Re: Phase 5 Statement on Linux for PowerPC

Subject: Re: Phase 5 Statement on Linux for PowerPC
From: Adrian Cox (
Date: Thu Aug 19 1999 - 03:02:33 MDT

Jeramy B Smith wrote:
> I emailed Phase 5 ( about possibly making CHRP motherboards
> for the purpose of running Linux for PowePC and recieved a pleasant
> response. Phase 5 is a well known maker of PPC accelerators for Macs and
> Amigas.

What the IBM reference design doesn't address is actually the hardest
part: building a complete workstation with a modern graphics system.

There are three problems:
1) If you use plug-in graphics cards, you get a lot more choice with
AGP. The IBM chipset doesn't have AGP.
2) Most graphics boards require you to execute x86 BIOS code. This makes
your boot firmware even more complicated, as it probably has to contain
Gabriel Paubert's x86 emulator. I don't think IBM even supply any
reference firmware, certainly not any that can execute x86 code.
2a) Or you need a deal with a graphics chip vendor under NDA. If you are
not Apple, you are probably too small to keep their attention.
3) If you integrate a PCI graphics chipset, you're probably stuck with a
low performance C&T or similar chipset, which will not give you
3a) 2a applies to 3a.

Most of the VME/CPCI PowerPC systems use serial consoles for this
reason. Even MCG have stuck with supporting one or two low-performance
graphics chip.
If I'm too pessimistic, tell me the graphics chip vendor who's actually

- Adrian Cox, AG Electronics

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