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AuthorTopic: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC  (Read 4280 times)

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Offline Gulliver

More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
« on: March 28, 2010, 11:03:01 PM »
More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC (original article from OSnews)

At least two major GNU/Linux distributions have decided to drop PowerPC support; OpenSUSE  has dropped support already, and Fedora is going to drop it in Fedora 13.

The strangest thing, though, is the total lack of official information about this subject. They are deprecating the entire architecture silently; no announcements, no press-releases, nothing. Even Wikipedia doesn't seem to know that openSUSE is now x86/x86_64 only (since three months ago). Worse yet, the "Get it" icon on the openSUSE homepage still reads "PPC".

I asked openSUSE maintainters for some information. "Linux distros are just following what the market is dictating," they replied, "I think our usage data showed something like less than 1% of users had PPC."

This is odd, since there was never more than 1% of non-x86 GNU/Linux users to begin with. "The question isn't whether it's less than before," they replied, "It's just that it was decided that it doesn't make sense for us to allocate resources to maintain PPC."

Ubuntu, which dropped official support for PowerPC a long time ago, is an exception to the rule, making an announcement and publishing a PowerPC FAQ.
 

Offline Gulliver

Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2010, 02:24:38 AM »
So goodbye OpenSUSE for Pegasos! :(

This is a sign of times. PPC is definately leaving the desktop market, only to be found at some niche markets like high performance servers and game consoles.
 

Offline Matt_H

Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2010, 02:37:25 AM »
It's a cascade effect. Less perceived use of PPC -> Less support for PPC -> Less actual use of PPC -> Less perceived use of PPC, etc.

There are heaps of extremely capable G5 PowerMacs and iMacs out there - with OSX now x86-only, they're going to need an updated OS soon. Looks like Linux is out of the picture, too.
 

Offline ferrellsl

Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2010, 02:37:33 AM »
@Gulliver

"This is a sign of times. PPC is definately leaving the desktop market, only to be found at some niche markets like high performance servers and game consoles."

...and Amiga....
« Last Edit: March 29, 2010, 02:39:59 AM by ferrellsl »
 

Offline johnklos

Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2010, 04:01:59 AM »
I suppose it's good that OSes such as NetBSD are available. Our philosophy is that portability is good for everyone - if you write good, correct code, it'll compile and run on all architectures, but if you only test on one architecture such as x86, you'll miss bugs and have issues due to assumptions; not only is there no reason to remove architectures, but there are very good reasons to keep them. As long as the toolchain is kept up to date and as long as a port has at least a few people checking it out now and then, we keep it.

We still support VAX, for instance. It keeps us honest - if the latest OS becomes unbearably slow on VAX for some reason, fixing it helps everyone.

One of the problems with GNU/Linux is that Linux (the kernel) is not designed to be portable - portability is often fixed as an afterthought. GNU (the OS) is pretty portable, but distros these days are often not volunteer groups with lofty goals - they're mostly businesses with a vested interest in having ways to distinguish themselves from other distros, so they're full of non-portable, gratuitously added code so they can add bullet points to their "feature" lists. There's no good reason, for instance, that the entire source tree for an entire distro can't be made to compile and run on a different architectures, particularly fast ones such as PowerPC, and especially distros which had recently had support for said architectures. It implies that someone recently introduced some poorly written gratuitous code since the last version.
 

Offline persia

Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2010, 04:48:20 AM »
The PPC has left the building....

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

What we\'re witnessing is the sad, lonely crowing of that last, doomed cock.
 

Offline recidivist

Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2010, 06:37:08 AM »
I hate how something that cost thousands of $$$$$$$ and still functions as  it did when new is rendered less useful by supposed advances ,i.e. forced obsolesence.
 People replace perfectly serviceable cars,clothes,computers,and just about everything else  just to keep up with the latest fads.
 

Offline Linde

Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2010, 08:46:47 AM »
Quote from: recidivist;550123
I hate how something that cost thousands of $$$$$$$ and still functions as  it did when new is rendered less useful by supposed advances ,i.e. forced obsolesence.
 People replace perfectly serviceable cars,clothes,computers,and just about everything else  just to keep up with the latest fads.

And how much do you think the manpower required to satisfy these minimal markets is worth?

Sure, use obsolete stuff (I do all the time) but you really shouldn't be surprised or even angry when big company X drops support for obscure hardware Y after years of service. Especially not if it's open source and the developers have to limit their scope to get things done.

You yourself are buying into the "fad" if you are telling yourself that the support drop will render your PPC systems unusable. Will it be less usable than before? No. It's not like your current installation will suddenly stop working. You just won't have to take part of the fad of modern applications that do things a decent PPC system could only dream of.
 

Offline tone007

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Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2010, 01:31:19 PM »
Quote from: johnklos;550111
We still support VAX, for instance. It keeps us honest - if the latest OS becomes unbearably slow on VAX for some reason, fixing it helps everyone.


..but you won't support the DSSI card in my MicroVAX!  I guess I could hunt down a SCSI controller...
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Offline gertsy

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Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2010, 01:48:29 PM »
Quote from: recidivist;550123
I hate how something that cost thousands of $$$$$$$ and still functions as  it did when new is rendered less useful by supposed advances ,i.e. forced obsolesence.
 People replace perfectly serviceable cars,clothes,computers,and just about everything else  just to keep up with the latest fads.


The way of the world: To hunt an animal you need to survive to extinction is illogical. To burn your floorboards to keep warm equally so.  Each day we do both.
Don't wear fur or skins it's cruel. Make clothes from oil and cotton and watch your greatx5 grandchildren smother in toxins with no water.  It comes natural to us.

PPC is dead.  Long live PPC.
 

Offline recidivist

Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2010, 03:27:57 PM »
I'm not sure I understand your reply.
 

Offline gazgod

Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2010, 06:54:51 PM »
Its only the same situation that has happened to other architectures previously, there are lots of distributions that have silently dropped support for Alpha, Sparc (32 & 64), Itanium, and many others.

PPC in general is far more fortunate currently in having Yellow Dog, a distro that is dedicated to the architecture. Though I don't see them listing any support for any of the next gen Amigaish hardware.

In the future it may get to the situation faced by the Alpha community where part of the community ported Fedora Core to the alpha to have a up to date(ish) distro available for the platform.

Gaz

Offline spihunter

Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2010, 07:36:37 PM »
PPC lost it's eye in the public when Apple dropped it. I'm suprised it's taken this long for the Linux distro's to drop it as well.

Nobody except geeks knows that game consoles are PPC based. most people don't care..
 

Offline dreamcast270mhz

Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2010, 10:39:07 PM »
PPC is alive and well, its just going embedded for now, its the only bi-endian architecture still being developed and will be in the server market for a long time, PPC is not dead on desktop, the x1000 and SAM are proof of that, its just niche. Look at it this way, Ubuntu still supports PPC, just the community builds it now, but I guarantee that PPC will never die, as long as yellow dog and other linuces support it
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Offline jorkany

Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2010, 10:44:08 PM »
Quote from: dreamcast270mhz;550278
PPC is alive and well, its just going embedded for now, its the only bi-endian architecture still being developed


ARM is bi-endian.

Quote
and will be in the server market for a long time, PPC is not dead on desktop, the x1000 and SAM are proof of that, its just niche.

This is a joke, right?