A Few FAQs about the OpenPOWER Foundation Ecosystem

by Jeff Scheel, IBM Distinguished Engineer, OpenPOWER Technical Steering Committee Chair

The OpenPOWER EU Summit in Amsterdam this past October gave me a chance to hear what questions remain on the minds of partners and clients.  Despite the Foundation’s best intentions and efforts, several questions are asked frequently enough that make writing a blog a great idea. So, here we go:

Q:           Where can I find technical documentation for OpenPOWER hardware and software?

A:           The place for finding all resources, including documents, in the OpenPOWER Foundation is the Resource Catalog. This page can be located by selecting Technical pull-down menu at the top of the Foundation website and then scrolling down to the Resource Catalog entry.  You can also access the catalog directly at https://openpowerfoundation.org/technical/resource-catalog/.

The OpenPOWER Foundation Resource Catalog page can be daunting to the new user because it presents search capabilities at the top, both free-form and category based, with results dynamically displayed below.  If you know the name of your document or if you know a key word such as “processor”, simply type it into the search bar.  You can also select categories to locate a document, but this may not be as effective in the short term, while we are reviewing and re-categorizing our documents.

Once you find your document, the link will take you to a landing page that provides an overview and more details.  This page will remain unchanged as documents get revised, so feel free to bookmark your favorite documents.  Also, note that most Foundation documents are available in both HTML and PDF form.  The main link will always take you to the HTML version, but the PDF is available via the Acrobat icon (    ) in the navigation bar below the title.

Q:           Where can I get free access to free cloud VMs running on OpenPOWER systems?

A:           Although the OpenPOWER Foundation does not provide free resources themselves, free resources are available in the ecosystem for developers.  These resources are indicated as “Open Developer Cloud” resources () on the Developer Ecosystem maps at http://developers.openpowerfoundation.org/explore.   Key locations for just basic VMs are at Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab in Oregon, U.S.A.; the State University of Campinas (Unicamp) in Sao Paulo, Brazil; and at Brno University of Technology in Brno, Czech Republic.  Special configurations needs such as FPGAs or GPUs can be found by selecting them in the Accelerator filter at the top of the page.  Free versus fee access can also be controlled under the Access filter.

Q:           Where can I find the list of OpenPOWER Solutions?

A:           The OpenPOWER Foundation provides a list of solutions that have met the OpenPOWER Ready criteria to register their information at https://openpowerfoundation.org/technical/openpower-ready/ (bottom of the page).  These solutions have met the OpenPOWER Ready Definition and Criteria at either the Version 1 (POWER8) or Version 2 (POWER9) levels.  There are other solutions which may not be registered, but this list serves as a good starting place.  If you are looking for a specific solution which is not listed, please reach out to the provider and request information from them directly because hearing from clients and partners directly improves their understanding of demand in the market for their solutions on OpenPOWER servers. 

If you are a solution provider, we would love to have your product in our list of solutions.  Directions for certifying applications as OpenPOWER ReadyTM can be found at the bottom of the website above.

Q:           Where can I find a list of applications for Linux on OpenPOWER?

A:           Besides the OpenPOWER Ready products mentioned in the previous question, the OpenPOWER Foundation does not maintain a list of all applications for Linux on OpenPOWER. 

For open source products, a great place to start your search is the IBM Linux on Power Developer Portal Find packages tool at https://developer.ibm.com/linuxonpower/open-source-pkgs/.  This tool currently searches multiple repositories throughout the ecosystem, with a constantly expanded list of locations and packages. 

For applications with proprietary licenses, the software vendor remains the best starting place for this information so that the company can both see your interest and provide the most accurate view of the state of the software product.

Q:           How can I participate in the OpenPOWER Foundation?

A:           If you and your company would like to join the Foundation, information on how to join can be found at https://openpowerfoundation.org/membership/how-to-join/.  If your company has already joined the Foundation, please join the members community by registering at https://members.openpowerfoundation.org/user/register and then finding a work group in which to participate.  Workgroups are listed on the View Workgroups link from the OpenPOWER Foundation Members Area of the community.  Simply pick your group and click Join.  We would love to have you join us.

Hopefully, these answers will help you get started developing for or using OpenPOWER systems.  We at the OpenPOWER Foundation, particularly those of us who participate in the Work Groups, continuously work to improve our ecosystem.  In the coming months, keep your eyes on our website as we transform it and add new collaboration features.  If there is a feature that you would like to see, reach out and let us know.  Or, better yet, join us.