IBM Continues Work On POWER8 In Linux 3.9 Kernel
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 24 February 2013 at 07:26 AM EST. Add A Comment
The PowerPC architecture update for the Linux 3.9 kernel is made up mostly of bug-fixes and minor updates, but there are a few highlights. Most of the major work revolves around the yet-to-be-released POWER8 hardware.

The highlights for the PowerPC architecture with the forthcoming Linux 3.9 kernel include a hand-tuned SHA1 implementation written in Assembly for PPC, support for doorbell interrupts on POWER8 (they're a kind of fast thread-thread IPIs), support for saving/restoring and context switching with the Processor Priority Register (PPR), DAWR watch-point facility on POWER8, support for changing the Data Stream Control Register, support for context switching the TAR register on POWER8, improved preservation of the CFAR register, and support for Transactional Memory on POWER8.

As one can see, most of the PowerPC work queued up for Linux 3.9 is about POWER8, the latest-generation of the PowerPC architecture. IBM is still developing POWER8 and it offers improved simultaneous multi-threading (SMT), greater reliability, larger cache sizes, new accelerators, and a greater number of cores. POWER8 processors will begin appearing in late 2013 or early 2014. IBM POWER8 support first appeared in Linux 3.8.

The pull request for the PowerPC updates to go into Linux 3.9 were sent in on Saturday and can be viewed on the Indiana kernel mailing list.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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