Linked by Eugenia Loli on Fri 14th Feb 2003 03:57 UTC, submitted by ladislav
Mandriva, Mandrake, Lycoris "For the last few weeks I have been reporting on the development cycle of Mandrake 9.1. Then, the presence of an ISO image for Mandrake PPC 9.1 Beta 1 piqued my curiosity, and some days later two ISO images for Mandrake PPC 9.1 Beta 2 were made available on the various mandrake mirrors. Among my obsol... err, I mean, my old computers, I have a 350 MHz iMac which hasn't seen much use for the last 8 months. So without any extraordinary expectations, I decided to attempt the installation of this different flavour of Mandrake Linux. I was in for a few good surprises..." Read the article at DistroWatch.
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Mandrake for ppc
by patrick_darcy on Fri 14th Feb 2003 04:49 UTC

hi eugenia ;)

its kinda funny but after reading about u getting a mac the other
day i was gonna come here and give u the address so u could
do a *thourough* review.

why dont u review the Mandrake for ppc and tell us what u think

;) ;) ;)

by by

sound issue
by josh on Fri 14th Feb 2003 04:57 UTC

to comment on your sound issue with the distro. I found that in almost all the ppc distros of linux. kde preconfigures the sound of the cd to be on record which produces this annoying static. The answer to this problem is simple. just use kmix or aumix to turn the record off (from red to green) and the sound noise should go away. This is just what im guessing the sound problem was

She Can't :(
by Sonarman on Fri 14th Feb 2003 04:58 UTC

Eugenia's Powerbook has an nVidia card, unfourtunately. They aren't supported at all under any Linux architecture besides x86, since the available drivers are binary only and nVidia refuses to release card specs so that others can write Linux drivers (grrrr...). I'm running Gentoo on my iMac, which has an ATI Rage 128 card. X works fine, if a bit slowly (since it's unaccelerated) using the framebuffer driver (fbdec). I'm trying to get DRI (Direct Rendering) to work so that I can have accelerated 2D and OpenGL support, but I haven't had the best of luck. On the other hand, some people with macs that have Radeon cards have been reporting great luck with DRI. Anyway, I think it's good that Mandrake is still supporting the PPC platform, and I hope that more people start using GNU/Linux ;)

by Sonarman on Fri 14th Feb 2003 05:00 UTC

By the way, regarding sound problems, on kernels of versions 2.4.20 or lower, the dmasound_pmac driver (which I assume Mandrake uses) sounded awful, with a high-pitched whine and stuff, so I used the ALSA driver, which worked OK, although it was a bit of a pain to set up. However, with the newest 2.4.21-preX BenH kernel, the dmasound_pmac drivers have been updated, and they sound great!

P.S. Sound
by Sonarman on Fri 14th Feb 2003 05:03 UTC

By the way, I was only talking about performance on my computer. The older dmasound_pmac driver has worked fine for other models, or so I've heard. But since the author of that review and I seem to have a similar computer, my guess would be that the older driver is what's causing the sound problems.

RE: She Can't :(
by Dan Naumov on Fri 14th Feb 2003 05:45 UTC

"Eugenia's Powerbook has an nVidia card, unfourtunately. They aren't supported at all under any Linux architecture besides x86, since the available drivers are binary only and nVidia refuses to release card specs so that others can write Linux drivers (grrrr...)."

Use the "nv" drivers provided by XFree. They work on PPC.

RE: She Can't :(
by Eugenia on Fri 14th Feb 2003 05:54 UTC

I heard that the Powerbook 12" does not run Linux at all (as of now), because of the changes Apple made to not run MacOS 9.
Besides, I don't want to slice this machine and put other OSes in it. I am happy with OSX here, if I want to try Mandrake, I will try it on the test x86 machine I got here. ;)

re: she can't
by Brad on Fri 14th Feb 2003 06:57 UTC

Eugenia, my thoughts were simply why oh why would anyone want to run linux on a mac, if it can run OSX it would make no sence. Like you said if you wanted to do something with linux just do it on an x86.

The idea of linux on a new mac makes me cringe. It's like buying a new Aston Martin and painting it orange and camo, putting hubcaps on it and replacing the engine with a small block chevy v8.

Re: Brad
by Anonymous on Fri 14th Feb 2003 07:20 UTC

Ever heard of dual booting? or of a person perferring Linux to Mac OS?

RE: she can't :(
by Eugenia on Fri 14th Feb 2003 07:23 UTC

Hehe, I agree... ;)
Linux is only useful on a Mac if you have an old Mac that osx doesn't run well, and you don't know what to do with it, and you need a home server, so you install linux and you use it as a server.
But for all other purposes, and especially if you have a newer mac and you don't need a server, I see no point of slicing your mac just to put linux on it, while there is OSX available and it can pretty much do what Linux does, and even more...
So if I am to review an OS, I have a test machine here to slice it up and install it on that x86 box. But I won't be playing (dangerous at times) games with my $2000 brand new laptop, just for the fun of it, with beta software or for software that hasn't been certified to run well yet. And in the case of the Powerbook as I said, people said that it doesn't run Linux atm, because Apple changed the BIOS...

good review
by iwbcman on Fri 14th Feb 2003 10:21 UTC

That was an interesting reiew. Having heard about Linux on ppc for sometime, but without really being able to get a grasp on the level of Linux support for that platform I was pleased to here that so much good Linux software runs -even on a somewhat antiquated iMac. Being able to take advantage of the great applications available for Mac, particularly OS9, which for the most part is still not available natively for OSX, and this within linux via MOL, means access to the great audio-video capabilities of these applications and the ppc rchitecture and all of this within an open networked environment based on open standards is simply wonderful...

I would only want an apple computer if I could also run linux on it. OS X sounds great, and from what I have seen it is really nice, but OS X is, as seen from the *nix side, ie. its underbelly, still in childrens shoes in contrast to linux. For me a computer which cannot run Linux is simply not a free computer, it need not run Linux, but it ought to be able to do so, and if it doesn't its only because a) the designers are purposefully trying to prevent it-which means they are scared or b) its not supported yet-and virtually all a's become b's somewhere down the line....

It is really a shame that Apple chose only to recognize a tiny subset of the advantages which the Linux/BSD OS environment bring with them. If they only would fully embrace the notion of open source and open development and carry this up and make available for the GUI software architecture present in OSX they would be offering a system which would be virtually irresistable-both the Linux/BSD and Macintosh communities would profit from this and OSX could become a really desired development platform drawing tens of thousands of developers. Perhaps one day Apple will really "get it"...after all it would be in their interest......

Red Hat
by Man at Arms on Fri 14th Feb 2003 10:57 UTC

Why isn't Red Hat Linux available for Mac?

RE: She can't :(
by Ben on Fri 14th Feb 2003 12:30 UTC

I disagree about there being no need to run Linux on a new Mac. I'm just getting ready to buy an iBook. The first thing I'm going to do is repartition and put Linux on it. Why? It can do many things that OSX can't.

For instance:


I can run OS 9 and X at the same time within Linux. As I am a sysadmin, this allows me to support three OSs at once. As far as I know, other than running Basillisk, there's no way to run full Mac Classic under OSX.

- Network every which-way

With KDE I can use Konqueror to connect directly over SSH, FTP, SMB and more. While I am glad that Apple has started to use samba for Windows compatibility, what I have seen thus far sucks compared to Linux's level of integration. (At least in KDE.) Also, unless I'm really missing something in the Finder, there's no way to view files directly over SSH and FTP. With Linux (KDE, really) I can treat these files exactly as I would local files.

- Application support.

No, I'm not kidding. I've been a Linux user for fice years now. While for the most part OSX has the apps I want (OpenOffice, Mozilla, Dia, Gimp) I find that they often run slower under OSX. Moreover, some apps I use frequently, like Quanta and Umbrello, have not been ported to Mac. With Linux PPC I get the best of both worlds, as I can just run OSX in a window to get access to all of the fancy commercial apps that I may want.

For me, MOL is reason enough to put Linux on a Mac. I'm sure there are many more reasons, but those are the ones off the top of my head.

I'm still pretty new to Mac land, and I mostly like what I see thus far. However, OSX, while more to my taste than XP, is not the perfect OS either. I've been using Linux long enough now that I can't just let it go that easily. To be honest, my biggest reasons for considering an iBook are noise, size and battery life versus a PC laptop. The fact that it's a PPC has both pros and cons for me.

BTW, is there a free, simple MP3 player like WinAmp or XMMS available for OS X? I know xmms can be made to work with Fink, but I'm looking for something that doesn't require X.

Re: Red Hat
by Cesar Cardoso on Fri 14th Feb 2003 12:52 UTC

Why isn't Red Hat Linux available for Mac?

It's available for IBM pServers, so go get one ;)

Other distro's
by metalslinger on Fri 14th Feb 2003 13:10 UTC

While this review is about mandrake I think that one other distro should be looked at. Yellow dog linux 2.3 < >.

I installed this on my iBook 600mhz G3 256 ram 20gb hdd. Everything (except the sound) went smoothly. I was even able to use my iBooks function buttons (mute/volume control, brightness/contrast, eject cd, etc...) very well. There was a strange bug with the sound that when I'd press mute the sound would cut to half volume (same if I lowered the volume all the way down). The display would show it muted but the sound was otherwise.

I think speed wise it was equal with osx 10.1 but 10.2 (jaguar) blew it out of the water. In the end I took linux off not due to any technical faults of the distro (it was absolutely what I would expect from linux) but due to ease of use. OSX is much easier to use and it's actually enjoyable. I can't say that about any other OS. I'm thrilled to run OSX everytime I boot my iBook.

But I digress. I think Yellow dog is superior to mandrake (which btw is derived from redhat for you who wanted a redhat distro on the ppc) in everyway (I got the graphical install to work first time with no hitch). Install is smooth from beginning to end (and I was particular about this point because I didn't want to lose any of my data on my osx partition). KDE was fast as was gnome and enlightenment. Good good distro... ;)

Older Machines
by Agrippa on Fri 14th Feb 2003 13:49 UTC

I would like to see more reviews (like this one,)
of OS's on older machines. The sheer speed of the newer computers (plus some giga memory,) make up for too many handling sins of the OS. The results are often meaningless.

re: YDL
by Arrakis on Fri 14th Feb 2003 17:14 UTC

Yes YDL is a good Linux ppc distribution, but a little bit old.

I'm waiting for the next release (3.0), to re-install it, because it's very hard to find some good binary rpm for it... (i.e. gnome2.2, kde 3.1, etc.)

by Sonarman on Fri 14th Feb 2003 18:38 UTC

Use the "nv" drivers provided by XFree. They work on PPC.

You're right! I forgot about the nv, I'm sorry. However, they are unaccelerated, and they don't work on newer macs AFAIK.

And to those people who ask, "Why would anybody want to use Linux when they could use OS X?", there is so much more you can do in Linux. If you have accelerated video card drivers, then it should be blazing fast. There is TONS of great open source software, 99% of which will work fine on PPC with just a recompile. The community is great, too. Of course, it certainly isn't perfect, and it's a bit harder to use than OS X. But I will never be going back ;)

OS X is annoying
by Steve George on Fri 14th Feb 2003 22:32 UTC

I think it's really interesting that people think Linux is difficult and Mac OSX easier to use. I bought a powerbook as I need to be able to run Office for work. OS X is great and generally I have no issues. But overall I would change back to Linux in a snap as for me personally the overall experience is much better. Three things that constantly chaff at me are that:

1) Alt-tab is weird as it's between applications rather than between windows in an application. If you're trying to use two text documents or similar it's a pain.
2) There are no virtual desktops and no first class replacements. The ability to use alt-<right_arrow> and have a fresh desktop is something I really miss.
3) AppleMail doesn't hack it in comparison to Evolution. It doesn't do threading for a start; good things are it handles pgp properly which evo doesn't.

For me using Linux on the desktop is a great experience with the anti-aliasing stuff and the major applications I use.

There is no doubt that Mac OSX does lots and lots of things right so I'm not saying that Linux is better on the desktop. Just for me personally, I find Linux saner and the my personal requirements are dealt with better.

OpenOffice unusable
by kP on Sat 15th Feb 2003 01:42 UTC

I found it a little out of line to put the comment on the OpenOffice in the cons of Mandrake. I thought we might expect a degree of understanding that KDE alone gobbles upward of 30 megs. Throw to it Linux itself with all the drivers, service, some nifty background on the desktop (whih we saw in the screenshots throughout the review) and you have a recepie to put most sizeable programs in the "don't!" list. Well, what did you expect with 64 megs of RAM?

Re: OpenOffice unusable
by andrew on Sat 15th Feb 2003 02:47 UTC

The iMac as tested had 256MB of RAM. The background is a small PNG, tiled. And as you can see from the KDE System Guard snapshot, there was no lack of free memory throughout my testing.

The OpenOffice version shipped with this PPC 9.1 Beta 2 was 1.0.1. I am not sure about what the status of 1.0.2 is on PPC. WeŽll just have to wait (for the next PPC Beta) and see.

Regarding OS X vs. Linux/KDE/Gnome, as you can see I have avoided that kind of comparison, because it can be quite misleading.


Re: OpenOffice unusable
by kP on Sat 15th Feb 2003 06:38 UTC


Indeed, I was mislead by one of the screenshots (Mac within Mandrake) and I would like to retract my comment.

Thank you for your response.


Re: OS X is annoying
by stew on Sat 15th Feb 2003 18:23 UTC

1) Alt-tab is weird as it's between applications rather than between windows in an application. If you're trying to use two text documents or similar it's a pain.

Use ctrl-tab.

3) AppleMail doesn't hack it in comparison to Evolution. It doesn't do threading for a start; good things are it handles pgp properly which evo doesn't.

Yes, I'm waiting for Evolution on OS X too. Some folks reported that they successfully compiled it, but I'll wait until it appears as a fink or OpenDarwin package.

RE: Re: OS X is annoying
by Steve George on Sat 15th Feb 2003 20:05 UTC

I was a bit misleading with the title of this threat - OS X is sometimes irritating.

Anyway, I have Evolution compiled on Mac OS X so it is usable: I used fink and the source compile option. Took a few days to work out fink and I don't totatlly have everything organised properly. But evolution works absolutely fine.

It doesn't look as nice on Mac even with Apple's X server as for some reason evolution doesn't seem to pick up the font support that well. But it is usable and I am using it for my email lists that I really need threading on.