Ubuntu Linux on my PowerMac G4, READY!!

Forrest Sheng Bao <http://forrest.bao.googlepages.com>

After one week investigation- browsing blogs of Apple computer users using Linux and reading tons of webpages about Linux on Mac- I have successfully installed Ubuntu Linux 6.06 on my PowerMac computer today. Coz it works well, I plan to purchase a Mac Mini now.

I have used Linux on x86 computers for three years, since I was a sophermore. I love it. I run all my academic software supporing my rearch on it- Matlab, NI Labview, gnuplot, ns-2, scilab, maxima, Wolfram Mathematica, lindo/lingo, LaTeX toolchains, R, gEDA, Xilinx ISE, etc. As a EE undergraduate student, I can easily find academic and engineering tools, both commecial and open source ones. Much more package choice than that on the furking Microsoft Windows. The open source culture gives me the feeling of "infinity".

But many open source software also work on Mac OS. So I have to use it. For example, the PsychoToolBox developed by some guys in Medical School of Harvard. It is a collection of MATLAB scripts generating diverse pattens on the computer screen. Although Mac OS and Windows are all propertorial OSes, but Mac users and Windows users are different. Mac users like Open Source more than Windows users. They have their own culture. If you go to the website of Apple Science, you can see that Apple is providing support for many open source projects.

But I think, the most "culture" computer users are Linuxians. Not because I am a Linux user. I sometimes even use Solaris and FreeBSD. But I don't like them as I like Linux.

The reason why I wanna deploy Linux on my Mac is because I can't bear the ugly GUI of Mac OS 9.2. I don't wanna buy a new Mac, which means I can't use Mac OS X. The system is too out-of-date to run Mac OS X- A PowerPC G4 400MHz CPU with 512MB SDRAM. So, I plan to choose Linux which can also perform very well on poor x86 computers, such as my old 800Mhz Duron CPU computer. (Well, I don't use it now. I am now using a Athlon 2500+ computer for x86 applications.)

Another reason is I really don't like the menu style of Mac OS. There is only one button on the mouse. To do every manipulation, you have to move your mouse to the top of the screen. Don't expect me to remember those keyboard shortcuts. And there is no wheel on Apple mouse for scrolling webpages. But on Linux running on an Apple computer, I can use two buttons and the wheel.

The third reason is that it is more and more difficult to find applications for Mac OS 9. There are lots of applications running on Mac OS X. For instance, the Mozilla Firefox browser. How can I use an OS that has less and less programs can run on it?

Just like what Linux did on x86, this time, it doesn't disappoint me on my Mac. Now I can enjoy the beautiful GUI and continue my work on other Linux computers. Linux provide a uniform platform for all my applications now.

I am lov'in it!
Ich liebe es!

-------------Hard Drive Partition
forrest@forrest-mac:~$ sudo fdisk -l
# type name length base ( size ) system
/dev/hda1 Apple_partition_map Apple 63 @ 1 ( 31.5k) Partition map
/dev/hda2 Apple_Bootstrap untitled 1954 @ 64 (977.0k) NewWorld bootblock
/dev/hda3 Apple_UNIX_SVR2 untitled 7994141 @ 2018 ( 3.8G) Linux native
/dev/hda4 Apple_UNIX_SVR2 swap 422657 @ 7996159 (206.4M) Linux swap

Block size=512, Number of Blocks=8418816
DeviceType=0x0, DeviceId=0x0
1: @ 64 for 23, type=0x1
2: @ 118 for 36, type=0xffff
3: @ 192 for 21, type=0x701
4: @ 246 for 34, type=0xf8ff


Unknown said...

Hi Sheng,
I just got a Power Mac G4 with 512mb and 867Mhz, it also has OS 9.2 and I was thinking in putting Ubuntu on it, can you direct me to a tutorial and what version of Ubuntu did you use? Thanks... Ernani

Forrest Bao said...

Hi, now Ubuntu doesn't support PowerPC-based Mac any more, coz not many people are still using PowerPC-based Mac. You can try other Linux distros, such as Fedora or openSuSE, though I haven't tried them on my G4 computer.