Bonuses for big-endian


As I recover from the flu and from my apoplexy over a local plumber who has stood me up for four days in a row, there's at least some good news for those of you who like big ends and cannot lie.

First, Void Linux for PowerPC reports that all available 64-bit big-endian (ppc64) and 32-bit PowerPC packages have been built, bringing them to near-parity with ppc64le. Of all total Void packages available, 32-bit ppc-musl has the lowest percentage of buildable packages, but even that is an impressively robust 88.28%. 32-bit ppc with glibc is at 88.79%, ppc64-musl at 90.15% and ppc64 at 90.49% (compare to 64-bit little-endian musl at 93.76% and glibc at 94.64%). As many 32-bit PowerPC users, particularly Power Mac owners, are looking for current supported browser options, Firefox isn't available on 32-bit (due to an xptcall issue), but WebKit and various derivatives (such as Midori and various other shells) are as well as NetSurf. (G5 owners can run Firefox on ppc64.) Chromium isn't available on any of the ports, but this seems fitting.

Secondly, someone pointed me at a distribution I hadn't encountered before called PowerEL, from VanTosh. PowerEL seems to be ultimately a Red Hat descendant and states it is ABI compatible with RHEL, but claims it derives other attributes from other distributions and has a list of repos you can browse. What I found most notable is that it offers support for big-endian POWER8 and up as well as little-endian POWER8/9 and Intel x86_64 with AVX. Note that I haven't tried booting this on a Talos II or Blackbird and it isn't clear to me how workstation-suitable it is; additionally, the internal version number suggests it's derived from RHEL 7 (not the current 8) which possibly explains why it still has big-endian support. If you use PowerEL or have tried it, post your impressions in the comments.

Comments

  1. Keep in mind that there may be assorted endian related issues in various parts of the stack. For example, GNOME3 does not work (there is some endian bug in something handling the session; it doesn't work on other distros either), though its applications and assorted components (e.g. Mutter) do work individually etc.. they're still being built in order to ensure that at least that much works, but it's not possible to test everything. However, I hope with help of the community, we can get these issues gradually ironed out. At very least one can definitely get a more or less fully working choice of desktop stack (Xfce, KDE, MATE etc. all work) as well as applications for most tasks. I think we're also the only distro to currently have working javascript on 32-bit PowerPC with WebKit, as I took care to get that patched a couple months ago. Adélie does not package Gtk WebKit as far as I know, and their Qt version is currently outdated even compared to the 5.212 version, which itself is on par with upstream from 2013... though know awilfox has been attempting to get the current development version working, with my patch.

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    1. We have 5.212 git master running on ppc64 now. Haven't tried it on ppc32 yet. It browses the Web and can do pretty heavy stuff (like GitLab and WaPo), but doesn't work with media (AUDIO/VIDEO tags aren't supported but this is an upstream issue, nothing specific to PowerPC).

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    2. q66

      Is there possibility to get your diffs for 32-bit PowerPC for WebKit , so they can be applied for WebKit ports on other OSes ?

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  2. q66

    I am with kas1e question. Please help us.

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