Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 12th Mar 2006 20:50 UTC
Apple Today, I decided to give Linux a try on my iBook. I've been wanting Linux on my iBook for a long time, but I've simply never had the time to do it. I ran the occasional PowerPC live CD, but live CD's are far cries from the real, installed thing. A second showstopper was that suspend never really worked-- and I cannot use my iBook without suspend. After trying out a new live CD yesterday, I found out that suspend on lid closure now worked mighty fine on Linux/PPC; hence, it was time to do the real thing. And oh how I was left surprised. Note: This is this week's Sunday Eve Column.
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Broadcom drivers for everyone
by SEJeff on Sun 12th Mar 2006 21:03 UTC
SEJeff
Member since:
2005-11-05

Thom: The airport extreme works on Linux, just not super easily yet [1]. I was browsing OSNews earlier today on my friends ibook. Dapper is very nice provided you change the orange theme to Clearlooks. Very good article also btw.

[1] http://pinguin.uni-psych.gwdg.de/~ihrke/wiki/index.php/Installing_U...

Edited 2006-03-12 21:04

Reply Score: 4

Nifty that it Worked
by rayiner on Sun 12th Mar 2006 21:05 UTC
rayiner
Member since:
2005-07-06

I think Macs are actually a pretty good bet for people who want to run Linux. Since there are only a few well-known configurations, they tend to be well-tested, and things are more likely to work without the surprises you can encounter on random PC configurations.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Nifty that it Worked
by Ascay on Sun 12th Mar 2006 23:23 UTC in reply to "Nifty that it Worked"
Ascay Member since:
2005-07-11

But the bitter reality is there are a lot of disadvantages with running Linux on PowerPC (that will of course change with the new x86-Apples):

There are much less binary packages than for x86 - you have to compile a lot (FreeNX for Ubuntu e.g.).

There are less backports than for x86 (at least with Ubuntu) => more compiling.

Some binary only software like win32codecs, Sun Java (there's a IBM version though), Flashplayer etc. doesn't exist for Linux on PPC. You can't play WMV at all for example.

Documentation is not as excellent as for x86 (because there are less users who write it and correct errors).

Im playing with Kubuntu on a Mac Mini at the moment and it's quite frustrating. No comparison to Kubuntu on my x86 PCs. Even the power management works better there. ;)
But there's one highlight: Linux feels so much faster than OSX (10.3) on my Mini (1,25 GHz, 1GB RAM), it's just incredible. Especially for Firefox and Java applications the performance boost is huge.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Nifty that it Worked
by riha on Mon 13th Mar 2006 12:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Nifty that it Worked"
riha Member since:
2006-01-24

I can agree, java on macosX sucks big time. It is really slow.

To bad when apple said that osX should be the best java platform.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Nifty that it Worked
by subterrific on Mon 13th Mar 2006 08:02 UTC in reply to "Nifty that it Worked"
subterrific Member since:
2005-07-10

"I think Macs are actually a pretty good bet for people who want to run Linux."

You might think so, but in reality the Linux PowerPC community is tiny compared to x86, which means less support and less software. Having been there and done that, I would not recommend buying a Mac to anyone wanting to run Linux. If you already have a PowerPC Mac, Linux is a fun, free alternative to OS X with lots of great software, especially for developers, but if you want to get serious about Linux, get an x86.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Nifty that it Worked
by happycamper on Mon 13th Mar 2006 08:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Nifty that it Worked"
happycamper Member since:
2006-01-01

I would not recommend buying a Mac to anyone wanting to run Linux. If you already have a PowerPC Mac, Linux is a fun, free alternative to OS X with lots of great software, especially for developers, but if you want to get serious about Linux, get an x86.

simply not true. if you want to buy a mac go ahead they are as good.

Reply Score: 1

comments
by ValiantSoul on Sun 12th Mar 2006 21:07 UTC
ValiantSoul
Member since:
2005-07-20

Sleep has actually been supported for a few months now. I dual boot Gentoo and OS X on my machine (I always grab the latest beta vanilla kernels and distributions don't always use the latest kernel so you may not have known about it). Yea sound can be tricky to get working at first. Airport extreme is not supported but I have a prism2 usb wireless nic so I can use linux-wlan-ng. Thermal support for fans and every works nicely. Overall, linux on pre G5s works great! I've got the radeon 9200 in my iBook so accelerated 2D works but not 3D ;)

Now as far as G5s go - no thermal support, no audio support, etc.

Reply Score: 1

RE: comments
by Sodki on Sun 12th Mar 2006 22:33 UTC in reply to "comments"
Sodki Member since:
2005-11-10

I've got the radeon 9200 in my iBook so accelerated 2D works but not 3D

Accelerated 3D works perfectly well on my iBook's Radeon 9200 for more than a year now.

Edited 2006-03-12 22:33

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: comments
by ValiantSoul on Sun 12th Mar 2006 23:43 UTC in reply to "RE: comments"
ValiantSoul Member since:
2005-07-20

Oh? I guess I just couldn't find how when I last tried. Could you plesae point me to a link or explain how? THANKS

Reply Score: 1

RE: comments
by blixel on Mon 13th Mar 2006 05:45 UTC in reply to "comments"
blixel Member since:
2005-07-06

Sleep has actually been supported for a few months now. I dual boot Gentoo and OS X on my machine...

Same here. Sleep works great with Linux. Every bit as good as OSX. See video:

http://www.davidcourtney.org/Files/Linux-sleep_medium-[Xvid].avi

Reply Score: 1

RE: comments
by postmodern on Mon 13th Mar 2006 05:59 UTC in reply to "comments"
postmodern Member since:
2006-01-27

Gentoo and pbbuttonsd on my G3 iBook works so nice; it does all the things OSX would do on there. While OSX is a great OS, there's many things lacking there that us extreme hobbyists and power users yearn for. For instance being able to throw any handheld media player in there and moving music to and from it. Or perhaps passive sniffing (true monitor mode) wireless. Or even a complete and comprehensive package manager (sorry apt/portage are way nicer than DarwinPorts). But there are days when the "moving target" nature of Linux get's annoying.

Reply Score: 1

MacOnLinux reversed?
by BlackJack75 on Sun 12th Mar 2006 21:20 UTC
BlackJack75
Member since:
2005-08-29

Isn't there an OSX tool that allows linux to run from the same partition in a virtual environment in OSX? Sometimes i like to test tools on linux but don't want to reboot.

Maybe the latest version of Qemu (Q) runs decently when running PowerPC code on PowerPC machine?

Anyone got experience with this?

Reply Score: 0

RE: MacOnLinux reversed?
by h_t_r on Mon 13th Mar 2006 03:42 UTC in reply to "MacOnLinux reversed?"
h_t_r Member since:
2006-02-02

try Mac-on-Mac: http://maconmac.bastix.net/

It's a os x port of the good Mac-On-Linux.
It's not perfect, but works.

Reply Score: 1

v DEV?
by Milo_Hoffman on Sun 12th Mar 2006 21:32 UTC
RE: DEV?
by ameasures on Sun 12th Mar 2006 21:51 UTC in reply to "DEV?"
ameasures Member since:
2006-01-09

Apple supplies a good set of development tools; not only compilers (gcc, make, flex, bison, etc) but also a good quality IDE called XCODE. Also available for free download are kits for writing device drivers and so forth.

Some find XCODE to be excellent; others haven't found it easy to get into - which is par for development environments.

Of course; they could charge hundred of dollars for such things - but they don't. Apple have faults but this area ain't one of them.

Editted to add:
(And yes the major dev tools do come on the OSX disks).

Edited 2006-03-12 21:53

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: DEV?
by GStepper on Sun 12th Mar 2006 22:09 UTC in reply to "DEV?"
GStepper Member since:
2006-03-08

Yes XCODE tools offer a very good IDE for free.

Other OS can benefit from dual booting (specially Linux) because you can develop on it using GNUstep (www.gnustep.org) Frameworks to "port" Cocoa apps.

Whether you choose to run Vista, Linux or any other major OS, multi-boot is a must have on x86 macs, and Apple knows that.

Reply Score: 0

RE: DEV?
by D3M0N on Sun 12th Mar 2006 22:26 UTC in reply to "DEV?"
D3M0N Member since:
2005-07-09

Please, in the future, know what you are talking about before posting. As other people have already pointed out, there *are* development tools in OS X, you just have to install them seperately, but they are included on CD/DVD!

Reply Score: 4

v reason not to use on ibook
by Epyon on Sun 12th Mar 2006 21:58 UTC
RE: reason not to use on ibook
by miscz on Sun 12th Mar 2006 22:15 UTC in reply to "reason not to use on ibook"
miscz Member since:
2005-07-17

You didn't read this column, huh? ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: reason not to use on ibook
by ra1n on Mon 13th Mar 2006 11:53 UTC in reply to "reason not to use on ibook"
ra1n Member since:
2006-02-11

well, not to disappoint you, but airport extreme now works under linux (it's still a bit tricky to setup, but works fine)

Reply Score: 1

Linux + VMWare = Windows on your Mac
by BryanFeeney on Sun 12th Mar 2006 21:59 UTC
BryanFeeney
Member since:
2005-07-06

For "Mactel" users, another good reason to put a copy of Linux on your machine is because you can use VMWare running under Linux to get a copy of Windows running.

http://www.osxbook.com/book/bonus/misc/vmware/

Given that the only other alternative at the moment is QEmu, it's an interesting route to take.

Reply Score: 1

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

Or, wait until VMware is released for OS X on X86.

Reply Score: 1

sanders Member since:
2005-08-09

use VMWare running under Linux to get a copy of Windows running.

http://www.osxbook.com/book/bonus/misc/vmware/

Given that the only other alternative at the moment is QEmu, it's an interesting route to take.


I have VirtualPC installed on my iBook and on my Mac Mini, and both run Windows just fine (though a little slow).

Reply Score: 1

BryanFeeney Member since:
2005-07-06

VirtualPC isn't available for Intel, and Microsoft is being quite vague about when (or even if) it will be ported.

Reply Score: 1

jack_perry
Member since:
2005-07-06

I haven't the disk space. 9MB is barely enough for what's on it now.

But, this was a great article. Once I have another Mac, I will probably put Linux on this one, precisely because of this article. Thanks :-)

Reply Score: 1

Airport
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 12th Mar 2006 22:21 UTC
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

Hey guys, I'm posting this from my iBook running Linux---wireless is functioning. In other words, the airport drivers work. The only slight downside is that I had to *cough* disable WEP.

Luckily I live just south of nowhere...

Update: And it survived a suspend/recover cycle! Yay!

Edited 2006-03-12 22:34

Reply Score: 5

RE: Airport
by chekr on Mon 13th Mar 2006 06:11 UTC in reply to "Airport"
chekr Member since:
2005-11-05

Thom have you tried using 128 bit hex instead of wep?

Reply Score: 1

Pretty decent article for a change.
by porcel on Sun 12th Mar 2006 22:22 UTC
porcel
Member since:
2006-01-28

Excellent article. Every day linux is improving to a point that the only reason someone should not be on it today is if they have a very specific application that they cannot otherwise run. Even then, vmware and similar software often solves the issue.

I believe that a dual OS X-Linux computer is much more useful and complete than a Windows-Linux dual-boot. I also think that you will eventually, in about 5-7 years, see Apple ship Linux pre-installed on their hardware. Apple cares about shipping hardware, lots of it, and once the Linux desktop reaches the Zen-like state for which it is heading, Apple would be foolish not to deliver their hardware to anyone who wants it.

Reply Score: 2

nicholas Member since:
2005-07-07

Why would Apple need to ship Linux on their machines if a standard distro will install on Apple hardware out of the box?

Anyone who wants Linux on it could just get a distro and install it themselves.

Apple will nexer provide technical support for someone elses operating system. It does not make financial sense to do so.

Reply Score: 2

sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

" the only reason someone should not be on it today is if they have a very specific application that they cannot otherwise run. "

Or because they don't want to. If I had an iBook, I'd prefer to stick to OSX. But it's nice to know a LiveCD works so well if eneded.

Reply Score: 1

iBook G4, Ubuntu
by Tom K on Sun 12th Mar 2006 23:00 UTC
Tom K
Member since:
2005-07-06

I tried the same release as Thom, and screen brightness keys only work in the console, but not X. It also thought I was running off the battery the entire time, though I had the adapter plugged in.

Definitely nowhere close to usable in its current state. :-)

Reply Score: 1

I must say good article Thom.
by kensai on Sun 12th Mar 2006 23:12 UTC
kensai
Member since:
2005-12-27

I have to give credit where it is deserved and this article deserves good credit. It isn't too deep but to the point. And was very informative. Thanks for Ilustrating how Mactels can be great with Linux.

Reply Score: 1

RE: I must say good article Thom.
by PowerMacX on Mon 13th Mar 2006 02:09 UTC in reply to "I must say good article Thom."
PowerMacX Member since:
2005-11-06

I have to give credit where it is deserved and this article deserves good credit. It isn't too deep but to the point. And was very informative. Thanks for Ilustrating how Mactels can be great with Linux.

I liked this article too, but FWIW, this isn't about "Mactels" running Linux, it's about an iBook which is a PowerPC machine (it has a G4 processor).
So far the Mac mini, the iMac and the PowerBook (now renamed MacBook Pro) have switched to Intel, but the iBook is still PPC only.

Reply Score: 1

Wow, Thom, feel the love!
by Tuishimi on Sun 12th Mar 2006 23:27 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

People like your article. ;) I like it too. I used to run YellowDog on my old mac. I enjoyed it. It is pretty cool that linux is keeping up with the Apple hardware and able to boot and run cleanly.

I am actually thinking how cool it will be when KDE 4 comes out... The desktop will rival the finish of Mac OS X for sure...

Reply Score: 1

powerbook g4 12" anyone?
by juraj on Sun 12th Mar 2006 23:43 UTC
juraj
Member since:
2006-01-20

Has anyone tried pb g4 12"? It probably has different videocard. I am especially interested, if dual view works (having an independent external LCD), as I'm quite used to it. Does Apple's external bluetooth keyboard work?

I'm really looking forward to get rid of OS X and get back to Linux, but I have had no time for playing and experimenting, since this notebook is my primary work computer.

Reply Score: 1

dr_gonzo
Member since:
2005-07-06

...and I was amazed at how snappy it was compared to Mac OS X. And this was running it off the live CD! It made me wonder whether the G4 was that slow at all. Everything worked except for wireless. I didn't try suspend because I usually have my iBook plugged in at all times.

I must say though that'd I'd never install Linux over Mac OS X. Firstly, there was no accelerated graphics so moving a window around was blurry. I found the other mouse keys being mapped to the function keys to be annoying. A better key map would be Ctrl+Click for the right button and Cmd+Click for the middle button.

Ubuntu's really nice. I just find that Mac OS X's much nicer ;)

Reply Score: 2

daelstorm Member since:
2006-01-03

With XGL coming along, soon Linux and OSX will be equal in their graphics capability.. with Vista presumably taking last place.

Of course, this depends on the capabilities of the video card driver, and the video card itself.

Reply Score: 1

dr_gonzo Member since:
2005-07-06

"Of course, this depends on the capabilities of the video card driver, and the video card itself."

Which is a thorn in Linux's side: lack of 3rd party support

Reply Score: 1

G3 b&w + debian gnu/linux + kde
by macisaac on Mon 13th Mar 2006 03:21 UTC
macisaac
Member since:
2005-08-28

That's what I'm writing this from. Previously it had OSX on it (horribly slow), and then OS9 (faster, but terrible in terms of memory management, stability, etc.) So finally I got to putting a copy of debian sarge on it, and it seemed alright. I didn't think it would be able to handle anything too heavy, so I just kept fluxbox et al on it as window managers.

Anyhow, yesterday I decided to give KDE (3.3) on it for a whirl, to see how well this old machine could hold up with it. Wow... Sure, it's not the equivalent of the latest greatest athlon or whatever, but it's performance is actually quite tolerable. I don't know if this is due to excellent PPC support in the linux kernel, debian devs doing a fine job, or that the PPC cpu arch is itself actually pretty good. Maybe a combination of all of the above.

So, for anyone with one of these possibly collecting dust in the closet, smack a copy of debian (or X distro that has full PPC support) and give it a try. You might be surprised at the extra life you can get out of it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: G3 b&w + debian gnu/linux + kde
by leos on Mon 13th Mar 2006 07:37 UTC in reply to "G3 b&w + debian gnu/linux + kde"
leos Member since:
2005-09-21

Anyhow, yesterday I decided to give KDE (3.3) on it for a whirl

If you can tolerate some small package fluctuations, try adding sid sources to your /etc/apt/sources.list and installing KDE 3.5.1. It should be slightly faster still.

Reply Score: 1

RE: G3 b&w + debian gnu/linux + kde
by raboof on Mon 13th Mar 2006 08:46 UTC in reply to "G3 b&w + debian gnu/linux + kde"
raboof Member since:
2005-07-24

Previously it had OSX on it (horribly slow)

Actually, I'm using a B/W running Tiger as my main desktop machine, and am pretty happy with it.

Pretty impressive for such an old 350mhz machine - though the fact that it has 448mb memory probably helps.

Reply Score: 1

mac
by happycamper on Mon 13th Mar 2006 08:17 UTC
happycamper
Member since:
2006-01-01

to the casual user mac os x should be enough like linux it's virus free,stable and it can be commaned line driven and it's also UNIX based.

Reply Score: 1

Jack Malmostoso
Member since:
2006-01-20

I bought my iBook 12" two years ago and started tinkering with linux the day after I bought it: http://malmostoso.altervista.org

After a bit of struggle with YDL I switched to Debian and never looked back. OSX occupies a small partition on my drive and Debian is my main OS (as on every other machine I use *ahem*).

A couple of side notes:
1) Mac-On-Linux, last time I checked did not support Tiger. That is, if you still run panther you'll be able to "boot" it at native speed in linux: I generally launched it to use Office.Mac and it ran just fine. Tiger support should be near, but unfortunately MOL had a very slow development lately.
2) All that Thom said is perfectly valid for ATi based macs. Unfortunately nVidia based machines (i.e. PowerBooks G4) are not that well supported.
That said, they can have suspend-to-disk (first google link: http://www.ncc.up.pt/~rvr/kh/kh.html)
3) As someone stated, G5 macs are not 100% under control, especially in Power Management issues (i.e. fans on iMac G5).
4) MacMinis work apart from sound. There are some unofficial patches: http://groups.google.com/group/linux.kernel/browse_frm/thread/a3015...
5) Before people start asking: no, there is no Flash plugin support, nor win32 mplayer codecs. Java support is provided by IBM: http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/eserver/library/l-pow-LoPJDKF...
If you use Opera you can have Java support in browser using this JVM, as there is no plugin provided. Opera uses the JVM libs directly and does not rely on the .so plugin.

Hope this helps someone!

Edited 2006-03-13 08:23

Reply Score: 2

Jack Malmostoso Member since:
2006-01-20

Sorry to reply to myself, but latest Mac-On-Linux 0.9.71pre8 boots my Tiger partition just fine.

You can get it here: http://dev.gentoo.org/~josejx/mol-0.9.71_pre8.tar.bz2

Reply Score: 1

RE: MacOnLinux reversed
by dhazeghi on Mon 13th Mar 2006 08:23 UTC
dhazeghi
Member since:
2005-11-18

Has the poster recommending Mac-on-Mac really tried it?

The documentation specifically states that Linux doesn't really work at the moment. The fact that there have been no updates in the last 8 months would seem to indicate it's a dead project.

So far as I know, there is no 'virtualization' solution to run Linux (or MacOS) on Mac.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: MacOnLinux reversed
by Jack Malmostoso on Mon 13th Mar 2006 08:39 UTC in reply to "RE: MacOnLinux reversed"
Jack Malmostoso Member since:
2006-01-20

I am not sure, but I think VirtualPC runs linux. I think I tried once, but I am not really sure...

Reply Score: 1

Alternative: Resizing HFS+
by corndog on Mon 13th Mar 2006 09:53 UTC
corndog
Member since:
2006-03-13

I struggled with this also when I wanted to dual boot after getting my OSX set up "just so".

But I discovered Mike Bombich's Carbon Copy Cloner (using my friend Google), which makes a nice copy of your hard drive. So I was able to hook up a Firewire external hard drive, then do the following:

1. clone my internal to the firewire drive.
2. switch the startup disk to the firewire drive.
3. reboot from the external drive
4. repartition the internal with space for Linux
5. clone the external back to the smaller internal partition
6. switch startup back to internal
7. reboot again from the internal
8. install Linux.

Reply Score: 1

Powerbook under linux or not
by benoitc on Mon 13th Mar 2006 14:14 UTC
benoitc
Member since:
2006-03-13

This question bug me since one month: Switch to GNU/Linux OS or not on my powerbook (and mac mini?) . I tried many distributions : Ubuntu, Yellow Dog, ArchlinuxPPC and Gentoo .

This weekend I take the time to make a table of comparaison between Mac OSX and GNU/Linux OS. here is the result :

http://bchesneau.info/articles/2006/03/13/macosx-or-linux-what-to-c...

Reply Score: 0

linux
by sp29 on Mon 13th Mar 2006 18:50 UTC
sp29
Member since:
2006-01-04

what linux should I start with on my PPC Mac? I have a first gen Mac Mini.

Reply Score: 1

RE: linux
by poofyhairguy on Mon 13th Mar 2006 20:19 UTC in reply to "linux"
poofyhairguy Member since:
2005-07-14

Start with either Ubuntu or Gentoo.

I suggest Ubuntu Dapper, as it has many fixes for PPC that Breezy does not yet have.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: linux
by kadymae on Mon 13th Mar 2006 22:42 UTC in reply to "linux"
kadymae Member since:
2005-08-02

I will second the vote for Ubuntu.

It's not as polished as OS X, but it is useful.

Reply Score: 1

Uh, I disagree...
by tomcat on Mon 13th Mar 2006 21:29 UTC
tomcat
Member since:
2006-01-06

Unless you have a really good reason to dual boot OS X and Linux, pick one and stick with it. Switching back and fort smacks of fanboy idolatry and gadgetry.

Reply Score: 1

Hardware support/detection
by amaze_9 on Tue 14th Mar 2006 05:35 UTC
amaze_9
Member since:
2005-11-12

And suddenly it dawns on me...

So this is why everyone likes Ubuntu!

Reply Score: 1