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Linux Magazine: Outside Intel: The Story of Linux on the PowerPC Chip

Oct 20, 1999, 01:46 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dan Burcaw)

"Why would you want to run Linux on your Macintosh? If you're thinking about things from an operating system perspective, you run Linux on the Mac to get Unix. From a hardware perspective, you run Linux on the PowerPC to get RISC."

"In late 1994, three years after Linus Torvalds unleashed his first build of Linux, developer Gary Thomas began toying with the idea of a PowerPC port. Initially, Thomas says he started the port for 'purely selfish' reasons. 'The best PCs of that day were 486 machines,' he explains, 'and the PowerMac was simply better and faster.' "

"It turned out that Apple had its own plans for Linux, and they revolved around the Mach microkernel -- the same kernel architecture that is at the heart of Apple's soon-to-be-released Mac OS X. ... This eventually came to be known as MkLinux. ... While MkLinux remains a starting point for thousands of new PowerPC Linux users, Linux/PPC has become a more complete system. It runs on a wider variety of PowerPC machines and is fast becoming the standard Linux distribution for the PowerPC."

"Most Intel-based Linux applications will run on PowerPC Linux with a simple recompile, though not all code -- programs that depend on the little-endian nature of Intel programs, for example -- is easily ported."

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