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Transitive's Commercial x86 Emulator

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Aug 172006

At LinuxWorld Expo, IBM announced that it will be using Transitive’s “QuickTransit technology” to run unmodified x86 Linux binaries on IBM servers. The solution is expected to be available “early in 2007”. Of course, there was no mention of any performance or compatibility issues.

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Power.org Logo Poll

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Jul 312006

Power.org recently started using a sharp new logo on their website. Now, your input is being solicited for “the logo that will represent the enabling technologies for designs based on Power Architecture technology.” If you didn’t follow that (and neither did we), there’s a poll to decide what text to use on a Power.org logo for web pages, presentations, etc. If you’re interested, go vote.

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PowerPC Used in Kyocera Printers

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Jul 272006

It isn’t a secret that Kyocera has been using PowerPC (including the 405 and the 750) in its printers for many years now. IBM and Kyocera have just put out a joint press release to remind people about that.

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8572: Freescale's Dual-core e500-based SoC

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Jul 252006

Last fall, Freescale announced the 8641D, which is a system-on-a-chip (“SoC”) containing two e600 (a.k.a. 7448 or “G4”) cores, and last week at the Ottawa Linux Symposium they finally had a board available for demonstrations. Now Freescale has announced another dual-core SoC, the 8572, this one based on the e500 core. The 8572 will also feature fancy hardware peripherials that can do network packet filtering, cryptographic acceleration, and more. No mention was made of availability dates.

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PowerPC Architecture 2.03 Release Some Time Soon

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Jul 252006

Power.org, the organization founded by IBM to open the PowerPC architecture, has announced that version 2.03 of the PowerPC Architecture Specification will be released “to the market” this quarter. The new spec will merge Freescale’s fork of the instruction set, including variable length encoding (VLE), which allows for 2-byte instructions (previously, all PowerPC instructions have been 4 bytes long). All of these extensions are already shipping in Freescale cores, and now are being retroactively added to the architecture.

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U-Boot on the Kurobox

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Jul 162006

Somebody has finally ported U-Boot to the Kurobox, the $150 PowerPC-based home server. This accomplishment will make it far easier to use newer kernels on the Kuro, replacing the 2.4 kernel embedded in flash. U-Boot installation is still very tricky though, so proceed with caution.

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Update to PowerPC glibc Optimizations

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Jul 142006

Steve Munroe has posted an update to the “powerpc-cpu” project, which provides PowerPC optimizations for glibc. The update adds support for POWER5+ and initial POWER6 support. He’s looking for contributions for older processors like the G3 and G4, so if you have some assembly skills and want to make an impact on PowerPC Linux performance, get out your profiler and step on up!

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PowerPC Architecture Platform Reference (PAPR) Specification

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Jul 092006

A draft of the PowerPC Architecture Platform Reference (PAPR) specification has been made available to regular developers. The PAPR describes the interface between hardware/firmware and software on IBM PowerPC systems, so is a must-read for operating system and firmware developers. It’s been available only within IBM, then only to corporate Power.org members, and finally it’s available to everybody… with the catch that you must join Power.org at the Developer level (which is free).

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nspluginwrapper

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Jul 062006

nspluginwrapper is a wrapper to run Netscape plugins built for foreign architectures. It uses QEMU to run x86 binary plugins on PowerPC. “However, you may notice poor performance. … Typical performance is 1 to 2 seconds per [Flash] frame.”

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PPC32 Kernel Vulnerability

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Jun 212006

A vulnerability which allowed userspace programs to cause machine checks has just been fixed. The problem affected only 32-bit PowerPC kernels, and was fixed in Linux 2.6.16.21.

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