Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
IntelliStation POWER 185
Long time, no gopherloggin' - mostly because I've been occupied with
school stuff. After three years of my master studies the end is near
and there is the last but hardest course, which stands between me and
the end of my university years. One way or another, it should be over
within a week.
Between all the reading a memorizing one positive thing happened.
I bought a second-hand IBM IntelliStation POWER 185 workstation. It's
equipped with single-core PowerPC 970MP clocked at 2.5GHz, 4GB of DDR
ECC RAM and 146GB SCSI HDD. Case is in mint condition and I consider
it being a very good purchase for ~120 USD, even though it's much
louder that what I am used to with computers.
It's a very nice machine indeed. Black tower case with futuristic,
almost Space-Odyssey-like design, operator front panel (still
resisting to reveal it's mysteries, btw.) and PowerMac G5 style
easy access inside. And if you look inside, you have the immediate
feeling of power. Wind tunnels, SCSI cables - you don't see these in
today's PCs very often. But the best thing about it is, that it really
It's so different, that it took me couple of days to get even basic
operating system booting. It came without OS, I didn't manage to get
AIX copy yet and so I wanted to install PowerPC-compatible Linux
distribution on this beast, which was not as easy as I thought it
would be. All Debian based distros die after unpacking the kernel with
"Querying for OPAL presence." - this never happened to me on any Mac.
This problem is known, documented and even patch exists for couple of
years, but apparently nobody cares. Fedora works only on newer server
hardware, Gentoo and ArchLinux are not even considered to be bootable
media by the firmware. And that's how I came to CRUX PPC.
CRUX PPC not only boots, it works like a marvel. It's targeted at
experienced users (stated on website), which means you have
to partition your hard drive, make filesystems, mount them, chroot to
the new root partition, run installation script and then compile your
own kernel. But everything went better than expected, maybe I am
an experienced user :-)
I talked with CRUX PPC author on IRC and even though he is skeptical
about PowerPC desktop future (who isn't these days?), he was very
helpful with solving minor difficulties, I have had.
Now I am trying to configure X Window System and applications to suit
my taste. It's a bit crowded in my computer corner - three square
meters with three computers (iMac, PowerMac, IntelliStation), but it's
again a bit more computer fun than it was just a month ago.