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Re: ATLAS on PowerPC

On Thursday, July 05, 2012 10:35:45 AM Rick Thomas wrote:
> On Jul 4, 2012, at 3:02 PM, David Adcock wrote:
> > Also I recently purchased a (used) G5-2.3GHz-2Core.  Probably MANY
> > of these
> > units will be coming on the market as leases expire, etc.  An
> > earlier post
> > appears to be completely correct: Debian on the 64-bit architecture
> > does not
> > seem to be well supported.  The unix-ish part of the machine seems
> > to run
> > quite well (and FAST!), but high-order features - mainly nouveau -
> > are nowhere
> > near working, so I have to ssh into it and run exclusively via
> > command line.
> > Alas, most of these G5 Macs have the GeForce 6600 card, and may be
> > condemned
> > to inadequate nouveau support -or- purchase of a non-nVidia graphics
> > card.
> Hi Dave,
> This worries me.  I have a similar machine.  Currently it's running
> MacOS-X, but I plan to convert it to Debian soon.  As with yours, it
> has the GeForce 6600 card.
> Do you have a recommendation for what video card I should get to
> replace it?  My video needs are minimal, I just need to be able to run
> iceweasel and  xterm and a few 2D-gui system administration packages.
> Thanks!
> Rick

Hi Rick-

All of the Late 2005 MacTowers came with the GeForce 6600.  I actually have 
two of these machines - one that I bought new (OSX 10.4 [Tiger] used for video 
editing), and the used one described above.  The used machine came with OSX 
10.5 (Leopard) installed, and it runs perfectly, which is how I know that this 
is not a hardware problem.

In the used machine, I unplugged the original (Leopard) drive and installed a 
1Tb drive for Debian.  I do NOT want to make it a dual boot machine, but want 
to preserve the ability to run OSX.

Like you, all I want is a desktop - no game-playing, no zippy acceleration 
needed, just a desktop (one that actually works.)

In answer to your question, the G4 I mentioned in the original post has an ATI 
Rage128 video card (PCI), and is currently running squeeze.  It runs slowly, 
but has not exhibited any other problem (other than the SIGILL problem that is 
probably a file permission problem in GAMESS.)

The fact that the (2000-vintage) ATI card works makes me think that a 
2006-2007-vintage Radeon PCIe controller would work with BOTH OSX and the 
Debian/ati driver on the G5.  That's what I plan to try; I am in Austin and 
there are several sources of older equipment here. Another possible research 
area is to look at the early Mac-intel machines to find out which PCIe video 
card they used, and try one of those.  If I find a card that works, I'll 
update this thread; hope that you will do the same.

Caveat: Some complaints about the ati driver appear on lists.debian.org, but 
AMD has always been very cooperative with opensource, so I expect that the 
problems refer to more recent cards that have not really had enough time to 
get a mature driver.

On a side note, if you intend to do scientific computing with your G5, a 
posting on this thread reports that support for ATLAS on the PowerPC 
architecture may be ended soon.  I plan to get source for it  ASAP.


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