While PPC-based game consoles and eval boards abound, there hasn't been much thought given to a PPC-based Linux developer optimized platform since Apple bailed on PPC, until now. Terra Soft Solutions are offering a 2.5GHz PPC97MP-based development platform dubbed YDL Powerstation featuring four cores, Open Source firmware which in theory also provides access to Open Source virtualization technologies on PPC, Open Source graphics drivers, Open Source operating system and even the chassis is easy to open. :-) I am told the system is incredibly quiet which is also a bit of a strange twist for a Power compatible system with a price point of less than two grand. I can't wait to get one.
You know you've hit geek'ish mainstream when you are featured in Popular Mechanics. This months magazine features an article of how to install and boot Linux on a PS3 - "Turn Your PS3 into a Computer". They also have an article - "How the PS3 Helped Build the World's Fastest Supercomputer" referring to IBM provided "Roadrunner" hybrid AMD and Cell Broadband Engine cluster delivered to Los Alamos National Lab. Doesn't get much more mainstream than that!
Community work on PPC has continued as well. A fair number of the major community-based distributions have continued or added support for PPC. Some support levels have changed a bit, but it continues to be the 3rd major architecture receiving support from the likes of Debian, Fedora, OpenSuSE, Gentoo, Slackware and even after all of the controversy, Ubuntu still carries "community supported" PPC and PS3 images for their latest releases. Last I checked CentOS was adding 64-bit support for PPC as well.
Key Open Source projects that have historically been a gap for PPC have released support in the last year or so - some examples include Gnash, OpenVZ, ffmpeg, LSB testing suite, to name just a few.
So my friends, while Linux on PPC may have seemed to have gone quiet, there has actually been a lot going on and people continue to innovate.[Read More]