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IBM Businesses Apple

IBM Open Source Firmware Download for PowerPC 36

Nora writes "IBM developerWorks has posted an open source Slimline Open Firmware (SLOF) download intended to aid the development of operating systems and virtualization layers for PowerPC-based machines. One thing that's kind of neat about it is that it is under a pretty liberal "BSD-like" license -- something I have not often seen IBM do. If I am not much mistaken (and please correct me if I am), this license makes it compatible with both GPL'd and BSD'd projects, among others. And in the interest of full disclosure, I'd like to add that I *am* affiliated with the developerWorks site."
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IBM Open Source Firmware Download for PowerPC

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  • I wonder if this has anything to do with Apple's recent *ahem* announcement.
    • As a G5 1600 owner, I don't know what the heck it means but its cool to hear something "positive" about PowerPC recently.

      You know, they are expensive, hot , slow etc, Steve says so
  • Very relevant.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kawika ( 87069 ) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @04:56PM (#12761787)
    ...until this Monday's announcement by Apple. Are a lot of developers going to want to pour their souls into code that will decrease in relevance and market size over the next five years?
    • I respectfully disagree. I think it is relevant, and that developers will put effort into making use of it.

      Think of all the XBoxes running Linux distros currently. The new XBoxes are going to have 3 970 chips in them -- that's a hella-powerful box for $399.

      If I'm not mistaken, the code released by IBM will help developers port OSs for the processor. How long until someone uses it to port Windows or (gasp) OS X to the XBox, among other game consoles and devices using the 970 processor?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I don't think that the two things (the Apple announcement and the Open Firmware download) are in any way related. To paraphrase an earlier post, I think the timing is too close for it to be anything *more* than coincidence.I could be totally wrong though =)

        But don't forget that one of the largest markets for PowerPC (if not "the" largest) is in embedded -- often deeply embedded. That's an environment where writing your own firmware and/or OS is more relevant -- and one of the reasons it seems particular

      • You can't port an OS that you don't have the source code for to a hardware platform that you don't have the specs for.

        And for the nth time, the Xbox 360 does not use 970s.
      • If I'm not mistaken, the code released by IBM will help developers port OSs for the processor. How long until someone uses it to port Windows

        Most of the people with access to the full windows source code probably have access to the the full xbox specs as well. Unless you think open firmware is the only thing that's preventing legions of hackers from porting the leaked windows source code to PPC.

      • None of the game consoles are using 970s. The processors in the game consoles will have significantly less integer power than the 970, which makes them far less attractive for multitasking, multi-user desktop computing.

        The lead engineer of the Cell project spoke at my university a while back. He pointed out that the flight simulator demo on the cell ran 50 times faster than it did on the 970 where they developed it, but the Cell was somewhat slower than the 970 on integer benchmarks.
    • PPC Open firmware... Flash PS3 with new firmware... Cheap Cell based Linux box...

      Naw, never mind, you are probably right. Most likely, nobody will want to do anything with the 20 million PPC boxes coming out over the next few years. Nobody ever uses hardware in unintended ways.

      Not that I am suggesting that this will be something that can be put directly on a PS3, but it may prove interesting, and educational to people wanting to make low level software...
    • Don't count all the chickens yet. Be may be up for a come-back. There need not be only one CPU, and people are wising up to the speed-chase crack games that go on, with all the blinky pixels..

      Put Be in a dual-PPC, portable, system, such as (but only similar to) the PSP/DS scenario, and we may not be so bothered with 'desktop winners and losers' any more, war-wise ...

      Same with Linux of course, and all its buildkits-de-jour among the CPU-du-jour folks..

      Oh, and one more thing: Apple taking over x86 is bec
    • The SLOF firmware was never relevant to Macs, thus it cannot become less relevant.

      Meanwhile Apple's announcement has no effect on the embedded market that SLOF is intended for.
  • One thing that's kind of neat about it is that it is under a pretty liberal "BSD-like" license -- something I have not often seen IBM do.

    IBM's pretty serious about releasing things to the public community:

    Am I missing some? Unless you're talking about it being more liberal than GPL, then I might agree with you.
  • Would this help PearPC (and countless commercian vendors) any? Or is it for making virtualizations, say of x86, on PPC? It sounds more like the latter, but for some reason, that also seems like it might be a good thing...

  • PowerPC != Apple (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IntergalacticWalrus ( 720648 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:02PM (#12774374)
    And this is in the Apple section because...?

    Anyway, I guess soon generic PowerPC articles won't be dumped into the Apple section anymore. Heh.
  • Sounds like this might come in handy for putting linux on the xbox 360.

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?