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Re: Something that we don't want to happen to PowerPC on Debian



I believe perhaps the greatest factor is are new products being made and expected in the near future.

one I know about is the new NASA/GM Robonaut2 just arrived at the ISS uses 34 powerpc cpus.

things in recent history included
75% of vehicles on the road using ppc processors,
many NASA deep space projects including the Mars rovers.

both of these have recently moved to the next generation / higher speeds of processors (the heavy duty ones that are to consumers of course old / slow but in the context of their use these are new generation).

although some or most of these industrial applications appear to be running VME or  some such non Linux OS, I believe that there is certainly future potential for Linux especially in the aftermarket or smaller manufacturers with tighter margins (perhaps the new commercial space ventures who knows).


another thing to possible speak of is the wonderfully improved support for auto-vectorizing of altivec in recent versions of gcc. It would be a terrible thing to waste this. But the port needs to somehow back it. Debian being something of a behemoth, it is a wild hope that there would be good support to simply user custom build systems such as altivec optimizing.

-------------

Another major major factor is is there (documented) plenty new blood of developers and users in Debian for the port.

I was witness to the decline and fall of m68k and I believe this was a large part of the problem (there was a new processor but its use was troubled by lacking TLS (Thread Layer Security) support which finally was only provided by a commercial interest and very much too slowly there to save them, whereas if it were healthy I think it should have gone the other direction, that is for Linux to support the development of the new hardware. Obviously in Debian becoming dependent on commercial interests in software development is a killer.

Brian

p.s. I am shopping for a development board for my research in autonomous systems, and wouldn't it be nice to have powerpc ? but affordability is an issue and also community software support -- it is leaning strongly toward ARM.

      any suggestions here ? The price / performance ratio is important.



2011/4/13 Rogério Brito <rbrito@ime.usp.br>
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Dear people,

I know that this is probably not as serious for PowerPC as it was for some other
platforms, but it was, in my opinion, very sad to know that Debian has dropped
support for 2 architectures: alpha and hppa.

For some personal reasons, I felt particularly sad about alpha (I planned to buy
one used machine for my own use), but, now, I sincerely hope that people more
knowledgeable about the architecture reintroduce them as official ports of
Debian again.

As I would really hate to see these things happen to PowerPC, would other people
join me in collecting data for a future requalification of PowerPC as a release
architecture in Debian? Previous qualification/certification data are available in:

   http://wiki.debian.org/powerpcEtchReleaseRecertification

   http://wiki.debian.org/powerpcLennyReleaseRecertification

I know that this may sound a bit premature at this stage, but it is better if
we, as a whole, report the errors as early as possible (and, for those that can,
provide a few patches), so that ppc is as healthy as feasible and not in any
danger of being dropped out.

For those that didn't know about alpha and hppa being dropped from Debian,
please read this:

   http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2011/04/msg00000.html


Regards,

- --
Rogério Brito : rbrito@{ime.usp.br,gmail.com} : GPG key 4096R/BCFCAAAA
http://rb.doesntexist.org : Packages for LaTeX : algorithms.berlios.de
DebianQA: http://qa.debian.org/developer.php?login=rbrito%40ime.usp.br
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