Best Linux for Dual Boot iBook?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by mac.head.high, Feb 3, 2006.

  1. mac.head.high macrumors regular


    Dec 23, 2005
    Los Angeles
    So I have an extra G3 PowerBook that is lying around and I want to load it up with one of the many PowerPC distributions of Linux. My goal is to have the PowerBook as a dual boot from an internal 10 gig drive. Now I now that isn't a bunch of space for two OS's, but that's one of the determining factors in the choice of which Linux OS to go with. I assume.

    Mainly I've been thinking of going with either Yellow Dog or SUSE. They both look like they have a large community with an OS that has a slick looking GUI. But I am inexperienced with linux and don't know the communities well enough to come to any real judgment. I am very willing to learn Linux, but I am looking for an OS with the smoothest Mac-Looking interface as possible. What little hands-on background in Linux I have is from the Playstation 2 version of it, and what I've read about the Xbox versions.

    But The other factor is the Applications I want to run, right? My understanding of Linux OS's are limited enough not to know if Linux Apps work on all linux OS's or just the one's their compiled for. Some of the programs I want to run on Linux are, but not limited to- Net Stumbler, and Airsnort. So I guess an OS with the ability to recognize and work with the Apple Airport Card would be necessary too.

    Any advice?
  2. matticus008 macrumors 68040


    Jan 16, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    Well, you'll probably find that Yellow Dog has a stronger Apple-using community behind it. It's been out for a while and has something of a reputation as "the" Linux for Apple machines. As I recall, neither one really works seamlessly with Airport hardware because reference designs and driver source is not (or was not) available. I haven't checked in a while, because frankly I found no particular reason to dual-boot OS X and anything. This is coming from a former Linux sysadmin. (With the transition to Intel, though, I'm growing increasingly excited about future prospects, and might be dual-booting Apples and not just PCs in the coming months/years.)

    As far as interfaces go, if you're trying to emulate the OS X environment, you should just stick with Apple's own X11 implementation and stick to X applications you can install or compile. None of the desktop environments matches the OS X interface--it's a different operating system, independent of both Windows and OS X. It's not going to look or feel like a Mac, because for all intents and purposes, it won't be anymore. As far as your choice of applications, part of the Linux spirit is "rolling your own"--compiling applications from source. There aren't that many applications precompiled for PPC, and the source code available for download is not always 100% ready to build. Sometimes you have to do some rewriting in order to get source to compile properly on PowerPC, and sometimes it flat out won't work.

    For a novice, learning Linux with a PowerPC distribution is not ideal. If you'd like to learn Linux, it's probably better to pick up a secondhand PC and experiment with one of the mainstream PC distros with good support. Debian, Mandriva, Gentoo, and Fedora Core are good starting points. 10 gigs is not going to give you very much room with both OS X and Linux installed. I'd estimate that OS X will take up 6 gigs easily, leaving you with only at most around 1GB for files and documents and expansion after partitioning/installing Linux.

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