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Thread: So I decided to try a G4 Imac-help!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    So I decided to try a G4 Imac-help!

    OK, after using Ubuntu for about 6 months and lovin it, my PC died (again) and I figured it is time for another way to go. So, I purchase a $35 G4 Imac LCD and upon inspection the CD drive and HDD are gone, so I shove some others in there and try to get a live CD (6.06.2) to boot. I keep getting this stupid flashing question mark folder! (No bootable drive sector sorta warning) Once I did push a few random keys and saw Tux and an arrow for the next section, but then I had other issues and locked up.

    SO, I tried the text based CD, I still get the CD drive spiining Up and Down and Up and Down forever, but that folder is still flashing.

    I set the HDD to slave and I think the CD/dvd drive is set to master.

    I know the keyboard flashes the lights at boot, I hear the chime, then just the flashing question mark folder and the CD spins up-down etc.. I cant get into this "Open Firmware" at all? I know nothing about the Mac's but this cant be that hard to at least get it to show me the Ubuntu install info? Any help at all would be of great use.

    I wish I knew what key sequence I used to see tux last time.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Saxony (Germany)
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    Distro
    Ubuntu Karmic Koala (testing)

    Re: So I decided to try a G4 Imac-help!

    First of all: never connect any drive in master/slave-mode to a macs controller. You have to use the cable select jumper setting. The device at the end of the bus cable (terminating) will be automatically detected as master. If you have 2 ATA-busses, take these two and connect the drives as terminating. Sometimes there are different ATA-Controllers. Make shure to connect the harddrive to the fastest one. E.g. my PM G4 has 3 busses: ATA33, ATA66 and ATA100. I connected the optical drives to ATA33, the system drive to the ATA100 and some backup storage devices to the ATA66.

    For CD booting you have to hold the "c" key during startup. To access a graphical open firmware menu with the available boot devices hold "ALT" key during startup. You have to hold the keys until you have video output on the screen.

    The flashing question mark means that the default startup volume isn't valid.

  3. #3
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    Re: So I decided to try a G4 Imac-help!

    When adding or changing components, it is sometimes advisable to zap the pram, and/or do a pmu/smu reset:

    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=2238

    And for the cd, was it burned to a CD-R (not cdrw), at a low speed as an iso image?
    20" G5 iMac - AMD64 HP desktop
    http://www.ppclinux.info/

  4. #4
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    Re: So I decided to try a G4 Imac-help!

    Thanks guys, I need to pull the drives then and put the DVD on the end of the chain?

    It is burned to a CDR not CDRW.

    As far as zapping, I have the reset button on the bottom of the imac, but I cant access anything in the Mac with keyboard commands at all, this has me worried.

  5. #5
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    Re: So I decided to try a G4 Imac-help!

    OK, I took it apart and sorted out the jumpers and the plug arrangement on the IDE chain, and after it sat and spun for a while with the flashing folder/question mark again for a while I fumbled through a few key combo's and got to a screen that shows a square with a CD with a small TUX in the lower corner, to the left of that is a button with a curved arrow (Back?) and to the right of the CD ICon is another arrow that I am guessing is a forward.

    I keep pushing the forward arrow and the CD spins up, but then it slows down again and I get to push it again...but no joy?

    What is going on here? Possible junk HD not allowing either the text based or live CD to work?

    (And what did I push to actually see these buttons anyway?)

  6. #6
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    Re: So I decided to try a G4 Imac-help!

    Did you click on the Tux CD icon itself, and then click on the forward button?

    You probably got here by holding down the alt/option key when starting up.

    Please forgive me, but I gotta' ask:
    When you hold down the "C" key, do you hold it down long enough to where you can sort of detect it booting from the cdrom?

    I mention it because when I first started out, i found that I wasn't holding down anything long enough...
    Last edited by stream303; May 6th, 2008 at 04:53 AM. Reason: typo
    20" G5 iMac - AMD64 HP desktop
    http://www.ppclinux.info/

  7. #7
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    Re: So I decided to try a G4 Imac-help!

    I hold down the C key until I see that folder flashing a question mark..it does the same thing if I do nothing. I cannot seem to get to the setup options no matter what I do. I am using a windows keyboard, but I read up on the key differences and put a few labels on the different keys.I wonder if thats a problem?

    I did click on the tux Icon, but it did nothing.

    I was thriled to get a movable mouse pointer last night, but this is getting tiresome, I know Ubuntu prety well, but this mac is kicking my but.

  8. #8
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    Re: So I decided to try a G4 Imac-help!

    Hang in there! I guess it is possible that the system doesn't like your new cdrom, and possibly the windows keyboard.

    Some thing's I'd try - try another keyboard.

    Can you get hold of a firewire cdrom? I've successfully used a modern Memorex firewire 400 cdrom to boot and install from, I'm sure other brands do well. If you decide to go this route, you can boot from it by getting into the openfirmware prompt and issuing:

    Code:
    boot fw/node/sbp-2/disk:,\install\yaboot
    Last edited by stream303; May 6th, 2008 at 10:21 PM. Reason: firewire
    20" G5 iMac - AMD64 HP desktop
    http://www.ppclinux.info/

  9. #9
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    Jan 2008
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    Re: So I decided to try a G4 Imac-help!

    OK, I swapped out the CD drive for another and also found an older smaller Hard drive... Now I actually get to the white screen with red text that gives me the option to select how I want to boot ( *live or live-powerpc etc..) I try both the alt cd and the live cd and they both get stuck after the ramdisk is loaded...what should I check now? I know these Imacs dont have much ram, is that a problem?

  10. #10
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    Re: So I decided to try a G4 Imac-help!

    Which version of Ubuntu are you trying to install? If you are trying Gutsy, it has been known to get stuck at the busybox prompt:
    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPCKnownIssues

    It seems that the least amount of memory I've seen in a G4 Imac is 128mb. I personally recommend using the "alternate" install rather than using the live-cd, especially with lower-mem systems. Which one are you running?
    http://www.everymac.com/systems/appl...ndex-imac.html

    With a new hard drive, I'd be tempted to zap the pram. Also, you may be running into a 128gb partitioning limit on that machine, so it is important to find out which one you are using. Later models didn't have this limitation.

    For a first-time install, I'd probably suggest Feisty 7.04, or Hardy 8.04. Gutsy had issues, but if you're gutsy enough (pardon the bad pun), you can overcome some of them.
    Last edited by stream303; May 9th, 2008 at 08:42 AM. Reason: typo
    20" G5 iMac - AMD64 HP desktop
    http://www.ppclinux.info/

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