[rescue] your next Solaris machine ??? (Sol/x86 booting on iMac)

Michael-John Turner mj at turner.org.za
Fri Apr 14 05:55:16 CDT 2006

On Fri, Apr 14, 2006 at 09:47:49AM +0000, Peter Corlett wrote:
> I imagine that Apple have now ceased production of PPC machines and are now
> selling off old stock. Of the top of my head, I can't think of anybody else
> who is making PPC workstations.

Well, IBM are still producing POWER-based workstations and they are cousins
of the PowerPC (they also sell some systems based on the PPC970, which is
the G5 if I'm not mistaken). Genesi (http://www.genesippc.com/) also sell
workstations based on the PowerPC, mostly aimed at the GNU/Linux market
(IIRC there was a wrangle a while back with the OpenBSD port).

> It seems a bit daft to create a new operating system for a machine that is
> not being made any more. Supporting all those old architectures is dragging
> Debian down, I note. There's a reason why Ubuntu can release more often when
> it's supporting PPC and two x86 flavours compared to 12 architectures, one
> of which won't even fit in my house.

Well, I think it's not only that. My understanding is that Ubuntu's core
focus is the set of packages that go on the CD, rather than all the
packages that Debian does (12 or so CDs as of 3.1, if I'm not mistaken). If
packages in Ubuntu universe have release critical bugs, they won't prevent
an Ubuntu release. Well, that's my understanding.

I think porting operating systems to no-longer available CPUs is a valuable
exercise. For example, NetBSD provides a means to use older SPARC machines
that Solaris no longer supports. Same with VAXen, older SGIs, etc. Heck,
it's the only currently supported open source OS that does SMP on 32-bit
SPARC (the Linux 2.4 kernel also does, but it's now depracated - AFAIK 2.6
is still broken in this regard).

> It would be rather cute to see Solaris/PPC, but realistically, I'd install
> it on a Firewire disk on my Mac, play with it for a few hours, then stuff it
> back into the cupboard never to be looked at again. I've got a real SPARC
> box knocking around for Solaris.

There is a project to port OpenSolaris to PPC (http://www.blastware.org/),
but I have my doubts that Sun will release a port under their branding.

Michael-John Turner | http://weblogs.turner.org.za/mj/
mj at turner.org.za    | Open Source in WC ZA - http://www.clug.org.za/

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