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Re: [gNewSense-users] gNewSense for PowerPC?

From: Kevin M. Dean
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] gNewSense for PowerPC?
Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2007 10:59:16 -0400
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Rich DAddio wrote:

> You mean "irregular"... :)

Yeah. :) I'm a fan of Power and when I'm on x86 or AMD64 I'm an AMD fandboy.

> Also Freescale(former Motorola) has provided pretty
> good and widely available documentation for developers
> over the years. 

Yes, Freescale, IBM and Apple formed the Power consortium back then. The
entire architecture has been open for a while - but Freescale has pretty
much vanished as far as the consumer market goes and with Apple out of
the game... is a clearing house for all things Power, and it's backed by a
group of companies, large and small, dedicated to keeping Power viable
and open.

> That isn't "wacky" that is proprietary. Having used
> and converted many Apple machines to Linux over the
> years(I'm typing this on my debian G3) and having
> lived thru the mklinux stuff, Apple hasn't always been
> friendly to the Linux on Apple idea. 

I consider "proprietary", "locked", "restricted" and "managed" hardware
to be wacky - it's hardware. It's not supposed to KNOW what software is
running it, let alone do things differently because of it. :) It's like
vegetables that change colour if they "think" they'll be used as soup or
salad. :)

>> I am sure that PlayStation 3s
>> do NOT require New
>> World Boot Partitions, as old OLD Macs didn't have
>> them and New Macs don't.
> Well AFAIK the P3 uses the IBM Cell and is not a Apple
> device in any way. Generally IBM and Freescale(mostly)
> supplied PPC chips to Apple --just as IBM supplies
> them to Sony. Moreover, the boot setup is particular
> to the vendor using the cpus.
> e.g. lots of PPC devices(not necessarily PCs per se)
> use uboot and ext2/3 and none of the Apple specific
> stuff.

That was my point as well. I'm not sure I made it clear, but I intend to
make a Power based version, not JUST a PowerPC based Mac version. If we
focus on Macs alone, we might as well not do it. Power on Mac is dead.
Power in embedded, Power in PS3 (Cell is a Power architecture, but NOT
PowerPC) and Power in servers are still very much alive and considering
that PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii ALL run Power, I'd say it's got a bright future.

The problem with a Power port is that different power systems do
different things. I.e. Releasing a Power gnewSense port that can't
install on a PS3 is as bad in my mind as a version of X86 that can't
install on AMD but does on Intel.

And that means, also, understanding the differences in the various
systems the port would run on. But in terms of proprietary things, that
could raise a lot of interesting issues with G3/4/5 systems.

> I assume the goals of the PPC Gnewsense project are
> similar to those of the x86 side. I am not sure of
> this --I would have to go take a look-- but there may
> be some firmware in the drivers that Apple folks are
> going to dearly miss. Do you have any indications so
> far?

Not really. I have a G4 that uses only basic networking, an IDE drive
and an ATI video card. I've been asking about the ati driver because I'm
still confused. :) I know there's ATI's non-free driver, and there was a
driver called "radeon" at one point. I know the radeon driver from Xorg
is consider non-free by gNS standards - but is that the ati driver or
the radeon driver?

One thing I know for SURE... Vesa works. :) And in terms of delivering a
libre system I consider that a "working device". Same with my ethernet
interface, hard drive and CD rom drive.

But desktop have never really posed a problem, I think. It's those pesky
laptops that ALWAYS pose issues. Throw wifi into the mix and we're in
trouble already, and I can't say anything about power management. This
is another stumbling block for me personally, and the project in
general, we've not got an array of various devices to hack on.

I haven't had a chance at ALL to look at the kernel itself, I'd assume
that Builder's edits to the source code would mean that all firmware
would be gone BEFORE it was considered a "Power" kernel, but I've not
even begun to TOUCH the kernel, so that's just a guess.

> Has there been any thought given to an "embedded"
> Gnewsense project? Since "slimmed" down completely
> free packages for PPC may have a lot of takers in that
> domain.

I agree, which is why I think a Power port is vital. With the GNU GPL v3
coming out and that impacting embedded devices a bit, a "solid ground"
to stand on would be a great way to avoid unintended licensing issues.

> Do you have a project pointer??

Not sure what you mean by "project pointer".
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