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IBM Power as a server for Linux games

Discussion in 'PlayOnLinux' started by DSpurway, May 10, 2014.

  1. DSpurway

    DSpurway New Member

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    Hi All, does anyone know how I might run server versions of games on an IBM Power system? I have access to servers running the new POWER8 processors, so I would like to try running some games on that to see how it would fly. In theory, I should only need a recompile of the application to have it work with POWER. I should be able to try this either with LE Ubuntu, or BE RHEL or SLES.

    Any ideas on whether PlayOnLinux might be possible here?
  2. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    I don't know much about POWER8 processors, but I have run many dedicated game servers in Linux.
    Mostly older games, but I have successfully run:
    • Battlefield 2 & expansion packs
    • Unreal Tournament 3
    • Quake Wars
    • Doom 3
    • Half-Life 2 Deathmatch
    • Counter-Strike: Source
    • Left4Dead
    • Team Fortress 2
    • The Ship
  3. Aedan

    Aedan Administrator Staff Member

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    Sadly, PlayOnLinux utilizes WINE. As far as I know WINE requires IA32/IA64 architecture as it executes much of the code natively, and only translates API calls. Short of some kind of instruction translation, I'm not sure it'd going to fly. It'd be nice to see code running on non IA32/IA64 architecture for a change!
  4. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    There are Linux distro's that run on ARM processors, but I really doubt Wine will.
    So who knows if there is a distro for POWER8 architecture. If not, there probably will be at some point.
  5. Aedan

    Aedan Administrator Staff Member

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    DSpurway mentions at least three distros that support POWER8 (including RHEL and Ubuntu), and IBM sell Linux-only POWER8 servers. There are specific POWER8 features that were introduced in the Linux 3.8 (and 3.9) kernel. They look pretty nice machines to be honest, especially if you like the idea of processors with 20 cores!
  6. Gizmo

    Gizmo Chief Site Administrator Staff Member

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    The problem is that WINE is not an emulator (as evidenced by the name), but an interface translation layer. Although the source code is available, and it's reasonable to expect that you could compile it (probably with some tweaking) to get it to run on the Power architecture, you are talking about fundamentally different instruction sets. Since WINE doesn't translate the raw CPU instructions but only the calls to the Windows APIs, and since Windows programs are written for x86 or x86_64, even having WINE running on a Power distro wouldn't magically get the Windows applications running. The Windows apps themselves would ALSO have to be written for the Power architecture.

    CPU emulation has been done in the past (and indeed still is), but is usually so processor intensive that you typically lose several orders of magnitude in performance (this varies somewhat depending on the disparity of the architecture doing the emulation vs. the architecture being emulated as well as the quality of the emulator itself, but is generally true). As a consequence, it's usually only practical to emulate relatively old and slow CPUs, even on modern hardware, at least if you are looking to emulate full performance of the original CPU.

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