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Ask LinuxPPC Co-Founder Jason Haas 198

Jason Haas is co-founder, marketing director, and Web manager for LinuxPPC and an all-around good Linux guy. He's also majorly anti-drunk driving these days, because last March a drunk driver ran into his car and left it looking like this. Jason was left in only slightly better shape himself, but unlike his Honda, he eventually recovered (with major help and support from his wife, Cassie) and went back to work. Ask Jason what you will; about out-of-control SUVs (I don't think he likes them), Linux on PowerPCs (something he likes a lot) or anything else. Post your questions below. Tomorrow we'll forward 10 of the highest-moderated ones to him, and we'll expect his answers back in a week or so.
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Ask Jason Haas

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  • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @08:35AM (#537126)
    what made you decide to want to do LinuxPPC development and do you think that the Macintosh hardware platform is going to remain a major player in years to come?
  • Have you learned your lesson, and bought a car that isn't quite such a tiny tin can?

    Why would you even consider blaming that man? You think it is his fault when:

    1. He was just sitting at a red light?
    2. A drunk driver hit him?

    The only thing that could have protected him from that wreck was a tank (and I mean a military tank, not an 81 buick). I suggest you apoligize for your comment.

  • Will LinuxPPC be able to use all linux based software or just ones specfically for ppc. Will they release source apps or bins? Do you think that linuxppc will bring new users to mac hardware, take maco/s customers away from them or take linux customers and allow them to use macs?
  • So Jason, what DO you think about SUVs? I saw this site a couple years ago - it cracks me up and I bet you would get a kick out of it too... []
  • by verbatim ( 18390 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @08:40AM (#537130) Homepage
    Since you were in what appears to be a very serious accident with a very serious idoit, do you feel that the drunk driving laws are good/bad and what do you think could/should be done to prevent accidents like the one you were involved with (if anything)? Also, what do you feel are the effects of alchohol on the average geek mind?

  • LinuxPPC has been around for a long time. There are already many apps ready to go. It is like any other architecture, yaeh you have to recompile them for that arch but the Linux programs will normally work.

    It isn't going to take away anymore MacOS people as we take away Windows users...
  • by Soko ( 17987 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @08:41AM (#537132) Homepage
    With the imminent launch of OS/X, one would think that Apple has been a rather prickly bedfellow as of late.

    Have they been open, honest and co-operative, or do they seem to view you and your group as something of a compeditor?

  • I am a 19 year-old straightedge person (being straightedge means no drinking, no smoking and no drugs). I honestly believe I am this way because I've watched all these substances destroy my family and some of my friends.

    I just wanted to know if your views of alcohol, in general, has changed after your accident or if you have joined any anti-drunk driving organisations (i.e. MADD)?
  • from a computer/Mac standpoint, how do you feel about your multi-faceted progress since your days in Madison?

  • What was the breakthrough that allows your latest release to boot directly from the CD-ROM on a Macintosh? Is this something that you are willing to share with other Mac distributions, i.e. M68k-linux?
  • I'm definitely spoiled rotten by the state of commodity PC hardware. I take it very much for granted that I have a vast choice of motherboards and processors to choose from.

    I'm also PPC-clueless. Can you talk briefly about the current state of PPC hardware? (availability, capability, price, future roadmap)


  • OK Troll boy. So your saying that anyone who cannot afford a "tank" (or chooses to drive an economical or environmentally friendly car) deserves their fate when in an accident with an SUV?

  • i have railed against SUVs and the falsely-held belief by many that they are somehow safer than other cars on slashdot and many other places. just about any time the topic comes up. but there seems to be little that can be done to combat the fad other than just trying to steer friends and relatives away from purchasing trucks and SUVs unnecessarily (trucks have genuine uses, but i fail to see any needs that a 3-ton SUV fills that a smaller and safer minivan or better yet, wagon, cannot.)

    this is a social problem, it's a dangerous, stupid and wasteful fad. while i'm usually very pro-darwinism, owning an Audi TT myself, it's always a little disconcerting when an Excursion comes speeding up behind me when i'm stopped at a light.

    the misconception that he is 'safer' in that excursion comes from the fact that he's safer than i am in that collision, but if he's not any more safe than he'd be if he was in say, an Accord, Camry or Taurus.

    in fact, he's less safe, he's unable to stop in a reasonable distance, swerve around obstacles to avoid collisions, etc. add to that the fact that when two three ton vehicles collide the resulting impact is far more violent than say, a collision of two Festivas or even Mustangs.

    what's your view, thoughts and suggestions on this issue?
  • by drenehtsral ( 29789 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @08:45AM (#537139) Homepage
    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 =:-)
  • No, I didn't say 'deserve'. Just like a woman who goes to a party dressed scantily doesn't 'deserve' to be raped. It's just something that you can do to protect yourself if you do so choose. He chose not to, and drove a tiny little car and paid the price.

  • Ermmm... obviously OS X, because once it ships it'll be the default installed OS. Kind of like how IE kicked Netscape out of the market.
  • Besides putting linux on every available device with some computing power, what benefit does linux on the mac have? I've been away from Apple products for quite a while. Is there a specific reason to use them? (Better graphics? Sound support? ROI?) What about compatibility? Is byte ordering problematic?
  • Do you suspect the SUV driver might have been a secret M$ or Intel agent? ;-P
  • by IanCarlson ( 16476 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @08:47AM (#537144) Homepage
    A question:
    • 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.
  • Hi, I have a Mac and a PC, so I am interested in Linuc for the PowerPC.

    With OSX, with its Unix-like core, coming out for the Mac soon, will this make things easier for the Linux PowerPC project when it comes to Hardware drivers and generally fitting the OS to the machine? After all, in the future new models of the Mac will be optomised for a *nix-like OS, and I would have thought that this would make things better and easier for you.

    (I am only guessing;)

  • Are there plans to release a distro of LinuxPPC specifically suited for PPC users left behind by Apple and OSX? Most desktop users are put off by a default kitchen-sink install. It seems that with those services turned off, maintenance and operation is a bit more friendly to Unix newbies.

    hot flaming grapes []

  • by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @08:51AM (#537147)
    How do you think a possible Feb OS X release date will affect acceptance of LinuxPCC among owners G3/G4's?
  • What prompted the idea for LinuxPPC in the beginning and where do you see it going?

    do { Work(); PayTaxes(); Eat(); Sleep(); } while (alive)
  • Well, there *is* something to be said for driving a slightly larger car -- I'd rather be in a Volvo in a crash than a Geo Metro anyday.


  • by glrotate ( 300695 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @08:54AM (#537150) Homepage
    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?
  • If it does, that'll be my fault for driving in a tank-prone area without a tank.

  • I was reading the intro for this 'Hey, ask him' and it made it sound as though you didn't think about drunk driving until it affected you.

    My question is: Why did it take that?

    I'm not militant, but I've been known to knock my friends down rather than let them drive while under the influence of anything.

  • by A moron ( 37050 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @08:56AM (#537153)
    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?

    This would provide you with extra resources to keep LinuxPPC up to date and cleaner.
  • Let me start by saying that I have been using LinuxPPC heavily for over a year now, and have fould the experience very good.

    That said, however, I don't think that LinuxPPC is very likely to encourage people to by Mac hardware. Rather, it gives new life to old hardware. Got an old PowerMac 8500 lying around? Too slow to do much of anything useful with MacOS? That's where LinuxPPC comes in. Mac hardware is just too expensive to buy for the purpose of running Linux on.

    Realistically, OS X will not change this. OS X is seriously processor-intensive stuff. It's clearly workstation-oriented: the GUI is the selling point. LinuxPPC, on the other hand, is great on all kinds of hardware for all kinds of uses.

  • As a technicly oriented non-coded who uses a variety of platforms, I understand that of the biggest problems people have faced when designing non-Apple OS's for Apple hardware is the existance of Apple's proprietary boot-roms and in-processor features. As I understand it, these features have all but destroyed BeOS's chances on the Mac. What challenges from this sort of 'hardware control' does LinuxPPC overcome, if any?
  • I keep wondering about the legal ages for several things in this country (USA).
    Driving age: 14-16
    Legal sex age: 16-18 (?)
    Marriage age: 15 (?)
    Death penalty age: 14
    Army age: 18
    Voting age: 18
    Drinking age: 21

    It is amazing for how many things you are considered responsible enough for before you are allowed to drink.
    That doesn't quite make much sense. Wouldn't it make much more sense having a legislation more European like? In Europe most countries have a legal drinking age 2 years lower than the driving age (Drink: 16, Drive: 18). What happens is that by the time you get to dive all the drinking hype is already gone and there are not so many accidents related to alcohol....
    Would Americans trade one age for the other?

    Just a thought
  • One specific example. The quicktime technology is now used on Windows as well as Mac Systems. But I can not view these same quicktime files on my LinuxPPC base G4, and have to reboot into MacOS.

    I have followed Linux on Mac hardware since the early MkLinux. Is there any hope of Apple giving back to the Linux community
  • I bought LinuxPPC 2000 from your company when it was released and I was very disappointed by it, especially your technical support . I sent a number of e-mails to your support address regarding my problems, none of which got answered. I think its quite sad that, unlike the x86 distros who have to cater for an almost unlimited number of configurations, you can't get a distribution out that works properly on a standard iMac- which is surely one of the first things you should test it on! So could anyone out there reading this tell me how to get X setup for greater depths than 8 bit under LinuxPPC 2000 (first release- don't know what Xfree- 3.something). Also, whatever happened to IBMs POP boards?
  • When we looked at this (very large scale file compression and image munging system), the answer was Alpha. Best bang per buck and also the systems that surrounded it (bus architectures, supporting components etc etc). A little more expensive than x86 and a pain if you only have access to x86 binary libraries but definitely worth it.

    If you are only doing integer work then probably an Athlon system would be better than PPC for raw number crunching. This is a rough gut feel based on using various friends' Macs and my own Athlon system in general use (doing lots of stuff like compiling etc). My feeling is the surrounding infrastructure such as the CPU bus make it more worthwhile - particularly if you can grab an Athlon with the 266MHz bus :)

  • by TheNecromancer ( 179644 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @09:05AM (#537160)

    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?


  • Ask Jason what you will; about out-of-control SUVs (I don't think he likes them),

    Does your car have Firestone tires?

    Put your feet out and stop ... climb out and hang ...
  • > It is amazing for how many things you are considered responsible enough for before you are allowed to drink.

    That's because the system isn't based on rational premises; it's based on what the powerful want to enforce on the powerless.

    BTW, did you know that voting age was 21 back during the Vietnam War, until people expressed outrage over the fact that
    You're old enough for killin'

    But not for votin'
    -- Barry McGuire (IIRC)

  • Do you actually believe that anyone would take up smoking if they knew what the consequences would be?
    I'm sure the majority of people have heard about the consequences a bazillion of times, but not everybody realizes what they mean.
  • - I've wanted to mess around with a PowerPC platform hardware but unlike Intel hardware it seems to be very hard to find for realitively cheap. Any hints on how to jump into LinuxPPC without running out to CompUSA and buying a PowerCube?

    - Got any feelings about OSX? Will there be any nifty widgets(graphic, hardware drivers, or other) that you will be modeling from OSX for LinuxPPC?

    - Have you kept track of the person that crashed into you? I mean in the sense that you made sure that he was dealt with in the courts properly. I don't want to imply you are vengeful or anything but do you think they were treated properly(to lightly, to harshly or something in between)?
  • I have a hard time remembering certain things if I don't have enough exposure.

    How much of your programming skill do you think you've forgotten, and how long do you think it will take you to get back to your old speed?
  • by Spackler ( 223562 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @09:18AM (#537166) Journal
    About a year and a half ago, my fiancée and I were in a horrible car crash as well. We were also in a small car (Nissan Sentra), and were hit head-on by an SUV. I crushed my femur, broke my hip, and 4 ribs (I walk pretty good now after 2 reconstruction surgeries). My fiancée (now my wife thank God) lost her spleen, 1/3 of her liver, compound fracture of her heel, crushed lungs, and on a respirator for 4 weeks in ICU before she started to come out of it. We are both still recovering (Someday, I'd like to stand up and have it not hurt!).

    Things like this can teach you lessons, or destroy you. From that perspective, my question is: What were the biggest lessons you learned from it? (I ask that as someone who has gone through it, and learned a lot about what is important, and what is not.)
    This is more of a life question than a geek one.


    PS: Yes, we drive big trucks now (F-150), and I'd never own a small car, even if it were given to me!
  • As it stands right now, Linux on the Mac is kind of an odd bird; most people don't have a lot of *spare* Macs of PPC level or higher hanging around, and it's currently cheaper to spend one's cash on a dreaded Wintel box to run Linux that it is to spend cash on a Mac to do the same thing.

    On top of that, when Macs aren't in the hands of "make this as easy as possible" guys (neophytes or people who don't care about anything but running such-and-such a program), Macs are quite often found in the hands of "graphics guys" - where, despite the fact that GIMP is great and all, there's not a ton of fantastic programs available. In other words, the majority of the Mac crowd just ain't Linux types, really.

    So: when it comes down to brass tacks - where's the advantage for the average MacOS power user to use LinuxPPC over MacOS? Contrawise, where's the advantage of a Linux user to have a Mac box?
  • Would it be possible to replace the BSD kernel in OS X with Linux, and have there been any serious discussions regarding this? I imagine you would be the point man in such an investigation.

    Linux does seem to be a better choice, as it is more scalable, is about to get a journaled file system, and has a dazzling array of hardware support.

    I would almost rather see Apple throw itself behind HURD than cause more fragmentation amongst the BSDs. It seems the deciding factor was the BSD liscense, and not any technical advantage (although I am probably wrong, and I don't have access to POWER equipment of any sort [not even an AS/400], so I am hardly authoritative).

    I did follow the progress of your injury, and I hope your recovery is proceeding well and some good has come out of the experience.

  • Why are Nubus powerMacs (i.e., PM6100, 7100 and 8100) not supported by LinuxPPC?

    I know that MkLinux [] supports them...but if MkLinux can, then theoretically so could LinuxPPC. Is the problem a technical problem or a resource problem (no one wants to do it...) or something else?

  • There was a little noise made last year about IBM giving away just about everything you need to start manufacturing PPC CHRP motherboards: l [] tml [] []

    I recall reading something on in which you guys indicated that you'd been talking/working with IBM about this prior to the public announcements, and that you guys were going to be supporting PPC systems based on these boards.

    Soooo, what's up with that? When will I be able to pick up a reasonably cheap PPC motherboard, build up a nice system, and slap LinuxPPC on it?


  • by FourG ( 81910 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @09:24AM (#537171) Homepage

    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?

    Congrats on your recovery progress. I'm glad to see the world hasn't lost another good person to a drunk driver's carelessness.

  • Do you see LinuxPPC becoming more like its i386 brethren (more generic or uniform in hardware support), or taking advantage of some of the PPC hardware's special abilities (altivec on the G4, for example)? I know that linux on the PPC helped drive the frame buffer device for X-Windows, for example; do you see something similar happening for altivec or Firewire?
  • First off, I'm a graphics geek. I passed my GWBASIC class in high school by staying after class and copying working assigments onto my disks. I make pretty pictures, and I'm poor. I grok the Linux ideal, am frustrated by the command line, and have neither the time nor the programming skills to "shut up and fix it". I administer my own network of Macs in addition to pixel-pushing. Consider me an educated end user- your target audience, if Linux is to make its way firmly into the desktop market. From my point of view, it doesn't have a chance in hell for years to come, and I shall explain why.

    Let's see... from personal experience, I'm anti-Linux PPC. Yes, the disk boots... if you could call it that. On a G3/400 with 384 megs of RAM, it boots and hangs. On a G3/400 Powerbook (firewire) with 128 megs of RAM, DVD, and everything but the kitchen sink, it shits itself trying to load and has repeated HDA errors, aud infiintum.

    Why tell the universe that the product boots on CD when this likely applies only to specific hardware? Where's the list of "it boots on THIS configuration"?

    There's really no reason for me to use this over Debian, which at least boots and gets me into a formatting utility- on the Y2K powerbook, from the CD. The problem with Debian PPC, something I haven't noticed with Linux PPC because the distro barfs before it gets this far, is that the install process is, in a word, archaic. In a few more words, it's confusing as fuck, has no help of any kind, is totally ass backwards and made me laugh out loud. We're dealing with Mac hardware here folks.... the MacOS installer is the easiest damned thing in the friggin' UNIVERSE to use- start off of the CD, install on whatever drive has the free space. Or hose a drive and split it up any way you want, then install. Oh, and you have full UI functionality while you're doing this- so up until you hit the pretty "format" button, you can save your data by moving it to another hard drive or a network disk. Shit, you can install the entire OS onto an existing disk without harming any existing anything- if you have the space.

    The point is, Mac users expect this. Linux users probably got their start on the PC- and considering the cheap cost of hardware, there's no real point to the vast majority of them crossing over to the Mac. So I'm assuming this is being presented as an alternative for Mac users who are interested in Linux but don't want to buy a PC... or who tried MOSX and barfed. So why shoot yourselves in the face with disks that "kinda sorta" boot, on "all PPC macs" (save my Pismo, thank you), and then expect Mac users to spend the time figuring out how to Make Linux Go when there current operating system Just Works?

    I'll start running Linux fulltime as soon as...
    1. It installs as easily as MacOS. [as in, I push a button and it does the rest for me, or I can tinker to my hearts content. I shouldn't be worrying about partition numbers and boot blocks and hard drive allocation blocks and the partridge in a pear tree.]
    2. A distro comes packaged with a GUI that:
    A. Doesn't look like Windows.
    B. Has pop-up folders.
    C. Has a control strip.
    D. Has the equivalent of an Apple Menu and an Application Menu.
    E. Has universal drag and drop.
    F. Comes with anti-aliased fonts, color management comparable to colorsynch, and utilities that make managing internet and network settings as easy as the present MacOS.
    3. I can do everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) I can do in Photoshop in GIMP.
  • Just wondering if you are sticking with a Honda or if you've moved on to driving something larger (larger usually means safer).
  • Any idea what's up with the ole' MKLinux project?
  • I was just wondering what road the LinuxPPC development team would take with the introduction of Mac OSX. Before it was either choose the Mac interface or the command line (LinuxPPC or BSD) but now people can get the best of both worlds with the introduction of Mac OSX.

    Do you see LinuxPPC getting stronger or weaker in both the Mac market and the embedded market as Apple finalizes it's NeXT great OS? Do you see yourself combining efforts with Apple in any way including porting applications such as star office?

    By the way, great job!
  • <p>There's a lot of questions here regarding the accident itself, or it's psychological/emotional consequences, but i'm curious about the physical consequences, too.</p>
    <p>How has the accident changed you, in terms of permanent physical damage, any psychological damage, and just about anything else?</p>
    <p>I would imagine that something as drastic as that car accident would change your life radically and permanently in many ways.</p>
  • by maggard ( 5579 ) <> on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @09:32AM (#537178) Homepage Journal
    Jason -

    What's your take on MacOS X? As the main point-person on the biggest other Mac-based *nix I'm sure you've been keeping track of it. How do you consider what's coming out of Apple as an OS, specifically as a *nix implementation?

    Next, has Apple's open-sourcing Darwin been of any advantage to Linux PPC? Has someone ever popped into their code & looked up how they handled an point or what their solution was to a Mac-specific issue?

    Back to your own stuff, where do you see Linux PPC going as regards to the other linuxen? Any stuff you see as being unique strengths of Linux PPC (aside from it's hardware)?

    Finally, what issues do you regularly run into being on a non-X86 platform? What could developers do to improve portability for you? What's your "I-wish-they'd" list look like?

    -- Michael

  • i'm dumb. i didn't set the damn thing to HTML formatted...

    There's a lot of questions here regarding the accident itself, or it's psychological/emotional consequences, but i'm curious about the physical consequences, too.

    How has the accident changed you, in terms of permanent physical damage, any psychological damage, and just about anything else?

    I would imagine that something as drastic as that car accident would change your life radically and permanently in many ways.

  • Are you serious?

    I drink alcohol and occasionally smoke both tobacco and marijuana.

    Having lost an uncle to a liver failure (he was a heavy drinker) and having a friend with lung emphyzema I have no illusions about what booze and tobacco can do to me. However, it's a risk I'm willing to take to make this shitty life a bit more pleasurable.

  • Oh, I will second that! Support from is awful. Truly a black hole with SMTP pointing at it. D/L'ing the Yellow Dog ISO is on my list of things to do in January.
  • How do you rate the following as reasons for the PPCs lower market share:
    - Apple's restrictive (often non-existant) licensing/OEM policy.
    - Linux only reaching PPC relatively recently.
    - could linux have saved the PPC from its unfair minority fate?

    (who happily runs AlphaLinux on another 'minority' CPU)
    -- Real Men Don't Use Porn. -- Morality In Media Billboards
  • Shit, in Australia they have huge signs that say "Smoking Kills" at the counter in convenience stores, but people still smoke!

    What else can society do to discourage this behaviour? Nothing! People KNOW it's dangerous. People know eating high-fat foods in dangerous, as is speeding, and about a bazillion other things commonly done.

    The statistics are there, the odds are there, and people keep rolling the dice.

  • I think that SUV's are great vehicles - for a certain audience. The problem is that people are buying them for the "wrong" reasons.

    I have a 1991 Chev Suburban 2WD. I also have an Eagle Talon race car, and the trailer it fits on. The 'burban is the tow vehicle.

    For long haul trips hauling a race car, three sets of tires, enough gas for the weekend, tools, spares, and all the other miscellanious sundry required, nothing beats a great big SUV. In fact, I'm in the market for a new one, and I'm having trouble finding one I consider "big enough".

    But I'm not the problem here. The problem is those that buy an SUV in the belief that it renders them invincible to weather conditions. The soccer moms roaring down an unplowed Interstate at 80 MPH.

    There is an element of truth here - I drive race cars, right? So I took the 'burban out onto a snowy parking lot, to see how easy it was to slide it around, what braking distances were like, and so on. There's no doubt in my mind that the limits in adverse weather are quite a bit higher in an SUV than in a "normal" passenger car. This means that an SUV in the hands of the blissfully ignorent is much less likely to lose control.

    However, once control is lost, the laws of physics dictate that a heavy SUV moving at high speed will have a lot more energy and momentum to dissipate in the crash, which means a lot more damage - especially if the SUV hits a smaller vehicle.

    Note that THIS is nothing new either - look at what happens when car meets semi - but your average truck driver is much more competant than Ms Soccer Mom.

    The problem here is not the SUVs. The problem is people who don't understand the limits of their vehicles, and who drive in excess of those limits (or while talking on the cell phone, or whatever) Idiocy is not limited to SUV drivers.

    I'll give you an example. When the tow rig is fully loaded up, the stopping distances get pretty long (trailer brakes notwithstanding) So I leave a correspondingly longer distance between myself and the vehicle in front of me - the idea being that if the car in front of me stops NOW, that I have time to react and get the rig stopped. Well, that buffer space has to be the most attractive thing on the road, because I can't count the number of times that guys in little cars (with much shorter stopping distances than the rig) will move into that buffer space. You do that, and you have taken your own life into your hands, because if you stop before I can re-establish the buffer, then all 10,000lbs of me will be eating your rear bumper if you stop.

    Driving is an *active process*, but far too many people treat it as a passive routine. That's your problem.

    One final point - I don't have the details about Jason's accident, but I know that every single time I cross an intersection my eyes are up checking the crosstreets for someone approaching too quickly WELL before I enter the intersection myself; green light be dammed. That extra little bit of situational awareness has saved my bacon on more than one occasion. Jason may have been able to do the same.

    Assume that everyone on the road is **actively trying to kill you**, drive accordingly, and you'll never have an accident.

  • Get a little wired on coffee and hop behind, no problem right?

  • You may still encounter niggling issues when installing and/or attempting to customize a Linux PPC box-- in my experience, this usually has to do with X Windows (which a "real" server probably shouldn't be running) or issues with building your own custom kernel-- usually programs complaining about modules that got evicted during the make config stage. Nothing someone who knows linux well should be tripped up by.

    That being said, I have Linux PPC running on a old 180 MHz Apple clone, running X Windows for me, an AppleShare server for about 25 users, development Apache webserver, samba, and whatever else I might be fooling around with:

    $ uptime
    10:28am up 126 days, 9:46, 2 users, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00

    I threw out Gnome and KDE a few years ago for fvwm, which preforms much better, especially on an old crappy machine like mine.
  • Given the overwhelming majority of x86 boxen out there, I don't think it's unreasonable to state that PPC systems are viewed as second-class citizens by most developers. (Major kudos to Loki for supporting PPC in their Linux ports of interactive realtime multimedia applications.)

    Given that Open Source programmers tend to have limited time and even more limited access to machines that are not sitting in their bedroom/office/whatever, how hard has it been to convince developers to support PPC systems? And for that matter, how much of a pain-in-the-ass is it to support PPC? (endian issues is about all that comes to mind)

    And while we're discussing the nightmarish complexity of assembling and maintaining all the bits and pieces that comprise a Linux system, what's it like putting together a complete distribution anyway?

  • WHY???

    With OS X being based on BSD, why even bother continuing development on LinuxPPC? BSD will be many times more stable, and will do nearly everything that LinuxPPC can, only better, more efficiently, and more reliably.

  • Thanks. My current two test-bed machines are an Athlon 750 and a Dual Pentium III 800. I can't wait for the dual athlons to come out =:-)
  • Apple all but killed future support for the BeOS on PPC hardware when it quit providing the technical specs on the new motherboard architectures, and etc. LinuxPPC overcame this with, in my opinion, far fewer resources than Be Inc. Maybe it's a testiment to each OS's user devotion, or OpenSource vs 'ClosedSource', I don't know. My question is, why do you think LinuxPPC was able to successfully continue supporting the newer hardware from Apple when Be couldn't? Also, do you think there may be the posibility of technology sharing between Be Inc. and LinuxPPC?
  • I'd say he'd definitely be better off with a chip which can do 64-bit integer arithmetic (assuming his comments about 64-bit integers are correct) in a single cycle. That means basically Alpha, Sparc, and MIPS (there are loads of other options, but these are the closes to commidity chips, and I use that term loosely ;-). Bang for the buck wise, I'd say Alpha is probably the best of those three.

    Things may change fairly quickly with the release of Intel's IA64 platform however. Whatever it's shortcomings, I bet it'll kick but in 64-bit integer arithmetic.
  • If you're doing mostly 64-bit integer math, you'll wan't an ISA that supports operations on 64-bit integers. Standard PPC and x86 chips do not have that (IBM has some 64-bit PPC chips/systems out there).

    I think you'll find Alpha will kick butt, with Sparc being another potential contender (probably too pricy for the net benefit).
  • by X ( 1235 ) <> on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @09:59AM (#537199) Homepage Journal
    I got my SO an iBook (with wireless LAN) for Christmas. She's pretty happy with it, but I've been considering putting Linux on it. She's used Linux on my computer without much difficulty, so I'm not so concerned about usability issues, but I am concerned about hardware issues, and of course the ability to dual boot. I checked out LinuxPPC's site, and dual boot seems like a manageable issue, but I was wondering if you could comment on iBook hardware support.
  • by Smitty825 ( 114634 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @10:01AM (#537202) Homepage Journal
    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?
  • by esome ( 166227 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @10:23AM (#537212) Journal
    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?

    flame away...

  • I know this has already been adressed to a small degree in this thread, but not well, and I apologize if this comment seems insensitive or off-topic, but I would be interested to know your opinion.

    I agree that SUVs are very dangerous on roads, and it seems that poor drivers are often at the wheel. However, Honda is famous for (at least during the 80's and early 90's) making cars extremely light to improve fuel efficiency. Kia and Hyundai currently do this. This seems extremely irresponsible to me. While these cars can be made in such a way that they do not crush the passenger or driver (which it appears was not the case with your Honda, unfortunately), they still cannot eliminate the biggest problem with lightweight vehicles: instant acceleration. When a light car is struck by a medium to large vehicle (say, 3300 to 4000 lbs.), it accelerates instantly much faster than it would have if it weighed just a bit more. Depending on speed and many other factors, just 500 lbs. can mean the difference between 8 and 12 g-forces. That's a big difference. My car (a 1994 cavalier with a V6) was rear-ended by another vehicle going 55 mph while my vehicle was traveling at 5-7 mph. I was not injured. My sister's Toyota Celica was hit by a car going only 30 mph in front of our house. My dad and I spent 15 minutes tearing the door off to get her out, because the car was thoroughly crushed. Luckily, she recovered in a few weeks, but some people aren't so lucky. I realize that many people are convinced that Asian vehicles are more reliable, nicer, etc.; but they are designed in countries where speeds over 40 mph are very rare, and as such, they often cannot handle a collision that isn't bumper-to-bumper at low speed. I know I'm not giving any empirical evidence here, and I admit that a large part of the problem are vehicles like Suburbans and Excursions, but I won't be caught driving a Honda/Toyota/Nissan or any product of their divisions, because I have seen what happens to them in accidents.

    One more bit of info about me: I have, in the past, raced cars semi-professionally. Mostly, I drag-raced, but I also raced a few races at PIR. I've been in my share of wrecks, including an end-over-end incident at 240+ mph at a dragstrip. We can blame the SUVs, but that's only part of the problem, because if I can walk away from that wreck, Japan can definitely add a few pounds of metal to their cars for our safety. I have no desire to be surrounded by plastic when my life is on the line.
  • I've been considering starting a project to make a low-cost linux-based single-board computer, perhaps similar to the uCsimm [], now sold by Lineo []. Some time ago, the uCsimm sounded really exciting, but the price is now $300 for a slow CPU (people report 25-50 kbytes/sec ftp throughput), and that runs uClinux [] instead of the "real" linux. I don't want to spread FUD about uClinux, it's a great effort, but the fact is that it lacks fork, larger executables, protected memory, and both drivers and userland applications need to be ported. Still, I've got my eye on the Motorola Coldfire chip (runs uClinux), but....

    It'd sure be cool to make a low-cost board that could run the real linux, with real memory management (MMU), and a pretty speedy CPU. By low cost, I'm thinking able to sell at $120-$150 for board where you add a SDRAM DIMM and use a network bootstrap or add compact flash card for a local boot. So far, it's looking like the available PPC based off-the-shelf boards are quite expensive. I probably ought to do a bit more homework, but since you're here, my question is....

    What are the propects for making a really low cost PPC-based embedded linux computer? Has anyone done it or tried? Is it even possible?

  • Where can I get an off the shelf G4 PPC linux box with a real mouse ?
  • by rjh ( 40933 ) <> on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @12:15PM (#537238)
    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.
  • H'lo, Cassandra, and like others have said in this thread, good to see someone with authority.

    Two good friends of mine died in a car accident a few years ago because of a drunk driver. It was at night--what time of day did Jason's accident occur? The idiot tried to drive right THROUGH them as well--but there was no way they could have avoided him; the guy DID NOT HAVE his lights on. I'm with you on this one--there are those saying Jason could have avoided the accident, and sure, he could have pulled forward--IF he saw the creep coming, IF there were a place to go out of a busy intersection, IF the guy would have even stopped if he'd pulled forward.

    Also, when you're sitting at a red light, you can't always gauge how the person is coming up behind you until it's too late. My brother is an excellent driver, and while he was sitting at a red light some moron sped up behind him and trashed his rear bumper. No one was hurt, thank God. I, myself, have often jumped forward a bit at a red light when I see someone speeding up behind me--and they stop without hitting me. It's hard to gauge when your only eye contact with the vehicle coming behind you is perhaps a glance at a mirror.

    Best regards to you and Jason; tell him to keep up the great work.

    -"The Gimp Girl"
  • I recomend burbon, early morning, and no seat belt. Try not to hurt anyone nice when you die, looser.
  • Just to clear something up, Jason's car was a Honda Accordion [].

  • While LinuxPPC may be great for Mac users wanting to dangle their toes in the Linux world, the higher price of Apple's hardware is tough for many x86 users to swallow. Is the LinuxPPC group working with any companies to develop a lower-cost motherboard/machine setup based on IBM's open PowerPC specs? Or is the goal to make LinuxPPC such compelling server solution that x86 users won't mind paying the extra bucks to squeeze a few Cubes onto a rack? I realize a 3rd party PPC setup would only cater to a very small group, but is anyone working on using IBM's design at all?
  • I rolled a car a few years ago after 8 espresso shots.

    Granted, I was coming down a hill with very loose gravel combined with a good deal of ice, but I think my reflexes would have been better if I had been paying a bit more attention and hadn't been so shaky.

    Now I never drive when I know I've had a bit much caffeine.

    -"The GIMP Girl"
  • He's also majorly anti-drunk driving these days, because last March a drunk driver ran into his car and left it looking like this.

    Being that you have been personally involved with drunk driving like this, what is your take on the current status of drunk driving laws? What kind of penalties would you like to see implemented for drunk drivers?

    Put your feet out and stop ... climb out and hang ...
  • Jason,

    After reading your wife's diary of your recovery (first 8-10 weeks or so) I was amazed at her dedication to reporting your progress. I'm sure you have read those logs as well and I am curious as to your thoughts. Do you remember much if any of those early weeks? Do you have any insights into how helpful the therapists were in prodding you toward your recovery?

  • Presently, it's either Apple or nobody. There were shining hopes for something better, but it never appeared.

    Actually, there are many non-Apple PPC computers that run Linux (though admittedly *new* non-Apple PPC hardware is hard to come by).

    For example, there's the RS/6000 IBM boxes, BeBoxes, Amiga APUS, and Motorola and Bull boxes. And, of course, TiVo and other embedded platforms.

    Check out [] for a complete list of supported hardware.

    Still, the bit has been a bitter disappointment so far. Ah well, keep your fingers and toes crossed...


    Ethelred []

  • I drive a '94 Ford Aspire, which is #8 of the "Worst cars to be in during an accident". I think it got there because of the ridiculous number of SUVs on the road with their higher bumpers. Given that my car is dead cheap on gas and gets me around just as fast as a 5xCost SUV, and that SUVs are being blamed for many of the worst road fatalities on roads today, what do you think we as smarter car drivers could do to convince manufacturers and gov't officials that vehicles such as SUVs aren't worth keeping around?

  • PS: Yes, we drive big trucks now (F-150), and I'd never own a small car, even if it were given to me!

    hmm, so you're trying to solve the problem through escalation. Do you believe that your accident was made worse because the other driver was in a SUV? Now you're just placing 2 more large vehicles on the road which increases the chances that people in small cars get killed instead of maimed.

    When will Jeep Cherokee owners start switching to something bigger because they're afraid of being hit by a suburban or a semi?

  • Jason,
    Since your accident, what have you noticed as far as a change in your priorities goes? I am curious with respect to your "real job" versus private research interests (e.g. PPCLinux) versus your family versus the things that you have been putting off in your life. What other changes have you seen in yourself as far as attitudes towards what sucess really is, and what you want to do with the rest of your life?
  • Linux is more scalable than BSD? Please, support this argument. First, define scalability. Next, describe how Linux is more scalable than *BSD.
  • While many people view the presence of different OS's as a fight to the death with only one winner (and while this often happens), it's obvious that they sometimes influence one anothers design. In the open source world, I sometimes expect this to happen to a greater extent, since the ideas and code are shared freely. I'm curious to know if you've played tried Darwin and NetBSD, and what you think about them. Anything cool about them LinuxPPC doesn't have? Any directions they're taking you think will influence LinuxPPC? And you could answer the same questions for the other PPC Linux distros....

  • Jason,

    Congrats on your recovery! I can't even begin to imagine how hard it must have been for you and your wife.

    My question to you is this: How do you feel towards the driver? Do you have a great malice towards him? Would you do the same thing to him as he did to you so he could know first hand what you went through? Or, on the other end of the spectrum, do you forgive him? Do you realize that he made a terrible mistake by getting behind the wheel and driving drunk and that he will be punished by the law, which while it can't equal the physical pain that you've gone through, he will be locked away from society. Or, do you forgive him completely?

    All the best!

  • "I drive a '94 Ford Aspire, which is #8 of the 'Worst cars to be in during an accident'. I think it got there because of the ridiculous number of SUVs on the road with their higher bumpers."

    Gee, maybe its' ranking is because the Aspire is a sardine can on wheels? Any car as small as that will be reduced to scrap metal in an accident, regardless of what hits it (SUV, pickup truck, mid-size family car, hazmat, etc).

    Here's my opinion for you...get something that isn't mistaken for Ringling Bros. property.

    And for the record, no, I don't own a SUV, I own a VW Jetta. Neener.

  • Do you see companies supporting the PPC Linux any time soon?
    I see companies with Linux software ignoring the Apple boxen and only supporting those with Intel (and possibly AMD, if they are a cool company).

    I know that Alias is porting (has ported?) Maya to the Mac (for OSX I think...). Seeing that they have ported (beta) for Linux on x86 I would expect talk for a LinuxPPC port.

    Maybe it is just because of the lack of demand. I guess what I want this question to boil down to is:

    Do you see the LinuxPPC solution as being worth a company's time to port code for and to support with OSX and x86 solutions being more common?
  • Convice the car makers to make your little cars safer. I'm not giving up my SUV. When I'm ready for a new vehicle, it'll be a new SUV.

    I live in Pittsburgh, I drove a two wheel drive sports car and in the snow it's impossible to drive effectively.

    You "ban the SUVs" people would probably prohibit big penises if you could. It's not fair that someone else has something bigger and less fuel efficient than you.

  • I disagree here. It is conceivable that IA-64 will do 64-bit integer arithmetic at speeds equal or exceeding an Alpha (most 64-bit integer math work can take advantage of all the IU's in the EPIC architecture). It is also conceivable that the IA-64 will be competitively priced with an Alpha. In such circumstances I'd be inclined to say IA-64 would be pretty good bang for the buck.
  • Have you tried the mailing lists []? They're quite good.
    You don't even have to be subscribed to post.
  • Jason's whole story about the accident is here []. Apparenty, the dickhead who hit him had a BAC of 0.25, and will be charged with three felonies. Trial will be some time in January.
  • Several linux distributions (such as Corel, Redmond Linux, MaxOS, Caldera,just to name a few) try to keep their UI's consistent with that of Windows. Even much of GNOME follows much of the windows pattern (same keyboard accelerators and windows, same menu item labels, etc) for the sake of easy transition from Windows. As someone who went from MacOS to Linux, windows UI layouts such as the Ok Button being on the left and selecting "Exit" to quit applications just doesn't quite feel right. Has LinuxPPC ever considered modifying GNOME or KDE to better ease the transition for mac users? Has there been any talk of releasing some sort of "Cupertino Linux"?
  • On your site and on the news items about LinuxPPC-2000 Q4, you say that the ISO is available for the full install CD and that it's available through any of your mirror sites. I have yet to find anything other than images dated as late as August on any sites. What gives?
  • The main tangible advantage you get with a PowerPC over x86 is the lower power use, resulting in less heat and noise. Recent Macs don't even bother with a single fan at all. Going by noise and electric bill, an iMac or one of those new cubes, would make a much better server (or any other 24x7 application) than my Athlon box, which I think has a total of 7 (?!) fans and guzzles electrons like there's no tomorrow.

    Another tangible (but very specialized) advantage of PowerPC would be the vector processor in the G4. If you do something that can use this, it might tip the scales in favor of PowerPC.

    Then there are the intangible benefits, mainly involving the relative elegance of PowerPC compared to x86. This is probably not a significant factor for non-geeks, though, and the pragmatic and unromantic can safely ignore it.

  • But I can not view these same quicktime files on my LinuxPPC base G4, and have to reboot into MacOS.

    Is there any hope of Apple giving back to the Linux community

    In a word: No. They can't ever open Quicktime, because the Sorensen Codec isn't theirs to give out.

    If you don't like the Quicktime situation, you should either fight software patents, or boycott the Codec (i.e. stop booting into MacOS to view Quicktime movies, and instead, do without it).

    In other respects, there seems little incentive to Apple to ever "give back to the community" because they view their Mac+MacOS bundle as a single product, especially since Jobs came back. From Apple's point of view, there is no reason to aid OSes other than MacOS, because they don't see Mac sales to users-who-don't-want-MacOS as a significantly market. And judging from the lack of appearance of non-Mac PPC personal computers (e.g. POP []) they might be right. Apparently, the market has spoken (although IMHO, POP hasn't really been given a fair chance yet).

    If someone other than Apple starts selling non-Mac PPC boxes and makes some decent sales, this would indicate a larger market for PPC-based personal computers, and maybe Apple would change their mind, and then have more incentive to accomodate non-MacOS OSes on Macs, thereby leading to them to "give back to the community."

  • Pardon my French, but being blasé is so passé ...
  • I'm glad people are interested in this.

    I've heard that x86 floating point math is sloppy at best, but does it make a real difference? Can a PPC compete despite the clock speed advantage of the x86s? Some real world examples would be nice, thanks.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27