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[aclug-L] Re: Linux for PowerPC

[aclug-L] Re: Linux for PowerPC

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To: discussion@xxxxxxxxx
Subject: [aclug-L] Re: Linux for PowerPC
From: John Reinke <jmreinke@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2001 22:35:07 -0600
Reply-to: discussion@xxxxxxxxx

It's been at least a year since I've installed Linux on a Mac, so things
may have changed a little...

Which distro you use really depends on what your experience is with Linux,
and your understanding of Macs, and more specifically, the Mac you want to
install Linux on.

If you're pretty new to Linux, I'd say go with either Yellow Dog or
LinuxPPC. Yellow Dog is basically LinuxPPC with more commercial support and
more packaging options (ie. for a server or for rackmount systems). Yellow
Dog looks good, and sounds like they are a very professional company.
LinuxPPC is good, too, and more like Redhat. They both use RPMs for package

The advantage of using either Yellow Dog or LinuxPPC is that Mac hardware
can be a little tricky, and they seem to have figured out a way to install
on most systems. Older systems used to be SCSI only. Video cards are
commonly integrated with the motherboard, and are different for different
models. There is no default text mode for most video cards like there is
with PCs, so things can be difficult if you don't know enough about your
video card. On top of that, Apple changed their "BIOS" approach to be
disk-based with the advent of the iMac. The way Linux is usually run now is
to have a small partition with MacOS on it to boot the system, and then it
loads a RAM image for the Linux kernel, and then boots into Linux.

The good news is that it seems to be a fairly easy process to install Linux
on a Mac now, for most cases. It just seems to be a bit of a hack that
needs to be updated every time new Mac hardware comes out. Since MacOS X is
a UNIX system, and parts of it are open sourced, information may have
become available to make it easier to run Linux on those systems, but I've
not kept up with the news on that.

I know nothing about SuSE, and didn't even know they have a PPC distribution.

Debian (my fave distro for x86) also has a PPC version, so you might look
into that. I would doubt their installer is as user-friendly or as complete
as LinuxPPC, but I could be wrong. If you are experienced in Linux, you
shouldn't have a problem with any distribution.

Be aware that there are some models - mostly older Performa PPC models -
that they have never been able to install Linux on. They seem pretty quick
to add support for newer models, however, and they even had USB working
before it was working for x86 systems.

Good luck. Those PowerPC processors might really shine when running MacOS,
but they REALLY shine in a preemptive multitasking environment.


>    I was wondering which was the better distrobutions for PowerPC and if
>anyone had any experience using the following:
>Yellow Dog
>My PC is hosed, I need a new mobo.  So I am going to get Linux for Mac.

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