Apple iBook G3 500Mhz, 128 MB memory, 12-inch LCD, running Xubuntu Linux 7.04

by Forrest Sheng Bao

I have a neighbor called Jordan. He gave me an Apple laptop for free last week. This is an old iBook, made in 2002. The CPU is very poor, G3 500Mhz. It even doesn't have a DVD drive. So it is impossible to install Mac OS X onto it. But, don't panic. Linux, the most powerful operating system in the world, gives me an ultimate solution to rock this old brick.

I tried Ubuntu 7.10 and 8.04. But they couldn't sport my LCD out-of-the-box. Maybe the LCD is too old, 800x600 resolution. Anyway, Xubuntu 7.04 could work on it out-of-the-box. Another concern of mine to using Xubuntu is coz Xfce is more thin than Gnome on this laptop with only 128MB memory.

The installation is pretty easy. Since it has only 10G hard drive, I just let Ubuntu automatically partition. Though this laptop has no Apple Airport and I don't wanna burn my wallet on an Airport card, Xubuntu 7.04 supports my Linksys WUSB54GC out-of-the-box. Xfce desktop takes only 78MB memory space. But I can run web browser, email client, instant messenger, music player, and even Python interpreter to run my computing program. Great! i could take this laptop everywhere and write down my ideas in Abiword, a light word processing software. Openoffice is too bulky. And, the battery is still good - with 4-hour life time after fully charging. The laptop could suspend if I close the book and will wake up after I open it up. Plus, the Apple logo light and power indicator near the lock work fine.

Apple computers are of great design. You don't need to loose a dozen of screws to upgrade your memory. Just flip your keyboard. See that illustration on the back of the keyboard?

If you look at the fancy Xfce login interface, you wouldn't feel that you are using an old laptop.

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