Running open source software on a Mac is a different animal — almost like an x86, but not quite. Configuring new hardware has always been a problem in Linux; it is now compounded for the Mac user. Yellow Dog Linux (YDL) has built this port of Linux with the hardware of current Macs in mind, such as the iMac and the G4. YDL 2.3 is a treat to install and use on these machines. Read the rest of the review at UnixReview.
Mac Users Get the Goods! Yellow Dog Linux v2.3
2002-10-16 Linux 15 Comments
I’ve been trying to get this to work sence 2.0 on my old 9600 and it just never works so I quit.
Owning an iMac (and later, a Sun Blade 100) gave me that sinking feeling. That feeling that said, “[deep voice] Well, well, well,.. now you’re stuck with only one OS to choose from. Ha! Care to upgrade the hardware? Don’t even open the case boy!”.
Yes, I know I could’ve put linux on either of them, but I didn’t/don’t have the skills to get that done correctly in a reasonable amount of time.
Now the game is getting interesting. It looks like YellowDog is providing a rather easy install. This could be great. There’s a lot of mac owners out there who have no clue what to do with their old macs — especially now that OSX is here and the motivation to upgrade (to run all of OSX’s eye-candy) is strong.
Maybe it’s time to pick up an iMac on-the-cheap and have a nice little all-in-one linux desktop box for dad…
Does anyone have any experience on how fast a linux/X/kde-or-gnome desktop runs on a G3? A G4?
Can anyone comment on the speed difference between OSX vs. linux/X/kde on, say, an old bondi-blue iMac 233 MHz?
Unfortunately, YDL 2.3 is not very speedy, even on an 800 MHz FP iMac. However, the review is correct in that they do work very hard to make it as good a distro as they can. Support is excellent.
The graphical installer looks very primitive and scary at first, but actually works very well.
One thing to watch out for is that YDL doesn’t like non-default monitor settings very much at all. Also, one unforgivable thing during installation – they give you a list of monitors to choose from…at the top is “iMac”. But, do they mean the CRT iMac or flat panel iMac? Because 2.3 came out long after the FP iMac came out, I thought they were referring to the FP. I was wrong <g>. In fact, there is no choice for the FP iMac, which is crazy – and they had plenty of time to put that in. So, I had to start all over and guessed by choosing “15” Studio Display”. This time, I guessed right.
It’s great to have apt-get. You do have to use the command line, but it’s really easy. Still, not too good for newbies. I hope they improve that.
One of the best things about YDL was not even mentioned in the review – the manual. It’s perhaps the best Linux manual (in context) I’ve ever read. I say “in context” because it introduces Linux to the Mac user by drawing comparisions between how you do things in the Mac OS and Linux. It’s perfect for the Mac user new to Linux.
So, YDL is a little uneven still, but they really do care, have great support and are worth supporting.
If you buy the full package, you get a really cool T-shirt too!
On my 600 MHz G3 iMac, I have found that YDL 2.3(running KDE or Gnome) isn’t really that much faster than OS X. Since they are both Unix at heart, it really comes down to whether or not you just have to use open source software, and it that case why are you using a Mac to begin with. I guess if you use MacOS for “real stuff” and Linux to play with, YDL is good if you can’t afford a PC to put it on(that’s why I have YDL).
I also forgot to mention something important not in the review – AirPort wireless is fully supported.
> Unfortunately, YDL 2.3 is not very speedy, even on an 800 MHz FP iMac.
How does it compare with OSX on the same machine? Say, for compiling comparable software, or maybe just plain responsiveness…
Thanks for the tip about the monitor settings.
As surprising as this sounds, I have to agree. I was running Debian 3 on my iBook 500 for about 4 months (long story!). Before that, I was running Mac OS X 10.1.5. I was expecting a pretty signifigant jump in general responsiveness. That wasn’t the case. The one thing that did get faster was compiling C an d C++ using gcc. This came at the expense of [url=”http://www.squeak.org“]Squeak[/url] and [url=”http://dynapad.swiki.net“]Dynapad[/url] running at almost half the speed as they do on Mac OS X and 9. Since Squeak basically is my desktop, I switched back to the Mac OS as soon as I had the time to spend backing everything up on a friend’s machine.
The Linux GUI was a little faster than on Mac OS X. However, I was running just pwm. As desktop environments, GNOME 2 and KDE 2 and 3 both ran a lot slower than Mac OS X, far less responsive. Even if they ran at the same speed or a bit faster, the inconsistency in using GNOME or KDE gave me more than a reason to go back to OS X.
One thing I did prefer about Linux compared to Mac OS X was memory usage. OS X uses an exorberant amount of RAM. The 320 MB I have in my iBook is enough to avoid swapping, but this was more than I could ever use in Linux. But then again, since I already had 320 MB of RAM, it’s no incentive to use Linux over OS X. Perhaps if I had 64 MB and couldn’t afford to upgrade to 256.
HW support in a lot of respects was a huge pain in the ass on Linux/PPC. Before switching to the Mac 3 years ago, a Linux/x86 box was my only desktop machine. HW support usually worked. On my iBook, though, it was a lot more work to get things working the first time, and to make sure they continued to work after that. It just wasn’t worth the trouble or my time.
Gentoo 1.4rc1 with G4 optimizations is FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAST! I used YDL 2.3 for a while and it was just too slow (although way faster than MacosX on my G4 500). Go for Gentoo, it’s the best!
I agree, as far as desktop responsivenes is concerned, YDL is probably slower than OS X now, with the speed increases brought in by 10.2.
Who would want linux if they have OSX?
Linux mandrake PPC always worked great for me, but I thought I would switch to YDL 2.3. The installed took ages and I ended up configuring X with XF86Config, the installer was awful.
Then, it ran stupidly slow, and without sound!
All this on a Graphite iBook. You’d think that was a pretty standard piece of kit.
Who would want linux if they have OSX?
I’ve thought of it. There’s a Maple 8 for Linux PPC but Waterloo is dragging its feet on Maple 8 for Mac OSX.
OTOH Wolfram has had Mathematica for OSX out nearly since day one. That would be enough for me to switch to Mathematica, if my school didn’t use Maple almost exclusively.
Also, there’s the matter of Apple’s wanting lots of money for OS upgrades. I still haven’t upgraded to 10.2 because I just can’t afford it (even though as a student I get a nearly 50% discount om the OS).
He says “Typically, Mac’s are used as standalone computers in a business environment for specific uses such as graphics and digital rendering of audio and video. The downside of that is you cannot effectively incorporate them in to a business network. Macs talk to other Macs, period.”
Which for OS X is patently untrue – OS X talks to Windows, Netware, and Linux very easily, more easily than Linux I would guess. And for OS 8/9 there is a nice add-on called ‘Dave’ that give a GUI to sharing and connecting to Windows. And OS 8/9 does Netware as well.
I agree that Linux on Mac has some, but that the ability to newtwork with others is not what it brings to the table.
I had OSX but next to no apps for it. I started downloading a rootless X server and loads of ported Linux apps. “Sod this”, i thought and installed Madrake linux 8.2. And was happy!