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First Fedora Image For the MIPS Available For Testing 28

New submitter alexvoica writes: Today Fedora contributor Michal Toman has announced that the first Fedora 22 image for 32-bit MIPS CPUs is available for testing; this version of the operating system was developed using our Creator CI20 microcomputer, which includes a 1.2 GHz dual-core MIPS processor. In addition, Michal announced he is working on a 64-bit version designed to run on MIPS-based Cavium OCTEON III processors.
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First Fedora Image For the MIPS Available For Testing

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  • My first thought was, "oh holy crap, MIPS is still a thing?"

    Awesome to see non ARM, non Intel ISAs get some support from large Linux institutions.

    • I hear they're going to port to the 6502 next!

    • About 800 million devices using a MIPS CPU shipped in the last 12 months.
      • But only a tiny fraction of those are PCs. Most is Consumer-Hardware that's running a propietary system.
        • Actually, a lot of them are Wi-Fi and networking chips that run Linux (mostly OpenWrt, Debian, etc.).
      • Yeah, people just don't know about them because they are embedded products. There's a lot of routers that use MIPS chips. Intel/AMD x86(64) and ARM are so well known because the chip is one of the bullet points on the marketing materials such as desktops, laptops, phones, and tablets. MIPS chips are put into devices where the processor isn't used as a marketing point. That's not to say it's a bad chip, just stating the way it is.

      • What are the advantages of MIPS over ARM? Seems like ARM would have a healthier ecosystem and more software vetted for it outside of maybe legacy stuff.
        • Re:Linux everywhere. (Score:5, Informative)

          by alexvoica ( 3399347 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2015 @11:25AM (#50019081) Homepage
          Great question (I get asked about this a lot). Here are a few points:

          (1) Hardware multi-threading support: MIPS offers SMT support for the latest Warrior CPUs []; for a slight increase in area (~10%), you can scale up the number of hardware threads (1, 2, 4) and get a 40-50% boost in performance. ARM CPUs do not support SMT and can only scale in number of cores.
          (2) Better hardware virtualization support: MIPS Warrior CPUs support hardware virtualization at the low end (e.g. microcontrollers) as well as the high end (application processors). ARM CPUs support hardware virtualization only at the high end. Moreover, MIPS CPUs support multiple trusted execution environments (up to 7 in MCUs, up to 31 at the high end) while ARM CPUs have only one TEE.
          (3) Better raw DSP performance: MIPS Warrior CPUs offer superior DSP performance vs. equivalent ARM CPUs (e.g. up to 2.5x better DSP performance in MCUs [])
          (4) Better performance efficiency: MIPS CPUs offer equivalent performance but at smaller area/power consumption over equivalent ARM cores (e.g. up to 30% area savings at the cluster level and 40% savings at the core level [] relative to similar performance competition)
          (5) More mature 64-bit ecosystem in networking and embedded: MIPS 64-bit CPUs have a rich history in high-performance enterprise networking (examples include Broadcom XLP and Cavium OCTEON processors); there is a whole ecosystem formed around OpenWrt on MIPS for example.
          • Is there anywhere that the 'Warrior' design actually exists in any form more advanced than internal or very-select-partners-only engineering samples?

            Based on what is written about them, they seem fairly interesting; but they don't actually seem to exist anywhere. You can get relatively low end MIPS cores in a lot of routers and such (ramips based devices and some broadcom) and much punchier hardware from outfits like Cavium; but the field is pretty empty of the 'warrior+powerVR' SoCs that are proposed in
            • There are a few publicly announced SoCs using MIPS Warrior CPUs: Baikal-T1 (networking), Altair FourGee-1150/1160 (4G modems) and Mobileye EyeQ4 (ADAS). More recent Cavium OCTEON III and Broadcom XLP II SoCs are also based on the same Release 5 architecture used to build the Warrior family. Regarding Creator, Ci20 was the first board we built using the silicon we had available at the time. But we plan to expand it to include more feature-rich members.
  • Are there any SBCs that don't cost twice as much as the equivalent ARM? And preferably, made by a company that knows that "minicomputer" already has a meaning?

    Seems like ARM got cheaper than MIPS a long time ago, and the only reason MIPS is still hanging on is inertia

    • Ever heard of a small company called MicroChip?
    • There are multiple SBCs you can buy that use MIPS; chipKITs using PIC32 MCUs from Microchip are one example but there are also tons of boards using Qualcomm Atheros or MediaTek Ralink silicon that run OpenWrt. A quick search on Linux Gizmos reveals at least half a dozen MIPS-based boards were launched just in the last year.

Behind every great computer sits a skinny little geek.