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Slashdot: Linux And The PowerPC Architecture

Apr 20, 2000, 19:12 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by emmett)

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"Speaking of porting software, you'd be amazed how much of it compiles just fine on the PowerPC architecture. Since a great number of tools are available in source code form for Linux, porting it over to another platform isn't that difficult, and crosses the great divide between the 'IBM' and 'Macintosh' sections of the virtual software store. I also got to speak to Ani Joshi, a University of Maryland student that's also working hard to make more things work on PowerPC Linux."

"When I go about porting software, I first build it alongside with my x86 machines. I make sure there is no inline assembly which could cause problems, and if there is then I break out my x86 assembly manuals and start porting to straight PowerPC asm for those routines. Otherwise our glibc (thanks to our gcc/glibc man Franz Sirl) is very helpful and will assist me in any cross-platform code in the app. If there is some x86 non-asm code in there, it should not be a problem for us as we have very good userland libraries which allow a clean powerpc 'solution' to the problem. As for performance in LinuxPPC, I'd say people will be very happy with the G4's performance, especially once more people start enhancing software for the AltiVec unit. Our CPU's speak for themselves; the PPC platform is quite strong, in our humble opinion...."

"There's also a philosophical problem sometimes. Some of the people we talk to have heard all these wonderful things about Linux and are expecting it to be as easy and polished as the Mac OS. That's a hard standard to live up to. It's NOT easy - Don't believe the hype. Putting Linux on the desktop still very much depends on educating the desktop user. A lot of them have no interest in such education and rightly so."

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