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Topics - Borley

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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?

User Zone / Rough edges and how I work around them (or not)
« on: January 04, 2020, 05:23:03 pm »
This post is for documentation purposes and is not meant as a criticism of POWER or Raptor, rather, it is a place for me to think openly regarding my POWER9/Blackbird exerience so far. What is listed here may or may not necessarily be a POWER or Raptor board issue as I have yet to determine the root cause of several items. I welcome any suggestions or even fixes that you may have found in your own situations. The new platform has already forced me to learn quite a bit and hopefully this can be of use to somebody other than myself.

When rebooting sometimes restarts without onboard audio available
   complete reboot removing power from the board is required to rectify this situation

System stutter with any I/O activity on the main drive (could be the PCIe-NVMe adapter?)
   major I/O on the main drive (copying many large files to) makes the system nearly unusable
Harddrive SMART reports an unsafe shutdown for every shutdown
 This has not technically been an issue yet, I am just gambling that it won't blow up in my face - does the platform need to issue some kind of shutdown signal to the drive?

Unavailable dependencies needed for packages that would otherwise be installable:
   mozc - that's okay anthy works just as well
   anki - one single python package is not built for ppc
   openshot - one single python package is not built for ppc. none of the other video editors will actually load any video content (missing codec? I'm too dumb to figure this out)

VLC playback   
VLC sometimes remains "running" after closing out - cannot even kill it from terminal (kill PID) it *only* closes through system monitor when this occurs
VLC unable to stream online video content, "cannot decode h264" (even though local h264 files run fine (another codec issue?)

Random lockups - unable to determine the cause yet, running clamav-daemon in on-access scanning mode does seem to trigger it when nautilus begins thumbnailing new media in a directory being opened for the first time - disabled for now
   also occured once when cycling through 漢字 within anthy

Misc missing software;

ffmpeg botches gif creation when using palattes - standard (ugly) gif creation with ffmpeg is fine however
   same exact config + script works okay on x86

Startup always selects another enP1s0... ethernet port for which there is no profile, must manually select the true port (might just be a GNOME bug?)

artha must be launched twice before it actually opens
 Trivial issue - very unlikely to be a fault of POWER/Blackbird

Large images in GIMP are much slower to work with despite having a dedicated add in GPU (a weaker GPU on x86 was fine in comparison)
Just need to be more patient with the program/use smaller images

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