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BE/LE (Was Re: m700-10 success)

To: linux-mips@fnet.fr
Subject: BE/LE (Was Re: m700-10 success)
From: tor@spacetec.no (Tor Arntsen)
Date: Thu, 9 May 1996 21:01:26 +0200
In-reply-to: Dom Sweetman <dom@algor.co.uk> "Re: m700-10 success" (May 9, 21:34)
Thanks, the info is appreciated.  Just a couple of comments:

On May 9, 21:34, Dom Sweetman wrote:
>o Workstations/computers from SGI and their "friends" Pyramid and
>  Siemens-Nixdorf.  All big-endian, probably not adaptable.  SGI's
>  success means that this is much the largest group of machines.

I believe Larry McVoy mentioned in passing (on the sparc list) that SGI 
*could* do LE (or 'that other byte order' as he said :-) if necessary,
although he certainly didn't mean bi-endian I think.

[..]
>Where should Linux be?  LE is more like a x86, so will cause less
>porting trouble.  BE is more like SGI, but if you're planning on
>running SGI binaries there's an awful lot of work to do - starting
>with Unix SVR4-style shared libraries and running up through the SGI
>3D graphics system.  If you're not planning to run SGI binaries, who
>cares?

I have lots of software that I have carefully written (or made sure others
have written) in a way portable enough to let me compile it without problems
under Linux.  I nfs-mount the whole disk with hundreds of megs of code and
start the build, and it works fine.  The problem comes when I execute the 
code: I want to share the data too, and I can't do that today without writing 
code to painfully byteswap field by field inside all the structs.. and I know 
this is a real pain to do, because I have already written the code for it for 
the (relatively small) part of the data which is sent out of the system (must 
be VAX-readable). 
(I use SGIs not for the - otherwise nice - graphics, but for (satellite) data 
 processing purposes)

>As for emulating Ultrix over Linux, or MIPS/ABI over Linux... sounds
>pretty yukky to me.  But with lots of effort it might let you build LE
>and BE Linux kernels, but run the same binaries on both.  Any heroes
>out there?

Bi-endian is not an issue for me, I would be perfectly happy with a BE-only
Linux/MIPS box, but of course a LE Linux/MIPS box is better than no Linux/MIPS!

Cheers,
-Tor

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