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These are primarily desktop-oriented systems and PowerPC is darn near close to dead in the desktop space. It was never huge on the desktop and once Apple, the only company actively pushing PPC for desktop use, dropped PPC it was pretty much inevitable. The boards and CPUs are expensive as compared with X86 or ARM, and there's no real benefit to PPC anymore the way there used to be.
That being said, if there's still enough call for these systems on PPC the community will, I'm sure, make it happen. That's part of the real power of free software, you're not only bound to what the official project leaders want for it if you have the knowledge to do what you want with it.
PPC support was never good in any distro, I'm surprised they had it so long. There were PPC specific distros such as Yellow Dog Linux but they didnt support many ppc architecture out of the box.
For some old risc hardware you had to apply like 30 patch for 2.4 kernel and do additional hacking just to boot the box and even after that not all hardware in it was supported.
Anyways whether there is ppc distro or not you can always compile manually most of the gnu softwares for it or make your own distro.
Many distros that ran PPC, but slowly, OOtB, like Ubuntu, would also have random packages that wouldn't work. I'm sure this is why things like MorphOS can stay around.
Until 99% of our software is written with managed languages, which do not allow you to do low-level work on memory addressing, or rely on a specific endianness, or other such things, I doubt the situation will change much, because there is too much required testing, and not enough people and time to do it for every package. Edited 2010-03-29 19:17 UTC
Part of the problem with PPC is how many people have working PPC systems. PS3 was the major home PPC system that people had and it was not great.
Really the drop of PPC is bad news for the PPC chip.
Have this something to do with Sony removing "Other OS" support of the PS3? Coincidental and weird.
Not really, Linux/PS3 was dead already.
It has more to with PPC dying as a consumer architecture.
I noted that in the Fedora 13 Alpha announcement I submitted here but that was never published and my repeated inquiries to the editors were never answered.
The current situation is that Fedora is planning to support PPC as a secondary architecture along with ARM and others but the infrastructure requires some changes and the work there is still ongoing.
If you are interested, refer to
Nobody cares, so you don't see a lot of noise around it.
I wonder how the two parent distribution of Fedora and OpenSUSE will support PPC. On the server side, PPC is still being used by more than 1%. RH dropped Itanium, but not PPC for RHEL6. RHEL6 should be based on F13, so, how is it going to work? They wont have any tester (mostly people using PS3 and G5 mac) to test packages. It will cost more to do the Q.A than it would have cost to compile Fedora PPC packages.
OpenSuSE's decision clearly hurts Novell business. SLES for PPC is pretty common on System P hardware and without OpenSuSE, Novell has to test and support the platform by themselves. Not good.
Fedora has a build system for PPC and will continue to do builds and releases depending on how much of the community steps up to do it. IBM is part of that community for example and can participate just like any other volunteer.
RHEL has to do extensive QA in-house for RHEL regardless of Fedora and testing focused on enterprise features tend to be quite different from what the community tends to care about. They are essentially two different although there is some overlap.
PPC had promise as a mainstream arcitecture, but it didn't play out that way. dropping suport was bound to happen sooner or later, especialy with the new PS3 slim line removing suport for other OS's.
I apologise if this sounds petty and pedantic but the title of this article seems to imply something other than the reality.
Last time I checked the GNU/Linux ecosystem did not consist solely of OpenSuSE, Ubuntu & Fedora; as has already been said these are distros aimed at the average desktop user and the average desktop today just isn't powered by powerpc; sad? Maybe - true? Definitely.
Does this stop projects like YDL from going forward using GNU/Linux though? Does it stop Debian from supporting everything from my pimped out PPC A1200 to my nice new shiny sam440 flex? Not that I can see.
These days every news story I read about Linux seems to assume that all Linux distros exist only to challenge the supremacy of Windows et al in some kind of epic David & Goliath type struggle. Just because a few of the big boys are ditching PPC doesn't mean that GNU/Linux as a whole is.
Ubuntu, openSUSE, and Fedora (and Mandriva) do make up most of this landscape, whether you like it or not. Seeing as headline space is limited, this is a perfectly acceptable compromise.
I was actually talking more about the general perception of Linux these days and how it isn't really an accurate portrayal if you look at GNU/Linux holistically. I wasn't criticising your editorial decisions; if anything the title was just a convenient embodiment of the idea I was trying to present.
Perhaps I should have been clearer?
The title seems fine. It doesn't say that all GNU/Linux distros are dropping PPC support. When you don't spec it is an implied existential statement, so the fully explicit version would be "There Exist Some GNU/Linux Distros That (Will) Have Silently Drop(ped) PPC Support" (allowing for the tense ambiguity that comes from the desire for short headlines). Also, the author states that Ubuntu is an exception to the described trend since they dropped PPC support but not silently.
To the contrary, if you don't say then most people assume "all", or at least "in general", and not "some". Think about the phrase: "I love babies!" The speaker certainly does *not* mean that (s)he loves only a few, but that given an arbitrary baby, (s)he loves it.
I believe that this is true most of the time, but not in headlines. Example: "Unemployed Workers March on Capitol Hill". This does not mean that all unemployed workers marched, but rather means that some did.
So how about interpreting "Unemployed Workers March on Capitol Hill, love babies"? :-)
All that I can say is that that would make for a hilarious story.
Did I say "all people", "some people", or just "people"? ;-)
It's not really all that shocking for large corporate Linux distributors to drop support for an architecture that for all practical purposes had very little chance of generating revenue. I am certain that if a large PPC contract came in they would start supporting it again, but either way, it is open source, and that having been said, it is quite likely that a person (or group of people) will pick up the slack for the nitch PPC desktop market.
This is the beauty of Linux, no one company, government, or person controls it. Anybody can jump in and pick up the slack if the need is there.
I chose to install debian on my old Mac because it seemed to offer the best out of the box support for PPC architectures. I have to say that is has been a very pleasant experience.
Same here. The old ppc Mac Minis are dirt cheap, and make great servers, taking up virtually no space at all. Debian works great on these, and certainly isn't about to drop ppc support.
Even when Debian "Officially" dropped support for M68k platforms, there is still a port of Etch for it, with some talks of updating it to Lenny..
I wouldn't worry too much about it not supporting PPC at least for another few releases.
I'm a HUGE debian fan. Not so much for Ubuntu and Fedora, and esepecially openSuSE/SLES.
What about Yellow Dog Linux distro??
It's still around..
Apparently, Sony in their infinite "wisdom" has decided to disable other the "other OSs" option in the upcoming firmware revision... for ALL the PS3 models, not just the new slim PS3s which did not have the ability to run linux from the get go.
I think it's got far more to do with Apple dropping the PowerPC architecture years ago. They were the major supplier of consumer PowerPC hardware, now that they're gone PPC is going to fade away, however slowly.
Of course, Linux is the only real hope of modern operating systems on those old Macs...
Gentoo still has a well maintained PPC ports, both 32- and 64-bit versions.
Incidentally, my first experience with Gentoo was on a PPC-based iBook G4...
What the heck is a PowerPC? Oh wait its that dead platform that no one runs and that since Apple quit making them, a system that no one uses anymore. Is this really news worthy? I bet you can count how many PowerPC users there are on one hand.
i'm not on ppc, but the users care, and windows users say the same about linux: who cares? who uses linux? why would anyone develop program x for linux? See, the same thing.
There are millions of PPC in use. In game consoles. So the reports of PPC death are greatly exaggerated. Edited 2010-03-29 11:21 UTC
yeah, the irony is that you could run out of fingers easily while counting ppc users
there is at least one ppc cpu in each ps3 and there are at least two of them in your xbox...
ppc is a beautiful piece of work and has beautiful history going far back
hard to explain to fans of vhs
Everyone already knew that the PPC titanic have hit the ice berg ;-p They are slow in abandon ship ;-p
I still have one PPC box that gets a lot of use. I am not really active in the community as the box just works and I am not a developer.
It's too bad, but understandable.
I've had Fedora running great on my G4 MDD dual 800.
Debian it is then I guess.
Ubuntu still has a PowerPC port, it's just not official, only community maintained.
See http://ports.ubuntu.com and http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ports/releases/9.10/release/ Edited 2010-03-30 09:59 UTC
Yep. It's all but dead and Apple's pricing scheme didn't help all that much, although I did pick up several when you were still able to strip down Apples to almost barebones back in the day and get them at a reasonable price, i.e. drop that $500 hdd(c. $50 retail), $400 DRAM(c. $100 retail), etc.
So, in the end I still have a powermac G4 functional, an ibook, and an older pre-G series PPC desktop but I hardly use them for anything other than fileserving(G4) and the other two are rarely used at all now. (The older PPC was really for BeOS, and I got a MUCH nicer notebook that is more powerful than Apple's uberly overpriced macbook pro at something approaching 1/3 the total cost. Still like OSX but it's just not worth the tax, so I run x86-64 and Windows Vista ATM(games).)
Pretty much the only PPC systems left are embedded and I suspect that they'll be displaced by ARM based as ARMs will undoubtedly be cheaper given that they're already used in tons of embedded applications in consumer electronics while PPC is mostly restricted to industrial embedded applications excepting the PS3 which, to me, is an embedded PPC in a consumer device given that it's primary purpose is game playing, and secondarily movie playback and NOT general purpose computer use. (i.e. economies of scale)
I think that the only non-linux thing left using is Amiga OS and that other one that's sort of Amiga like but I forgot the name if they're both still kicking. (Haven't checked in years as compatible hw was somewhat pricey for what it was.)
So, we have, primarily, an embedded use processor in non-interactive environs whose support is being dropped by, primarily, what are server and desktop distros... Ubuntu officially dropped PPC years ago IIRC but I still think that they may have an unofficial build but I'm not sure if anyone bothers any longer, and as of a year ago Debian still had PPC builds(running on the iBook).
I think that there is some confusion about Linux on PPC. The majority of systems using LinuxPPC are IBM System P and System i. Linux runs on the same hardware as AIX and Linux on Power has been pushed for a while. SLES and RHEL will not drop support for PPC. However, many of the above posters are correct that Linux for PPC does not make sense for a desktop distro like Ubuntu, Fedora, and OpenSuse. Those were intended for Macs which are very different than System P.
You do not typically hear about System P outside of AIX communities, but there is a very large install base in the fortune 500 space.
Linux on Macs = dead
Linux on System P = very much alive and well.
i'm using with great fun a really smart distro: CRUX PPC.
It works fine and it seems to be supported.