Linux on iBook Clamshell


So, I finally did it. I spent about 3 days trying to install Linux on my iBook Clamshell. Yes, the same iBook that I was talking about in a page dedicated to my iBook. So, one day I was checking my hotmail, (Yes I have hotmail. Don’t judge me please!) and since I have Firefox 2.0.0.20 which I believe is the latest for 10.3.9. I think 2.0.0.20 is the latest for 10.3.9. And I noticed that hotmail looked a little broken. Then I went on facebook, and I wanted to chat with one of my buddies, but I kept getting ‘Could not connect to Facebook chat at this time’ errors. So I was sick of it.

Day 1: So I decided to backup my hard drive, and for some odd reason I whipped out my Mac OS 9 disk. (lol @ I whipped it out) …and formatted my hard drive. Then later I did some brainstorming while in the bathroom. (Yes, I like to brainstorm a lot in the bathroom.) And it occurred to me, Ubuntu! Ubuntu is one of my favorite linux distro. But then I realized, Ubuntu might be demanding on my system. So I decided to get Xubuntu. Its Ubuntu, but its supposedly lightweight and less demanding. I wanted Xubuntu 9.10, but the disk image is 722 MB!!! I couldn’t fit that into my 700 MB CD-RW. (Thats what she said! Haha.) Disappointed, I went back to my secret lair, a.k.a, the pantry. And it hit me in the head like a brick… I could install Xubuntu 9.04, which is about 678 MB, and then via the Update Manager, upgrade to 9.10! Everything was going alright for 1 hour and 13 minutes until I got this dreaded error message saying that a particular file couldn’t be download, and the upgrade was aborted, and restored my system back to the way it was. I was pissed off. Another thing I didn’t like about Xubuntu is that it wouldn’t let me change the 24 hour clock to the standard clock.

Day 2: I decided to reformat my drive again, and after going to many forums, I decided to try another Linux distro, called “Debian” Spent 2 hours downloading it, and burned it to the same CD-RW that I used the previous day. Well, but first I erased the CD-RW, and then used it again. So I went back to my bedroom, (Thats where my iBook Clamshell rests.) and popped the disk inside the CD tray. and pressed the ‘C’ button on my keypad. Didn’t take long to boot, because it was just a text-based installer. So I let it install, and left the room to do other stuff, like feed my birds, eat, and do house stuff. I honestly have no idea how long it took to install. But when I came into my room it was almost over and it eventually restarted. But unfortunately, I realized that the Debian install CD was just the minimal install disk, because instead of seeing of GNOME, I just saw the Linux kernel. Disappointed again, I decided to give up. For the day.

Day 3: After doing some reading on the Debian website, I learned that I needed the Net-install disk, which is drastically smaller than the Debian disk image that I used previously. So after about a half an hour of downloading, I burned it to the same CD-RW that I used the previous days. So, I went to my room, unplugged my iBook, brought it to my living room, along with the power cord, and placed it on my desk, where my everyday laptop sits and plugged my ethernet cord into it, popped the disk in, and after about 10 minutes of loading and asking me to configure my network, downloading the software for the standard Debian system as opposed to the minimal install, began. So after about of 2 hours of downloading, and another 2 hours of installing, it finally finished. I was relieved. Everything seemed to work, Airport and my ethernet. Sound didn’t work, but I was able to fix that by adding snd_powermac to the list in /etc/modules . It worked, and I was able to play some of the sample sounds in Debian. Gnome sounds doesn’t work though… I want it to play sounds when I login, or logout and stuff like that. But I’ll leave that for another day.

So the next day I decided to install some updates, stuff like that. Debian doesn’t come with Firefox. Instead it comes with IceWeasel. Its actually Firefox, but its rebranded as Iceweasel in debian. It works pretty well. Webpages are no longer broken. It is now possible to blog in WordPress! Yay! I actually wrote all this in Iceweasel, in Debian 5.04 on my iBook Clamshell! Yes it was a lot of work, but its now worth it. (Installing Debian, that is.) Wonder what else I can do in my iBook?

My conclusion: Debian 5.04 “Lenny” is a pretty good operating system. Lots of hardware work out of the box, it runs faster than Xubuntu, and haven’t gotten any problems with it yet, and it better stay that way. But one thing I don’t like about it is that I only have 1.9 GB left of storage, and my hard drive holds 6 GB. Oh well. Hopefully I will try to take some pictures and whatnot and post it here.

Update: I now posted some pictures of my actual iBook!!!

iBook booting into Debian

Close up of iBook booting

iBook booting... again. I realized that I chose the wrong setting for the picture, and that's why its not blurry anymore.

Debian login screen! Yay!!!

Wordpress on Iceweasel in Debian 5.04!

7 thoughts on “Linux on iBook Clamshell

  1. Pingback: Linux on iBook Clamshell « Christian's Blog

    • I’m sorry to say this but WINE does not work on PowerPC processors! WINE has x86 code which means it can only be run on Intel processors, not PowerPC processors.

  2. You should try MintPPC. Even on a 300 mhz ibook I hear its pretty usable. No flash of course, but we can’t have it all.

  3. yeah linux mint is great….the best overall but had a bug for me on my lombard where i couldn’t play video. Lubuntu is even lighter than xubuntu, and it now also has a ppc version. That’s what I have now on my lombard g3 powerbook, and it’s ok. not wonderful or anything, but gets the job done for storage and facebook and stuff.

  4. I just got an old blueberry today for $25, plan on putting Debian wheezy on it for my 3 y/o. I have a dual-usb (white) iBook that I ran Lenny on for a while, but put Tiger back on it (I needed a way to back up my iPhone). Should be able to max the ram out, and hopefully it does well. I still have a dell p2 350 laptop that runs pretty good with Debian.

    Minimal installs with a low resource window manager are great at keeping old hardware alive.

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