Small PPC Linux Distro
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Thread: Small PPC Linux Distro

  1. #1
    Gonzo District BOFH westin's Avatar
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    Small PPC Linux Distro

    I recently aquired a few old iBooks. They have 128mb RAM, and ~600MHz.

    I am looking for something like Damn Small Linux, that will run comfortably on them. I am currently using Debian, but I am having trouble getting X to run correctly. It starts to load, but ends up stalling, and locking the system up. I tried switching to another runlevel to kill X, but it wouldn't even let me do that. Don't get me wrong, I love the command line, but it would be nice to have browser functionality.

    Anyone have any suggestions for a distro that will run on limited hardware, that also supports PowerPC?

    Thanks in advance!
    \"Those of us that had been up all night were in no mood for coffee and donuts, we wanted strong drink.\"

    -HST

  2. #2
    Senior Member gore's Avatar
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    Other than the brand new SUSE and RedHat stuff which requires a lot of RAM (Compared to what they used to anyway) just about anything should work on that really. However, I think you should look into Puppy or whatever it's called. Basically it's a distro made for Macs. Actually now it's made for a lot of stuff but back in the day it was the one you saw when someone said they had a PPC arch machine, so I'd look into that if I were you.

    Also, you may want to check the video hardware and see what you're working with, and then do a search based on that particular video card just to be sure you're going to have something that will out of the box work.

    If all else fails and you HAVE to browse, just type links Sorry, I know, but anyway, there are a lot of distros that work on those, I'd say just look around on one of the Linux sites that has a list, like maybe linux.org where you can click on distros, and then make the search only look for PPC stuff.

  3. #3
    Gonzo District BOFH westin's Avatar
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    Knew I could count on gore.

    Thanks man. I will check into puppy. I am sure with enough fiddling, I could probably get X to work, but I am feeling lazy today [probably because it is Saturday].
    \"Those of us that had been up all night were in no mood for coffee and donuts, we wanted strong drink.\"

    -HST

  4. #4
    Senior Member gore's Avatar
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    Look for "YellowDog" too. I haven't ever used it because I have no Macs around here, but I've heard it was decent to say the least. Don't quote me on that as I haven't really looked into it, and it was a few years ago.... But like I said, I don't have a Mac, or an Apple Computers, so I don't normally look to much into it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    Hi westin,

    This may help:

    http://lowendmac.com/ed/packer/08jp/...x-ppc-mac.html



    EDIT:

    The other one I forgot about is Xubuntu, which is Ubuntu for older and less powerful machines.

    http://jimwarholic.com/2008/03/ubunt...stallation.php

    but it would be nice to have browser functionality.
    Not with 128Mb of RAM. Unfortunately distros seem to need rather a lot more that their normal running memory to do a GUI install.

    I haven't touched G3's or G4's for quite a few years, so I am not sure how easy this is, but please look into "borrowing" the RAM from one of the machines to do the installs. Once you have it up and running it will work on 128Mb, by all accounts, you just need more RAM for the actual installation. With Xubuntu you would have to use the alternate CD and the command line with 128Mb. I would guess that the regular installs create some sort of temporary virtual RAMDrive?
    Last edited by nihil; February 7th, 2010 at 03:21 PM.

  6. #6
    Gonzo District BOFH westin's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info nihil. If I can get a couple more snow days, I will play around with it some more!
    \"Those of us that had been up all night were in no mood for coffee and donuts, we wanted strong drink.\"

    -HST

  7. #7
    Gonzo District BOFH westin's Avatar
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    update:

    I got Debian to load up with the Gnome X environment, the screen size is a little off, but seems stable enough. Takes forever to load. But that is alright. I just love seeing Tux at the top of a Macbook screen. heh.

    I will keep playing with other distros. I have 5 of these things to play around with. The RAM seems to be a different configuration than any of the spares I have. It is a Mac, so maybe it is proprietary. heh. From what I can see, it is about $45 for 512MB.

    http://www.parts-quick.com/apple-mem...-m9089g-a.html
    \"Those of us that had been up all night were in no mood for coffee and donuts, we wanted strong drink.\"

    -HST

  8. #8
    Senior Member gore's Avatar
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    With Linux, RAM is more important than CPU most of the time, so if you get bored one day and don't know how to spend some cash buy RAM

    Also, with Debian, I use Debian too, and I like it a lot (I don't like Ubuntu but love Debian) so I'd say try this:

    If you're using Gnome, look through the menus for that apt-get / GUI for APT thing and search for the Linux docs it has, cause seriously, I spent 2 hours one day just looking through the free, FREE docs they had for you to look at, and they install too.

    It's hard to find a book for just Debian anymore so downloading them works for me.

    As for the X looking weird, I'm pretty sure if you look up on Debian, or ask on "Debian-users" the mailing list, pointing out you have a Mac and what hardware, and your problem, someone there will most likely be able to help.

    I can't much more than this because of my VERY limited experience in Mac hardware, so I don't want to screw up any know how you already have by guessing.

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