[GTALUG] Linux on ppc64 (G5) - distro support

Mike el.fontanero at gmail.com
Thu Dec 6 13:19:33 EST 2018

On 12/6/18, Stewart Russell via talk <talk at gtalug.org> wrote:
> Hey - so I picked up a couple of very pretty but backbreakingly-heavy Apple
> G5s - one dual-core, the other dual-processor single core. I know these are
> old machines (2005) and vastly inefficient compared to modern machines:
> there are faster ARM SBCs. G5s make amazing room heaters when they are
> busy.

I do appreciate well-built heavy metal.  I picked up a couple as well.

> Distro support seems to have completely dropped away for these  machines.
> ppc64el is alive and well on IBM servers, but PowerMacs are big-endian.
> Anyone using ppc64 here? What distro would you recommend? Debian used to
> have ppc64 support, but its last release is in LTS with no future releases
> planned.

I got Debian Jessie installed OK.  I had some graphics hassles by
virtue of a kernel upgrade to the 4.9 backport, but got that sorted
out by rebuilding the kernel with slight config redecoration.  It
might just boot X fine with the native Jessie (3.14?) kernel - I
didn't try.

Jessie even manages power and those prodigious fans just nicely.  When
it's all running properly it's even fairly quiet.  With my
not-quite-properly configured kernel, it's gale-force shortly after
boot.  Sounds a lot like a multi-POWER server that I remember a
certain TLUG member working on :-)


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