The most recent version of these essays can be found at http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/faq/.
("That's what you get for swimming in the shallow end of the gene pool.")
Economy of expression is a good thing. So, rather than have to repeat myself continually, I'm posting my top rants here, for ready reference. Many of you (readers) will be visiting today because I pointedly referred you to the "#"-tagged URL of some particular item, below.
Table o' Contents
- Virus . . .
- Linux Tire-Kicking . . .
- Proprietary Warez . . .
- Hardware . . .
- Netiquette . . .
- Crybaby . . .
- Modems . . .
MacLinux . . .
- What version of Linux would work on my (old, pre-Intel) Macintosh?
- What version of Linux would work on my PowerPC-based Macintosh?
- What version of Linux would work on my Motorola 68k-based Macintosh?
- Miscellany . . .
Depends on whether your Mac is a now-old model based on the Motorola/IBM "PowerPC" CPU family (i.e., a "PowerMac"), or a very, very old model based on the Motorola 68000 ("m68k") CPU family.
(Post-2006 Macs, based on Intel CPUs, aren't a problem. On those, just about any x86 Linux will do fine.)
Before proceeding, consider that Apple's last PowerPC-based Macintoshes (ones using 64-bit G5 CPUs) shipped in 2006, hence are already (2019) decade-plus outdated, so you really should consider packing it in: Old computers are anaemic, power-wasteful, fragile, limited, and require specialty (expensive) parts to fix when they inevitably break.
If undeterred, see the Linux distributions list in the final snapshot of penguinppc.org's list, from February 2015.
Make sure you understand your PowerPC Mac's subcategory (and resulting complications such as bootloader): NewWorld with PCI bus, OldWorld w/PCI bus, or earlier "NuBus" (pre-PCI). Browsing Gentoo's wiki will sort this out.
32-bit distributions (listed next) will also run on G5 Macs, albeit with the minor inefficiency of a 4GB (vs. 16GB) RAM address limit.
Disregard the Fedora distribution, because all recent PowerPC releases are for IBM POWER machines only, not PowerPC Macs. Ditto Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS, and ditto SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Yellow Dog Linux, CRUX PowerPC, Arch PowerPC, VLOS (VidaLinux OS), and ROCK Linux appear defunct. PLD Linux is still available but probably dangerously old (last released for PowerPC in 2007).
There are also some non-Linux Unix options that might be of interest: Apple Computer offers MacOS X and MacOS X Server, which graft the Macintosh look and feel onto a BSD (Berkeley) Unix software layer (those BSD underpinnings being dubbed "Darwin"), which in turn was constructed using a fork of the Mach microkernel (but no longer with appreciable hardware abstraction, and therefore no longer running as a microkernel). As such, OS X is a reissue and update of its immediate pre-corporate-acquisition ancestor, NeXT Computer's NeXTStep / OPENSTEP. There's also MachTen from Tenon Intersystems, Inc., a BSD Unix running atop the Mach microkernel that in turn runs on the Macintosh OS. Last, you can always use the ever-handy NetBSD and FreeBSD operating systems (but only on PCI-based PowerPC Macs, not NuBus ones). (At one point, Apple also sold a version of IBM's "AIX" Unix variant tailored for the PowerPC Mac, but those were vanishingly rare. OpenBSD might still be practical for some "New World" PowerMacs, but the macppc port is now mostly unmaintained.)
My warning about why you shouldn't rely on old computers (above) goes double for m68k Macs, which are now absurdly ancient.
The effort to support m68k Macs centred around yet another variant of the Linux kernel, called "Linux/m68k". Take care not to confuse this with "mkLinux", which is for PowerPC Macs, not m68k chips. (Some have added to this confusion by promoting the meaningless term "MacLinux". Don't be among them.)
The main distribution for the Linux/m68k kernel is Debian. Debian m68k is a full-fledged and reliable system, particularly on Amiga and Atari machines based on Motorola m68k CPUs, but also on m68k Macs. There remain some problem hardware-support areas on Macs, so check the port's current status via the Linux/m68k for Macintosh FAQ and the main Linux/68k FAQ.
Jes Degn Sørensen of Denmark produced a now-ancient unofficial port at ftp://zeniii.linux.org.uk/pub/linux/m68k/ of Red Hat 5.1 (for which CD-ROMs were available from vendors), and a May 2002 "beta" of RHL 5.2, but those are dangerously outdated.
The equally ancient offerings Eagle Linux and Whiteline Linux/68k (both based on Debian 2.0), and Happy MacLinux, appear to have vanished.
Other Unix options for m68k Macs: Apple once published A/UX for these machines, but it was always rare (and sluggish) and was long ago discontinued. Tenon Intersystems's MachTen, a BSD (Berkeley) Unix layer running atop the Mach microkernel that in turn runs on the Macintosh OS, is still available for m68k Macs. Last, you can always use the ever-handy NetBSD and OpenBSD operating systems.
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