New Patches Posted For Booting Linux On The Nintendo Wii U

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 2 March 2022 at 05:57 AM EST. 3 Comments
Last month there were discussions around potentially working to upstream the Linux support for Nintendo's Wii U game console. While there are serious limitations to the support, posted today were the patch series for review providing basic Wii U enablement.

Independent developer Ash Logan posted a set of 12 patches today adding the "basic" support for the Nintendo Wii U video game console for the Linux kernel. These patches consist of just under two thousand lines of new code and is enough for getting the Linux kernel to boot.

The Nintendo Wii U launched a decade ago with a 1.24GHz IBM PowerPC 3-core processor, 2GB of DDR3 memory, a 550MHz AMD Radeon GPU based on R600/R700 IP, 8GB of internal flash (or 32GB for its premium model), and does feature USB connectivity for greater storage and connectivity.

Besides the hardware being quite slow by today's standards, the Linux support is rather crippled. With the current state of Linux on the Wii U the Radeon GPU acceleration isn't yet working -- while being an AMD R700 GPU IP design, the Wii U doesn't have a PCIe bus that is expected of the Radeon Linux driver. In addition to no 3D acceleration, there isn't SMP capabilities either as CPU bug(s) prevent the kernel from being able to properly utilize this tri-core processor. USB issues are another curve ball for the Wii U Linux support.

In any event as shown with today's enablement patches, it's enough to at least boot the kernel:

See this patch series if curious about the work at this stage for Linux on the Wii U.
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