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I wasted 6 months of research in an effort to make use of a cheap PowerPC I purchased. I posted some questions to many discussion groups and as a result, I have been receiving many emails asking me what the results were of my questions so I thought I would *briefly* summarize my experience.

My Story

I owned the following machine:

IBM - RISC System/6000 43P-140
604e 332MHz

I tried Linux (all RISC 6000 flavors - Yellow Dog, Debian PowerPC Port, and LinuxPPC) and I was about to give up and put AIX on but someone offered me the right price for the computer so I sold it.

There were so many hardware issues about the various types of motherboards on that machine that Linux was a poor solution at best and it never worked on my machine. NT is no longer supported (last distribution was NT4, SP3?) on that chip and it only works on certain types (again motherboards on some models and not on the same model with other motherboards).

OS recommendation on PowerPC

I would recommend AIX.

You have to be very careful because the support for NT is based on one's ability to write in firmware to support the respective operating system you want to run. If you attempt to write the wrong version of firmware into the motherboard, it will fail. If the firmware update fails, your motherboard needs to be replaced.

Guess what happens when IBM makes a computer with the same make and model yet makes big differences in the actual hardware underneath the cover that can only be discerned from the motherboard's serial numbers? I tried to update the firmware unsuccessfully so that I could run NT and it failed even though I had the correct model. On further research, I found evidence in other discussion groups that suggests that there are only certain serial numbers that are supported and the evidence is all anecdotal.

IBM is not going to tell. They provide a great looking web site with studies showing that AIX is the fastest OS ever built.

Relevant Links



AIX 4.3.3 -- Manage e-business more securely, easily and faster with the latest release of AIX
AIX 4.3.3 Announcement Overview
New Version of IBM's AIX Accelerated for e-business


Debian GNU-Linux -- PowerPC Port (RS6000)
Debian GNU-Linux -- The Universal Operating System
IAT Demo Disk - Create a demo
Index of -document-Opendos-IBMDOS-
Linux for Apple, IBM, and Motorola PowerPC Computers
MCG On-Line Library Root Collection
Motorola Firmware for PowerPC User's Guide, Rel. 3.05 PPCMFWA-UG2
Obsolete Computer Helpline
RS-6000 System Books RS-6000 System Product Documentation
SP Discussion
Yellow Dog Linux for the Apple Macintosh PPC and G3
[Downloads] RS-6000 Support

AIXpert Magazine
developerWorks Web overview
IBM Download
IBM Software Mall
PartnerWorld for Developers

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Last modified: 03 April 2001

Copyright 2001 Scott Hofmann. All Rights Reserved. Distribution of this document unedited in it's entirety is encouraged.