Thanks to another significant donation made by Wiktor Glowack, the previous donation campaign to finance the Hardware Test reached its goal on the 27th of January. Thank you very much, Wiktor! We are very happy to have found such a generous contributor, his support will benefit the entire PowerPC and open computing community. We will strive to do anything required to achieve the final goal: providing the community with the most powerful, fully Open Source, and production-ready PowerPC laptop motherboard.
As soon as the prototypes are ready, we will transfer the money collected from the campaign targeting the Hardware Tests to ACube Systems, the company we selected in this challenging journey to make a PowerPC notebook.
At the moment, we are on hold on the production of the three prototypes because of still missing electronic components. This is most unexpected as we thought we would be ready by now. However, we still have the plan to carry out the hardware tests immediately after production, and right after that, we will publish an updated version of the motherboard schematics on our GitLab repository.
The campaign we launch today has the goal to finance the pre-certification and CE certification, a compulsory requirement for any electronic product being sold within the European Economic Area. The CE marking means that the manufacturer or importer affirms the good’s conformity with European health, safety, and environmental protection standards (see Wikipedia).
The financial target of this new campaign is 12500 euros (around 14128 USD).
As you probably know, the PowerPC Notebook team had already selected Debian 9 (Stretch) OS, as it seemed to offer a lot of advantages (DFSG, Altivec, compatibility etc…). Because of this, the Debian team has recently decided to remove powerpc (Big Endian) from its release architectures for the upcoming Debian 9 (Stretch) and Debian testing (Stretch) powerpc repositories have been removed. Besides that, they will keep ppc64el (Little Endian) as a release architecture (For those of you who don’t know the difference between powerpc, ppc64el (and ppc64) – check the short summary on the end of this message).
Debian 9 is coming
One of the reasons of this decision was an apparent lack of porters/maintainers/testers – Although the powerpc Debian team includes some very competent, motivated and reactive people.
Some of us are willing to take the Debian powerpc road, but we need volunteers, people willing to give some of their time to the Debian powerpc community, to learn, test, fix bugs etc…
This does not suggest we don’t keep a “plan B” – by testing another distribution. It is just that Debian powerpc works well on current 32 bits and 64 bits machines, and we can try to keep this situation.
If you have a 32 or 64 bits PowerPC machine, and want to join us in keeping Debian powerpc alive, contact us on email@example.com.
Short summary about powerpc / ppc64 / ppc64el :
powerpc is the historical Debian PowerPC port (1997). It works on 32 and 64 bits Big Endian PowerPC (G3/G4/G5 and newer freescale/NXP chips). That’s what you would use on your PowerMac/PowerBook/Genesi/Amiga machines. Note that is supports Altivec, which accelerates greatly some applications (video, graphics, image processing).
ppc64 (Big Endian) was supposed to be used on 64 bits Big Endian PowerPC only (G5 and newer freescale/NXP chips). It has some advantages over the first but currently is not so well supported as powerpc.
ppc64el (Little Endian) started with Debian 8 Jessie. It works on newer Power chips from IBM (for servers). Despite some newer freescale/NXP chips can also be used in Little Endian mode (but without Altivec) they can not be used with ppc64el as this version is compiled with VSX (Vector Scalar eXtension) enabled.