Linux: It's Not Just for Intel Anymore

A Linux port tour.
Name: Linux/Sparc

Linux/Sparc is a port of Linux to the sun4c, based on Version 7 of the Sparc architecture.

  • Status:just starting

  • Supported Platforms:Sun 4/20 is typical. A more complete list will be available soon.

  • FAQ Access:see mailing list

  • FAQ Maintainer: David S. Miller,

  • Mailing To subscribe, send mail to:

  • Source Access:

  • Release Coordinator:David S. Miller,

  • Help Wanted:Contact David S. Miller if you have a Sparc to boot on. In David Miller's words,

    • Right now, I have my test box do the following: 1) Print boot-up messages, 2) Determine the machine type (sun4c, sun4m, sun4d, etc.), 3) Determine the available physical memory on the machine and other types of information, 4) Probe the OpenBoot PROM for devices that are on the machine. The PROM is a real win here.5) BogoMIPS, the most important part of the port! This SUN 4/20 gives 17.94 BogoMIPS. 6) Completely map the kernel's virtual pages. 7) Enable and flush the Virtual Address Cache.

    • I have a lot of the architecture-dependent include/asm-sparc files written and am able to `make config; make dep; make clean' on the tree. A lot of the file system code can be compiled. Getting it to work is another story.

    • The current work on the Sparc port of Linux is aimed at the sun4c machines which are based on Version 7 of the Sparc architecture. The main difference (between machine types) is that the MMU's are accessed in a different fashion in V8 and onward. Fortunately, Version 8 memory management (for sun4m) is defined by the V8 manual “The Sparc Reference MMU”. I am attempting to make sun4m support easy to just plug in later. Yes, this means multi-processor support and all that entails. Although no such machines will exist before mid `95, I am doing some of my code with the Version 9 Sparc in mind: better prepared than not.

    • I have been trying to coordinate my code with Linus such that we don't buck heads in the kernel tree, so to speak. Eric Youngdale and Linus have been extremely helpful in deciding how best to integrate my memory-management code into the current tree.

Name: Linux/PowerPC

Linux/PowerPC is a port of Linux to PowerPC processors, initially the 601 and 603.

  • Status:resuming

  • Supported Platforms:Apple PowerMac, Motorola PowerStack, IBM Power Personal PC. The PowerStack uses both ISA and PCI buses.

  • FAQ Access:see mailing list

  • FAQ Maintainer:

  • Mailing To subscribe, send mail to: watch the mailing list for announcements

  • Source Access:

  • Release Coordinator:

  • Help Wanted:

    • A documentation specialist is needed. Knowledge of the Linux Documentation Project, SGML, HTML, TeX, LaTeX, and desire to learn literate programming with “noweb” are required.

    • Volunteers having PC-class RS6000 machines or IBM PowerPersonal PCs are needed for boot and kernel testing and to write or port device drivers.

    • The Apple PowerMac porters mostly have a cross-development environment (not freeware). Access to the Mac's ADB internal bus specifications appears imminent, as Apple now seems willing to release the information under certain conditions.

    • With the addition to the project of some Motorola PowerStacks (on order) and their soon-to-be owners at year end, `94, the PowerStack part of the Linux/PowerPC port is beginning to come together. A GNU cross-development tool set, targeted at the PPC, has been started.

    • Many thanks go to Northwest Nexus ( for supporting the Linux/PowerPC Project by providing the author's net access. Thanks also to MicroApl Ltd. (London, UK ( )), makers of PortAsm assembler source translators, for their contribution.