Ubuntu Desktop To Drop PowerPC Support
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 30 July 2013 at 08:46 AM EDT. 49 Comments
The Ubuntu desktop images for the IBM PowerPC architecture are set to be eliminated.

While the Ubuntu PowerPC support has already been rocky for years and hasn't been an official architecture since the original Ubuntu Linux days, the desktop PPC images will likely be dropped. The reason for this change is that the Ubuntu desktop image for PowerPC hasn't been building for nearly one month with the latest Ubuntu 13.10 code.

The PowerPC build issues have come down to Canonical's own code with the Unity stack. No one seems to care nor more importantly stepped up to fix it. As a result, Canonical's Steve Langasek is looking at removing PowerPC for the Ubuntu desktop entirely.

Beyond the modern Ubuntu desktop stack not building on PowerPC due to Unity, Langasek says that PowerPC for the Ubuntu desktop is already next to useless. This comes down to the Unity desktop requiring OpenGL hardware acceleration for Compiz, but with PowerPC GL drivers being rare, it's mostly been an affair to run on the Gallium3D LLVMpipe driver. The LLVMpipe software driver on PowerPC is slow -- especially older PPC processors -- so the experience is painfully bad.

At this time there will still be PowerPC images for Ubuntu Server, Lubuntu, and other flavors, but the official Ubuntu desktop flavor for PowerPC is likely to be eliminated by the end of the week, per this mailing list post.
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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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