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Fixstars Buys Terra Soft

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the beats-os-x-on-old-g4s dept.

Linux Business 20

sgt scrub writes "If you have put Yellow Dog Linux on a PS3 or a Pre X86 Apple, or have an interest in the Cell Broadband Engine, you will be pleased to know that Fixstars has purchased Terra Soft. '"A Cell/B.E. software developer and long-time user of Yellow Dog Linux, Fixstars has great faith in Yellow Dog Linux," said Satoshi Miki, CEO of Fixstars. "This business acquisition allows us to offer a reliable and stable Linux distribution with sense of ease for our customers. I have no doubt that in the expanding Cell/B.E. ecosystem we will offer the best Cell/B.E. solution of the High Performance Computing generation."' I can't think of any group of people better suited to expand the Cell horizon."

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Cell (2, Interesting)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25739595)

I think the cell technology is going to see most of it's play in consumer electronics and laptops. As if it were ever going to enter the PC market in any major fashion it should of done so long ago. And as Ageia has learned it's hard to introduce a new class of add in cards.

Re:Cell (4, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25739703)

I think the real hindrance to desktop use of (anything like) the Cell/BE is the difficulty in programming for them properly. People seem to have a hard enough time wrapping their heads around threads.

Re:Cell (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25739831)

I think the real hindrance to desktop use of (anything like) the Cell/BE is the difficulty in programming for them properly. People seem to have a hard enough time wrapping their heads around threads.

Hey, it's called a turban, you insensitive cl...

Oh, heads around threads, I get it now.

Re:Cell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25740063)

Some blender benchmarks
http://www.eofw.org/bench/ (Control+F for ps3)
It scores about 9 minutes, given that there are machines that do it in seconds.
Recompiling something and expecting performance is just nonsense.

Re:Cell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25744597)

Hopefull netbooks with Cell will come out. But It seems difficult.

High? (2, Insightful)

anomaly256 (1243020) | more than 5 years ago | (#25739907)

"High Performance"..... Except, it's slow as HELL, and access to the GPU is blocked.

Re:High? (3, Informative)

anomaly256 (1243020) | more than 5 years ago | (#25740227)

Just expanding on this a bit... The problem as I saw it, when trying Yellowdog and others, is that they desired to support the PS3 and the old school macs with the same binary distro, so every thing's built targeting not just the generation before cell but 2 or 3 before it and optimized for the entirely wrong pipeline. Add to this the fact that ALL of the device's IO is arbitrated by a software layer in the hypervisor (including network IO), the 256mb of ram, and the blocked GPU and VRam (no CUDA), and the Cell itself being restricted to 6 cores (1 disabled for yield, 1 reserved for the hypervisor) this platform is essentially useless for anything but educational toy purposes as far as high performance computing is concerned. Granted, it's a GAME CONSOLE not a super computer, but Sony DID promise to 'fully' support linux and homebrew on these machines. I can understand them wishing to protect their interests, and don't blame them for the hypervisor setup, however being able to use the vram and gpu for CUDA tasks would have made this thing bearable for this use. And Yellowdog not aiming for the lowest-common-denominator would have made it fun and maybe even practical. I sure hope Fixstars fixes this.

Re:High? (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 5 years ago | (#25743465)

The PS3 has a G7x GPU which never supported CUDA in the first place. At best you could do shader-based GPGPU if Sony allowed it.

Re:High? (2, Informative)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 5 years ago | (#25740239)

You're thinking PS3...

That's *AN* implementation of the CellBE architecture- one that Sony had 'em cripple. There's another one IBM makes for people that's very, very fast and is at the heart of several supercomputer projects for things like on Nuke Subs done up by Mercury Computer Systems and with things like Fixstars sells.

Whomever modded your remark "insightful" didn't get that the PS3 was but one of several different CellBE iterations.

Re:High? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25740301)

As long as the distro is targeting ancient ppc and not Cell specifically (which modern versions of gcc do target), there is still going to be a fair bit of unnecessary overhead on the ppc front end. IMHO you're better off using Gentoo on these things. The performance increase for the day-to-day tasks is 4 fold, and not to mention the flexibility gained and ease of customization over an RPM based distro. My main gripe is yellowdog targeting the lowest-common-enominator and not doing a cell-specific distro. I admit I ranted off there for a bit, but I sure hope Fixstars corrects this otherwise people are going to be disappointed and disinterested when they go to actually use the thing.

Re:High? (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 5 years ago | (#25744541)

Performance isn't too bad for day-to-day stuff using YDL6 on the PS3, but then again, I was a PS2 Linux user too. I've compiled some stuff, but like having binaries available via yum.

Re:High? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25749553)

Whomever modded your remark "insightful" didn't get that the PS3 was but one of several different CellBE iterations.

That would be 'whoever', not 'whomever'.

What does Fixstars really bring? (2, Informative)

clem.dickey (102292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25740389)

Not having heard of Fixstars before, I'm not sure what to make of this. Their website reports that it is "the pioneering company of the Cell Broadband Engine," presumably leading the way for later entrants such as IBM, Toshiba, and Sony.

I remember TerraSoft mostly for overpriced hardware obviously intended for developers with a corporate checkbook behind them. I would look at the prices and decide that Apple was the cheaper source for PowerPC systems.

How about Fixstars? Looking at the web store, I can get Sony PS3 ($450), GigaAccel PCIe card (no price or delivery date listed), a fully populated IBM BladeCenter Chassis ($170,800), or a YDL PowerStation with "Quad-core 2.5GHz IBM 970MP CPUs" ($1895).

The YDL Powerstation sounds interesting and affordable. "Quad-core CPUs" (plural!) for $1895. How many quad-core CPUs, exactly? There is a "learn more" link, but really nothing more there. Less, in fact. That's about the level of detail I used to see from TerraSoft.

I've met Kai Staats... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25740671)

I've met Kai Staats a couple of times (at SC07), and traded e-mail with him. He's a genuinely nice guy -- and his crew has always been helpful and responsive to my requests regarding YDL.

After Intel's switch to Apple, and Terra Soft's focus on the PS3, I always felt a bit sorry for them. These guys were working hard to support a dying platform -- other than the PS3, the only company producing powerful PowerPC hardware is IBM -- and AIX, RHEL, Fedora, and other more popular systems all target IBM's boxes.

I'm really glad to hear that the TerraSoft guys will have jobs more-or-less guaranteed for a while! :-)

Re:I've met Kai Staats... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25740769)

Er, Apple's switch to Intel! Doh!

Erlang Compiler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25749611)

Cell needs an Erlang [wikipedia.org] compiler :-)

Cell Technology (1)

ralphweaver (1406727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750971)

There are many interesting things in store for the future for cell technology and Linux. It'll be interesting to see how Fixstar's approach to cell in the long run differs from that of YDL.
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