[conspire] Installing Ubuntu on PPC/FW Drive

Daniel Gimpelevich daniel at gimpelevich.san-francisco.ca.us
Sun Dec 31 00:48:26 PST 2006

On Sun, 31 Dec 2006 00:17:40 -0800, Rick Moen wrote:

> Quoting John Andrews (jla1200 at netzero.net):
>> I tried to install the live cd Dapper Drake on a G3 imac.
> For a lot of reasons, you're much better off using the Alternate Disk, 
> especially on old machines without a lot of RAM.  _Think_ about it.  On
> the Desktop Disk, you're firing up all of GNOME, and then on top of
> that, while GNOME is grabbing _its_ RAM, you're trying to run a
> graphical installer, too.  

Even the Alternate has a minimum amount of RAM it needs. Darlene's iMac
refused to boot any Ubuntu installer when it had only 32MB.

> Also, the new-ish graphical installer on Desktop Disk is just not as
> well debugged as is the tried-and-true one on Alternate Disk (which is a
> very slightly modified version of Debian d-i, the ncurses-based
> installer on Official Debian "sarge" and later).
>> I could  only get it to start in the text mode. I tried startx and got
>> some  error messages.(a long list). 
> It's unlikely we'd be able to help you, without your quoting verbatim at
> least the first few of those.

Not necessarily. Autoconfiguration of X has long been known to fail on the
old iMacs in a rather specific way: For some bizarre reason, the HorizSync
and VertRefresh values turn to gibberish.

>> I really don't know to configure X11.
> It's not that difficult, especially nowadays.  Just do 
> "sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg".  (This assumes package
> xserver-xorg is installed.  If it isn't, install it.)

Yes to the first part of that (at least on Dapper; it misbehaves on Edgy).
No to the second. Installing the xserver-xorg package by itself does not
yield any desirable results. It is meant to be a dependency only.

>> 	1. How do I get that error info out of the live terminal?  
>> startx>video.txt? Then copy it to a usbstick.
> "startx > /tmp/errorlog 2>&1"  (so as to capture stderr)
> But, honestly, I can pretty much guarantee that most of that "error"
> output is, relatively speaking, drivel, and doesn't need to be
> transcribed.  What you need is probably all of five word, or so.

Capturing that error info from the screen is unnecessary. Everything you
would need is already in the /var/log/Xorg.0.log file.

>> 	2. Could I start the installation from text mode?
> Alternate Disk.  ;->

If you had asked how to go about installing Ubuntu on an old iMac, you
would have been told from the get-go to forego the Desktop live CD on it,
because it is known not to work.

In the subject line of the message, a FW drive is mentioned, but not in
the message itself. Booting Linux from a FW drive is rather tricky, and
will likely not work the first few times you try it.

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