Apple Switching to x86 Processors

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Jun 052005

So that happened.

One more tidbit: “We will not allow running Mac OS X on anything other than an Apple Mac.”

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Terra Soft's Reaction to Apple on x86

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Jun 052005

Terra Soft Solutions’ Kai Staats has posted his take on what the Apple/x86 announcement means for Yellow Dog Linux.

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Cell Processor Based Blade Server

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May 262005

IBM demonstrated a prototype Cell-based blade at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), running a 2.6.11 kernel.

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Ars Technica on Xenon CPU

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May 252005

Ars Technica has gone into some depth on Xenon, the IBM-developed processor that will power the Xbox 360. The article starts with an overview of modern graphics rendering, with an emphasis on Microsoft-patented “procedural synthesis” and its bandwidth implications, and then goes on to discuss Xenon’s three PowerPC cores and unusual cache abilities.

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Official Cell Information to be Released

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May 232005

Looks like the Cell processor is about to become a bit more open. Sony, Toshiba, and IBM are preparing to release “full chip specifications and software libraries” for Cell. Information will include the instruction set used in the SPU coprocessors, an Application Binary Interface (ABI), a full-system simulator, and lots of “open source”, though it’s unclear what exactly will be released under which licenses. We could see additional information released as early as this month.

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Game Consoles Using PowerPC

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May 162005

The PlayStation 3 will be built around the Cell PowerPC-based architecture. As it so happens, the Xbox 360 will also be PowerPC-based, possibly also Cell architecture. As for Nintendo Revolution, reports say that it will also be based on a “chip developed by IBM”, so one can only wonder… (Update: it’s apparently confirmed that Nintendo Revolution will be PowerPC-powered.)

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GCC 4.0 Autovectorization

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May 042005

GCC 4.0, which was released a couple weeks ago, includes support for autovectorization, i.e. utilizing Altivec in C without needing to explicitly code for it. Some quick real-life tests indicates it’s still quite limited, but we hope more and more code will be autovectorizable in the future. The ample documentation includes sample code and status; we can only assume Gentoo will adopt the relevent compiler switches any day now.

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Free IBM PPC64 Workshops

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May 022005

Looks like IBM has some free two-day workshops covering ppc64 Linux in its iSeries, pSeries, and JS20 blades; IBM middleware; GNU and XL compilers; and basic porting skills. The workshops are taking place in England, California, Massachusetts, and Germany, and don’t require any UNIX or Linux background.

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Cell Processor Demo

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May 012005

Toshiba has demonstrated the Cell processor simultaneously decoding 48 MPEG-2 streams (and scaling them all to fit on one screen). Looks like Cell might be adequate for multimedia processing…

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Yellow Dog Linux Goes 64-bit

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Apr 292005

Although Y-HPC, Terra Soft’s cluster-oriented distribution, has supported 64-bit processing for a while, their Yellow Dog Linux distribution has stayed 32-bit, even when running on 64-bit hardware like the Apple G5. Terra Soft has now “given into peer pressure” and released a 64-bit YDL, with support for 16GB of RAM and a bi-arch toolchain (which can produce both 32- and 64-bit binaries).

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