Embracing the Future: Advocating for RISC-V and OpenPOWER Support in Manjaro

Manjaro Community,

I am writing this post to initiate a discussion on an exciting avenue for Manjaro’s continued evolution as a leader in Linux distributions. I am of the belief that Manjaro, given its commitment to innovation, should consider expanding its compatibility to include additional open architectures, specifically RISC-V and OpenPOWER. In the past I have had incomplete thoughts on this, but wish to expand upon them:

To elaborate, RISC-V is an open-source hardware instruction set architecture (ISA) that is rapidly gaining traction due to its adaptability, flexibility, and potential for customization. On the other hand, OpenPOWER, particularly in its PowerPC64LE configuration, represents a high-performance, highly efficient architecture that is increasingly being adopted in powerful workstations and servers. Both are open-source, fully auditable hardware platforms.

The increasing prevalence of RISC-V boards (such as the Pine Star64) along with a range of OpenPOWER hardware, presents an exciting opportunity for Manjaro. Being available for these platforms can place Manjaro at the forefront of “the next big thing,” affirming its position as a future-ready and inclusive operating system.

I would like to highlight the ArchPOWER project, a downstream Arch distro, which could serve as a reference point. This project has successfully extended support to the following architectures:

  • PowerPC
  • PowerPC64 (such as the PowerMac G5, iMac G5)
  • PowerPC64LE (OpenPOWER boards, TALOS, etc.)
  • RISC-V
  • (User proposal for ARMv6 for RPi 1B+, Zero)

By actively contributing to or leveraging the knowledge base from projects like ArchPOWER, Manjaro could feasibly extend its support to these exciting architectures in a similar way it handles ARM today.

In conclusion, I propose that we consider the advantages of Manjaro supporting RISC-V and OpenPOWER architectures, facilitating our journey into the future of computing. Your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions on this topic are most welcome.

Thank you for considering my proposal.

For one thing the hardware needs to exist.
As far as I know no one in the team has any RISC machines.

https://repo-riscv.manjaro.org/README

It looks like the repo is empty, is that accurate?

The last time I mentioned it, it was that nothing would happen until a PPCLE/RISC-V distro existed.

Now that ArchPOWER exists: the framework is in-place.

(Note: I am not advocating for Manjaro on old Macs, as cool as that would be)

Being Said: I’d be willing to provide 2x RISC-V boards (seems a few other Arch ports are available) and 1x Talos OpenPOWER board with a 4-core CPU.

From what @philm told me a while ago, I believe that he and a few other people — possibly from Pine — are already working behind the scenes on making a RISC-V release for embedded applications.

I don’t know about OpenPOWER, but both platforms are indeed interesting substitutes for x86-64, so the proposal gets my vote. :slight_smile:

We have some hardware form StarFive and Pine64 and working with the Arch-Project together. Info about the project can be found here and packages are listed here. Time to time you find such posts at our mailing list

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Great! Looks like no POWER8, POWER9 or POWER10 hardware, though? Where can I contribute a POWER9 board for an openPOWER version?

Great to see the RISC-V progress after initial hesitance… now need to push through the “lack of hardware” barrier for POWER support. The openPOWER laptop has some promise. I have plans for that and am drafting a message to the team.

Kickstarter is in the works, and have a note about funds being contributed back to the Manjaro team.

Must make the OpenPOWER laptop (with AMD or Intel MXM GPU) a reality for AI dev and dev ops. Desperately hoping to launch it with Manjaro on-board.

Finally, what funding would the Manjaro project/Manjaro devs require? This way I can outline the finance goals clearly and accurately and have an estimate to reference/cite.

Thanks!

there is new heavy server on Arm : Ampere Altra
https://www.jeffgeerling.com/blog/2023/testing-96-core-ampere-altra-developer-platform

see

and coming Rock -5- model B
https://www.jeffgeerling.com/blog/2023/rock-5-b-not-raspberry-pi-killer-yet

With the advances pine64 is doign with RISC maybe someday we get a pinephone with not only open software, but also open hardware! And when such is announced i expect Manjaro is first in line to support it.

For sure RISC is better to support over ARM since ARM is not open.

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@Eirikr1848 I took a closer look at the ArchPower project. Well, you can’t call it Arch Linux. More or less Alexander Baldeck owns some Power hardware and now also Risc-V. Therefore he maintains a subset of packages you also find at Arch Linux. More or less XFCE 4.18 and Plasma 5.27 with some selected Apps he uses, like Firefox. The set of packages is very limited.

He doesn’t document, also doesn’t want the project to grow. Even the PLCT Lab from China reached out to him once. Chinese Government is looking for alternative technology like Risc-V and support that big time with staff and funding. There are several distributions which got cloned and ported to Risc-V and other architectures by PLCT Lab including ArchLinux.

Manjaro is working closely with PLCT Lab to bring up the Risc-V architecture. You need tools and automization to get things done.

Why do you think that RISC is open? The only difference is that a manufacturer doesn’t have to pay a license fee similar to the ARM architecture. Also the initial designs are freely available on the net but that doesn’t mean that a manufacturer has to open up his design. See here: ARM vs. RISC-V: Is one better than the other? | Digital Trends

But, as open-source software proponents tend to say, “open source doesn’t mean free.” Companies that use RISC-V are not obligated to share their innovations with anyone, though they are free to license and sell their IP just like ARM can.

not allowed to see the design or allowed to sell it without paying the big man 10%. Not allowed to modify the “code”. This does not sound very open. RISC is truly open, like bsd license, not like gpl.

i’m catching up this thread. after the endless and still ongoing pain that raspberry-sbc’s aren’t avaiable or priced as if they are tiffany’s-juwels i found this " Lichee Pi 4A" Risc-V based board.
this board is a way ahead from raspberry-4 with up to 16 GB RAM, 2X 1GB-LAN, 4x USB3.0 up to 128 GB emmc and the pricing is quite amazing (in comparison to raspberry). it comes with debian.
i hope and wish that the devs of manjaro catch an eye on it (fingers crossed). it would be great if there is a manjaro-distro for it and an entry to the upcoming of Risc-V based systems.
this sbc brings up all the peripherals that raspberry#s are still missing and 8 or 16 GB RAM is a great step forward.

some great infos:

this morning was a small note/news at france24-news that china has banned intel and amd cpu’s for the complete government-infrastructure. i’m sure it will take some days until this news get realized in the public. it’s a huge impact and while arm is also (self) embargoed only risc-v is left.