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Linux 3.17 To Drop Old POWER Processor Support

Linux Kernel

Published on 07 August 2014 11:02 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
11 Comments

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

The PowerPC pull request for the Linux 3.17 merge window reveals that support for pre-POWER4 hardware is being eliminated. Among the affected hardware is POWER3 and IBM RS64 processors, which are from the late 90's. POWER3 was used in IBM RS/6000 servers at the time and clocked at only a few hundred megahertz. Support for the old POWER hardware is being dropped since its Linux usage is minimal these days and the support was already regressed for some kernel releases.

Benjamin Herrenschmidt wrote in the pull request, "The biggest bit is Michael [Ellerman] removing all of pre-POWER4 processor support from the 64-bit kernel. POWER3 and rs64. This gets rid of a ton of old cruft that has been bitrotting in a long while. It was broken for quite a few versions already and nobody noticed. Nobody uses those machines anymore. While at it, he cleaned up a bunch of old dusty cabinets, getting rid of a skeletton or two."

Added for newer PowerPC hardware with Linux 3.17 is basic VFIO support for KVM to allow assigning PCI devices to KVM guests and other features and changes also made it for this merge window.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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