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elwood73
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 5:26 pm    Post subject: How has PPC limited your choices? Reply with quote

I am currently in the market for a laptop and am leaning towards PPC. To all you PPC users I must ask, how has your PPC architecture limited you? I am especially thinking of software choices/options but any other relevant comments would be welcome.
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HighOnBonsai
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It depends on what you actually need.

The only real limitation I have felt so far, was the driver support (no drivers for the ATI graphics card in my powerbook). Another thing that didn't work: A Netgear WLAN PCMCIA - still buggy drivers... But it is getting better and better: This week I patched my kernel to get "sleep" working :-)

The other stuff I need works fine - there are some binary-only applications around, i know. But for this application there is usually also a OS solution (e.g. Acrobat Reader).

Linux on PPC is in general a safe thing - but it depends on what particular software you need!


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iTux
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

I bought a iBook G3 700MHz about ~ 2 years ago. The only hardware/driver issue is external video outputs.

If you browse this forum, with modern hardware, the main issue currently seems to be the airport extreme (g) wireless card (no drivers). The normal airport (b) works fine. As it is the case for hardware (whether x86, ppc or other), you need to search if compatible.

About ATI drivers, are accelerated videos drivers really an issue... I am using WindowMaker and my GUI is more responsive than OS X. I guess it depends what you are doing? Even if binary ATI drivers would be available, I would probably not install them because I'm lazy :)

Software:

I cannot think of any issue with open source software.

But very few binary-only software are compiled for ppc.

No Acrobat Reader but usually can be subst for xpdf and gv, not a big issue. If you install OS X, it has Acrobat Reader.

No Sun's JDK. There is an IBM JDK. I didn't do Java dev on this machine. So could not tell if big problem, I guess it depends.

Macromedia Flash - you cannot see all the ads without it. :) Possible to emulate with qemu.

Proprietary video formats. On Linux/x86 the Windows dll are used. I don't think a hack to use OS X dylibs have been done yet. So, if you want to watch movies in Quicktime (Apple's format) in Linux, don't buy hardware from Apple, buy x86 hardware :)

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toojays
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like others have said, it really depends on what kind of things you want to do with your computer. One thing about Linux on PPC is that it is not a market that many proprietry software companies are interested in. So it kind of enforces you to use Free Software. Of course if you like freedom, that may be a good thing. So I guess your question could (almost but not really) be rephrased as "how has freedom limited you?"

But to be pragmatic and not so idealistic . . . one of the good things about an Apple laptop compared to a Wintel is it comes with many possibilities built-in. But if you choose freedom, you lose some of these. So it can be frustrating. But if you come from Wintel or x86-Linux land, you may be used to that, so maybe won't notice.

I think I'm rambling now, so should stop typing. If you ask more specific questions, I'm sure we can give you more specific answers. :)
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Eldomir
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with previous posters: it mostly depends on wether the advantages are more than the disadvantages, and that mostly depends on your needs and tastes. It took me a long time to decide wether to buy a PPC or Intel laptop, because of that reason: it does limit your choices in software and hardware, and you have to adapt to it and spend time finding the right things for your system.

I don't know if this will help, but 6 months after buying an ibook G4, I am extremely happy with my decision. I now have a dual booting OSX/Gentoo system that fulfills all my needs, and the best hardware I've ever used by far. I've had to be careful with the software, had to wait for some drivers, and things like that, but I've freed myself from many other things that I hated before. I had bought Intel laptops before (and was quite happy with my IBM Thinkpad), but they had nothing to do with this. Definitely worth it for me. In fact, I doubt I will buy anything else again.
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boojummy
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been using Gentoo on a 450 MHz G4 for over a year now. Gentoo breathed new life into this machine! I was able to cut out all of the eye-candy (I use fluxbox) and I have quite a responsive machine, considering its age. I didn't even have to give up the MacOS-- I can run OS9 and OSX from within Linux with MOL. And now I have a huge library of great software, for free.

There are a few tradeoffs. Occasionally, I run into bugs in programs that are usually attributed to endianness problems, most particularly with audio programs. Rosegarden was one, although I have not tried it within recent months, so this problem may be fixed. Flash does not work, which as a previous poster mentioned, means that I don't have to watch all of those Flash ads ;). But seriously, it would be nice to have Flash for PPC (I've signed all of the relevant petitions, and even wrote to the company).

Other than that, there's not much else you lose. Finding compatible hardware can be a pain sometimes (e.g., a compatible RAID card), and support for bleeding-edge hardware can be slow at times. But in return you end with a nicely-engineered piece of hardware with a great OS, and in some ways your hardware horizons are broadened.

Once I got my iPod working with Linux, I had no reason for going back. IMHO, using an iPod is BETTER under Linux!

Good luck,
-b
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Elsipkitch9809
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I agree with the previous posters. It all depends on what you do, what you need to do, and what you like to do.

I'm still stuck in a school where they value java as the development language, so I have to use the pc labs (gah, I hate windows) just to do my work. IBM released a jdk, but... it has its fair share of problems, especially for this semester (game programming class I have needs java 1.4 stuff, half of which crashes IBM's jdk). However, once I am free of these classes I hope to never have to touch a java compiler again, as I'm mainly a C++/python person (though being able to play java applet games on yahoo games would be a nicety).

There's also the sad state of flash support :( I have a collection of my favorite flash movies, but watching them with a fully linux drive gets difficult (I got sick of dual booting). In the end though, both java and flash (to me) are like entertainment devices (except for that class). More like conveniences, rather than necessities. I love developing, and so long as my sound chip keeps working under linux (albeit through an antiquated sound mixer--esound), I can listen to my favorite tunes as I program.

So it does go back to what you use your laptop for. I'm saving up for more ram for my ibook g4 so I can run mol off of a block device on my hard drive--cheap apple only gives you 256 to start :( Anyhoo, hope that gave another perspective on things.


Last edited by Elsipkitch9809 on Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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Elsipkitch9809
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh yeah, one more thing that you may find important: games.

While there are many games for linux already, most (if not a hefty percent of them) are x86 games. So no winex games, and no games that were ported to linux, just not *ppc-linux*.

Also, the state of emulation is pretty beat for ppc too. There are emulators for n64 and playstation, even plenty of great nes emulators, but unfortunately a lot of developers for emulation choose to do assembly... :( I hope and pray a day comes when someone will port a genesis/mega cd/sega cd emulator, or a sega saturn one. I have some games from those systems that I'd like to play.

If I have some time after I finish my playstation emu that I'm (slowly, due to getting my degree) writing and some of the other projects I want to do, I thought about porting the core to gens, but I dunno, haven't looked at it in too much depth.

Anyway, the coolest open source emu still works great under ppc though: snes9x, plus visualboyadvance works good too. Fceultra...well, its getting better, haven't tried the vanilla version for a while


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soujirou
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eh ? snes9x works under PPC ?

the package is blocket.. and i cant run it even if i install it
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Elsipkitch9809
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, snes9x should work under ppc, it doesn't depend on any x86 specific code to run (maybe it uses some on x86 machines to speed up various parts, but its still rather fast in plain vanilla C++). It is masked to be sure (dunno why really), but I know it does run, since I used it this summer to play through star ocean 1 on my ibook. I also installed snes9express when I used it, so I wouldn't have to keep on passing a huge list of parameters to the program every time.

Just add games-emulation/snes9x to your /etc/portage/package.keywords file and you won't need to worry about maskedness.
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iTux
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Is gaming such a big issue? I thought that there was almost no games for Linux, I mean, people that intend to play a lot of games in the first place need a Windows PC not a Gentoo PC or Gentoo PowerPC, no? :)

Anyway, I just want to add that I already added a PC. So this also helped in favour of the PowerPC (why have 2 computers the same arch).

Also, PowerPC laptops also have hardware advantage i.e. high performance per power consumption ratio. I don't know however how this ratio compares with the Centrino chipset though but definitely a hardware advantage over non-Centrinos if you favour mobility.

The last point that made me choose the PowerPC was that it came with Mac OS X and I was curious to see how it looked like.


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VanDan
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 10:47 am    Post subject: Binary-only stuff Reply with quote

I've been bitten by the binary-only thing.

I'm teaching myelf Perl ... slowly ( see http://entropy.homelinux.org/Gtk2-Ex-DBI/ for my first open-source project ). I bought a Personal license for ActiveState's Komodo - a Perl IDE. It absolutely rocks. Problem is that they don't wanna to an OS-X or LinuxPPC version of it, so the best I can do is emulation. I can run VirtualPC and install the Windows version, or use QEMU. I haven't tried either yet, but my hunch is that they'll be jaw-droppingly slow - Komodo is already pretty damned slow as is.

Unfortunately for me, I've decided to throw myself into Perl, and not much else other than Perl, so my shiny new Powerbook is only good for surfing the net or playing mp3s.

Maybe I'll try some C programming soon.

But yeah - LinuxPPC is not a smart option if you want to run any commercial apps.
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zecora
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am going to pick up my new powerbook today :)
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emes
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems like linux users who have never used macs before getting powerbooks as laptops is the new cool thing :)
I too am planning on getting a powerbook in a few months (never owned a mac before), mostly so that if I cant get something I need (i.e. dvi-out or touchpad) working on linux,
I'll have a useable operating system that I could boot to. If I had an x86 laptop and had to boot windows, I would have to defenestrate either myself or the laptop :)
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The java thing actually has been a nuisance for me. :-( And I don't like not being able to use wine. And also, support for a lot of emulators is lacking. Also, you can pretty much count out any binary software provided for "linux"; for some reason commercial vendors act like linux for ppc doesn't even exist (even though it's really very little work to get most programs to run on it). But...overall the benefits are huge. One program I love is mol--it's like an opensource vmware for mac, it works beautifully for running OS 9 or OS X. Also, I think performance for your money is superior than on x86 hardware. I just got a G3 blue and white for free, 350mhz, 512MB RAM.

I've actually never had any hardware that didn't work on my ppc hardware under linux, but I have only two highly standardized blue& white G3 boxes. The biggest beef for me is that I find myself having to unmask unstable packages pretty often when I want newer versions of things (i.e. firefox 1.0, even well after it had been unmasked for x86). But that could be solved with more people testing. Overall, the unstable packages don't seem to cause too many problems for me.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cazort wrote:
The java thing actually has been a nuisance for me. :-( And I don't like not being able to use wine. And also, support for a lot of emulators is lacking. Also, you can pretty much count out any binary software provided for "linux"; for some reason commercial vendors act like linux for ppc doesn't even exist (even though it's really very little work to get most programs to run on it). But...overall the benefits are huge. One program I love is mol--it's like an opensource vmware for mac, it works beautifully for running OS 9 or OS X. Also, I think performance for your money is superior than on x86 hardware. I just got a G3 blue and white for free, 350mhz, 512MB RAM.

I've actually never had any hardware that didn't work on my ppc hardware under linux, but I have only two highly standardized blue& white G3 boxes. The biggest beef for me is that I find myself having to unmask unstable packages pretty often when I want newer versions of things (i.e. firefox 1.0, even well after it had been unmasked for x86). But that could be solved with more people testing. Overall, the unstable packages don't seem to cause too many problems for me.


For hardware support the G3 iBooks are the best choice (but apple doesn't sell them anymore for some time).
I have an iBook G3 800 MHz. Sleep works, WLAN works, sound works. The ATI Radeon 7500 has an open source driver in the kernel.
TV-out does not work, but I never needed it. Don't know if the modem works.

The few problems I have are software-specific: no flash, no 1.4 java plugin. Some sound programs only give white noise due to ignorance of big-endian systems. Most binary-only applications do not have a PPC-Linux version, like mupad, maple, etc.
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for this thread.. I just installed on my iBook and was looking for some ups and downs...
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