View Full Version : What distro for iMac G3?

February 17th, 2010, 11:23 PM
I have a new (ah, old) iMac G3 with a 400mhz PowerPC processor, 512mb of RAM, and an ATI Range pro 8mb AGP 2x. I was wondering if anyone had suggestions as to which version/distro of Uubntu I should be using? I am currently using Xubuntu 6.06 (it kinda sucks, no offense to anyone still using it) Any help would be appreciated. ;)

February 17th, 2010, 11:30 PM
I used to run a debian/PPC on one of those in the past. Ubuntu being a derivative I assume it should work.

Given the small ram I believe xubuntu might be a good choice. Don't know if it runs on PPC though

February 17th, 2010, 11:40 PM
I am going to try Ubuntu 8.04 PPC. Wish me luck! ;)

February 17th, 2010, 11:42 PM
I have installed ubuntu op a ppc imac g4. if there is a ppc version it is possible.

the only problem is there are no video drivers for ppc

found it

I'd choose the 'xubuntu-9.10-alternate-powerpc.iso (http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/xubuntu/ports/releases/9.10/release/xubuntu-9.10-alternate-powerpc.iso)' because it runs much faster than the desktop installer (which probably doesn't run at all because of low memory)

or try ubuntu
you'll need the ubuntu-9.10-alternate-powerpc.iso (http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ports/releases/karmic/release/ubuntu-9.10-alternate-powerpc.iso)

keep in mind the bootloader probably can't boot from a ext4 partition

February 17th, 2010, 11:55 PM
Thanks Fromthehill! But 9.10 will suck on a 400mhz processor, even if it is Xubuntu. An you are quite correct, only Grub 2 can boot ext4, and Grub 2 isn't compatible with ppc.

February 18th, 2010, 12:08 AM
Ubuntu doesn't even officially support PPC anymore. Wouldn't the OP be better off using Yellow Dog Linux (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_Dog_Linux)? It's the only remaining distribution that actively supports the Power architecture.

February 18th, 2010, 12:18 AM
YellowDog no longer supports G3 processors, and the Ubuntu community has Ubuntu 9.10 running on new ppc drivers. Besides, I like the Debian environment and app set, not to mention GNOME.

February 18th, 2010, 12:31 AM
How about going a step down and trying Xubuntu Jaunty (9.04)? Jaunty's default is ext3 I believe and if you're worried about resources you can try a lighter window manager / desktop env. (LXDE is pretty nice and easily themed). Alternatively you might check to see if Puppy Linux works for you. :D

February 18th, 2010, 12:48 AM
That would be two steps up (trying 8.04). But I have looked into LXCE, and Puppy isn't available for ppc.

robert shearer
February 18th, 2010, 01:20 AM
I have 9.10 running.
EDIT maybe 9.04? will have to boot it when I get home and report.
EDIT Yes 9.10 a netboot install image from here (takes a while to load)

Then once installed to command line added the minimal 'lubuntu'
desktop and a few other bits.

Will see if I can find the link I used for guidance and post back.(may take a while)

Runs fine but no sound.

Had to edit/create xorg. Colour depth was off.
Here it is for IMAC G3 400mHz (and only 384 Meg Ram!)

# xorg.conf (X.Org X Window System server configuration file)
# This file was generated by dexconf, the Debian X Configuration tool, using
# values from the debconf database.
# Edit this file with caution, and see the xorg.conf manual page.
# (Type "man xorg.conf" at the shell prompt.)
# This file is automatically updated on xserver-xorg package upgrades *only*
# if it has not been modified since the last upgrade of the xserver-xorg
# package.
# If you have edited this file but would like it to be automatically updated
# again, run the following command:
# sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Configured Monitor"
HorizSync 58-62
VertRefresh 75-117
#ModeLine "1024x768" 78.75 1024 1044 1140 1328 768 781 784 820 +hsync +vsync
#ModeLine "800x600" 62.40 800 821 901 1040 600 609 612 644 +hsync +vsync
#Modeline "640x480" 49.90 640 657 721 832 480 481 484 514 +hsync +vsync

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Default Screen"
Monitor "Configured Monitor"
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
#Virtual 1024 768

Section "Module"
Disable "dri"

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
Driver "kbd"
Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
Option "XkbLayout" "us"
Option "XkbVariant" "intl"
Option "XkbOptions" "lv3:ralt_switch"

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Configured Mouse"
Driver "mouse"

Section "Device"
Identifier "Configured Video Device"
Option "CCEusecTimeout" "100000"
#Option "UseFBDev" "true"

February 18th, 2010, 01:32 AM
Why not just use the Universal Operating system.. Debian

February 18th, 2010, 01:32 AM
I ran standard Ubuntu on a ppc up to about 8.10 and it did fine on a G4. If I had to put it on a G3 I think I would use a minimal install disk and start with xorg and xfce4 not Xubuntu. Then install synaptic and from there install what you need. It can be very light and work well with no more than 300Mb of ram.

February 18th, 2010, 01:38 AM
Quote: "Runs fine but no sound"

Sorry, I need sound. This old computer is being set up as a lite multimedia device. Used to run OS X 10.2, but between iTunes 3 and WMP 9, the whole system sucked. What was worse was when I installed Xubuntu 6.06 ppc, but am now at this very moment installing Ubuntu 8.04 LTS ppc alt. install CD. Third times the charm! ;)

February 18th, 2010, 10:30 PM
OK. No luck. Video wont start with 8.04. Gets to Loading... and the harddrive spins down and the display turns off. I looked it up though, and you have to edit .xorg like this:

append: quiet splash=videofonly

But I can't open or edit .xorg!!! Tried through "rescue" boot on Alternate CD like here: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPCKnownIssues

HELP!!! Otherwise I'll have to revert to OS X 10.3 (NOOOOO!!!!) :confused:

February 27th, 2010, 01:28 AM
Michaert, I've just finished installing Xubuntu 9.10 (Alternate, not Live) on an iMac g3 600. I had to make the xorg.conf file to get it to show 1024x768 in thousands or millions, it wants to do 256 colors out of the box. It's pretty snappy, but sound isn't working yet. There are plenty of posts about that, so I expect I'll have it working soon.

Good Luck, SK

February 27th, 2010, 04:30 AM
This could be your answer?


You will have to put it together. Which is fun, as Arch from my experience has excellent instructions.

You will end up with a lite (required in your situation I think) system that carries only what you choose to install on it.

Have a read of their site & see if it suits.

I hold onto this bookmark, as I will eventually end up with my wife's G4 powerbook when she upgrades, though she doesn't seem to be in a hurry these days... :(

February 27th, 2010, 10:31 AM
Some more options...


March 3rd, 2010, 02:40 AM
Thanks for all the help everyone! 9.10 works perfect! (thanks sword_king for suggestion, posting the specs of your CPU helped convince me, even though I have a 400mhz) Overall the systemis a little bit slow, but I expected that. Use yaboot, so no GRUB 2 problems(whew!) Just perfect. Problem solved!:D

robert shearer
March 3rd, 2010, 03:07 AM
9.10 works perfect!

Did you get sound working ??
I still have none so would be interested to know if it worked oob ?

What desktop did you go for ??.

Thanks, Bob.

March 3rd, 2010, 03:25 AM
Hey robert shearer, I did this:

From https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPCKnownIssues

As with many others releases of Ubuntu, the PowerPc distro requires an addition to /etc/modules to load the sound module on boot.

and for activate for current session:

sudo modprobe snd-powermac

robert shearer
March 3rd, 2010, 04:28 AM
How did I miss that ?

Thank you, I will try it tonight !