Home > Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE > Fedora keeps the PowerPC faith

Fedora keeps the PowerPC faith

January 5, 2011

Registration is now open for SCALE 9X — register now.

Yes, it only comprises a half of a percent — that’s 0.5 percent, if you’re keeping score at home — of all the Linux users. Yes, that translates to a microcosm of Linux users within a microcosm of overall computer users. So I understand if Linux on PowerPC does not apply to you.

But it might.

Regular readers of this blog know I have a soft spot for PowerPC architecture. I was a Mac guy before I was a Linux guy, and I became a Linux guy using Linux on PPC architecture before I finally — finally — warmed up to Intel, AMD and others. You’ve probably read here how well this processor works, and how fondly I remember Steve Jobs doing the Adobe Photoshop demonstration during every Macworld keynote while the PPC processor kicked Intel’s sorry butt time and time again.

While major distros have been making a bee line away from developing for the PowerPC architecture since Apple dumped the processor for the Intel one now in newer Macs, Fedora skipped its development of a PowerPC version of it’s current release, Fedora 14. They joined OpenSUSE in recently saying a hasty “adios” to an architecture that, sadly, is being used less in the hardware world.

[Currently, I have two iMacs at Redwood Digital — a flavored G3 333MHz and an iMac G4 “desk lamp,” both running Debian. Of all distros, Debian has remained consistent in its commitment to updating its PowerPC version of their distro. They also remain committed to developing for Commodore 64 and Atari architectures as well, while we’re at it, but I digress.]

But there is good news for those who use the PowerPC: Fedora will be back in the PowerPC fold with Fedora 15, scheduled for release in May.

On behalf of the microcosm within the microcosm, thank you Fedora.

[FSF Associate Member] (Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)
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  1. January 6, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Larry, I’m glad you’re writing about PowerPC support in Linux. On my now-departed G4-466, I ran both Debian (Etch) and Fedora (9, 10?) on it. Fedora had issues, mostly involving relative slowness and the graphics card not working out of the box.

    But it was a great Debian platform. I got rid of the G4, but there are enough of them floating around my own personal PC ecosphere that I could acquire one at some point.

    I’m back in Debian on my laptop, too. It’s not a Fedora thing; Linux and Xorg currently hate my ATI graphics chip. Though not yet Stable, Debian Squeeze is old enough to not have this problem.

    • January 6, 2011 at 12:34 pm

      Hey, Steven — I had some problems with Fedoras 9 and 10 on one of the Macs and fought a losing battle to get them going, so I went with Debian. Incidentally, the iMac G3 333MHz I mentioned in my blog was my first Linux machine and I had installed Debian on it. As for your laptop, you’re just following my mantra, “Use whatever works for you,” and keep up the great work on your blog. –LtFSG

  2. Jercos
    January 6, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    PPC, see: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Cisco, Juniper, Xilinx, Altera…

    The Wii cheats a *little* passing off some BIOS functions to an ARM chip on the side… But who can fault it, ARM is just cool!

    The Cell architecture’s PPEs are just 64-bit PPC chips.

    The Xbox 360 doesn’t have any excuses, it’s 100% pure 64-bit PowerPC.

    Both Cisco and Juniper routers have used MIPS, and, you guessed it, PPC.

    Xilinx and Altera FPGAs have both featured hard PPC cores in their high-end FPGAs (Though that seems to be on a downward trend now that a soft OpenSPARC core can provide comparable power with a similar cost in chip space)

    So, PPC is everywhere. Apple dropping PPC (which is old news) hasn’t killed the platform any more than 68k chips disappeared off the face of the earth the moment apple switched to PPC, and in fact, 68k chips are still used today in the automotive industry (you might have one in your car)

    So to call PowerPC dead and drop support for it is ridiculous, and I’m quite glad that Fedora is not dropping PPC for good. 🙂

  3. January 6, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    The first Linux install I ever did was on my kid’s old Mac PowerPC. It wasn’t pretty, but it did make all subsequent installs seem really easy.

  1. January 6, 2011 at 9:12 am
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