Linux distribution comparison and suppot matrix for PowerPC™ computers

This page is meant to help you compare Linux distributions for PowerPC™ and Power systems. Some distributions may be missing from this list; if you are aware of any distributions that presently support PowerPC™ or Power systems, please send a note.

Submissions for distributions that have long ceased operation, such as Puppy Dog Linux or Finnix-PPC, will be ignored.

Note that this list denotes minimum ISA level or CPU. Any CPU newer than the specified chip should work fine (i.e., if a distribution says "G3" for 32-bit, it will run on G4 as well).

Distribution 32-bit 64-bit BE 64-bit LE
Adélie Linux G3 G5/970 No
Alpine Linux No No Power8
Chimera Linux No No Power8
Debian Ports G3 G5/970 Power8
Fedora No No Power8
Gentoo Theoretically any
Stages built with -mcpu=powerpc ("pure" 32-bit)
Theoretically any
Stages built with -mcpu=powerpc64 ("pure" 64-bit)
Theoretically Power7
Stages built with -mcpu=powerpc64 ("pure" 64-bit)
glibc stage unlikely to work without Power8
Guix No No Power8
openSUSE No G5? Power8
(Alma, Rocky, etc)
No No Power8
Ubuntu No No Power9
(20.04 LTS: Power8)


For 32-bit systems, there aren't many options left. Your best bet is probably Gentoo, if you have an external build server and you feel comfortable with crossdev. If you don't know what any of that means, you should probably stay with Debian or Adélie. Debian will be an exercise in frustration, and Adélie is still a work-in-progress and not finished yet. (They gladly welcome contributors, and are quite a friendly bunch, if you want to help out.)

Big endian 64-bit systems are in a similar lot, though they have the interesting alternative of openSUSE. I have no personal experience with this port; the last time I used SuSE on a daily basis was in 2007. Still, it is a pretty cool thing that they brought it back.

Little-endian 64-bit systems have a wide range of choices. Since these will mostly be used as servers, it makes more sense to choose what you are familiar with or are already using in your existing server environment.

Verified for technical accuracy: February 4, 2024
Verified for editorial accuracy: February 4, 2024