Jawloms
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Re: iMac G5

Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:17 pm

Hiya,

I have an iMac G5 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMac_G5) and was wondering whether installing Debian on it (http://wiki.debian.org/iMacG5) or ArchLinux, would I have a similar (but beefier) Pi?  I'm not after a like for like environment at all as I know this wouldn't be it, just something so I can get used to how Linux works, how to install extra things and what will and won't work on an ARM processor.

Thanks and apologies if this is a really stupid question.

Stuart

andyl
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Re: iMac G5

Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:27 pm

Jawloms said:


Hiya,

I have an iMac G5 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMac_G5) and was wondering whether installing Debian on it (http://wiki.debian.org/iMacG5) or ArchLinux, would I have a similar (but beefier) Pi?  I'm not after a like for like environment at all as I know this wouldn't be it, just something so I can get used to how Linux works, how to install extra things and what will and won't work on an ARM processor.


Well the the iMac has a PowerPC CPU so it won't help you with the ARM specific stuff.  I think that PowerPC is still a supported architecture for Debian and that the latest version is squeeze (aka Debian 6.0) so you should be able to install that and learn linux on that.  As I am not a Mac person I cannot tell you if it is as straightforward to install debian on mac as it is on an x86 box.

Jawloms
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Re: iMac G5

Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:34 pm

I was under the impression the iMac G5 was pre x86 architecture. If not, guess I won't bother then!  Thanks for the reply

hilltop
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Re: iMac G5

Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:35 pm

With a PowerPC processor you're a bit limited to what distro you choose as the vast majority support only x86(_64).  (ArchLinuxPPC being an exception.)

To learn a bit about Linux, installing Debian is a good option, and is also proven to work well on the Pi (even if this doesn't turn out to be the chosen officially supported distro).  I see no reason why cross-compilation tools and QEMU (for ARM guest) shouldn't work on PPC-Debian and yes, it would be somewhat beefier than a Pi.

Just not sure exactly what you're trying to achieve, reading your post again.  If the Pi is just another non-x86 Linux box then I see no reason why the iMac G5 with Debian/Arch etc. should be seen as any different.

Hope that helps a little.

andyl
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Re: iMac G5

Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:17 pm

Jawloms said:


I was under the impression the iMac G5 was pre x86 architecture. If not, guess I won't bother then!  Thanks for the reply



Yes it is pre x86.

However there are more CPUs than just x86 and ARM.

Very early Macs were 68000.  Later Macs and iMacs were PowerPC.  Modern Macs are x86 (as you know).

Other machines used different CPUs (Sparc, MIPS, HP-PA, Alpha, and probably others).

All of them were different and non-compatible at a machine code level.

Incidentally the Power architecture was pretty good.  I remember using IBM RS/6000 machines, over 12 years ago, which used Power architecture chips and they were pretty solid and lower spec than your iMac.

spurious
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Re: iMac G5

Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:36 pm

8086 (the architecture that the x86 is based on) is from 1978

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X86

PowerPC 970 (the architecture that the G5 is based on) is from 2002

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PowerPC_970

so I would say that G5 is post x86  :)

just thought I would point that out

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Jongoleur
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Re: iMac G5

Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:53 pm

spurious said:


8086 (the architecture that the x86 is based on) is from 1978

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X86

PowerPC 970 (the architecture that the G5 is based on) is from 2002

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PowerPC_970

so I would say that G5 is post x86  :)

just thought I would point that out



So the PowerPC 970 is roughly contemporary with the Pentium and its ilk, which, though implementing the x86 instruction set, bears as much physical resemblance to their ancestral 8086/88 processors as the PPC architecture does.



Of course, the ARM architecture is directly related to the 6502 of 1975!

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spurious
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Re: iMac G5

Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:08 pm

Jongoleur said:


Of course, the ARM architecture is directly related to the 6502 of 1975!


Leap of some degree there... can you point me at some reference linking 6502 and ARM. Intrigued how they are related, other that there is some silicon involved?

8086 i.e. x86.. where x is variable.. as the name implies

all they have done with this architecture is layer the complexity, rather than actually redesigning the processor.

and when I say "all", I couldn't do it.  

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Re: iMac G5

Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:29 pm

spurious said:


Jongoleur said:


Of course, the ARM architecture is directly related to the 6502 of 1975!


Leap of some degree there… can you point me at some reference linking 6502 and ARM. Intrigued how they are related, other that there is some silicon involved?

8086 i.e. x86.. where x is variable.. as the name implies

all they have done with this architecture is layer the complexity, rather than actually redesigning the processor.

and when I say "all", I couldn't do it.  


Sophie Wilson (was Roger Wilson at the time), one of the main architects of the BBC micro, a 6502 device, was heavily involved in the development of the first Arm instructions set. She''s an expert in 6502, it would be expected some of that expertise went in to the Arm design. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.....hie_Wilson. She currently works for Broadcom…but is not involved in the Raspberry Pi project

Of course, the 6502 was practically a risc device anyway, so it's not a big jump.
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Jongoleur
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Re: iMac G5

Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:05 pm

Yes well, perhaps it would have been better to say ARM was "spiritually" related to the 6502!

From my recollection of what I read at the time, Acorn wanted something with a bit more oomph than the 8 bit microprocessors that were common in the early 80s, but found that the then available 16 bit chips were, shall we say, inelegant and underpowered even when compared to the 6505 with which they were intimately familiar. The Acorn Risc Machine grew out of this requirement, informed by the qualities embodied by the 6502.
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grumpyoldgit
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Re: iMac G5

Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:37 am

By coincidence, I was listening last night to a CD of Stephen Fry reading about the history of the mobile phone. Acorn, ARM, Apple and Sophie Wilson feature in the last episode.

adlambert

Re: iMac G5

Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:23 am

Going still further off topic, I found this to be a useful CISC/RISC explanation, where the 6502 gets dragged in to help with the understanding.

http://www.heyrick.co.uk/assem.....vcisc.html

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