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AuthorTopic: Cheap PPC Linux Machines From IBM  (Read 2060 times)

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Offline Floid

Re: Cheap PPC Linux Machines From IBM
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2003, 04:21:05 AM »
Hm, addressing one of my own points, if IBM's recycling any of Apple's chipset work:

"Three 64-bit PCI-X slots let you add one card running at 133MHz and two cards running at 100MHz. Three 32-bit PCI slots allow you to add three 33MHz cards." -- From the Mac G5 'Expansion' page.

But then, they've got AGP 8X onboard.  Yet again, no way to predict if IBM will follow... or even if they'll cripple the functionality just to please Apple, if they use the same chips.

As contrast, the Rage XL in the Tyan is hung off the PCI bus, since it's just a server design, using AMD's 8111 (HT->PCI + integrated peripherals) and 8131 (HT->PCI-X), without the 8151 (HT->AGP) companion chip.  (Diagram of AMD's architecture here; Via and NVidia are taking more integrated paths, since they haven't had to rush about it, and don't need to demo Hypertransport's ability -- Via's design uses their proprietary V-Link anyway, and I've no idea what NVidia's ever been up to.)
 

Offline CodeSmith

Re: Cheap PPC Linux Machines From IBM
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2003, 04:24:32 AM »
The voodoo3 works because 3DFX were a really great company and provided all sorts of info needed to write a complete driver.  ATI is like that too (hence the OS4 Radeon drivers from Forefront and the MOS drivers you're using), but there are many other companies (nVidia comes to mind) that refuse to hand out hardware documentation unless you promise them loads of cash first.  For those cards you need to be able to run the routines in their BIOS.
 

Offline CodeSmith

Re: Cheap PPC Linux Machines From IBM
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2003, 04:28:18 AM »
@Floyd:

I thought IBM were going to use Marvell and Articia chips?  :-?
 

Offline mschulz

Re: Cheap PPC Linux Machines From IBM
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2003, 08:15:39 AM »
Quote
Although OF is a pretty good idea, you're a bit limited in the gfx cards that you can use (ie "Mac" gfx cards), and they are usually more expensive.


Of course you are mistaken. First of all, there is no need to use framebuffer (or even textmode) console in order to boot machine. You may initialize gfx card later on by OS itself.

Secondly many OF intefaced do provide real mode X86 emulation. It is for example true on my PReP machine: Motorola Powerstack.

Surely gfx support (either through build in p-code drivers or through x86 emulator) is nice-to-have feature, as you can use then initialized framebuffer screen and provide generic gfx driver, it's not needed.

BTW.  Thanks to OF interface, the same AROS image is able (in theory) to boot from NewWorld CHRP Mac's, IBM PReP machines, Motorola PReP machines and Pegasos. Is then really UBoot better solution for AROS?
 

Offline CodeSmith

Re: Cheap PPC Linux Machines From IBM
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2003, 08:20:42 AM »
OK look, I don't want to turn this into a pissing contest.  I suggested that they add UBoot support (NOT remove OpenFirmware).  If you believe that we only need one of anything, let me introduce you to one Mr Bill Gates, he also believe this.  He's being very succesful implementing it too, at present rate there won't be anything but Wintel boxes in a couple of years.  That should make you happy, there will only be one type of computer, running one type of OS on one type of firmware.  Choice sucks, doesn't it?
 

Offline mschulz

Re: Cheap PPC Linux Machines From IBM
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2003, 08:42:07 AM »
Quote
OK look, I don't want to turn this into a pissing contest.


Me neither. I hate quarrels and wars within such a small community. What I was going to tell is that AROS does support OF interface currently and I find it sufficient. OF is also an open standard (therefore the Bill G. issue makes no sence, think rather about boom of IBM PC clones).

Of course I would love to add UBoot support simply to be able to launch AROS on machines like AmigaOne. Unfortunatelly I do not have any access to this platform and I will not write anything blindly with hope that it might work somewhere. If any AROS developer will be able to provide UBoot support, belive me that we will implement it.  :-)
 

Offline Jupp3

Re: Cheap PPC Linux Machines From IBM
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2003, 09:55:48 AM »
CodeSmith:

About possibility of running GFX cards, where manufacturer hasn't
provided any information...

Don't see much point in installing such board... If it can be booted
with emulator, so what? If they don't provide info for "booting" I'd
guess it's the same for 3D/2D drivers etc...

So, you likely wouldn't be able to use all cards' features...

If you ask me, "Better get better supported card instead"
 

Offline Floid

Re: Cheap PPC Linux Machines From IBM
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2003, 10:42:14 AM »
Quote

CodeSmith wrote:
The voodoo3 works because 3DFX were a really great company and provided all sorts of info needed to write a complete driver.  ATI is like that too (hence the OS4 Radeon drivers from Forefront and the MOS drivers you're using), but there are many other companies (nVidia comes to mind) that refuse to hand out hardware documentation unless you promise them loads of cash first.  For those cards you need to be able to run the routines in their BIOS.
Well...  For one thing, it's a non-issue, because SciTech's taken care of it no matter how obfuscated they've made it (yes, only for 2D, but that's what you need to 'run' an OS), and in any case, I'm fairly certain XFree86's support - again 2D - extends to the level necessary, even if it's not the prettiest 'documentation' to follow.  That said, I haven't looked at what, say, FreeBSD or NetBSD do to probe and initialize the cards, as it's a bit too 5AM for that, and I wouldn't know what to look for anyway.

XFree source here.  It's one thing to claim it's technically impossible, it's another thing to say "sure, it's technically possible, but who in their right mind would go through the trouble when the vendor's 'hostile?'"

I can muster some sympathy for NVidia, since unlike ATI, they're still something of an upstart, and I gather their financials have yet to even out - but yeah, until they learn to play fair, I'll continue wishing Matrox had a product up to par. ;)

Point is, recycling an old TNT2 or something for 2D while you look for a 'supported card' should at least be possible, and if there'd be issues with Linux on the IBM hardware, they'd be wise to solve that right quick; at least IBM's PC division is still a customer.

As to Mai and Marvell... are you serious?  While there's always the possibility- and it seems like the PowerPC divison wouldn't mind farming out development to such third parties if they could keep up- the 970 is, to put it lightly, "hella new," and unless either company have been involved in the R&D of same, Apple and IBMs chipsets will be the most advanced, and the reference for others to follow.  (Something that never quite worked out for PReP/POP, but it smells like the PPC guys has been willing to learn something from AMD's recent rise.)

Remember, these things don't use the MPX bus of the earlier PowerPCs - it's as big a leap as from Socket 7 to the Alpha EV7 bus used on the Athlon, or from EV7 to Hypertransport on the Opteron/A64 - and as far as I can tell, no civilian knows whether Apple, IBM, or someone else's name is on any of the support chips used in the G5 Macs.  (Heck, from MacOSRumors.com -- "For most Mac users, the biggest news was that estimated shipping dates on PowerMac G5 pre-orders have changed from 'On or Before September 2nd, 2003' to 'On or Before August 29, 2003'" -- looks like we've still got a while to find out.)

---

@mschulz:  Thanks for the info; I wasn't aware (or just plumb forgot) that anyone'd bothered with the emulation before this round of boards.
 

Offline bloodline

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Re: Cheap PPC Linux Machines From IBM
« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2003, 10:50:39 AM »
Quote

CodeSmith wrote:
@bloodline:

Although OF is a pretty good idea, you're a bit limited in the gfx cards that you can use (ie "Mac" gfx cards), and they are usually more expensive.  It might be a good idea to add a UBoot driver to AROS, so you can have both.  With UBoot you can use cheap "PC" gfx cards (it's got a built-in x86 emulator so the card's BIOS can run on that).  Since it's on SourceForge (or if not, should be by the time AOS4 is released), it should not be too difficult to find out what you need.


As Michal has already said, UBoot support will be added to AROS as soon as we are able to get a UBoot based machine (i.e. an AmigaONE).

At the moment Michal only has OF based PPC machines and so that is all we can support for now.  :-(

Offline Gaidheal

Re: Cheap PPC Linux Machines From IBM
« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2003, 12:32:52 PM »
Cheap?  Yup, certainly is.  Take a good hard look at the specs again.  Targetted at 98% of computer users?  Not likely!  But I am not one of that 98%, hence my interest.  An extremely powerful workstation is EXACTLY what I want and if it comes specced as suggested, at < $3,500  even allowing for the fact they never properly convert the price to sterling, but often just swap $ for £ it is within my grasp for that kind of power.  It remains to be seen whether they put the kind of graphics support I'd really want on it... but then, it's all just a press release for now :¬)

Re: UBoot - want it supported by AROS?  Send an A1 to an AROS developer.  Sorry folks!  AROS is an Open Source, part time (almost 'hobby') project.  It has professionals working on it, but I doubt anyone can justify buying an A1 merely to port AROS to it because people have asked for it.  Not at this point in time anyway.  If you've got an A1 and you are interested in AROS and/or you are a developer, why not join the project and see about working on UBoot support?
[color=3300FF]Gaidheal[/color][/b][color=0066CC] - \\"The Emulator Guy\\"[/color][/i]
 

Offline olegil

Re: Cheap PPC Linux Machines From IBM
« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2003, 01:50:19 PM »
I have a patch that make Voodoo cards run in Linux from a non-initialised state (patch to tdfxfb.c, by Adam Kowalzyk(sp?)). Bernd Meyer tells me there is also support in the Matrox framebuffer for taking up a card from non-initialised stage. All other drivers in Linux (and X) depend on the card being set up by the BIOS. This is the problem.
 

Offline mschulz

Re: Cheap PPC Linux Machines From IBM
« Reply #26 on: July 21, 2003, 02:10:08 PM »
Quote
All other drivers in Linux (and X) depend on the card being set up by the BIOS. This is the problem.


But it doesn't have to: Scitech X86 Emulator
 :-)
 

Offline bloodline

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Re: Cheap PPC Linux Machines From IBM
« Reply #27 on: July 21, 2003, 02:50:58 PM »
Quote

mschulz wrote:
Quote
All other drivers in Linux (and X) depend on the card being set up by the BIOS. This is the problem.


But it doesn't have to: Scitech X86 Emulator
 :-)


Hmmm.... The Emu is designed to allow GFX cards POST using their own BIOS rom chips.

maybe this emu would someday be come part of the chipset of every platform...

Offline Gaidheal

Re: Cheap PPC Linux Machines From IBM
« Reply #28 on: July 21, 2003, 03:11:20 PM »
@Matt:

We can hope... but don't count on it with nVidia (whose cards I use and love, by the way)
[color=3300FF]Gaidheal[/color][/b][color=0066CC] - \\"The Emulator Guy\\"[/color][/i]
 

Offline asian1

Re: Cheap PPC Linux Machines From IBM
« Reply #29 on: July 21, 2003, 03:20:12 PM »
Hello
When I ask SuperMicro, Tyan, about their Quad Xeon, the price is
approx US$ 3000. The Quad Opteron (Newisys) is cheaper.
Perhaps IBM will port their AIX to the new machine for
running leading business apps: Oracle, RDBMS, ERP, CRM, SAP etc.