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Old 05-01-2008, 05:27 PM   #1
newtovanilla
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Linux on a Macintosh G5


"Mac OS X 10.3's GCC 3.3.3 compiler appeared to compile source much faster than the GCC 3.2.2 compiler on my 1 GHz AMD machine, but comparing a two-year-old 32-bit PC to a G5 isn't really fair."

I read this on the web. A friend of mine says that I can have their old G5 because they are getting a new Mac for college. It has GCC on it. Can I build the Linux kernel and use it with the Mac? Is that going to work? Is the G5 better than a Pentium PC? I think we both got new computers at the same time.

"Apple's new 64-bit Power Macintosh G5 is aptly named: it has power to burn. Mac and *NIX users who can afford these machines will find them to be much faster than the Power Mac G4s they replace and at least as fast as any PC you can buy or build today."

What does it mean by 64-bit? Is that better than 32-bit? Two times as good? I was not that good at math, but I know that 64 is two times 32. I know that if it costs $64 that it is twice as much as $32. I have no idea what 64-bit is and if it is twice as good as 32-bit.

I have tried GCC 4. The computer has GCC 3.3. Is it too old to use GCC 3.3? Should I get GCC 4 and rebuild it?

The Mac already has Adobe Photoshop on it. If I put Linux on it, then will I still be able to use that Adobe Photoshop? Lots of classes at art school use Adobe. Does Adobe Photoshop run on Linux?
 
Old 05-02-2008, 02:46 PM   #2
scheidel21
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Well PowerPC and x86 architecture are different as apples and oranges, and thus you are comparing apples and oranges. The two processors process information differently and the processor architecture is different. You are also talking about a big difference between a 32-bit AMD 1GHZ processor and a 64-bit PowerPC G5 of any speed. Let's address 32 bit and 64 bit first. 32 and 64 bit refer to the amount of addressable memory address space that the processor can address. As an example lets look at a map that is 32 inches by 32 inches there are only so many streets that we can see on this map, if we make the map 64x64 we can see twice as many streets as on our 32x32 map. similarly 64 bit architecture can see twice as much computer memory space. There are some caveats to this based on chipset combination and manufacturer but we will not cover this here. The second thing is particularly on memory intensive applications and processor heavy applications you will see a slight to possibly significant speed boost because a 64 bit processor pipeline of data is twice as big as well. As an example here lets look at a highway. If we have a two lane highway, we can only pass so many cars through there at a given time, we make this into a four lane highway we can double the number of vehicles we can pass through. Something processor and memory intensive like compiling a kernel will go faster on a 64-bit processor that is using a 64-bit OS.

Now you cannot run the MacOSX kernel and a linux kernel at the same time, because the kernel is the core of an OS, just like you cannot run MacOS and Windows, or Linux and Windows or even two versions of the same OS at the same time without using virtualization software. You can dual boot the two OSes, which means when you turn on the PC you can choose to go into Mac or into Linux. There are also some options to run Linux applications under MacOSX, although I am not knowledgeable about that. If you do not want to get rid of MacOSX and any of the applications installed on it, then my suggestion is to get a cheap second hard drive and install it in the computer and install Linux onto that, although you will need to boot the linux partition with the MacOSX bootloader, DO NOT INSTALL GRUB or LILO, there are some forum postings and tutorials online to do this. Option two but more complicated would be to use a partition application and re-partition the MacOSX HD then install Linux in the other partition, I have not done this on an OSX machine and don't recommend this method. You might also be able to use the installed OSX inside Linux from a virtual machine using software like MOL (Mac-on-Linux) or another option, or vice versa if you have appropriate virtualization software installed on the MacOSX OS.

Good luck otherwise. By doing Dual Boot you can still keep Adobe or anything else installed on the machine and use it when booted into MacOSX. Any more questions feel free to ask.

Alex
 
Old 05-02-2008, 07:11 PM   #3
newtovanilla
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Thank you for the comment.

1) I read your comment and I think that it makes sense to me now. I can use both Linux and Mac OS on the Macintosh G5. Your explaining the 32-bit and 64-bit makes sense I think. I read on the web that they run tests to see how much faster a processor is. Can I see how much faster the G5 is than my Pentium PC? Will that make a difference to Linux? I am asking that if I get Linux to run on the G5 with the Mac OS like you said, then will it be faster than if I get Linux to boot on Pentium PC?

"Something processor and memory intensive like compiling a kernel will go faster on a 64-bit processor that is using a 64-bit OS."

2) Will I be able to compile the 2.6.2X kernel twice as fast? I have compiled the 2.6.2X kernel, and it takes so long. I was more than an hour. If I compile the 2.6.2X kernel on the G5, will it be fast? The Mac has GCC.

"You can dual boot the two OSes, which means when you turn on the PC you can choose to go into Mac or into Linux. There are also some options to run Linux applications under MacOSX, although I am not knowledgeable about that."

I think that is what I am going to do so that I can run Linux on the G5 and still use Adobe Photoshop.

"You might also be able to use the installed OSX inside Linux from a virtual machine using software like MOL (Mac-on-Linux) or another option, or vice versa if you have appropriate virtualization software installed on the MacOSX OS."


3) What is a virtual machine? I do not have MOL software. Do I need to get that to run Linux on the G5? How much does it cost or is it free like Linux?
 
Old 05-02-2008, 07:14 PM   #4
newtovanilla
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"Why get rid of old equipment when you can breath new life into it? That old PowerPC 601, or the old 486DX or Pentium machine no longer just door stops now they're routers, servers, fully operational word processors, and cluster computing powerhouses."

Alex, with your idea about running Linux and Mac OS on the G5, I can then use my Pentium PC into a new powerhouse. I read on the web that you can make Linux run faster on a machine. I do not know how to do that. I have built the Linux kernel 2.4.36. What else do I need to do to make it a "computing powerhouse"?

I am getting the G5 tomorrow! My friend is getting the new Macintosh computer for college today.
 
Old 05-02-2008, 11:10 PM   #5
scheidel21
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1)The perceived or actual speed of your daily activities will not really be noticeable, although running a GUI you might notice it to be zippier on the G5. Now of you want to really test things there are benchmark tests that can be run to determine ratings for processing power, memory speed, video performance and almost anything else you could want those are how they test these things benchmark applications, you could install linux on both machines and run benchmarks and you will get numbers to show you the difference. For your day to day use, I doubt you will see much difference.

2)I wouldn't say that it will shave compile times by half, that depends on the amount of RAM, processor, Hard drive, and some other factors, I will stick my head out and say it should be faster, at least noticeably on the G5, though probably still 1+ hour, even on my dual core system a 2.6 series kernel take some compile time. You will likely need to compile the custom kernel inside an all ready running linux system, i.e. and installation that is running a plain kernel compiled for PPC.

3)Virtualization software virtualizes hardware for an operating system to run on. The software creates a virtual computer and then an OS can be run in that virtual computer in a window on you host OS. Let me give an example I have a laptop with a Core2Duo Processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 160GB Hard Drive. My Laptop runs Vista Home Premium directly on the laptop, when I boot the laptop it boots Vista, this is called the Host OS. If I had XP installed instead of Vista, XP would be the host OS, if I booted a mac G5 with MacOSX then OSX would be the host OS, or if I booted into linux on any hardware platform that linux would be the host OS. Now I install virtualization software on my host OS, in my case Vista. I follow the directions for creating a virtual machine using the documentation included with my virtualization software. The I boot into my virtual machine and I install a guest OS from an ISO file, a CD in my CDROM drive, if the virtualization software allows device passthrough. A guest OS is any OS running inside a virtual machine. NOTE:You will not really get excellent performance for 3D under a Virtul machine(VM), so running games for instance is usually not a good idea. In my case My Vista laptop uses VirtualBox for the virtualizations software and I run a VM of Windows Server 2003, XP Pro, and Debian Linux 4.0r1, sometimes I run them all at the same time.
Now first virtualbox will not work for you as it runs only on x86/x86-64 processors, and before I give you some virtualization options let me explain MOL. Mac-on-Linux it not so much a virtualization application, it is a passthrough that lets a MacOS installation run directly of the macintosh hardware, while linux is also running. Here is a link to the MOL project page http://sourceforge.net/projects/mac-on-linux/ Here is the MOL Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac-on-Linux Mac-on-Mac which is linked to from the MOL page lookes like a port or MOL that runs on an OSX OS to allow a user to run another copy of OSX or other PowerPC OSes from the host OS. Depending on what distribution of PowerPC Linux you run MOL may be part of the software repositiories, I know MOL used to be in the Debian repositories, though I think it was the contrib repositories. Now there are other Virtualization options though not a whole lot for PowerPC based machines, and to be honest I think MOL would provide the least overhead of resource useage, but here is a link to a comparison of many virtualization packages from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compari...rtual_machines you would need to use a virtualization package that runs on a host CPU of PowerPC, as that is your native hardware platform with a G5. Depending on your needs, you will find different virtualization projects offer different features. Almost all the packages I have mentioned so far are GPL or gratis, software, although there are also pay for solutions such as parallells for OSX, which you may want to look into. If you are only going to run OSX and PowerPC based Linux I do highly suggest using MOL and or the Mac-on-Mac software if using it from OSX.

NOTES:
You will need to dedicate a portion of your RAM to the VM, which means if you don't have much you will want to buy some, it is cheap enough.

You will need harddrive space for the OSes, and you might need to search for information on how to use an existing OS installation on harddrive with the virtualization software you choose. When booting a VM with an OS on a harddrive you will need to make sure you do not boot into the OS you are all reasy using, i.e. if you are using OSX don't boot that same OSX in a VM the outcome will not be good.

I Recommend using Debian, it is a good distribution, Ubuntu and its derivatives are Debian based. But Debian has many more packages and you will learn more about linux workings.

I'll post regarding the powerhouse post when I have a chance but I have to run right now

let me know if you need anything else I may be able to help with.
 
Old 05-03-2008, 02:26 AM   #6
scheidel21
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Well an individual computer is not going to be a powerhouse, especially an older one, but you could cluster several together to make a lot of computing power available for use, the same idea as Seti@Home. Clustering is not for the meek and is much easier if you have identically configured computers, like say you bought 10 computers that a school was getting rid of from a computer lab, those would be identically configured and ideal for a cluster, where clusters really shine is processing large amounts of data. But you can make older equipment serve valuable purposes, such as a word processor and internet browser for kids or older people, old equipment works well as a router or firewall for your house or a second segment on a home network.

When using older equipment for something like a wordprocessor or internet browser you want to either tun a slightly older version of linux, or run software light. i.e. run a window manager like windowmaker, something else, also don't install all sorts of junk on it. as far as using it for utilitarian purposes like routers/firewalls, you don't need a GUI interface you can use CLI only and they fly for the most part serving their function. I have a PowerComputing Mac clone with a PowerPC 603ev processor and like 182MB Ram that functions as a PPTP, email and web server I run only CLI on it and use webmin to administer it running it as a headless server.

You can make certain things run a little faster on machines, you gain a small performance gain if you compile all software for your machine on your machine, also not running any uneeded background services, and using resource light applications help, like a light window manager, and an office suit other than OpenOffice.org, or use seperate applications, and using light requirement browsers like epiphany can help too. You can also run a machine strictly CLI using a browser like lynx and text editors like Emacs, VI, VIM, or something less powerful like nano. Running a machine CLI only will make it very responsive. Ultimately if you do run a GUI on older equipment you will notice it is not as snappy as newer hardware, but it is bearable. I have Debian running on a 800Mhz Celeron with KDE and while not super fast it is bearable to use. The only real drawback is that flash video is choppy in Iceweasel(Firefox port for Debian).

I also have several G3 macs running Debian and they are pretty responsive well acceptable for me at least, even though they are running KDE, they would probably be much more responsive if I used a lighter GUI on them. all my machines are currently using 2.6 series kernels.
 
Old 05-03-2008, 08:35 PM   #7
newtovanilla
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Thank you for your comments.

"When using older equipment for something like a wordprocessor or internet browser you want to either tun a slightly older version of linux, or run software light."

I think that this is what I need to try to do. Thank you for the mention of some applications that are resource light. The Linux installation that I have tried took up a lot of space. It would not work well on the Pentium Pro. I have been reading some about it.

"You can make certain things run a little faster on machines, you gain a small performance gain if you compile all software for your machine on your machine,"

That is what I have been trying to do. I just have not gotten it to work yet. I think that I am getting closer. I can almost get it to boot Linux. I see it trying to boot. So I must be close. I can feel my M$crosoft ME starting to tremble as I am getting ready to /dev/null it.

"even on my dual core system a 2.6 series kernel take some compile time."

How long does it take on your system for compiling a 2.6 kernel? I tried to compile the 2.6.2X kernel.

"test things there are benchmark tests that can be run to determine ratings for processing power, memory speed, video performance and almost anything else"

Is there a URL for those tests that can run on Linux? I had taken a look at some of the new computers with my friend who got his new Macintosh, and they all had some type of test like you mention with ratings on it. That way you could compare the computers as you said.

___________________________________

The G5 is cool!
 
Old 05-04-2008, 12:13 AM   #8
scheidel21
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I am afraid I do not know where you can locate benchmarks for Linux I would try a google search or dogpile search (dogpile is my favorite search engine) also try searching forums here and at places like linuxforums. Compiling a system from scratch is not an easy undertaking I wish the best of luck to you on that. As far as lightening the storage space needed for you OS install, think about what you want/need to do with the machine and don't install a bunch of other stuff. Also do some research as to what GUI applications are resource light you might find some recommendations on the forums here.

Anything else I can try to help you with let me know, good luck either way.

Alex
 
Old 05-04-2008, 12:19 AM   #9
newtovanilla
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"Anything else I can try to help you with let me know, good luck either way."

Thank you for your comments. They have been helpful. This is all so new to me. About the dogpile, I could not stop laughing on that one. Is there really a search engine called "dogpile"? When ever I visit one of my other friends, they have three dogs in there. I had a picture of dogpile from their yard. I think you get the idea.

I have lot of help from the forum. There is a Linux From Scratch book and a Linux kernel book, both free. I have the URL for them.
www.kroah.com/lkn
www.linuxfromscratch.com
 
Old 05-04-2008, 01:00 AM   #10
scheidel21
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yup dogpile exists, http://www.dogpile.com/ it searches multiple search engines to give you the top results from multiple search engines, including dopiles' own search engine.
 
Old 05-04-2008, 01:05 AM   #11
newtovanilla
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Smile

Thank you for all of your comments. Thank you for your help with the learning about Linux and the Macintosh stuff.
 
Old 05-25-2008, 12:07 AM   #12
peonuser
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maccy's

I have 3 g3 towers and a g3 imac. I run ubuntu gutsy/hardy on them. With a light desktop, They are more than just word processing machines. One of them I use as a home media/web/file server. I would like to try distcc and see if I can make a computing cluster out of them too. Using netboot I can use them as oversized thin clients for k12ltsp also. The g3's are as fast or faster as any of the nas's on the market today. Why people want to give up on old machines amazes me. I call my imac "super-chumby".
It does a lot more and cost me under fifty dollars.

Last edited by peonuser; 05-25-2008 at 12:10 AM.
 
  


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