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Anyone running linux on a G5 Mac?


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#1 +Chicane-UK

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:24

I recently acquired free of charge a PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5GHz with 4GB of RAM and the GeForce 6600 graphics card. It's got a factory fit liquid cooling system!

It's currently running the last supported version of OSX (10.5.8) which runs quite nicely but lots of software is becoming unsupported on it, being as the architecture is no longer supported by Apple.

I just wondered if anyone here runs Linux on a G5 Mac and if so what distribution they're using? I appreciate that the G5 is now technically obsolete hardware but it seems a crying shame that a machine this powerful and cool is essentially now a doorstop purely because of software.

Cheers.


#2 .bin

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:28

I use Ubuntu with Yaboot and dual boot. Works fine.

#3 n_K

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:50

Loads of linux distros will work on it ! Depends on how much configuration of it you want to do yourself.
You can get gentoo for it if you feel brave and want everything configured to how you like it or just any distro that is PPC.

#4 Simon-

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:54

Even on Linux, there is no Adobe Flash Player PPC and I don't even know how many other Linux apps work on PPC so you may be just as limited on Linux as with Mac OS X 10.5. I would pick Yellow Dog Linux out of all of them, this is designed for PPC.

#5 OP +Chicane-UK

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 10:54

Hm.. lack of Flash is a bummer. Maybe just sticking with OSX would be the better option though I guess there's no harm in dabbling with few distro's just to see how well it works.

It's just so frustrating knowing the hardware is technically still perfectly capable, but just being limited by software :(

#6 +Karl L.

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 19:06

I use Debian on my PowerBook G4, which is not quite the same machine, not to mention not nearly as powerful, but since it works decently for me it will probably work better for you.

As for flash, its true that Adobe Flash Player doesn't support the PowerPC architecture, but you can use Gnash instead. It works reasonably most of the time, but my 1.5 GHz G4 and Radeon 9600 is quite underpowered and struggles with most video > 480p (or 720p using mplayer -really-quiet -framedrop -lavdopts skiploopfilter=all, which I aliased to mplayer-fast). With your much more powerful machine it will probably work fairly well.

#7 OP +Chicane-UK

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 19:38

Good information - thanks :)

#8 The Laughing Man

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 19:47

If you're in need of an up to date browser for 10.5 check out tenfourfox
http://www.floodgap....are/tenfourfox/

They're currently using Firefox 10.0+ builds but are switching to 17 builds soon. Works great, even enabled flash and adblock plus both work great together for youtube. Tested on a DC 2.3 G5 with 16GB ram, works surprisingly with 720P fairly well.

Also VLC is constantly updating their PPC builds, Check that if you want to play videos.

#9 OP +Chicane-UK

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 19:49

Also good info - thanks :)

I think my main irritation was the notification that Spotify will no longer be supported or made available on G5's in the next few months. I use Spotify a fair bit :( I guess I don't mind so much if the client continues to work and is just missing a few features...

#10 The Laughing Man

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 19:52

Yea thats the downside of the dying arch, Some programs work but with less features.
I was able to get Pandora for those who use it to work with a G4 Powerbook surprisingly, so there are still ways around things with it comes to PPC macs. :)

#11 +Karl L.

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 00:38

Another advantage of running Debian on my PowerBook G4 is speed. The difference probably won't be quite as noticeable for you as it was for me since your machine is more powerful, but considering how underpowered PowerPC processors are compare to their Intel (or even ARM) equivalents, you can probably use all the speed you can get. Also, unlike OS X or most many other Linux distributions, PowerPC is an officially supported architecture by Debian.

Edit: Download the latest Debian Wheezy beta installer from here, and read the official PowerPC installation guide located here.

#12 OP +Chicane-UK

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 14:02

Quite interested to see that Debian also supports some old Silicon Graphics hardware, specifically the Indigo2 which I also own. The Indigo2 has a recent version of IRIX on it, but I never warmed to IRIX to be honest... so would be more than happy to try Debian on it!