In gentoo we support 13 different architectures: alpha, amd64, arm, hppa, ia64, m68k, mips, ppc, ppc64, s390, sh, sparc and x86. Although amd64 and x86 are the most common and popular, they are only 2 architectures of the total 13 we support, so i thought i could write about the rest of the architectures and their status on Gentoo.
I’ll do it in parts because i’ll get burned out too easily!
I think its sad to see a lot of that architectures that were so popular being discontinued, but i guess thats whats the progress is about The main problem of arches getting discontinued is that the hardware is slow compared with new hardware, less users because they replace their old alternative architecture computer with an standard amd64/x86 PC. That makes that there’s less users of said architecture, which makes less interesting for linux distributions to support them, then there’s no developers…and then the architecture really dies. IMHO its sad, but thats the way it is.
The alpha processor was phased out by Compaq in 2004, being replaced by ia64. That means that you can’t buy any new hardware that has alpha processors(as to my knowledge). Of course there is some alpha hardware that wasn’t ever used, so you can say there is ‘new’ hardware, as in unused, but there’s no alpha processor manufactured after 2004. There were both workstations and servers.
The alpha status on Gentoo is good, there is three developers on the team: Tobias Klausmann (klausman, Blackb|rd on IRC), Matt Turner (mattst88) and myself. There was a lot of distributions supporting alpha back in 2001, when alpha was well and alive. But as of today, Gentoo is one of the few distributions that support it officially(guess we’re crazy ).
Well, i don’t think i need to comment on this one…
ARM is one of the architectures that its level of activity is the same as amd64/x86 thanks to its fast-growing use on embedded devices. You can even find notebooks with ARM processors(called smartbooks), phones and NAS(Network Attached Storage) running Linux, WinCE and Android. Everytime they are getting more powerful, at the moment you can find dual-core processors at 1GHz, and thats not going to stop.
The status of ARM on Gentoo is good. We’re five developers: maekke, xmw, dagger, vapier and me. Also there are some users on #gentoo-embedded(irc.freenode.net) which are really helpful. We provide stage3s for a handful of CHOSTS: armv4l, armv4tl, armv5tel, armv6j and armv7a. Which covers most of the devices available. One of the bad things of ARM is that every device available is almost completely different, that means we can’t have install guides of each device if we don’t have the device itself…
HPPA is another of the dead architectures that we support at Gentoo. It was an architecture designed by HP, and was phased out in 2008. It was replaced by ia64 as well. There was both workstations and servers.
The status on Gentoo is good. There is two developers: jer and GMsoft. I can’t speak too much about it because i’m not in the team, but i know its supported and doesn’t have too many issues(at least gentoo-related).
Hope you liked the first part