This website is about the port of GNU/Linux to the Alpha architecture. GNU/Linux is available under the terms of the GNU General Public License.
[7 Oct 2018] This website is now hosted on a server running the ARM architecture (aarch64), using low carbon footprint electricity.
The cloud provider hosting this server is based in France, where the electricity comes mostly from non-fossil fuel sources. This helps to minimise the carbon footprint of this website. ARM aarch64 is an interesting alternative architecture to x86_64 with its own Linux port, just like Alpha.
What happened to the files previously on www.alphalinux.org?
You're in luck! The www.alphalinux.org website has been relaunched on a new platform (as of May 2015) and all previous web links will now be broken. However, you can download your own copy of the entire contents of the previous website, or whatever files you were looking for.
Linux distributions and other operating systems for Alpha
There are many Linux distributions and other operating systems for the Alpha architecture, some of which are actively maintained and some no longer supported.
See the List of operating systems for Alpha.
Using Alpha today
SCSI hard disk emulator for retro computing
As Alpha is effectively retro computing, it joins many other older computers that require increasingly rare SCSI hard disks. The SCSI2SD card connects to a 50-pin SCSI bus and emulates a hard disk using storage on an SD memory card.
This has been tested by the author on a Compaq XP-1000 Professional Workstation. The SCSI2SD card is seen as a bootable device in the SRM, which enables it to be used to load the Debian Linux kernel. The kernel can then load the rest of the OS from any other device in the machine that it has a driver for, in this case an IDE disk attached to a Promise IDE controller in a PCI slot. By only using it to load the kernel this avoids questions on whether the SD card has sufficient performance for a regular filesystem.
- ICC in the UK have Alpha hardware available for sale (as of October 2014).
- EmuVM - available free for non-commercial use. (Not tested by the author.)
The Alpha processor was developed by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). DEC was later bought by Compaq, which then merged with HP. Alpha always had a reputation for excellent performance and could run many different operating systems.
In its day, Alpha-powered supercomputers were some of the most powerful in the world. For example:
- The Top 500 List for November 2002 shows Alpha supercomputers in places 2, 3, 6 and 7 in the world.
- Valhal - the CAMP Compaq-Alpha supercomputer. (Beowulf cluster.)
- Cray T3E
- There has even been some fan fiction.
Thanks go to
- Rich Payne and Peter Petrakis for providing copies of the original alphalinux.org content.
- ICC in the UK for selling the author a good-as-new Compaq XP1000 Professional Workstation (October 2014). Check them out if you want to buy Alpha hardware.
- Internet Archive for keeping copies of the old alphalinux.org website.