>Can an Windows NT-based (or even Unix) network mount an iBook as a
>Linux server via the built-in ethernet for demonstrating X-windows
You can certainly do it under Unix; under Windows, you will need an X
server program (technically, the Linux machine here is the "X client"...I
don't want to get into the reasons for the terminology, though). There
are commercial X servers available for Windows, as well as one or two free
ones I believe.
Quote:>1) Are there enough powerful & reliable tools/resources in the current
>or near-future PPC Linux world for developing GUI-based maths
>programs? What about graphics & linear algebra libraries; can ANY be
>imported to the Mac world & recompiled?
It sounds like there are two separate questions here. (1) Are there
powerful math and GUI libraries available for Linux development and (2)
are these libraries also available under the MacOS.
The answer to (1) is certainly yes. The standard linear algebra library,
well-known for stability and robustness, is LAPACK
(www.netlib.org/lapack), which is entirely free and compiles just fine
under LinuxPPC. (LAPACK is even used in Matlab these days.) There are
many other free numerical libraries, and there are even higher-level
programs like GNU Octave, a free Matlab-like program, all of which compile
and run fine under LinuxPPC. There are also a number of good GUI
libraries for Linux, such as GTK+ (www.gtk.org) (GTK even has an excellent
graphical interface-builder program called Glade). So, you can certainly
write good GUI programs without too much trouble. (You can also program
directly using the low-level X APIs, of course, but this is more trouble
than it's worth.)
As for (2), GTK+ has been ported to Windows and BeOS, but not yet to the
MacOS. There are other free GUI libraries for Linux, though, that have
Mac ports, such as wxWindows (wxwindows.org).
Quote:>2) What is the Linux built-in ethernet support like for desktop &
>laptop PPC Macs?
It works. What else is there to say?
Quote:>3) Which PPC Linux distribution is considered easiest to install &
I use LinuxPPC myself, but many people have also sung the praises of
YellowDog. It doesn't seem like the differences are very great, although
LinuxPPC has the advantage right now of having the newest release, I
Be aware that the latest Mac "Firewire" laptops are somewhat bleeding-edge
as far as Linux support is concerned. The situation has improved rapidly,
though (I just installed LinuxPPC on one of the new PowerBooks yesterday,
using the latest kernel updates, and it is working fine so far, the only
problem being that sleep isn't supported yet).
Quote:>4) Would it be straightforward to port a Mac PPC-based X-windows
>application with all relevant libraries etc to an NT or Unix server
>running another processor (Intel, SGI, Sun).
As long as you write in a high-level language and use portable libraries
(like LAPACK, GTK, ... essentially anything you can compile on LinuxPPC
will be portable), you can recompile with almost no troubles on other Unix
systems, regardless of the CPU. (In fact, I usually test my own programs
on multiple architectures in this way, as it's a good way of catching
bugs.) The processor is almost irrelevant as long as you have source
Porting to Windows might be a little more trouble. Besides the fact that
the development environments are different (although you can install a
free Unix-like environment for Windows called Cygwin32), the main problem
is if you use a graphics library that is specific to X-windows. Happily,
the GTK+ library, and others such as wxWindows, have Windows ports, so if
you use them you should not have major difficulties.
Quote:>How about compiler
>optimisations for speed/accuracy of intensive maths calculations?
Compiler optimizations on any CPU don't tend to improve the accuracy of
calculations (sometimes the opposite); you need careful numerical analysis
for that. As far as performance goes, gcc for PowerPC isn't too bad these
days, especially now that it supports an -mcpu=750 flag to optimize for
Quote:>5) Is there some form of X-window terminal application for MacOS? I
>dont remember having seen one around, but then Ive only looking at
>Linux stuff for a week or so.
There is an X server called MacX from Apple, as well as several other
commercial ones. (An "X server" is what allows you to run X programs on
your Linux machine and display them on your Mac.)
I hope this is helpful!
Steven G. Johnson