A sad day for the PPC architecture

The Macintosh PowerPC architecture didn’t really die when Apple moved to x86. It died today instead.

Today the “Ubuntu Technical Board has decided to reclassify PowerPC as an unofficial architecture, rather than a fully supported architecture, for Ubuntu 7.04 and subsequent releases. This means that packages and ISO images will continue to be produced, but releases will not be delayed due to problems which are specific to PowerPC, and the quality of the PowerPC release itself will depend very much on the extent to which members of the Ubuntu community drive PowerPC testing and bug fixes.”

This actually means that when a PPC Ubuntu build will be released, it will most probably will be full of PPC-related bugs. The majority of the bugs will be fixed (if they will ever be fixed) by the community AFTER the release of the ISOs. While there is YDL, Debian and Gentoo distros available for the PPC, Ubuntu has been the most successful of all and PPC users were looking forward for new Ubuntu versions. Now that the quality of PPC ISOs will be substantially decreased, more and more PPC users will find another reason to move to x86.

I was never a major PPC fan, but this is a somewhat sad day. It feels like GNU/Linux itself (just because Ubuntu had the biggest distro market share) has also abandoned the PPC, hence it’s over for real now (new Mac OS X versions won’t be released forever you know).


Oliver Herold wrote on February 13th, 2007 at 10:23 AM PST:

Who cares? It’s open source so there are enough “competitors” to fill the gap. This “market share” nonsense is some bewildering thinking of commercial business.

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Eugenia wrote on February 13th, 2007 at 10:40 AM PST:

Sorry, but it doesn’t work this way. Except YDL, all other distros are simply not having PPC in their main roster, just like Ubuntu now doesn’t. And YDL has made it CLEAR that they only care for the server side of things and not a well-behaving desktop. IMO, there is no other strong competitor that people CARE to install. When OSX stops releasing for the PPC, Linux won’t be as bug-free as people would like to be and so the platform will go to the dogs for the majority of users.

Tom Dison wrote on February 13th, 2007 at 11:03 AM PST:

Someday PPC will just be #39 on the list of supported NetBSD architectures. It will be right above PC98 and below the Zaurus. ;}

Brian wrote on February 13th, 2007 at 11:34 AM PST:

Fedora still supports PPC as a primary arch.

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Eugenia wrote on February 13th, 2007 at 11:43 AM PST:

Hmm, didn’t know that. Fedora is the No2 distro today (except in Europe where SuSE is No2), but I am not sure how much weight they put on the PPC itself.

Chris Baskind wrote on February 13th, 2007 at 11:57 AM PST:

Yeah, it’s a shame. I’ll move over to Intel-based Mac when this G5 PowerMac calls it a day (which, thankfully, it shows no sign of doing). But there are a lot of nice PPC boxes in the field — cheap — and now the clock is now really ticking on the platform.

I think the real end of the line for PPC will be when the major vendors — Adobe, chief among them — release solely to MacTel. This is already starting to happen.

Leopard is surely the last stop for G4. Apple will probably support the G5 through 10.6. By that time, it will have been at least three years since the last G5 rolled off Apple’s shipping floor. Hello, obsolescence.

Won’t matter, though. You won’t be able to buy current pro software by that point, and professional users will have migrated to MacTel.

Oliver Herold wrote on February 14th, 2007 at 2:40 AM PST:

I said *open source*, the mainstream isn’t open source (the higher goal behind it), it’s barely some kind of community. OpenBSD and NetBSD do support PPC, FreeBSD is tier 2.


billg wrote on February 14th, 2007 at 3:11 AM PST:

Too bad, but not unexpected that Ubuntu would abandon that part of their use base.

I’ve got a “last revision” PPC iMac and the last time I looked — a couple of months ago — no Linux works properly on it. (The fans run all the time. At least one prominent developer apparently said he didn’t own such a machine and so wasn’t going to worry about it. I consider that the unveiling of clay in the feet of open source.)

I was hoping to run Linux on it when Apple stopped supporting it. Guess this is one former, and prospective, Linux user who will just buy another Mac and run OS X.

Deacon Nikolai wrote on February 15th, 2007 at 6:52 AM PST:

Time for PPC users to switch to Yellow Dog Linux!

Sitsofe wrote on February 15th, 2007 at 8:26 AM PST:

PPC on the desktop may be suffering but there are serious PPC servers out there (and can be bought new) which is why expect the likes Red Hat will continue to actively support that architecture for the foreseeable future. I’m guessing consumer peripherals and possibly non vesa X will feel the burden most…

Jon wrote on February 16th, 2007 at 2:19 AM PST:

PPC is still a primary release arch for Debian GNU/Linux, and you can guarantee it will remain so as long as the arch criteria are met.

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