This website is about the port of Linux to the Alpha architecture. Linux is available under the terms of the GNU General Public License.
[10 Dec 2014] New alphalinux.net website launched
The AlphaLinux.net website is intended to provide resources for Alpha processor operating systems; in particular Linux on Alpha. The content is under development, but there are plans to include content formerly hosted at www.alphalinux.org.
There are many good reasons for keeping Alpha content available, whether or not the Alpha architecture is a primary platform for running Linux nowadays:
- Alpha hardware is still run by real organisations doing real work. It is still supported hardware for users running OpenVMS.
- We wouldn't throw away data about our favourite 8-bit home microcomputers, even though they are now used only by hobbyists, so why should we throw away information about Alpha?
- Retro computing - it's a bit like owning a classic car but is cheaper (normally) and takes up less space!
You can still view the old alphalinux.org site using archive.org. The last copy of the site was on 10 Sep 2014. I hope to make copies of the downloadable content. If you contributed content for alphalinux.org in the past then you are very welcome to resubmit it to this site!
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.
The Future of Alpha
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.)
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.