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Thread: "iMac G3 for Dummies"

  1. #1
    rsavage is offline Iced Almond Soy Ubuntu, No Foam
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    "iMac G3 for Dummies"

    This post is for users struggling to get Ubuntu/Lubuntu/Xubuntu/Kubuntu working with an iMac G3. For more detailed information see here https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPCFAQ#Troubleshooting .

    1. Download an 'alternate' iso or 'mini' iso and install as normal.
    2. After installation, make sure you have an ethernet cable connected and boot into single user mode. So at the yaboot prompt type:
    Code:
    Linux single
    This will boot you into a root prompt so be careful what you type next!

    3. If you have used a 12.04 alternate iso then you need to update the kernel:
    Code:
    apt-get update
    apt-get install linux-image-powerpc-smp
    4. Now you need to create an xorg.conf. This is a basic one:
    Code:
    Section "Device"
        Identifier    "Configured Video Device"
        Driver        "ati"
        Option        "ForcePCIMode"    "True" 
    EndSection
    
    Section "Monitor"
        Identifier    "Configured Monitor"
        HorizSync    58-62
        VertRefresh    75-117
    EndSection
    
    Section "Screen"
        Identifier    "Default Screen"
        Monitor        "Configured Monitor"
        Device        "Configured Video Device"
        DefaultDepth    16
    EndSection
    The following will download the above file and move it into the right place for you:
    Code:
    wget -O /etc/X11/xorg.conf http://ubuntuone.com/0npbpgYS6r521c5YAIoxMn
    5. You can now reboot into a desktop:
    Code:
    reboot
    6. If you are using 12.04 then you can download the mesa legacy package to give you 3D acceleration. You can find a pre-compiled version here http://ubuntuone.com/379TLoe7yo2IAiOijAsOjQ

    Lots more information in the FAQ and Known Issues pages:

    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPCFAQ
    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPCKnownIssues
    Last edited by rsavage; April 10th, 2013 at 07:38 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: "iMac G3 for Dummies"

    It would be good to attach the xorg.conf file here or to show it inline.

  3. #3
    rsavage is offline Iced Almond Soy Ubuntu, No Foam
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    Re: "iMac G3 for Dummies"

    Done

  4. #4
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    Re: "iMac G3 for Dummies"

    Hey! You forgot to include 100 lines of voodoo nonsense in that config.

    Kidding aside, I for one appreciate your contributions. Thanks

  5. #5
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    Re: "iMac G3 for Dummies"

    I don't know if I'm supposed to post here or make a new thread, but when I try installing the Xubuntu 12.04 PPC (32bit) mini.iso it halts on "Calling quiesce..." and doesn't do anything. Couldn't get any info on this issue. What am I doing wrong?

  6. #6
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    Re: "iMac G3 for Dummies"

    Svetlana,

    Is that at the initial boot of the mini iso? Or after the initial CLI install? I have used that ISO successfully on G3 500 and G3 600 and don't recall that error. Been a while though. I will try to test it this weekend and see if I can replicate.

    The mini should give you the lastest kernel if CLI install completes. Any search references related to hang on calling quiesce seem to point to kernel image problem. (I think it has something to do with a call to open firmware. not sure) Did you check md5 sums? Sure the image download is good?

    Also, I think I better understand your earlier question after looking back at the downloads. It is most confusing. The "alternate" iso of the full Ubuntu ppc 12.04 (or whatever version) will allow you to perform your choice of L,X,K, or Ubuntu install in the same way the mini does. CLI followed by sudo apt-get-update, then sudo tasksel

  7. #7
    rsavage is offline Iced Almond Soy Ubuntu, No Foam
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    Re: "iMac G3 for Dummies"

    After the "Calling quiesce..." the screen is controlled by the framebuffer. As str8bs says, a very few people have reported this before, but I'm not sure they have figured out what was wrong. It is either a dodgy iso, but my money is on the openfirmware framebuffer.

    Some things you can try (from the official documentation):

    Display-visibility on OldWorld Powermacs. Some OldWorld Powermacs, most notably those with the “control” display driver, may not reliably produce a colormap under Linux when the display is configured for more than 256 colors. If you are experiencing such issues with your display after rebooting (you can sometimes see data on the monitor, but on other occasions cannot see anything) or, if the screen turns black after booting the installer instead of showing you the user interface, try changing your display settings under MacOS to use 256 colors instead of “thousands” or “millions”.
    Have you tried resetting the pram?

    If you were using 12.10 then I would suggest:

    Many older Apple monitors used a 640x480 67Hz mode. If your video appears skewed on an older Apple monitor, try appending the boot argument video=atyfb:vmode:6 , which will select that mode for most Mach64 and Rage video hardware. For Rage 128 hardware, this changes to video=aty128fb:vmode:6 .
    The problem is you don't have aty128 available on the 12.04 mini iso.

    I think you currently have debian installed which has the atyfb128 framebuffer built-in. 12.10 also has this built-in from the start so you could give that a try. You could follow the 12.04 live iso instructions in the Known Issues page on a lubuntu iso to modprobe atyfb128. It should be possible to do this on the mini.iso, but it is a bit of a pain (particulalrly being a framebuffer module which makes it even harder) - https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPCFAQ#A...at_can_I_do.3F .

    If you really want xubuntu 12.04 then I'll give you a link to a download, but please try the above first.
    Last edited by rsavage; April 4th, 2013 at 11:21 AM.

  8. #8
    rsavage is offline Iced Almond Soy Ubuntu, No Foam
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    Re: "iMac G3 for Dummies"

    According to my iBook the next line after the "Calling quiesce..." should be

    Code:
    returning from prom_init
    and then the splash screen kicks in (or the kernel text starts scrolling if you don't have a splash screen).

  9. #9
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    Re: "iMac G3 for Dummies"

    Quote Originally Posted by str8bs View Post
    Svetlana,

    Is that at the initial boot of the mini iso? Or after the initial CLI install? I have used that ISO successfully on G3 500 and G3 600 and don't recall that error. Been a while though. I will try to test it this weekend and see if I can replicate.

    The mini should give you the lastest kernel if CLI install completes. Any search references related to hang on calling quiesce seem to point to kernel image problem. (I think it has something to do with a call to open firmware. not sure) Did you check md5 sums? Sure the image download is good?

    Also, I think I better understand your earlier question after looking back at the downloads. It is most confusing. The "alternate" iso of the full Ubuntu ppc 12.04 (or whatever version) will allow you to perform your choice of L,X,K, or Ubuntu install in the same way the mini does. CLI followed by sudo apt-get-update, then sudo tasksel
    This is at the initial boot of the mini iso. Install process never starts.

    Quote Originally Posted by rsavage View Post
    After the "Calling quiesce..." the screen is controlled by the framebuffer. As str8bs says, a very few people have reported this before, but I'm not sure they have figured out what was wrong. It is either a dodgy iso, but my money is on the openfirmware framebuffer.

    Some things you can try (from the official documentation):

    Have you tried resetting the pram?
    I haven't. My PRAM is being stored properly since I replaced the iMac's battery just a few months ago, and Debian PPC installed fine (I'm just not using it for a lack of good video drivers which make even a bare desktop unpleasantly sluggish to use). Do I still have to reset the PRAM? I would rather not lose the monitor geometry settings in it.

    Quote Originally Posted by rsavage View Post
    If you were using 12.10 then I would suggest:

    The problem is you don't have aty128 available on the 12.04 mini iso.

    I think you currently have debian installed which has the atyfb128 framebuffer built-in. 12.10 also has this built-in from the start so you could give that a try. You could follow the 12.04 live iso instructions in the Known Issues page on a lubuntu iso to modprobe atyfb128. It should be possible to do this on the mini.iso, but it is a bit of a pain (particulalrly being a framebuffer module which makes it even harder) - https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPCFAQ#A...at_can_I_do.3F .

    If you really want xubuntu 12.04 then I'll give you a link to a download, but please try the above first.
    I thought 12.04 was the latest PPC "stable" version, or at least the one being worked on the most. I'll take whatever has a working video driver with decent acceleration working. People using similar iMac G3 models report 300+ FPS on glxgears (not that I'm using it as an end-all benchmark, but, y'know) just by using older Mesa packages while no matter what I do the best I can get is about 25-30, all because apparently I have half the VRAM other people have, but that doesn't seem to stop Mac OS X from running smoothly (even on the Flurry screensaver, which should be pretty GPU-intensive), so I'd like to believe I can get a modern linux OS running on it. I don't mind what version as long as it has such a working driver on it, and I'd be very thankful if you could lead me to it.

    EDIT: The fact that I have half the VRAM than newer models being an issue is due to the fact that this stops Linux from loading GLX, and could be solved by using a depth lower than 24, but X simply refuses to start properly set to 16, leaving a half-locked system (extremely delayed SSH until X is killed) and a garbled screen, and GLX refuses to run at 15bpp. This is probably besides the point, however, since these are problems experienced in another Linux distro entirely. Sorry for sidetracking.
    Last edited by Svetlana Tovarisch; April 5th, 2013 at 02:26 AM.

  10. #10
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    Re: "iMac G3 for Dummies"

    I would agree PRAM not likely culprit if other installs are booting fine. But, I have seen stranger things.
    Just a guess, but I would suspect something with ISO or the burn to cd or DD to usb.

    12.04 is LTS which many prefer because once you get it working, you will get security updates and such without having to worry about much breakage.
    12.10 includes EXA patch for R128 or you can easily add to 12.04 which will get you 2D acceleration. (nothing to do with GLXgears) It has some issues, but there are workarounds to make it quite useable as mentioned in the testing thread.

    As for Mesa/GL and 3D acceleration, you may be hitting this bug. (apparently, not many people other than you or I care if GL works on a G3 iMac R128)
    I don't think Ubuntu or any of its variants will be different than Debian in that regard. There may be a way to force it to work at lower res with R128 at 8 Meg.
    Old thread discussing issue. I will try giving it a go on a 333 G3 with Rage Pro 6Meg this weekend if I can find time and scrounge some RAM for it.
    Last edited by str8bs; April 7th, 2013 at 12:03 AM. Reason: rage prot Not Rage 128 Pro

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