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The definitive guide to porting x86 Linux applications to the IBM POWER platform

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  1. Log an issue in GitHub.
    • Go here: https://github.ibm.com/linuxonpower/porting-guide
    • Note which page and section you are referring to in the issue title. For example, “Add dancing chipmunk graphic to the Get ready page:Why Linux section”
    • Include the page URL in the Comment section and add your comment. Use the markdown function if you have formatting suggestions or add a file if that is appropriate.
  2. Download and edit source files in GitHub
    • Go here: https://github.ibm.com/linuxonpower/porting-guide
    • Download the baseline .ODT file. There are three files that contain baseline content for each major section of the guide: Get ready, Get set, and Go.
    • Make your changes directly to the file with Track changes on.
    • Upload your updated file and create a pull request for it.
  3. Send an email to lhalkire@us.ibm.com. Include page name/section, URL, and as much detail about the comment as possible.

Why Linux on POWER?

You’ll find that Linux on the IBM® POWER® platform is much like Linux on any other platform, with full distribution support from the major enterprise Linux distributions:

Did you know…

  • Linux distributions deliver release updates concurrently for both x86 and Power so Linux is Linux, no matter the architecture.
  • Linux applications on the POWER platform work like Linux applications on the x86 platform. The only difference is that they run with increased speed and accuracy.
  • POWER8 uses the same byte order as x86 architectures so compiling tools and working on POWER8 is almost exactly like other setups. In fact, most open source codes will easily compile on the POWER8 platform since they will run on the major enterprise Linux distributions like RHEL and Ubuntu and compile using GCC.
  • Managing, deploying and maintaining your application on POWER8 is the same as on all other Linux based systems because POWER8 uses the same management tools and services as RHEL, CentOS, or Ubuntu.

Thousands of open source binary packages are supported on the POWER platform

Most standard packages are available directly from the major Linux distributions. In addition, there are thousands of community maintained ppc64le packages that run on POWER.

Find yours by using the Open Source POWER Availability Tool (OSPAT), which crawls the following open source repositories and returns package name/version, and Linux distribution/version that maintains the package: RHEL, Ubuntu, SLES, Fedora, and CentOS. Work is in progress to add the community maintained ppc64le repositories to OSPAT, but until then, check out the lists of ported packages we’ve compiled.

POWER is optimized for performance

The POWER architecture is designed to be a high-performing, highly reliable platform, which is capable of handling large quantities of data more efficiently. It also enables high speed off-load capabilities with technologies such as CAPI and GPUs. Consider this:

Processors
Flexible, fast execution of analytics algorithms

4X threads per core vs. x86
(up to 1536 threads per system)

Memory
Large, fast workspace maximizes business insight

4X memory bandwidth vs. x861
(up to 32 TB of memory)

Cache
Ensure continuous data load for fast responses

6X more cache vs x862
(>19 MB cache per core)


Migrating Linux applications to the POWER platform is a straightforward endeavor with the potential for huge returns.

So, what are you waiting for?