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Operating System Specific Discussions => Linux PPC discussion => Topic started by: Gulliver on March 28, 2010, 11:03:01 PM

Title: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: Gulliver 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.
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: Gulliver 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.
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: Matt_H 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.
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: ferrellsl 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....
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: johnklos 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.
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: persia on March 29, 2010, 04:48:20 AM
The PPC has left the building....

(http://msnsmileys.net/b/smileys/Bananas/Elvis.gif)(http://msnsmileys.net/b/smileys/Bananas/Elvis.gif)(http://msnsmileys.net/b/smileys/Bananas/Elvis.gif)
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: recidivist on March 29, 2010, 06:37:08 AM
I hate how something that cost thousands of $$$$$$$ and still functions as  it did when new is rendered less useful by supposed advances ,i.e. forced obsolesence.
 People replace perfectly serviceable cars,clothes,computers,and just about everything else  just to keep up with the latest fads.
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: Linde on March 29, 2010, 08:46:47 AM
Quote from: recidivist;550123
I hate how something that cost thousands of $$$$$$$ 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.
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: tone007 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...
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: gertsy 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.
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: recidivist on March 29, 2010, 03:27:57 PM
I'm not sure I understand your reply.
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: gazgod 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
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: spihunter 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..
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: dreamcast270mhz 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
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: jorkany 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?
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: persia on March 29, 2010, 11:51:31 PM
(http://www.semgeek.com/semgeek/images/2008/07/18/deadendpaidsearch.gif)
(http://ppcisdead.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/ppc-is-dead.jpg)
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: dreamcast270mhz on March 30, 2010, 12:00:41 AM
I thought otherwise, hmm. PPC is NOT DEAD!!! I really will continue to use my G4 until it burns out or something, runs circles around my brother's Sempron laptop with 3Gb, he is runing win7 (thats probably why)
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: johnklos on March 30, 2010, 12:07:26 AM
Quote from: tone007;550171
..but you won't support the DSSI card in my MicroVAX!  I guess I could hunt down a SCSI controller...


Did you try uncommenting the DSSI line in the GENERIC kernel config?

#shac0          at mainbus0             # DSSI controller

I don't know what the exact status of it is, but it'd be interesting to hear.
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: persia on March 30, 2010, 12:15:14 AM
PPC is not dead, it's merely pining for the fjords of Norway!

(http://shanghaigreengang.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/norwegian-blue.jpg)
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: Karlos on March 30, 2010, 12:31:14 AM
PPC may disappear from the desktop but it is pretty pervasive in embedded markets.
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: Trev on March 30, 2010, 01:38:46 AM
And lack of support from mainstream Linux distributors does nothing to prevent hardware vendors or users from rolling their own Linux distributions. As long as IBM keeps selling Power-based systems, the mainline Linux kernel will continue to support PowerPC and its derivatives.

I wonder how many vehicle manufacturers are using Linux kernels rated for automotive use? I've never seen GPL code available for download on a major manufacturer's web site.
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: Tension on March 30, 2010, 01:41:29 AM
Pining for the fjords?!?!?

Tried to put that in capitals for comic effect but apparently Amiga.org is a cunt these days
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: Super TWiT on April 14, 2010, 03:47:20 PM
Dont fear. Powerpc is STILL used in the market place. The Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii all use powerpc chips. Powerpc is supported in the main Linux kernel (as is 68k). I am a linux user. You know, most applications are written in c or c++ anyway, so you could compile them for whatever architecture you like. Debian has official precompiled binary support for a number of archs. I prefer something like gentoo where you compile everything yourself. It has the advantage of having NEW versions of programs, plus you get all the optimisations for your specific computer.
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: Piru on April 14, 2010, 04:10:55 PM
Quote from: Super TWiT;553498
I prefer something like gentoo where you compile everything yourself. It has the advantage of having NEW versions of programs, plus you get all the optimisations for your specific computer.
http://funroll-loops.info/

Don't worry - you'll get over this phase ;-)
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: gaula92 on April 14, 2010, 05:31:42 PM
Quote from: Piru;553503
http://funroll-loops.info/

Don't worry - you'll get over this phase ;-)


It's easy to say when you're a developer for the most efficient OS in the world, damn you :D
But for X86 (and if you ACTUALLY KNOW what you're into and what are you trying to archieve), Gentoo Linux is the best option.

I've been three years in Gentoo phase by now: I think I'll never get over it...
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: kolla on April 15, 2010, 07:36:27 AM
Not just x86. I'd say Gentoo is probably the best option for any non-mainstream architecture, since it provides nice and friendly tools to build and maintain your own distro.
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: the_leander on April 15, 2010, 07:56:53 AM
@Kolla

How does Gentoo compare against say, NetBSD?
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: the_leander on April 15, 2010, 08:01:05 AM
Quote from: dreamcast270mhz;550289
I thought otherwise, hmm. PPC is NOT DEAD!!!


As a desktop arch, it is pushing up the daisies, it's curled up its tootsies. It has gone to meet its maker etc etc

The only place you'll likely find PPC is in the telecoms and some embedded places, but tbh outside of telecoms, you're pretty much in ARM territory these days.

Quote from: dreamcast270mhz;550289

 I really will continue to use my G4 until it burns out or something, runs circles around my brother's Sempron laptop with 3Gb, he is runing win7 (thats probably why)


You've said that before. I'd like to see something to back that up. I'm sure there are some benchmarking tools that could be used to test the claim.
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: fishy_fiz on April 15, 2010, 08:25:10 AM
A product that isnt available yet and a board that is 5x as expensive as an off the shelf mobo+cpu combo 5x (or more) the speed arent a great arguement that ppc is alive and kicking on the dektop. In the case of the Sam it suggests otherwise (ie., only so expensive because demand is so small). I mean no discredit to the people involved in the development of the above mentioned systems though, if I had the money to spend on new toys I'd actually like a Sam.
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: kolla on April 15, 2010, 09:46:08 AM
Quote from: the_leander;553642
@Kolla

How does Gentoo compare against say, NetBSD?

Not sure what to answer... Gentoo is typically Linux, how well does Linux compare against NetBSD? :)  The core of Gentoo, portage, can also be used as altenative packagemanager for NetBSD. I find it much easier to build packages with Gentoo portage than with NetBSD pkgsrc.
Title: Re: More GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC
Post by: johnklos on April 15, 2010, 11:58:19 PM
Quote from: the_leander;553642
@Kolla

How does Gentoo compare against say, NetBSD?

In NetBSD:

Code: [Select]
setenv CVSROOT :pserver:anoncvs@anoncvs.netbsd.org:/cvsroot
cvs checkout -P -rnetbsd-5 src
cd src
mkdir obj
./build.sh -m amiga -O obj tools
./build.sh -m amiga -O obj release


(this works on BSDs, most GNU/Linux distros and many other POSIX systems, not just NetBSD)

I'd love to hear how one does the same in Gentoo. GNU/Linux has gotten quite messy, so if Gentoo is different than that's great to hear.