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View Full Version : [SOLVED] Can't boot UbuntuPPC on G3iBook



Chauncellor
July 28th, 2009, 03:43 PM
Hi, long story short: I'm stuck house-sitting with two computers: A horribly locked-down PC with no rights, and a crummy little iBook that I nabbed from a friend. I'm not going to mess with the person's PC (though I'm tempted) out of respect, so I want to make a little room on the Mac and install Ubuntu.

I'm running 10.3.9, fully updated, and I have root privileges on the machine. I made sure that the firmware didn't have any lockdown, but the computer will not boot up the cd, using C or Option. The disc is read in the OS, and I can browse all the files that should be there. What am I doing wrong?

iBook
PowerPC G3 750 (1.12)
256 MB RAM

rjcalifornia
July 28th, 2009, 09:35 PM
Are you sure you downloaded the right version of Ubuntu?

Try Kubuntu 7.10 instead. It is way better than Ubuntu....

Chauncellor
July 28th, 2009, 09:39 PM
ubuntu-9.04-desktop-powerpc

That's the ISO file name.

Sorry, but Kubuntu will never, ever be used by me. I don't like KDE. Either Ubuntu or Xubuntu.

Tofuik
July 28th, 2009, 09:55 PM
Either Ubuntu or Xubuntu.
Agreed, I never could get into the KDE style of things either.


You got the right iso file, so its kinda strange that its not working, although I have no experience with the older g3's. It sounds like you are doing everything right :\

Chauncellor
July 28th, 2009, 10:07 PM
I don't have any more blank CDs, and that's the only PPC cd I have (having just made it this morning). Are there any i386 cds that would at least boot? I've heard that you can use i386 in place of AMD 32 bit....

Chauncellor
July 28th, 2009, 11:40 PM
I found a blank CD, burned Xubuntu ppc on there, and, lo and behold, it....


Didn't boot! Yargh, methinks this is a waste of time, possibly...

Chauncellor
July 29th, 2009, 12:13 AM
I read this after some googling:


If you do not have an Apple logo/branded CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive in your Blue and White G3, you will not be able to boot any CD other than an Apple Mac OS Disk.

This piece of crap comes equipped with an LG CD-ROM reader. Just my luck.

It looks like the frustration of these kinds of computers strikes again...

I hope this helps someone in the future, though I'm sorry for their disappointment.

ozorba
July 31st, 2009, 02:32 PM
There is a problem with iBook G4 as well.

Try to type

live-nosplash-powerpc video=ofonly when you get the prompt

Chauncellor
August 1st, 2009, 09:41 PM
ozorba: See, the problem is, I don't even get a prompt because it won't even load the prompt. :)

Kantis
August 5th, 2009, 01:11 AM
Did you burn the install disc using the "disc utility" program on your mac? That certainly helped me with the same problem. Roxio Toast: nothing. Anything on my Ubuntu PC: nothing. Disc utility: bingo.

rjcalifornia
August 7th, 2009, 04:37 AM
I read this after some googling:



This piece of crap comes equipped with an LG CD-ROM reader. Just my luck.

It looks like the frustration of these kinds of computers strikes again...

I hope this helps someone in the future, though I'm sorry for their disappointment.

False. I took a DVD drive from an old laptop, put it on my ibook G3 and I installed Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Fedora without a problem (Live CD)

Chauncellor
August 15th, 2009, 05:38 PM
Okay, so I am on dial-up now, so I can't really download another .iso. But I do have the burned ppc disc, so I dd'ed it to an iso, and used disk utility to burn it. Still didn't work.

MacOS warned me that my iso was funky. is there a special output I should use? I just used:



dd if=/dev/cdrom1 of=~/Desktop/asdf.iso


Would this be the cause in it still not working?

avtolle
August 17th, 2009, 04:44 PM
A couple of thoughts. The desktop CD needs 384 mb RAM to boot; I know that it is clearly stated that Ubuntu will run on 256 MB RAM, but it (desktop) needs 384 and preferably 512 MB to boot, due to the graphic installer. The Alternate install iso is your best bet. I note you also gave Xubuntu a try, which has, in the past, booted with 256 mb RAM. I've been away for a while, so don't know the current status of Xubuntu for PPC, but there were some issues with 8.10, IIRC.

urosg3
August 17th, 2009, 05:38 PM
How you burned this ppc disc? Witch burning tool?

Chauncellor
August 18th, 2009, 12:37 AM
Well, the first disc was with a portable Windows ISO burning app. Can't recall the name at the moment.

The recent disc I burned (from dd-ing the CD) was used with disk-utility on another Mac I visited.

(on a side note, wikipedia informed me that



dd if=/dev/cdrom of=~/asdf.iso bs=2048 conv=sync,notrunc


was the proper way to do it).

@avtolle: I was unaware of that, I assumed that 256 was required, and that's all. Thanks for that info, as this computer only has 256 MB installed. However, when I visit MacOS's "Startup Disc" section in the preferences, the CD drive is probed, and the option is not presented. So I don't think RAM is an issue.

urosg3
August 19th, 2009, 10:31 PM
maybe best way to get Linux on old PPC is Debian Lenny alternate CD installer. Its just about 50 MB, burn this and try to boot PPC. Later you have choice to choose DE, GNOME, XFCE, Openbox etc. I think Debian have strong support for old PPC computers.
My G3 Powerbook work fine with Debian, during installation i must connect outside fun to cool down PB, but now its works just fine.

Chauncellor
August 23rd, 2009, 05:07 PM
Okay, so I got a good .iso, and disk utility did not make it work.

Sorry, but this experiment failed. The only option it looks like I have now is a crossover Firewire.

Thanks for all your help

discoandy
August 24th, 2009, 08:45 PM
I have to say after YEARS of trying to get ubuntu to install on my g3 ibook dualusb and my imac bondi blue, I found such an easy method that this could have literally save me years of frustration. You can pretty easily netbook a mac if you have another computer on the network.

the way to do it in ubuntu looked really confusing, but if you have a windows pc it seems really easy (crazy, right?)

the instructions that worked for me are at this link:

http://gn.iohazard.net/wiki/GN/UbuntuG4


I am now happily using my ibook to type this now!

I couldn't believe how easy it was compared to having to burn cd after cd.

Chauncellor
August 25th, 2009, 11:47 PM
discoandy: Thank you very much, I will have to try that later. This seems simple enough!

Chauncellor
December 3rd, 2009, 12:17 AM
It's been a while :). I got stuck with this computer again, and this time I'm determined to win!

I chanced across another ppc mac that was kind enough to boot my xubuntu disk, so I put my iBook into Firewire mode (holding T at bootup) and installed xubuntu on it from the other mac.

I have a problem with yaboot, though. I'm not familiar with it. I find it more difficult to use than grub.

It will boot into yaboot fine, but when I press "L" to boot into linux, it gives me the folder with the ? mark, then loops back to the yaboot prompt after that.

I've been reading this thread and others for quite a while, trying to make sense of this.

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=681196

It's a little too confusing for me at the moment, though. Could someone see if something's wrong? I could use a boost. I've attached my yaboot.conf. Here is my fdisk output:



Disk /dev/sdc: 30.0 GB, 30005821440 bytes
64 heads, 32 sectors/track, 28615 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 2048 * 512 = 1048576 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

Disk /dev/sdc doesn't contain a valid partition table


....does this mean I should wipe the whole drive, create an msdos partition table, and start all over again?

...I hope not....

linuxopjemac
December 3rd, 2009, 11:03 AM
as far as I can tell your hard disk is one partition without a partition table. The appended yaboot.conf file is empty, there are only commented out example entries.

Chauncellor
December 3rd, 2009, 02:13 PM
What would be the correct partition table to use? MS-DOS? GPT?

linuxopjemac
December 3rd, 2009, 02:36 PM
you showed me the result of /dev/sdc. What about /dev/sdb and /dev/sda ? You might have installed Linux on one of those drives....Run fdisk on the machine and print the partition tables of your other drive(s). It seems that you installed it on another drive....

linuxopjemac
December 3rd, 2009, 02:43 PM
BTW are you sure you installed Ubuntu on your iBook instead of the other Mac ?

Chauncellor
December 3rd, 2009, 03:05 PM
I'm sure that it was installed on the right machine. I had three partitions - hfs for boot, ext4 for Xubuntu, and swap space. So you can imagine my surprise when fdisk told me it was basically a lump.

Really, though, will msdos be okay?

linuxopjemac
December 3rd, 2009, 03:18 PM
/dev/sdc is another drive, believe me, post me the results of:


fdisk /dev/sda

and then hit "p"


fdisk /dev/sdb

and hit the "p" again

Chauncellor
December 3rd, 2009, 05:09 PM
I know it's another drive! I have the drive mounted on my desktop. I am absolutely, positively, undeniably certain that that is not only the hard drive in question but also that it did in fact install to it. Sda and Sdb on the computer that performed fdisk are my desktop drives and my music drives.

linuxopjemac
December 3rd, 2009, 07:51 PM
If you have a MacOS CD available I would simply wipe out the whole drive, make three partitions. One of say 200Mb in HFS for the bootstrap partition, one small swap partition in the size of your memory and the rest is the third, the format is not important. From the Ubuntu gparted program, you format the swap and the / as ext3 or ext4. Then you do an installation. I don't know if the Ubuntu installer is able to put yaboot on the bootstrap. Otherwise you have to do that yourself. In any case, you would be able to see the partitions with fdisk after this....

Chauncellor
December 3rd, 2009, 07:54 PM
I've done all that. That's what the Ubuntu installer does by default.

The problem would be solved in grub with an easy 'sudo update-grub'. Is there no equivalent to autoprobe for yaboot?

linuxopjemac
December 4th, 2009, 09:41 AM
the problem you have is that the Ubuntu installer didn't do anything. You don't have any partitions it seems. Even when yaboot wasn't put on the bootstrap by Ubuntu and when Ubuntu installed correctly as you say, you would be able to see the partitions with fdisk. You don't have any partition scheme. Something went clearly wrong, I don't know what happened though. Sorry.
You can always try Debian Lenny, it's more suitable for older PowerPC machines.

Chauncellor
December 4th, 2009, 10:13 AM
The strange thing about that was the fact that while fdisk could not read it, libparted had no problem.

Anyway, put a pretty little partition table on it and reinstalled.

The partitions are there, yaboot boots, and the system files are there. Something that is indeed odd is that I don't seem to see vmlinuz or initrd.img in the / directory.... manually telling yaboot to load a kernel of any sort freezes it or loops it. Again, my knowledge of yaboot is minimal, so I'm probably doing something wrong.

That is a good point, I will try Debian.

linuxopjemac
December 4th, 2009, 10:30 AM
shouldn't they be on the /boot partition ? ;)
http://mac.linux.be/content/booting-newworld-macs-yabootybin

Chauncellor
December 4th, 2009, 10:33 AM
I meant the shortcuts. I never quite understood the reason of shortcuts of them on /....

linuxopjemac
December 4th, 2009, 10:34 AM
I think that the Ubuntu installer does not correctly set yaboot. I think you need to to it manually, see link I gave you twice...You should read it.

Chauncellor
December 4th, 2009, 08:04 PM
I think that the Ubuntu installer does not correctly set yaboot. I think you need to to it manually, see link I gave you twice...You should read it.

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I used another computer's livecd boot to install to an "external" drive? I just plugged it into that same computer and I can boot the installation from firewire. I have been reading that article and trying to make sense of it, I just need to figure out how to do this.... experimentation time.

garlicsalt2
December 9th, 2009, 07:05 AM
Problem: fdisk isn't showing a partition table.
Cause: PC's use a Partition table. Macs use an Apple Partition Map. These are not the same thing. They both accomplish the same task, but they are implemented differently. Regular fdisk only handles the PC "Master Boot Record" method. For example, if you insert a USB Flash drive that was formatted on a PC, and stick it into a Mac running linux, you would see it with 'sudo fdisk -l'. It would still show the other drives, but would complain that there is no partition table.

Solution: Instead of 'fdisk', use 'mac-fdisk', as in 'sudo mac-fdisk -l'. This should show your hard drive layout correctly.

Oh, and another thing - It is true that a Blue and White doesn't like to boot from a non-apple CD/DVD drive. The Blue and White G#, however, is different from an iBook. I wouldn't know if iBooks have this problem. One poster stated that it worked for him, so I would assume so.

For info on various Mac Models and the hardware in them, see:

http://www.everymac.com/

--Aaron

garlicsalt2
December 9th, 2009, 07:12 AM
Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I used another computer's livecd boot to install to an "external" drive? I just plugged it into that same computer and I can boot the installation from firewire. I have been reading that article and trying to make sense of it, I just need to figure out how to do this.... experimentation time.

Try the reverse setup. If the other Mac you mentioned supports target mode, then put it into target mode, with the Live CD in that same Mac. Turn it on in target mode, and then power-up the ibook with the option key held. This should give you a list of bootable drives/devices on the iMac.

In this way, hopefully, you can boot from your ibook using the other Mac's CD/DVD drive.

Chauncellor
December 9th, 2009, 03:41 PM
@garlicsalt2:



cornwall@cornwall-desktop:~$ mac-fdisk
mac-fdisk: command not found
cornwall@cornwall-desktop:~$ apt-cache search mac-fdisk
gnu-fdisk - Linux fdisk replacement based on libparted


Is there another command that you were thinking of?

And that idea is certainly something to try! I will give it a shot today when I can. Thank you!

linuxopjemac
December 9th, 2009, 03:44 PM
in the past there was pdisk, don't know if it still exists.

linuxopjemac
December 9th, 2009, 03:48 PM
it used to be pmac-fdisk
https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/jaunty/powerpc?text=pmac-fdisk

Chauncellor
December 10th, 2009, 04:26 PM
Didn't work. The only idea I have left is to replace the CD drive. But I don't want to do that, they're overpriced like mad.

linuxopjemac
December 11th, 2009, 01:38 PM
I would try Debian Lenny.

Chauncellor
December 11th, 2009, 06:31 PM
I have

Chauncellor
December 12th, 2009, 09:35 PM
I have succeeded :).

I will give a description of what worked, not the million things that didn't (I don't even wanna say some of the things I tried....)

This will get a live cd to boot when your mac cannot do it. You must have an expendable partition for this.

First, you need to have yaboot. Don't have it installed? Here's what you do:

Put your mac into target mode (firewire) by booting it and holding the "T" button. Using a firewire cable, connect it to another computer (in my case, my Ubuntu desktop). You need to create an HFS (not HFS+) So that openfirmware can boot yaboot. I used GParted to do this. Gparted needs the hfsutils package (found in synaptic) to do this operation. I had some trouble partitioning it because it kept whining about overlapping partitions. So, I just put some space in between the surrounding partitions and unchecked "round to cylinders" to make it partition right. Now, you need to just drag and drop yaboot and yaboot.conf into that partition. You will need to get those files from the LiveCD you are trying to boot. For Karmic, it is located in the "Install" folder

If you do not have permissions to drag and drop, you need to use 'sudo cp' command to do so. Here is what I needed to do:



'sudo cp yaboot yaboot.conf /media/HFSPartition'


Also, vmlinux and initrd are needed. Those are found in the /casper/powerpc folder. Just copy them to the partition along with yaboot.

You need to find out which partition of the drive the HFS partition is. For me, it was the 4th partition. Remember it!

With those two files in the HFS partition, you can now unmount the mac and restart it. Now you need to boot into Open Firmware by holding Command+Option+O+F at startup. When you are presented with a prompt, type in:



boot hd:x,yaboot


where x is that partition that you had to remember (so mine was hd:4).

This will boot up yaboot and present another prompt. You need to insert the LiveCD into the CD tray, now (I just used a paperclip to force eject it). When it's in there, all you need to type in is:



live


and the CD will boot!

If it whines about an unknown or corrupt file system, you need to edit the yaboot.conf file. I had to do a search and replace on all /casper/powerpc to nothing. So any file paths pointing to things on the /casper/powerpc folder were instead pointing to the root folder, where you dragged and dropped the files

Another problem I encountered was authentication failure because my open firmware's date was set to around 1950. In order for my livecd to boot properly, I had to reset the time. See the link here to do this in Open Firmware:

http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20060814075952448

I will now mark this as solved, thank everyone for all their help through this journey, and give Open Firmware, EFI, and other ridiculous booters that have stupid easter eggs like pong but still require you to jump through hoops for basic things the middle finger. I'll stick with my BIOS, thank-you-very-much.

Cheers!

References:

https://help.ubuntu.com/7.04/installation-guide/powerpc/ch05s01.html#boot-newworld
https://help.ubuntu.com/7.04/installation-guide/powerpc/boot-drive-files.html#files-newworld

Chauncellor
December 12th, 2009, 09:35 PM
By the by, I must say.... I still liked Ubuntu better on PPC! Debian was not very pleasant for me, so I went to Xubuntu Karmic!

linuxopjemac
December 13th, 2009, 04:25 PM
I am glad it worked out for you. I will copy and paste your manual on my website if you don't mind.
http://mac.linux.be/content/xubuntu-g3-ibook

Chauncellor
December 13th, 2009, 08:04 PM
Go for it

Chauncellor
December 16th, 2009, 02:21 AM
For the record..... Ubuntu's not terribly good on this machine. I knew it wasn't officially supported, but I didn't expect it to run like that.

I'm running Debian, and it flies so much faster. Just for future reference, I think Debian was the better choice for this old piece :) (Though it really is amazing how much easier it is to use Ubuntu)

zts-it
December 16th, 2009, 07:52 AM
For the record..... Ubuntu's not terribly good on this machine. I knew it wasn't officially supported, but I didn't expect it to run like that.

I'm running Debian, and it flies so much faster. Just for future reference, I think Debian was the better choice for this old piece :) (Though it really is amazing how much easier it is to use Ubuntu)I am also amazed by Debian 5.0.3 (lenny) for PPC speed on MacMini G4. For me Ubuntu Karmic (9.10) didn't work very well on Mac Mini G4 since it fails to mount media drives in the PPC version. Tried Fedora 12 for PPC -- same issues but also slower than Ubuntu. Debian worked great, very fast and mounting drives with no probs, but its security settings are a bit limiting for my needs, so after a few hours I went back to Ubuntu 9.04 for PPC which also mounts drives with no problems. It's too bad that the 9.10 for PPC didn't work out for me since I love how Karmic runs on my Intel PC notebook.

Chauncellor
December 16th, 2009, 07:56 AM
Good to know.

My problems with Debian have been crazy things like not having a network applet, no power preferences, no sound card....


....If I didn't know how to fix all these issues myself, I would have definitely said Ubuntu as they all worked, though the performance was much worse.

At least it didn't take me long to sort most of the issues out.

linuxopjemac
December 16th, 2009, 08:51 AM
My experience is that Debian just works. Ubuntu/PPC is not very stable in some aspects. Many things are broken and simply don't do a good job. A simple example is that anacron for Debian works while my Karmic Intel anacron doesn't do its job...I like Ubuntu overall better though...it looks a lot better and many things are easy to setup.