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Topics - Borley

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General OpenPOWER Discussion / Raptor CS fediverse presence?
« on: June 14, 2022, 03:43:35 pm »
I occasionally check the RCS twitter activity through some Nitter front end. But, as somebody who will never use centralized Twitter, I find myself wishing there was a way to participate. Is there any room at the table for a Mastodon network account?

User Zone / Calling for gaming experiences
« on: April 09, 2022, 04:52:48 pm »
If you have gotten any games up and running on your Power9 systems, please share anything about the experience here. I have been slowly compiling compatibility for various works and so far we have already evaluated: see wiki

Still need to check:

Evolution RTS
Speed Dreams
The Dark Mod
Terminal Overload
Yo Frankie!
Red Eclipse 2
Rigs of Rods
Ryzom (Build resources for anyone interested. I have tried and failed several times so I might be in over my head on this one. But it would be really good to have as it is an active commercial title.)

Really, anything from Libre Game Wiki or Open Source Game Clones. Although I have been biasing my tests toward games that have a general sense of visual polish and professionalism. I feel this information would be good to have for fence sitters deciding whether or not to go for an open power system.

Testing is slow going, since I don't yet have my second board and my only one is currently my production environment that I rely on for work and necessities.

General OpenPOWER Discussion / Story Time
« on: April 09, 2022, 04:25:43 pm »
Back sometime in 2015-2016 I became interested in Coreboot'd boards shortly after learning of Intel ME/AMD PSP from some heavy lifters in the free & open source community. The stuff for sale at the time were largely ASUS serverboards that had Coreboot ported. But they had been E-ATX or other eccentricities that made them difficult to build around. And the smaller boards were mostly either much older, poorly/partially supported or made concessions in allowing nonfree blobs to run.

That year I identified a board that followed standard ATX, supported big multicore CPUs and was more widely available: the SuperMicro H8SGL-F. Not a hard sell at the time only being 4-5 years old. I emailed Raptor Engineering, identified from the ASUS firmware ports, and inquired about porting the H8SGL-F. They quoted about 10,000 USD to handle such a job, which, at least at the time, I most certainly did not have the money for.

Not too long after, crowdfunding was opened for the Talos Power8 Secure Workstation. I followed the project through its development, crowdfunding failure, and eventual revival with Power9. And here I am today with an Open Power workstation humming away at the desk. Funny how things work.

Those old ASUS boards are still sold through some vendors but I'm glad they are no longer the only options for a strong, free workstation. I did end up buying some H8SGL boards anyway while awaiting Raptor's work, and I've got to say they weren't terrible. They, along with their Bulldozer/Piledriver chips, could be had for dirt cheap, supported ECC memory, IOMMU, did not contain embedded rootkit circuitry and the BMC could be disabled both in BIOS and via physical jumper. In doing so, reaching much of the way to decent design only without having free firmware.

Operating Systems and Porting / Improvements for AST2600
« on: March 03, 2022, 09:43:47 am »
The Aspeed display driver is supposedly getting some work. I wonder if this could translate into a more usable desktop experience on Blackbird?

Operating Systems and Porting / Investigating switch to Void or Fedora
« on: December 28, 2021, 07:07:14 pm »
Due to unfortunate circumstances, I may need to swallow my pride and retool my system for Void (or something else) instead of Debian.
I have built up 5+ years of specialized configuration around my Debian install so I'd really hate to have to deploy something else, but if it comes to that:

I am apprehensive about running Void, as their PPC port is unofficial. Is it vetted? Will it become unmaintained if some guy in Nebraska gets hit by a bus?

The sooner I can get this system back up, the sooner I can get back to building software and contributing to guides here and on the wiki.

Blackbird / Question for fellow Blackbird owners
« on: December 28, 2021, 06:40:23 pm »
Do you have any trouble booting Debian?

My C1P9S01 Rev 1.01 has the 2.0 firmware installed. It can boot Fedora and Void successfully.

But it cannot boot any Debian (either install media or an internal drive with Bullseye pre-installed). It just hangs forever at "SIGTERM received, booting...". This was not a problem before installing 2.0 firmware.

I have been struggling with getting a graphical session (Gnome, or Sway) running under Debian Bullseye. The system is a Blackbird with RX560. After installing firmware-amd-graphics, disabling the AST and setting amdgpu in initramfs modules, the system gets display but crashes out of Gnome GUI.

I have tried setting a default GPU per select desired GPU at runtime. And disabled GLAMOR with the relevant portion of this since it was also erroring about GL_OUT_OF_MEMORY for glamor.

This allowed GDM to now start, however text fails to render and login fails, always returning to the GDM login prompt. Aside from the text, everything looks okay in the GUI so I am confident that the GPU is working at least. It looks like the screen needs to be selected, according to xorg logs:

[     3.162] (==) No Layout section.  Using the first Screen section.
[     3.162] (**) |-->Screen "Screen0" (0)
[     3.162] (**) |   |-->Monitor "<default monitor>"
[     3.163] (**) |   |-->Device "GPU1"
[     3.163] (**) |   |-->GPUDevice "GPU1"
[     3.163] (==) No monitor specified for screen "Screen0".
        All GPUs supported by the amdgpu kernel driver
[     3.175] (EE) No devices detected.
[     3.176] (EE)
Fatal server error:
[     3.176] (EE) no screens found(EE)
[     3.176] (EE)

Has anybody gotten Bullseye up and running with an AMD card? And how do you determine the correct screen to select?

User Zone / Forgotten Petiteboot menu password
« on: June 20, 2021, 08:26:09 pm »
I have idiotically reset the passphrase on my Blackbird (1.01 firmware) and can no longer make changes since I don't really know what I've set it to. Will resetting this require a serial cable? I see some resources saying it might be possible through ipmitool.

Update: I have found that I can still log in on BMC over ethernet. Just looking to figure out how to reset the petiteboot passphrase from here.

Applications and Porting / How to build Barony Game
« on: June 13, 2021, 03:05:15 pm »
I have finally gotten around to building Barony from source. No changes need to be made as it builds and runs just fine on Power. However, the instructions are a little incomplete, so I thought I would share here for the other 3 people on Earth who play this and also use PowerPC.

Adapted from their resources:

Code: [Select]
apt install libsdl2-dev libsdl2-image-dev libsdl2-net-dev libsdl2-ttf-dev libpng-dev libz-dev libphysfs-dev rapidjson-dev

git clone

mkdir build && cd build

The OpenAL bit is important, otherwise it will have no sound.

Code: [Select]

cd ../

make -j 4

Should create barony: ELF 64-bit LSB pie executable, 64-bit PowerPC or cisco 7500, version 1 (GNU/Linux), dynamically linked, interpreter /lib64/, for GNU/Linux 3.10.0, BuildID[sha1]=3923290b782f5cac6359a315534a6b79471522ee, not stripped

Next, pull in the game resources:

Code: [Select]


From your copy of Barony, the following asset directories will need to be copied into the same directory as the barony executable; books, images, items, maps, models, music, sound.

Code: [Select]
./barony to play

I just came across a piece describing how Microsoft, in partnership with AMD, Intel and Qualcom, intends to implement another "security" component on CPUs which goes a step further than management engines and TPMs. Essentially they want the chip to be able to pull in firmware updates through Windows update, further centralizing the MS power structure and placing users in a position where if they want to run a non-Windows OS the device must first be allowed by permission of its true master.

An architecture should never have to support various operating systems, the onus must fall on operating systems to support CPU architectures. I feel like I've stepped into the bizzaro universe.

Applications and Porting / Building software, a bit of a newb question
« on: September 12, 2020, 11:51:39 am »
When compiling programs on Power ISA, does make need to be directed explicitly to build for Power? Does the compiler default to its host architecture?

I am trying to build and run programs which are not available in the ppc64le Debian repos;

  • OBS Studio: blew away my OS install after running a make install (GNOME began behaving unusually and eventually locked up, the system would not boot back up after hard resetting)

    Openspades: I was able to build successfully on an x86 host. I nearly do the same on my Blackbird but am afraid to run the make install with sudo priv due to my above experience with OBS)

Can anyone offer some insight?

Condor / Condor cancelled
« on: July 31, 2020, 05:48:28 pm »
This is a serious setback. I suppose the Talos II lite already occupies that space to a degree. Hopefully this is the extent of losses before things begin to turn around.

Operating Systems and Porting / Petite boot and encrypting /boot
« on: July 04, 2020, 04:45:14 pm »
Can Petite boot work with an encrypted /boot directory? I have seen several methods for setting this up but it looks like they go through GRUB. I may not understand this correctly, but doesn't Petite boot stand in for GRUB, when using Raptor systems?

Firmware / Updating firmware from the live host: possible?
« on: July 04, 2020, 04:36:43 pm »
I'm still trying to wrap my head around the 1.00 > 2.00 firmware update procedure.

It looks like the files need to be sent from another computer. Can this be done simply by wiring ethernet ports 0 or 1 directly to the BMC ethernet port?

I would rather avoid having to trust another computer in the process, if at all possible.

General CPU Discussion / CPU Performance DD2.2 vs DD2.3 (v2)
« on: May 02, 2020, 04:32:31 pm »
I have been unable to find any documented information on the v2 chips beyond the listed features and some vague "5% in some cases" claim on IRC. So I went ahead and got a CP9M31 (v2) to compare. It was a drop in replacement for my Blackbird with the 1.01 firmware. After the system rebooted once with no POST chirp (and a minor heart attack) it proceeded to start up normally. Although the language on the Wiki seems to imply that the new 2.00 firmware is required to run v2 parts?: "PNOR Supports DD2.3 ("v2") CPUs".

Here are some really basic CPU benchmarks with hardinfo:

CPU partCP9M01CP9M31
BlowfishNo data2.04(Lower is better)
CryptoHash854.30945.86(Higher is better)
Fibonacci0.940.94(Lower is better)
N-Queens15.8816.21(Lower is better)
Zlib1.591.54(Higher is better)
FPU FFT1.461.43(Lower is better)
FPU Raytrace2.072.04(Lower is better)

I wouldn't call the test scientific as I did have Gnome system monitor and psensor open in the backgroud for the second run. Interestingly, the part with speculative execution mitigations actually fared worse in N-Queens and Zlib. But it does perform better overall, especially cryptohash. Sorry about the Blowfish stat, my first run didn't grab it and I had already rebuilt my system before I realized it. I will update the table if anybody who has a CP9M01 currently installed wants to run a quick hardinfo benchmark to contribute.

Is this worth adding to the wiki? What would be an appropriate page?

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