IBM heeft een PowerPC plankje ontwikkeld waarmee goedkoop een PPC powered Linux systeem gebouwd kan worden (tot op heden moest je daar een complete Mac voor aanschaffen). IBM gaat het moederbord niet zelf produceren, maar mobobakkers kunnen het design kosteloos overnemen:
IBM will not charge license fees or royalties, nor will it manufacture its own motherboards based on the design, Faure says. The company will provide schematics, component lists, and circuit board art to interested manufacturers, Faure adds. "It uses much of the technology in x86 motherboards, but with the PowerPC chip," Faure says. He would not say whom IBM is speaking with about the motherboards. Products based on the motherboards could become available early next year, he says.
The architecture harkens from IBM's efforts in the mid-90s to create reference designs for Macintosh clones, Faure says. IBM updated that work by adding things like higher bus speeds and support for accelerated graphics port signals. IBM showed a prototype of the motherboards at LinuxWorld Conference and Expo this week in San Jose, and will also show them next week at HP World in San Francisco. Currently, Apple is the only major computer manufacturer using PowerPC chips on its motherboards.
"A lot of people out there right now are running Linux on PowerPC but they're using Macs, so they're basically paying for a box to run both Mac software and Linux," Faure says.
If other manufacturers make PowerPC motherboards for Linux, people will have more choices for Linux platforms besides x86 PCs, Apple's PowerPC systems.
"It's going to reduce the cost of getting Linux on PowerPC," says Jason Haas, marketing director for LinuxPPC, which makes the primary distribution of Linux for PowerPC computers.
Apple didn't comment on the action by its PowerPC partner, but Faure says he'd "be surprised if they had any objection." Most Apple customers aren't Linux customers, he adds.