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Red Hat To Support PowerPC, AltiVec

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the adding-on-the-supports dept.

Technology (Apple) 246

Steve Cowan writes "According to an article at MacCentral, Red Hat has announced that they will produce a GNUPro toolchain and cross compiler for AltiVec-enabled PowerPC processors (such as that found in the Power Mac G4). It will be interesting to see just what kind of performance gains this will bring, because many believe that the full potential of AltiVec is far from tapped."

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Yes (-1)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144818)

Luckily MS is preparing a version of Windows XP for the Mac.

Re:Yes (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144922)

If that happens, I might actually try using one of those boat anchors.

yeah yeah fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3144819)

whatever

Re:yeah yeah fp (-1)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144833)

Sorry bitch, I was here touting the delights of Windows long before you showed up.

Install yourself some Windows XP, maybe the increase in network speed, GUI response, and stability will allow you to beat me to FP next time.

Good luck then.

blah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3144824)

suckass

I Hate Slashdot :-) (-1, Offtopic)

Lethyos (408045) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144842)

I just wanted to use my high karma points to help deteriorate Slashdot, just a little. Here we go. [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org]

First of all, I hate the editors. They can all suck my tiny little cock. Those bastards are such greedy, blooding sucking fuck offs. Words cannot even begin to describe how much I hate those guys. I even hate them more than Kenny. They reject awesome stories and then post lots of bullshit and other corporate sponsored crap. On top of that, they flood our faces with lots of stupid, ugly ads. There are really two words that sum them up entirely: "sell outs". [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org]

Secondly, Slashdot sucks RoboTroll's [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org] balls. You know why? Because for being so "user" and "community" oriented, the editors sure do manage to fuck things up for all of us. Oh wait a minute, this is connected to my first point. Oh well. The users ARE Slashdot. Without the users, Slashdot is just another detnet [detonate.net] [detonate.net]. Without our input, it's just a failed "news" site run by a bunch of retards.

And what the fuck is up with this subscription? Have you ever taken a shit and then had someone pick that piece of shit up and sell it back to you for $20/year? Fuck that. You idiots manage to pull literally a thousand comments out of your asses every fucking day! These thousands of comments that you shit onto these discussion forums is THE CONTENT THAT DRIVES THIS PATHETIC WEB SITE. And now, Cmdr "Snotting" Taco wants to fucking bill you for it.

For being so pro open source, anti-MS [goatse.cx] [goatse.cx], and other BS, Slashdot is exactly like its arch-nemesis [microsoft.com] [microsoft.com].

What's the solution?

Make Malda, his 0.02$ mexican whore, and the rest of his ass fucking homo lovers [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org] appreciate all the hard work we put into making this site meaningful! STOP POSTING COMMENTS TO SLASHDOT UNTIL THE SUBSCRIPTION GOES AWAY! Screw this shit! Let's take OUR content and go home!

The opinions and statements made in this post are entirely for inflamatory purposes only. Nobody's feelings should be hurt and everyone who is shedding tears over this thing should go shoot themselves. Dear RoboTroll: for my act of karma suicide to get your URL linked on a +1 comment post, please add this stunning example of trollmanship to your library. [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org]

Re:I Hate Slashdot :-) (0, Offtopic)

slugfro (533652) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145316)

STOP POSTING COMMENTS TO SLASHDOT UNTIL THE SUBSCRIPTION GOES AWAY! Screw this shit! Let's take OUR content and go home!
Looks like this did not quite work. I did actually get to read your post though before it got modded down. ;]

Re:I Hate Slashdot :-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3145373)

Pathetic. If this gets in the troll library, it simply proves that the process for getting something approved needs to be worked on.

Further, your arguments make you sound like a four year old. If you don't want to post here, I sure as hell won't stop you from leaving, but don't try to imagine yourself as leading the revolution out of slashdot.

Here's the deal. There will be a slightly larger ad on top of the page, because otherwise, there would be no advertisers. Because Rob wanted to give you an option not to see these ads, he was nice enough to start a subscription system.

Giving enough of a rat's ass about your karma that you consider others obliged when you waste it simply proves that you need to relax. By all means, make good on your threat to no longer post, and go outside.

RedHat on new Macs? (1)

Kazir (48851) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144843)

With Apple going down the OS X road, is there much need or call for RedHat? Oh sure there will be the minority who will want to try it out. But doesn't OS X meet those Linuxy needs?

Re:RedHat on new Macs? (1)

Kazir (48851) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144880)

Oops. My bad. Should have read closer. RH isn't promoting RH (OS/Linux) on Macs, but promoting programs and tools.

Re:RedHat on new Macs? (0)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144901)

With Micro$oft going down the NT road, is there much need or call for RedHat? Oh sure there will be the minority who will want to try it out ....

Re:RedHat on new Macs? (2)

neuroticia (557805) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144940)

No, OS X does not meet Linuxy needs. The two systems each have their own benefits and pitfalls.

OS X is a proprietary, largely untested OS with commercial support and a large number of commercial applications coming to it in the near future. It is BSD-based. The development team focuses mostly on the GUI.

Redhat is an opensource, exellently developed and highly tested OS with a little bit less commercial support, a little bit more community support, and a smaller number of commercial applications... Though I expect that to change in the near future. It is Linux, and comes with a variety of window managers each with their own set of 'skills'.

Do what win-geeks do. Dual boot. =] You just might find that you fall madly in love with RedHat and can't think of using anything else. Or not.

I'll be seriously interested in tests/comparisions between applications running on Redhat and OS X, how they perform differently, etc.

-Sara

Re:RedHat on new Macs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3145062)

Redhat is an opensource, exellently developed and highly tested OS with a little bit less commercial support...
Sorry, but this always tweeks me. Redhat is *not* an OS. It is a distribution of an OS and a group of utilities. Redhat's claim to fame is the packaging and installation programs that they supply to install the OS & its utilities. That said, I hope they do a better job at this development toolchain then they have with any Redhat release I've ever tried to install.

Re:RedHat on new Macs? (1, Interesting)

j1mmy (43634) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145093)

No, OS X does not meet Linuxy needs. The two systems each have their own benefits and pitfalls.

Like what? Is opensource really a benefit? Does that help you get your work done? Is a lack of commercial applications a true pitfall? Can't you deal with .doc files in Abiword or StarWriter? Is a variety of window managers a good thing? How many different border and titlebar styles can you really need?

I have yet to find a window manager for X that both looks good and behaves well. I consider the win32 GUI to be better than all of them.

I've been using various redhats for the last year and I'm hardly in love with it. I've run freebsd for years and never felt the need to install X or do anything more with it than serve web pages. I really don't like any of the linux or BSD distros very much. I don't even like the unix paradigm or any of it's conventions and standards.

Re:RedHat on new Macs? (2)

Paladin128 (203968) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145155)

Open source/free software IS a benefit. It means that if I don't like it, I can change it.

In addition to that, there are other reasons some prefer Linux to MacOS X. For me, I prefer a System V style init to a BSD init (runlevels are cool). I like the GNU tools being defualt. I like the flexibility X gives me. I like compiling my kernel to MY specefications.

I've never used OS X, and have no real desire to. It's not free software, and is thus irrelevant to me. Also, can you disable the GUI in OS X so there's one less thing to go wrong when running a server? (I'm not trolling here... An honest question... I don't know this one)

The point I make is that subtle differences in software make a huge difference to people preference. Do you like OS X better than Linux? If so, great. I like Linux, and I'm 99% happy with it. The areas I'm not happy with, I do something about.

Re:RedHat on new Macs? (2, Interesting)

MoneyT (548795) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145246)

You really should give OS X a try, you might be supprised. I have a friend who for the longest time swore he would never use a commercial OS (Windows, Mac OS, BeOS etc) except in situations where there was no other alternative, however, after playing arround with OS X on my iBook for a few days he decided it might actualy be worth a shot. He now happily runs Caldera (dual boot with 98 for games) on his PC, and OS X on his (new) mac..

As for your question about the GUI, I don't know if you can diable it per se, but I do know if on the login screen you type >console (the > is nessesary) and don't use a password, it will switch to an entirely text based mode and only returns to the GUI if you log out.

Re:RedHat on new Macs? (2)

droleary (47999) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145249)

Open source/free software IS a benefit. It means that if I don't like it, I can change it.

Then welcome to Darwin, the open source core of OS X. It's there even if you don't know about it. The reason you, and most people, don't know about it is because you hardly ever have to change it or recompile the kernel yourself, while for Linux machines I find tweaking the kernel to be one of the first things I do.

Also, can you disable the GUI in OS X so there's one less thing to go wrong when running a server?

You sure can. Perhaps it's your decision that OS X is irrelevant that keeps you ignorant to what it actually is and what it is able to do.

Re:RedHat on new Macs? (2, Insightful)

CapsaicinBoy (208973) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145225)

OS X is a proprietary, largely untested OS with commercial support and a large number of commercial applications coming to it in the near future. It is BSD-based. The development team focuses mostly on the GUI.

Ummm. No. OSX is really NeXTstep 6.1 with a macintosh application environment thrown in. NeXTstep is a proven stable OS that predates Linux by at least 3 years. Furthermore, the core foundation of OSX, known as Darwin is also open source.

Re:RedHat on new Macs? (4, Insightful)

Brian Kendig (1959) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145241)

'Darwin,' the FreeBSD-based core of OS X, is open source:

http://www.opensource.apple.com/ [apple.com]

The interface, Aqua, isn't open-source because Apple wants to retain control of it.

I wouldn't call OS X 'largely untested.' It's directly based on NeXT's OPENSTEP operating system, which was known for being very stable and having great developer tools (the game 'Doom' was written on NeXT systems because of this), and OPENSTEP has lineage back to 4.3 BSD.

What's especially interesting is that Darwin runs on Intel PC's. This means that if Apple wanted to make Mac OS X available as an alternative to Microsoft Windows, all it would theoretically take is a recompile for the x86 architecture...

Re:RedHat on new Macs? (4, Informative)

chainsaw1 (89967) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145034)

Motorola and IBM parted ways at the G4. The Power4 doesn't include AltiVec....IBM wanted to use the on-chip real estate for other things.

Also, the Power4 is a 64bit chip, and the G4 is still 32bit.

Re:RedHat on new Macs? (2)

larkost (79011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145120)

What you say is true, but not relevant to the conversation. The Power series of processors is a high end workstation/server processor with a big emphasis on things like database and modeling performance. Thus it needs to be a 64 bit chip in order to handle that amount of memory.

The G4 is a desktop class chip, and this means that a lot fo video work needs to be done on it (something that AltiVec works nicely with). It has no need to be 64bit at this point (wouldn't hurt necessarily, but wouldn't help). The lower power, die size, hear, and cost all are nice thing for a consumer level product.

In other words, both chips work great for their intended audiences. And the article in question is only talking about the PowerPC family, so the Power4 is not included.

Honestly no, (3, Interesting)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145263)

at least not to me. OS X currently can't replace my PPC Linux needs. I need a box that's garunteed to run for long periods of time (2+ years) as a rock solid and stable system. I need to be able to run it headless, without a GUI, or replace/upgrade the GUI to fit my needs or fix it as needed without rebooting. OS X doesn't give me these things (yet).

I'm old school Mac. I've been using them for a long time (not nearly as long as some though). I love the Mac GUI. It's consistent and fits my graphical needs. I love the useability of Linux and the power it affords. Not to brag but I'm a fair admin of redhat-styled Linux boxes. I pride myself on my security while still being usable. I know both very well. That's why I always use a Mac and Linux box in pairs. The Mac is my GUI and that box has 3-4 terms open on the Linux box (or VNC). I integrate both. OS X is neither. I can't call it a Mac OS because it's just so damned funky. They had a great GUI and had to go and change it. For someone just starting out on Macs or not that familar with one, this is probably not a big deal to you. For someone like myself, it's a damned nightmare. The *nix underpinnings really aren't like any *nix I'm used to. Not Solaris, Linux, IRIX, or any of the BSDs I've played around on. It just isn't the same thing. The learning curve for a person in my position is incredibly steep. Now the OS kicks ass, don't get me wrong. It's amazing how good it is for the first (major) release of a completely new OS. I can't wait until the next major revision though. Maybe 10.5 or something similar. They are bound to fix the quirks that hurt most of us. They're bound to make it even better. Maybe then I can justify forcing it on myself. For now I only run it on my network sniffing box. Until it gets better, I'll stick with 9.2.2 and my Linux terms.

Ask Slashdot... (-1)

MastahTrollah (543448) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144845)

My ass itches.. Will you scratch it?

Now THAT is a bit of news that makes me smile. (1)

neuroticia (557805) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144848)

I've always wondered how far the G4 could be pushed. =] Can't wait to have Redhat for the G4. There's half a dozen tests I want to run and having the same "flavor" of Linux on both machines makes it more accurate. I guess I could use "everything-drake" or SuSE or whatnot, but I am quite partial to RedHat.

Now... Decisions.. Decisions. What tests should I run? I wonder what they'll show. Oh the excitement. *Grin*

-Sara

Re:Now THAT is a bit of news that makes me smile. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3144876)

Debian seems to have by far the best platform coverage of any Linux distribution.

Re:Now THAT is a bit of news that makes me smile. (2)

TheAJofOZ (215260) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144945)

There's half a dozen tests I want to run and having the same "flavor" of Linux on both machines makes it more accurate.

Agreed that it makes it more accurate, but it's still hopelessly inaccurate. Linux was written for x86 and is maintained in a x86-centric fashion (the separate ppc tree takes ages to have it's improvements folded back into the Linus tree). That's the way Linux works for a number of good reasons. What it means though is that PPC support is always lacking, not to mention support for video cards, the Mac onboard sound etc.

The problem this causes with benchmarks is that you are *not* running the same OS and the benchmarks are *not* comparable. The only way to get a good measure of how the speed of a computer is to actually sit down and use it for a while. Why are people so obsessed with benchmarks and photoshop tests?

Re:Now THAT is a bit of news that makes me smile. (2, Insightful)

neuroticia (557805) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145039)

Because. They're interesting, even if they're inaccurate. It's the same thing with being interested in how different clothing impacts the speed of skaters. Different skaters will perform better with different suits, and it's wildly inaccurate but you still get some sort of an idea.

I suppose it would be more interesting to take a day or two and try out three competing OSes. Yellowdog [yellowdoglinux.com] , OS X [apple.com] and Redhat [redhat.com] and see how they compare with eachother for a variety of different tasks.

I guess I'm interested in it for the same reason I'm interested in trying out different OSes in the first place. Because I'm curious.

-S

The real worth here... (3, Interesting)

Venomous Louse (12488) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144850)

The real worth here lies in the fact that MacOS X is, let's not forget, essentially a UN*X platform. If RH play their cards right on this one, we should start seeing GNU tools perceived as a technical leader where in the past they've been perceived as something more like a reliable least common denominator.

Free software has to grow. It still needs to prove itself to make that happen. It's good to see RH concentrating on something genuinely forward-looking.

Re:The real worth here... (5, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144957)

The real worth here lies in the fact that MacOS X is, let's not forget, essentially a UN*X platform.

I don't see what that has to do with anything. We're talking about porting the toolchain to the hardware. This has nothing to do with MacOs 10 at all. It's about Linux/PPC.


Linux/PPC has been hampered for quite awhile by the lack of good GCC support for things like AltiVec. Performance suffers from lack of optimisation. It sounds like RH is undertaking to fix that. This could be very cool - if they succeed then Linux/PPC programs will be able to take advantage of the full power of the PPC chips. AltiVec doesn't help with everything, far from it, but code which it does help will see truly impressive performance gains.


If you're not clear on what AltiVec [mackido.com] is, try the link out. Basically it's MMX on steroids. It does everything MMX does, better, and some other things besides. It's really very cool tech, and it will be very nice to see Linux/PPC software finally taking advantage of it.

MMX on steroids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3144984)

So Altivec only does integer operations?

It's got a lot to do with OS X (0)

Venomous Louse (12488) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145007)

Don't get me wrong, it's great to see Linux able to take advantage of AltiVec. You can deride graphics as "fluff", but the fact is it's a very important area for free software to be competing in. I shouldn't have sounded like I was downplaying the importance of that.

However: How many PowerPC boxes are running Linux, and how many are running OS X? And which is a more high-profile market?

Linux, furthermore, is a "market" that GCC already owns. I know, I know, you can retarget from wherever, but making GCC a viable, and in some senses technically superior, choice for OS X development can only be a good thing. Can you compile Carbon apps w/ GCC? I have no idea, but if not, in eight months you will.

Re:It's got a lot to do with OS X (1)

alex_ant (535895) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145042)

The compiler Apple provides with its developer tools is a customized version of GCC 2.95.2. It's not super-duper optimized, though, or at least the speed of OS X software compiled with it leads me to believe that it isn't.

Alex

Re:It's got a lot to do with OS X (3, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145068)

Don't get me wrong, it's great to see Linux able to take advantage of AltiVec. You can deride graphics as "fluff",

And Lord knows I have, often enough. :) But seriously, it has its place, PPC is great hardware for it, and up until now Linux/PPC has been hobbled by not being able to take real advantage of that fact.


However: How many PowerPC boxes are running Linux, and how many are running OS X? And which is a more high-profile market?

*shrug* Who cares?


This still has nothing to do with OS 10. It has to do with Linux/PPC.


I take that back, indirectly it does have a little to do with OS10. Because Mac is using that horrid slow Mach kernel, and still performing as well or better than Linux/PPC, because of better optimisation. RedHat is poised to eliminate that gap, and make Linux/PPC a much more attractive system.


Linux, furthermore, is a "market" that GCC already owns. I know, I know, you can retarget from wherever, but making GCC a viable, and in some senses technically superior, choice for OS X development can only be a good thing. Can you compile Carbon apps w/ GCC? I have no idea, but if not, in eight months you will.

From where on earth are you getting all this?

Re:The real worth here... (2)

GauteL (29207) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145125)

Why isn't this about MacOS X? This means GNU gcc might finally be an option for PowerPC-processors. What Operating systems they run should probably not matter.
Currently GNU gcc isn't really viable for other architectures than x86 because of pretty slow code generated.

Re:The real worth here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3145304)

Mac OS X already HAS well-optimised compilers for PPC. Getting GCC up to speed as well isn't going to add anything new in that area.

Re:The real worth here... (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145035)

hey nutgrub - gnu tools are only the technical leader in giving rim jobs. open sores has to grow. It still needs to stop sodomizing itself to make that happen. It's good to see RMS concentrating on something genuinely backward-looking [goatse.cx] .

More Info (1)

BrianGa (536442) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144855)

Slashdot has reported on Linux And The PowerPC [slashdot.org] before.

Re:More Info (1)

alta (1263) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145077)

Sorry, but you foreget RedHat != Linux. This is not a repost of old news, but something new most of us find interesting.

What's the point? (1)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144858)

Not like Photoshop, much less Photoshop plug-ins run under linux. (For those that are humor-impaired, this is a crack aimed at the oft quoted G4 is faster than x86 at Photoshop claim)

Re:What's the point? (-1)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144879)

Maybe it would be more entertaining if it were posted in English.

Time to convert all those Mac users ;) (4, Insightful)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144861)

Well, maybe. OS X is pretty nice, but that's another story.

Last time my Mac-lover best mate tried Linux the poor quality and performance of Linux PPC ports frustrated him. I pointed out that it's catch-22, having lots of fanatical MacOS users means very few try other operating systems, which means there's little incentive for linux companies to make decent ports and so on.

Problems were really apparent - for instance he tried a distro that was for PPC, but it had no Mac customisations what so ever. It just assumed he was using a 3 button mouse for instance. Hopefully if Red Hat do this properly, rather than just use a fancy compiler, OS X will have some competition on its home ground.

Re:Time to convert all those Mac users ;) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3144908)

What's fanatical about wanting to use a mature, well-supported OS instead of a piece of shit like LinuxPPC? Fanaticism is intentionally using an inferior tool for "idealistic" reasons.

Re:Time to convert all those Mac users ;) (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144987)

They are fanatical in the face of a superior variety of programs for one. A windows machine is always going to cost less for equivelent performance with the same programs in the long run. People buy macs because people buy volkswagons they like the style, the culture, and they think they are different. People use linux because people buy hybrid cars from the El Camino to the Aztec they are either cheap bastards, like to customize everything, or buy really funky cars.

Re:Time to convert all those Mac users ;) (1)

mehfu (451236) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145041)

Since when did the purchase of a Volkswagen (of all cars) make you different? It's probably one of the most common cars in Europe.

I'm confused... Volkswagen is an average car, right?

Re:Time to convert all those Mac users ;) (0, Offtopic)

linzeal (197905) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145071)

Not stateside where the VW is still enshrined as the neccesary hip car for the up and coming hipster, got that daddy-o. FREAK OUT, call up some cool cats and lets make a scene.

Re:Time to convert all those Mac users ;) (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3145146)

Actually I use Linux because I like having locks on my doors and know that the lock version will be updated each time there's a new tool to pick it.

I use Linux because I like the ability to fully choose how my car will run and be able to modify it based on my needs for that day/week/month/year, not have my milage be dependant on what the parent company determines to be the "average" or "optimal". I do not want to have to take out a blowtorch to make modifications.

I use Linux because I want the ability to decide if I want my car to look like this [hwextreme.com] or these [coolcasemods.com] and not have to be limited to the 4 or 5 styles available here [apple.com] . And because I want to be able to fit more than 4 (1) people (5.25 drives) into my car if I so please and not have to use a hacksaw to cut out part of the car.

I use Linux because the hardware it runs on is faster than the 'volkswagons' or the 'PT-cruisers' of the computer world and far less likely to flip going around the tight curves.

I use Linux because yes, it is cheaper and because yes, it does run on inexpensive fast hardware and give me the ability to use several operating systems on the same hardware if I so choose.

I use Linux because I do not believe on having choices taken away from me for no good reason and because I do not believe on form over function.

I use Linux because the community doesn't give me the feeling that unless I drive their car I'm somehow inferior.

Re:Time to convert all those Mac users ;) (-1)

Genghis Troll (158585) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145386)

You use Linux because you are a fucking fag.

Re:Time to convert all those Mac users ;) (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145026)

What's fanatical about wanting to use a mature, well-supported OS instead of a piece of shit like LinuxPPC? Fanaticism is intentionally using an inferior tool for "idealistic" reasons.

Ah, I love being a fanatic! But seriously, I used to think the same way you did, until I realised how much harm the Windows monopoly really did cause. Would an Apple be any better than a MS monopoly? Of course not, and no - no matter what you think of Apple, they would not be any better behaved in a monopoly situation. Or at least, I for one would not be willing to take that risk.

But a monopoly of Linux? That wouldn't be anywhere near as harmful - although it wouldn't necessarily be a totally good thing I'd like to see either ;) Linux has its share of faults.

Oh and by the way, I count well supported as being able to go into an IRC channel and get tech support (as well as interesting debates) for free, and being able to phone tech support for when I have problems that IRC isn't suitable for. That's well supported.

I use Linux, though many could argue it's inferior to Windows. As there's no way in hell I could ever afford a Mac right now, I have to consider Macs inferior to Linux anyway so that's a moot point.

Re:Time to convert all those Mac users ;) (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3144915)

RedHat's GNUPro (the old cygnus stuff) is what's being touted ... that'd be the compiler and tool chain.

This is not a new redhat Linux distro.

Re:Time to convert all those Mac users ;) (1, Flamebait)

barneyfoo (80862) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145206)

Are you telling me there are Powerpc owners out there capable of installing linux, capable of using it, that dont have a 3 button mouse? Either they are brainwashed by Jobsian hype or they are a mythical creature not yet encountered in the wild.

Really... First thing I'd do with a mac is get a real mouse for it -- damn shame I have to.

Re:Time to convert all those Mac users ;) (1)

Geekboy(Wizard) (87906) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145295)

[asbestos]
Yea! That pisses me off about Macs. I finaly went back to a real computer (TiBook), and I had to get a mouse before I even brought it home. I've loved the optical mice that logitech makes, and had to get a USB based one for my Mac. I love it. I can't believe I lived without the scroll-whell for so long. ;-)
[/asbestos]

Yellow Dog? (1)

NewbieSpaz (172080) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144867)

What effect will this have on LinuxPPC and Yellow Dog?? Will RedHat 'steal' their business?

Re:Yellow Dog? (1)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144921)

From what I understand LinuxPPC is a PPC port of the RedHat linux distro. I could be wrong though.

Re:Yellow Dog? (2, Insightful)

mfeldstein (119843) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144927)

From what I can tell based on the (very short) article, RedHat is *not* porting a full distro to PowerPC. They are porting an Altivec-enabled cross-compiler and something called a GNUPro Linux toolchain. (I'm not sure what the latter is, but I'm sure some other /.er can fill in the details.

At any rate, this is not really a desktop-focused announcement. It's about the embedded market. Moto wants embedded Linux to be developed for use on PPC-backed set-top boxes, Internet appliances, network appliances, etc. It may have some positive repercussions for Unix on PPC desktop as well, but since Apple is already hard at work making the gcc work well for PPC and OS X, I'm not clear on exactly what those benefits might be.

Re:Yellow Dog? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3144975)

if anything, yd could stand to save/make $$ on this ...

... rh does all the gritty work, yd reaps the benefits

otoh, people may say 'oh, rh for mac, let's get that. what's that yellow dog thing?'

Re:Yellow Dog? (1)

Meech (166762) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145315)

i don't know if this will do anything but help the other Linux distros. Mandrake has released a version for the powerpc which worked ok, but not great. (I am basing this off of my experiences with a PowerBook G3 firewire laptop)

The beauty of open source is that any modifacations out there will be available for all of the companies, if they follow the licensing rules.

oh. lah-de-fucking-da (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3144884)

oooh fancy apple grpahics. for your fancy big-ads web site. you fucking suck /. you've sold out big time here you useless fuckers.

this is Cygnus, not Linux news (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3144894)

The article is about a release of GNUPro tools that support Altivec, not optimizing the linux kernel to use Altivec.

As to the question of "what will this bring since altivec is underused/underappreciated?" the answer is simple: nothing.

The same problem remains: if you want to optimize your algorithm using Altivec, you still have to jump through some hoops. GCC isn't magically going to detect that your for loop could be done 400 times faster using Altivec: you'll need to tell it.

In short, you can do everything you need to already using the existing tools from here [altivec.org] .

Just-another-tool does not news make.

But... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3144913)

Apple's toolchain on OSX is gcc already, and they've (supposedly) submitted a bunch of compiler optimizations back to the gcc group, and I'm sure IBM's mainframe linux guys have submitted a bunch as well. So is RedHat doing more development? Or just putting out a press release about all these wonderful things they didn't do?

AMISH VIRUS!!! (-1)

Alan_Thicke (553655) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144946)

You have just received the Amish Virus!
Since we do not have electricity or computers,
you are on the HONOR SYSTEM!
Please delete ALL of your files....




Thank Thee.

Does this affect RS6Ks? (2, Interesting)

Mojo Trolljo (565308) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144952)

PPC is what is used in IBM's RS/6000's. I wonder if this an attempt to undercut AIX with a competitive compiler. Having said that I wonder what IBM is doing along these lines (if anything) for a chip they principly designed and still use in their servers

Re:Does this affect RS6Ks? (1)

Merlin42 (148225) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144991)

Sure macs and IBMs use processors that based on the PPC ISA, BUT they each use incompatible supersets of the PPC ISA. And AFAIK the altivec unit (the subject of the anouncment) is not on any IBM machine.

Kevin

No. (2, Informative)

Duck_Taffy (551144) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145127)

The RS/6000's use the PPC 604 chip, if memory serves correctly, which has no AltiVec unit. There would probably be no performance gain over the AIX compiler that was built specifically for that chip.

Re:No it doesn't. (1)

Prolapsed Anus (555310) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145244)

Sorry, Apple Macs will have no effect on IBM's RS6k market.

RS6k users want ECC-protected cache and main memory; Apple Macs don't have this.

RS6K users want large 128-bit+ memory paths. Apple Macs still have a 64-bit memory path, much like their PC bretheren.

RS6k users often require standard RS232 ports (for terminals and measuring instruments). Again, Apple Macs don't have serial ports.

RS6k users demand rock-solid reliability. Currently supervising the deployment of 26 Quicksilver G4 Macs, I note that five were DOA. One required a subsequent logic board replacement a week later.

Our last G4 Mac deployment (25 400Mhz blue/white) resulted in four DOA, all with logic board failures.

Sorry, the much-exalted reliability of Apple Macintosh is really a myth - they're really no better than a typical x86 PC and certainly not anywhere near that of RS6k. The price should be a sure indicator :-P

PA

Re:No it doesn't. (2)

edremy (36408) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145311)

Another comment: RS6k users generally want serious support.

Back in my grad school days, one of my coworkers found a serious bug in our new RS6Ks. IBM had a *team* of engineers working on fixing that bug as soon as they verified it wasn't headspace+timing on our part. (We actually didn't have a 5 9's requirement for uptime or anything, but the bug could have affected people who did.)

Apple isn't set up to do support at that level- they sell to general consumers, not folks for whom 10 minutes of downtime is a deal-killer.

Not all R/S6k's use PPC (1)

JazzyJ (1995) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145334)

Some use IBM's POWER cpu....some use PPC....

Huh? (3, Informative)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144964)

I doubt this will produce any performance gains at all. Code will still need to be written specifically for the AltiVec unit, using either the C extensions or assembler. A simple recompile will not bring any gains, unless RedHat are able to improve GCC's PPC code generation.

BTW, GCC and binutils already support the AltiVec, including the C extensions.

Legal actions that could suck (0)

h3llphyre (207808) | more than 12 years ago | (#3144999)

I wonder if Apple could technically make it illegal to install anotehr OS on your nice, shiny new Mac? I mean, everone else in the world seems to think it is illegal to use other software (Sony, Nintendo, etc) for personal use. Just a thought.

No legal action (2)

Ghoser777 (113623) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145052)

Considering they support Virtual PC (the ability to run Windows on a PPC via emulation) and mklinux (for a time), I doubt they would care. Heck, apple would probably sell all their machines with ProDos on them if it sold more hardware. Risking -1 redundant: apple is a hardware company. You can do whatever you want software wise as long as you buy the hardware.

F-bacher

Re:No legal action (1)

h3llphyre (207808) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145112)

Last I knew, Apple wrote OS-X... making them a software company as well. Running software on top of their OS is one thing, replacing their OS is another. It seems to me that all the game console companies didnt like the idea of people putting other software on their machines and the govt backed them up. It doesnt seem out of the ordinary that Apple could pull the same thing.

Re:No legal action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3145160)

They wrote OSX because they needed a good OS to put on their hardware.

In fact, they *didn't* write the entire OS. They used an available kernel (Mach), implemented an existing system (BSD) and then used large amounts of an existing API (NeXT, now called Cocoa).

So in reality, Apple only cares enough about software to keep people wanting to use their hardware. This means they want stability (Unix), they want compatibility (Classic) and they want lots of developers (just ask anyone who wrote NeXT apps, they LOVE it).

Re:No legal action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3145164)

The difference is Apple profits tend to be tied to hardware sales, whereas consoles tend to focus on licensing the developers who provide software for the console as a cash source... Since it isn't unusual for a console to be sold at a loss for the first part of its lifespan, use of the console for non-company blessed software(aka, software they don't make money off of) is rather uncommon. Apple is an entirely different situation, since the make a profit on hardware... and historically, they've been more than tolerant of alternative OS's on their hardware(They *did* help fund and contribute to MkLinux for awhile...)

Re:No legal action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3145163)

Umm, Apple has supported the best StartUp Disk control panel for what 10 years, and that has always supported which system was loaded on the bootable volume. It's nice to have a company that does what the customer wants, huh?

Re:Legal actions that could suck (1)

MoneyT (548795) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145346)

Not unless they wanted to fall under suit like microsoft. If you head on over to what remains of the BeOS site (www.beincorporated.com) you can read (PDF format) all about the lawsuit they are filing against M$ for doing just what you are suggesting. Besides, Apple has no incentive to do this since they gain money no matter which OS runs on their computer.

Overlooked Arena (2, Interesting)

atathert (127489) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145002)

The arena that this is being overlooked in is the embedded software community. Currently, to use the AltiVec instructions, I believe you are locked into using operating systems such as WindRiver's VxWorks. This will not make such a big effect on the mac community, since as previously pointed out, most of the Mac users are fanatics and not likely to change. However, there are an immmense number of PPC based embedded systems out there that could benefit from this, not only performance wise, but also not having to pay X thousands of dollars for each license of VxWorks. I for one can't wait to see how this works out.

Isn't this just rolling back Apple changes? (4, Insightful)

stevek (25276) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145003)

IIRC, Apple (perhaps with motorola), has already put all kinds of AltiVec stuff into GCC for use as the OSX system compiler. Apple has been working on their own GCC tree, but has always been feeding some stuff back up to the GCC maintainers.

Isn't this just some marketing hype for RedHat (nee cygnus) just taking the patches already incorporated into Apple's GCC, and putting them into their commercial GCC release?

I don't know how GCC compares to Metrowerks' Compiler, or what Apple is using for different parts of their code (I dunno if MW does OBJ-C, so Apple would likely use GCC at least for that).

I suppose it wouldn't be too hard to look at the binaries and see what they're using.

-SteveK

Re:Isn't this just rolling back Apple changes? (5, Insightful)

devphil (51341) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145367)


Uh, no. Not by a long shot.

First, the changes that Apple made to their own version of GCC were not well thought out. Those patches can't simply be applied to the real GCC.

Second, I don't know what "commercial GCC release" you're talking about. The AltiVec patches have been going into the publiv version of GCC for weeks now. Check their mailing list archives for all the gory details.

expensive stuff (0)

koekepeer (197127) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145025)

it might be fast etc

but apple hardware is very expensive as compared to intel. and you buy it with the software (osx) included.

maybe i missed that somewhere cheap clones can be found, but i never saw any of these. maybe some mac-fan can shed light on this?

Probably won't help mac fans. (5, Insightful)

Eric Seppanen (79060) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145028)

My guess is that they're doing this for embedded applications. Remember that Red Hat does a fair amount of business in the embedded arena, and PowerPC processors are pretty big in embedded applications. So while their work on the compilers will benefit everyone, including people running Linux on their Macs, this doesn't mean you're going to see a PowerPC version of Red Hat Linux any time soon.

Re:Probably won't help mac fans. (2, Informative)

Aelfweld (120148) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145343)

Actually given the partnership between IBM and redhat I do expect a PPC version of RH sometime soon. At LWCE they had SUSE running on Rs6000 and said they had a preview running on the new p690 machines. I would not expect RH to leave the PPC hardware all to SUSE when they made a version of 390.

Good way to make inroads. (2, Informative)

sean23007 (143364) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145037)

If Red Hat manages to develop a really good implementation of their AltiVec libraries, it could have rather far-reaching effects in the advancement of Linux onto the desktop. For example, in the current Macintosh community, a staple of the software collection is Adobe Photoshop. There is a good relationship between Mac users and the program, as well as what seems to be a good relationship between Adobe and Apple. This relationship can be seen when one takes into consideration the fact that Photoshop always runs faster on Mac hardware than on PC (that's why the Apple demos are always focused around Photoshop), and the new versions always come out for Mac first.

If Red Hat can build a version of Linux specifically designed to run on a G4-powered AltiVec machine, and do at least as good a job of it as Apple has done with OS X, Adobe may well port Photoshop to that version of Linux. And if the users can get their Photoshop needs fulfilled, they may not necessarily care what OS they are running, and (let's presume that they are at work), if they can get Photoshop to run faster with this newfangled thing called "Red Hat," they may just give it a shot. This will lead to people learning Linux and possibly use it at home.

And, if Adobe does port Photoshop to AltiVec Red Hat, that is just a couple of steps away from porting it to Linux in general, which would of course be a bonus to the community as a whole. The Gimp may be acceptable, it may even be good, but it is no Photoshop.

Of course, this is only one example, and many other good things may well come of this.

Re:Good way to make inroads. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3145124)

Are you silly! Why doesn't Adobe develop for linux now? Because it's a small community that doesn't run expensive suites of software. Why would this convince Adobe to port when you are talking about an even smaller community of PPC/Linux users?

RedHat not a PPC distro (1)

Kalak (260968) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145055)

RedHat nearly entered the PPC Distro world years ago, and backed off. IIRC, this turned into LinuxPPC after they left their work.

This article is not saying anything about a RH distro on PPC, but merely "will produce a GNUPro Linux toolchain and cross compiler for Motorola's AltiVec-enabled PowerPC processors".

While this could produce better PPC distros, it is not an announcement of an impending RedHat for Macintosh. It wouldn't surprise me if they're targeting RS/6000 boxes or embedded markets with this.

keep going.... (-1, Offtopic)

phallen (145919) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145056)

... Now just dissable the right-mouse button on Apple stories and complete the theme!

If you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, take a look at the Title and section banners.

Re:keep going.... (0, Offtopic)

nullard (541520) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145154)

Err... MacOS X has built-in support for multi-button mice.

MacOS 9 can do it with a number of different drivers.

Apple doesn't sell Macs with two-button mice because the focus group testing they did for Lisa development was conducted when few people outside of places like Xerox were using mice. When they tried to teach people to use two-button mice they kept asking "which button do I press" and looking at the mouse. The testers using single-button mice benefited from the easier learning curve.

The end result: one-button mice are easier for newbies. If you're not a newbie, but a two- (in my case 4- w/ a wheel) button mouse.

Re:keep going.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3145210)

So what you are saying is that it is easier to remember Option-click, Apple-click, etc. than to remember left button, right button.

Re:keep going.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3145289)

I have five buttons and no steering wheel ?:->

It will stay untapped. (5, Interesting)

Erich (151) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145078)

Parallelism is really, really, really hard to do in a compiler. Intel has a hard time doing it even after spending millions for a compiler on their VLIW architecture. DLP is typically even harder than ILP for a compiler to do.

Compilers can typically do a pretty good job on sequential machines, but there is still a long way to go for getting good parallel code. Hand coding things is still the way to go for maximum performance.

That being said, the compiler can probably use it some, and having a resource available is typically better than not having the resource at all.

Already Being Tapped (2, Informative)

hotsauce (514237) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145407)

I dunno, check out the Altivec Forum and the Scitech List, people writing in C seeing large performance improvements.

From what I understand, the RC-5 and SETI apps are C with pre-compiler directives. The RC-5 G4 client blows throws keys 16 times faster than a same-speed P4.

Just the opposite of what we want (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3145150)

Mac software on INTEL hardware. NOT Linux software on MAC Hardware.

Re:Just the opposite of what we want (1)

MoneyT (548795) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145400)

I could say something about the superiority of (mac) hardware and some other such propoganda, but I'll refrain. Instead, I'll point out that the reason Red Hat made this move is probably because they will most likely recive support (or at least be left alone) from apple and they would recieve no such support from M$ or it's flunkies

Race to the Bottom... (1)

Prolapsed Anus (555310) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145172)

So RedHat gives 64-bit Alpha (one of the best if not one of the most affordable 64-bit platforms) and UltraSPARC tacit lukewarm support and then announces a toolkit for 32-bit PPC (and specifically AltiVec G4 Apple Macintoshes)?

It certainly is a race to the bottom.

PA

How much different are they? (0, Redundant)

h3llphyre (207808) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145186)

So, how long before someone sues Apple for forcing people to buy OS-X with their Mac hardware. Is it really that much different then M$? Or are they worse. I mean, I can build an x86 system without M$ OSes. I cant do the same with a Mac

Re:How much different are they? (1)

jchristopher (198929) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145233)

So, how long before someone sues Apple for forcing people to buy OS-X with their Mac hardware. Is it really that much different then M$? Or are they worse. I mean, I can build an x86 system without M$ OSes. I cant do the same with a Mac

Except that Apple does not have a monopoly on personal computers. (don't get me wrong, I'd like to see the OS unbundled too, but I don't think they are doing anything "wrong" by not doing so.)

What about Nintendo Game Cube? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3145190)


Linux for PS2...what about the GameCube? C'mon! Is there a site with ANY GC info?

Good for Motorola - somewhat for Apple (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3145193)

I think some people are missing the point here. It's not RH on a Mac, it's RH on a G4. The difference is that this could mean a new market for Motorola...i.e. make a G4-based system that isn't a Mac. Not saying they'd exclude the Mac, just saying they're not limiting themselves. Moto really needs this because the G4 just doesn't have the huge market that the x86 processors hold (so, less R&D money for Moto compared to say Intel or even AMD). Apple killed off clones and other competition (e.g. WinNT on PowerPC), and therefore hurt the development of the PPC (lower sales volume, lower revenue). Personally, I already run RH 7.2 for my mail server (Athlon-based) and I'd love to run it as a second OS on my dual-800. Even more interesting/desirable would be a new G4 system that I could put together (wow, actually buy a PPC motherboard at a decent price?!?!?!) and make it my new mail/web/DNS/render farm/samba server....yummy..

Redhat on PPC?? (1)

Strog (129969) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145198)

All I see is the tools that support altivec. There is nothing in the article about a RH PPC ditribution or more altivec stuff in the kernel. You could speculate that this could be the beginning of Redhat on the PPC but this isn't conclusive. Redhat does have interests in embedded applications [redhat.com] too so you could speculate they are looking into embedded G4 systems too.

Some have said they would love to see a RH distro. Seems more linux distros for PPC are RH derivitives (Linuxppc, Yellow Dog, Mandrake, etc.) but there are alternatives too (Suse, Debian, etc.) and of course the BSDs. :)

This has been talked about on the mailing list. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3145218)

You can find out more about Altivec here [altivec.org] . Support by Redhat has been talked about before on the mailing list, with some RH developers jumping in at points.

Altivec does short parallel vector crunching by adding some 128bit registers for you to play with and SIMD operations to crunch a bunch of numbers in them. Where I work we use Altivec to optimize matrix operations and it does its job well. Neat stuff, even though I'm not an assembly man myself.

Chipset (0)

littlerubberfeet (453565) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145257)

will there be some way to take this new support by redhat and use it on server/ high performance multiple processor boards? I want a Quad G4.Is this possible? would I have to rip the ROMS off another G4 board?

Altivec Aware vs. Auto-vectorizing (2)

nadador (3747) | more than 12 years ago | (#3145379)

Having someone take ownership of an Altivec-aware toolchain is fantastic. Thank you, Redhat. The community, especially those of us who use Linux on PPC systems, thank you.

Now, as far as the untapped power of Altivec, here's the slightly off-topic problem.

To write Altivec code, you need a toolchain of compilers and linkers that understand Altivec. Those compilers won't change your code to use Altivec, but will permit you to do so. This is not a trivial matter to say the list, mostly because the Altivec ABI is difficult to maintain in a compiler because, for instance, it defines vector types.

The only thing that will truly tap the power of Altivec is auto-vectorization, eg. you write slow, unoptimized code with no knowledge of Altivec, and the compiler does it for you. This, as compiler writers know, is the holy grail of vector compilers. Apple implemented some auto-vectorization in its gcc, which required calls across the front-end/back-end boundary, which obviously can't be accepted outright into the FSF tree, hence the lack of good Altivec support in gcc for Linux.

The real issue is that even if you can write good code to make gcc autovectorize for this specific rev of Altivec, its an even less pleasant task to abstract that away so that you can have some starting place for autovectorizing on other platforms (MMX and whatever its called today, 3DNow!, etc.) or the next generation of Altivec.

If Redhat puts even a little development effort into that effort, the benefit to the open software community as a whole would be amazing.
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