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Apple Businesses Software Linux

Terra Soft Reveals Linux/PPC Hardware Solution 192

Posted by pudge
from the only-if-i-can-get-it-in-teal-or-raspberry dept.
Gentu writes "OSNews features an article revealing a new product from Terra Soft, makers of the popular PPC Linux distribution Yellow Dog Linux, which effectively enables YDL to run on its own platform. Terra Soft is offering a motherboard and a complete PC based on the 600MHz G3 (G4 is also planned). This is of course still PPC, but it ain't a Mac. However, the article hints that it might be technically possible to run Mac OS and Mac OS X via Mac-On-Linux." Prices start at about $500, with 1U rackmounts starting at $870.
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Terra Soft Reveals Linux/PPC Hardware Solution

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  • not an acronym (Score:3, Informative)

    by green pizza (159161) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:09AM (#4800858) Homepage
    I hate to nitpick... but it's "Mac", not "MAC".

    Mac is short for Macintosh, a series of computers sold by Apple Computer Inc.
  • Specs (Score:5, Informative)

    by green pizza (159161) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:17AM (#4800940) Homepage
    It's the IBM PowerPC 750CXe [ibm.com].

    This is the slightly older version of the PPC 750 "G3". This 750 CXe model has 256 KB of on-die L2 cache and is fabbed at a .18 micron process.

    The newer 750 FX model (as used in the current Apple iBooks) has 512 KB of on-die L2 cache and is fabbed at .13 micron with all of the buzzwords (silicon-on-insulator, etc).

    I belive this board uses PC133 RAM. 133 MHz x 4.5
  • The "new Amiga" ;) (Score:5, Informative)

    by Seehund (86897) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:33AM (#4801070) Homepage Journal
    It's not mentioned in the story, but this board is the Teron CX [mai.com], which is also distributed under the licensed trademark "AmigaOne G3-SE" [eyetech.co.uk].

    There's also a model with the CPU on an exchangeable module, called Teron PX [mai.com] (or "AmigaOne XE" when it's marketed to AmigaOS users). Hopefully we'll see Terrasoft and others selling Teron PX as well, which offers G4 and 750FX (a newer, faster G3 design) CPUs.

    Due to a seriously fscked up compulsory licensing policy [8bit.co.uk] for AmigaOS, that OS will however not be sold separate from licensed hardware and be allowed to be installed on Teron boards from vendors who are not licensed by Amiga, Inc., like Terrasoft.

    P.S. Why is this story under "Apple"? MOL runs fine on these, but come on!
  • Re:OS X (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gropo (445879) <groopo.yahoo@com> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:42AM (#4801152) Homepage Journal
    I'm looking at a whole slew of closed PowerMac auctions on ebaY... 800's go for around $1200 on average... You can even buy Apple logic boards for a little over $120 and roll your own:

    $120 Logic Board

    $80 Hard drive

    $499 800 Mhz PowerPC daughtercard (2Mb DDR L3 cache!)

    $130 Power Supply

    $50 SDRAM

    Total: $879

  • by green pizza (159161) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:09AM (#4801376) Homepage
    (dont ask me how to modify BIOS settings or whatever on a Mac :))

    OpenFirmware, baby! Hope you brushed up on FORTH! :)

    Hit google, lots of stuff on OF out there, it's sort of a standard.
  • by Bobartig (61456) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:44AM (#4801689) Homepage
    You DO know that MacOS no longer uses a hardware bootrom, right? And that you CAN copy the bootROM off of any MacOSX install.

    MacOnLinux actually comes with documentation telling you how to do this, since some people can have trouble getting to bootrom to load off the OSX partition, so they copy it to their linux partition, then tell MOL to load it from there.
  • Re:What's the point? (Score:4, Informative)

    by MarcQuadra (129430) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:54AM (#4801783)
    I've got an EPIA here, running @ 800Mhz, and a G3 at 400, the G3 kicks the bejeezus out of the EPIA hands-down. You can't compare apples and oranges here. Also, GCC isn't NEARLY well suited for obscure chips like the C3 as it is for the mature and very-well documented PPC series (remember, Apple and IBM are both running on breeds of PPC and both have been investing in GCC/Open Source development on the platform). VIA isn't shelling out millions to get GCC to produce highly optimized code on the C3 CPU.
  • by mkldev (219128) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @01:25PM (#4802628) Homepage
    To be pedantic, most of the options that are interesting can be changed with simple shell-like syntax. You only need to know forth if you want to rewrite parts of the "BIOS", for example if you find a bug in the ATA driver in the firmware and want to change it to "think differently".

    Most of the settings that can be changed in a PC BIOS do not need to be changed on a Mac, due to fundamental differences in the interrupt and memory architectures (e.g. there's no such thing as I/O space, and there are enough interrupt lines that IRQ sharring is a non-issue (as in minimum 64, often more).

    The only thing I'm aware of that you can set in BIOS that you might want to change on OF but can't is the clock. Oh well.
  • by Pretender (3940) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @02:29PM (#4803298)
    I ran OS 9 (Classic) under Mac-on-Linux for some time. Anything that didn't require direct hardware access worked pretty much flawlessly; MOL emulates the essential hardware (video, hard drive, input devices, NIC) pretty well. But you wouldn't be able to for example use OpenGL apps. Photoshop ran great but it would never talk to your USB scanner. In this regard it's just a little bit more limited than Classic mode under OS X, though. I never ran OS X under MOL but I assume the limitations are similar. The vast majority of things that run under OS 9 just worked.
  • by Omega996 (106762) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @07:51PM (#4806136)
    new world macs don't have ROMs. no macintosh model made since the beige G3 has ROMs. But the version of Open Firmware has to be able to enumerate the device tree in a fashion that OS X can understand. I notice that the article didn't seem to mention what sort of firmware (PROM, BIOS, etc) these motherboards use...
    i have a 500MHz G3 iMac, among others, and the worst part about it isn't the processor (which encodes MP3s twice as fast as my 933MHz P3 at work), but the half-assed video chipset that came with it. the fact that these boards have an agp slot keeps the machines from being locked into that sort of problem.

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