BSD on PPC?

captainfamicom

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Mar 10, 2018
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So I know all of the three main BSD based operating systems support PPC, but I was wondering, how many use it on their PPC Mac as a daily driver? I don't think there is a browser available, nor a suitable desktop environment. I just want to venture beyond OS 9/OS X on my Macs.
 

z970mp

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If you wish to venture beyond OS X on your Macs, I'd start out with either Debian Ports (https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/powerpc-linux-support-to-continue-in-debian-ports.2128808/, https://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/ports/), or Fienix (http://fienixppc.blogspot.com/). Ubuntu 16.04 is also a good option, and is supported until 2021. (http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/releases/16.04/release/) Ubuntu 16.04, at least for the time being, also happens to be more straightforward to install. (but make sure you run 'sudo apt install network-manager' immediately after installation)

BSD has a smaller following (and by extension less user support), to begin with, so if you're just starting out, the Linux-based distributions listed above are a better platform for software compatibility and support. They also have the advantage of being able to use wicknix's excellent Arctic Fox (https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/arctic-fox-web-browser-for-10-6-32-64-bit.2133051/). However, I've heard that BSD typically has better hardware compatibility and support as far as PowerPC Macs go, though I haven't tried them.

But they are there if you insist. FreeBSD (https://www.freebsd.org/) doesn't appear to show any sign of officially dropping PowerPC, and neither does OpenBSD (https://www.openbsd.org/). Ditto for NetBSD (http://netbsd.org/).

- Sent from a G5 happily running 16.04 as its DD
 
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timidpimpin

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If you wish to venture beyond OS X on your Macs, I'd start out with either Debian Ports (https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/powerpc-linux-support-to-continue-in-debian-ports.2128808/, https://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/ports/), or Fienix (http://fienixppc.blogspot.com/). Ubuntu 16.04 is also a good option, and is supported until 2021. (http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/releases/16.04/release/) Ubuntu 16.04, at least for the time being, also happens to be more straightforward to install. (but make sure you run 'sudo apt install network-manager' immediately after installation)

BSD has a smaller following (and by extension less user support), to begin with, so if you're just starting out, the Linux-based distributions listed above are a better platform for software compatibility and support. They also have the advantage of being able to use wicknix's excellent Arctic Fox (https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/arctic-fox-web-browser-for-10-6-32-64-bit.2133051/). However, I've heard that BSD typically has better hardware compatibility and support as far as PowerPC Macs go, though I haven't tried them.

But they are there if you insist. FreeBSD (https://www.freebsd.org/) doesn't appear to show any sign of officially dropping PowerPC, and neither does OpenBSD (https://www.openbsd.org/). Ditto for NetBSD (http://netbsd.org/).

- Sent from a G5 happily running 16.04 as its DD
You're talking about BSD like it's Linux. It isn't.

To the OP... BSD is pretty complex, but if you want to dive deeper into UNIX then you certainly won't get there with Linux as suggested above. Take baby steps, and take a break whenever it overwhelms you.

There are desktop environments, and browsers and video players and whatever else you need. It has a lot of the same software available on Linux, but you will have to compile most of it yourself. I would start with FreeBSD. OpenBSD is not for people new to UNIX or BSD, and I really don't know much about NetBSD.

Or... an even better idea is get to know Darwin first. This is the BSD that Mac OS X uses. Start in the OS X terminal and go from there.
 
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Lastic

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My take on BSD's.
  • NetBSD difficult install and again most newer stuff has to be compiled from source.
    Does support FireWire and WiFi.

  • FreeBSD , you have to compile everything from source since PPC is a Tier-2 and thus no packages/ports are available for immediate install.
    Support FireWire but not the PB G4 WiFi.

  • OpenBSD, super easy install and the best documentation on the planet BUT
    FireWire doesn't work, WiFi , volume keys , work out of the box and then since 5.8
    fewer packages were built and thus not a single decent browser
    (able to render a modern webpage) .
For me OpenBSD was a good lightweight CLI only alternative to Debian since OpenBSD is
way faster and leaner BUT less packages available so I ended up back on Debian/Ubuntu.
 

z970mp

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You're talking about BSD like it's Linux. It isn't.
I only ever said anything because he said he just wants to venture beyond Mac OS on his Macs.

But when did he ever mention he wants to dive deeper into Unix? His last sentence was an inquiry about alternative operating systems, and all I did was offer the most assistance I could into the most approachable choices available.

-

Darwin = BSD, like this thread seems to think, is an overly-simplified conclusion, to say the least.

https://developer.apple.com/library/archive/documentation/Porting/Conceptual/PortingUnix/background/background.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin_(operating_system)
 
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Project Alice

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You're talking about BSD like it's Linux. It isn't..
Linux was still derived from UNIX. Hence why you can compile almost anything on each one. And They have about 90% of the same commands by default. It's not like comparing UNIX or Mac OS to Windows or DOS. Its More like comparing a green apple to a red apple.
 
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timidpimpin

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Linux was still derived from UNIX. Hence why you can compile almost anything on each one. And They have about 90% of the same commands by default. It's not like comparing UNIX or Mac OS to Windows or DOS. Its More like comparing a green apple to a red apple.
I hear what you're saying, but UNIX really is a different universe than Linux, and too many people lump them together out of ignorance. I can tell you from experience that the command line structure is very different in both. There are similarities, but certainly more differences.
 

captainfamicom

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Original poster
Mar 10, 2018
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Atlanta
Well, I didn't expect to get THAT many responses. I've heard that Void Linux is getting both 64 and 32 bit PPC support going, so I might try that out when it becomes avalible since I use it some of the time on my x86 netbook. I wanted BSD as I had gotten a little distaste for Linux recently, especially after the issues in the community, and that the kernel was getting a little bloated, so I wanted to try BSD as support for FreeBSD on PPC was okay, but I don't think I could get KDE or a modern web browser to compile even if I hacked the code into oblivion ;). But if anyone DOES know of any good ways to use BSD on PPC other than for a server, don't hesitate to DM me.
 
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556fmjoe

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I've been using OpenBSD on a PowerBook G4 1.5 GHz for years, including as my daily driver for a while.

Stuff you'll like:

It's easy to install, easy to configure, and everything is documented thoroughly. It's secure, incredibly reliable, and things just make sense. X11 is included and works out of the box. Sound works fine, keyboard brightness buttons work, and it has a very low RAM and CPU footprint. CPU power management works with apmd. Generally speaking, there is very little difference between installing and running OpenBSD on a PowerPC Mac vs an amd64 machine unless you add a bunch of packages.

Stuff you won't like:

There are no Javascript capable web browsers for macppc right now. I use Dillo for browsing and it's blazing fast, but many sites are not rendered correctly without Javascript (Macrumors is a particularly awful mess). The built in Broadcom wifi is supported but mostly unusable. I use a nano USB wireless. The trackpad does not appear to be multi-touch capable, so you will probably want a USB mouse. GPU acceleration on my 12" NVIDIA PowerBook is 2D only via the nv driver. ATI GPUs are much better supported.

A lot of this is hardware dependent (i.e., NVIDIA GPU issues, trackpads on laptops, etc). You may have better luck on a Power Mac.
 
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air78

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Jan 12, 2018
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Apple Darwin, i think old PPC builds downloadable today. I'm sure some old builds of KDE are available for Darwin now.
 
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galgot

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May 28, 2015
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I've been using OpenBSD on a PowerBook G4 1.5 GHz for years, including as my daily driver for a while.

Stuff you'll like:

It's easy to install, easy to configure, and everything is documented thoroughly. It's secure, incredibly reliable, and things just make sense. X11 is included and works out of the box. Sound works fine, keyboard brightness buttons work, and it has a very low RAM and CPU footprint. CPU power management works with apmd. Generally speaking, there is very little difference between installing and running OpenBSD on a PowerPC Mac vs an amd64 machine unless you add a bunch of packages.

Stuff you won't like:

There are no Javascript capable web browsers for macppc right now. I use Dillo for browsing and it's blazing fast, but many sites are not rendered correctly without Javascript (Macrumors is a particularly awful mess). The built in Broadcom wifi is supported but mostly unusable. I use a nano USB wireless. The trackpad does not appear to be multi-touch capable, so you will probably want a USB mouse. GPU acceleration on my 12" NVIDIA PowerBook is 2D only via the nv driver. ATI GPUs are much better supported.

A lot of this is hardware dependent (i.e., NVIDIA GPU issues, trackpads on laptops, etc). You may have better luck on a Power Mac.
Very interesting , what is the version you have installed please?
I have OpenBSD installed on a first gen 1 Ghz 17" PowerBook, don't have the exact version in mind either as i've not fired it up recently. But I'm sure it's not the latest...
Installation was a bit more complicated for me , as i wanted a dual boot with Tiger. Anyway, works ok, only that indeed the nvidia drivers sucks (1Ghz 17" also as nvidia GPU), so refreshing windows is quite slow, even though i've installed a light WM ( Windowmaker). And also my hd is too small, so complicated way OpenBSD partitions the disk by default (server security oriented i believe), with different parts for usr, root, your home folder e all doesn't help... I'l have to reinstall on a bigger hd someday.
 

556fmjoe

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Apr 19, 2014
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Very interesting , what is the version you have installed please?
I have OpenBSD installed on a first gen 1 Ghz 17" PowerBook, don't have the exact version in mind either as i've not fired it up recently. But I'm sure it's not the latest...
Installation was a bit more complicated for me , as i wanted a dual boot with Tiger. Anyway, works ok, only that indeed the nvidia drivers sucks (1Ghz 17" also as nvidia GPU), so refreshing windows is quite slow, even though i've installed a light WM ( Windowmaker). And also my hd is too small, so complicated way OpenBSD partitions the disk by default (server security oriented i believe), with different parts for usr, root, your home folder e all doesn't help... I'l have to reinstall on a bigger hd someday.
I have been following the -current branch since 2014 (5.4 or so?) so right now it is a snapshot from a couple days ago.

I have a 32 GB SSD so I also had to change some partition sizes during the install. I also wanted an encrypted /home via softraid, so that was a little extra work but not too bad.
 
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