Subject: Porting a Linux-based OS to the PowerPC architecture (fwd)
To: None <macbsd-general@sun-lamp.CS.Berkeley.EDU>
From: Peter Siebold <>
List: macbsd-general
Date: 05/10/1994 17:29:41
Just found this on the net, and thought it would be a good basis to get 
some discussion going on the dead macbsd-* lists.  I ask someone how they 
will be able to have a kernel running by the end of the summer without 
hardware specs for the PPC?

***	 Peter Siebold		  			     ___|___ 	  ***
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***				      o/ \o	  ***
***		                      /    ^    \            		  ***
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***                                 SR-71 Blackbird       		  ***
***		When you soar among the birds WHAT do you feel?		  ***

>Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.announce,comp.sys.powerpc
>From: (Charlton Wilbur)
>Subject: Porting a Linux-based OS to the PowerPC architecture
>Message-ID: <>
>Followup-To: comp.os.linux.misc
>Summary: Freeware Unix for PowerMac currently in development
>Keywords: PowerPC, PowerMac, Unix, Linux, Macintosh
>Sender: (Matt Welsh)
>Reply-To: (Charlton Wilbur)
>Organization: Illuminati Online
>Date: Tue, 10 May 1994 21:29:12 GMT
>Approved: (Matt Welsh)
>Lines: 63
>Xref: comp.os.linux.announce:1287 comp.sys.powerpc:14347

We (Charlton Wilbur and Jem Lewis; this is Charlton writing) are two
computer science students at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, USA. In
January we began laying plans to developing a freeware Unix on the Power
Macintosh platform, inspired largely by the success of Linux. 

We've already received a number of queries about the project and offers 
of help, and this posting is partly an attempt to prevent confusion. (We 
had also hoped to keep it relatively quiet until we were ready to release 
something, simply to keep from being inundated with email.) We'll be 
posting periodic updates on the status of the project, starting with this 

It is, unfortunately, beyond the scope of this project to make our 
implementation of Unix compatible on a binary level with Linux. However, 
one of the keys to the success of Unix in general is its high level of 
source-code compatibility, and we plan to make this implementation as 
close as possible to a Linux implementation from a source-code 
standpoint so that source code that compiles on one platform will 
compile on the other platform without any modification. 

Our main goal, which we hope to achieve by the end of August, is to get a 
usable OS running relatively bug-free. More specifically, we want to have 
a stable kernel which supports a baseline PowerMac configuration, basic 
file utilities (cd, ls, cp, mv, for instance), gcc, emacs, vi, and bash 
running on this system. This is critical mass: with these tools running 
in a stable manner, anyone can port anything to this system.

We plan to keep tight control of the kernel while it is still in
development, because we feel that we can do a much cleaner job with a
small, unified group. Once we get it running, as bug-free as we can, on a
basic PowerMac configuration, we plan to make it publicly available. At
that point, any help we can find will be appreciated, particularly in the
areas of alpha-testing and device drivers for devices we don't have access

In addition, we don't expect it to reach the heights that Linux has
immediately. Our goals for the end of the summer are quite definite; TeX,
netnews, nethack, and the like we will probably leave in the hands of
other programmers, although if we achieve our goal of making our Unix
completely source-compatible with Linux they shouldn't be much of a
problem. X11, on the other hand, will be a large piece of work, and will
get done when some brave soul finds the time. 

At this time, we are beginning to do some of the kernel design and coding,
and are beginning to port gcc. We are currently acquiring a good
native-mode compiler so that we can compile gcc once we finish porting it.
(We should probably acknowledge our computer science department, which has
provided a good bit of support in the form of an actual Power Macintosh, a
number of technical references, and a native-mode compiler.)

We appreciate not being inundated with email; as we said before, we'll 
post periodic updates, and email requests for information will probably 
receive some version of this post. 

Thanks for your time and attention,

Charlton Wilbur (
Jem Lewis (
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