PowerPC Ubuntu Linux

december 18, 2005

OK, there has been a lot of talk about Ubuntu Linux lately and I wanted to check it out. I was visiting their website to look for an Intel x86 Live CD, but to my surprise I found PPC support also! So, I downloaded the LiveCD for PowerPC (support for G3, G4, and G5 including iBooks and Powerbooks) to try out on my Powerbook. It took an hour to download (I wish I had a faster connection to the internet, DSL 1.5Mbit/sec is kind of slow) and when it was done, I burned it to a CD and restarted my Powerbook. I must say, I am very impressed with the distribution. After answering three questions (selection of language and keyboard), I was booted into Ubuntu Linux. My Airport Extreme card was not supported, so I had to hook in via the Gigabit port. But, once I was on the network it was smooth sailing. I was surfing the net and checking my email with Firefox. Chatting with GAIM. I tested out GIMP and OpenOffice.org. It all worked, right out of the box. No problems whatsoever. Then I remembered that my Uncle Nelson had left an iMac G3/350 with me to be reimaged. I had no MacOS 9 to do it with and my old MacOS X (Jaguar and Panther) refused to boot the machine. The box had been sitting in the garage for months. I started a download of the Ubuntu Installation CD while I brought the iMac G3 in from the garage. It only had 64MB of RAM inside, but that was easily fixed. I dug up two 128MB DIMMS out of an old PC and replace the 64MB DIMM. The machine booted fine into the Live CD and everything seemed to run great -- just a little slower. When the install CD was done downloading and burnt to a CD, I went ahead with the install. I am very impressed with the installation of Ubuntu. I answered a few questions, it did its installation, kicked the CD out, rebooted, went through one more stage of installation and it was all ready. The iMac now runs Ubuntu Linux just fine. It is a tad on the slow side and there isn't much storage, but for an internet terminal that can handle some basic office tasks, it is perfect! If anything gets close to being a user friendly distribution of Linux, I think Ubuntu is it. It is as easier to install than Windows and works great right out of the box. Give the Live CD a shot. And yes, that is a picture of my Powerbook running the Ubuntu Live CD. I am not going to install Ubuntu onto my Powerbook, I love MacOS X too much and have too many programs that I rely on. But, if I ever run across an old Pismo or Wall Street Powerbook, I would definitely try to install Ubuntu onto one of those.