Linked by John Mills on Tue 13th Feb 2007 21:49 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu "The Ubuntu Technical Board has made two technical decisions of which we would like to inform the Ubuntu community. Both of these decisions concern the upcoming 7.04 release of Ubuntu, scheduled for mid-April." Ubuntu 7.04 will not activate binary video drivers by default, essentially meaning nothing will change from the previous releases. The second change is a major blow to the PowerPC architecture and thus owners of Apple PPC hardware: "The PowerPC edition of Ubuntu will be reclassified as unofficial. The PowerPC software itself and supporting infrastructure will continue to be available, and supported by a community team." Translation: Ubuntu PPC can shake hands with the dodo.
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A sad day for PPC
by Eugenia on Tue 13th Feb 2007 22:00 UTC
Eugenia
Member since:
2005-06-28

I blogged about it here earlier:
http://eugenia.blogsome.com/2007/02/13/a-sad-day-for-the-ppc-archit...
It really makes me a bit sad...

Reply Score: 1

RE: A sad day for PPC
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 13th Feb 2007 22:05 in reply to "A sad day for PPC"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

This is indeed sad, since one of these days, Apple will axe support for the G4 as well, but that was never a problem since you knew a well-supported and well tested PowerPC distro was available (Ubuntu really shines on PPC compared to its rivals) to replace Mac OS X in the future.

Sad, this.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: A sad day for PPC
by Kroc on Tue 13th Feb 2007 22:09 in reply to "A sad day for PPC"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

It is indeed sad. The PPC chip is a marvel of engineering, but the truth is that people are not optimizing for it heavily because the userbase is still low. What with no Flash or plugin support, or binary support from any vendors, nor virtualisation support for Windows (the hot topic right now) it seems that the PPC arc is no longer practical to maintain.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: A sad day for PPC
by rayiner on Tue 13th Feb 2007 23:52 in reply to "RE: A sad day for PPC"
rayiner Member since:
2005-07-06

BELETED: (If you don't have something nice to say...)

Edited 2007-02-13 23:57

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: A sad day for PPC
by mjg59 on Wed 14th Feb 2007 00:11 in reply to "A sad day for PPC"
mjg59 Member since:
2005-10-17

Brief introduction - my name's Matthew Garrett, and I'm a member of the Ubuntu technical board. I'm a community member, not employed by Canonical. I was involved in making both of these decisions, and while neither has been resolved in entirely the way I would have preferred, I wholeheartedly agree with the basic conclusions in both cases.

One thing that's important to understand about the PPC version of Ubuntu is that almost nobody was using it. Download figures were tiny for dapper, and even smaller for edgy. The PS3 is an obvious market, except that with only 256MB of RAM (and the currently entirely unaccelerated 2D graphics, let alone the lack of hardware accelerated 3D) it's not really a good fit for Ubuntu[1].

In reality, developers aren't going to simply start ignoring PPC bugs. We've got too much pride for that. Bugs get fixed for IA64 even though it's never been a release architecture, and Sparc spent a long time as an unofficial version before we made a release for Niagara. Several Ubuntu developers (me not included) still use PPC systems as their primary development environments, and there's an obvious incentive for them to ensure that it still works.

Realistically, the single biggest obstacle to high quality PPC support has been hardware support - Apple hardware is generally a good deal weirder than a lot of x86 stuff, and that's really saying something. Now that there's no more of it appearing, support is likely to stabalise. I've always felt that the PPC version of Ubuntu was rough around the edges compared to the x86 release, with edgy finally getting to the point where I didn't feel faintly embarrassed about the entire thing. If PPC support genuinely degrades to the point where it's significantly worse than it is now, you're free to swear at me at length. I'll apologise profusely and make sure that something's done about it.

[1] Yes, I agree that it's insane that Ubuntu doesn't work well in 256MB of RAM. I'm really, wholeheartedly sorry.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: A sad day for PPC
by butters on Wed 14th Feb 2007 03:46 in reply to "RE: A sad day for PPC"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

Thanks for joining the discussion. Although I agree that the decline of PPC as a desktop architecture forces the Ubuntu project's hands as a primarily desktop-oriented distribution, what about the server releases? My understanding is that Canonical hopes to expand Ubuntu's prevalence in the server market, and PPC-based hardware is very much alive and well in this space.

For example, this year IBM will be standardizing on POWER6 across three of their four lines of server systems, including the System Z mainframe (formerly based on the S/390 architecture). The mainstream System I is targeted at the Linux market, and supports both Red Hat and Novell. Doesn't Canonical want to challenge the big guys in this market?

[Note I'm an IBM employee, but I do not represent IBM in any way. These opinions are purely my own.]

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: A sad day for PPC
by ThunderBug on Wed 21st Feb 2007 20:23 in reply to "RE: A sad day for PPC"
ThunderBug Member since:
2006-03-05

Matthew, thank you for your candor. Knowing makes understanding easier.

FWIW, I use a fair number of machines but one is fast becoming an all-time favorite, a PPC G4 miniMac (loaded) running 6.10. Super quiet in a home office, fast enough for most uses, and I regard being non-Intel as an advantage when exposed to the net. (not anti-Intel, just like making worms and viruses even harder and less frequent.)

Count me in for as long as I can hang on... ;-)

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: A sad day for PPC
by sbergman27 on Wed 14th Feb 2007 01:35 in reply to "A sad day for PPC"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
I blogged about it here earlier:
"""

Does anyone care?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: A sad day for PPC
by archiesteel on Wed 14th Feb 2007 04:39 in reply to "A sad day for PPC"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Thanks for the blog link, Eugenia, it was an interesting take on this.

I think what this goes to show is that Ubuntu was really supporting the Mac rather than the PPC...it's sad, but in a way it was inevitable. If Apple had kept the PPC for its Macs, no doubt Ubuntu would still support it today.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: A sad day for PPC
by DevL on Wed 14th Feb 2007 07:36 in reply to "A sad day for PPC"
DevL Member since:
2005-07-06

With a PowerMac G5 and a G4 Mac Mini I too find this a bit disturbing. I had some hope of using Ubuntu on them the day Apple drops support for the PPC architecture. My guesstimate is that that will happen around the release of 10.7 as I believe 10.5 to be the last OS X that will run on PPC Macs. In other words, this should happen in about 3-4 years time.

On the one hand I probably won't be using any of the computers by then, on the other hand thay could still come in handy for some tasks. I guess it'll have to be Debian that gets installed around 2011...

Reply Parent Score: 2