Void Linux for PowerPC

foxlet

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 5, 2016
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This sounds awesome! I have followed Void Linux for a while and I wonder, when do you think you could release an ISO/Installer so we can try it?
I have been considering it, after shooting a short review of the G4 in context of using it with modern software. The largest issue remains to be the large size of GRUB, and yaboot being left unmaintained.
 
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saxfun

macrumors member
Mar 14, 2016
30
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Germany
foxlet, this would be amazing! I'm desperately searching for a fast fresh linux for some of my PBs!
 

ks23

macrumors newbie
May 6, 2004
19
15
Would be great to see an ISO image.
Or better , an official VoidLinux PPC release :)
 

z970mp

macrumors 68020
Jun 2, 2017
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I have been considering it, after shooting a short review of the G4 in context of using it with modern software. The largest issue remains to be the large size of GRUB, and yaboot being left unmaintained.
Could you make use of some of the points in this guide? http://cynic.cc/blog/posts/running_grub2_on_powerpc_macs/

It mentions thinning GRUB down, so maybe that can be worked into the installer to automatically do.
 

q66_

macrumors member
Oct 11, 2019
42
76
Brno, Czech Republic
Welp, since there's some discussion going on here I decided to register as well. Current maintainer of the voidlinux-ppc project here (now at https://voidlinux-ppc.org; I mainly do ppc64le for my Talos 2/Blackbird/etc machines, which is what I started with in parallel with foxlet's/stenstorp's 32-bit efforts, but these days also most of the fixing for G5, G4 and so on, the infra, all binary packaging, website/documentation, you name it).

To give you a taste, here's a 2005 Power Mac G5 running latest Void and a bunch of stuff, like 5.3.x kernel, latest Firefox 69 (still some minor color brokenness but it's largely ok, works very usably, a ppc32 port is in progress too and I have it building, but it doesn't run yet), smooth h264 video playback (1080p) with no framedrops and high quality opengl output in mpv, etc.



I beefed it up with an NVMe SSD, USB3 controller and an R5 235 graphics card just to test these kinds of things. They work as they should.

The aim is not to settle for outdated software but instead build a legacy-free system that's on par with x86_64. No compromises are being made, even on 32-bit ppc (I have a Powerbook G4 running the same software stack). Modern ABI (ELFv2) is used even for big endian glibc, unlike Debian and so on, etc. Next package batch (that is due tonight) brings even more packages, with ~45% of the void-packages repo built for the worst-supported target (32-bit ppc-musl).

I also aim to spin a bunch of new ISO images later. These will bring a bunch of fixes as well as 5.3 kernel by default and hopefully the broken graphical flavor ISOs will be fixed too.
 

q66_

macrumors member
Oct 11, 2019
42
76
Brno, Czech Republic
The largest issue remains to be the large size of GRUB, and yaboot being left unmaintained.
It mentions thinning GRUB down, so maybe that can be worked into the installer to automatically do.
Btw, there is nothing mandating that your bootstrap partition has to be 800kB, I make them ~10MB or so (probably much less will suffice, but it's not like 10MB is an awful lot of space; and just about any GRUB image will fit in comfortably afterwards). 800kB is just an arbitrary number Debian chose for their pmac-fdisk patch's b option, to fit yaboot in (OS X does not use bootstrap partitions, it boots directly off a blessed HFS+ partition).

Of course, you can create an arbitrarily sized bootstrap partition by doing something like, say... C 2p 10M bootstrap Apple_Bootstrap - basically creating the bootstrap partition like any other partition, but explicitly specifying the type. The command b <base> is really just an alias for C <base> 800k bootstrap Apple_Bootstrap.
 

dreadone

macrumors newbie
Mar 19, 2017
2
2
Germany
Hallo, I tested void-linux on a late G5 2,3ghz ppc. I´m a linux noob, but after reading some infos about partitioning (pcmac-fdisk) i could handle it.
After some testing with different videocards (x1990gt doesnt work for me) i tested a hd5770 (mac orig.) and it ....works!! Howto test the graphic performance?
I haven´t tested it, but firfox is working and also the all the display ports.
Problem for me in void: cannot change keyboard language and i don´t know to install some software like LibreOffice.
Sorry for my noob-english.
20191015_112310.jpg


Thanks for the hard work of the developers here!

My sets:
PPC g5 2,3ghz
PPC g5 quad
PPc g2 2ghz
G4 MDD
MacPro 2.1 and 3.1
 
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q66_

macrumors member
Oct 11, 2019
42
76
Brno, Czech Republic
What is musl?

What is the benefit/drawback?
It's an alternative implementation of the standard C library. It's more strictly conforming to standards and has lower memory footprint, at cost of worse out of box software compatibility (Void patches a lot of projects to make them build/work with musl, and on x86 systems proprietary software compiled for glibc will not run on musl, on ppc that's not too relevant since there's barely any proprietary software that makes sense to run in the first place)

Hallo, I tested void-linux on a late G5 2,3ghz ppc. I´m a linux noob, but after reading some infos about partitioning (pcmac-fdisk) i could handle it.
After some testing with different videocards (x1990gt doesnt work for me) i tested a hd5770 (mac orig.) and it ....works!! Howto test the graphic performance?
I haven´t tested it, but firfox is working and also the all the display ports.
Problem for me in void: cannot change keyboard language and i don´t know to install some software like LibreOffice.
Sorry for my noob-english.
The mesa-demos package contains a bunch of graphical tests (glxgears and so on), the repository also currently ships the Xonotic FPS game, which works quite alright. Keyboard layout is not really a distro specific thing, you can change it the same everywhere. Outside of graphical environment, you can use the "loadkeys" command as root to change the tty keyboard layout, in X11 you can use "setxkbmap" or a graphical thing in your desktop environment if it provides that. Libreoffice is currently not shipped in binary form on big endian (might be shipped soon), you can check current packaging status at https://repo.voidlinux-ppc.org/stats.html (you could compile it yourself with xbps-src, it's massive and would take a very long time on G5 though).
 
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dreadone

macrumors newbie
Mar 19, 2017
2
2
Germany
Thanks for the answer. I think, i´ll wait.
How do you get Kernel 5.3.x.x?
Here some glxgear data with the HD 5770.
SmartSelect_20191015-224747_Evernote.jpg

By the way, how to do screenshots?
And: I changed keyboard language and now i´ve another problem: sometimes i lost the return and the space -key; i´v have to use SHIFT-key with return/space key, than it works.
Do i have to choose another keybord?
 

dextructor

macrumors newbie
Oct 21, 2013
20
11
The aim is not to settle for outdated software but instead build a legacy-free system that's on par with x86_64. No compromises are being made, even on 32-bit ppc (I have a Powerbook G4 running the same software stack). Modern ABI (ELFv2) is used even for big endian glibc, unlike Debian and so on, etc. Next package batch (that is due tonight) brings even more packages, with ~45% of the void-packages repo built for the worst-supported target (32-bit ppc-musl).
First thanks for your hard work on a really modern Linux for our beloved PowerPC platform.
1) When you said legacy-free this means even without systemd? What other legacy-free examples beside yaboot?
2) About musl I've searched and read some pages comparing with glibc, some said that performs the same and some that it's slower than glibc, what are your thoughts? And compatibility it's about the same?
3) In the package page the 32-bit has a lot of yellow cells, does it means that it will not build or require compiling through the source (like a Gentoo distro)?
4) In the case of a missing package like Jami (https://jami.net/download-jami-linux/) or (https://git.jami.net/savoirfairelinux/ring-project/tree/master) how do I contact someone to please put in the repository?

Thanks!
 

sparty411

macrumors 6502
Nov 13, 2018
370
279
Thanks for the answer. I think, i´ll wait.
How do you get Kernel 5.3.x.x?
Here some glxgear data with the HD 5770.
View attachment 869781
By the way, how to do screenshots?
And: I changed keyboard language and now i´ve another problem: sometimes i lost the return and the space -key; i´v have to use SHIFT-key with return/space key, than it works.
Do i have to choose another keybord?
You can take a screenshot by typing “scrot” in the terminal. It will save the image to your home folder.
 
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q66_

macrumors member
Oct 11, 2019
42
76
Brno, Czech Republic
First thanks for your hard work on a really modern Linux for our beloved PowerPC platform.
1) When you said legacy-free this means even without systemd? What other legacy-free examples beside yaboot?
2) About musl I've searched and read some pages comparing with glibc, some said that performs the same and some that it's slower than glibc, what are your thoughts? And compatibility it's about the same?
3) In the package page the 32-bit has a lot of yellow cells, does it means that it will not build or require compiling through the source (like a Gentoo distro)?
4) In the case of a missing package like Jami (https://jami.net/download-jami-linux/) or (https://git.jami.net/savoirfairelinux/ring-project/tree/master) how do I contact someone to please put in the repository?

Thanks!
1) Lack of systemd is not exactly a "legacy-free" thing, but yeah, there's no systemd. I mostly meant that all of the software generally matches what's on x86_64, on 64-bit everything is compiled with modern ABI even on big endian (created a few years ago for little endian ppc64, instead of using the 30 years old one), that kinda stuff. Yaboot is not used because it's obsolete, we use GRUB instead.
2) It can be a tad slower once in a while, but it has a lot lower memory footprint and higher standards conformance and robustness. Compatibility is worse because some software relies on glibc specific extensions and behaviors, but it's not by that much.
3) Yellow cells just mean it hasn't been built yet, so whether it builds or works is unknown. Usually it does, sometimes it might not.
4) Any new software not directly/indirectly related to powerpc/power needs to be contributed to or requested in (via github issue tracker and pull requests) Void Linux upstream. Void-ppc does not operate as an independent distro, and will not accept such software separately.

You can take a screenshot by typing “scrot” in the terminal. It will save the image to your home folder.
desktops also tend to have their own graphical screenshot tools, no idea what MATE uses though (i assume that's what it is)
 

foxlet

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 5, 2016
277
384
Yaboot is not used because it's obsolete, we use GRUB instead.
There's nothing in Void that mandates any particular bootloader, I still use Yaboot on my machines over GRUB. Some systems don't even use either one (Wii U, APM, etc), but remain compatible.
 

dextructor

macrumors newbie
Oct 21, 2013
20
11
There's nothing in Void that mandates any particular bootloader, I still use Yaboot on my machines over GRUB. Some systems don't even use either one (Wii U, APM, etc), but remain compatible.
Do you have installed or have a guide to install on Wii U besides GBAtemp WIP?
 
Last edited:

q66_

macrumors member
Oct 11, 2019
42
76
Brno, Czech Republic
There's nothing in Void that mandates any particular bootloader, I still use Yaboot on my machines over GRUB. Some systems don't even use either one (Wii U, APM, etc), but remain compatible.
In theory no, but I've seen some people report issues with yaboot + our ELFv2 BE kernels on some 64-bit PowerMacs. But either way there is no real reason to still use yaboot. GRUB works perfectly fine, and is well integrated into Void (with kernel hooks and whatnot) and matches exactly what's done on x86_64.
 

juancarlosonetti

macrumors member
May 5, 2019
61
70
Spain
In theory no, but I've seen some people report issues with yaboot + our ELFv2 BE kernels on some 64-bit PowerMacs. But either way there is no real reason to still use yaboot. GRUB works perfectly fine, and is well integrated into Void (with kernel hooks and whatnot) and matches exactly what's done on x86_64.
For me, yaboot has some advantages. With yaboot, you can boot from a CD or a network from the bootloader itself, and you can also access Open Firmware from it, and even customize OF's colors. It's really handy to have a Forth interpreter directly accessible from the bootloader.
 
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