1. 14
  1. 3

    I have Gentoo on a PowerPC G5 iMac. The main frustration is that modern web browsers assume x86 or arm, so the best browser on it is Netsurf. From a usability point of view, this is almost a total blocker - it’s painful to just look up something in the package repo or google simple Gentoo commands.

    Running text mode on the display is really gorgeous though, and tmux adding multiple columns make it look like the ultimate old-school UNIX terminal.

    1. 1

      Debian firefox is available on PowerPC. I understand Debian PowerPC port requires POWER8 and PowerPC G5 iMac is POWER4, but it is not true modern web browsers assume x86 or arm.

      1. 1

        You’re referring to little endian ppc64, correct?

        I see Debian is trying to compile big endian ppc64 with mixed results (https://buildd.debian.org/status/logs.php?pkg=firefox&arch=ppc64) but given how strongly skia assumes little endian I’m curious how well those builds work. Without making a lot of changes to the graphics stack, expect images to have some really funky colors.

        The thing is, Google and Mozilla have no commercial incentive to support ppc64. They won’t actively prevent anyone else making it work, but are willing to (and have multiple times) introduced code which is not ppc64 compatible when it serves their purpose. So long as the ISA is willing to change to conform to the assumptions of the code, things still work - but anyone buying these systems should know that they’re doing something with no support guarantee from the people writing the code.

        1. 3

          In NetBSD’s case we are practically maintaining a fork of Firefox 52ESR as a separate package for slower architectures, the last portable version, no rust/nodejs dependency, etc. We’ve managed to make some progress with newer versions on SPARC64 by pre-generating the NodeJS build artifacts.