Gentoo Forums
Gentoo Forums
Gentoo Forums
Quick Search: in
Which Arch is More Actively Supported: SPARC or MIPS?
View unanswered posts
View posts from last 24 hours

 
Reply to topic    Gentoo Forums Forum Index Gentoo on Alternative Architectures
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
John R. Graham
Administrator
Administrator


Joined: 08 Mar 2005
Posts: 7399
Location: Somewhere over Atlanta, Georgia

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:08 pm    Post subject: Which Arch is More Actively Supported: SPARC or MIPS? Reply with quote

I hope this isn't a vim vs. emacs type question. :P

I need to acquire a general purpose RISC machine of some sort as a learning platform. My employer is a SPARC licensee but I don't actively work on those particular embedded systems. I do work on embedded systems with MIPS architecture CPUs but, as my main purpose is to learn-by-doing about RISC in general, I don't have a strong preference of MIPS over SPARC. So I have a few questions:
  • Which of those is more actively developed on in Gentoo?
  • I'd also like to acquire a used system on (for instance) eBay for a tolerable price. Suggestions would be appreciated.
  • Is there any other reason I should consider choosing one over the other?
- John
_________________
This space intentionally left blank.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
chithanh
Developer
Developer


Joined: 05 Aug 2006
Posts: 1562
Location: Berlin, Germany

PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sparc and mips are actively developed in Gentoo, but both could need a helping hand or two.

Are you looking for something enterprisey? Pre-owned UltraSPARC III/IV servers should become (relatively) cheap now that Oracle dropped Solaris 11 support for pre-T1 CPUs. These make great development boxes apart from the noise they produce.
MIPS has the advantage that you can get it in convenient form for carrying around with you, e.g. the Lemote Yeelong 10.1" netbook with 900 MHz Loongson-2F CPU.

Why do you want RISC, for programming on the hardware? While coding in MIPS assembly is no pleasure, SPARC assembly is definitely in DO NOT WANT territory.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
John R. Graham
Administrator
Administrator


Joined: 08 Mar 2005
Posts: 7399
Location: Somewhere over Atlanta, Georgia

PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, not really enterprisey. More workstationey. I want to learn a RISC assembly language—more than academically, that is. MIPS probably makes more sense because the products I touch on a daily basis use SoCs with MIPS cores and, although it seems the industry is turning to ARM over the long term, I don't yet have a platform that I work on with an ARM core.

- John
_________________
This space intentionally left blank.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
chithanh
Developer
Developer


Joined: 05 Aug 2006
Posts: 1562
Location: Berlin, Germany

PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you decide to go MIPS, get a box with the Chinese Loongson CPU. In Europe, you can get them starting from 215 EUR +VAT+shipping. http://www.tekmote.nl/
In case you want something smaller, many SOHO routers use some form of MIPS, e.g. the WZR-HP-G300NH (75 EUR) or the TL-WR1043ND (45 EUR). As long as OpenWRT runs, then Gentoo will too. Note that installing Gentoo on embedded devices usually requires careful preparation.

Old SGI MIPS hardware is also available on eBay, but I'd rather avoid that.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mattst88
Developer
Developer


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 362

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi John!

The story is that armin76 maintains SPARC almost exclusively, but he does that in addition to a huge number of other things, i.e., alpha, ia64, m68k, s390, and sh. He does a great job, but as you'd expect from not having a full team, things fall through the cracks. Gentoo/SPARC could definitely use your help.

As for MIPS, for some time it's been maintained almost exclusively by me. We have a relatively large team, but for a variety of reasons the members aren't active. I could use your help here too. :)

As for hardware, second hand SPARC workstations are easily and cheaply available on eBay. I'd recommend a Blade 2500: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=(sun+blade,sunblade)+2500

They have dual CPUs, either 1.28 GHz or 1.6 GHz. In fact, I have one that I'm not using (dual 1.28 GHz).

For MIPS hardware, as chithanh mentions, SGI hardware is available, but each model has unique drawbacks. The latest generations are fast, but unsupported. The early generations are totally supported, but horribly slow. In between -- a mixing.

I'd recommend a Loongson MIPS laptop. Loongson-2f hardware is available now, such as the Yeeloong. They're rather slow though, with a terrible graphics chipset.

Hopefully before too much longer the Loongson 3A laptop will be available. Loongson 3A is a quad-core CPU, so it's a massive improvement over 2f.

Hope this helps, and if you want to talk more, I'm always on #gentoo-mips and #gentoo-sparc. :)
_________________
My 1U Dual 833 MHz Alphaserver DS20L
The AlphaLinux.org Wiki
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
John R. Graham
Administrator
Administrator


Joined: 08 Mar 2005
Posts: 7399
Location: Somewhere over Atlanta, Georgia

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mattst88, thanks for the detailed and thoughtful answer. It's exactly the kind of information I was looking for. I'll make my decision and purchase some time this month. :D

- John
_________________
This space intentionally left blank.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
chithanh
Developer
Developer


Joined: 05 Aug 2006
Posts: 1562
Location: Berlin, Germany

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another interesting MIPS device shows up, availability expected in a few months:
http://www.osnews.com/story/25397/MIPS_99_Tablet_is_First_Ice_Cream_Sandwich_Tablet
http://semiaccurate.com/2011/12/05/android-4-0-tablet-to-sell-for-less-than-100/
If Android can be replaced with Gentoo on that device it might be worth consideration.

EDIT: You can order them now for $100+$60 worldwide shipping from http://ainovo.com/ and there is even a promotional video on YouTube, a bit awkward though. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2i41fA9WfsA
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
manaru
n00b
n00b


Joined: 07 Jan 2008
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

maybe the nanonote.
http://en.qi-hardware.com/wiki/Ben_NanoNote
http://en.qi-hardware.com/wiki/Gentoo-cross-compilation
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Gentoo Forums Forum Index Gentoo on Alternative Architectures All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum