iMac G4 800...installing Linux?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by tom vilsack, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    How the heck do i get linux (tryed countless ppc versions) to install on my Imac G4 800?

    Every time during loading i get either washed out screen and nothing,or bright pink screen and nothing.

    Have tryed all the "install video=ofonly" commands ect...still nothing...

  2. macrumors regular

    Are you using a graphical installer or a console installer? MintPPC and Debian's net install iso both use the console installer. If you're using a graphical installer like Ubuntu, try using the yaboot parameter nosplash.
  3. macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Ubuntu (10.04)


    now yellow screen,and nothing happening.
  4. orestes1984, Sep 17, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012

    macrumors 65816

    I installed Yellow Dog Linux on my G4 iMac and got it to work but that was years ago when it was new and I don't have that machine anymore, I wouldn't recommend Yellow Dog as anything but a curiosity, you should really be running Debian or Mint PPC. Does the machine boot at all or does it fail somewhere?

    If the machine is actually booting and only failing when X Windows loads I'd place a dollar on it being your xorg.conf file, so you might have to switch to single user mode and edit your xorg.conf file from the console.

    Welcome to Linux.... I know this isn't friendly or fun, but if you want to run Linux you're going to have to learn. The second configuration should work on your iMac.

    its also found here.

    I don't pretend to hold your hand... this is the least of your worries if you want to run a Mac on Linux. Linux is not easy, it does not just work, you're going to have to learn to get your hands dirty.
  5. macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    thxs for links..will try when i get home.

    use and have used various linux distro's for years,so em aware of it's shortcomings...but unlike a few years back (at least on the pc side of things) it has come a long way,and now is relatively easy to use.

    on a side note,wouldn't it be great if there was a puppy like version for ppc.
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Zeke D

    I've used both yellow dog and mint on some of my G4s. they installed and did what they were supposed to do, but a lack of Java 6 made me return to Leopard.
  7. macrumors 6502

    the imac G4's

    are notoriously difficult to install linux on. MintPPC forums have many posts with frustrated users struggling to get video, sound, or both working on the ilamps. It can be done, here is a video on youtube of the same machine as you have.

    Maybe post in his comments to see if he had to do anything special to get it installed...I've installed linux on G3 imacs, ibook G4s, Blue and White G3's, even a Lombard Powerbook with minimal to no issues, provided I avoided Yellow Dog, which was an umitigated pain in the butt.
  8. orestes1984, Sep 17, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012

    macrumors 65816

    Its been talked about, but the best you're going to do is installing something like XFCE on Debian or going with something like Mint PPC at the moment. You will need a less feature rich desktop for adequate performance on a G4.

    Once you get it up Linux is no more/less hard to use than on x86, it's Linux. the things you'll find is that initially its a bit more of a pain to configure and that PPC binaries are a bit short on the ground. This is particularly the case when you go to compare the software centre on x86 vs. the one for PPC on Debian based distros.

    But for every minus theres a plus of being able to run the latest standards compliant version of Firefox, or other Webkit based browsers where you would be stuck with 10.4 Fox on OS X. There's also the range of productivity software that is standards compatible.
  9. macrumors 603


    Just two days back in another thread I told someone almost exactly the same.
    Burn a CD/DVD, then hold option while restart and it shows the available discs to start up from, one of them Linux, I select it and hit return, then what happens is it tries to boot but returns to the selection screen with inverted colored icons.
    I guess it's in the Graphic drivers, someone pointed Me out that I had to start from Open Firmware???
    Should work out of the box but it probably rarely will without changing the boot configuration.
    I tried many different distros, never succeeded, on a Powerbook G4 1.67.
  10. macrumors 65816

    Once its installed yaboot should take over, but you have to load that onto the front of your 1st disk for it to boot your Mac, you do that in the first stages of a Debian install when you set up your partitions.

    you should have a HFS formatted /boot thats about 10mb, a swap partition about 2/3rds of your physical RAM if you've got over 1gb and the rest should be your /root partition.

    Once you've got Linux installed it will drop you into an open firmware shell and you'll be able to basically be able to select M for Mac or L for Linux using the Yaboot loader.

    You're right it is likely graphics card drivers, but as I stated its more so likely a configuration problem not the drivers themselves. The drivers will be loaded, its just that the Xorg.conf file is broken for this particular machine and nobodies bothered to fix it.
  11. macrumors newbie

    I am new to Macs but I have 4 PCs running Linux Ubuntu and Mint.

    Anyway I was given a G4 Emac 800mhz with ATI Graphics.
    As I got it all that would happen at boot was flashing finder icon and question mark.

    After much reading and videos on You Tube I removed the hard drive 40 gig maxtor 5400rpm and replaced it with a 80 gig Seagate 7200rpm.

    I had formated the Seagate in one of my linux boxes to unallocated space

    I also replaced the CD drive with DVD drive
    I downloaded Lubuntu 12.04 for PPC and even though it would fit on a CD I wrote it to a DVD at 4x and nice slow write to avoid Read errors

    I had to use a paper clip to open the DVD drive as I dont have a Mac keyboard.
    You have to tick the box to install Third Party Software to get Codecs
    Its my smallest set of hardware but I like it
  12. macrumors 6502a


    good luck, no hardware acceleration at all. if your finding Tiger to slow, i would be going back one step. either that or turn a crap load of stuff off on tiger..
  13. macrumors newbie

    So i became unhappy with Lubuntu cause Gnome mplayer wasnt going as good as i would like
    So i downloaded Ubuntu 12.04 with its Gnome Desktop should improve things.
    I pulled a 60gig laptop hard drive out of a laptop with a broken screen and put that in my Emac with an adapter I had.
    The laptop drive has a 8mb buffer as opposed to 2mb for the desktop hard drive.
    And the laptop drive uses less power too
    I didnt have $2 for a DVD so i wrote Ubuntu on a CD
    So with the machine off i open the CD door with my fingernail then use a trusty paperclip to open the CD draw insert the disc and push the draw closed.
    Push the power button and hold down the C key after the Mac tone till writing appears on the screen.
    I was prompted to do something and I chose a live session as it installs to the RAM and increases your chances of succes.
    When the live session is ready you will see an install icon on the desktop I like to right click on the install icon and the click open
    You will get an opportunity to install along side an existing OS and you have to tick a box to import an account [ eg your other OS]
    You will be offered to install updates while installing and I always tick the box to say yes as it has benefits later.
    you will be offered to restart now and shortly after the CD Draw will open remove the CD and hit ENTER
    Sorry no Mac keyboards here
    I have been using Ubuntu on PCs for 6 years

    With Ubuntu you have to install[ restricted extras] first or Medubuntu to be able to play videos

    With Lubuntu you have to tick a box to install third party software to play videos

    I hear Mintppc 11 does flashplayer
  14. macrumors 6502a


    Don't use linux. If you still want to use linux:

    -Try Kubuntu or Ubuntu 10.04
    -You must have 1GB of RAM or more
    -Be aware you won't have access to so many aplications

    Linux is good, but not that good. As an experienced Linux user, I strongly don't recommend using Linux on PPC, unless you really want.

    True, Mac OS is no longer supported, but there hasn't been a big security threat, since hackers don't even care about PPC.
  15. macrumors 6502a

  16. macrumors regular

    1 GB of RAM or more? This has no meaning as it depends on what the user wants. If you want Unity or Gnome 3, then 1 GB or more is good, but if you want LXDE or Openbox 512 MB is more than sufficient for basic computing needs. With the right desktop environment, Linux is much more efficient with RAM than OS X or Windows.

    And I wouldn't mess around with Ubuntu or any of its derivatives. Debian Testing is more stable and with the right install guide;) is fairly easy.
  17. Guest

    Not true if the distro is using the nouveau driver (for an nVidia card) and i can tell you that Lubuntu is snappy as hell on a PPC - also nice to be able to run the latest Firefox version, latest office software version, latest....... ;)

    I'll be installing on my PM very shortly (I've now got a desktop running Ubuntu for work so my MBP can finally be used for personal use at home so my G5 can be my Linux hobby box :) ) just deciding between Lubuntu and MintPPC - It won't be a games machine anyway.
  18. macrumors 6502a


    Sheit wobby, thanks for the heads up. So nvidia cards are now hardware accelerated... Wow.. That AWESOME!!!
  19. Guest

    So I hear but don't get too excited PPC software is not as prolific as x86 (eg. no Skype...) and you won't find much to accelerate with anyway ;)

    Interesting because I'll be doing my G5 over the next week or so and just have to sort myself out psychologically to get over the inevitable video card setup issues that will happen right after the first boot (or maybe even before....) - It is the ONLY way to keep a G5 current though as far as i can see. Good luck.
  20. macrumors 65816

    No, but it has all the essential software you need and if it provides desktop hardware acceleration it could be better than an older version of OS X with no software updates at all.

    Think about it, going from a completely unsupported OS with no software updates to one that runs the current versions of programs and can do most things a modern PC does.
  21. macrumors 6502a


    Leopard still does everything I would want it to do, (gaming aside of course)
  22. macrumors newbie

    Nothing you write in that post makes any logical sense at all. Do you just make things up as you go? If you have any true Linux experience and actually knew how to use it then you wouldn't have that opinion. Your stance is the one people take when they don't know how to use it because they have no real computer skills.
  23. macrumors member

    The machine is to slow for OS 10.5 Leopard, you can run 10.4 but would have to find a disc for it.

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