Death Knell for PowerPC

As all the news sites are reporting, Sony is about to release an update to the PlayStation 3 that disables the ability to install or run Linux on the PS3 (one of the original features touted at launch). This update is mandatory if you want to continue using the online/multiplayer features of the PS3/

Unsurprisingly there is outrage in the community.

Miguel de Icaza, the man behind Mono and Gnome, states the "JIT compiler for SPUs wouldnt exist without Linux/PS3" and he believes Sony is "putting a bullet [in] PPC innovation/work, one of the few affordable systems for development".

The maintainer of the SPU GCC back end, Andrew Thomas Pinksi, is livid:

"…more than that, the spu gcc backend is no longer going to be maintained by me."

What that means to you non techie folks is that the standard compiler used by all Linux distributions to create software (and Unix and Mac OS X) will no longer fully support the Cell processor, the last remaining credible desktop PowerPC platform. This will kill all interest in using the Cell in any Linux-based PowerPC workstations and seriously makes things look dire for the future of PowerPC.

Already, two major Linux distributions have announced that they're dropping PowerPC support (Fedora and OpenSUSE).

I think this is a travesty and Sony are making a huge mistake here, and it's very sad to see PowerPC having such a public execution. More than this, I'm furious that come April 1st I will have to choose between updating my PS3 so I can play games on it and losing my Linux partition forever, or keeping my Linux partition (in which I've invested quite a lot of effort) at the expense of not being able to play or update games.

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