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Linux support for PPC endangered

29 Mar in Fedora, Programming, Ubuntu, Linux

I can remember days not that long ago when YellowDog Linux was the best option (and nearly only option) for running Linux on PPC based machines. It seems there is evidence to indicate a trend back in that direction.

Douglas Mencken reports that GNU/Linux Distros Silently Drop PowerPC. Quoting Mencken "The strangest thing, though, is the total lack of official information about this subject. They are deprecating the entire architecture silently; no announcements, no press-releases, nothing."

Mencken further notes indication that apparently for OpenSUSE, PPC accounts for less than 1% of traffic. This is not terribly surprising given Apple's move to run on Intel hardware. I strongly suspect just as YellowDog did, there will be a Linux distribution that runs well on PPC.


Fedora Secondary Architectures

Within Fedora, PPC support is changing but has not been dropped. Fedora has moved PPC and PPC64 to a secondary architecture (SA) status, now that the SA procedures have been ironed out. This moves the build and QA activity to a platform-specific SA team (similar to a SIG) that is familiar with the specifics of building and running on that particular platform. There are Fedora SA groups for Sparc, ARM, S/390, and more, and there are automated tools that are used to follow the primary arch builds on the secondary arch build farms (i.e., as packages are built for the PAs they are automatically built for the SAs).

I think this change to SA status is only reasonable considering that the other SAs have user counts similar to (or larger than) that of PPC, and that none of the SAs has anywhere near the user base of i386/x86_64. However, the move to SA is far from dropping support for the architecture.

-Chris Tyler.

Thanks for clarifying Fedora's status Chris

Sounds like it is a quite reasonable change and nothing to be alarmed about - at least from a Fedora perspective. We really appreciate the update and explanation of Fedora's secondary architecture handling.