Linux vs Mac OSX

Dronecatcher

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I recently did my regular dabble with Linux - this time on my 1.33 12" iBook and my 667 Powerbook and as before, after a brief flirtation, went back to Mac OS (Tiger on iBook and OS9 on the PB).
Between them I tried Lubuntu, MintPPC and Debian 7/8 but even Debian 7 with Openbox, which only uses about 60Mb of memory, was still sluggish compared with a fully optimised Tiger. And bear in mind Tiger is a full featured desktop environment whereas Openbox is a blank screen with a right click only menu.
Yes, you can run a contemporary web browser (but on OS X we have TFF too) apart from that I see no advantage.
So, my question is, does anybody run Linux on an IBook or Powerbook and see a performance improvement over OS X?
 

bunnspecial

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May 3, 2014
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From my brief flirtation with Ubuntu on a DLSD-access to current(real) Firefox was the only advantage I saw.

OS X is faster and simply easier to use, plus TFF takes away a lot of the trouble of not having a current browser.
 
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556fmjoe

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There are security advantages to Linux simply because everything is more up to date, though it is hardly a secure OS and not what I would choose if security was a goal. Stability leaves a lot to be desired too and is another reason I grew dissatisfied with it.

Linux may have seemed sluggish if you didn't have GPU acceleration. ATI GPUs require a newer version of Mesa for 3D acceleration. It is possible to upgrade Mesa to the proper version if it is not the default. I'm not sure about NVIDIA GPUs on Linux.
 

LightBulbFun

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I Have played around with Ubuntu Lubuntu Ubuntu mate and debian on PowerPC macs I have run Linux on my iBook G4 PowerMac G5 2Ghz PowerMac G4 MDD and PowerMac G4 sawtooth and I can say its about the same speed as OS X running on those systems (once you get the graphics card working) heres a short video of my sawtooth booting into Debian to the login prompt
 
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128keaton

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There are security advantages to Linux simply because everything is more up to date, though it is hardly a secure OS and not what I would choose if security was a goal. Stability leaves a lot to be desired too and is another reason I grew dissatisfied with it.

Linux may have seemed sluggish if you didn't have GPU acceleration. ATI GPUs require a newer version of Mesa for 3D acceleration. It is possible to upgrade Mesa to the proper version if it is not the default. I'm not sure about NVIDIA GPUs on Linux.
Could I potentially dual boot (what ever distro you used, MintPPC?) with OS X? I'd love to try linux on a PowerBook.
 

Dronecatcher

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Could I potentially dual boot (what ever distro you used, MintPPC?) with OS X? I'd love to try linux on a PowerBook.
Dual booting is relatively easy as long as OS X is installed first.

This isn't a Linux bashing thread by the way :) I love Linux on X86 hardware but I just feel it's not working on PPC - maybe it was better years back when the hardware wasn't so dated - I might try out a really old distro sometime.

I installed every patch and bug fix to get my installations working correctly (as much as was possible) but still found performance inferior.

I'd guess it scores best if you require Linux development and coding tools - apps more text driven rather than multimedia.

What is great about a Linux install (a bare bones one that is) is you get to appreciate how much goes on under the hood - stuff you take for granted like double clicking a file, attaching USB storage, opening a Zip etc none of which you can do until you install the tools to do so.
 
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556fmjoe

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Could I potentially dual boot (what ever distro you used, MintPPC?) with OS X? I'd love to try linux on a PowerBook.
I used Ubuntu on the DLSD that @bunnspecial now has. I didn't attempt to dual boot, so I can't help you there, but it is technically possible. On my 12" PowerBook I currently have, I run OpenBSD and don't dual boot so I'm no help there either.

Honestly, I wouldn't bother with Ubuntu. Lubuntu or some other lighter weight Linux distro like Debian with a minimalistic WM would be better if you want Linux.
 

Altemose

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Mar 26, 2013
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The Unity interface is even a bit too heavy for early Core 2 Duo machines so I would go for a distro running something along the lines of XFCE if I were to go for Linux on a machine in general of that vintage.
 

128keaton

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The Unity interface is even a bit too heavy for early Core 2 Duo machines so I would go for a distro running something along the lines of XFCE if I were to go for Linux on a machine in general of that vintage.
I really stopped supporting ubuntu desktop after they went away from Knome. I still have a laptop with 8.04 kicking around here somewhere. I loved the sounds and the interface of it.
 

Dronecatcher

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From my brief flirtation with Ubuntu on a DLSD-access to current(real) Firefox was the only advantage I saw.
I agree. There are faster browsers on Linux and a huge choice but in my testing only Firefox/Iceweasel and Dillo were stable - Dillo is supremely fast but it disables, script, plugins and all the usual code trash that is 'needed' to make most websites functional.
 

128keaton

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I installed MintPPC on my Mercury, and holy cow, its slow. Slower than Tiger, but faster than Leopard. I'd have installed it on my PowerBook 12", but I'd like that to be an OS X machine when at all possible.
 

Imixmuan

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Dec 18, 2010
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I installed MintPPC on my Mercury, and holy cow, its slow. Slower than Tiger, but faster than Leopard. I'd have installed it on my PowerBook 12", but I'd like that to be an OS X machine when at all possible.
MintPPC is getting hella.....old. There is no Jessie version, so you are installing Wheezy, with the Linux Mint LXDE environment from 2011 slapped ontop. Last time I did a MintPPC 11 install my fans blew constantly, there were tons of issues, and I gave up after a week.

PowerPC Linux was never and will never be well supported. There is Debian and a few other buntu based distros, but that is all there is. These also have a lot of bugs and quirks and things you have to do at the command line (like compile custom kernels to get sound)to get a working system. There are however mindblowingly good distros for old computers on x86-I am using antiX on a Dell D600 from 2004, so same era and clockspeeds as a later model Powerbook. It uses the JWM window manager and I have to remind myself from time to time that I am not on a newer machine. I have 720p youtube playback in Firefox. Mplayer and VLC can also stream 720p without issue. The web itself is the real problem, and Javascript. So much evil Javascript out there now.....

It is a damn crying shame that you just can't run a lightweight, well supported Linux on a PowerPC mac. In theory Debian with LXDE would be good choice, but then you run head long into issues.....and issues.....
 

556fmjoe

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MintPPC is getting hella.....old. There is no Jessie version, so you are installing Wheezy, with the Linux Mint LXDE environment from 2011 slapped ontop. Last time I did a MintPPC 11 install my fans blew constantly, there were tons of issues, and I gave up after a week.

PowerPC Linux was never and will never be well supported. There is Debian and a few other buntu based distros, but that is all there is. These also have a lot of bugs and quirks and things you have to do at the command line (like compile custom kernels to get sound)to get a working system. There are however mindblowingly good distros for old computers on x86-I am using antiX on a Dell D600 from 2004, so same era and clockspeeds as a later model Powerbook. It uses the JWM window manager and I have to remind myself from time to time that I am not on a newer machine. I have 720p youtube playback in Firefox. Mplayer and VLC can also stream 720p without issue. The web itself is the real problem, and Javascript. So much evil Javascript out there now.....

It is a damn crying shame that you just can't run a lightweight, well supported Linux on a PowerPC mac. In theory Debian with LXDE would be good choice, but then you run head long into issues.....and issues.....
This is why I don't use Linux. I hate to keep banging on about it, but OpenBSD does not suffer from these problems on PowerPC, at least on 32 bit systems (64 bit support is still new and not as well tested). Sound works, graphics work, it uses very little RAM, and boots fine. It's secure, stable, actively developed, and everything is very thoroughly documented should you get stuck.

It's not perfect. Performance will probably not be as good as OS X for some tasks, particularly graphically intensive ones. There are some annoyances like the single trackpad button and lack of two finger scrolling on laptops. Firefox is expectedly slow, probably much slower than TenFourFox, but usable.
 

128keaton

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This is why I don't use Linux. I hate to keep banging on about it, but OpenBSD does not suffer from these problems on PowerPC, at least on 32 bit systems (64 bit support is still new and not as well tested). Sound works, graphics work, it uses very little RAM, and boots fine. It's secure, stable, actively developed, and everything is very thoroughly documented should you get stuck.

It's not perfect. Performance will probably not be as good as OS X for some tasks, particularly graphically intensive ones. There are some annoyances like the single trackpad button and lack of two finger scrolling on laptops. Firefox is expectedly slow, probably much slower than TenFourFox, but usable.
Do you have a specific distro you can point me to?
 

Imixmuan

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Dec 18, 2010
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Do you have a specific distro you can point me to?
OpenBSD is not techincally a "distro" since its not Linux, rather its based on BSD, the same thing OS X is based on.

I would encourage anyone who wants to see how good Linux can be to pick up a good used x86 PC (which can generally be found for around 50 dollars or under), made within the last, oh, seven or eight years, put a couple gigs of RAM in it and install any distro in the top twenty on Distrowatch. If Mint doesn't work for you, try Ubuntu. If you hate Unity, try LXLE or Bohdi. Debian is more of a server OS. Elementary OS gets kudos for having a very pretty and OS X like interface, but seems to me to be in perpetual "beta" mode. The choices on x86 Linux are literally endless, unlike with PowerPC Linux.
 

128keaton

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This is why I don't use Linux. I hate to keep banging on about it, but OpenBSD does not suffer from these problems on PowerPC, at least on 32 bit systems (64 bit support is still new and not as well tested). Sound works, graphics work, it uses very little RAM, and boots fine. It's secure, stable, actively developed, and everything is very thoroughly documented should you get stuck.

It's not perfect. Performance will probably not be as good as OS X for some tasks, particularly graphically intensive ones. There are some annoyances like the single trackpad button and lack of two finger scrolling on laptops. Firefox is expectedly slow, probably much slower than TenFourFox, but usable.
what GUI do you use? I'm just at a console, nothing here.
 

556fmjoe

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what GUI do you use? I'm just at a console, nothing here.
I'm using cwm.

There a lot of options though. Cwm and Fvwm are already included. If you type "startx" you'll get Fvwm by default. You can install many different lightweight WMs or a full desktop environment like XFCE, KDE, etc. On PowerPC, I wouldn't use anything heavier than XFCE.

To install XFCE for example, you'd need a line in /etc/pkg.conf pointing to a mirror like so

Code:
installpath = http://mirrors.nycbug.org/pub/OpenBSD/5.7/packages/powerpc/
(This is a mirror near me that I use. You may find one closer to you here that could be faster: http://www.openbsd.org/ftp.html)

The run "sudo pkg_add xfce".

Next, you'll need a .xinitrc file in your home directory telling X11 to start XFCE. This can be as simple as one line

Code:
startxfce4
Now run startx and it will start XFCE.

It's really a good idea to read the OpenBSD FAQ. It covers everything you'll need to know: http://www.openbsd.org/faq/
 

128keaton

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I'm using cwm.

There a lot of options though. Cwm and Fvwm are already included. If you type "startx" you'll get Fvwm by default. You can install many different lightweight WMs or a full desktop environment like XFCE, KDE, etc. On PowerPC, I wouldn't use anything heavier than XFCE.

To install XFCE for example, you'd need a line in /etc/pkg.conf pointing to a mirror like so

Code:
installpath = http://mirrors.nycbug.org/pub/OpenBSD/5.7/packages/powerpc/
(This is a mirror near me that I use. You may find one closer to you here that could be faster: http://www.openbsd.org/ftp.html)

The run "sudo pkg_add xfce".

Next, you'll need a .xinitrc file in your home directory telling X11 to start XFCE. This can be as simple as one line

Code:
startxfce4
Now run startx and it will start XFCE.

It's really a good idea to read the OpenBSD FAQ. It covers everything you'll need to know: http://www.openbsd.org/faq/
CWM was included? I ran startx and got a desktop with a black and white checkered background with xconsole. I'll try CWM a bit later today to see what its all about.
 

556fmjoe

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CWM was included? I ran startx and got a desktop with a black and white checkered background with xconsole. I'll try CWM a bit later today to see what its all about.
That was Fvwm, the default WM. If you don't have a .xinitrc file in your home folder, the defaults are used. Cwm is even more minimalistic.

To set a background, I use feh (installed via pkg_add) and added this line in my ~/.xinitrc file before the WM

Code:
feh --bg-scale ~/pics/backgroundimage.jpg
 

128keaton

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Jan 13, 2013
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That was Fvwm, the default WM. If you don't have a .xinitrc file in your home folder, the defaults are used. Cwm is even more minimalistic.

To set a background, I use feh (installed via pkg_add) and added this line in my ~/.xinitrc file before the WM

Code:
feh --bg-scale ~/pics/backgroundimage.jpg
I tried installing XFCE4 but I got a bunch of 'can't install'. Odd huh?
 

556fmjoe

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I tried installing XFCE4 but I got a bunch of 'can't install'. Odd huh?
What version of OpenBSD are you running and what does /etc/pkg.conf say? Also, what command did you run to install it?

If you're running 5.7, try "sudo pkg_add xfce-4.10p1"

edit: Check your internet connection too.
 

128keaton

macrumors 68020
Jan 13, 2013
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What version of OpenBSD are you running and what does /etc/pkg.conf say? Also, what command did you run to install it?

If you're running 5.7, try "sudo pkg_add xfce-4.10p1"
Crap, I'm using a 5.8 snapshot, guess who doesnt have packages for 5.8..everyone...
I just downloaded the latest. Agh...
 
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