- Debian for PowerPC
- Debian on 32-bit PowerPC (powerpc)
- Debian on 64-bit Little Endian PowerPC (ppc64el)
- Links - Documentation
- Available Hardware for Contributors
- Contact information
Debian for PowerPC
The PowerPC is a RISC microprocessor architecture developed by IBM, Motorola (now Freescale) and Apple. The PowerPC architecture allows both 64-bit and 32-bit implementations (the 64-bit implementation includes the 32-bit implementation). The first PowerPC microprocessor was the 601, a 32-bit implementation released in 1992. Several other 32-bit implementations have since been released, including the 603, 604, 750 (G3), 7400 (G4) and the PowerQUICC embedded communications processors. 64-bit implementations include the 620, POWER4, POWER5 and the 970 (G5).
Linux for the PowerPC was first released at the 2.2.x version of the kernel. A key resource for PowerPC Linux development is penguinppc, which also includes a hardware compatibility list. PowerPC support in the Linux kernel is now developed as part of the `main' Linux kernel at kernel.org.
The Debian PowerPC port began in 1997 at the German Linux Congress in Würzburg. A PowerPC machine (Motorola StarMax 4000, 200 MHz 604e) was donated to the Debian project. Additional information about this computer is available from the history page.
Debian on 32-bit PowerPC (powerpc)
It first became an official
release architecture with Debian
GNU/Linux 2.2 (
potato) and had retained that status until the publication
of Debian 9 (
stretch). The last supported release for 32-bit PowerPC is Debian 8 (
See the release note and installation manual for further information.
Debian on 64-bit Little Endian PowerPC (ppc64el)
Starting on the release of Debian 8 (
jessie), ppc64el is an officially
supported architecture on Debian.
See the release note and installation manual.
Here you can find information about the 64-bit PowerPC Little Endian architecture.
However, note that there is also information at the ppc64el wiki page, such as installation and ABI information.
There are a variety of systems using the PowerPC microprocessor. Check our Installation pages for specific information about installing Debian/PowerPC on your system.
There are some quirks you need to know about when installing on an iBook, TiBook, or iBook2, especially when dual booting with Mac OS X. Some iBook2 hardware, especially on recently introduced models, is not well supported as yet. For specific information on potential problems and solutions, study these web pages:
- William R. Sowerbutts' Installing Debian GNU/Linux on the Mac Mini
- Mij's Hints on installing debian on an iBook2
- Installing Debian GNU/Linux on an iBook 3.3 (G4) by Sébastien FRANÇOIS
- Debian network installation on IBM RS/6000 44P-170 (POWER3) HOWTO by Rolf Brudeseth
- Installing Debian GNU/Linux on a p630 LPAR (7028-6C4) - English and German (Florian M. Weps, link to archived copies in archive.org)
- Daniel DeVoto's Installing Debian Wheezy/testing on an iBook G3
Debian GNU/Linux does not officially support NuBus PowerPC machines, such as the 6100, 7100, 8100 and most of the Performa series. However, an MkLinux-based kernel is available, which can be launched from a Mac OS boot loader. A Debian system can be installed using this kernel, which is available at http://nubus-pmac.sourceforge.net/.
When upgrading from Potato to Woody or upgrading really old kernels, there is some important information you should be aware of regarding a change in keyboard coding. This could save you some time and headaches!
Links - Documentation
Up-to-date information on Linux for PowerPC is at PenguinPPC. We have an older collection of PowerPC links and a couple of pointers for Debian PowerPC developers.
Hardware specifications for Apple computers are available at AppleSpec.
More information and documentation about the POWER architecture:
- Official ELFv2 ABI Specification (under section 'Link') or this PDF. Registration required.
- GNU Tools Caldron 2014 slides & video
Available Hardware for Contributors
Please read the list of Debian machines to access powerpc/ppc64el Debian porterboxen.
If you need help, try asking for help in the following places:
The Debian PowerPC mailing list is the proper place for questions, suggestions for improvements, or just for chat concerning PowerPC systems running Debian. The debian-user list is also available for general Debian questions which are not specific to PowerPC.
To join the list, send e-mail to <firstname.lastname@example.org> with the word "subscribe" in the Subject line. List archives are available.
Linux for PowerPC Systems
Linux in general
#debian channel on
for general topics relating to Debian, and there is the
#debianppc channel for topics specific to Debian on
PowerPC processors. You will almost always find someone on-line who is
happy to share information and help you with your problem.
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