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cecilieaux 03-14-2019 10:21 AM

Which distro for an old Mac (iBook G4)
A relative has an iBook G4 from Apple. It's a 14-inch screen small laptop with a 32-bit PowerPC processor that runs at 1.33 GHz, 1.2GB RAM and a 60GB hard disk.

I have used Macs only twice for less than a minute each time. The software on this one is ancient and cannot be updated.

So far I've looked at

-- Linux Mint LXDE 12, which is probably out of date (issued 2012)

-- an unofficial Linux Mint LXDE 19, but in German (would have to switch languages once installed)

-- Lubuntu

-- Puppy Linux
* tahr-6.0.5_PAE based on Ubuntu 14
* xenialpup-7.5-uefi (would UEFI work on a MAC) based on Ubuntu 16
* LxPupBionic-18.05+28 an LXDE version based un ubuntu 18

I'm still uncertain whether there's something else that's better.

I'm nowhere near putting together a distro with a DE so that's out, too.

Suggestions? Comments on choices so far?

michaelk 03-14-2019 12:05 PM

Distributions need to be compatible with the desired processor architecture and Puppy is only Intel x86/64. You can search distrowatch for a list although it may not be all inclusive. Unfortunately, the supported list is getting smaller.

I would look at debian 8 or Ubuntu 14 or 16. Many might suggest it is time to retire the G4.

Turbocapitalist 03-14-2019 12:57 PM

Or take a look away from GNU/Linux and try a different operating system all together. OpenBSD runs quite well on that hardware but not necessarily all applications any more. OpenBSD is a really different style than GNU/Linux but once you get a feel for the advantages it really grows on you.

However, if you don't keep the machine, consider sending it in to them as a donation. They're always on the lookout for architectures like that and there's always whole new sets of bugs that get shaken out of the source tree and fixed when porting. Quite a few would not get easily noticed otherwise. So that work benefits everyone, including those on legacy x86.

sidzen 03-15-2019 02:08 AM

CrunchBang++ or antiX basic installs, create a swap file;
or TinyCore (but it's not pretty} are suggestions [see here].

Basically, DEs require RAM, you have none, so make a swap file; some sacrifice in cosmetics is necessary; no UEFI (or systemd)
The smxi script included with these distros (used to be, anyway) can make post-install upgrades and tweaks a lot easier.

Up your RAM to max for mobo if you want to keep the PC. Sounds like you do,

Best wishes.

DavidMcCann 03-15-2019 11:43 AM

Lubuntu will definitely work on the G4 — they say it's OK for the G3. 1 GB should be fine — this is a 32-bit system, after all.

AntiX and TinyCore do not support the PPC, and CrunchBang is discontinued!

sidzen 03-16-2019 02:07 AM

my bad!

sidzen 03-16-2019 03:42 AM


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