The Facts about the Big and Little Endian

Do you know the difference between a big and little endian? No, that’s not a misspelling and we’re not talking about Sitting Bull and Pocahontas. We’re referring to data management schemes.

Earlier this month, Jeff Scheel, IBM Linux on Power Chief Engineer explains little endian and big endian in a blog “Just the FAQs about Little Endian”. With Linux support being one of the key attributes of IBM Power8 as discussed in our blog “IBM Power8 – Open Innovation,” Jeff’s blog post has some really valuable information for the Power community.

The blog provides answers to questions such as:

  • Why do people care about what endian mode their platform runs?
  • Why is Linux on Power transitioning from big endian to little endian?
  • Which Linux distributions will support little endian and which will support big endian on Power?
  • What about Linux applications that have already been optimized for big endian on Power?
  • What if I want to run a mix of big endian and little endian applications on the same Power System?
  • Does PowerVM support little endian operating systems?
  • And so on…

Check out Jeff’s blog for his explanation of why this is significant for the growth of IBM Power Systems and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact our IBM Power experts at ABC Services at

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