PA-RISC information - since 1999

MkLinux on PA-RISC


MkLinux was originally a 1990s project led by Apple and The Open Group Research Institute to port a Linux operating system hosted on top of a Mach microkernel (pmk1.1) to run an Apple PowerPC computers like PowerBooks. A research project between the Open Group and OSF ported that system to PA-RISC computers, supported by HP, with first PA-RISC development releases were in 1997.

MkLinux was the first free operating system that truly worked on PA-RISC hardware, in contrast to the various Mach ports, which suffered from unfinished development and a lot of bugs on PA-RISC. MkLinux on PA-RISC built on the previous OSF/1 MK-PA port and integrated parts from the PA-RISC kernel sources from the Utah University, including Mach 3/UX and Mach 4/Lites. MkLinux improved the underlying OSF PA-RISC/Mach kernel from MK-PA put a Linux 2.0 kernel as server personality on top, replacing BSD/Lites from the previous efforts. Included were X11R6 patches, the GNU ELF compiler and debugger and complete /usr and /var directories.

The system was rather slow, did not support shared libraries, software support was rather rudimentary and at the time of development PA-RISC workstations were not largely available to private end-users. However MkLinux on PA-RISC was the first true offering for hobbyists to recycle PA-RISC computers in the late 1990s outside of their commercial setting, and, together with Mach 4/Lites, MkLinux inspired and informed the other open source projects to start porting Linux and BSD to PA-RISC in the late 1990s to early 2000s.

Systems supported

MkLinux supported the original PA-RISC 1.1 32-bit HP 9000 workstation computers:

Hardware supported

MkLinux supported most of the on-board hardware, but almost no expansion or third-party devices.

↑ up


Most sources and their mirrors disappeared during the last years, as ownership of the website, resources and code transitioned a few times.

↑ up