PowerBook G4- Ubuntu or Mac OS X?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by iModFrenzy, Jul 18, 2015.

  1. iModFrenzy macrumors 6502a

    iModFrenzy

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2015
    Location:
    Lead The Way!
    #1
    So I decided to dust off my PowerBook G4 and use it again. One issue though, Leopard is very slow. Would Ubuntu give me a performance increase or better software support or am I just wasting my time?:p

    I would install Tiger if I could actually find it. :mad:
     
  2. Dronecatcher macrumors 68000

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #2
    Ubuntu is pretty resource hungry - the lightest Linux is probably Debian running Openbox, I did such an install on my PB 1.25.
    Personally I found it no quicker than Leopard or Tiger, unless there's an absolute specific need for Linux software I would stick to OSX, particularly Tiger if your PB doesn't have much memory.
     
  3. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #3
    Leopard can also be optimized. Search the forum here for how to do that. One trick is the Secrets prefpane which will let you turn off a lot of the animations and eye candy that slow things down.

    Lastly, Leopard usually works best with more than 1GB of ram.
     
  4. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    #4
    Ubuntu is huge and slow on PPC. It's even huge and slow on amd64. Some boot parameter needs to be set for it to boot, but I forgot what it was. Wireless can be made to work but won't out of the box. GPU acceleration should work with an ATI GPU and the latest version of Mesa. I dont know about NVIDIA. Right click doesn't work on the trackpad (out of the box at least) because it's one button. Keyboard function keys for brightness, volume, etc work fine.

    I'd try something like Debian with a lightweight WM if you want Linux.
     
  5. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #5
    I have a last generation(DLSD) 1.67ghz Powerbook that I bought from 556mjoe that he shipped to me with Ubuntu installed on it. I found it to be a pig-it was no faster than Leopard(and probably slower doing a lot of stuff). The biggest frustration for me, though, was the trackpad acceleration-or should I say lack thereof. The TP was essentially linear, so there was no fine control over movements.

    I lasted about a day with it, and then swapped HDDs and installed Leopard. I still have the Ubuntu disk because I know he put a lot of effort into making everything work right and I may use it one of thee days, but I'm much happier running OSX.

    Actually, my "much happier running OS X" is just a generally true statement regardless of platform :)
     
  6. jruschme macrumors 6502

    jruschme

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    Location:
    Brick, NJ
    #6
    I think, for me, I can't get interested in running Linux on PPC because I've already got enough x86 hardware that can do it faster and better. Best to leave a Mac at what it does best... run Mac OS X.
     
  7. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #7
    Linux on PPC can be very stable and offer some unique benefits over OS X but that is usually overshadowed by the amount of work to install (depending on the model) and lack of software. Despite being old, OS X has a huge catalog of software to choose from.
     
  8. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    I'd say stick Tiger on it. But I'm a massive Tiger fanboy so I'd say it even if the laptop in question was Wintel.
     
  9. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #9
    Do you need Linux? If the answer to that question is no then leave it be. If you just want to because, well, go to town.
     
  10. MysticCow macrumors 6502a

    MysticCow

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    #10
  11. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #11
    Tiger runs much, much smoother than Leopard. Had a 1.67GHz PB G4 w/2GB RAM and that was an absolute pig on Leopard. On a 7200rpm PATA as well. Ran much nicer on Tiger, though it's nowhere near the performance of the Intel MacBook Pros the following year (and can't get close to the screen brightness!)

    I'd just torrent a copy of Tiger to be honest.
     
  12. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #12
    I take it you are in the Tiger camp and because you never optimized Leopard that drove you in to the Tiger camp.

    Try optimizing Leopard before claiming Tiger runs much much smoother.

    P.S. Tiger is crap in a networked PC/Mac environment. It's crap to use as a printserver and Finder is crap as far as SMB.

    That said, it was always fine on my PowerBooks, but compared to what Leopard is capable of it does not even compete. Lastly, it does not run anywhere near the amount of modern apps that Leopard can run.
     
  13. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #13
    Sorry if I caused some offence, I'm very much 'of the camp' that I should just install OS X and not have to optimise/maintain it like it's a Windows computer. You know, it just works and all.

    I didn't know of any optimisations for Leopard, though the very fact you have to jump through hoops for it to run smoothly on the top-end PowerBook of the era says more about Apple software designers' optimisations - or lack thereof, unless you're on a Core Duo MacBook.
     
  14. Dronecatcher macrumors 68000

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #14
    That's a good point, however Leopard was released post the Intel switch - no PowerPC ever shipped with it, so that may be an indication why it can seem a little sluggish. Some might even suggest, it was another prompt to get users to upgrade to Intel?

    Despite that, running the optimisations makes a real difference and only takes about ten minutes.
     
  15. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #15
    I am sorry if I've misinformed people, I was only going on my own experience. I guess I was a little offended by the reply that acted like I was completely stupid. My first thought wasn't 'hey let's optimise Leopard!' but 'oh damn this has ruined my hand-me-down PowerBook'.

    Sorry again, and thank you for your courteous and patient response. :oops:
     
  16. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #16
    No one was trying to offend you in any way shape or form. We are a tight knit community that would not do that. The observation that Leopard is slower is indeed true. On a bone stock install, Leopard does indeed feel a bit slower than Tiger. eyoungren has come up with some wonderful optimizations which make Leopard run at least as fast as Tiger if not faster! With the optimizations, you get the same speed and the better catalog of modern software.
     
  17. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #17
    awesome, I'll dig out the PB, install Leopard/read up on the optimisations and give it a go. Thanks for your patience.
     
  18. Dronecatcher macrumors 68000

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #18
    And that's always the best policy :)
    I'd just add that sometimes an OS install can be a bit fussy, add in the fact that these computers have been going years, hard drives may not be 100% etc and it's easy to do an install, get less than satisfactory results and move on.
    Some machines I've installed on more than once to get the right result but there's always the chance there's a bug in the hardware somewhere.
    Your Powerbook was top of the line and with a correct, optimised install Leopard would go like greased lightning :)
     
  19. Dronecatcher macrumors 68000

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #19
    You only really need one tool - the Secrets preference pane - all the speed tricks are included:

    https://code.google.com/p/blacktree-secrets/
     
  20. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #20
    No offense taken. And you have a fair point about just wanting the OS to run. But even Tiger can stand to be optimized somewhat.

    On the other hand, my experience with Leopard was quite good on two 17" PowerBook G4s with 2GB ram. I only started searching for optimizations when running Leopard on a TiBook 400.
     
  21. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #21
    Quite correct. I was not trying to offend or imply stupidity. I apologize if I came across that way.

    However, quite frequently we have more than one poster who has not yet been in the forum here post an opinion about this or that without having tried certain things. Quite often then their opinion is declared as a fact.

    I apologize again for mistaking your intentions on this.

    Our community here continues to function and exist because we know that somehow we can get more out of these old Macs. Sharing what we know benefits all.
     
  22. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #22
    I'm sorry too, you must see your fair share of it and I'd completely appreciate how weary you'd get of making the same corrections/arguments over and over again. :oops: Well I've certainly learned something today so thank you all again for bearing with me. I'll be a little more careful with conjecture when it comes to PPC machines in future :oops:
     
  23. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    #23
    It definitely was a pig and you should have seen how slow it was when I first installed it. It was just intolerable. I disabled many of the graphically intensive elements of the UI plus unnecessary daemons (and a few sort of necessary ones), and it was still a snail. I'm a little curious to see how it would fare with GPU acceleration that the latest Mesa version provides.

    My bias remains intact. OpenBSD with Spectrwm is still my choice for everything, PowerPC or otherwise. I kind of wish I had an ATI equipped PowerBook though.
     
  24. SkyBell macrumors 604

    SkyBell

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Texas, unfortunately.
    #24
    Personally, I never saw exactly what was better about Leopard over Tiger - save for this "eye candy" that everyone recommends turning off. I mean, I'll give Leopard some points for having better software support; but that just comes due to the fact that it's the more recent of the two, and at least for me, Handbrake is the only application I can think of at the moment of which the Leopard version has features that are of benefit.

    On Tiger, I have TenFourFox for browsing, TenFourBird for email, iTunes for music and VLC for media, Audacity for editing, Office 2004 for documents; I rarely touch other applications, and these all do the job I need them to. I recognize that not everyone is as simple as I am in computing needs, but I see no need for cover flow in Finder, Stacks or Spaces, or any of the other features Leopard touts over its predecessor.
     
  25. flyrod macrumors 6502

    flyrod

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2015
    #25
    Same here. I guess there were a few bug fixes and some updates to libraries, but I'd rather have 10.4.12 with that stuff than more bells and whistles.

    I tried ubuntu on my powerbook a while back and could not get it working. Black screen. I think it had to do with the nvidia graphics vs. ati in the other powerbooks.
     

Share This Page