Next PowerPC To Support Multiple OS's?

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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CNET News takes a look at IBM's PowerPC 970FX chip and the likely roadmap IBM plans to take the POWER line. From the article:
The next-generation chip will have technology that lets it run multiple operating systems simultaneously, said Karl Freund, vice president, IBM eServer pSeries. Doing so allows a computer to handle more jobs at the same time and to be used more efficiently.

With the next-generation PowerPC 970, IBM plans to run that hardware management console instead as software in a separate partition, he said. Freund declined to comment on when in 2005 the chip is scheduled to arrive but said it's "pretty late in the design cycle now." Apple plans to use it, he added.

He also wouldn't comment on another possible feature of the coming chip: dual processing cores. Sun and HP sell dual-core chips today; comparatively mainstream dual-core designs are coming from Intel and AMD in 2005. So it stands to reason IBM will adopt the idea in its own PowerPC 970 line.
A single-core version of the IBM 970FX chip is currently used in the Power Mac G5 line of desktop computers, as well as the iMac G5 line.
 

PlaceofDis

macrumors Core
Jan 6, 2004
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i dont see how running multiple OSes at the same time can increase performance, but we will have to wait and see now won't we?

also interesting is that he pointed out tha Apple will be using the processors
 

alfismoney

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Sep 2, 2004
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Being able to run OS X and Linux simultaneously on the same platform without additional software will be a killer in the education/research department at universities. All Apple needs to do is put the chips in a machine for low prices and they'll kill Dell's high end education foothold.
 

~Shard~

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Jun 4, 2003
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Wow, this could be big. I don't know if I'd want Windows anywhere near my OS X though. ;) That's definitely a powerful feature though, we'll definitely have to see how this plays out.

Dual-core would sure be nice as well. Again, quite promising, but let's see if IBM can actually deliver and not become another Moto... :cool:
 

swissmann

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Sep 17, 2003
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The Utah Alps
Multiple OSes like Windows and Mac OS X. Or like Mac OS X.3 and X.4? Or two copies of X.4? Or Linux and OS X? Seems to me that Linux and OS X make sense and could be very useful.
 

~Shard~

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Jun 4, 2003
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PlaceofDis said:
also interesting is that he pointed out tha Apple will be using the processors
Yes, definitely good news. If this next PowerPC is indeed going to be as powerful and cool as this article claims it will be, I definitely want it being used in Apple machines...

Bring on the dual-processor dual-core 3 GHz PowerMacs with Tiger, Panther, OS 9 and Linux installed and running simultaneously! :eek: :cool:
 

JohnStrass

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Jul 17, 2002
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~Shard~ said:
Wow, this could be big. I don't know if I'd want Windows anywhere near my OS X though. ;) That's definitely a powerful feature though, we'll definitely have to see how this plays out.

Dual-core would sure be nice as well. Again, quite promising, but let's see if IBM can actually deliver and not become another Moto... :cool:
No, but it is a great crutch for people wanting to buy a Mac, but hesitant in case they might need a Wondoze box. MUCH better than VPC, even if it is never used.
 

ZildjianKX

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May 18, 2003
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Who said anything about running Windows? You really think Microsoft would release a PPC build of Windows? Keep dreaming. The closest thing we'll get is whatever Microsoft OS they are putting on the Xbox 2 G5 dev kits...

The 2nd OS that it is running would have to a Linux flavor.
 

ecoman

macrumors newbie
Dec 21, 2004
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2 OSs + 1 HDD?

Lets say I setup OSX & Linux as the 2 OSs.

If I put my datafiles on the HDD, would they be accessible both thru' both OSs?
 

rendezvouscp

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Aug 20, 2003
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Would this still be PPC OS's or would it include other OS's? I would think it'd stay largely PPC OS's, so you could run Mac OS X (any version compatible with your machine) with any other PPC OS.

In some ways, this seems really pointless, but I can see it being a tremendous factor in research, testing, and other areas where one powerful machine would be a lot better than multiple machines.
-Chase
 

rendezvouscp

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Aug 20, 2003
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ecoman said:
Lets say I setup OSX & Linux as the 2 OSs.

If I put my datafiles on the HDD, would they be accessible both thru' both OSs?
Probably. I'm pretty sure it would run just like Mac OS X and the Classic environment today, or you could use a cool new feature in Tiger called Fast Operating System Switching :D.

And no, I don't have any info about it in Tiger.
-Chase
 

Tuttle

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Sep 25, 2003
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2A Batterie said:
Is this why IBM sold its PC business, so it could focus on producing chips? Also, will this be a Power 5 chip?
I think it has to do more with the fact that the pc market is rushing to the bottom. Just look at how the prices of the low to midrange desktop computers have fallen over the past few years. It probably no longer was worth the effort to try to compete in a market where profit margins are drying up.
 

Tuttle

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Sep 25, 2003
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I believe this capablility is targeted at server systems rather than allowing desktop users to run multiple OSes at the same time. I am pretty sure it is used for running multiple versions of the same OS, like Linux, on a server where each of the virtual copies is essentially sandboxed from the others so you don't have to worry about the entire server going down.
 

Daveway

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Jul 10, 2004
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I took this article as saying that it will be able to handle both X86 and PPC instructions. So it would be able to "switch depending on the OS. This would be great but also expensive considering you would need a pretty complex mobo.
 

Pedro Estarque

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Dec 5, 2002
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If it can run multiple OSs it must be great at multitasking, which for us end users means being able to render, mpeg conversion and photoshoping all at the same time with little performance hit.
 

Ysean

macrumors member
Nov 22, 2003
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They already did.

ZildjianKX said:
Who said anything about running Windows? You really think Microsoft would release a PPC build of Windows? Keep dreaming. The closest thing we'll get is whatever Microsoft OS they are putting on the Xbox 2 G5 dev kits...

The 2nd OS that it is running would have to a Linux flavor.

Just for those that don't know, Microsoft sold a PPC version of it's NT operating systems. It quit primarily because it couldn't sell enough copies. I mean after all everyone had AIX and such. Anyway, the OS that's being used for the XBox 2 is a version of Windows CE I believe.
 

Object-X

macrumors 6502a
Aug 3, 2004
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JohnStrass said:
No, but it is a great crutch for people wanting to buy a Mac, but hesitant in case they might need a Wondoze box. MUCH better than VPC, even if it is never used.
I don't believe that this chip is able to run Windows. Someone correct me if I am wrong, but the OS list I saw was just Linux, Unix, and other OSs I have never heard of. This is probably a feature more suited for the Xserve line than the Powermac; though I'm sure some geeks are lusting for anyway.
 

MacNeXT

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Jun 21, 2004
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I don't see how this could be that interesting for users like the most of us.

Running OS 9 and OSX simultaneously is useless for multiple reasons: OS 9 is old technology and we have Classic anyway. To anyone who mentioned this: forget it.

Linux and OSX could be interesting for some but don't forget OSX is already a pretty useful UNIX based (FreeBSD / Darwin to be precise) system, and the Mac (modulo OSX) is not a particularly interesting platform for Linux users.

What I think "Apple's plans to use it" are in the server department. Multiple OS'es simultaneously is very useful in critical applications. Testing a new application without disrupting an already running system, running multiple servers independently, redundance etc. etc.

This is not new. A lot of server platforms already have this functionality and there are even software solutions: VMware and Virtual PC (Server version). This is exactly the reason why Microsoft bought Connectix by the way.

I think this only indicates Apple will jump the bandwagon with this technology, which is nice, but we 'ordinary' users shouldn't get carried away.
 

jettredmont

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Jul 25, 2002
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Tuttle said:
I believe this capablility is targeted at server systems rather than allowing desktop users to run multiple OSes at the same time. I am pretty sure it is used for running multiple versions of the same OS, like Linux, on a server where each of the virtual copies is essentially sandboxed from the others so you don't have to worry about the entire server going down.

Correct. The idea is that each instance of the OS gets its own core/processor. This is great for non-multithreading apps which assume they are the only one on the CPU. This is usually, but not always, multiple Unix-based OSs; I've seen it done with multiple Windows installs running on a single multi-cpu box too. I don't think I've ever heard of someone wanting to run multiple different OS's simultaneously on one box, but that's possible (more hassle, as Linux and Windows and the "bigger box" OSs all know how to cooperate with themselves in this arrangement but not always so well with each other).

To be clear, this technology is quite prevalent on server-class hardware. I suspect the reasoning behind bringing it downstream to workstation-class hardware is to enable workstation-class processors to better act as entry-level servers.
 

Tuttle

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Sep 25, 2003
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"What I think "Apple's plans to use it" are in the server department. "

I don't think what 'it' refers to is clear. It could simply mean Apple will of course be using whatever are the next versions of the PPC 970 line of chips - regardless of what features IBM decides to add to them.
 

Morky

macrumors regular
Jul 8, 2002
178
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NYC
Multiple OSes in Power5

The most amazing thing IBM about the Power5 (whose architecture is the core of the next-gen 970s), is its ability to run multiple operating systems simultaneously . Forget dual boot boxes; how about one that can run any software from nearly any OS natively? That could sell a few Macs.
 

fatbarstard

macrumors member
Dec 2, 2003
87
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New Zealand
Aren't ya missing someething??

There might be a reason to run OSX and Linux on the same machine but what about 2x OSX?? One optimsied to run one type of operation in its own 'shell' and the other to do something else in its own 'shell'. That would optimise chip performance. Maybe one OS is stripped down to do something specific like grpahics or database management and the other has all the bells and whistles to do other stuff...
 

JeffTL

macrumors 6502a
Dec 18, 2003
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The second OS would almost invariably be OS 9 (accelerating Classic performance) or Linux/PPC (for increased compatability, to all Linux software that is PowerPC capable)
 

MacNeXT

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Jun 21, 2004
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Tuttle said:
"What I think "Apple's plans to use it" are in the server department. "

I don't think what 'it' refers to is clear. It could simply mean Apple will of course be using whatever are the next versions of the PPC 970 line of chips - regardless of what features IBM decides to add to them.
You might be right. However, it would be smart for Apple to use the feature. I think it shouldn't be difficult technically. But then again, there is an endless list of things that many people would find smart for Apple to do. But they won't happen.

Originally Posted by Pedro Estarque
If it can run multiple OSs it must be great at multitasking, which for us end users means being able to render, mpeg conversion and photoshoping all at the same time with little performance hit.
Little performance hit? I don't think so. It's not like the processor will somehow be able to do more work in the same time. It's just splitting up resources, much like multitasking. Only now the processor provides a convenient way to completely seperate it's resources, so well that it's transparent to an operating system. I'm not really into this but this is common CS sense speaking here. Please correct me if I'm wrong!