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Thread: Linux 3.17 To Drop Old POWER Processor Support

  1. #1
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    Default Linux 3.17 To Drop Old POWER Processor Support

    Phoronix: Linux 3.17 To Drop Old POWER Processor Support

    Should you be still running any PowerPC hardware older than 2001, the support is being dropped with the Linux 3.17 kernel merge window...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTc1Njk

  2. #2
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    Always nice to see old obsolete code go. However with linux being monolithic, it does limit these older processors from easily using drivers from newer kernels, if anyone were to continue using them. I really wish drivers were separate from the rest of the kernel - it'd greatly increase efficiency as a whole, but I know it'll never happen.

    IMO, dropping support for something, even if it's old, is a good reason to upgrade the version. So for example, this would be a good time to rename the kernel to 4.0.

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    Quote Originally Posted by schmidtbag View Post
    Always nice to see old obsolete code go. However with linux being monolithic, it does limit these older processors from easily using drivers from newer kernels, if anyone were to continue using them. I really wish drivers were separate from the rest of the kernel - it'd greatly increase efficiency as a whole, but I know it'll never happen.
    Hmmmm.... and just what new devices would one plug into the USB port of a Power3 workstation? And as the article noted, it appears nobody is running Linux on these anymore anyway. Doesn't mean they aren't still around -- but as dedicated servers running a real operating system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by schmidtbag View Post
    Always nice to see old obsolete code go. However with linux being monolithic, it does limit these older processors from easily using drivers from newer kernels, if anyone were to continue using them. I really wish drivers were separate from the rest of the kernel - it'd greatly increase efficiency as a whole, but I know it'll never happen.
    I think the same. It would also make it easier to test or benchmark, by isolating, for instance, DRM drivers from the rest of the kernel. I recall hearing, however, that it wasn't possible to maintain a stable interface for modules - DRM/KMS and propietary drivers being an example.

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    The driver subsystems tend to be woven fairly tightly into the core kernel code (mm for example) - that's why porting the newer drm/driver sets to BSD and Solaris is a non-trivial effort. That wasn't so much the case back when drivers had lower functionality & lower performance -- they could be relatively more independent of the kernel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    The driver subsystems tend to be woven fairly tightly into the core kernel code (mm for example) - that's why porting the newer drm/driver sets to BSD and Solaris is a non-trivial effort. That wasn't so much the case back when drivers had lower functionality & lower performance -- they could be relatively more independent of the kernel.
    For stuff like graphics drivers, that seems to be the case. But GPUs these days are so powerful they now outclass CPUs in terms of total complexity. But most (if not all) other drivers appear to be incredibly simple in comparison. I'm sure there are a few quirky ones here and there that require meddling deep into the kernel but overall, I'd say 95% of all drivers could be separate. I'm not going to pretend I know what I'm talking about, but I find it really hard to believe that things beyond GPUs need to ship with the kernel.

  7. #7
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    My PowerPC 603e-based Mac quit playing nice with Linux a looooong time ago. I tried to put Debian 4 on it to get files off of it (no USB support at all!), after it had been out of service for a while. It was a lot easier instead to yank the hard drive and plug it into a P2B with SCSI

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    Hmm my plan for next week includes installing Linux on a G3 iMac. I already have one set up, they are quite slugish to work on, so I'm honestly perfectly fine with this being EOL for them.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by AJenbo View Post
    Hmm my plan for next week includes installing Linux on a G3 iMac. I already have one set up, they are quite slugish to work on, so I'm honestly perfectly fine with this being EOL for them.
    G3 iMacs where fairly sluggish when they where new. Especially if you didn't max out the ram. I had several, most ended up getting stripped for parts to sell on eBay, with the housing of 2 of them going to a friend of mine who modded them into nice cat beds/carriers.

    I used a 600Mhz G3 iBook w/ 640Mb of ram for years as well with a multiboot of OS 9.2.2/OSX10.4.11 and YellowDogLinux, Debian and/or Ubuntu depending on what year we're talking. I was surprised it was able to play Warcraft 3, Aliens VS Predator and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 on an ATI Rage Mobility with only 8Mb of Vram.

    It eventually died and I replaced it with a final gen 1.33Ghz G4 with 1.5Gb of ram and a Radeon 9550 w/ 32Mb of Vram, only have OS9.2.2 and OSX 10.4.11 on it though as I only keep it around for my old PPC Mac games as accelerated graphics on PPC hardware hasn't worked forever, the same goes for the Mac Nvidia GPUs I tested in my old PowerMac G4 dual 800Mhz. Last time I tried about a year and a half ago I could get accelerated 2D, which for some reason killed the audio, or have audio but no video acceleration at all...

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    Quote Originally Posted by pipe13 View Post
    Hmmmm.... and just what new devices would one plug into the USB port of a Power3 workstation? And as the article noted, it appears nobody is running Linux on these anymore anyway. Doesn't mean they aren't still around -- but as dedicated servers running a real operating system.
    Only Power3s I know of are running AIX, and will be until they are done with Catia v4 (at which point they use v5 on Windows/x86, not Linux/Power)

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