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Thread: Ubuntu on PowerPC iBook G4

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Ubuntu on PowerPC iBook G4

    Hello,

    I have a iBook G4 that I have recently received.

    I heard that I can put Ubuntu on it but I am unsure of how to go about doing so.
    I currently have OSX 10.5.8 installed on the machine, but I have decided that Ubuntu would be the right way to go.

    I have tried live booting an ISO that I downloaded from a website, but when I booted it, It just showed BusyBox and froze.

    Any way I can get this thing running?

    Machine details:
    iBook G4 14 inch
    PowerPC G4 processor 1.42 GHz
    512 MB internal RAM
    256 MB added RAM
    60 GB internal HDD
    CD + DVD RW Slot loading drive

    Thanks in advance for any help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    I think I'm here! Maybe?
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    Xubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa

    Re: Ubuntu on PowerPC iBook G4

    I have moved your thread to the Apple hardware section where you will probably get quicker and better answers from Apple users.

    With that hardware spec you may get Lubuntu to run, and it is available for PPC from http://cdimages.ubuntu.com/lubuntu/r...op-powerpc.iso, but I doubt that Ubuntu will be a success as it requires a considerably higher spec than you have, and certainly needs very good 3D hardware graphics for the unity desktop.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    897

    Re: Ubuntu on PowerPC iBook G4

    No worries, I have XFCE DE on a 14.04 PPC install from mini.iso running on my G4 iBook . . . the only problem is that the 646 MB RAM is falling behind the curve . . . .

    Only spec not listed is the video card . . . mine is a radeon card . . . Lubuntu does support PPC so that would probably be the easiest way to start . . . 14.04 is LTS . . . check that the md5sum number matches . . . on then, boot with "c" key . . . when you get the cli . . . try some boot parameters . . . lately on the iBook and my Powermac I use some variation of:

    Code:
    live-nosplash-powerpc video=radeonfb:1024x768-32@60
    If your card is nvidia??? you might try "nvidiafb"??? not sure if that is needed, but, it is probably a radeon card, so that needs to be mentioned for the system to figure it out.

    If you go for the install, you will likely need to set up some "free space" or a partition formatted in "FAT32" . . . and that means most likely you will have to use an OSX install disk or clone to wipe the 10.5 install (if it is using the whole internal drive) . . . then "partition" the drive to at least two spaces . . . reinstall your OSX system . . . then run you linux install and choose "install along side OSX" . . . . First thing is to just get used to booting the system from DVD and test it out . . . try different flavors ***for PPC**** see which you like, etc--then try an install. I have three computers all set up with dual or triple boot . . . which is "easier" with PPC and Yaboot . . . .

    e.e.p.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Distro
    Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: Ubuntu on PowerPC iBook G4

    Hello, Thanks for your reply.

    First off, I am confused. Not used to all of this.

    I am planning on using this machine as a normal laptop, So I cant be live booting all the time. Most of the people who will be using the machine don't even know how to login properly.

    Lubuntu would be a last resort for me, Due to past experiences with it.

    I know how to install the OS. I just need a good link to an ISO that I can use that will install Ubuntu for me.

    Sorry if I am being fussy and hard to deal with. I have just about had enough with this machine

    Also, I looked up the GPU for my machine in the System Profiler app.

    Code:
    ATI Mobility Radeon 9550:
    
      Chipset Model:	ATY,M12
      Type:	Display
      Bus:	AGP
      VRAM (Total):	32 MB
      Vendor:	ATI (0x1002)
      Device ID:	0x4e56
      Revision ID:	0x0080
      ROM Revision:	113-xxxxx-117
      Displays:
    Color LCD:
      Resolution:	1024 x 768
      Depth:	32-Bit Color
      Core Image:	Hardware Accelerated
      Main Display:	Yes
      Mirror:	Off
      Online:	Yes
      Quartz Extreme:	Supported
      Built-In:	Yes
    Display Connector:
      Status:No Display Connected

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    I think I'm here! Maybe?
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    Xubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa

    Re: Ubuntu on PowerPC iBook G4

    You really have insufficient ram for Ubuntu, and even if you managed to install it, which I doubt will be possible, it will run very slowly and with no available unity desktop, which is why I suggested Lubuntu.

    What were your previous problems with Lubuntu?

    It has improved a lot over the last year or two and is now a fully fledged member of the Ubuntu family which is brilliant for low spec machines such as yours; it just needs fewer resources, but all the packages available for Ubuntu are also available for Lubuntu.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Distro
    Lubuntu

    Re: Ubuntu on PowerPC iBook G4

    Lubuntu ot Ubuntu-MATE will work fine with your iBook. I have an iBook with similar specs and they work fine with 15.10 versions of those distros. Just use these yaboot paramters

    Code:
    radeon.modeset=1 video=radeonfb:off video=offb:off radeon.agpmode=-1
    iBook G4 1.42GHz Ubuntu-MATE 15.04
    PowerBook G4 1.67 GHz Debian Wheezy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    897

    Re: Ubuntu on PowerPC iBook G4

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh22799 View Post

    I heard that I can put Ubuntu on it but I am unsure of how to go about doing so.

    I have tried live booting an ISO that I downloaded from a website, but when I booted it, It just showed BusyBox and froze.

    Any way I can get this thing running?
    Josh:

    The points by the other posters are helpful . . . straight ubuntu might be too demanding for your RAM. The graphics data you posted is indeed "radeon" . . . so you could try either of the boot params posted here in the thread. But, question, you state that you tried to live boot an ISO, which ISO did you try that with?

    It takes a certain skill level to do that "live booting," and, you also seem to know that "Lubuntu isn't for you" . . . so, um, you have some experience with it . . . so, therefore there should be some understanding that linux is DIY based . . . there is no "place" to go for a hand's free installer like in OSX . . . . Google is your friend, but AJGreeny provided a direct link to download an iso of Lu 14.04 LTS . . . yes, it is "lubuntu" or LXDE desktop, but, if you burn that to DVD and install it via instructions . . . then you can add any DE of your choice . . . and either just not log into Lu session, or remove it and just use what you like. Linux is infinitely adjustable . . . you just have to begin. Personally my iBook doesn't seem to boot usb flash installs, so I have chosen to burn the iso to DVD . . . if you change the "iso" to ".dmg" then Disk Utility should "recognize" the file and burn it . . . . Then try to boot it as I discussed; caveat being that the general wisdom is to keep OSX installed . . . and add linux "along side" . . . which I gave some details about that . . . . It is a "process" . . . and perhaps you could just install linux where OSX was . . . but, in terms of user friendly to apple machines OSX is pretty good, and perhaps getting some virtual application would be the easiest way to go . . . running linux via iso's IN OSX . . . .

    e...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    897

    Re: Ubuntu on PowerPC iBook G4

    @josh:

    To give you a little more assistance I just googled "PowerPCFAQ" . . . and the top three hits should provide you with all the direction, information, and downloads that you should need, i.e., the PPC FAQ, the PPC Known issues, and, the PPC Downloads page . . . . Merry Holidays . . . .

    https://www.google.com/search?q=Powe...utf-8&oe=utf-8

    e..

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Distro
    Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: Ubuntu on PowerPC iBook G4

    Hello.
    Hope everyone had a good Holidays!

    I have managed to install Ubuntu 12.04 on my iBook. It is working fine so far, I have one problem though.

    At startup, the machine hangs on the splash screen and complains about my b43 driver. I have blacklisted it with b43.blacklist=true. But that means I cant use my WiFi.
    I have tried the command 'sudo apt-get install firmware-b43-installer' to install the driver. But I get an error saying it cannot locate the package.

    Also, The machine thinks it is a desktop and it wont detect the battery or when I close the lid. I have checked all settings and anything laptop related has been greyed out.
    Last edited by Josh22799; December 28th, 2015 at 11:18 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    897

    Re: Ubuntu on PowerPC iBook G4

    Josh:

    Somewhat "odd" that it can't locate the package . . . did you try to use "synaptic" to find it? But, from the PPCFAQ material on wifi, there was a link that leads to a table with the various Broadcom chips . . . and whether it takes "legacy" b43 or b43 . . . I would guess that the regular b43 would be the one . . . you might also try running "sudo apt-get update" before running your "install" command to get the Terminal "hooked up" to the repos . . . . But, point being I don't think you should "blacklist b43" . . . ?????
    http://linuxwireless.org/en/users/Drivers/b43/
    As far as the "laptop not recognized" situation . . . that might require keeping a sense of humor about it all . . . .

    e.e.p.

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