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Thread: distro for ibook g3

  1. #1
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    Aug 2011
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    Cool distro for ibook g3

    I know this is an ubuntu forum, but I was wondering what the best distro is for my 2003 ibook g3, 14.1 inch, mac osx 10.2.8 (although that is probably irrelevent), with 640 mb ram, 900 mhz processor ppc, 30 or 40 gb hardrive with 18 gb left. I know that debian supports ppc still, but I want it to look really pretty, not super bland (this can be changed with gnome, right?). I also really need a distro that won't require a lot of terminal work, although I'm willing to learn, if necessary. I want it to be easy to use, and just work. If possible, it would also be nice if I could use my wireless lan adapter with minimal labor on my part. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Re: distro for ibook g3

    ps: the lan adapter is an airlink 101 AWWLL6075.

  3. #3
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    Re: distro for ibook g3

    These sorts of questions are impossible to answer. Since we are on an Ubuntu forum, I'm obviously going to advise you to install Ubuntu or one of its derivatives Lubuntu, Xubuntu etc. I don't have any experience with Gentoo (although they have good documentation), Archlinux, Crux or Fedora so can't give a considered opinion. Debian PPC and the spin off MintPPC have very little or dated documentation and (in all honesty) for that reason I cannot recommend them to somebody new unless you want to spend a long time searching forums (EDIT: although much of the Ubuntu documenatation obviously applies to them).

    The PowerPC Ubuntu downloads are here https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPCDownloads and the documenation is here https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPCFAQ . I like Xubuntu, it is good to look at and lightweight. Probably a good fit for your ibook. No idea about your wireless adapter, but the newer releases probably have the best chance of working. Don't worry about using the terminal, the installation process is well tested and documented.
    Last edited by rsavage; January 26th, 2012 at 06:05 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Distro
    Lubuntu Development Release

    Lubuntu

    I'd give Lubuntu a try, it's the lightest. No need to spend scare system resources on just the desktop. Otherwise, you can go with plain Debian and just add in the pieces you need. Some would even suggest skipping the Desktop Environment completely and using just a window manager.

  5. #5
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    Re: distro for ibook g3

    Yep, you see everyone has their favourites and a different answer! The best thing is to install a few and try them out!

  6. #6
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    Re: distro for ibook g3

    When I said a "pretty" version of debian, I was actually thinking of fedora. Would that work with my ibook and lan adapter?

  7. #7
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    Re: distro for ibook g3

    Even thorugh I do want fedora, I think im going to go with linux mintppc

  8. #8
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    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: distro for ibook g3

    I'd give Lubuntu a try. I fooled with Debian and Mint on my G4 tower for a while, before replacing the system. It will likely return one day with Lubuntu/Mythbuntu as a HTPC.

    Anyway, the reason I recommend Lubuntu is because I had the best luck with it out of the box. It booted right away (no fooling with X) and performed decently. Your results may vary, but I also tried it on a Powerbook G4 I have laying around, and it was very usable.

  9. #9
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    Re: distro for ibook g3

    Indecision! I am testing out kubuntu from cd, but it looks pretty grim. a bunch of I/0 errors and squachfs errors. How do you install Lubuntu? does it have to run on top of something? I am a noob at linux, and have no idea what the heck is going on. HELP!
    Last edited by rcbfour; January 27th, 2012 at 07:01 AM.

  10. #10
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    Re: distro for ibook g3

    rcbfour ..

    The Airlink 101 is wireless adaptor (wlan), or a lan (ethernet) adaptor? I know Airlink make both and so it might be worth claifying ITR. An Airlink 101 wireless card may work with some fiddling, but possibly not out of the box (ie: when booting from an install CD), as this post suggests.

    If your internal ethernet (Sun GEM) still works (I know, from experience, the iBook G4's have a nasty design flaw where the ethernet socket snaps away from the motherboard) I'd suggest using it for the install. The Airport (bcm43xx) will work but you need to create a firmware driver before the bcm43xx driver will operate, and the tool to do this (bcm43xx-fwcutter) doesn't come on most (any?) install disks.

    Having maintaned two iBook G4's on which the ethernet port had broken off the mainboard I can report that the usbnet driver worked for various (noname) USB ethernet addaptors, but I may have just been lucky.

    As for distribution recommendations: from your stated wants I would say Ubuntu of some flavour would probably suit. If your new to Linux and migrating from MacOS X then Ubuntu (Lubuntu, or what-have-you) shouldn't be too steep an incline. That said (and not wanting to start any distro-war) I have run/installed Gentoo on numerious PPC's and can recommend it highly .. with some proviso's. The primary provisio, at least with your 'wants' in mind, is that it has a steeper learning curve. As has been mentioned, its well documented (and supported), but if you don't want to be bothered with the specifics of how an OS is put together, or want simply to direct an installer at a given hardrive, then its probably not for you.

    However, it does have its upside.

    I own a G3 Powerbook (Lombard) 300Mhz 1GB RAM. I installed Gentoo on it in 2001, it has been used everyday (work days, 8hrs+ per day, as its the machine I use for work), all software is currently up-to-date, and I've had little or no problems in keeping it so. Every aspect of the hardware works, and other than a replacement HD, and than a slight 'redishness' that occurs when the screen is un-dimmed (which soon disapears), the machines and OS are in tip-top condition. Considering the additonal time spent when first installing, which wasn't anything major, but certainly more than would be required with a binary based install, I'd say that effort has been recouped.

    Anyhow, distributions are often a matter of meeting ones initial requirements, and again, I would say Ubuntu should do that in your case. There are certainly more to choose from these days, when I first started using Linux on PPC there was only one possible choice .. LinuxPPC.

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