Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 29th Oct 2006 23:09 UTC
Morphos Genesi has announced its Open Server Workstation: "The Open Server Workstation is a six layer board with two 970MP processors, the CPC945 and Broadcom's HT-1000 and 2000 chips. Excepting those parts, the board and component cost is below USD 200. Here is the Business Plan [.pdf] we wrote for the board."
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Oxymoron
by twenex on Sun 29th Oct 2006 23:30 UTC
twenex
Member since:
2006-04-21

Isn't a "server workstation" a bit of an oxymoron?

Anyway, I'd like to see a laptop from Genesi.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Oxymoron
by deb2006 on Mon 30th Oct 2006 12:31 UTC in reply to "Oxymoron"
deb2006 Member since:
2006-06-26

Well, were talking about a workstation. As far as I know noone has ever produced a laptop workstation. Correct me in case I am wrong.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Oxymoron
by Fransexy on Mon 30th Oct 2006 12:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Oxymoron"
Fransexy Member since:
2005-07-29

Well, were talking about a workstation. As far as I know noone has ever produced a laptop workstation. Correct me in case I am wrong.

Sun sparc Laptops, anyone

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Oxymoron
by justin.68 on Tue 31st Oct 2006 16:47 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Oxymoron"
justin.68 Member since:
2006-09-16

Naturetech, for example, does make SPARC based portable wks, but they're not meant for home users at all. It's not that there aren't usable RISC chips, but it's been a Wintel world for so long everybody will stick to x86 compatibility.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Oxymoron
by the_leander on Mon 30th Oct 2006 14:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Oxymoron"
the_leander Member since:
2005-07-01

"Well, were talking about a workstation. As far as I know noone has ever produced a laptop workstation. Correct me in case I am wrong."

Alienware produce an opteron based "mobile workstation", IBM produce a core 2 duo workstation, I believe so do Dell.

Basically, notebooks with desktop parts.

Apple could have done this with the G5, that said, the resultant laptop would not have been the slim, slick low heat package we'd come to know and love...

Oh wait..

Reply Score: 2

RE: Oxymoron
by rayiner on Tue 31st Oct 2006 03:26 UTC in reply to "Oxymoron"
rayiner Member since:
2005-07-06

So you want an "Open Laptop Workstation?"

(canned applause)

Thank you, thank you, I'm here all week...

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Oxymoron
by twenex on Tue 31st Oct 2006 12:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Oxymoron"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

I want a PPC laptop, i don't care what they call it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Oxymoron
by vogelar on Tue 31st Oct 2006 19:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Oxymoron"
vogelar Member since:
2006-04-03

"Ye Olde PowerBook" is what Apple used to call their PPC laptops...

Reply Score: 1

Huh?
by zizban on Mon 30th Oct 2006 01:23 UTC
zizban
Member since:
2005-07-06

This links to a blog with a picture of the board.

Reply Score: 1

Yes, a blog
by Rasmus on Mon 30th Oct 2006 01:35 UTC
Rasmus
Member since:
2005-11-12

...and a very decent business plan. They will probably post a press release on the Genesi home page:

http://www.genesippc.com/

...when they actually go on sale. The blog is just another way they promote the company. I did not see the Marvell announcement until tonight, but I knew about Solaris on the ODW. The EFIKA looks good too.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Yes, a blog
by alcibiades on Mon 30th Oct 2006 06:54 UTC in reply to "Yes, a blog"
alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

Not so sure about the business plan.

It calls for selling 5k units in 2006 with a total marketing spend of $50k. The following year, this rises to all of $100k, but they sell 20k units.

Product development expenses are light - $100k each year. There's nothing at all in there for product support of the OEMs. Well, maybe you don't need any? Or maybe this is included under salaries, which are about 750k in year one and double that in year 2.

The price is 1,500, which must be price into the OEM channel. Is this competitive? It may be, but there is no competitive analysis of pricing, channel margins and so on.

The plan will be viable if there is pent up demand for the product at that price. Presumbably there were internal discussions at which real evidence of this from customers was put forward. But if they don't have orders in hand now for the first 5k, the first year will be shot. If they need much extra spend on the channel, either in support or discounts, or if the channel doesn't move it out rapidly, there is not much room for manoevre.

Possibly there is more backing for the project than appears in the plan. Looking just at what is in it, though, you would be inclined to question the numbers very closely. In the end the really big thing you need to be satisfied about is the existence of substantial instant and continuing demand for PPC servers at this OEM price.

If there are a few decent customers with good track records ready to sign up to moving the volumes, fine. Otherwise it looks dubious.

Reply Score: 1

fnally
by judgen on Mon 30th Oct 2006 01:42 UTC
judgen
Member since:
2006-07-12

Finally a board from genesi with a g5, was starting to think they had gotten stuck with freescale.

Reply Score: 2

RE: fnally
by McBofh on Mon 30th Oct 2006 05:32 UTC in reply to "fnally"
McBofh Member since:
2005-07-07

The price-point is looking really good. So good in fact that I'm seriously tempted to get one. Dunno what I'd run on it, but it would be cool to have!

I'm sure I could figure out a justification somehow, especially since Rachel and Bill have been so active in getting OpenSolaris running on PPC.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: fnally
by gelosilente on Mon 30th Oct 2006 08:52 UTC in reply to "RE: fnally"
gelosilente Member since:
2006-08-13

i like to see solaris on it too.

Reply Score: 1

Which parts?
by zizban on Mon 30th Oct 2006 01:55 UTC
zizban
Member since:
2005-07-06

Excepting those parts

Which parts?

Reply Score: 1

Why open ppc?
by IronWolve on Mon 30th Oct 2006 05:49 UTC
IronWolve
Member since:
2006-01-17

Why are people sticking with PPC over x86? Since the major players that used sparc and ppc have moved to x86 for the workstation, maybe its time drop ppc?

I know I waited forever for a cheap PPC board to run Amiga alternative OS's on a modern cpu, and is the PPC 970 it?

Limited operating systems, limited hardware support, limited software, expensive prices.

And Intel and AMD comes out with 4 core cpu's next month.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Why open ppc?
by flywheel on Mon 30th Oct 2006 07:17 UTC in reply to "Why open ppc?"
flywheel Member since:
2005-12-28

Why are people sticking with PPC over x86? Since the major players that used sparc and ppc have moved to x86 for the workstation, maybe its time drop ppc?

I really dont know about this - both the PS/3 and the XBOX360 runs on the Cell processor, which beating heart is a PPC970.

Limited operating systems
Well I guess that Yellowdog Linux, openSUSE, Crux, Gentoo, Debian, Mandriva, Holon, ubuntu Linux, Skole Linux, MorphOS, ľnOS, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenDarwin, OpenSolaris, ArOS and QNX is rather limited.

Edited 2006-10-30 07:34

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Why open ppc?
by Andre Siegel on Mon 30th Oct 2006 08:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Why open ppc?"
Andre Siegel Member since:
2005-08-12

@ flywheel

I really dont know about this - both the PS/3 and the XBOX360 runs on the Cell processor, which beating heart is a PPC970.

Actually, the PS3 runs on the Cell processor but the XBOX 360 does not. The XBOX 360 uses a custom Power Architecture processor named Xenon.


Limited operating systems
Well I guess that Yellowdog Linux, openSUSE, Crux, Gentoo, Debian, Mandriva, Holon, ubuntu Linux, Skole Linux, MorphOS, ľnOS, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenDarwin, OpenSolaris, ArOS and QNX is rather limited.


These are the operating systems running on Genesi's Pegasos I / Pegasos II type of mainboards and all products based on those, such as the Open Desktop Workstation. It remains to be seen if they will all be ported to the G5-based Open Server Workstation.

For example, there has been no announcement so far that MorphOS will be ported to the OSW at any point in the future.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Why open ppc?
by twenex on Mon 30th Oct 2006 10:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why open ppc?"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

For example, there has been no announcement so far that MorphOS will be ported to the OSW at any point in the future.

Indeed, there seems little point; MorphOS, AROS and AmigaOS are home operating systems (desktop operating systems if you're being generous - workstation operating systems if you're stuck to 1990s Lightwave hardware - server operating systems if you're mad!) and it would probably take as much work to get AmigaOS to the state where it could serve as a server operating system as it did BeOS, if not more.

As VMS, Unix/Linux and Windows have shown us, it's much easier to make a workstation/desktop machine out of a server OS than it is to do the reverse.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Why open ppc?
by PlatformAgnostic on Tue 31st Oct 2006 01:09 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Why open ppc?"
PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

By this, I guess you mean that Unix and VMS have shown us that it's easy to make a workstation out of a server and Windows has shown us that the reverse is tough? ;)

My opinion is that server versus workstation doesn't matter that much these days.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Why open ppc?
by twenex on Tue 31st Oct 2006 12:20 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Why open ppc?"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Yes, I mean that exactly - if you include DOS and Win9x as "workstation" OSes.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Why open ppc?
by flywheel on Mon 30th Oct 2006 17:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why open ppc?"
flywheel Member since:
2005-12-28

Actually, the PS3 runs on the Cell processor but the XBOX 360 does not. The XBOX 360 uses a custom Power Architecture processor named Xenon.

I'm corrected - The XBOX360 runs on Xenon, not Cell and only features 3 cores.
But the Xenons beating heart still is an PPC

These are the operating systems running on Genesi's Pegasos I / Pegasos II type of mainboards and all products based on those, such as the Open Desktop Workstation. It remains to be seen if they will all be ported to the G5-based Open Server Workstation.

G5 still got the 32-bit extension implemented right ?
Most people today also runs 32-bit operating systems on their AMD64 processors.
I see no problem in that every supported operating systems is not released to the street in 64-bit versions the same day as the OSW is released.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Why open ppc?
by Andre Siegel on Mon 30th Oct 2006 19:35 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Why open ppc?"
Andre Siegel Member since:
2005-08-12

@ flywheel

G5 still got the 32-bit extension implemented right ?
Most people today also runs 32-bit operating systems on their AMD64 processors.
I see no problem in that every supported operating systems is not released to the street in 64-bit versions the same day as the OSW is released.


The OSW mainboard uses very different components than the older Pegasos 1/2. Operating Systems such as MorphOS need to be specifically adapted to the new northbridge, etc. in order to run properly.

The central processing unit is only one piece of the puzzle. Just having a compatible or even identical processor is not enough.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Why open ppc?
by flywheel on Tue 31st Oct 2006 23:14 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Why open ppc?"
flywheel Member since:
2005-12-28

The central processing unit is only one piece of the puzzle. Just having a compatible or even identical processor is not enough.

Quite right - but it is by far the largest piece of the puzzle. If you got no support of the ISA you got a really longer way to go than if you got holes in your driversupport.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Why open ppc?
by Ronald Vos on Mon 30th Oct 2006 19:39 UTC in reply to "RE: Why open ppc?"
Ronald Vos Member since:
2005-07-06

Well I guess that Yellowdog Linux, openSUSE, Crux, Gentoo, Debian, Mandriva, Holon, ubuntu Linux, Skole Linux, MorphOS, ľnOS, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenDarwin, OpenSolaris, ArOS and QNX is rather limited.

You forgot Windows NT 3.51 and 4.0 ;)
(And I still don't know what version of Windows was running on those G5 development kits for the xbox360.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Why open ppc?
by mbpark on Mon 30th Oct 2006 21:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why open ppc?"
mbpark Member since:
2005-11-17

The version of Windows which ran on the G5 was some bastardized version of Windows 2000/XP apparently.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Why open ppc?
by Fransexy on Mon 30th Oct 2006 11:26 UTC in reply to "Why open ppc?"
Fransexy Member since:
2005-07-29

Why are people sticking with PPC over x86? Since the major players that used sparc and ppc have moved to x86 for the workstation, maybe its time drop ppc?

I know I waited forever for a cheap PPC board to run Amiga alternative OS's on a modern cpu, and is the PPC 970 it?

Limited operating systems, limited hardware support, limited software, expensive prices.

And Intel and AMD comes out with 4 core cpu's next month


I don´t expect that all people understand the relativity theory or evolution theory, and i don´t expect that all people understand why Powerpc

Edited 2006-10-30 11:27

Reply Score: 1

Leo43
Member since:
2006-06-26

I really dont know about this - both the PS/3 and the XBOX360 runs on the Cell processor, which beating heart is a PPC970.

We are talking about *desktop* computer. Here, everyone has dropped the PPC. Period. There is no Cell, no...
Yes, PPC is well present in the consoles world,... But a small company producing 5k per years can't benefit from this, because IBM produces & sells the cell in quantites of millions, not for the first hobbits that comes to his door... Even the server world is now using x86 mostly. It's already difficult do develop a new OS,... Why adding a new barrier by using a CPU which development isn't aimed anymore at the desktop ? The only thing you'll end up with is either having extremly expensive computers when compared with other desktop ones (ie: x86), and/or slow and un-adapted processors, because aimed at totaly different markets where the speed is not so important (ex: Efika).

And I'm not mentionning the fact that next x86 processors are *really* looking good... See the core2 duo,...

Reply Score: 3

twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

I hope that (non-Apple - obviously) PowerPC-based desktops pick up, because I don't know if AMD and Intel are competitive enough with each other to keep x86 innovating. (I'm not saying they will; I'm not even saying I think they will - I'm saying I hope they will). It may be the case that Apple's high profile relative to everyone else in the PPC space actually hindered non-Apple PowerPC in general, especially since they neither licensed out hardware or OSes (except for a comparatively short period), nor offered other operating systems.

Reply Score: 1

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

So you blame Apple for IBM's greed?

IBM could have made POWER based workstations and server more accessible, but they chose not to; just as IBM chose to tell companies to go f*ck themselves if they weren't able to purchase 10,000 units per month off their microprocessor subsidary.

IBM wanted to continue to sell over priced POWER workstaions; they could have quite easily pushed out a SUN Blade 150 configuration for around a grand, loaded with a PPC970 procesor, throw on a copy of AIX - 'enthusiast' package which didn't include any commercial support outside the usual service packs and updates; IBM chose not to do that.

Now IBM is coming back with another hypefeast that is openpower.org in a vein attempt to create a nice fuzzy SPARC like atmosphere, whilst forgetting that the number who are willing and/or able to pay $20,000 for a workstation is so limited, its laughable.

Its volume stupid, and you can't get volume by pricing a product at a level which only a niche can afford or able to justify the pricing - I'd love to own a PowerPC worstation loaded with AIX, but I sure as hell not going to pay an arm and a leg to get that experience nor is anyone else given the alternatives that exist from Intel and AMD.

Reply Score: 2

twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

I don't "blame" anyone - I'm simply saying that Apple overshadowed anyone else in the PowerPC space.

Reply Score: 1

flywheel Member since:
2005-12-28

Yes the good old x86 is very strongly represented in the cheap end of the server world, you're quite right.

Otherwise, Power (The mother of the PPC) and SPARC rules, when heavy processing are needed.

But apart from the AMD64 and AMD-V renewal of the x86 platform, nothing real new has happend since the introduction of the 386 ISA in 1985. It is old wine on new bottles, including the beloved Core and hell on earth when doing ASM programming.
The x86 ISA is very old and tired, after being constantly patched on since its birth in relation with a calculator.

Edited 2006-10-30 19:22

Reply Score: 1

w-ber Member since:
2005-08-21

Saying there has been no change at all since 1985 is exaggarating...

The step from 386 to 486 wasn't big. There were a few new instructions, increase in clocking speed, and the ability to run the CPU at higher clocking speeds than the memory bus.

The step from 486 to Pentium wasn't that great either. More instructions (MMX) and a superscalar architecture (i.e. two pipelines).

Pentium Pro, however, was something else. P6 is internally a RISC processor, while previous ones are CISC. The microprogramming allows one to use CISC instructions, although they are executed as a series of RISC instructions internally. Out-of-order execution, longer pipelines.

Yes, it is fully backwards compatible, but this was also quite a feat if you look at the design.

From Pentium Pro to Pentium II was only a small step. Pentium II is essentially Pentium Pro with more (and in some models, slower) cache and a bit faster 16-bit execution mode.

And Pentium III wasn't that big either. Faster cache, SSE instructions.

However, if you look at Pentium 4, you'll see some big differences again. It's essentially a completely new CPU (using the (controversial) Netburst architecture) that just happens to be compatible with previous x86 CPUs.

Source: Wikipedia.

(Yes, I'm aware of other CPU manufacturers. However, the development in other camps is very similar to how it happened at Intel.)

Reply Score: 1

flywheel Member since:
2005-12-28

I wasn't talking about the Intel implementations of the x86 i expressed myself, but about the x86 in generel.

BTW: Yes the P6 was something else. When you take a closer look at it, it looks a lot like an AMD K6, extended with a load of Cyrix 6x86 core features.

With the PII Intel added a few instructions, which sometimes makes it difficult to tell them apart. For example when you compile anything with GCC to i686, you do not compile for the P6 but the PII.

The Netburst was literally a mistake.

Reply Score: 1

Yes, but don't miss the point!
by Rasmus on Mon 30th Oct 2006 13:43 UTC
Rasmus
Member since:
2005-11-12

http://bbrv.blogspot.com/2006/10/wanting-what-you-have.html

Jonathan Schwartz wants blogs to be SEC qualified communication. bbrv aren't public and have been doing it for years. I think the power of community and participation is what makes Genesi successful even small as they are.

Reply Score: 2

The world is changing fast...
by bbrv on Mon 30th Oct 2006 16:27 UTC
bbrv
Member since:
2006-06-04

Here is a good example:

http://ati.amd.com/products/certified/systems.html

http://ati.amd.com/products/certified/genesi.html

Who knows what happens next...;-)

Thanks for the coverage Thom.

R&B :-)

Reply Score: 2

Workstation not Gamestation.
by IronWolve on Mon 30th Oct 2006 16:53 UTC
IronWolve
Member since:
2006-01-17

Not sure why when we are talking about Desktops/Workstations someone mentions game consoles and hobby OS's gets mod'ed +5.

Almost every OS listed for cell only has non-commercial support. Even IBM doesn't push the Cell for the desktop. Yes it would make an awesome workstation, but people are not going to buy PS/3's to use excel on.

Reply Score: 1

v Wow
by deathshadow on Tue 31st Oct 2006 01:19 UTC