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Showing posts from October, 2018

Ubuntu 18.10 now available


As reported in the official announcement, Ubuntu 18.10 is now out of beta and with many useful changes. A server install ISO image is available for ppc64le, which you can then convert to the desktop flavour.

MXE fix for ppc64le


One of my favourite tools is MXE, which ably builds Windows applications on your platform of choice as shown in the screenshot, and offers many libraries and toolks such as SDL, SDL2, Qt and NSIS. (I use it for OverbiteNX, for example.) However, the current version does not build on ppc64le because the gcc cross-compiler needs a later patch for POWER8+ which wasn't backported. Now it's been backported. While waiting for the pull request to enter the main tree, you can pull from our Github fork if you want to try it now.

The Talos II really performs nicely in QEMU, even with pure TCG emulation of the x86. ReactOS boots very smoothly on it.

Initial Blackbird specifications announced


Raptor in a series of tweets has made initial announcements about the specifications of the new Blackbird system. As expected, it is a single POWER9 CPU system with two ECC DDR4 2.666GHz RAM slots, two PCI slots (x16 and x8), onboard HDMI via an AST2500, same NIC as the Talos II, 4x onboard SATA and 5.1 sound with S/PDIF out. Combined with an estimated under 100W power consumption (with a 4-core CPU), which is very welcome, and you have a system that can live in many more settings than a desktop workstation. Maximum core count was not yet announced, but our guess is that the Blackbird will top out at 8, nor a price.

We're planning to preorder one of these and we'll review it (and compare it with the big T2) here.

Update: A Raptor Wiki entry is now available which seems to confirm that 8 cores is the limit on this machine "due to power delivery limitations." In addition, 8-core systems have a slightly slower all-core turbo frequency. Raptor says on Twitter they "should in fact be able to support the full 8 core device at listed clock speeds."

Raptor confirms Talos II not subject to Supermicro chip hack


Bloomberg dropped a bomb earlier today alleging Chinese state actors compromised thousands of Supermicro motherboards by infiltrating the supply chain to insert tiny, almost undetectable chips as exfiltration hardware. The chips, manufactured by the Chinese military, were designed to look like innocuous board components but actually contained memory, networking and sufficient processing power to apparently exploit the machine's BMC at a very low level. The devices could literally do almost anything, and do so in a way that could be nearly undetectable.

It should be said in the interest of journalistic accuracy that Apple, which jettisoned Supermicro servers from its data centers for reasons it said were unrelated to this issue in 2016 and disputes the account, and Amazon, which vehemently denied the report, have both attacked the article (as well as Supermicro, of course). Nevertheless, we are informed by Raptor today that the Raptor systems, from the Talos II to the brand-new Blackbird, are designed and manufactured in the United States and are not subject to this issue. In addition, Raptor verifies manufactured boards against their own schematics, and OpenBMC as used in the T2 family is completely open-source. The Supermicro case that the T2 comes in has not been reported to be affected, and so far no malicious components have been identified in the power supplies or power routing systems, nor are we able to currently detect any in our system at Floodgap Talospace.

"Tiny Talos" reveal scheduled for tomorrow


The mATX "Tiny Talos" has a reveal date tomorrow at OpenPOWER, and seems to have an official name: Blackbird.

Updated: It's official! Specs to follow.