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Debian m68k Port Resurrected

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the just-a-flesh-wound dept.

Debian 145

After two years of work, Debian m68k has working build servers, and is slowly working through the backlog of stale packages. "Contrary to some rumours which I've had to debunk over the years, the m68k port did not go into limbo because it was kicked out of the archive; instead, it did because recent versions of glibc require support for thread-local storage, a feature that wasn't available on m68k, and nobody with the required time, willingness, and skill set could be found to implement it. This changed a few years back, when some people wrote the required support, because they were paid to do so in order to make recent Linux run on ColdFire processors again. Since ColdFire and m68k processors are sufficiently similar, that meant the technical problem was solved. However, by that time we'd fallen so far behind that essentially, we needed to rebootstrap the port all over again. Doing that is nontrivial, and most of the m68k porters team just didn't have the time or willingness anymore to work on this; and for a while, it seemed like the m68k port was well and truly dead." The tales of acquiring the needed hardware are pretty interesting (one machine is an Amiga in a custom tower case).

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what about a linux kickstart rom?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395667)

what about a linux kickstart rom??

why ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395675)

besides the obvious "because we can" that is ?

Re:why ? (1, Flamebait)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 2 years ago | (#42395723)

It says right in the summary:

because they were paid to do so in order to make recent Linux run on ColdFire processors again.

Do you have the attention span of a gnat?

Re:why ? (2)

larry bagina (561269) | about 2 years ago | (#42395945)

CodeSourcery was paid to implement TLS for the coldfire. Debian wasn't paid to resurrect the m68k port.

Re:why ? (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 2 years ago | (#42395989)

It says right in the summary:

because they were paid to do so in order to make recent Linux run on ColdFire processors again.

Do you have the attention span of a gnat?

Do you have the reading comprehension of a gnat? The 'Why' that was postulated was 'why resurrect the m68k port'. It had nothing to do with someone else paying to port it to Coldfire. The latter just gave the m68k geeks an opening. The rest of the 'Why' is 'because we can.'

Re:why ? (2)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#42395815)

besides the obvious "because we can" that is ?

You'll have to ask them for sure.

Something I know, that hasn't been mentioned, is freescale released at least some cores under an at least sorta-free license near a decade ago, so I would think it amusing to make a multi-machine build farm out of a big FPGA (or board full of FPGAs...) At least way back then, there were not many options for running linux on a (official released) FPGA soft core. I would imagine there are more options now if you want to run linux on a (official) soft core.

I, for one,... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395681)

am pleased with this turn of events. To this day, m68k remains an important architecture; not every application needs multi-gigaFLOP/second performance or even an integrated FPU.

Do they even sell 68k chips (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395773)

"not every application needs multi-gigaFLOP/second performance or even an integrated FPU"
Well yeh, not everybody does. But do they even sell cheap 68k chips? And if they do, don't they sell *cheaper* ARM chips! Just because you don't need it, doesn't mean there's any advantage in using this.

If they make it will they come? Because if nobody uses it, it isn't properly tested, and if it isn't properly tested, nobody will use it.

68k has had it's day, it's dead, let it go.

Re:Do they even sell 68k chips (0)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#42395881)

It may very well be on it's way out, but right now you can still get a ColdFire microcontroller for under $5 with motor control circuitry built-in.

Re:Do they even sell 68k chips (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 2 years ago | (#42397113)

microcontrollers don't run linux though. Linux requires a MMU and a megabyte or so of memory neither of which microcontrollers have.

The question is do them68K/CF chips that can run linux offer any compelling advantage over arm or mips soloutions that would make up for the far lower software support?

Re:Do they even sell 68k chips (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42397415)

The question is do them68K/CF chips that can run linux offer any compelling advantage over arm or mips soloutions that would make up for the far lower software support?

Yes but this depends entirely on your specific application.

When you are producing 1,000,000 units or more of something then software support might be something that you can ignore. Something as simple as a controllable pull-up on the right pin or the DMA working slightly differently on a specific peripheral can easily make it worth to go for another architecture.

The specific instruction set will probably not matter that much.

Re:Do they even sell 68k chips (1)

ultrasawblade (2105922) | about 2 years ago | (#42397471)

uCLinux, a port of Linux, does run on architectures without MMUs, especially the m68k.

m68k may be on the way out but what I want to run Linux on my Sega Genesis or Atari Jaguar, or any number of old arcade boards?

Re:Do they even sell 68k chips (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42399595)

Then you're a moron for putting yourself through such suffering.

Re:Do they even sell 68k chips (4, Insightful)

solidraven (1633185) | about 2 years ago | (#42395979)

ARM isn't always the right choice and it does have its problems. Additionally if you have to interface with an old system it's often easier to just grab a M68K or an old Intel 8xxx series device. The interface was already designed in a lot of cases for the older devices. And the M68K is advanced and fast enough to easily interface with modern hardware. So it actually does make for a pretty good bridge when you have to make two incompatible systems work together and don't want to go through the trouble of starting from scratch. Not to mention that the M68K is a great device to introduce people to the hardware side of embedded system design. Fairly cheap, comes in easy to solder packages unlike most ARM processors, robust, well documented, loads of software has been written for it, ...

Totally worth the effort! It's not because something is old that it's not worth using anymore. Look at the Intel 8051 architecture. You'll find several microcontrollers based on that architecture in your house on this very moment. Sure it's an ancient 8 bit CISC architecture, but most designers are very familiar with it and it's one of the cheapest microcontrollers available so it still sees quite a lot of use. Fun fact is that it's commonly used as USB host controller.

6809xxxxxx (3, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 2 years ago | (#42398117)

I keep hoping someone will take the 6809 architecture, extend it to 64 bits wide per register, add an MMU, implement underneath a modern microcoded engine (the original was random logic), and throw an FPU on-board. Maybe add a few megs of register pages for context switching, a few instructions to give it supervisor/user smarts.

It was *so* easy to write code for that thing; it had pretty much the perfect mix of instructions -- way better than the 68000, for instance. The 6809 was the best 8 bit uP ever from a programming POV. I wrote a couple of compilers for it over the years, it felt like the uP designers totally knew what I was going to need.

Probably never happen.

Pffftbt.

Re:6809xxxxxx (1)

solidraven (1633185) | about 2 years ago | (#42398649)

Sadly the needs of software designers often differ from what delivers high performing hardware :(

Re:Do they even sell 68k chips (1)

dosius (230542) | about 2 years ago | (#42399399)

A friend of mine wrote a PC emulator on top of an 8051-compatible microcontroller. xD

-uso.

Re:Do they even sell 68k chips (2)

gsnedders (928327) | about 2 years ago | (#42396209)

The TI-89 is 68k based to this day.

Re:Do they even sell 68k chips (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396789)

SO? It is a calculator. The 8x series is based on a z80.

I guess it's "News for Nerds" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395713)

I guess this is "News for Nerds," but I'm not sure it meets the "Stuff that Matters" criteria.

Re:I guess it's "News for Nerds" (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | about 2 years ago | (#42398799)

I've always taken the slogan differently. That if it's "news for nerds", then it falls in the "stuff that matters" category.

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395727)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig is a waste of life obese swine with no self-control and no dick.

glibc sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395743)

They should have just used the BSD libc (like the opposite of GNU/kFreeBSD).

Re:glibc sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42397811)

libc in the BSDs are all different and designed to run on the specific kernel. It's not portable like glibc.

Parts of libc are quite portable, but the system call bits are totally different between linux and BSD.

Re:glibc sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42399451)

glibc used to be portable. Now it's linux/gcc only and very version-specific. The *BSD libc is actually much more portable when you get down to it.

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395745)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig is a waste of life obese swine with no self-control and no dick.

Hardware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395747)

Virtual machine?

Re:Hardware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42397829)

Actually the hardware used to build the packages doesn't have to be m68k.
You can compile and build everything on an Intel machine using crossdevelopment environment.
This is usually done for embedded systems that have ARM architecture as well, when the target system is not powerful enough to run gcc etc.

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395763)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig is a waste of life obese swine with no self-control and no dick.

Cool story, really.... (5, Interesting)

King_TJ (85913) | about 2 years ago | (#42395779)

I doubt I'll *ever* make use of this project myself, but I'm inspired by the tale of how it went from "left for dead" to a full-on revival, based on something as unexpected as a rather unrelated 3rd. party software project (Atari emulator that happened to allow the m68k developers to work on their code from any laptop computer they happened to be using), as well as a single motivated individual bent on making his shell run on all known variants of Debian.

Re:Cool story, really.... (1)

Spaseboy (185521) | about 2 years ago | (#42397885)

I still have many 68k Macs that could be put to some kind of use if they could run a modern OS. The issue is that everything that sits on top of the Linux kernel has unfortunately followed the Windows and Mac OS trend of requiring GPU support. I don't know (yes, I could Bing it) if LXDE requires compositing to run decently...

Re:Cool story, really.... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 2 years ago | (#42399467)

You could try e17. Since it was designed for mid-90s era computers.

Re:Cool story, really.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42399627)

(yes, I could Bing it)

I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Re:Cool story, really.... (2)

smash (1351) | about 2 years ago | (#42400155)

I know bing cops a lot of hate around here, but it's actually pretty good for some purposes. Unsafe search, for one :D

Re:Cool story, really.... (1)

BeaverCleaver (673164) | about 2 years ago | (#42400623)

I hope its search is better than its translate, because Bing translate is unusable.

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395787)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig is a waste of life obese swine with no self-control and no dick.

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395803)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig is a waste of life obese swine with no self-control and no dick.

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395821)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig is a waste of life obese swine with no self-control and no dick.

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395841)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig is a waste of life obese swine with no self-control and no dick.

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395851)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig is a waste of life obese swine with no self-control and no dick.

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395865)

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erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395883)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig is a waste of life obese swine with no self-control and no dick.

Wrong holiday. (4, Funny)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 years ago | (#42395889)

The metaphor is all wrong. It's Christmas, not Easter. You're supposed to say that an updated version of the Debian m68k port was delivered by Santa, or that Rudolph helped them find their way back to the main branch, or that wise men brought Debian gifts of gold, frankincense, and m68k ports.

Re:Wrong holiday. (2)

greg1104 (461138) | about 2 years ago | (#42396239)

They've decorated and lit an old tree that no one else cared about. Probably by standing around it waving their arms, like in the Charlie Brown Christmas special.

Re:Wrong holiday. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42400323)

They got the instruction wrong, they were supposed to *burn* the tree, not decorate and light it!

Re:Wrong holiday. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42397563)

A gift from Hanukkah Harry seems more apt: by all reconing the flame should have gone out long ago, but by the miracle of D*bian it just keeps going.

Interesting given recent removal of 386 support (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 2 years ago | (#42395893)

...in the Linux kernel.

I have fond memories of 68k hardware but I am surprised people even bother with stuff like this in 2012.

Re:Interesting given recent removal of 386 support (2)

Predius (560344) | about 2 years ago | (#42395949)

I'm still curious if 386 support would be accepted back in if it was done as a separate arch to keep it from mucking up the regular/later x86 branch?

Re:Interesting given recent removal of 386 support (3, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#42396065)

Like anything - if someone does the hard work, and it's supported enough, and it doesn't break OTHER architectures, there's no reason why not.

It just seems that m68k (and other projects along the same lines) have people willing to do all that work, whereas the 386 architecture doesn't (yet?).

This is the thing I actually quite like about Linux. MCA support? Few used it, fewer wanted it enough to do the so, so bye-bye. But other buses? They are still around. Applies to buses, architectures, drivers, features, even "helper code" of one type or another.

If someone's willing to put in the back-breaking to get it up to standard, there's no reason to NOT let it in. Unfortunately, that standard has to be high for a number of reasons (e.g. legal obligations like licensing, coding quality, support, ongoing maintenance etc.). And for some, it's so high it doesn't justify the work.

Linux is a meritocracy, like more open-source code. If there's a reason to do so, and it's done well, it happens. If not, it doesn't. If only parts of law and government were like that.

Re:Interesting given recent removal of 386 support (3, Informative)

Megane (129182) | about 2 years ago | (#42396619)

The specific reasons to drop 386 support from the kernel were because 1) its MMU is substandard compared to 486 and later and causes a lot of complications in the kernel, 2) it doesn't have CMPXCHG which is used for semaphores (in glibc, not just the kernel), and 3) it doesn't have the byte swap instruction which makes a big difference in network code.

Dropping 386 support is like dropping 68000 and 68010 support. It's the oldest sub-architecture, lacking a lot of good improvements that came in the next generation. Guess what? Debian dropped 386 years ago, and this m68k port doesn't work with anything less than a 68020+MMU. For all I know, the kernel doesn't support 68000 or 68010 either.

Nobody uses anything anymore that won't work a 486 build and thus requires 386, aside from someone with a 20-year old PC. But m68k is a whole architecture (like x86), and Coldfire is still Not Dead Yet. Seriously, do YOU have anything that requires a 386 build or know anybody who does? If not, why the hell do you even care, other than just to be a troll?

Re:Interesting given recent removal of 386 support (2)

Predius (560344) | about 2 years ago | (#42396737)

As a matter of fact, I do have gear in use that is affected by the removal of 386 support. (The linux terminal server project crowd in particular is affected by this also.) If I was trying to troll I think I'd have been a bit more... obnoxious with my wording? Back to the topic at hand, my understanding was that it wasn't the 386's shortcomings that doomed it, it was that they had to invoke workarounds in the x86 branch for them, and THAT was where the hardship came from when trying to move the ball forward over time. In theory, a separate arch shouldn't trigger the same pain as x86 would be free to grow, dead86 would then have to deal with issues as they cropped up separately, without impacting the other arches any more.

Re:Interesting given recent removal of 386 support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42397407)

Could you just please calm down? You don't need to use caps or bold text, and you don't need to speak in an accusatory manner to the parent. There was nothing "trolling" about his/her post.

If you feel too frustrated when writing a response, cool it for a while, relax, and then come back later. You'll find that it's easier to have more civil responses when you are in a peaceful mindset. Let's keep the discussion friendly!

Re:Interesting given recent removal of 386 support (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 2 years ago | (#42396049)

Because 68k chips are still used for embedded work like the ColdFires mentioned in the summary.

Re:Interesting given recent removal of 386 support (1)

confused one (671304) | about 2 years ago | (#42396351)

I'm somewhat surprised they go to the trouble to resurrect and upgrade Amigas to do this work. There are plenty of recent ColdFire dev boards that could be used, if they can get someone to donate the board. Coworker tells me the default install for some of those boards is dicey and could stand to benefit from some attention.

Re:Interesting given recent removal of 386 support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396501)

Why not? If you know a guy who's got an Amiga gathering dust in his closet, you don't need somebody to shell out money for a Coldfire and then donate it out the kindness of their heart.

  Also, Amigas have mad geek cred.

Re:Interesting given recent removal of 386 support (1)

Art Challenor (2621733) | about 2 years ago | (#42396953)

My recollection (and no, I'm not going back to RTFA) is that it was the odd-ball 386's (386SX?) that was removed, not the entire 386 tree.

Nope, maybe next time you should find a reference. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42397331)

There was no meaningful software level difference between 386SX and 386DX - it was basically just a difference in hardware bus width that normal programs, even kernel level, wouldn't care about.

In 486 land, the SX/DX was there to show whether the 486's internal math coprocessor was allowed to be used or not.

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395895)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig is a waste of life obese swine with no self-control and no dick.

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395911)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig is a waste of life obese swine with no self-control and no dick.

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395921)

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erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395951)

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erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395965)

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erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42395993)

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erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396005)

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erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396047)

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erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396063)

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erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396075)

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erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396089)

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erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396095)

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erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396109)

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erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396133)

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erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396147)

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erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396155)

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erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396169)

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erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396191)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig is a waste of life obese swine with no dick!

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396199)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig is a waste of life obese swine with no dick!

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396213)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig is a waste of life obese swine with no dick!

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396293)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig is a waste of life obese swine with no dick!

Stop. Just stop. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396471)

Please put your time into something more constructive instead of reviving an ancient platform for no useful purpose aside from nostalgia.

Re:Stop. Just stop. (4, Insightful)

gnu-sucks (561404) | about 2 years ago | (#42396587)

Perhaps because you are more of an "appliance operator" you don't appreciate the science and engineering behind the scenes.

Working with old hardware, like new hardware, presents a lot of challenges. The learning that takes place is very useful.

Unlike new hardware, old hardware is cheap and plentiful. Yard sales, garages, surplus stores... this is the place to go. For new hardware, you are looking at some money.

The learning that takes place on the old hardware is useful on problems beyond this "ancient platform". The folks that accomplished this port have flexed their brains around complicated problems, and are thus able to process other complicated problems more efficiently.

Bottom line, some people are passionate about engineering and science, and do it because they enjoy the learning process.

Re:Stop. Just stop. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42397065)

The old hardware is cheap and plentiful? PPCs are cheap and plentiful. Pentium 1-3's are cheap and plentiful. Obviously 68K systems aren't because two years in they've still got the vast majority of packages to build and they're complaining they can't find enough equipment to speed things up.

Engineering and science perhaps, but there are many problems to tackle on modern equipment that affect massive amounts of users every day.

Re:Stop. Just stop. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42399979)

You missed one...

Old hardware is easier to understand. Cut teeth on 8bit micros. In the 80s, wrote a dissassembler, and a complier in assembly for z80/8080/8080a. Made a silly program (assembler z80 and 6502) that was able to switch between a z80 on an add-in card and the 6502 in an apple II, running a bit on each (never could get them both to run in parallel, though). After playing around for a bit, I got access to "tons" of memory, by paging program memory into the video ram on an apple 80 column card, etc. Tons of fun with a commodore 64 too, including burning custom roms.

These were all fun projects that had a far lower barrier to entry than trying the equivalent on modern (complex) hardware (or with modern OSs that control access to hardware).

Re:Stop. Just stop. (3, Informative)

Megane (129182) | about 2 years ago | (#42396691)

Ever hear of Coldfire? [wikipedia.org] It isn't nostalgia (not yet, at least), it's still a viable embedded CPU architecture, less than 10 years old. It's a RISC-ified 68K, with a few instructions removed (they can be implemented via the illegal instruction trap) to make the RISC work. If you had bothered to read TFS, you would see that was what started all this.

Maybe you should put your time into something more constructive instead of trolling for no useful purpose at all.

Re:Stop. Just stop. (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#42396791)

From the article you linked:

June 2010, Freescale announced the ColdFire+ line, which is a ColdFire V1 core using a 90 nm TFS technology

90nm? In 2010? That should be enough to tell you that Freescale doesn't care. A chip announced in 2010 (no idea when, or even if, it actually shipped), using a process that was state of the art in 2002. Cheap parts were using 65nm in 2010. 90nm is the stuff you stick in the fabs that you don't have the spare capital to refurbish and want to keep ticking over. Followed by:

The future of the ColdFire architecture is uncertain given that Freescale has been focusing on ARM-based cores in this market segment

Exactly.

Re:Stop. Just stop. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42398861)

Actually, sinced Freescale is a fabless operation, it could be just that there is more free capacity in the 90 nm fabs, and since the ColdFire core is quite simple and small, there may not be any great need to use a more modern process.

Re:Stop. Just stop. (2)

rev0lt (1950662) | about 2 years ago | (#42399531)

I'm not familiarized with ColdFire, but the grid size on the manufacturing process is no way of measuring the relevance of a given product. There are a ton of applications that actually require reliable processors instead of "latest tech". Some embedded applications may require 10-20yr lifespan under radiation, extreme heat, magnetic interference, and so on and so on. Just because they aren't the best choice to create handheld devices to play Angry Birds, or to create desktop computers, doesn't mean they aren't useful.

Re:Stop. Just stop. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42397625)

Coldfire is dead architecture, Freescale is barely giving it the time of day. Perhaps we should consolidate platforms instead of having to maintain a kernel that runs badly on most of them.

Re:Stop. Just stop. (1)

Cid Highwind (9258) | about 2 years ago | (#42397787)

Stop. Just stop.

Please put your time into something more constructive than yet another implementation of the standard slashdot "work on a project I like, not that thing you find interesting" post that serves no purpose aside from trolling.

Former user (1)

gnu-sucks (561404) | about 2 years ago | (#42396525)

As a former m68k user, I can tell you this is a very good distro.

You can really breath new life into older computers. The results are often startling and better than their intel cousins from the same era. Not to say that this is a good "production environment" strategy, but if you have old macs collecting dust, and you'd like to learn some real linux-fu, install m68k linux on them. You will end up with useful computers, sometimes even useful for light desktop. Definitely useful for low-volume web servers, mail, ssh, etc.

This is a lot of fun and there are plenty of old macs available for almost nothing. Get out there and learn!

What tales? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396591)

>> The tales of acquiring the needed hardware are pretty interesting (one machine is an Amiga in a custom tower case).

The article you posted has no comment of Commodore or Amiga whatsoever. Nice editing slashdot.

Re:What tales? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42397079)

Mid of November I already wrote about "Resurrecting m68k"

Click that link and ...

Elgar is an Amiga 4000 Desktop built into a custom tower case. It took some weeks and months until I found a little time to care about Elgar, but now it's up and running again

Actually, a cool thing (1)

northar (2801909) | about 2 years ago | (#42396823)

I have a stash of retrocomputers and consoles, and for everyone of them that i can get to run *nix it's always cool. Amiga now has DebianM68k and NetBSD in new versions, PS2 has the kernelloader live cd, My old Mac PPC has Linux Minut, and my Sam460 has Debian too. As for the Speccy - well at least it got esxdos:)

Re:Actually, a cool thing (1)

eclectro (227083) | about 2 years ago | (#42400717)

I'm glad there is an apparent consensus on "cool." I just went through a recent horrible forced move and I was thinking how much of an idiot I could be for hanging onto all the really old mac stuff plus documentation.

Does it run on qemu? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42396937)

Just wondering... that would make the issues with hardware a little easier to deal with...

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42397395)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig's an obese swine with no dick!

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42397589)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig's an obese swine with no dick!

WinUAE (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | about 2 years ago | (#42398041)

Not too long ago, WinUAE added MMU support. And it didn't take the community long to get Linux running on it. [aminet.net]

It's nice seeing Linux run in WinUAE, but the distro is rather dated. It would be nice to have something recent running in WinUAE. And before you ask, I have no idea why this is so cool to me and why I want this so much. I just know that I do. Having a recent distro running in WinUAE is for some odd reason very nifty.

Can't explain it. Still though, I'm just very happy about this news.

Re:WinUAE (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 2 years ago | (#42399879)

Would be more interesting to get it to run AMIX tho...
Linux/m68k can already run under emulation on qemu (generic 68k, not amiga specific), and there is very little (if anything) available for linux/68k that doesn't run on linux/x86. I never understood why so many hardware emulators only seem able to run linux (which the emulator itself generally runs on anyway), and cannot run whatever was the native os of the time for these hardware types.

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42398105)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig's an obese swine with no dick!

Time Better Spent (1)

FyberOptic (813904) | about 2 years ago | (#42399145)

There's a big difference between being a hobbyist developer for an old platform and maintaining a ported operating system for it. It's time to let it go, folks. I have quite a bit of nostalgia for my old 8088, but it doesn't mean I'm going to put weeks or months of my life into writing code for it anymore. There's quite a lot of low-power modern architectures out there that a person could spend their time porting software to instead.

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