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Thread: Live Ubuntu for a Powerbook G4 1.33GHz 12"

  1. #11
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    Lubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Live Ubuntu for a Powerbook G4 1.33GHz 12"

    Quote Originally Posted by peezee13 View Post
    Forgot to mention but my Powerbook has an NVidia graphics chipset. And btw just realized both the network AND the audio do work, since I can listen to a web radio, that's cool. Also, I can access a 8GB usb flash drive I just plugged, wayyyyy nicer than being in single mode, not to mention Open Firmware.

    Also, I changed the desktop background to a fixed colour, I chose green which obviously shows... a perfect black ^^, but at least now I'm not bothered by the psychedelic background

    I've tried browsing the internal hard drive, which like I said is about to fail terminally, want to recoup a bunch of files, but I'm having problems accessing certain folders, get a message saying I don't have the "permissions necessary to view the contents of" the folder, eg my Desktop folder... any idea why that is ?
    maybe you must be root (sudo )

    but if you use live cd do you get this too ??

  2. #12
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    Re: Live Ubuntu for a Powerbook G4 1.33GHz 12"

    Hey abtabt, thanxx a bunch for bearing with me and my questions here...

    I'll give the Nvidia bitmap thing a try (maybe I'll also want to try with 32-bit depth, which is the chipset capability) and let you know how it goes.

    As for the file recoup' issue, I did get the problem while using the Live CD (like I've explained it's the only way I can use Ubuntu on this Mac due to HD almost dead), but I've solved it... via the network, not the usb drive (gets me crazy when s'thing really basic doesn't work). From Ubuntu I was able to easily connect to my PC desktop, so I ended up xferring the files from the Mac to the PC this way, so the Powerbook HDD may now die without me worrying (except for my wallet, of course ^^).

    Right now I'm searching for a Linux distro that can be booted and fully operated from usb flash drive, incl. the capability to save updated configuration files or added drivers/firmware/plugins/sw application/... to the usb stick. I've already found several of these, however unfortunately NONE that supports PowerPC processors. :-/

    All in all I'll eventually be forced to upgrade the internal HDD (or to buy another laptop, which I'd obviously rather avoid to), but if there's a cheaper and more fun way to get around this I'll try hard to find it.


    P.S. Just for the heck of it, here are the instructions to follow to remove the internal HDD from a Powerbook. See why I'm trying to avoid this ? :-/

    http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/PowerBoo...8/1?singlePage
    Last edited by peezee13; November 27th, 2012 at 07:31 PM.

  3. #13
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    Re: Live Ubuntu for a Powerbook G4 1.33GHz 12"

    Quote Originally Posted by peezee13 View Post
    Right now I'm searching for a Linux distro that can be booted and fully operated from usb flash drive, incl. the capability to save updated configuration files or added drivers/firmware/plugins/sw application/... to the usb stick. I've already found several of these, however unfortunately NONE that supports PowerPC processors.
    You can do this in Ubuntu. The PowerPC FAQ has instructions - see the persistent USB section. This works with nomal Ubuntu, but maybe not Lubuntu (I think they skip the test for this....tut....tut).

    A live ISO can be loaded entirely into ram with the 'toram' parameter, but this doesn't work with persistence as far as I am aware.

    You can also install a normal system onto a USB drive. So you could installl Xubuntu this way for example. You just need to read the FAQ, although it probably sounds complicated.

    I don't normally reply anymore to messages which are covered by the FAQ, but I read your first post on the forum and the obnoxious reply you received. The individual who replied does not represent the forum or PowerPC users. He knows little about linux and posts incorrect information. He has been banned/driven out of other general mac forums and has created a bad atmosphere with LowEndMac and linux/bsd users.

  4. #14
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    Re: Live Ubuntu for a Powerbook G4 1.33GHz 12"

    rsavage, thanx a lot for your help, you're right that one is supposed to read the FAQ before asking here but in fact being a total noob with Linux and even the concept of Live CD (let alone "Persistent Live USB") I didn't really know what/where to look for and indeed what I was up against, coming from a world of having everything ready and working without a glitch right off the bat with zero shell level instructions to execute to get there.
    (Ok, that and tbh got to admit to being quite scared by the FAQ lengthiness - not to mention the Known Issues page... ).

    Following the discussion here and a few trials I could finally understand and explicit what I was really looking for, it's much clearer now. And now that I know the "what", I just need to understand the "how". ^^

    Ok so I'll have a more serious look into the FAQ and see if I'm able to pull s'thing out of the reading. And as for the guy in the other topic, I already forgot about him, not a warm welcome I received for a new comer... oh well, thanx for the support here as well anyway.

    P.S. English ain't my native language, hope it's just about good enough to make myself understood.
    Last edited by peezee13; November 29th, 2012 at 02:00 AM.

  5. #15
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    Re: Live Ubuntu for a Powerbook G4 1.33GHz 12"

    The first thing to sort out is your screen. Have you tried nouveau.noaccel=1 as a boot parameter? You probably just need to swap to unity-2d (see known issues).

    Once you have that figured out you can sort out the persistence or installing to usb. It reads much more compilcated than it is. If you need help then give us a shout.

    P.S. your English is fine! You spell things correctly (like colour), unlike people in the USA!

  6. #16
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    Re: Live Ubuntu for a Powerbook G4 1.33GHz 12"

    nouveau.noaccel=1 => success !

    Now that the colours are right, the Ubuntu's GUI doesn't look bad after all... ^^

    Guess I'm ready to move to the next step now, I'll eventually come back to resolve the graphics issue after I have the following working :

    -> wifi (b43 error messg)
    -> flash plugin for FF/flash player
    -> switch kbd to FR (easy I guess)
    -> work from RAM only ("toram" ?)
    -> boot from USB (hopefully w/o having t resort to O/F)
    -> Persistent Live
    -> suspend

    and that should be it really, apart maybe from installing few addtional apps.

    P.S. the Mac just went crazy after I opened Firefox, I can hear the CD drive going all over the place for 3-4 mns nows (plus the fan at full speed), is there any way to stop this other than what I'm going to do because I don't know any better: shutdown the Mac, while the drive is spinning ? (ouch!)
    Last edited by peezee13; November 30th, 2012 at 09:11 PM.

  7. #17
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    Re: Live Ubuntu for a Powerbook G4 1.33GHz 12"

    Oki, so reading the FAQ, Persistent Live USB section, at some point it says :

    1- sudo mac-fdisk /dev/sdb
    2- sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdb3 -L UbuntuUSB
    3- sudo mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdb4 -L casper-rw
    EDIT : Ok I finally found out about mac-fdisk. (stuff below is an update to this post)

    I entered command 1 above in xterm, but this just gets me in the mac-fdisk utility, which prompts for an fdisk type command (to partition, delete a partition, ...). So what am I supposed to do here ?

    Then entered command 2, but system complained that /dev/sdb3 was mounted, so had to unmount it, then command executed (Ok, apparently)

    Then entered command 3, but got an error message : "No enough space to build proposed filesystem etc..."

    Am I not supposed to format the drive first to clear out its contents ? How should I do this, using mac-fdisk...?
    Last edited by peezee13; December 2nd, 2012 at 09:45 PM.

  8. #18
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    Re: Live Ubuntu for a Powerbook G4 1.33GHz 12"

    Just a quick note, I have been able to create a bootable Ubuntu 12.04 usb stick, and then boot (Live desktop) from it (via OpenFirmware, as explained in the FAQ), still using the nouveau.noaccel=1 at boot prompt. Way faster than operating from the CD drive, needless to say.

    That's good, and promising in terms of being able to switch to Live Persistent USB mode, as soon as I find/understand the missing parts in that section of the FAQ (see post above).

    Still need to try the toram thing, although with only 768M of DDR I'm not sure it will work.

  9. #19
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    Re: Live Ubuntu for a Powerbook G4 1.33GHz 12"

    Yeah, mac-fdisk is not very user friendly if you are a beginner. You need to use it (or the GUI Gparted if you are using, for example, a non-PowerPC computer) to partition the drive. Once you've done that you can format the partitions. Once you've done that you can write data to the drive.

    A good example of how to use mac-fdisk can be found here http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=780320 . There are also basic instructions in the "alternate text-installer method" section of the FAQ.

  10. #20
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    Re: Live Ubuntu for a Powerbook G4 1.33GHz 12"

    Thanxx rsavage, actually I saw that thread last week but at that time had no idea it would be useful to me... ^^

    Since last post I tried "TORAM=yes" in the yaboot command line but didn't work (not surprisingly), at some point right before entering the desktop GUI it barfed a dozen of text lines which lasted for approx. 450µs so just had time to see it had to do with RAM usage - after which it resumed normally but no performance improvement and clearly usb flash drive operating full time (i/o RAM as I had hoped).

    Also tried to play a mp4 movie, but no H264/AAC codec support in Ubuntu, so converted it to MPEG2/MP3 but no MPEG2 system muxer, so converted to MPEG1 (1990's style) but even that wouldn't work, no system muxer either.

    This is perplexing. Is that right that Linux base distros do not include support for even the oldest, simplest, most basic video format ? Or more probably, am I missing s'thing ?

    (Ok the frustration also comes from the couple of freezes (with high CPU util and fan at full speed) I've experienced while trying to install Gnash - and then Synaptic, in order to be able to install Gnash - via the Software Center, each time I launch it it seems to need full CPU power and often gets stuck there... :-/
    Last edited by peezee13; December 4th, 2012 at 07:18 PM. Reason: Incomplete post

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