Porting Linux to the DEC Alpha: The Kernel and Shell
Despite our great progress, much work remains to be done on Linux/Alpha:
As mentioned above, we need to deploy some sort of BIOS-emulation facility so that we can execute the proprietary initialization code on some expansion cards. While initial code exists and works, it does not support the real-mode 32-bit instructions that are used in the BIOSes of some cards.
We need to tackle the great unsolved problem of floating-point exception handling. Programs that are floating-point intensive are not likely to work until this is done.
We need to write a character-cell driver and an X server for the TGA graphics adapter that is provided with Multia and several other Digital Alpha systems.
We desperately need shared libraries! As of this writing, the statically-linked executables in Linux/Alpha are rather large (around 200Kb for a typical utility, several megabytes for the X server). Shared libraries will decrease both disk space requirements and virtual-memory usage.
We need to work on compiler optimizations. The Alpha support in gcc does very good optimizations in some places, not so good in others. In addition, the compiler does not yet take advantage of Alpha's multiple-instruction issue feature. This feature allows more than one instruction to be issued per clock cycle, but only certain combinations are allowed. By carefully rearranging the instructions in the executable, one can take advantage of this feature and achieve significant performance improvements.
All in all, we are excited about the future. Linux/Alpha, even in its relatively primitive state, feels like a real Linux system. Addressing the above areas can only make it better!
Jim Paradis works as a Principal Software Engineer for Digital Equipment Corporation as a member of the Alpha Migration Tools group. Ever since a mainframe system administrator yelled at him in college, he's wanted to have a multiuser, multitasking operating system on his own desktop system. To this end, he has tried nearly every UNIX variant ever produced for PCs, including PCNX, System V, Minix, BSD, and Linux. Needless to say, he likes Linux the best. Jim currently lives in Worcester, Massachusetts with his wife, eleven cats, and a house forever under renovation. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com and on the WWW at www.iii.net/users/jrp.html
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
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- Stunnel Security for Oracle
- The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
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This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide