Raptor Computing Systems Is Working On Bringing Up Chrome's POWER Support

Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 17 October 2018 at 04:57 AM EDT. 20 Comments
With Raptor Computing Systems' Talos II Lite and especially the forthcoming Blackbird positioning the POWER architecture in a prime spot for use by libre Linux users who want a system that's open-source down to the firmware, they've been trying to make sure the Linux desktop stack is in order. The latest area they've been working on is browser coverage.

At the moment for 64-bit POWER little-endian (PPC64LE), there isn't a modern browser with JavaScript JIT support available upstream... Obviously that is a problem for more Linux desktop users in 2018. But fortunately Raptor has been committing resources to changing that. They have gotten a patched version of Chrome working well on their POWER9 hardware complete with JIT support.

Sadly though there hasn't been much effort by Google's upstream team on reviewing and merging the patches. It did appear stalled on the need for POWER build-bot coverage for Chrome, but Raptor has communicated they are willing to provide the servers to make that happen as well.

There is this tracker about PPC64LE support for Chrome/Chromium as well as this forum thread.

For those with POWER hardware currently, Raptor has put together this Wiki page outlining the build steps for their patched Chromium code to have the modern web-browser support right now.

Hopefully they will be able to get this PPC64LE support landed into Chrome in order to ensure a modern web experience can be provided as more lower-cost POWER9 hardware like Raptor's Blackbird become available for having fully open-source yet performant systems.
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