View Full Version : Getting inventive with a G4 iBook
Sep 7, 2012, 12:25 PM
I have an old G4 iBook that have been living in a closet for the last years. I suddenly needed an extra work station and thought it might work well with some kind of open source distro. Specs are on the low side; 1.42GHz Ram, 512MB RAM and 60GB HD. I found a low priced battery replacement and the old thing booted fine with a light version of Ubuntu (lubuntu 12.04). Everything seems to run fine, about the same speed as tiger did. There is support for all hardware, and like expected some issues with media streams in browser, especailly flash. It needs some attention.
Are any of you trying other unix / linux distros?
Sep 7, 2012, 08:37 PM
What do you mean work station? Does it need to be linux?
Sep 7, 2012, 10:08 PM
I just need to have a laptop that works and can live in a locker at the library for a while, so I don`t have to have to carry it back and forth every day. I have leave from work to get some writing and research done. The iBook is still nice to write on.
It doesn`t have to be linux, but I am familiar with Ubuntu and it works for most uses I have. I don`t know there is any noticeable advantage doubling RAM to 1GB and try leopard. Some are reporting difficulty with iBooks and leopard, and tiger just seemed so old. With a bit of effort lubuntu or debian ppc seems very promising. I heard rumors the Ubuntu team is doing quite a bit of testing for powerpc these days for their next release.
Sep 7, 2012, 11:05 PM
to check out mintPPC. I know I sound like a broken record on this forum, but its fantabulous as far as Linux PPC distros go. I love Linux, use linux, am currently typing this on a Dell lappy loaded with Linux Mint 13 and Cinammon. But ppc linux is just not comparable to OS X on Apple hardware. Sorry if I offend anyone, but that's the truth.
Leopard is perfectly and I mean perfectly usable on my ibook G4 1.07 ghz. Leopard webkit with Click to Flash plays youtube perfectly in quicktime, if that matters to you. Disable spotlight unless you really need it, kill dashboard and get rid of the fugly 3-D dock ( "secrets" preference pane does it all) and you've got Tiger with better software support. If you have Xtools you can even set V-sync to black and some other graphical tweaks that can speed up your system.Also,rip all the intel code out with Xslimmer or search this forum for the PPC leopard build that has already done it. Run older apps (like Microsoft Office X with the xml converter) whenever you can and you are golden. I could get by fine with my ibook for everything but streaming high definition video.
Aquadock's Mountain Lion theme can also make you feel like your living in the 20tweens with the hip kids. If that's important to you.
Sep 7, 2012, 11:22 PM
So leopard would do better than any other current upkept ppc distro? I have to make an effort to get the right kind of leopard then. I sort of disregarded it running on 512MB RAM. What are the advantages?
I have a question: can powerpc cpu 1.42GHz make use of more than the original 512MB RAM? I can harldy push RAM use much above 300MB.
Sep 8, 2012, 03:28 AM
do you get hardware accelerated graphics in linux?
Sep 8, 2012, 02:06 PM
Yes, there are are hardware accelerated graphics in linux. Graphic drives is always an issue, and you might have to test different driver packages to get it working properly.
Sep 8, 2012, 02:44 PM
In my experience Leopard is not thrilled with under 1 GB of RAM, it will run, but not happily. MintPPC only has 2D drivers, if good 3D is important you might need a different distro.
I still think Mac OS X on Apple hardware is a far better user experience than PPC linux. The "you get more up to date software" arguement is a tad bogus, as long as you have a modern, supported, stable browser (which you do with tenfourfox, Leopard webkit, Aurorafox etc) you are good to go.
There is no flash for linux PPC, but numerous workarounds, some work better than others and nothing is perfect. Even on a PC most linux distros have issues you just never encounter on a mac running OS X. I had a vicious video screen tear on my Dell Laptop that was only solved by installing Cinammon, which is a far bigger hardware drag than MATE, which is what I was running. Plus, installing software outside of the software center can be a total pain the ass, even in 2012. On a mac, it still just works....for the most part.
Sep 8, 2012, 07:06 PM
Thanks for the input guys. The closest thing I have come to flahs is Gnash Media Player which streams rather well on 1.42GHz. I am all for the nonflash workarounds both in osx and open source. There are a few media players that should work in browser for powerpc, but they need a bit of attention from the guys who keep these packages up.