Could I have help with an iBook G4 that was wiped off its MacOSX OS, please ?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by bastienrene, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. bastienrene macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2013

    I was offered an old ibook G4 (« and if you don't want it, do you know where we could dispose of it ? »), without the OS, with Debian Wheezy installed instead. Since I'm entirely new to Mac environment despite extensive google and bing searches, I'm coming here to ask for help and recommendations about this issue, please, if you have time :)

    I don't know the exact specs of the machine, though. it's PPC architecture. Debian told me it's got a 40 GB disk and around 1 GB of RAM, but I don't know where I may find more detailed information, what information would be required... if you need the info, thanks a lot to tell me where I may find/search it :)


    - I first thought "oh well, why not Debian, as long as it plays videos I can give it some use". For kids DVDs, youtube viewing, things like that.

    Regrettably, I observed that even a trivial task like correctly playing a low res youtube video is impossible (tested in ice weasel and epiphany, on a Gnome desktop, Gnome's system monitor told only 148 MB out of the total instealled 1GB was used, and strangely, the CPU wasn't peaking, it was around 70-80% I think I remember), the video stops for one second, resumes, and again, this is unwachable.

    Please, would it have been the same with the original operating system meant to run on an ibook G4, instead of a Linux distro ?


    - And then, I thought reinstalling a legit Mac operating system might be better - unless the really poor performance is really hardware related and is a problem that can't be avoided.

    However, this time, honestly, I was lost with my google searches. It seems that the very last OS that can be installed on an ibook G4 would be Leopard (not Snow), but only some versions of it (would there be different builds, for Intel and PPC), and only in the process of an upgrade of an already installed Mac OS.
    But then, installing a "relatively" recent OS on an hardware that wasn't planned for this OS would risk to make the machine even more sluggish.

    Would you know, please, what is the latest OS that can be installed on an ibook G4 PPC disk, not as an upgrade process ? And what would the "most lightweight" OS that may be installed on this machine ?

    Really, thank you VERY MUCH if you can help me with these questions, you'll have made a happier newbie :)
  2. rjcalifornia macrumors 6502a


    Oct 4, 2012
    El Salvador
    Leopard is the best OS you can install on that iBook. Powerpc macs can only get Leopard, no more.

    The problem with Linux is that it requires some knowledge to actually getting it running very smoothly. You could try Lubuntu, which is a lightweight Ubuntu or Xubuntu, but still you have to spend some time researching, installing apps, dependencies...

    If you ever get Leopard (grey disk btw) install clickTo plugin to watch Youtube videos.

    What's the speed of it? If you don't want it, can I have it? ;)
  3. skateny macrumors 6502


    Jul 19, 2012
    New York, NY

    It's difficult to give any specific help without knowing more about the specs of your iBook. Difficult, not impossible.

    As was stated, Leopard 10.5.8 is the latest OS that will work for you. Retail install disks for Leopard are expensive, so you'd probably be better off (in terms of expense) getting a retail install disk for Tiger. Many people here swear by Tiger, though I prefer Leopard.

    I tried Linux years ago and never liked it, so I can't give you any help there. And I believe that the Apple System Profiler is part of the OS, so I don't expect you'll be able to access it without a Mac OS installed. With that, if the :apple: icon appears on the top-left of your display, you should select it, then "About This Mac," then "More info..." This will bring you to the Apple System Profiler, which will display hardware and software specs.

    You might also try to find your iBook base on what you know about it.

    I use the iBook in my sig for virtually all daily tasks -- some of which are work-related -- and it performs very nicely. You can accomplish a great deal with G4 iBooks that are optimized for specific tasks, including video playback.

    Once you've figured out which iBook you have, and after you've decided whether or not you're willing to abandon Linux -- and it does seem as though you do -- the next thing would be to install Tiger. After that, there are many threads around here that offer excellent help in getting your iBook to work well with a wide range of applications and tasks.
  4. g4manimac macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2013
    Like everyone else said it's pretty hard to gauge whats right for you but if you want lightweight like you said personaly I would go with tiger and get a RETAIL disc it is black with a gray X ,the gray disc are specific to a certain model and they can ONLY be installed on that specific model (I almost made a mistake and bought one awhile back).After you get past the installation of the os I would get a new browser I get camino for tiger and aurora for leopard.If it does have 1gb ram and a reasonable ghz you might want to run 10.5 leopard but like I said tiger is just a preference of mine with my ibook since I already have another mac with leopard if theres anything I have to have it for.I put 10.5 on my 1.2ghz ibook and it was pretty slow but I only have 512 memory but If I had 1gb I most likely would have kept it on there.Also if you install 10.4 it is VERY VERY easy to upgrade to 10.4.11 and at no cost.Hope this might help you.
  5. jpcoelho macrumors member


    Jan 11, 2013
    Aveiro, Portugal
    Aren´t the ibook specs engraved somewhere in the case? I don´t own an iBook, but my Powerbook G4 lists the original specs in the battery bay... remove your battery and inspect the casing without it, to see if that information is present...
  6. 4JNA macrumors 68000


    Feb 8, 2006
    looking for trash files
    loves me some ibooks.

    not in the battery bay on the ibooks, it's under the keyboard if the sticker is still there. HERE is the iFixit guide to pull the keyboard up and check. don't worry, all g3/g4 white ibooks are the same to remove the keyboard.

    pull 'down' on the two levers at the top edge of the keyboard and then while holding 'down' pull the top edge 'up' toward you. if it is still all original, the keyboard will feel 'stuck' because it's being held down by magnets. just pull, it will let go. helps to have finger nails. all white ibooks had a sticker on the top edge just to the right of center that listed the specs. 1.2ghz/64gb/20gb for example... best of luck with the new lappy.

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