Tag Archives: PowerPC

Fedora Core 5—and Airport Extreme on Linux?

Fedora Core 5 was released today. I started downloading it this morning, and it should be done this afternoon. I’ll probably start updating the Fedora boxes at work later this week, though for my home system I may wait until RPMForge catches up.

Meanwhile, I’m reading the release notes, and found one item particularly interesting:

There are new experimental drivers that provide support for the widely-used Broadcom 43xx wireless chipsets (http://bcm43xx.berlios.de/).

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We have always been at war with Eastasia

The eternal Mac OS on Intel rumor resurfaced last week, and as always, my reaction was “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Well, I’ve seen it.

After five years of rumors, Apple has not only confirmed Mac OS X can run on Intel processors, but future Macs will run on Intel. No, they won’t be releasing a version of Mac OS that you can install on your PC, they’re “just” replacing the CPUs in future Macs. Apparently Intel has a better road map for future performance. (Hmm, better tell the marketing division, quick. The PowerMac page [archive.org] still touts the PowerPC’s superiority over the Pentium 4.)

It’s a switch on the order of—well, on the order of leaving the Motorola 68K for PowerPC. Back in those days, it was Apple vs. IBM Compatibles, and IBM was a partner in the PowerPC design. These days it’s Apple vs. Wintel, the Windows/Intel combination.

Apple seems to have everything planned out. Secretly running OS X on both PPC and x86 for the past five years, preparing developer tools to produce applications for both architectures, setting up a translation tool to run PPC apps on Intel chips. Microsoft and Adobe are already on board. It’s not a surprise, really—they’ve done it all before. Of course, we all know how well the best laid plans go…

I do have to wonder how this will affect Linux distributions aimed at the PowerPC line. Yellow Dog Linux, for instance, is also advertised as running on IBM’s own PowerPC systems. And depending on the rest of the hardware, standard x86 distros may have to incorporate formerly PPC-only code. Update: It hasn’t shown up on their website yet, but I just got an email from YDL stating that they will remain focused on PowerPC, remain “in good standing with Apple” as a reseller, and “expect [server OS] Y-HPC to gain an even greater userbase with existing Apple Xserve users.”

I also wonder which Intel chip line they plan on using. Everyone seems to be assuming it’s x86-based, and I’d guess it’s 64-bit (why go backwards from the G5?). In theory Apple could go with Itanium, since they don’t need to drag around x86 compatibility, and the extra volume might be enough to bring the price down.

Diversifying Fedora Core

Fedora Core is following the path blazed by the Linux kernel: having started out as primarily an x86-based project (the 32-bit Intel-based processors from the 386 through the Pentium 4 and Athlon), it’s branching out. Versions 2 and 3 added support for the AMD-64 chips (basis of the Opteron and Athlon 64), and now, with the first test release of Fedora Core 4, official support for both 32-bit and 64-bit PowerPC.

There was a side project already, and most of the pieces that go into a Linux distribution have reached the point where they’re (mostly) platform-independent—all you need to do is recompile them. It takes fine-tuning, of course, and the actual hardware support takes effort. Yellow Dog Linux started out porting Red Hat to the PowerPC so it would run on Macs, and now builds a solid distribution off of Fedora Core, including a high-end server OS targeted for IBM’s PowerPC servers.

It’ll be interesting to compare upcoming versions of Yellow Dog and Fedora Core now that the latter is working on an actual PPC release.

Good Timing

Sometime early last year I decided I’d like to get a PowerBook. Ideally, one dual-booting Mac OS and Linux. I spent several months saying “I don’t really need a laptop,” but I really started to like the idea after a while, and Katie started to like the idea too, and this January I went so far as to contact TerraSoft Solutions about pricing. TerraSoft maintains their own PPC Linux distribution, Yellow Dog Linux, and their stock in trade is selling Macs preconfigured to dual-boot Mac OS and Linux.

I decided not to buy one then for two reasons: We had the wedding coming up, and I figured Apple was likely to upgrade the line by summer.

Well, the wedding is next weekend, and Apple has just announced upgrades to the PowerBook line.

It may be time to start looking at PowerBooks again.