: Co-founder, LinuxPPC Inc., making Linux for PowerPC since 1996.
  • by wmulvihillDxR (212915) on Friday January 05, 2001 @07:22AM (#528180) Homepage Journal
    I would like to say that one of the major reasons that PPC hardware is still around is BECAUSE Apple is the only one selling it. It just makes sense that if only one company is selling your type of motherboard, hardware compatibility issues are more easily solved. It either works in Apple's motherboard or it doesn't. It's not, it works in Asus's Slot 1 motherboard, but not in Abit's. If you get a G3, yours is the same as everyone else's. If some sound card or video card doesn't work for you but it worked for everyone else, you get to send that G3 back to apple to get one that works right. Or even learn from the experiences of others with the same hardware. A lot of people don't want to take the trouble of updating this driver for this motherboard, flashing the BIOS, etc.

    Having said all of this, I still do prefer x86 chips for Linux. The Yellow Dog install was a (pardon the pun) bitch. Something just doesn't sit right with me when you have to have a small MAC partition to install Linux.

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