Israel israeldahl at
Tue Jan 7 22:20:12 UTC 2014

On 01/07/2014 01:29 AM, Eric Bradshaw wrote:
> Several issues come to mind when I read you were asking about 
> installing Lubuntu on a PPC Mac of that age. After reading what I'm 
> about to tell you, you may not be willing to put in the time and 
> resources necessary to get Lubuntu on there.
> 1. A 900MHz iBook must be a G3 (PowerPC 750fx) processor which could 
> put you in a catch-22 situation. The computer won't reliably run Linux 
> without updated firmware, but the computer has to be running Apple Mac 
> OS 9.1-9.2.2 to be able to install the firmware update. If it's 
> running this OS already, the firmware update is a free download from 
> If it's not (Go to the Apple menu --> About this Computer 
> or About the Mac to see), that's commercial software you'd have to buy 
> first. If it's somehow running OS X (10.x - I don't see how on 128 MB 
> RAM, but anyway) than this firmware update must have already been 
> applied.
It had 10.4 something or other, and all the updates applied... it was 
horridly slow

> 2. That Mac can't boot from USB at all. You have to install via CD and 
> I would advise from the alternate-powerpc.iso, so be sure you have a 
> working CD drive. I believe the model you have is detailed here: 
I have been to that link.  It does have a working DVD drive that boots 
easily... though I had to reset PRAM to see anything from yaboot

> 3. 128 MB RAM is not enough RAM to install even the alternate 
> installer. It may be technically possible, but in my personal opinion 
> you'll need double that.
> Go to iLinux (or search the Ubuntu forums) and write down the path to 
> an xorg.conf file for your model. 
> (I believe it's either 
> powerbook1.txt or powerbook1.txt) you'll need to wget this later.
Actually I haven't needed any xorg conf files... I used Debian Mini PPC, 
and have gone about doing it that way

> 4. Always (when it doubt if it's been done - do it) hold down command 
> (Apple) + option + P + R at startup before the first chime and until 
> you hear a second chime. This "Zaps the PRAM" (Parameter RAM) and 
> resets the date and time. This will avoid errors where things are 
> being installed "in the future."
There is another way to do this that I used, trying the way you 
described didn't fix my black screen issue.  I can't remember exactly 
what I did, but I booted into single user mode and typed in a few 
terminal commands to reset it.... I'd have to search for it to find it, 
but that actually worked

> 5. Insert the Alternate PPC Install CD, restart (or shut off, wait 30 
> seconds or so and boot up again) with the Alternate PPC Install CD 
> inside the iBook. If the CD comes out, hit the Eject key (top right) 
> on the keyboard again. Immediately hold down the "c" key and keep 
> holding it until the Alternate PPC Install CD starts up the machine. 
> You may have to hold the "c" key down for a while.
yes it worked for me... there is another way that I used to boot as 
well... but it involved 4 keys, and I can't remember what it was...
> 6. At the black “Boot:” screen prompt, type: live-nosplash 
> video=ofonly[return]. Install Lubuntu, using entire disk when asked 
> how to partition. You'll see some "extra" partitions than what you are 
> used to - don't mess with them.
Lxde is far to heavy for this computer.... unfortunately  I couldn't get 
Ubuntu to boot without some psychedelic colors on my desktop.
I guess this next part is how to avoid that...
> After Installing and Rebooting the First Time
> At the Second Yaboot prompt
> Welcome to Yaboot Version X.X.XX Enter "help" to get some basic usage 
> information... boot:
> Type: Linux nosplash video=ofonly nouveau.modeset=0[return]
> At prompt, type:
> wget[return]
> At prompt, type:
> sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf[return]
> Type: control+R[return]
> Type: imac-333-trayload.txt[return]
> Type: control+O[return]
> Type: control+X[return]
> Type: sudo reboot[return]
> Troubleshooting the install:
> 1. Try resetting NVRAM. Hold down command(Apple) + option + O + F 
> while booting to get into Open Firmware.... keep holding those keys 
> down and you'll see a white screen with some text and the 0> prompt. 
> This will get you into Open Firmware. This should work to get into 
> Open Firmware no matter what the OS is on the hard drive - even a 
> completely wiped hard drive.
> At the 0> prompt, type: reset-nvram [return] set-defaults [return] 
> reset-all [return] The machine should reboot after the last command. 
> Hold down "C" to boot from the CD.
Ahh... that is it.  I reset the NVRAM.  I did those commands.  This 
stuff should be in the wiki, I suppose...

> 2. If there is more than one OS available (there is already an OS on 
> the machine) holding down the option key at Startup should give you 
> boot options. If there is the Alternate PPC Install CD in the CD Drive 
> - that should be one of the options.
> 3. If you're not able to boot from the Alternate PPC Install CD by any 
> other method, try booting from a CD from within Open Firmware. With 
> the Alternate PPC Install CD in the drive, hold down command(Apple) + 
> option + O + F... keep holding those keys down and you'll see a white 
> screen with some text and the 0> prompt. This should get you into Open 
> Firmware. Even an iMac with a completely wiped hard drive will open 
> Open Firmware.
> At the 0> prompt, type: boot cd:,\\:tbxi[return]
> 4. About the PRAM Battery: If the computer won't hold the date and 
> time (even after zapping the PRAM) and you get errors about things 
> being installed in the future, you probably need a new PRAM battery. 
> The time and date info is stored in the PRAM Battery, which is 
> (re)charged by the computer being plugged-in to a wall outlet. This is 
> NOT a "button-type" PC battery. The PRAM Battery is a "1/2 AA" 3.6 
> Volts and it's a short, fat cylinder witha tip on one end. If you have 
> a volt meter to test (it will have to be removed before testing) it 
> should show between 3.64v to 3.69v or it's on it's way out. The life 
> expectancy of one of these batteries is 5 years to forever if the 
> computer is constantly plugged in to a reliable power source. Two 
> batteries of this type are the Maxell ER3S LS14250 SBAA02 1/2 AA 
> Lithium Battery, or SAFT Lithium 3.6 Volt Battery LS 14250 1/2 AA - 
> though at least in the past, there were 5 or 6 different battery 
> manufacturers of this type. Some of these batteries will look a little 
> different than others; but all should measure the same size 
> tip-to-tip. If you don't want to order one online (much cheaper than a 
> retail store), you can find these batteries at places like Radio Shack 
> and Batteries Plus as long as you describe it with the actual specs, 
> and/or bring the old one in to show them. Do yourself a favor and 
> don't ask for a Mac or Apple battery; this will only confuse the sales 
> person and make it more likely they will tell you they don't carry it.
Yeah that wiki didn't do a lot to help.... it is very vast and only 
helped in a few areas.
> There is also this 
> and this
> Eric
I actually installed the basic debian with no gui.  I installed xserver 
stuff and xorg stuff, slim, rox, and jwm.
it is pretty slick.  It runs much faster than OSX, and it has a modern 
web browser (iceweasel... basically rebranded firefox) and access to all 
kinds of modern programs.  nothing would run on that machine, and it was 
sooooo slow I decided I needed to spruce it back up to life.
I am still figuring things out to make it as close to a modern looking 
interface with all the nice things, but using the SMALLEST programs I 
can (as you said 128mb is not enough to run much of anything quickly)
So... in the future if you have an old iBook (or anyone) I will give you 
a cheat sheet for programs to install from debian wheezy, and how to 
setup rox-filer to be awesome. I am basically trying to make an 
installed fat puppy linux... but I don't have all the nice tools to make 
JWM look nicer automatically, and I don't have the icons for pmount/rox 
figured out yet....
I'll let you know how it all goes!


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