[conspire] Installing Ubuntu on PPC/FW Drive

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun Dec 31 01:51:33 PST 2006

Quoting Daniel Gimpelevich (daniel at gimpelevich.san-francisco.ca.us):

> 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.

HorizSync and VertRefresh are on the short list of things I check in any
xorg.conf / XF86Config files on servers that aren't starting correctly.
(The other main thing is the mouse device, which some X configuration
routines stupidly set to /dev/mouse on systems where it needs to be
/dev/input/mice, instead.)

However, those things aren't easy to teach over mailing lists, so I tend
to tell people who _persist_ in having X11 problems after I have given
reasonable first-level suggestions to just seek in-person help.  It's
more efficient.

> 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.

Naturally you don't need _only_ package xserver-xorg -- but I was hoping
John at that point would have just about everything necesary, and it
wasn't really practical (or useful) to list _every_ package required to
run X.org.  If he came back and told us something suggesting he was
still missing crucial packages, I guess I'd either advise bringing that
puppy in, or say "Dude, fire up tasksel, pick some promising X11
metapackage(s), and let it do its thing."  Because otherwise we'd be
stuck in mail exchanges indefinitely.

BTW, I've run dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg on Edgy, a few times, and
seen nothing significant wrong that I can recall.  (On the other hand,
minor X configuration problems are so easy to overcome that I might not
have recalled.)

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

Well, I _was_ answering his quesiton as posed.  Besides, I had a
nightmare of him posting an entire Xorg.0.log, which would be pretty
gruesome and mostly pointless.

It's good for people to know where their big honkin' logfiles are, but I
try not to encourage them to post them.  ;->

> 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.

Indeed, if I were facing the problem of how to boot a Linux installer
from a Firewire drive, I'd recast the problem as "What do I have to do
to _eliminate_ the need to boot a Linux installer from a Firewire

Sometimes, the key to progress is to realise when you're working on the
wrong problem.  E.g., back when the second-generation VAIO laptops, with
no built-in CD-ROM drives and a USB external floppy drive, were new, it
was nearly impossible to install Linux the muleheaded way, i.e., by
booting a Linux boot floppy.  The _smart_ way to do that installation

1.  Remove IDE hard drive from VAIO.  Mount it in a desktop box.
2.  Install Linux.  Create a maintenance floppy with USB support.
3.  Move IDE drive back to the VAIO.  If it doesn't boot because of 
    lilo problems, use the boot floppy to re-do lilo.

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