Ubuntu on PowerPC Macs

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Oct 302008

An article at iTWire talks about running Ubuntu Linux on old PowerPC Macs (G3, G4, G5). Running Linux is definitely less resource-intensive than the latest versions of Mac OS X, though Ubuntu has actully dropped official PowerPC support. The article discusses Ubuntu options and where to get the “community supported” versions.

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Xilinx Announces Dual-440 FPGA

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Oct 302008

Xilinx has announced its “Virtex-5 FXT FPGA ML510 Embedded Development Platform”, which is an FPGA platform containing two PowerPC 440 hard cores. FPGAs are pretty cool, especially attached to a useful general-purpose processor like the 440, but the 440’s lack of hardware support for SMP coherence means users must be practically forced into running seperate kernel instances on each core. Xilinx announced support for both Linux and VxWorks.

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Freescale Announces Custom SoC Business

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Sep 292008

Freescale has a large number of embedded sytem-on-chip (SoC) processors, with chips currently built around 4 different cores (e200, e300, e500, and e600). However, they’ve now announced that they will also build customer-specific products (CSPs), mixing and matching their own cores and devices as well as integrating custom logic from customers and third parties. Freescale’s move once more positions them against IBM, which in embedded Power Architecture has focused exclusively on CSPs (after selling off its Power “standard products” to AMCC years ago).

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460GTx Announced

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Jul 132008

AMCC recently announced the 460GTx processor, which runs at speeds from 800 MHz 1.4 GHz and integrates four gigabit ethernet controllers. It is expected to be available in 4Q 2008 for US$100-150. Additional details include power consumption of 8 to 10 watts, depending on configuration.

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Wind River To Implement Virtualization for PowerPC

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Jul 132008

Wind River will release a technology preview of their new virtualization solution in August, supporting x86 and PowerPC processors. It will allow customers to run Linux, VxWorks, Windows, and other RTOSes simultaneously on the same system, even on a single core. The value? “Take advantage of the multi-core trend; integrate more features into their devices while leveraging existing code; isolate different functional system components; and consolidate hardware.”

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Apple Will Offer P.A. Semi Chips After All

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Jul 132008

Apparently Apple sent a letter to the US Department of Defense indicating that it will indeed offer P.A. Semi’s PA6T-1682M processor for three years to satisfy military system designers.

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Freescale's New e500mc Core

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Jun 172008

As part of the QorIQ brand announced at Freescale Technology Forum this week, Freescale announced the e500mc core. The new P4080 processor contains eight 1.5GHz e500mc cores, while older e500v2 cores could be found in at most dual-core configurations. According to e500mc Linux patches also released this week, e500mc lacks SPE (the SIMD instruction set found on e500v1 and v2), but notably includes hardware hypervisor support, a first for embedded PowerPC.

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Unpronounceable Freescale Rebranding

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Jun 172008

Freescale’s marketing folks have outdone themselves this time. While their core-to-chip numbering is mostly intelligible (e.g. 85xx chips use the e500 core), “PowerQUICC” generations have been a little more confusing. Now, in addition to PowerQUICC, they’ve introduced a new product line named “QorIQ” (pronounced “Core IQ”). Within the QorIQ line, there are five “platforms”, P1 through P5. Each platform encompasses multiple processors, so QorIQ P1 includes P1010, P1011, and P1020. Platforms 1 through 3 use and e500v2 (and maybe v1?) core, but P4 uses the new e500mc core, which can scale up to 8 cores on the P4080 processor. P5 is still a mystery.

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AMD Promotes Accelerators; Criticizes Cell

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Jun 062008

An AMD fellow presented to Stanford, promoting a vision of co-processor accelerators driven by a general-purpose core (which would also handle legacy and single-threaded tasks). However, although this is the basic design of the PowerPC-based Cell processor, he thinks an AMD x86 core surrounded by AMD/ATI graphics processing units (GPUs) is a better architecture.

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Embedded PowerPC Linux Podcast Episode

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May 302008

IBM’s Linux Technology Center has been posting podcasts (which are like news articles but less skimmable) on various Linux topics. The next one is about embedded PowerPC Linux development with Josh Boyer, the 4xx Linux maintainer. Questions for the episode are being solicited in advance.

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