In addition to stability issues, the PowerPC port lags behind a bit as far as code quality goes. It doesn't do instruction scheduling, nor does it make use of some unique PowerPC features that would help improve performance (multiple condition registers, etc). AltiVec isn't used at all.
I have a couple of questions for the community:
- Does anyone still care about PowerPC at all? I might be out of the loop here; is it about as relevant nowadays as DEC Alpha, or PA-RISC? Other than the game consoles and IBM's big iron gear, who uses it?
- Is there any interest at all in a Linux/PowerPC port of Factor?
I guess over time, people who still own older PowerPC-based Macs are going to switch to Linux, as Apple gradually ends issuing security updates and so on for PowerPC systems
- Is anyone interested in taking over development of Factor's PowerPC support? It's only 1600 lines of code in basis/cpu/ppc, the assembler is simple to use and implemented declaratively, and the compiler's backend interface is well abstracted and consists of a few dozen small assembly templates. A lot of contributors have more than enough Factor experience to take this one on, I think. If you know some assembly language already, compiler backends are really not that complex in Factor, it just takes time to test them thoroughly.
- Should I forget about PowerPC altogether, and spend the time that I would spend on it on reviving the Factor/ARM port instead? Last time I messed around with ARM (a few years ago) contemporary devices were pretty short on RAM; nowadays 256Mb RAM is starting to become common, and Factor would run much better.
Any comments on this matter are appreciated.