LinuxQuestions.org
Visit the LQ Articles and Editorials section
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Hardware
User Name
Password
Linux - Hardware This forum is for Hardware issues.
Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

Notices

Reply
 
Search this Thread
Old 02-03-2004, 10:00 AM   #1
Samsara
Member
 
Registered: May 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu, Mac OS X Tiger
Posts: 481

Rep: Reputation: 32
linux on powerpc g3


Hi All!

The thought of double-booting Mac OSX with Linux has been on my mind for a while. For a start, performance of Linux on a G3 (350MHz, 128MB RAM, blue/white case) should exceed that of Mac OSX, especially for the very slow MS Office and Endnote applications. What's more, with the performance improvements in the 2.6 kernel, the machine might even start behaving like it has a CPU I understand there are no "stable" releases of Linux distributions for PPC that incorporate the new scheduler in their kernel (in fact, are there any PPC releases with new scheduler at all?)
The machine would be used mostly for word processing, but possibly for minor symbolic maths and simulation work, too - I'm in science.

Seeing I've never installed Linux on a Mac, I have the following questions:

1) Can I partition the disk PartitionMagic-style, without losing data, in order to dual-boot? (The investment in a fire-wire disk would be difficult to justify given the age of the overall setup; no second IDE slot available (are they called that in macs? you probably know what I mean)).

2) Will it be straightforward for someone who's never compiled a kernel, to get kernel 2.6 to run on this machine with reasonable stability? Or will even kernel 2.4 bring appreciable performance gain?

3) I was thinking of GNOME for a DE - would that perform well, or ought I go for XFCE, E or one of the *box family?

Many thanks,

Samsara

Edit: I lied about the RAM - it's only 128MB!

Last edited by Samsara; 02-06-2004 at 01:23 PM.
 
Old 02-03-2004, 10:44 AM   #2
kevinatkins
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2004
Location: cheshire, uk
Distribution: Ubuntu Hoary
Posts: 605

Rep: Reputation: 31
hi samsara,

i read your post with interest.

i recently installed a copy of yellow dog 2.3 on my father's G3 iMac (350MHz, but just 64MB RAM).

partitioning was taken care of by the yellow dog installer, so you should have no problems there (although in the end, i opted to replace OS 8.5 completely - but the option to dual-boot was there, and would have been easy to implement). i'm assuming your machine has one of the 'new world' bios's - if not, linux can only be booted from within your existing OS.

there were quite a few difficulties specific to the version of yellow dog i installed - it was basically quite an old release and i had to update a lot of the software to enable it to play nicely with my dad's peripherals. yellow dog is currently at version 3 i believe, running a 2.4.2x kernel - i understand it's rather a nice distribution. so i'd definitely recommend going for the latest release possible.

compiling stuff was fairly straightforward, but time consuming - i did patch and re-compile the y.d. 2.3 kernel (2.4.19) without hitch - it was in fact easier than on my pc install of suse 8.2! there were one or two minor differences in procedure / names of files compared to other distros i've used, but nothing too difficult.

regarding desktop environment, i would definitely recommend gnome - it's more lightweight and faster than KDE, something you'll appreciate on an older machine!

With just 64MB of RAM, performance on my dad's iMac was very sluggish - KDE especially so. We upgraded to 96MB (had some memory lying around), performance was modestly improved; with 256MB, you should have a very workable system.

for word processing apps, with y.d. 3 you have a good choice - OpenOffice.org is bundled, then there's AbiWord and KOffice. A real bonus with the first two of these is the ability to read / write native Microsoft formats.. AbiWord in particular is an excellent little application - it's lightweight, very fast, and has all the features most of us need in a word processor.

anyway, hope this helps - you should find it an interesting and rewarding project. as a footnote, i'd recommend you go to www.penguinppc.org for Mac-specific advice (but do keep us posted of how you get on!)

cheers.
 
Old 02-04-2004, 06:22 AM   #3
Samsara
Member
 
Registered: May 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu, Mac OS X Tiger
Posts: 481

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 32
Hey Kevin!

Thanks for your detailed post. I'm amazed and enthused that you got decent GNOME performance with 96MB RAM! Holds promise. I'm a fan of Abiword, too. Unfortunately, Fedora Core 1 has some difficulties with library dependencies that I haven't yet been able to resolve, but no more of that.

I knew of YDL, but was amazed that they now ship Apple boxes with YDL pre-installed - somewhat ahead of the Intel world, where Evesham recently withdrew their range of PCs with Linux installed! If free software development picks up any more speed, Apple may eventually be able to withdraw from the software biz, which afaik is not where they make their profits.

***ramble end***

For the benefit of others, let me cut'n'paste the feature list from YDL 3.01 release:

# 6 CDs (3 binary, 3 source)
# Anaconda installer engine
# RPM Package Manager 4.1
# GNU LibC (glibc) 2.3.1
# GNU Compiler Collection (gcc) 3.2.1
# XFree86 4.3
# KDE 3.1
# GNOME 2.2
# Wonderland unified theme for KDE and GNOME
# NVidia GeForce 4 and ATI Radeon 9000 support
# Mac-on-Linux 0.9.68 (OS X 10.2)
# Kernel 2.4.20
# OpenOffice.org

(source: http://www.yellowdoglinux.com/products/ydl.shtml)

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any info on when the next release (kernel 2.6? GNOME 2.4?) is due out.

As for BIOS version, I understood all the blue and white boxes (as opposed to the beige ones) had the new world BIOS - please correct me if you know otherwise!

Thanks and best wishes,

Samsara
 
Old 02-04-2004, 05:57 PM   #4
hw-tph
Senior Member
 
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Sweden
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 3,032

Rep: Reputation: 57
If you make sure you follow the instructions carefully you should have no problem configuring, compiling and installing the new 2.6 series of kernels on your G3. Either go with the main Linux branch or Ben's PPC-specific kernels. The latest quasi-official Ben-release is based on the 2.6.2 prerelease tree and incorporates a lot of exciting Apple-specific stuff.

Also, in the 2.6 kernel (such as Ben's 2.6 series) the new Anticipatory scheduler is in use, which actually makes *tons* of difference on heavy disk I/O. The Deadline I/O scheduler was present in the 2.5 development tree but has been replaced by this smartly improved one. The "Linus Elevator" from 2.2/2.4 is long gone now, and we must thank the kernel maintainers for that!


Håkan
 
Old 02-04-2004, 09:27 PM   #5
witeshark
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2004
Location: Miami FL
Distribution: Mac OS X 10.4.11 Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
Posts: 429

Rep: Reputation: 30
Please keep us all posted how Linux runs on your Mac!
 
Old 02-05-2004, 08:54 AM   #6
Samsara
Member
 
Registered: May 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu, Mac OS X Tiger
Posts: 481

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 32
Quote:
Originally posted by witeshark
Please keep us all posted how Linux runs on your Mac!
Sure. Might be a little while, though, since I have 4.8 GB free disk space (of a total of 12GB) - it would be good to have some spare after partitioning and installation of a basic graphical GNU/Linux! So back to wiping...

Best wishes,

Samsara
 
Old 02-06-2004, 11:18 AM   #7
Samsara
Member
 
Registered: May 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu, Mac OS X Tiger
Posts: 481

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 32
non-destructive partitioning

Dear All,

With the improved situation of having 5.7 GB available, I think I can donate 4GB to a Linux partition. It has been recommended to use Norton Utilities to defragment the volume first. However, I am not sure what's best to use for resizing the existing HFS+ partition.

Any suggestions?

Samsara
 
Old 02-06-2004, 11:36 AM   #8
hw-tph
Senior Member
 
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Sweden
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 3,032

Rep: Reputation: 57
Try parted for resizing partitions. I wasn't aware it was ported to the PPC but the Yaboot FAQ mentions using it to resize volumes to create space for a yaboot partition so I suppose it works.

Håkan
 
Old 02-06-2004, 01:20 PM   #9
Samsara
Member
 
Registered: May 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu, Mac OS X Tiger
Posts: 481

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 32
I always understood that if you use parted to resize, you lose the content of your current partition. Debian don't mention HFS+ support:

http://packages.debian.org/unstable/admin/parted.html

I probably ought to go and find a specific Linux-for-Macs forum to ask this question. Thanks for the tip anyhow!

Samsara
 
Old 02-06-2004, 08:40 PM   #10
Samsara
Member
 
Registered: May 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu, Mac OS X Tiger
Posts: 481

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 32
Looks like I need to get my hands on a firewire external hdd, since resizing of hfs+ partitions without data loss is not possible:

http://www-106.ibm.com/developerwork...ry/l-pmac.html

I wonder how the firewire drive performance will compare to the internal ATA drive... I'll keep you posted. Might take a while to acquire the drive...

Cheers,

Samsara
 
Old 02-06-2004, 08:48 PM   #11
witeshark
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2004
Location: Miami FL
Distribution: Mac OS X 10.4.11 Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
Posts: 429

Rep: Reputation: 30
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally posted by Samsara
I wonder how the firewire drive performance will compare to the internal ATA drive... I'll keep you posted. Might take a while to acquire the drive...
Cheers,
Samsara
I'm sure you will be quite happy -- I hear good things about firewire performance!
 
Old 02-08-2004, 10:48 AM   #12
Samsara
Member
 
Registered: May 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu, Mac OS X Tiger
Posts: 481

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 32
Quote:
Originally posted by witeshark
I'm sure you will be quite happy -- I hear good things about firewire performance!
Thanks - I'll keep you posted here.

Just to mention - this is the specialist forum I turned to. It's not _that_ active a list, so if anyone knows anywhere better, please post!

http://justlinux.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?forumid=24

Samsara
 
Old 02-11-2004, 07:18 AM   #13
Samsara
Member
 
Registered: May 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu, Mac OS X Tiger
Posts: 481

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 32
How can I install linux on an external firewire hdd and boot it, without touching the main inbuilt ATA hdd? Is there a master boot sector on the hdd that can simply be overwritten with a linux boot loader without affecting the bootability of the mac osx main hdd?

I'm worried that either I'll end up buying a firewire hdd for linux and then not be able to boot it from there, or that I'll destroy my mac osx installation (panther, single hfs+ partition on inbuilt hdd for historic reasons, clean install not feasible).

Many thanks,

Samsara

PS: Any magic keys to press at boot-up?

Last edited by Samsara; 02-11-2004 at 07:21 AM.
 
Old 02-11-2004, 08:18 AM   #14
witeshark
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2004
Location: Miami FL
Distribution: Mac OS X 10.4.11 Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
Posts: 429

Rep: Reputation: 30
Wow, that's a good question. To start, it seems you need to instruct the Mac to reboot from firewire drive. This would be very new to me Google time
 
Old 02-11-2004, 10:34 AM   #15
Samsara
Member
 
Registered: May 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu, Mac OS X Tiger
Posts: 481

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 32
Had the following conversation elsewhere. I put comment characters in front of my anonymous correspondent's comments.

> Also [an available firewire drive]
> is set up with a DOS type partition map and two ext3 partitions, you
> could temporarily reformat one as HFS+ or VFAT if you needed to, *but*
> I don't know if MacOS will do this if it is a DOS rather than Apple
> type partition map ...
>
> As far as I know, you can't boot linux on PPC when its installed on an
> external firewire drive - you probably knew that but I thought I
> should mention it.

Yes, I encountered that worry late last night (after sending you the message),
although I am still not entirely convinced of its truth. People say that you can
set the bootup disk in the mac osx settings to an external hdd, or use the keys

CMD-OPT-SHIFT-DELETE

to select a disk.
(http://www.jacsoft.co.nz/Tech_Notes/...-Option-Delete)

It should hence be possible to put the linux boot loader on the external, and
just boot that. I have not been able to verify whether any of these cheats work
on a PowerMac G3, however. Your drive would come in handy at that moment - at
least if the architecture allows booting from the drive, it ought to show up in
the list given after pressing the above keys at startup. On the other hand,
linux may not be a compatible OS for this procedure.


> I have a strong suspicion that you will not be able to check this
> using my drive because open firmware can only see Apple partition
> maps, and HFS, HFS+ and (maybe on later versions) UFS file systems.
> The reason I suspect this is that when Linux on a PPC is installed on
> an *internal* drive it has to have an Apple partition map and the boot
> loader has to go in a HFS partition (because write access to HFS+ and
> UFS is experimental under Linux 2.4 kernels). [...] However, from what you say it seems as > though it would be
> possible in principle if one had a firewire drive with an Apple
> partition map, or a blank one ...
>
> But, installing on an external FW drive is going to involve a slightly
> gnarly nonautomatic installation process, even if the subsequent
> alternate booting works in a straightforward way.
>
> I think that if I were in your position I would:
>
> 1. Buy a [big] FW drive , format [part of] it as
> HFS/HFS+ and copy everything off your machine onto it. I find
> having a mirror (or even the primary copy) of all my work files on
> a portable disk to be a very handy way of working.
>
> 2. Scrub the hard disk on your machine.
>
> 3. Do a clean OSX and Linux install on your machine and migrate
> essential stuff back, see how much space is left.
>
> 4. If neccessary keep some stuff on the FW drive (perhaps reformatted
> with one HFS+ and one or more linux partitions). You would not have
> to do anything too gnarly if you had the bootloader and root Linux
> partitions on your internal disk, and put /usr and /home (say) on
> the external drive.
 
  


Reply

Tags
g3, linux, partitioning, powermac, ppc, ydl


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
powerpc radio broadcasting software on linux schneek2000 Linux - Software 3 11-30-2005 04:44 PM
PowerPc Linux fireemblem555 Linux - General 3 10-16-2005 09:14 PM
Preinstall linux on a powerpc harddrive? six6 Linux - General 1 04-21-2005 03:22 AM
Linux software on powerpc klod Linux - Software 4 09-23-2004 05:02 AM
Linux on PowerPC PowerBook 3400c lorengd Linux - Laptop and Netbook 3 02-09-2004 12:18 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:13 AM.

Main Menu
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
identi.ca: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration