I'm very pleased to introduce you to developerWorks' newest contentarea, dedicated to all things POWER and PowerPC. The Power Architecturecommunity is multifarious, spanning individuals who work for the originalAIM (Apple, IBM, and Motorola) alliance, as well as microprocessortechnologists, OEMs, embedded designers, but also toolsmiths, electricalengineers, software developers, administrators, university researchers --in short, everybody who works with POWER or PowerPC or relatedtechnologies every day.
Power Architecture applications are as eclectic as those who vivifythem: our processors, coprocessors, microcontrollers, and chipsets are not only amazingly adaptable and backwards-compatible, they powerthe world, and are found in everything from high-end and entry-level UNIXservers and workstations, to traffic lights and automobiles, routers and desktops, supercomputers and cell phones.
Our job is to provide and create new and lasting resources for everysegment of this wider community. The primary goal of the PowerArchitecture zone -- like any other developerWorks content area --is to provide the best possible technical resource for developers anddesigners. Expect articles on SoC and ASIC design, assembly language, IBM's fabulous fab, embedded systems (including coverage of realtime andLinux OSs), SIMD extensions (aka AltiVec, VMX and Velocity Engine), as wellas analysis, verification and testing via EDA tools both proprietary andopen, and more.
Whether you are primarily concerned with 8-bit microcontrollers or64-bit dual-core POWER5 servers, we know that other things are importantas well. Designers have to know more about software, IP, licensing,emerging markets, and other issues than they ever have before, andsoftware developers (and others too) need to know more about hardware.
No less an authority than RichardStallman once wrote (coincidentally, it was about five years ago, justaround the time that developerWorks premiered on the Web),"Whether or not a hardware device's internal design is free,it is absolutely vital for its interface specifications to be free. Wecan't write free software to run the hardware without knowing how tooperate it. (Selling a piece of hardware, and refusing to tell thecustomer how to use it, strikes me as unconscionable.)"
The Power Architecture has, of course, always been open in this way. Because it is an open specification, anyone can make compatibleprocessors or components. And because the technology is not controlled by a single entity, the Power Architecture community isprotected from having to rely on the whims and foibles -- not to mention the roadmap -- of just one company.
Now is an exciting time for the Power Architecture community. Because while its specification and interfaces have been open since its inception -- there are signs thatIBMis planning to open the architecture to community collaboration. Althoughdetails have yet to be announced, you can already sign up forthe Power Architecture Community and get in on the ground floor, so tospeak.
Our articles will help you to navigate those changes once theyare announced in detail (watch this space for news of that aswell). We will also help you to navigate the standards and documentationthat already exist, and explore existing free and open hardware projects,as well as open and free (and even proprietary) software for EDA and ECAD, simulation,manufacture, and testing.
And we will point you to the best resources Web-wide, including ourown. IBM is a large organization (and sometimes, it seems, an even largerWeb site). We will help you to navigate it, too, pointing you to the resources youneed to know about, and to the documentation, the answers, or thepeople you need within it. Technical experts are at your disposal in theforum, or via the Aska Power Architecture expert interface (registration is required forboth of those). And the Power Architecture editors are at your disposalvia email.
developerWorks has a strong tradition of publishingtechnical papers and howtos with an emphasis on open source and openstandards. Although some people may have forgotten that these are alsoimportant in the realm of hardware, we have not.
So stay a while and get to know us. You will find that over the comingmonths and years our brilliant and well-written articles on all of thesetopics will prove a respite when work gets stressful; our forums andblogs will entice you to participate -- and our invitations to write for us, or to take our Power Architecturechallenge will prove irresistable. At least, we seriously hope they will, and want to hear about it if they do not!
Also watch this space. I will use it to point to news and events bothimportant and engaging, as well as to post reader letters, and coverupcoming features and issues of interest to readers. It will basicallyserve as another line of communication, and it is one that not manyeditors have the luxury of having (yet). It is just another example of howthe Internet is different from any other medium, and another example ofwhat I like best about it. For the best thing about the Internet, for me,is the way it enables one to interact wth people. And from what I haveseen so far, I couldn't have asked for a friendlier and more competent group of people to be given tointeract with. Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you. Return to the Power Architecture zone