Linux (ppc, and
to the Mac
Earning Apple support for the OpenMac projects
OpenMac refers to the multiple efforts at porting different flavors of
UNIX to the Macintosh and PowerMacintosh platforms, primarily representing
the Linux for PowerPC and MacBSD projects.
In the past, the OpenMac teams have seen their efforts blocked by the lack
of accessible information for Apple's low-level hardware interfaces. This
has led to stalled projects and generally negative feelings about something
most interested parties feel strongly about.
This collection is intended to spur relations between the OpenMac projects
and Apple Computer. We hope to accomplish this by documenting our needs,
and presenting them with factual and compelling arguments for supporting
the work. To this end, we have been in contact with Apple employees at
various levels, and are currently building summary documents to circulate
Although it started as a document regarding OpenMac OS developer issues,
this page has become a public bulletin board for our progress. Please keep
in mind, though, that this is not the forum for asking about using or beta-
testing Linux and NetBSD. For more information about finding, installing,
and using these products, check out the reference links
at the end of this page.
Allen Briggs maintains a document describing the
current state of projects to port major free
operating systems to the PowerPC. If you have any more recent info, please
send him some mail.
Apple has been supporting an OSF project to port Linux running on a Mach
kernel to the PowerMac hardware. A preliminary version of this has been
released (as of May 17th, 1996). Apple has also issued
official information about this.
This information both pleases and challenges us to make the most of this
window of opportunity. We are focusing our efforts on ensuring that the
necessary information and documents are made available to all of
the people and projects that can benefit from it.
Key Issues: What needs to be documented?
As part of our commitment to extract the necessary information from Apple,
the following list describes the hardware interfaces that we still need
documentation for. As information is requested, or outstanding requests
are satisfied, this list will be updated. Printed and online documents
are recorded and tracked on the references page.
Here is the outstanding list of requests:
Note: As new information on CHRP or PPCP is being published, rich
information is being released to the public. Several of the above interfaces
appear similar to those documented in the
Macintosh Technology in the Common
Hardware Reference Platform document, but it's unclear if they
are the same as those used in the current PCI PowerMacs. When the document
has been evaluated, some of these issues may be resolved.
- MESH: PowerMac internal SCSI controller
- Hammerhead: PowerMac memory controller
- Cuda: PowerMac ADB chip
- Bandit: PowerMac PCI bridge
- Grand Central: PowerMac I/O subsystem controller (VIA, SWIM, etc.)
- AWAC, Chaos, et fam.: PowerMac video/sound chips.
- V8: 680x0 Mac I/O chip (VIA2, etc.)
- RBV: 680x0 Mac I/O chip (VIA2, etc.)
- DMA: 680x0 A/V machines DMA controller
- Egret: 680x0 Power Mgmt, ADB, (etc.?) controller
- ASC, et fam.: Various Apple Sound Chips
Finding More Information
Linux Resources on the Net
NetBSD Resources on the Net
Macintosh and Mac Developer Resources on the Net
Other Mac and UNIX Resources on the Net