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IBM Reveals New Virtual Linux Environment

ScuttleMonkey posted about 7 years ago | from the pave-the-way dept.

Linux Business 96

jenwren1010 writes to mention that IBM has just announced the new open beta version of their virtual Linux environment that allows users to run x86 Linux programs on POWER processor-based IBM System p servers. "Designed to reduce power, cooling and space by consolidating x86 Linux workloads on System p servers, it will eventually be released as the [rolls-off-the-tongue] 'IBM System p Application Virtual Environment (System p AVE).' With a 31.5% global revenue share during 2006, IBM hopes to build on System p UNIX success and extend firmly into the Linux marketplace. Considering there are almost 2,800 applications that already run natively on Linux on System p servers, the chances are good that it will succeed."

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Weeeee (0, Offtopic)

Ubuntu is my God (1092203) | about 7 years ago | (#18845811)

When's it out I want to try it!

Re:Weeeee (1)

website design (1093011) | more than 6 years ago | (#18867481)

I don't get it, aren't almost all Linux programs able to build for pretty much any architecture? For more on the subject you shall visit me at : ecommerce web site design [webdesigningcompany.net] The only use for emulation would be binary-only proprietary software that's built for x86 only. And even there it should be pretty trivial for the vendor to port it to POWER.

Too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18845841)

Too late. Xen, QEMU, and VMWare already captured this market.

Re:Too late (1)

joshuapurcell (714520) | about 7 years ago | (#18848105)

Actually you are wrong. None of those applications allow you to run an x86 application while also running inside and a Power-based OS.

Re:Too late (2, Informative)

Lemming Mark (849014) | about 7 years ago | (#18848227)

Qemu could run an x86 OS inside a PPC OS. Actually, Qemu can provide a user-level binary translation layer to apps, including translating syscalls appropriately - you don't have to emulate a whole system, the app has its own sandbox that looks like the foreign architecture.

What's the point? (3, Interesting)

Ed Avis (5917) | about 7 years ago | (#18845873)

I don't get it, aren't almost all Linux programs able to build for pretty much any architecture? The only use for emulation would be binary-only proprietary software that's built for x86 only. And even there it should be pretty trivial for the vendor to port it to POWER.

Re:What's the point? (2)

timeOday (582209) | about 7 years ago | (#18845939)

My question is, why use POWER processors at all? Why not just run a bunch of VMs on an x86 blade server?

Re:What's the point? (3, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | about 7 years ago | (#18846793)

I think Power (according to IBM, anyway) offers a lot better performance/watt and scales better up to supercomputer-ish sizes.

And I think you can even integrate x86 blades into some of IBM's high-end systems for running Linux x86 binaries; the idea is with this new virtual environment, you wouldn't need to purchase the additional hardware.

I see this whole thing as basically a bullet point that they can use when selling POWER to a prospective client -- they can put it out there as one architecture that will run most anything. (Well, except Windows stuff.)

Re:What's the point? (1)

robyannetta (820243) | about 7 years ago | (#18847267)

I think Power (according to IBM, anyway) offers a lot better performance/watt and scales better up to supercomputer-ish sizes.

You're partially correct. PowerPC procs scale massively but can't offer better performance/watt. This is one of the reasons that Apple dropped PowerPC in the Mac.

Re:What's the point? (1)

RedHat Rocky (94208) | more than 6 years ago | (#18853981)

Nobody likes to talk about how much a Pseries solution COSTS.

I can buy a lot of commodity hardware and power it for $100,000. Let's just say a decent Pseries will be an order of magnitude more expensive for the initial purchase, never mind the annual support agreements.

How I think they'd answer: (2, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#18859899)

I can buy a lot of commodity hardware and power it for $100,000. Let's just say a decent Pseries will be an order of magnitude more expensive for the initial purchase, never mind the annual support

True. In my (admittedly limited) experience though, IBM hardware generally gets aimed at organizations whose IT budgets are already fairly big (I won't say "bloated"), and are paying through the nose for support already.

If you're looking at commodity servers and supporting them yourself, you're probably not going to look at IBM; their customers are going to be choosing between IBM pSeries, and maybe Sun's high-end SPARC gear, or maybe HP 9000 series stuff. They're probably migrating up from superminis with atrocious support costs anyway (and they may only be migrating because their superminis are being EOLed -- I've run into lots of organizations who were perfectly okay paying the support for their legacy gear, until it was no longer supported), so a $100k IBM system could easily look like a savings over 5 years when you consolidate a dozen "small iron" Unix boxes onto it.

I'm not exactly sure how they would find a cost savings if you were already just using cheap x86 servers, though. I guess they'd probably say 'consolidation,' but I don't know exactly how many commodity pizza-boxes you'd need to consolidate to pay for the TCO on a pSeries... I guarantee though if you called an IBM sales rep, they'd be able to make the numbers work, somehow.

IBM's own page on "Why Linux on the POWER? [ibm.com] " is fairly interesting:

The IBM System p(TM) server family and the IBM BladeCenter® JS21 blade server are packed with features designed to enable you to achieve lower costs and more flexibility, as well as have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your applications are available when you need them. Our leadership performance saves you money by providing exceptional performance per processor core and including up to 4 cores per socket. Unique IBM virtualization technologies are designed to dramatically increase server utilization by providing innovative capabilities that enable one server to act like many--while giving you the ability to automatically move more processing power to critical applications when needed. You can meet known and unknown processing requirements with fewer servers -- so hardware, software and facility costs go down. Finally, your Linux® applications on these systems will be available when you need them thanks to time-tested IBM reliability features.
I think they're going for PHB appeal here. The idea is that you have one machine, one support contract, to one company, and that's the end of that. (In theory.)

Re:How I think they'd answer: (1)

RedHat Rocky (94208) | more than 6 years ago | (#18868983)

"I think they're going for PHB appeal here. The idea is that you have one machine, one support contract, to one company, and that's the end of that. (In theory.)"

Yes, I agree. One place to point the finger, one vendor to blame is what the PHB sees.

In practice (yes, I work for a PHB that's high on IBM kool aid), IBM itself is split into various divisions and they like to point the finger at each other.

"Sounds like a hardware problem."
"No, that's a software problem."

I think IBM has some great talent working on these systems, unfortunately it takes the "I'm a big customer" card to get that talent applied to YOUR problem.

I like the pSeries stuff when I don't have to think about how much it costs.

Power is more powerful than x86 (1)

raftpeople (844215) | about 7 years ago | (#18848237)

Power5, Power5+, Power6, etc. are very powerful server processors, more powerful than x86. Here are some specs for Power6, due out in a couple months:

From Wikipedia
"The POWER6 will be using approximately 790 million transistors and 341 mm large fabricated on an 65 nm process. It is expected to run faster than 5 GHz when released in mid 2007[2] but the company has noted prototypes have reached 6 GHz.[3] POWER6 reached first silicon in the middle of 2005[4] and finished products will be available in mid 2007.[5] Dr Frank Soltis, an IBM chief scientist, said IBM had solved power leakage problems associated with high frequency by using a combination of 90nm and 65nm parts in the POWER6 design.[citation needed] The processor is a dual core design and will have 128 kB of L1 cache (64 kB data + 64 kB instruction), an eight-way, set-associative design with a two-stage pipeline supporting two independent 32-bit reads or one 64-bit write per cycle.[6] Each core will have a 4 MB "semi shared" L2 cache, where the cache is assigned a specific core, but the other has a fast access to it. The two cores share a 32 MB large L3 cache which is off die, using an 80 GB/s bus.[7] Each core will have two integer units, two binary floating-point units, and a decimal floating-point unit, and is capable of two way SMT. The binary floating-point unit incorporates "many microarchitectures, logic, circuit, latch and integration techniques to achieve [a] 6-cycle, 13-FO4 pipeline," according to a company paper.[6] The POWER6 will have support for decimal arithmetic. 50 new floating point instructions handle the decimal math and conversions between binary and decimal.[7] This is a feature currently present in the processors powering IBM's System z and is a necessity in POWER6 if the eClipz-mission is to succeed.[8] There will be an AltiVec unit to POWER6, and the processor will be fully compliant with the new Power ISA v.2.03 specification. POWER6 will also take advantage of ViVA-2, Virtual Vector Architecture, that enables the combination of several POWER6 nodes so act as a single Vector processor."

Re:What's the point? (4, Insightful)

Biggerveggies (517226) | about 7 years ago | (#18846015)

The point is that you can run a unified infrastructure with scalable LPARS for different clients on one box (think p595).

ie - the marketing term: "Power on Demand".

Re:What's the point? (2, Interesting)

Tinkster (831703) | about 7 years ago | (#18846759)

That's one good and fair comment; the other thing is that you can have
one of those big irons running an x86 Linux that will run your "commercial
product of choice" which is certified against a specific version of Linux
w/o having to buy x86 hardware and gain expertise in using VMWare as well...

Re:What's the point? (3, Informative)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | about 7 years ago | (#18847183)

Some good points, however the term big iron should not be applied here. Big iron would be a mainframe. Pseries machines are very powerful, however, they are very different in technology then a mainframe. They are a hybridization of technology that IBM built with POWER and of Mainframe like techn0ologies.

This is a great idea. With micro partitioning on the pSeries and automatic load balancing, us pSeries admins don't need to learn VMware to run a farm of x86 based servers. Also, while most things are running on POWER already, sometimes it's not convenient to find binaries that will run on it plus how many of us have a spare pSeries machine just for compiles?? Also, there's a metric tone of commercial apps that run on x86 Linux and not many of them that run on PPC based distros.

Re:What's the point? (1)

glwtta (532858) | about 7 years ago | (#18847751)

infrastructure with scalable LPARS

Is that like when I dress up in a leather kilt, run around bashing people with a foam bat, and talk about "mead" and "ale" a lot?

Re:What's the point? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18846179)

Obiously you've never tried to port from Linux to AIX. Sure, "Hello, World!" ports over just fine, but beyond that you're going to have issues. The gcc tools on AIX are not good. You're forced to use the AIX linker. Shared objects, static linking...good luck figuring out the differences from what you're used to on Linux and what they mean to your program. Oh, you want to throw a C++ exception from a library? Good luck.

Trust me, this software will help a lot of people get their big apps working on AIX.

AIX is an interesting platform. I have a love-hate relationship with it. The management tools are great. The OS is rock solid and the p-series hardware is fantastic. You can scale these things in several ways and its not that expensive when you look at what you're getting. I'd rather admin 50 AIX machines than 50 Linux machines. But...when it comes to using the GNU tools on AIX, its just a lot of headaches. You can get most things working...but it just takes a lot of time. I hope this software helps with that issue.

Re:What's the point? (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | about 7 years ago | (#18846269)

I didn't mean to compare Linux/x86 to AIX... I meant why not just port the apps to Linux/PowerPC or Linux/POWER and run them that way?

I was under the impression (just assumed it from reading the press release) that this was a big POWER-based Linux box that had some proprietary x86 emulator added on to run binary-only x86 apps... if in fact it's an AIX machine with an x86 emulator, well that's a little bit more, shall we say, exotic.

It seems that IBM is barking up the wrong tree - much better to just port Debian to the machine and then you get all the Linux apps running natively for free.

Re:What's the point? (1)

C_Kode (102755) | about 7 years ago | (#18846407)

Porting your app isn't always "easy". Just ask Oracle when they ported it to Linux on PowerPC.

Re:What's the point? (3, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | about 7 years ago | (#18846875)

Yeah I originally thought it was a compatibility layer that would let you run x86/Linux apps on POWER/AIX, but I don't think it's quite that.

From TFA:

IBM expects ISVs that don't already have a native Linux on POWER product to be able to expand their addressable market to System p servers at minimal cost by allowing them to run their existing x86 Linux applications on these servers without having to recompile, release new media or documentation, or maintain a unique product offering for POWER technology.
So basically it's a way of taking x86/Linux binaries and running them on POWER/Linux without a recompile. (And, one assumes, if you're an end-user, without going back to the software's manufacturer and paying through the nose for a new POWER version; you can move from x86 to POWER and still use all your same apps, without buying new versions.)

Re:What's the point? (1)

red crab (1044734) | about 7 years ago | (#18851951)

Ya that's fine. But the question is that how far will IBM go in supporting Linux. IBM will always want AIX to be the OS of it's choice on its proprietary hardware. Many of powerful features of AIX like hardware diagnostic tools, mksysb image backups, hot swap LVM are not available on Power Linux and probably will never be. Like GNU Toolbox for Linux, x86 Virtual Linux also seems like another feeble attempt by IBM to support Linux.

Overall, Sun seems more committed than IBM as far as Linux support is concerned.

Re:What's the point? (3, Informative)

Gooner (28391) | about 7 years ago | (#18847995)

Well one reason it's useful is that it's possible to partition POWER servers down to tenths of a CPU so it's easy to find space to run something like p-AVE. Another is that SLES is licensed by the box rather than by CPUs or LPARs so anything that helps get more apps to run is a good thing.

I've got a 16 CPU P570 here at work and we run Linux on it exclusively due to the cost, as AIX means that you get soaked on costlier licenses. I've done my share of trying to get apps (primarily statistical programs) to work on the POWER CPU. I got R to work but there plenty of other programs that either don't have source or won't compile cleanly though part of that is almost certainly due to my GCC n00bishness so being able to run the x86 version right away is compelling.

I'm also beta-testing p-AVE right now. It works and is easy to get up and running. It's slow right now though compared to something that can run on POWER. It's interesting that this isn't an IBM product. It is from the same company who made Rosetta for Apple, namely Transitive Corp. So in one product you're going from PowerPC to Intel and the other goes Intel to POWER. It looks like IBM are going to do what Apple did and swallow the cost for end-users (or maybe make it back in Global Services consulting fees).

Re:What's the point? (1)

marafa (745042) | about 7 years ago | (#18851471)

think more along the lines of this scenario:

client of software company PROPRIETARY has the p series and wants to run the software on the p series. PROPRIETARY company says sure but pay up. the cost of compiling the software on the p series could be in the range of "provide us the p series machine" to "pay us millions muwahahah"

and before you say the scenario is impossible. think again. i m living it. so if the cost of the program is the cheapest between the three alternatives....

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18854591)

Here's the point:

If the app you want is open-source and you want it bad enough, yes, you could recompile it yourself. Or enlist the broader community to join in. Assuming the code doesn't directly address hardware or depend on -endian-ness.

If you're already on Power hardware when a vendor comes along with something you want, and if the app you want is from a vendor who's not interested in porting because they have their hands full with the Intel version, you need to emulate or buy different hardware just for one app.

This is the same reason Sun has 3 choices for running linux apps: lxrun, BrandZ, and Xen. Gotta keep those pesky end-users happy.

o rly? YA RLY!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18859677)

linux pwns!!!


trollse pwns




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I seem to remember a similar technology from SCO (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18845881)

I think it's pretty cocky of IBM to do this while the SCO case is still before the courts. It may be a case of the hand that steals not knowing what the hand that conceals is doing This time it might get a slap!

I recommend SCOX. It's a BUY.


Re:I seem to remember a similar technology from SC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18845987)

I recommend SCOX. It's a BUY.

Hi Darl, long time no see. You guys still printing SCOX shares in toiletpaper format? I'll try a couple rolls if they're still less than 1.99 apiece.

captcha is prisons. Do you ever get that feeling of impending doom, Darl? You might want to keep an eye out for it. Them signs are all over out there, man. Them signs, they really are.

Re:I seem to remember a similar technology from SC (1)

Kz (4332) | more than 6 years ago | (#18853709)

not really similar; SCO (the original SCO, of course) had a software emulation layer to run Linux binaries on top of it's own x86 Unix. it was an ABI emulation, not a processor emulation.

i think there's something similar for BSD, Solaris, AIX... all other Unix players want to run Linux apps.

but does it run linux? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18845883)


Power Saving? (3, Interesting)

hawg2k (628081) | about 7 years ago | (#18845893)

It's been my experience that IBM's power architecture isn't really known for being "green". Can anyone provide some expertise behind the statement that running Linux VM's on the P hardware will really save energy in heating and cooling over other concepts like a rack of 1-U rack servers, a VMWare/Xen type solution on x86 hardware, or some type of blade solution?

Re:Power Saving? (1)

cgh4be (182894) | about 7 years ago | (#18845983)

I can't speak as to whether or not it's cheaper on a per server basis, but they do some pretty cool power management things on the POWER5 processors and it is supposed to get even better on POWER6. The big thing is that they turn off the portions of the processor that are not being used at any given time.

Re:Power Saving? (4, Interesting)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | about 7 years ago | (#18847263)

You can buy ONE rack and it has 64 processors in it. Each of those 64 processors can be sheared down to 1/10th of a CPU partition. That would be 640 servers in one rack. Granted, you'd never want to run that many LPARS on a system, but you could come close. You can also share all 64 of these processors and each of the LPARS can look like a SMP system by setting a VP of 2 or higher. Granted alot of this will need proper tuning, but you can do a lot with a pSeries and shove alot of hardware into one rack. Also, with Partition Load manager, it can very how much CPU each partition gets by the load it's getting. Say one of the LPARS gets nailed all of a sudden. If the partition is uncapped or not reached it's cap, it can automatically grab as much CPU as needed.

The pSeries machine CAN do what they describe.

Re:Power Saving? (1)

RedHat Rocky (94208) | more than 6 years ago | (#18854135)

Yeah, you can buy that one rack. It'll cost you a mil or so, but never mind that, you're worried about saving some kW.

Those racks need one BIG ASS plug for power, as in some serious AMPs. The one I saw was 4 inches in diameter and had "pins" that looked like pencils. When powered on, the rack was blowing air at 35 MPH, never mind the noise.

Pseries is great for large verticle apps, but for virtualization? No.

Re:Power Saving? (1)

tim620 (1052986) | more than 6 years ago | (#18854775)

1. You get what you pay for. Yes, pSeries hardware costs a ton of $ (iSeries even more so). However, you get top notch hardware and an OS designed around the hardware. Much more stability, scalability and redundancy than any linux box than has been slapped together. 2. You evidently have never used any virtualization on a pSeries/AIX machine. AIX runs circles around VMware ESX, etc. Any resourse allocation can be changed on the fly without taking down any of the OS's involved in the reallocation. You can even setup scripts to change the allocations overnight and then return to normal during the day, or however you want to do it. Just to name one of the features. I would take a LPARed pSeries box any day over an ESX box.

Re:Power Saving? (1)

UndiFineD (1092419) | more than 6 years ago | (#18852037)

With 1u pizzaboxen I can eazity go up to 24 kW in a rack. While our p595 can be cooled by 4 kW room / raised floor cooling. Not needing to do excessive cooling is greener.

In the face of SCO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18845963)

This is so cool, in the face of SCO. And, I guess IBM customers are willing to pay for IBM's services, too.

What assets does SCO have today? 50 used P4 2.3 GHz with 1GB RAM, and a single 40GB HD, each?

'nix on p Series? Run AIX. (1)

no_pets (881013) | about 7 years ago | (#18845965)

I never understood the push for Linux on iSeries or pSeries. To me, if you want 'nix on pSeries just run AIX.

Re:'nix on p Series? Run AIX. (2, Insightful)

cgh4be (182894) | about 7 years ago | (#18846043)

I think there are a couple of reasons:

1) There are some (not many, but some) applications that run on Linux that don't run on AIX (i.e. won't compile on AIX)
2) There are a lot of Linux gearheads out there that a company might not want to retrain for AIX

The whole point is to be able to run (almost) any operating system you own on (almost) any platform IBM sells. If Windows and Intel weren't in bed, Windows would be running on the pSeries. In fact, it is in the lab, it's just not for sale :)

Re:'nix on p Series? Run AIX. (1)

no_pets (881013) | about 7 years ago | (#18846251)

FFIW we ran Windows on the iSeries. Of course it wasn't running on a POWER processor. The iSeries had what they called an IXS (Integrated xSeries Server) which was basically a daughter card with an Intel processor on it. I'm not sure if you can get one of those cards in a pSeries or not but the xSeries (or whatever they call them now) would be the way I would want to run Linux on IBM hardware.

I'll buy what you said about IBM wanting customers to be able to run any OS on any of their hardware. I just think it's odd to run it as advertised in TFA.

Maybe it's just me but I see it being ran that way only because some pSeries sales rep pushed that configuration on a PHB.

Re:'nix on p Series? Run AIX. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18847199)

I never understood the push for Linux on iSeries or pSeries ... just run AIX.

...because there are more games available for Linux compared to AIX?

Re:'nix on p Series? Run AIX. (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | about 7 years ago | (#18847455)

Yes, but if you know Linux on x86 already, it's that much simpler just to run Linux on POWER and retain most of your knowledge. This however is more like using WINE/VMware to run your Linux86 apps, but still use AIX, making it easier to migrate

Re:'nix on p Series? Run AIX. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18848961)

Have you ever used or coded for AIX? It blows chunks.

Re:'nix on p Series? Run AIX. (1)

no_pets (881013) | more than 6 years ago | (#18855473)

Yes, I've used AIX. I won't disagree with you about it blowing chunks although I believe that is relative to what you might be used to. I learned 'nix on AIX while simultaneously using Linux at home. I learned right away that the two are not as interchangeable as one might think/hope.

When the Linux only guys would occasionally get on the AIX machines they would scare the crap out of me. And that's one reason why I find it odd to actually use Linux on pSeries. I understand that a pSeries would probably be carved up into Linux partitions.

Where I used to work we mainly bought pSeries/AIX machines because that was the preferred platform for the application we were wanting to run. Are there any such applications that are supported for the pSeries/Linux platform? I personally have not heard of any. Perhaps a LAMP setup but in that scenario I personally wouldn't opt for a pSeries platform unless, maybe it was an IBM only shop. I'd still opt for IBM's Intel based solution (probably still called xSeries).

Re:'nix on p Series? Run AIX. (1)

Frumious Wombat (845680) | about 7 years ago | (#18851461)

Linux has mindshare, and by supporting Linux on lower-end systems, IBM sells businesses Power-based small systems (only available from them), and then gently moves them up the food chain as their needs increase. This way you have IBM 2-core OpenPower systems, and IBM p595s, and eventually (salesmen look off into the distance picturing the bahamas) a Z-series mainframe, all capable of being partitioned to still run the same apps. It's part of their policy of making sure they have a solution for any size of business, or any size problem a business has.

AIX, possibly deservedly, has a reputation as one of the 'odd' Unices. Embracing Linux allowed IBM to appear more interoperable and less threatening to potential customers who remember the days of IBM and the BUNCH [wikipedia.org] .

This is the point. (3, Informative)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about 7 years ago | (#18846051)

In the current generation of Power CPUs, you can implement micropartitions, akin to "this partition uses .1 CPUs", which if you've got spare computational power available on your AIX system, you could create additional partitions for X86 use. Also, since the partitions have the ability to communicate directly with each other without going over an external network, you could have in one chassis an AIX database with a linux based webserver in different partitions, both sharing the same fibrechannel cards and external gigE/10Gig network connections.

Linux is fading away (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18846213)

Hey Linux weenies, explain this [google.com] . I mean explain it satisfactorily. None of this wishful-thinking "b-b-b-but maybe search volume is inversely proportional to usage!" bullshit.

Re:Linux is fading away (1)

snadrus (930168) | about 7 years ago | (#18846413)

How's this:

Many Linux users reach Google via Firefox or Opera or Konqueror.
Around the time of the inversion it was common to have browser-integrated searches.
Built-in Google Searches mean half as many hits to Google.com --
                  No need to download: _________ (Search) (Lucky)
Work smarter, not harder!

Windows lost about as much % as Linux. Sounds like an upsurge in crawlers to Google as well as Mac popularity.

Re:Linux is fading away (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18846503)

I think it'd be a lot more worthwhile to measure how many people use Linux, rather than how many people don't know what Linux is, but are trying to find out. Unless, that is, that you believe that Linux has 30% the marketshare of Windows.

Re:Linux is fading away (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18846521)

Hey parent weeny, explain this [google.com] and this [google.com] . I mean explain it satisfactorily. None of this wishful-thinking "b-b-b-but maybe search volume is inversely proportional to usage!" bullshit. Hmmm, I know - maybe search really is inversely proportional to usage or hey - maybe they are not related at all!! Maybe the generic term mac helps you skew your figures... I mean the first 5 results in Google (uk) for mac include Apple, a cosmetic company and the Midlands Arts Centre.... searching for Linux gets you nothing but Linux related sites, same with Ubuntu.

Don't worry though, we don't think all mac users are self obsessed idiots like your good self, most of them are quite normal. if you are however trying to point out that the mac is better because there are more people searching for it, maybe you should wonder how off-putting this behaviour is. Grow up.

Re:Linux is fading away (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18846685)

Easy. 9 out of 10 people know what a Mac is, but nobody's ever heard of "OS X," and hence, nobody searches for it. This is obvious to those of us who don't suffer from a near-autistic anal retentiveness about the distinction between software and hardware. In short, no one but a Linux dweeb would spell it "OSX" instead of "Mac."

easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18849507)

Linux guys are used to thinking command line, as such, their words/phrase linear memory functions are better, no need to re-search what you are already know about. Spatially, mac guys know where and how to search, but they wind up doing it over and over again, for the same stuff, because they are always off daydreaming and spacing out as they work on their "artistic" endeavors....

  In addition, Linux guys are more frugal and practical, rather than being profligate and ..flamboyant, so they save net surfing steps all the time. Logical+practical actions vs. emotional+impulsive actions, so there ya go, your answer!

    And Linux guys are also smart enough to use this new invention called "bookmarks". ;)

Re:Linux is fading away (1)

kantier (993472) | about 7 years ago | (#18849591)

deja vu...

is there any way of stopping this guy? I've seen this comment too many times in the last day.

Re:Linux is fading away (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 7 years ago | (#18850701)

that's because he's running on 0.1 of one CPU of a crappy power pc box and thus hit the submit buttons multiple times thinking slashdot was bogged down

Re:This is the point. (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | about 7 years ago | (#18846463)

Or you could do the same thing with VMware ESX.

Re:This is the point. (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about 7 years ago | (#18846811)

True, but IBM is providing those shops which already have IBM powerPC 'big iron' and opportunity to leverage it for non-ppc environments.

Re:This is the point. (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#18853629)

I suppose you should look at something like a rack full of blade servers plus SAN plus VMWare on one hand, and a high end IBM p series on the other.

It seems to me that while the applications for each have some overlap, they're quite distinct. I'd go the VMWare direction if I wanted to virtualize a number of Windows servers or run a number of x86 applications for I only had binaries. I'd go with IBM if binary compatibility were not an issue, because it is simpler and has options the VMWare solution doesn't, for example allowing a single virtual server to obtain more than one blade's worth of bandwidth if it needed it. I also suspect the IBM solution would win out on performance for certain I/O bound roles, like serving databases.

Overall, I don't think being able to run x86 binaries on the IBM setup makes much practical difference. If you have to run a lot of them, you're probably better off with VMWare. If you only have a few of them you could run them on a different server.

Re:This is the point. (1)

RedHat Rocky (94208) | more than 6 years ago | (#18854069)


You're speaking of Virtual I/O Server (VIOS). The point the marketing/sales folks like to forget is that those VIOS suck up CPU and add one (or two if redundancy is important [gee!]) more system to maintain.

Oh, and VIOS is really just a customized AIX with a severely bastardized command set, meaning admins have to have a VIO hat to put on.

VIOS offers some good features, but silver bullet it ain't.

Micropartitioning is too new for most folks to get their head around.

Re:This is the point. (1)

mink (266117) | more than 6 years ago | (#18994829)

For what he describes, you do not need VIOS.

As long as a partition has 1 disk and 1 net port of some type you dont need virtualized I/O. The limit on partitions is the number of PCI adapters you can put storage on (each lpar gets a pci slot for disk I/O of some type). You can also have physical nics only on the external facing partition and still give them virtual network adapters. Keep the backend stuff with only virtual nics (by not using VIO to bridge the virtual and physic nets you do lose the ability to do dynamic LPAR operations) and you dont have to be at a 1:1 for Nic vs SCSI/FC per partition.

APV (Advanced Power Virtualization) is what gives you Micro Partitioning license, and also gives you Partition Load Manager and Virtual I/O Server software, but you do not need to use either of them to use Micro Partitioning.

Re:This is the point. (1)

mink (266117) | more than 6 years ago | (#18994867)

Micro Partitioning is even better then that.
You need a minimum of .1 cpu to start an lpar, but you can add to it in .01 increments (and take away in that same amount down to the original .1).

Transitive -- same as Apple's emulator (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18846193)

Transitive has a news article ... it's them again, same tech provider as Apple uses for their Rosetta product (obviously, reverse of the technology, Intel -> PPC, instead of PPC -> Intel).

http://transitive.com/news/news_20070423.htm [transitive.com]

Why not just contribute to QEMU? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18846371)

They could have added Power virtualization and x86 to Power dynamic translation (and vice versa). Wouldn't that be better?

Would be more interesting if PowerPC platform G4/5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18846507)

This would be more interesting if it extended to the G4/G5 PowerPC platforms.

More details (4, Informative)

aktzin (882293) | about 7 years ago | (#18846549)

The article and press release don't say much, but I found this announcement on the IBM web site: http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/p/linux/systempave.h tml [ibm.com]

At the bottom are some good details:

"Runs most x86 Linux applications except those that * Directly access HW; * Are hardware architecture specific; * Provide unique kernel modules; or * Use instructions added later than the Pentium II processor, e.g. SSE2."

"All application components and plug-ins must meet these qualifications. Support for x86 Linux applications requires an Red Hat 4 update 4 or Novell SLES 9 with Service Pack 3 of the Linux operating system."

Re:More details (1)

joshuapurcell (714520) | about 7 years ago | (#18848199)

The part about "Directly accessing HW" is what makes this not near as great for me as what I originally hoped. This will do nothing to make games run on Linux on Power. Let me know when that's a posibility, and then also when there is a nice Power desktop available again.

Re:More details (2, Informative)

Lorkki (863577) | more than 6 years ago | (#18853129)

This likely isn't something that would just work on your PowerPC desktop anyway. The POWER architecture is aimed at a completely different market, for bigger servers and the like, and the instruction set is a superset of PPC's. Moreover, games these days use various HAL APIs to talk with acceleration hardware rather than directly accessing it - you'd want something like WINE with an x86 emulator, but DOSBox is available for PPC platforms if you need to run those older titles.

Imagine an array of virtual Linux machines (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 7 years ago | (#18846615)

Why, we could even load them with Ubuntu ...

Re:Imagine an array of virtual Linux machines (2, Funny)

Constantine XVI (880691) | about 7 years ago | (#18847495)

And then what, set them up in a Beowulf cluster?

Never would have thought of it before.

Re:Imagine an array of virtual Linux machines (2, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 7 years ago | (#18847579)

Why yes, a virtual Beowulf cluster!

But, first, we could argue over whether they would work better with BSD or Linux ...

Finally PPC used for what it was designed! (2, Insightful)

PaulBu (473180) | about 7 years ago | (#18846731)

As far as I remember one of the original goals of PPC architecture in the times of original IBM/Moto/Apple consortium 15 years ago was to be able to emulate "other" (x86, maybe? ;-) ) processors efficiently. Strangely I have not heard about something like this being actually used up until today! (Yes, I know that POWER != PPC, but I think the parts are still there).

Paul B.

Re:Finally PPC used for what it was designed! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18846951)

PowerPC is not designed to emulate other arch.

Good point of designed (compared to x86),
1) It is a 64-bit architecture with 2 adressing mode 32-bit and 64-bit. Some implementations (ex: from Motorola in Mac) were implementing only the 32-bit portion. But the arch itself has been designed 64-bit from the start.

2) Virtualization. There are issues with the x86 that makes it difficult to virtualize. The PowerPC does not have these issues.

POWER. There is the old POWER architecture.

But when we talk about IBM POWER servers (processors POWER3 and up), they follow the PowerPC architecture not the old POWER architecture. It is a little bit confusing because the POWER name sticked with the family of CPUs for the servers. But the architecture (instruction set) is PowerPC on those CPUs. Unless you have a very old POWER1 or POWER2 machine.

Re:Finally PPC used for what it was designed! (1)

PaulBu (473180) | about 7 years ago | (#18848845)

It's a pity you posted as AC -- thus, most likely will not see this :) -- but thanks for refreshing my memory!

Yes, it was a bit confusing, first I had to find out that POWER!=PowerPC, pretty soon after that that there is almost a seamless transition between the two... I guess I stopped following that story between POWER3 and POWER4, which left me in a bit confused state! :)

But I still stand by me recollection that one of the original goals was to make all x86 programs (including Windows of that time) efficiently runnable on them -- but maybe I have (after some Wikipedia digging) PowerPC 615 in mind...

Paul B.

Paul B.

Re:Finally PPC used for what it was designed! (1)

clem.dickey (102292) | about 7 years ago | (#18850055)

I still stand by me recollection that one of the original goals was to make all x86 programs (including Windows of that time) efficiently runnable

AIX 3.1 came with a 286 simulator. It was not terribly fast, especially for graphics, but it was there. Note that this was simulating a segmented architecture, not too easy to do. Compared to some other architectures at that time, POWER was reasonlably good at bit extraction/insertion, which helps when you are trying to emulate another architecture. There was also - internal to IBM - an S/370 simulator (MIMIC) which averaged 4 RS/6000 instructions per S/370 instruction.

Re:Finally PPC used for what it was designed! (1)

salimma (115327) | about 7 years ago | (#18846961)

A bit bizarre that IBM does this after they decided to make POWER exclusively big-endian (starting from POWER4 / PPC 970, if I remember correctly). Before that it's endian-neutral, so writing an emulation layer is easier because you don't have to deal with endianness issues.

One of the reason for the relative performance drop of Virtual PC when run on a G5 rather than a G4 Mac is the software handling of endianness. (And yes, emulation of Intel x86 CPU on PPC has been done for a long time. Just not on the server)

Re:Finally PPC used for what it was designed! (1)

clem.dickey (102292) | about 7 years ago | (#18849917)

A bit bizarre that IBM does this after they decided to make POWER exclusively big-endian

The PPC 970 doesn't have the "optional little-endian facility," but the 970 is not used in the high-end boxes. I'm not aware of any high-end Power implementation without little-endian support. In particular, IBM says that POWER5 has it.

Why the 970 doesn't have it beats me. Perhaps someone muffed the implementation or thought they could save a few cents per processor.

Re:Finally PPC used for what it was designed! (1)

salimma (115327) | more than 6 years ago | (#18866959)

Ah, my mistake. Hmm, perhaps IBM knew they would have problems ramping up the clock speed on the 970, and so tried to throw out as many unneeded circuitry as possible?

It's their first CPU with AltiVec/VMX support, after all. And if Apple users were pissed off at the slower emulation of x86 code, imagine how murderous they'd get if AltiVec were left out!

Re:Finally PPC used for what it was designed! (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 7 years ago | (#18847439)

Apple used PPC chips to emulate Motorola 68k CPUs for ages. They only recently stopped supporting that configuration, with the switch to Intel. (Now Apple has their Intel Core CPUs emulating the PPC CPUs.)

The coolest part is that when Apple does an architecture switch like this, their emulation is so fast and bug-free (not 100%, but good) that you couldn't even tell the difference between running a 68k program or a PPC program most of the time.

Re:Finally PPC used for what it was designed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18848015)


When Apple moved to PPC, their first generation PowerMac's had m68k cores in their PPC, and it was dog slow compared to a 68040 and even the PPC code was slower than a 68060@66Mhz.

Re:Finally PPC used for what it was designed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18848839)

PPC is a dying technology

Bizn4tch (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18846959)

something cool have somebody just Ransom for their Preferrably with an [mit.edu] found that FreeBSD is and I probabLy deeper into the = 1400 NetBSD

TL DR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18847325)

Don't link to a blog looking for ad impressions.
The crappy blog even has the link to IBM's page wrong.

Here [ibm.com] is the real article.

How's it compare to em86? (1)

Zanthrox (835290) | about 7 years ago | (#18849827)

Wonder how this compares to em86? I recall mention of that a few years back as a way to run x86 linux apps on alpha cpus. Not sure DEC/Compaq/HP ever released the source to the x86 execution engine, but em86 was pretty cool back in the day nonetheless..

great for political warfare (1)

Jay Carlson (28733) | about 7 years ago | (#18851295)

Regardless of how practical this is, it's an awesome checkbox feature for corporate weenies advocating the POWER architecture superminis with no clue about their true strengths.

"Look, this machine is so powerful it can run qemu user-mode emulation of another processor in its spare time! Let's see your Dell cluster emulate an x86!"

Source Link is Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18854215)

The source link in the blog is bad. Here's the actual IBM announcement:

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/214 24.wss [ibm.com]

Just a friendly suggestion to slashdot editors: why do you often post to other blogs with links to links to source material instead of directly posting the source material? That's not news it's meta-news. I can understand crediting the folks who brought it to your attention, but it's nice to see the source for myself.

Why not the reverse? (1)

magellan (33560) | more than 6 years ago | (#18861755)

This is not an IBM technology, but instead is based on a technology developed by Transitive.

It would be much more useful if IBM would offer the version of Transitive software which allows POWER applications to run on x86 systems, rather than the reverse. The only thing which makes sense to run on a emulator on a IBM POWER system would be a mainframe environment.

Why emulate the most mass-produced CPU instruction set ever, given the ISA is still in mass production? Why emulate the cheap volume processor on a more expensive, proprietary platform? The reverse makes much more sense. The more expensive, more closed architecture should be emulated on the less expensive, more open platform.

I fail to understand what value running x86 Linux apps on POWER provides. Intel Woodcrest and AMD Opteron provide great 64-bit performance, the AMD/Intel competition keeps prices dirt cheap and innovation moving at light-speed, and VMware provides fine-grained virtualization. And just like the AMD/Intel war keeps processor prices low, the coming Xen/VMware war is going to cut the cost of virtualization.

Emulators are needed to support customers on processor architectures which are dead. That is Alpha and PA-RISC. Next would be current platforms which customers want to move off of. That would be the Mainframe first, then Itanium, and after that perhaps SPARC and POWER.

There are clearly some weird politics going on at Transitive.

HP's partnership with Transitive is not focused on taking care of HP's own Alpha and PA-RISC customers, but instead on offering a SPARC on Itanium emulator. HP does have a partnership with a mainframe emulator, which makes some sense, but why not offer consolidated hosting to your own existing customers first?

IBM's partnership with Transitive is not focused on POWER or mainframe customers, but instead on offering an x86 on POWER emulator.

I can never envision the business case for emulating the industry-standard x86 architecture on a proprietary RISC platform like IBM's POWER.

I would love to see VMware buy Transitive and offer the ability to create Alpha, PA-RISC, Mainframe, Itanium, POWER, and SPARC VMs on ESX server. Of course if they did that, it would be EMC declaring war on the rest of the IT industry, but it would be a really cool product.
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