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Re: uname -p

On Fri, Sep 14, 2001 at 01:15:15PM +0200, Michel Dänzer wrote:
> Laurent de Segur wrote:
> > Entering 'uname -p' should return 'ppc' but returns 'unknow' running
> > 2.4.8-powerpc with debian/woody.
> What makes you think it should return ppc (uname -m does) ?
> I just tried it on a sparc64 and an i686 system and both returned unknown as
> well.

well lets see what SunOS does/says on the matter...

erbenson@terminator ~$ uname -m
erbenson@terminator ~$ uname -p
erbenson@terminator ~$ uname -a
SunOS terminator 5.8 Generic_108528-09 sun4m sparc SUNW,SPARCstation-20
erbenson@terminator ~$

from the SunOS uname man page (which is much more informative then GNU's)

     -m    Prints the machine hardware name (class). Use of  this
           option is discouraged; use uname -p instead. See NOTES
           section below.


     -p    Prints the current host's ISA or processor type.


     Independent software vendors (ISVs) and others who  need  to
     determine  detailed characteristics of the platform on which
     their software is either being installed or executed  should
     use the uname command.

     To determine the operating system name  and  release  level,
     use  uname  -sr.  To  determine  only  the  operating system
     release level, use uname -r. Notice  that  operating  system
     release  levels are not guaranteed to be in x.y format (such
     as 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, and so forth); future releases could be in
     the  x.y.z  format  (such  as  5.3.1,  5.3.2,  5.4.1, and so

     In SunOS 4.x releases, the arch(1) command was often used to
     obtain  information  similar  to  that obtained by using the
     uname command. The arch(1) command output "sun4"  was  often
     incorrectly  interpreted to signify a SunOS SPARC system. If
     hardware platform information is desired, use uname -sp.

     The arch -k and uname -m commands return equivalent  values;
     however,  the use of either of these commands by third party
     programs is discouraged, as is the use of the  arch  command
     in  general.  To  determine  the  machine's  Instruction Set
     Architecture (ISA or processor type), use uname with the  -p

my interpretation of this is that linux is wrong, -m should be giving
more information about the machine itself, not just the processor, for
the processor you should be using uname -p (which on linux is

otoh SunOS is certainly not any great role model on how to do things
correctly IMO, but its a more informative reference to look at then
the GNU uname man page. 

Ethan Benson

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