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The Future of PowerPC and Linux

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Sep 072005

Kai Staats, co-founder and CEO of Terra Soft Solutions (makers of Yellow Dog Linux), has an article in Linux Journal on the future of PowerPC and Linux. Most of the article is about the XR9, the Mercury rackmount server which Terra Soft recently announced they would be reselling to replace their Xserve offerings as Apple migrates away from PowerPC. Apparently Mercury also has some optimized “middleware” libraries for their systems.

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AnandTech Compares Linux and OS X Performance

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Sep 012005

A very interesting article from AnandTech investigates the reason(s) MySQL on Mac OS X is “between 5 and 8 times slower” than Yellow Dog Linux on the same G5 system (in other words, it’s not the PowerPC 970’s fault). They also discovered that gcc 4.0 drastically improves floating point performance on the 970. Read on for some startling numbers…

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Review of the Open Desktop Workstation

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Sep 012005

Linux User & Developer, a UK Linux magazine, has reviewed Genesi’s Open Desktop Workstation and given it a surprising 5/5 rating. “If you’re already working with PowerPC Linux or intend to develop for the platform, it’s hard to see the Open Desktop Workstation as anything other than perfect.”

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Terra Soft Press Release on XR9 Servers

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Sep 012005

Terra Soft Solutions has issued a press release about their arrangment to resell the Mercury XR9 servers (1U or 4U, dual PowerPC 970 rackmount systems). The XR9 is “immediately available” from Terra Soft’s online store, though only in custom configurations and no prices are listed. The press release also includes a quote from an IBM executive who is happy to hear about collaboration in the Power Architecture community.

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PowerPC Assembly Programming on the Mac Mini

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Aug 252005

A new introductory PowerPC assembly article has been published in the August 2005 edition of Linux Gazette. Step 1: install Ubuntu on your Mac Mini. The article covers some introductory concepts, and dissects some compiler output, including a buffer overflow.

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Cell Documentation

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Aug 242005

IBM has posted documentation for the Cell processor, including an architecture reference, assembly- and instruction-level documentation for the Synergistic Processor Unit (SPU) coprocessors, an SPU Application Binary Interface (ABI), and more. Free registration required for pretty much everything.

Update: Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) also has a Cell documentation page up. No registration, but a click-through license.

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Interview About Cell's Future

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Aug 242005

Along with the Cell documentation released yesterday, IBM developerWorks has posted an interview with an IBM “Power Everywhere” director regarding the future of the Cell architecture. Among other things, we learn that the processor to be used in PlayStation 3, which everyone has been calling “Cell”, is actually called the “Cell Broadband Engine”, and the Cell architecture allows for other implementations.

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Terra Soft Resells Mercury 970FX Servers

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Aug 222005

Terra Soft Solutions has announced it will resell Mercury’s XR9 servers, which are rack-mounted 2-way server systems based on the PowerPC 970FX. According to Mercury, these systems are “developed specifically for embedded computing,” especially High Performance Computing (HPC). Prices and detailed specifications are not yet available, and no word yet on a post-Apple PowerPC workstation.

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Valgrind for 32-bit PowerPC

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Aug 222005

Valgrind, a suite of debugging and profiling tools, is “beginning to be usable” for 32-bit PowerPC. Initial support by Paul Mackerras is being merged into the 3.x codebase, and Julian Seward has posted a request for alpha testers to the developer mailing list.

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Full-System Simulator for IBM PowerPC 970

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Aug 212005

IBM has released a full-system simulator for the PowerPC 970 processor, which is capable of running the Linux kernel and Linux applications. It can be run in either functional-only or performance simulation modes, but only runs on x86 Linux. It is a binary-only download, and requires registration with IBM and agreeing to a click-through license.

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