Bug#437326: boinc-client: please support PS3 platform

Thibaut VARENE varenet at debian.org
Thu Aug 30 18:33:30 UTC 2007

Hi Frank,

On 8/30/07, Frank S. Thomas <frank at thomas-alfeld.de> wrote:
> Hi Thibaut,
> On Saturday 11 August 2007, Thibaut VARENE wrote:
> > It would be nice if the ppc boinc client could somehow let the user
> > declare 'powerpc64-ps3-gnu-linux' when they're running linux on a PS3
> > (assuming they know what they're doing ;)
> Since BOINC 5.10 it is possible to declare an alternate platform name that the
> client will use if there is no application available for the native platform.
> It is currently only used for amd64. The native platform on amd64
> is 'x86_64-pc-linux-gnu' and the alternate platform is 'i686-pc-linux-gnu'.

I saw that. I still believe this is broken by design ;)

> I assume that code compiled on a normal ppc64 can run on a PS3, but not the
> other way round? If this is true clients compiled
> for 'powerpc64-ps3-gnu-linux' should have the alternate
> platform 'powerpc64-pc-linux-gnu' (or 'ppc64-linux-gnu' because this is the
> official platform name for ppc64). But if I understand you correctly you want
> that 'powerpc64-pc-linux-gnu' has 'powerpc64-ps3-gnu-linux' as alternate
> platform. If all code compiled on a PS3 runs on ppc64 this would possible.

Nope. The PS3 runs a standard Debian powerpc distribution, and the
client claims to be 'powerpc-unknown-linux-gnu'. Yet, the PS3 can also
execute standard ppc64 code (p{ower}pc64-unknown-linux-gnu) and code
specially crafted for the PS3's Cell engine
(p{ower}pc64-ps3-linux-gnu). So far apparently only PS3 Grid can make
use of this (http://www.ps3grid.net/). Unfortunately they provide a
bogus client which is dynamically linked and won't run on a Debian
setup (I've sent them a bugreport but they seem to have ignored it).

The reason why I think the boinc approach of hardcoding everything
into the client is broken by design is because many platforms can
actually execute 'foreign' code:

G5/PPC750 ('powerpc') and later can execute ppc and ppc64
Cell ('powerpc') can execute ppc, ppc64 and cell code
amd64 can execute i386 and x86_64 code
ia64 can execute ia64, i386 and potentially hppa code

and I'm sure more example like that will arise. I think the boinc
client should leave the 'power user' tweak it as they see fit to
execute whatever they'd like. After all, if they goof, the worst case
is a segfault or a sigill ;)



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