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Messages - pocock

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Blackbird / using bigger CPUs with some cores disabled on Blackbird?
« on: July 20, 2020, 06:50:51 am »

I started a separate thread about disabling cores in the CPUs in a Talos II

It occurred to me that disabling cores could be a way to reduce CPU power consumption on Blackbird, for example, if you have an 18 core CPU (which is not supported) and you use the operating system to disable 4 cores, leaving just 14 cores, does the power consumption fall within the supported range for the motherboard?

This is probably not a good way to design a new system but if somebody has a spare CPU and they want to temporarily use it in a Blackbird, maybe this would be a useful hack that will reduce the risk of unexpected behavior.


There are different marketing possibilities around Europe.  Each country is different.

For example, in Switzerland, people have high salaries and would not feel stressed about the price of these products.  If somebody does a few Blackbird demos at small events and hackerspaces, a few more users will probably come on board quite quickly.

Somewhere like Ireland is very different: in Ireland, the country is cold, even in summer.  Some buyers in hot countries may hesitate to buy a powerful workstation because it will heat up their home but in Ireland, people would see that as a benefit and it will not lead to hesitation at the time of purchase.

General OpenPOWER Discussion / forum sections for different regions?
« on: July 13, 2020, 01:05:59 pm »

Are there enough users here to have sections in the forum for specific regions and/or countries?

For example, advertising local events where OpenPOWER solutions will be on display or simply helping users find each other at local hackerspaces.

Applications and Porting / Re: availability for porting work
« on: July 08, 2020, 02:24:33 pm »
It is an interesting suggestion.  The JIT is only for performance or it is also necessary for some functionality that is currently unavailable in Firefox on POWER9?

Somebody else recently commented about Firefox using too much CPU, I suggested experimenting with cgroups to constrain the Firefox process as a workaround until it is fully optimized.  Here is a script I developed for that purpose, there are other permutations available elsewhere:

I actually developed that for making it more sane on my x86 laptop, it is not just for POWER9

Applications and Porting / availability for porting work
« on: July 07, 2020, 08:59:09 am »

If there are any urgent porting issues that I could investigate and if anybody is willing to sponsor a few weeks of ad-hoc developer time like that then please get in touch with me.

I'm beginning to try and schedule work on a range of things for the period October - December 2020.

If funding (or other incentives) are available, I'd like to use some of that time to become more familiar with this platform as I believe it has an important role to play in the free software ecosystem.

If anybody can suggest high-priority issues in the hope that somebody else will fund the work please feel free to comment here too.

Talos II / Using the ╬╝PCIe connector (J10108)
« on: June 17, 2020, 06:04:47 am »
The manual:

mentions a ╬╝PCIe connector (J10108)

How many lanes does it support?

Can anybody give any example of products that can be connected with this?  For example, can it be used with an M.2 or U.2 adapter for SSDs?

Talos II / Re: OCuLink ambiguity
« on: June 17, 2020, 06:02:02 am »

From the Thunderbolt 3 thread...

The only thing I can say is that a working OCuLink adapter is listed in the RCSwiki.

but it is odd that the ordering page includes an option to select an OCuLink PCIe Expander but the form doesn't include any of the OCuLink adapters.  When I noticed that, it left me wondering if there is OCuLink support on the motherboard.  It would be no use for somebody to order the expander and motherboard without also ordering one of the OCuLink adapter cards.

Maybe OCuLink is the alternative to Thunderbolt 3 - but there is some ambiguity about OCuLink support on the Talos II and Blackbird, can anybody clarify it?


I created a separate thread with some observations about NVIDIA, maybe it would be better to discuss specifics of their drivers there.


These are some of the links that appear most relevant:

NVIDIA forum, describes support for P100 on POWER8 and V100 on POWER9.

NVIDIA media release about collaboration with IBM on open source machine learning with Tesla V100

IBM pages about the same topic

The V100 products are rather expensive.

Nonetheless, some people have suggested that bits of the proprietary driver can be used to run other NVIDIA GPUs in a POWER system.  This thread might be a useful place to collect comments on topics like that.

This generation of cards doesn't have full hardware ray tracing support, I don't know if that is also a factor in that particular issue.

Many of the reviews of the RX 5700 and W5700 mention that the current NVIDIA cards may be better for people who need ray tracing.  But the NVIDIA drivers are less open than the AMD driver and may not work on POWER.

The previews of the next generation AMD Radeon "big navi" cards suggest they plan to add full ray tracing support and close the gap with NVIDIA but we may not see any cards like that until the end of the year.  That may eliminate the type of issue described in CT magazine.

For me, that means I'm tempted to use cheaper cards, such as the RX 5500 with 4GB or even something older from ebay as a temporary solution for six months.  I don't specifically need ray tracing but would like to have the overall combination of features, for example, AV1 support and lower power consumption.


AMD doesn't care about POWER9

they have a wealth of knowledge about POWER9 in AMD.

Whether they will apply it or support it is another thing.  NVIDIA provides POWER9 binary only drivers for a couple of their cards.

I originally purchased an RX 580 for my Talos but it never behaved properly. Frequent EEH errors, kernel panics, and black screens. After switching to a WX5100, I haven't encountered any issues.

I've heard people theorize that the consumer cards have less mature firmware that ends up tripping the PCIe DMA protections on POWER9 that don't exist on x86. At least anecdotally this seems accurate, since that same RX 580 works just fine in an x86 machine.

Do you have the option to exchange the RX 580, did you try a replacement?

Many retailers will exchange or refund any product within the first 2 - 4 weeks, especially in Europe.  Is this enough time for somebody to detect a problem like that?

Of course, this probably doesn't hold true for all consumer cards, though for me the investment in a guaranteed-working WX-series card was well worth it.

I understand that in various ways the WX series (now the W series) cards are more tested by AMD but has either AMD or Raptor given any guarantee about them on POWER9 in general or on the Raptor hardware specifically?

If that is written somewhere then it provides an extra reason to prefer those cards for those who can buy them.

Thanks for taking the time to share your observations.

Are there any packages that don't exist at all in Debian but would be essential or highly desirable on Debian systems?

Are there packages in unstable that are either not in the stable release or they require something from a newer version to be backported to stable to make them work on ppc64el?

Maybe these could be entered as RFP or Request-for-backport bugs in and then a usertag can be added to all of those so they can be found quickly.  This is an example of how arm64 bugs and package requests are tagged.

I'm willing to build packages or backports of the most important things that I will use myself but it would be helpful if people can point them out or enter any hints or concerns through the BTS.


This is a little bit confusing in Debian and Docker

A search for a package with the exact name docker finds this:

Searching for any package including the name docker finds a lot more, including the package which is more recent:

They wrote that it is not supported on anything except amd64 but they don't explicitly write that it won't work

Here it says the compile succeeded for ppc64el but not on other ppc variants:

Does anybody know what "not supported" means in this context?

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