Linux on POWER5

IBM workstations/servers/mainframes and operating systems (AIX, OS/2, etc.)
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astouffer
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Linux on POWER5

Unread postby astouffer » Tue Aug 09, 2016 6:39 pm

Well I picked up a POWER5 box from eBay recently, its a 9111-520 (dual 1.5Ghz and 4Gb ram). It's pretty quiet and runs AIX 7.1 great so I decided to see how Linux support was...

It's terrible.

Every distro either fails to boot or boots into an unusable state. Redhat Enterprise 6.8 was the only one to boot and give me a working installer. So great I boot from a DVD and then it asks for the installation source. I pick DVD and then it says no devices found and wants me to pick a driver :x How did the DVD boot in the first place? I'm pretty sure the drive is an IDE model but there is no generic IDE driver. Well at this point I've wasted enough time so goodbye Linux.

Oh and that site we can't mention that has all the IRIX media? Someone was nice enough to upload AIX 7.1 :D

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vishnu
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Re: Linux on POWER5

Unread postby vishnu » Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:51 pm

Did you see the site that can't be named just posted something like 10,000 browser playable Amiga game? Wonders! I had no idea there were 10,000 Amiga games... :shock:
Project:
Temporarily lost at sea...
Plan:
World domination! Or something...

:Tezro: :Octane2:

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ClassicHasClass
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Re: Linux on POWER5

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Tue Aug 09, 2016 10:43 pm

Someone was nice enough to upload AIX 7.1


To be sure, it's pretty useless without actual IBM hardware, so I doubt Armonk cares all that much.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

Shiunbird
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Re: Linux on POWER5

Unread postby Shiunbird » Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:35 am

Hello there!

I managed to install Linux on my POWER5, and even managed to use a Power Mac video card for better video performance. The key basic step for me was to separate /boot into an ext2 partition. I documented the whole process in a YouTube video if you need I can IM you the link.

It works flawlessly! I even managed to get the IBM Audio card working.

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ibmfiles
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Re: Linux on POWER5

Unread postby ibmfiles » Sat Oct 29, 2016 5:06 pm

Shiunbird wrote:Hello there!

I managed to install Linux on my POWER5, and even managed to use a Power Mac video card for better video performance. The key basic step for me was to separate /boot into an ext2 partition. I documented the whole process in a YouTube video if you need I can IM you the link.

It works flawlessly! I even managed to get the IBM Audio card working.


The GXT6500Ps came out in 2001 (yeah, IBM manufactured them up to 2009 which is insane considering the old chips would be difficult to source at that point) so a modern card is always going to be a better choice*.
*you will lose support for the graPHIGS API, although I'm certain nobody writes for it anymore.

The "IBM" audio card is purely a CS4281 (which is an all-in-one chip solution from Cirrus Logic) so Linux and even Windows 95 can run the card with no problems; which means you don't even have to buy a special IBM FRU and can use any old CS4281 card, although the cards offered by EFI are so cheap that even I myself bought a "genuine" FRU. CS4281 has a broken FM synthesis engine unlike CS4236B, however I have no idea if AIX supports OPL3 or OPL3 clones yet.

In fact... CS4236B should have some moderate compatibility with CS4281, so an IC swap could fix the broken FM if it's "a must" for the modern UNIX workstation user :lol:

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Re: Linux on POWER5

Unread postby Shiunbird » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:34 pm

The GXT6500p support is very broken in Linux as far as I know. However, the GXT135p runs fine in frame buffer mode without any kernel patching. I don't know if the 6500p support patch is mainstream yet, I haven't been looking into it.

For OPL there's this: http://www.opensound.com/aix.html , although it seems the project is dead. Installation breaks on AIX 7.1, but on 5.3 it worked fine.

Interesting info in regards to the broken FM engine. I didn't manage to get any sound out on AIX yet. Quake seems to be sending sound, but maybe the volume is just too low and I don't know how to put it up. =)))))
I only found out that it's a very generic chip after I bought it. But I'm glad to keep my workstation as close as possible from the original, especially because I'm its first owner. =)

Any tips are welcome.

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ibmfiles
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Re: Linux on POWER5

Unread postby ibmfiles » Sun Oct 30, 2016 11:22 pm

Shiunbird wrote:The GXT6500p support is very broken in Linux as far as I know. However, the GXT135p runs fine in frame buffer mode without any kernel patching. I don't know if the 6500p support patch is mainstream yet, I haven't been looking into it.

For OPL there's this: http://www.opensound.com/aix.html , although it seems the project is dead. Installation breaks on AIX 7.1, but on 5.3 it worked fine.

Interesting info in regards to the broken FM engine. I didn't manage to get any sound out on AIX yet. Quake seems to be sending sound, but maybe the volume is just too low and I don't know how to put it up. =)))))
I only found out that it's a very generic chip after I bought it. But I'm glad to keep my workstation as close as possible from the original, especially because I'm its first owner. =)

Any tips are welcome.


I've decided what the heck and paid the $10 to buy a license / may as well keep it archived in the event that site completely shuts down (I've known about that OSS site for years after I got curious about AIX sound options). I'm guessing they're a Finnish company judging by some of the names I saw on github.

So here's something funny (pardon my ADHD)... It should be possible to run Windows applications on your 285 and my 185. You can actually stack Wine under QEMU on PPC Linux-- effectively running an emulator on top of a wrapper. While that would HAVE to be the world's most inefficient way of doing things, it would be pretty hilarious.
https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1382096

If you attempt that endeavour let me know-- I'll need to get additional parts (including the same 'Mac' firmware Radeon as yourself as my GXT6500P will do no good for Linux) before I can try it out. Not to mention going through hell on figuring out how to get ppc Linux working on the 185 which should be worse than the 285. Ugh...

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Re: Linux on POWER5

Unread postby Shiunbird » Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:17 am

I actually installed x86 Linux under QEMU (to run a specific built of MySQL with Galera in a VM), but took me three hours to install. =)

But I guess even Windows 95 should run ok. =) The thing is also, the Debian version I was running had ancient QEMU, and I guess it misses Altivec too.

Why would the 185 be worse than then 285? I actually thought the 185 would be easier, has Altivec (should be better than the 285 for a daily-use workstation, watching movies, encoding stuff etc).. I thought they were pretty similar besides DDR memory and the processor.

Let me know if you need a help trying Debian on the 185, and have a look on the video I made, maybe it helps.

astouffer
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Re: Linux on POWER5

Unread postby astouffer » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:26 am

Shiunbird wrote:Hello there!

I managed to install Linux on my POWER5, and even managed to use a Power Mac video card for better video performance. The key basic step for me was to separate /boot into an ext2 partition. I documented the whole process in a YouTube video if you need I can IM you the link.

It works flawlessly! I even managed to get the IBM Audio card working.


What model video card was it?

I have also upgraded to a Power6 box (8203-E4A). Dual core 4.2GHz with 16Gb memory. This box also has PCIe slots, wonder if Linux can take advantage of modern cards?

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Re: Linux on POWER5

Unread postby Shiunbird » Mon Oct 31, 2016 5:06 pm

astouffer wrote:What model video card was it? I have also upgraded to a Power6 box (8203-E4A). Dual core 4.2GHz with 16Gb memory.


The IBM GXT145p works in frame buffer mode. Before starting X (or whatever you run), you need to edit X.conf (or whatever you use) and make sure it goes in frame buffer mode. Output is limited to 1280x1024. It works very well, although large area screen refreshes are very CPU intensive.

I ordered a Radeon 7000 flashed for Mac (tip from the forum here, I think from ClassicHasClass) and it works accelerated. The procedure is the same, edit X.conf and have it running in radeon mode. However, you can't boot AIX with that.

With the Radeon 7000, screen behaves weirdly. Watching a video on VLC is much better than the IBM card on frame buffer mode, but whenever I resize windows, it chokes. I think the Radeon 7000 doesn't support non-power-of-2 texture sizes and that's a problem with XFCE for example. I could tweak the settings, but I never dig deep into that.

I'm looking into getting a Radeon 9200 and seeing how it behaves.

I uploaded how I got Linux running on my IntelliStation to this youtube video:

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ClassicHasClass
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Re: Linux on POWER5

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:26 pm

I have also upgraded to a Power6 box (8203-E4A). Dual core 4.2GHz


This is the one I have, though I have mine throttled down to save power/reduce heat. Good system. Should run well in Linux.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

astouffer
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Re: Linux on POWER5

Unread postby astouffer » Wed Nov 02, 2016 6:08 am

Just wanted to say if you live in Pennsylvania or the surrounding states there are two Ebay sellers that let these 8203 boxes go for ridiculously low prices. They only offer freight shipping ($200-$300) or local pickup. I won't say what mine cost but they regularly go for around $100. Standard disclaimer no affiliation blah blah.

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ibmfiles
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Re: Linux on POWER5

Unread postby ibmfiles » Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:05 pm

Shiunbird wrote:I actually installed x86 Linux under QEMU (to run a specific built of MySQL with Galera in a VM), but took me three hours to install. =)
But I guess even Windows 95 should run ok. =) The thing is also, the Debian version I was running had ancient QEMU, and I guess it misses Altivec too.
Why would the 185 be worse than then 285? I actually thought the 185 would be easier, has Altivec (should be better than the 285 for a daily-use workstation, watching movies, encoding stuff etc).. I thought they were pretty similar besides DDR memory and the processor.
Let me know if you need a help trying Debian on the 185, and have a look on the video I made, maybe it helps.


I was solely basing installing Linux PPC on the P970 solely based on the fact that it's a 970, however, it appears support for it is more extant than I thought. I figured as SUSE and RedHat enterprise dropped support for the 970 that other distros would as well, but doesn't seem to be the case. One of the few 970s not to be inside an Apple machine.

astouffer wrote:Just wanted to say if you live in Pennsylvania or the surrounding states there are two Ebay sellers that let these 8203 boxes go for ridiculously low prices. They only offer freight shipping ($200-$300) or local pickup. I won't say what mine cost but they regularly go for around $100. Standard disclaimer no affiliation blah blah.


Are said 8203s the towers or racks? The 8203-520 towers are enough to give someone in industrial design ecstasy (NOT to be confused with p5 520 which is also a cool tower design):
Image

By the way I couldn't find any 'cheap' 8203s from the aforementioned sellers on ebay (typical 1K+ range), however ebay.com doesn't show me all results since I'm not in the U.S. I did however find the conversion kit so you can take an ugly 8203 rack and turn it into one of those cool towers
http://www.ebay.com/itm/IBM-42R6911-Des ... SwagdXSI2O

The fact that IBM always offers cross-conversion kits has always intrigued me as I doubt they have much demand.

P.S. I found your new avatar:
Image

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ClassicHasClass
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Re: Linux on POWER5

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:24 pm

Mine is the deskside tower, yes. Weighs a ton, looks like Darth Vader's desktop PC. I like it.

The baffle does make the fan noise "tamer" for office use, so I could almost see this as a workstation, but I just took it off and let it freely ventilate since it's in its own room anyway.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

astouffer
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Re: Linux on POWER5

Unread postby astouffer » Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:54 am

ibmfiles wrote:Are said 8203s the towers or racks? The 8203-520 towers are enough to give someone in industrial design ecstasy (NOT to be confused with p5 520 which is also a cool tower design)


They are rack mount. Keep an eye out for any 8203 boxes that are up for auction as they are never buy it now. If you search through the sold listings you'll see which sellers have them. Seems like they started showing up back in July.


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