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Installing Linux on OldWorld Mac G3 BootX or Quik?

Posted on 2006-06-03
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I am trying to install Gentoo PPC version on Mac Powerbook G3 Lombard. According to www.penguinppc.org this is an oldworld machine that has to use a loader to install Linux. Two loaders are available, BootX that has to have MacOS present on HD and Quik that does not have to have MacOS and loads directly off the firmware. Here's what the penguinppc site says: "Old World Macs must use either BootX (which requires a bootable Mac OS installation) or quik (which must deal with the buggy firmware of that era)." I just want to ask if someone has experience with loading Linux on an old G3 machine by using either of the above methods. I want to load MacOS off the HD and just use Quik to install Gentoo, however the above statement warns that using Quik can be difficult. On the other hand i do not want to have MacOS on this laptop taking HD space. Could someone tell me what the best way to install Gentoo on this Powerbook G3 would be?
Thanks!
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Question by:Gvigorus
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by:rid
ID: 16826178
Sorry to circumvent the question, but have you tried YellowDog or Ubuntu on this machine? Both these do load properly (AFAIK) on a G3 PowerBook using only some kind of built-in loader. I don't think my G3 PB is a Lombard, but I'm not aware of very big differences within the G3 processor generation machines.
/RID
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by:Gvigorus
ID: 16827898
Hi Rid, I haven't tried YD, but i did get a copy of Ubuntu PPC last night and tried to load it by holding C right after the chime comes on when i first boot the machine. Nothing happened. I just really was hoping to hear from someone who successfully install a linux distro on their powerbook g3 by using either BootX or that Quik firm ware loader. For instance, after reading Gentoo PPC installation instructions, i copies all the approptiate files to MacOS system folder (this is vis BootX) and when i reboot the machin, i get a screen that asks me whether i was OS or Linux. When i select linux, my machine doesn't turn of, but the screen goes blank. I have not been able to get that to work yet. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks
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by:rid
ID: 16827941
Well, I did install Ubuntu 5.10 PPC on my PB G3, by pressing "C" during startup. It booted off the CD and all went according to plan. The HD was new from the antistatic bag, so no help from any quarter. Perhaps you are experiencing a hardware problem - do you know that the CD unit is OK to boot from at all? One thing to try on Macintosh machines is a PRAM reset - it helps in many situations with weird problems. Also, of course, make sure the .iso file burned correctly and made a real bootable CD and not just a file copy on the CD.

On the other hand there may be some kind of firmware difference between my PB and yours, even if they're both G3's, in which case I'm really not being of any help to you. I haven't had to try the bootloaders you mention, so I can't help you there, I'm afraid. Hope someone else comes along here, with more hands-on expertise.
/RID
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by:Gvigorus
ID: 16828115
Thanks Rid. It's sort of confusing. I read several accounts where people call G3 Lombards oldworld machines, other times they call them Newworld machines. It's confusing. You can't boot an old world mac directly from a ISO disk. When i downloaded Gentoo, i checked sums, everything was good. Then i properly burned ISO as an image, not just file copy... At this time, i tried pressing C after chime to boot directly (as a newworld machine would do), but no luck, so i got a BootX utility. I think this may work, but i just don't have correct parameters for the kernel. When i switch to Linux from BootX menue, my screen goes blank, but the machine doesn't shut down. It's as though i get some command prompt, but i can't see anything because my video parameters weren't correctly passed onto kernel. That's okay if you don't know, i too hope someone can come out here with some ground breaking advise!!! :) I'm not too concerned though, because there's going to be a new Ubuntu presentation at Sun Microsystems that i want to attend. They say they can install it on PowerBooks too. So, if nothing works, maybe i get Ubuntu at that presentation. Thanks a lot for your comments.
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by:Gvigorus
ID: 16856222
Rid, what kind of Powerbook G3 do you have, i.e. Wall Street, Lombard or Pismo? It looks like i may be having difficulty booting to CD for two reasons:
1. I didn't partition Hard Drive before install (I have OS 9 on it) (your HD was brand new, maybe i need to partition or reformat my HD?)
2. I burned the ISO image on a Windows machine with a suitable ISO burning tool. I've burned other ISO's for PCs with intel type processors and burned ISO disks always worked on those PCs. In general, do you think i should even be concerned that i burned Ubuntu PPC ISO on a Windows machine to be booted to on a Mac?
-=G=-
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rid earned 500 total points
ID: 16860733
My PB is a "Pismo", I think; 400 MHz G3 with Firewire and USB. That model seems to be later than the "Lombard" and "Wall Street" ones. I burned my Ubuntu .iso on a PC with Ubuntu Linux..., If a proper burning program is used, I dont think it matters what hardware or O/S is used. If you don't need the OS9 on your hard drive, you can try wiping it, but if I remember correctly, that option was present after booting with the Ubuntu CD.
/RID
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by:Gvigorus
ID: 16925515
Did you have to install anything like Yaboot? I just found out that my Lombard is actually one of the first New World macs. I though it was an Old World, but i was mistaken. I think i can't boot from the CD because i don't have Yaboot on my machine. Do I need to partition, install Yaboot and then try to boot off of ISO disk with Linux? I'm sort of lost in what needs to be done before what?!
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by:rid
ID: 16930246
There must be som kind of difference between the machines, in some way. I did boot from the Ubuntu (and previously from a YellowDog) CD after having cleaned out the HD - meaning zero-fill - so the machine can't have had any boot help from there. The YaBoot was installed onto the HD as part of the install process and shows a few lines of text at following bootups.

I appreciate your coming back and fillin in with info and so forth, very interesting. I'll be on vacation for 2 weeks now, so I will not be able to participate here until I get back, unless I find an open wireless network somewhere...

Cheers
/RID
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by:Gvigorus
ID: 16930591
Have a grate time during your vacation Rid! I will RTFM a little and hopefully something works out. There's truely welth of information available on how to hook up a G3 with some linux, but it's just a lot to absorbe in a short time for a newb like myself.

Thanks and i will keep you posted on the progress if any!

-=G=-
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by:Gvigorus
ID: 17245948
Okay, i haven't forgotten about this question. I am still interested in installing some Linux on this G3 PPC! I will post some results shortly, don't delete this question yet! Thanks for your patience and comments! -=G=-
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by:rid
ID: 17247850
Thanks for the info! Good luck.
/RID
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by:Gvigorus
ID: 17601429
Hi, sorry again for sort of "abandoning" this question. I had some difficulty installing anything UNIX on this Powerbook (that's a newb for you:) Anyways, I definitely liked the idea of Gentoo on this machine because of the flexibility, however, for a fresh user something like YelloDog is probably a little less stressful to install. I eventually found out for sure that Powerbook G3 Lombard (Bronze keyboard) is indeed a NewWorld Mac, which drastically changes the way UNIX should be installed. In my case, open firmware calls Yaboot (bootloader), then Yaboot looks for Linux Kernel on the HD and Linux loads. No BootX should be used with NewWorld macs.

I ended up installing OS 10.2 (Jaguar) on my Lombard. A little low on RAM, but I can get it up to 512, which will be plenty. Also a larger HD would also be beneficial (i only have 6 Gigs and Jaguar will take up to 2.5 Gb)

Thank you for all the input and patience with this super old and long question. This helped me a lot.
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by:rid
ID: 17601613
Good to hear you found a solution.

On my PowerBook I used YellowDog first for a couple of years, then changed the HD (a bit finicky, but doable) for a clean, bigger one and installed the PPC Ubuntu version, which works very well indeed. Since I use a swedish KB layout I did have to do some rather complicated (in my view...) hands-on adjustments to the KB-related config files in YD, but in Ubuntu it just worked; very neat I must say.

Hope you have a nice time with Jaguar; still think Ubuntu would be a bit quicker as it has quite modest hardware requirements.

Cheers
/RID
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