Putting together a top ten list is harder than it appears, as we havejust found out. How does one decide between articles that got a lot ofpositive comments, but maybe not so many pageviews (and the other way around)? Between stand-alone articles, and series (which had longer timeto gain momentum)? Between articles which were posted early in the year,and those which were posted very recently?
In the end, decide we did, on the basis of a number of criteria, bothsubjective and non-; but primarily the considerations listed above (pageviews, comments, date of posting and number of articles in the series, and merit). Keep in mind that the real point of the list is not apopularity contest, but rather to bring you the articles of 2005 that youwould probably enjoy reading -- for the first time if you missed them, oragain if you didn't. We begin, as is customary, at number 10:
ThePower Architecture Community Newsletter
Twice each month, the zone newsletter rolls up all the goodness that hasbeen published to the zone lately (in case you missed that) into
onepage, then lets you know about it viaemail. Never be without the latest PowerPCprocessor tips (from the IBM PowerPC Applications team), powerpapers and downloads or newsagain!
For the most part, we excluded "landing pages" from the competition --but in this case, we made an exception. From PowerPC
970FX and 750GXevaluation kits to trial versions of XLC and XLFortran and from Open SystemCmodels for the 405 and 440 cores to SLOFOpen Firmware, you'll find all the Power Architecture-relateddownloads (including the new CellBE SDK) on this very popular zone page.
The Power Architecture Challenge
In which we ask you to wrap your considerable powers of creative thinkingaround an often silly technical problem usually involving microprocessors;the better to keep in mind that often a new approach is what's needed insolving old or challenging problems (or sometimes just in an attempt tobring a smile to the standard workday). The most popular installments in
the series include A"MAD" (-like) look at eBooks and Coolingdown hot processors.
Meetthe Experts and Directionsintroduce you to the engineers, partners, and others involved with theevolution of Power Architecture technology. The most popular include AlexChow on CBE programming models, ArndBergmann on SPUFS and Cell BE, TheMambo team on the IBM Full-System Simulator, and PaulE. McKenney on Realtime Linux. Actually, make that three -- threeseries -- each with a slightly different style.
Though they are considered by some to be "dinosaurs," the IBM mainframesare actually at the cutting edge of systems design, and their best ideasoften trickle down into IBM's Power Architecture family of processors. Thepremise of this series is that learning from mainframe history can saveembedded architects time and money, and can help them avoid repeating pastmistakes; the installments
Part 6:The IBM PCIXCC cryptographic coprocessor and Part 5:Intro to crypto, from Egypt through Enigma were particularly popular.
Championing the idea that the best standards are open standards, PeterSeebach each month introduces us to individual standards like for instance
USBand UWB,or discusses standards-related issues like earlyadoption: good or bad? or de-factostandards: do they count? or DRM.
We have run three series which could qualify for this title (actually,one stand-alone article and two series) and all have been equallystunningly popular. The world thirsts for an affordable PowerPC-baseddevelopment machine, and the ones described in
PowerPCdevelopment from the bargain basement and Anembedded view of the Mac Mini and Multifunctionmultimedia machine have all been -- or are presumably in danger of being --discontinued. Who will step up to take their place?
- Migrating from x86 to PowerPC
Not only do we hunger for affordable PowerPC systems, we also thirst forlow-level information about the nuts and bolts of PowerPC development:things like the
Anatomyof the Linux boot process, and Open Firmware, and PowerPC Assembly. Bythe time the next (and final) installment of this series -- Migrating fromx86 to PowerPC Part 9 -- is posted, your PPC-based submarine should beready for a test run in real conditions. But don't despair that the seriesis winding down: If you liked Migrating from x86 to PowerPC (and you knowyou did!) you will love the series Lewin has in store next.
- Cell BroadbandEngine resource center
If we hadn't put all of the Cell BE-related articles under a singlecategory they wouldn't have gotten a fair shake in the results: having --most of them -- been posted so recently. Yet the resource center itselfand many of the individual articles scored quite high; among them
Unleashing the power of the Cell Broadband Engine, based on AlexChow's presentation of Cell BE programming models made at MPR's FallProcessor Forum; as well, the aforementioned Meetthe experts: the Mambo team; also Getstarted with the Cell BE SDK Part 1: Installing the Cell BroadbandEngine programming environment (and of course the Cell BE SDK) itself.You will find them all -- and those that were posted too late to consider-- at the Cell Broadband Engine resource center: your one-stop destinationWeb-wide for all things CBE.
And the number one destination at the Power Architecture zone is:
And in particular, the
CellBroadband Engine forum. In this case, we were quite torn. First wesaid, "Wait a minute! it's a forums interface! By virtue of itsvery nature, of course it gets more pageviews than anything else."But then to be fair we answered ourselves, "Yes, but remember that theforums didn't launch until April -- and the Cell BE forum not until August-- and still they are stunningly popular, even in spite of that handicap."At which we capitulated and said, "You are right, of course. And of course the reason that they are so stunningly popular is that they are populated byreal IBM experts who are willing to answer your real questions, and theyare truly the ones who make Power Architecture and Cell BE stuff happen,and they truly do deserve the No. 1 spot." To them, to the forummoderators, and to all of you who have made the IBM developerWorks PowerArchitecture zone a regular or irregular destination on your travelsthrough the cyberwilds in 2005, we wish you happy holidays anda happy new year! --Nora Mikes