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Do you ubuntu? - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Do you ubuntu?
I've been watching (mostly via her twitterings on the subject) the saga of famous librarian Jessamyn installing Ubuntu on a library computer; it's a heartwarming tale, but it's made a kind of bittersweet parallel to my own tale of woe as I've completely failed to get anything other than OS 9 installed on my old G3 Mac, due to its apparent inability to boot from anything other than its own 60GB-of-pure-stubborness hard drive. (It's a long, frustrating and not terribly interesting story.) Today, even the Motley Fool is raving about Ubuntu. I feel as though someone's laughing at me.

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burkesworks From: burkesworks Date: May 16th, 2007 11:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Have you not tried setting up the CD drive as start-up disk, and then rebooting while keeping "option" and "C" pressed on your keyboard with the OS X disk in?

Also - does your Mac have a DVD drive? X is infinitely easier to install from a DVD!
j4 From: j4 Date: May 16th, 2007 11:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Have you not tried setting up the CD drive as start-up disk, and then rebooting while keeping "option" and "C" pressed on your keyboard with the OS X disk in?

Gnnnnggghhhhhh. YES, FUNNILY ENOUGH, I HAVE TRIED THIS. I have also tried rebooting with shift-command-option-delete, and various other arcane options gleaned from the murky waters of the internets; I have tried setting Startup Disk from within OS 9; I have tried 'boot cd' from Open Firmware; I have tried zapping the PRAM, doing an OF 'reset all', and then trying all the above again. Every time it boots, the CD spins up, the screen sproinks like it's degaussing, everything pauses tantalisingly as if it's considering booting from the CD, and then it boots from the HDD.

It's a beige G3, so no, it doesn't have a DVD drive, and while I suppose I could try to beg/borrow/steal a SCSI DVD drive from somewhere and whack that in instead of the CD, I don't have much hope of persuading it to boot from something other than its native drives if it won't boot from the ones it's got.

And I'm not trying to install OS X, I'm trying to install Ubuntu; I was trying to boot from an OS 9 install CD so that I could repartition the drive and go for dual-boot.
half_of_monty From: half_of_monty Date: May 16th, 2007 12:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, I'm installing ubuntu on my desktop at the mo! (Already have gentoo courtesy of Duncan but I'd rather have something I can hope to learn to manage myself). And I just gave it to a relative on a recycled computer!

I feel all relevant and um, what was the word? Zeitgeist
ewx From: ewx Date: May 16th, 2007 11:32 am (UTC) (Link)
j4 From: j4 Date: May 16th, 2007 11:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah! No! Why didn't that come up when I was googling? Thank you!! That's my plans for the evening sorted out, then.... :-)
i_ludicrous From: i_ludicrous Date: May 16th, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not coming to see Danny George Wilson at the QI then?
j4 From: j4 Date: May 16th, 2007 09:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Never heard of him! Was he any good then? Also, actually I had other plans for the evening that were more exciting than installing ubuntu :-) but conveniently forgot that for the purpose of poetic licence etc etc.
i_ludicrous From: i_ludicrous Date: May 17th, 2007 10:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Very good actually :-) The QI is a very odd place to go to gigs though... hatmandu describes it rather well here.
j4 From: j4 Date: May 17th, 2007 10:40 am (UTC) (Link)
I was there for Ape Has Killed Ape! et al as part of the Oxford Punt, remember... :-) It seemed like quite a good venue despite the weird shape, and their cocktails were lovely. It'll be interesting to see what the new owners do with the place.
cjwatson From: cjwatson Date: May 17th, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, that page looks vaguely reasonable. It's unfortunate that the only known ways of booting OldWorld Macs like the beige G3 from CD involve bits of proprietary Apple code that we aren't legally allowed to redistribute. :-(
From: jamboi Date: May 16th, 2007 11:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's worth noting that ubuntu have dropped full support for PowerPC. Linux distros that continue to support PowerPC as a 1st class citizen include Yellow Dog Linux (which appears to be the preferred distribution for PowerPC) and the venerable Debian on which ubuntu is based also offers comprehensive support for PPC. On the other UNIX front you could always give NetBSD a crack. (which I've not tested as it doesn't support G5, it will however run on a toaster!)

It's also worth pointing out (although this is possibly specific to my hardware, which is very different to yours) that my experience of PowerPC Ubuntu (in contrast to i386 and amd64 versions) is that it's buggy and slow with very bad hardware support (no 802.11, very bad graphics drivers, constant system freezes). Maybe it's time to dig out an old PC to do the same job, if you have one.
j4 From: j4 Date: May 17th, 2007 08:05 am (UTC) (Link)
They've only dropped official support... :-)

I know it's not the ideal combination, but I do want an Ubuntu machine at home because it's what we'll be using (and supporting!) at work; the only reason I'm using the G3 is that I've got it taking up space & want to use it for something (I've still got my flower-power iMac as an OS 9 machine, my powerbook running OS X, and an LC III running OS 8 -- I don't need another Mac OS machine really!). The fallback plan is to try to source a cheap mac laptop so I can add another machine to the menagerie without taking up any more space... (Yes, I really do want it to be a mac.)

But if I can install Ubuntu on the G3 then a) I'll be making use of the hardware I've got, and b) I'll be learning something in the process. This is the great thing about knowing so little: every day is a learning opportunity. :-)

But thank you for the suggestions nonetheless.

(BTW, also, yes, I am stubborn. :-)
cjwatson From: cjwatson Date: May 17th, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
The unofficial support probably isn't going to go away any time soon though, since a number of Ubuntu developers (including me) have PowerPC systems lying around; for that matter I'm using one right now. It just means it only gets test cycles when community members feel like doing so (i.e. the same level of support as Debian).

The hardware support problems you've had are probably mostly due to individual components, rather than PowerPC as such. For example, if your 802.11 device is a Broadcom (used in a lot of Apple laptops, like mine), then we haven't been able to get legal permission to redistribute the firmware, but if you can get another network device connected somehow then you can use a script in the bcm43xx-fwcutter package to get the firmware from elsewhere.
From: jamboi Date: May 17th, 2007 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
My 802.11g card is a broadcom, but I understand that issue (and support isn't important to me in any case).

The problem was more that there were all manner of bizzare artefacts with my Radeon 9600 (the sort of card that I'm sure works with no problem on i386) It also seemed to start using 1024*768 (very annoying on a 16:10 TFT) and crashing whenever I changed the res on the fly. The thing also froze frequently and arbitrarily during normal operation.

The fact of the matter is that if you bought an iMac G5 you probably did so purely for MacOS (or because you like expensive/pretty computers?). You can compile pretty much any UNIXey stuff you want anyway, so the incentive to poke around and make it work wasn't really there for me at any rate.
reddragdiva From: reddragdiva Date: May 20th, 2007 06:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Rly? It's flawless on my G4 Quicksilver and G4 12" Powerbook. Sure it wasn't crappy hardware you had?
From: jamboi Date: May 20th, 2007 11:12 am (UTC) (Link)
It passes apple hardware test perfectly.

Besides, I'm using an iMac G5 (ALS), so I'll be using a different (64bit) kernel. Not to mention the different sound, ethernet and graphics hardware, and a drastically different motherboard logic chipset. There's enough room there for plenty of hardware support issues that may not show up on your box. OS 10.4.9 also runs completely flawlessly.
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: June 14th, 2007 10:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mmmm-m-m-m-m-m-m. I'm definitely tempted by the ubuntu route, but I am yet to be convinced that my path will be as smooth as Jessamyn's rather than as fraught as yours (see above and recent comments about wireless cards). Admittedly Vista sounds loathesome and I fear XP (which I regard as unloveable, but sufficiently much of it seems to work sufficiently well, albeit with major, major setbacks) will no longer be available. This steers me all in the direction of, inevitably, inaction.

That's not to say that I think you're doing the wrong thing at all, not that my opinion is at all relevant here. Indeed, I have nothing but respect for people who can make anything moderately technically challenging work.
j4 From: j4 Date: June 14th, 2007 11:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Please bear in mind that the first batch of trauma resulted from trying to get it installed on a computer which a) is over 10 years old, b) has hardware which Ubuntu does not even claim to officially support, and c) is not connected to the internet (it's possible I might have been able to make a network install work, but I gave up trying before getting to that).

My experience since then of installing Ubuntu on modern PCs has been almost entirely painless. It took about five clicks of the mouse to install a basic desktop operating system; internet connection, web, email, etc. all Just Worked; OpenOffice seemed to do everything that I'd expect MS Office to do. Obviously the more complicated/out-of-the-ordinary things you want to add, the more likely you are to encounter difficulties; but surely the same's true of Windows!

The wireless stuff was awkward, yes, & I didn't get it working. But with a bit more time (and without the stress of it being someone else's expensive hardware) I'd've probably been able to find the answers somewhere on the web (or would have wibbled at people on irc as usual). It's a popular distribution at the moment and there are lots of people far, far cleverer & more experienced than me working out how to do things with it 8-) so unless you're doing something really weird, chances are someone else will have done it already & posted the answers to one of the forums.

I say go for it -- or at least get a live CD and have a play with it...
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