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Linux on the iMac G4 292

Brent Foster writes: "The staff at have Linux running on the new flat panel iMac G4s. They have an initial installation guide available here(1). It has several photos of the iMac G4 during the installation as well as cat /proc/cpuinfo. They also have some photos of the unpacking available here(2). The iMac was sponsored by PowerMax, it is nice to see companies sponsoring Linux efforts, especially in the Apple world." John Buswell adds: "It currently works in novideo mode, but we plan on testing newer kernels and XFree 4.2 with nvidia patches later this week."
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Linux on the iMac G4

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  • by IAgreeWithThisPost ( 550896 ) on Monday February 11, 2002 @06:23PM (#2990147) Homepage Journal
    In light of major corporation sponsership of Linux, including companies such as HP and IBM, Microsoft has announced they will be releasing Windows on Linux.

    "We have decided the core linux OS is in dire need of a GUI which actually works," says Richard Belzer, Sr. Marketing Representative. "KDE and Gnome do not offer the performance of our products"

    But don't look for Windows XP for Linux anytime soon, Microsoft has decided to rollout Windows 95 for Linux.

    "Windows 95 both performs better than any GUI Linux offers, and also has more application support," stated Mr. Belzer. "We are assuming that because the average Linux user is used to GUI's such as KDE and GNOME, which are sluggish and problematic, that Windows 95 would actually be a step up for them."

    Windows 95 for Linux is expected to be released by Fall 2002.

    Vindictive Mods []
  • Why though? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 1nt3lx ( 124618 ) on Monday February 11, 2002 @06:28PM (#2990210) Homepage Journal
    Linux has its applications but why would you drop that kind of cash on that kind of machine to run linux on it? You can run linux on a cheap Athlon and have the same (if not better) performance.

    Not only that but linux can't even begin to compare to the impressiveness of MacOS X. I have a G3 running OSX and I would kill to have the G4.

    Its impressive, sure, but it begs the question: WHY?

    Also, what are the benefits? Fink runs on the BSD compatibility layer, you can compile all your favorite X apps (that aren't packaged on fink) and you can run a rootless X!

    Maybe I am just missing the point of the whole thing, and this is not a flame or a troll. This is genuine interest. What would compell someone to run Linux instead of MacOS X on such an elegant (and expensive) machine?
    • Re:Why though? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Silver222 ( 452093 )
      I think the standard response to this would be the same as George Leigh Mallory's when he was asked why people tried to climb Mount Everest.

      "Because It's There"

      • Well, convenience. It's the flip side of the question "Why not Linux on the Desktop"?

        Setting up a complete Linux based internet or intranet server is cake. Everything you need is either prepackaged as a rpm or deb or at least has an autoconf script that builds it flawlessly on any mainstream linux. With OSX, you have to hunt around to hunt around for all the pieces, and they may not work 100% yet.

        I'm setting up an OSX intranet server right now, and it's a bit of a chore, although I anticipate once everything's done it should be easy enough to administer. I like the way they do startup scripts (instead of the linux rc.d) -- takes a bit of getting used to but it seems clean.

        By the way, anybody else have trouble getting recent 2.4 kernels to boot out of yaboot? I haven't got anything later than 2.4.10 running, I get the 'DEFAULT CATCH' open firmware error message. I think I need a more recent veriso of yaboot. If I can get a more recent version of the kernel, then I'll probably stop work on the OSX server.
    • It's not always about the cash involved. Fact is, there are lots of people blessed with sufficient funds to play around and not all of them are idiots or assholes.

      FWIW, I agree with you. But if I had the spare change, I might do it.
    • Linux has its applications but why would you drop that kind of cash on that kind of machine to run linux on it? You can run linux on a cheap Athlon and have the same (if not better) performance.

      Well, maybe because there are other things in life than performance?

      I think the new iMac comes in handy for semi-public terminals (like in companies) or something like this.

    • You want a mac because OSX kicks ass. You also want to run Linux for other reasons. You don't want to buy two machines. So you figure out how to run Linux on your mac in addition to OSX.

      Fink is the bid'ness, and it kicks prodigious booty, but it only knows about packages that have been patched, and there are things you still can't do in rootless X (like 3d in a window, important if you want to run GtkRadiant), and there's no Apache/mod_perl build for Fink yet. Hopefully someday all of these gaps will be filled, but in the meanwhile it's very useful to be able to dual-boot.

      If you just want Linux, you're obviously wasting your money on a mac. But if you want the smooth, creamy goodness of OSX and Linux to boot, the ability to run Linux on your mac is a godsend.
      • and there's no Apache/mod_perl build for Fink yet

        OK, I really like the new Macs, but how insane must you be if you want to run a web server on an iMac?

        • how insane must you be if you want to run a web server on an iMac
          Well, depends. I've seen no instability when it comes to the unix layer (although my iBook has had trouble with sleep/screensaver issues) - but that's not the point. Think development platform.

          Think development platform while sitting on the back deck watching the sun go down on the other side of the valley.

          While connected to the staging server.

        • Apache and mod_perl already run on the iMac with the factory installation of OS X.
      • by keytoe ( 91531 ) on Monday February 11, 2002 @06:52PM (#2990457) Homepage

        there's not Apache/mod_perl build for Fink yet
        While you are correct about the absence of apache/mod_perl for Fink, you might like to know that the mod_perl DSO for apache is included with the standard OS X install. Simply edit your apache.conf file to load it (actually, just un-comment the line that calls it).

        I spent hours trying to get apache/mod_perl/mod_ssl compiled and installed before I realised it was alread done for me... and Software Update keeps it fresh, even!

    • Re:Why though? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Skuld-Chan ( 302449 )
      I know why I install linux on sparc boxes - for starters they are here. But for the most part its because you get amazing multi-user performance in a machine that is in some cases uses like 1/10th the energy as your average desktop pc.

      maybe its the same way with the mac?
    • Re:Why though? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by starseeker ( 141897 )
      Several reasons. One is merely the licensing issues - Darwin is more or less open, but the graphical code very definitely is not. A lot of us like to be able to find out, at least in principle, what is going on at all levels of our system.

      Another is the development focus of the linux teams - they will tend to have more cutting edge non-graphical stuff, like multiple journaling filesystems, before apple. Apple sells desktops, and you can bet that's what they will be gearing their operating system for. Some of us want more flexability, and more just plain cool cutting edge unstable cool features.

      And finally, I want Blackbox instead of the OSX desktop. Call me crazy (probably true) but I like the mimimalistic, efficient desktop blackbox represents. If I want crazy graphics, I can have the system in dual boot.

      Bottom line, OSX is not completely free. And there are plenty of us who will accept nothing less. I agree OSX is impressive, but I don't want to become dependent on it. The world is already paying the price for being dependent on one commercial operating system. I'm not keen on it being replaced with another, even if it is Apple's product. We've learned that lesson - let's remember it.
      • Re:Why though? (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Okay, your first mistake is that anything free is automaticly better than something that isn't free. Man hours cost alot, and OSX comes with many free program as it is, iMovie, iDVD, iTunes, iPhoto.

        IMHO $129 is not too expesive for software that merges two worlds (BSD and Mac) and allows you to run both without rebooting. The Mac side actually makes it more marketable to buisnesses because of Microsoft Office.

        And, Gaming performance, video card support, hardware support. Blah..I'm tired of doing this.
      • "And there are plenty of us who will accept nothing less."

        Bravo. So why are you buying an iMac?
        • Re:Why though? (Score:2, Insightful)

          by starseeker ( 141897 )
          Really good hardware for the price.
          • Well, For linux on mac vs linux on x86, x86 is cheaper and faster. If you check out pricewatch [] you can good hardware at very affordable prices. I bought many 350+ dollar 1ghz pc's.

            If its not the money, support for linux on x86 is better.

            Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught. - Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)

      • The liscensing issue here isn't really valid, since they come with OSX on them. You can't buy one without it.
    • Heck, it could be the Linux motto

      "Why Not!"
    • Why? Because you can.

      C'mon, this is Slashdot we're talking about here. They also post articles on running MAME on an Xbox and 101 uses for your Dreamcast.
    • Re:Why though? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FatRatBastard ( 7583 )
      Maybe I am just missing the point of the whole thing, and this is not a flame or a troll. This is genuine interest. What would compell someone to run Linux instead of MacOS X on such an elegant (and expensive) machine?

      Ok... the normal "this is not a troll" disclaimer...

      But, I'm always amazed at the "why do people do..." questions. Its as if they expect the world to think the exact same way they do.

      "Why do KDE developers duplicate what Gnome is doing?"

      "Why do Gnome developers duplicate what KDE is doing?"

      "Why don't Linux users just switch to BSD?"

      So on and so forth...

      Even worse are those who DEMAND that folks stop doing the things they enjoy and start working on the things that the poster thinks is important:

      "All the Gnome developers should stop and help the KDE team..."

      Doesn't anyone realize that people work on what they want to work on, regardless of what the f**k others think....
      "People who port Linux to the Dreamcast are wasting time that could be better spent doing other things..."

      • But, I'm always amazed at the "why do people do..." questions. Its as if they expect the world to think the exact same way they do.

        I think you've got it exactly backwards. If a person is taking on a project that to my eyes seems redundant, I would likely assume that they see something that I do not and ask them "why do you..." in order to seek enlightenment.

        My first impulse when I see something that seems wrong to me is to try and find out how it seems right to someone else.

        However, often enough, a genuine question does seem to be construed as an attack. I guess that a lot of people assume that we've already got our minds made up, therefore a question is really an probe for weakness.
    • by zulux ( 112259 )
      Its impressive, sure, but it begs the question: WHY?

      The pairing of Apples inexpensive and yet open hardware with the seamless Gome/KDE/Mofif desktop is unbeatable. To add to it - you have all the fun of simulating a three button mouse with waky key-mouse combos - I think A,B,B,A,Left,Right,Start simulates a middle mouse button press.

      Just kidding.

    • A view of why. (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by clump ( 60191 )
      I ran Debian Linux on a 'New World' G4. It took a little tweaking to install to bootloader but once installed, I had no other issues. Why would I put Linux on it? For one, Linux screams on PowerPC. Linux and G4s make an excellent server combo. OpenFirmware is also server-class, adding to the enterprise-nature of the hardware.

      Another reason is speed and maturity. Linux has run on PowerPC for years, and is well supported. I was able to run XFree86, Enlightenment, and instant-message apps with ease. These were readily available via apt. Just about every piece of OSS/FS I was accostomed to on x86 was there.

      Final reason is cost. OSX isn't free of charge and you must pay for upgrades. Im not really into piracy, so spending hundreds of Dollars on a new software didn't make much sense.

      Don't get me wrong. MacOS X was very attractive and neat. However, some features/differences (netinfo or whatever its called management, GUI by default, weird / layout) didn't leave me happy with its ability to serve. OSX is great for a desktop Mac user but needs a little more time to prove its worth as a server OS.
      • For one, Linux screams on PowerPC.

        I am positive that, with the money it costs to buy a G4, I can build a faster Linux box using AMD gear.

        Another reason is speed and maturity. Linux has run on PowerPC for years, and is well supported.

        But Linux has run on x86 platforms longer, and is better supported there.

        Final reason is cost. OSX isn't free of charge and you must pay for upgrades.

        You can not buy a new G4 without getting OS X. And every upgrade to OS X to date has been free. I know this, because I have installed every upgrade on my G4, and have not had to pay a dime for any of them. When 10.1 came out, I was even handed free CD's of the upgrade by the nice folks at the Apple Store, to save me the downloading time.

        So all this brings us back to the question: If you want a Linux server, why would you buy a G4 to install it on when a PC is cheaper?

        It seems to me like buying a Mercedes and converting the body into a custom pick-up truck... You can do it, but just buying a Toyata Tundra seems to make a whole lot more sense.

        • I admit it: I crave a Mac. iMac, iBook, PowerBook, whatever. Why?

          Because I think it would be cool to have one. I run linux all the time, only booting into Windows when a)my boss requires a word-formatted document or b)to watch a DVD with menu support.

          If I got a Mac, I would want to be able to run the OS with which I am most familiar - linux. At the same time, I would want to play with OS X. But the main reason I would buy a Mac is for the variety.

          A new platform means new challenges, new problems, new hurdles. New fun. And as a tech junkie, I crave new fun.

          Practicality? Who needs it?
        • Forgive me if I am wrong about the uprades. I thought for sure they were premium, but I stand corrected.

          For bang-for-your-buck, I feel Linux on x86 is hard to beat. However, PowerPC (in my opinion) is much better hardware-wise and better for reliability. OpenFirmware is much more flexible than an normal PC BIOS. The hardware holds ties to IBM and the RS line, which has generally been known to be solid.

          So for my money, I will buy x86 because I feel I get better value. If I can afford to be a little more picky on hardware, I will buy SPARC. Still, if I work in a shop that only has PowerPC I will throw Linux on it.

          I don't think anyone will argue that x86 is better hardware. It just isn't. I think you will find some argument on whether OSX is fit to serve.
    • Connectix Virtual PC for MacOS X [] and Redhat Linux [] running together is a better a choice for linux on Mac. The PowerPC Linux project is best suited for the non-Mac PPC boxen.
    • I think this is explained by the same motto that accounts for 90% of the software on Freshmeat:

      Because We Can
    • For the funky flat-panel-on-stalk screen? OS X isn't really much like Linux, and an Athlon doesn't have Apple's exciting and strange hardware.
  • by cperciva ( 102828 ) on Monday February 11, 2002 @06:29PM (#2990220) Homepage
    I think the man pages for here(1) and here(2) are broken.
  • these guys are hosted on a cable modem. i don't know why slashdot keeps posting stuff on the main page... they know it is going to be slashdotted sooner than later
  • by starseeker ( 141897 ) on Monday February 11, 2002 @06:35PM (#2990274) Homepage
    I was concerned about this when I first heard about the new G4 imacs. They would be a great computer to get if they could run linux, but they use a GeForce2 MX chip. Not good for driver support concerns, as I'm sure most everyone on Slashdot knows. NVIDA provides x86 drivers, but not PPC ones, last time I checked.

    Does anyone know if there is a way around this? They mention Xfree86 4.2 in the article as a possibility - did someone actually get multi-platform suppport for the Geforce into Xfree86??

    To me, that's the interesting question. It was a fair bet command line linux would work, which is good for some things, but in my case it's either find a way to make X work or get a different computer. I'm sure that's the case for lots of people. This is great, but not surprising. Tell us about the Geforce MX and XFree86 - that's the real news, if it can be made to work!
  • by ubiquitin ( 28396 ) on Monday February 11, 2002 @06:36PM (#2990287) Homepage Journal
    You could run X apps comfortably and remotely via a ssh session. It amazes me how few people realize the power of X11 (especially good XFree86 projects like XDarwin []) and think that you have to install Linux on everything just to run X11 apps. Think networking, folks! The FreeBSD versus Linux debates sucked the first time around and I'll bet the Darwin verus Linux debates will suck even harder.
    • by diverman ( 55324 ) on Monday February 11, 2002 @06:44PM (#2990375)
      Yeah... well, I've got Linux on my PC's, with OS X as my main user OS. But there's still some things I like to run from my Linux box. XDarwin is REALLY slick.

      Screen shot: here []

      All the Xwin stuff are running from my PC-based Linux box, displaying on the 22" flat screen integrated with the OS X apps. God bless XDarwin!

      I've always been a PC fan until OS X. I now LOVE my Mac!


      • I do the same thing, only with a windows desktop. The xwin stuff is running on my x86 linux box. The main reason for having the x86 machine is because it's loaded with storage and shoved in my closet so I don't have to hear the noise. Keeps my living room livable.

        Screen Shot [] [1600x1200]

        My g3 is only a 400mhz machine, while fast, it's not as fast as my 1.4ghz athlon, so I stick with the zippy machine for most gui stuff. I used to run dual head on my g400 card, but my second monitor bit the dust and I havn't replaced it yet.
  • by fr2asbury ( 462941 ) on Monday February 11, 2002 @06:38PM (#2990316)
    Why not?

    or better yet. . .


    Remember this the next time you ask "Why?" about Linux on Mac, or Amiga stuff, or even Minor Linux development release headlines.

  • Kneejerk (Score:5, Funny)

    by Iamthefallen ( 523816 ) <Gmail name: Iamthefallen> on Monday February 11, 2002 @06:41PM (#2990342) Homepage Journal

    To save some time I've made this checklist for any iMac related topic, should save us reading a couple of dozen posts each time:

    [insert comment about how cool new iMac is] | [insert comment about how crappy new iMac is]
    [insert flame]
    [insert comment comparing iMac to a $400 athlon]
    [insert flame]
    [insert comment about quality parts, lcd screen, writing dvds]
    [insert flame]
    [insert comment comparing iMac to a $800 athlon]
    [insert flame]
    [insert comment about quality parts, lcd screen, writing dvds]
    [insert flame]
    [insert comment comparing iMac to a $1200 athlon]
    [insert flame]
    [insert comment about quality parts, lcd screen, writing dvds]
    [insert flame]
    [insert comment comparing iMac to a $1800 Dell]
    [Close thread with a "Well they suck anyway" comment]

    • Re:Kneejerk (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You forgot these

      [insert rant about DVD maker crippling]

      [insert whine about Aqua threats and lawsuits against skinners]

      [insert "but they stole it from Xerox" argument]

      I'm sure there are others.


  • And? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SID*C64 ( 444002 ) on Monday February 11, 2002 @06:41PM (#2990348) Homepage
    Ok, yes it's always exciting to run Linux on a new platform. But what did these guys do that was so new? Not much, but I would like to say a few things about running Linux on Mac for the PC folk...

    YellowDog Linux is a really great distribution. Its no frills, 1 CD install makes it very simple to get Linux going on your Mac.

    And why not? Yes Mac is expensive when compared to a PC with similar capabilities. What most people don't realize is the advantage of having Linux (the most open, portable, and compatible thing around) dual-boot with MacOS X. You've got two very powerful Unix-based platforms on one machine. Now, go and install Virtual PC 5 on OS X... install Win2K. You now have MacOS, Linux, and Windows all on one machine. A VERY nice test platform. Do this on an iBook or that old PowerBook and you will be very happy.

    As a PC guy most of the time, I've got this setup on my PowerBook (nobody else was using it) at work and I must say that I use it for everything. Be creative.
    • Re:And? (Score:2, Informative)

      by __past__ ( 542467 )
      Linux (the most open, portable, and compatible thing around)

      OK, I won't argue about openness, scince I don't like license wars. However:

      • NetBSD supports 59 different machines with 16 processor architectures.
      • OpenBSD is binary compatible with SVR4, BSDOS, Linus, SunOS, Ultrix, FreeBSD, HPUX, IBCS2, NetBSD and OSF1
      • Linux depends heavily on GNU tools, that happen to take an "embrace and extend" attitude on Unix standards. Believe them when they say they're "Not Unix". Try compiling the Linux kernel with a standard C compiler.
      So, who's the most portable and compatible now? There are more things in the world than Windows and Linux, you now, kiddie...
      • Re:And? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kiwi ( 5214 )
        an "embrace and extend" attitude on Unix standards.

        I do not think "Unix standards" is a good enough excuse to hold back Linux technology. For the most part, programs with GNU extensions are backwards-compatible with the archaic UNIX tools.

        The advantage of tools using the GNU extensions is that they give more options to the end user; including the option to ignore all of the technological advances that the GNU tools have.

        For example, Bash is bourne shell compatbile, but has a number of features which make life easier, including up arrow/down arrow history, tab filename completion, job control, $( ) instead of the ugly ` syntax, a number of arguments to test which the archaic UNIX tools do not have, to name a few. I can, of course, make a shell script which does not need any of these features; this is what I do when I need to make a cross-platform script. I, however, also have the freedom to use these additional features when the scripts I write call for it.

        GNU's extensions are different from Microsoft's extensions; the extension are well-documented, the source code which implements the extensions is available for anyone to examine, and the extensions do not break backwards compatibility.

        For something to not stagnate, it has to change. I am glad the the GNU developers have the wisdom to ignore these kinds of reactionary sentiments.

        - Sam

  • I am thinking that the iMac would be great to put on a wall (or even hang down from above).

    However, I'm not sure if the display can be positioned accordingly. If the joints only allow 90, it's not possible. (Hanging down from above would be possible, but the display would be upside-down)

    Can any new iMac owners check this?

    • The CD-RW/DVD-R drive ejects like a home stereo CD player out of the front of the hemisphere -- the keyboard has the eject button instead of the base. Its hard to see the "CD Tray" in the promo photos because it is so flush to the machine. If you tried to wall mount the iMac, everytime you eject a CD it would fall to the ground. So if you do it, put a non-static pillow underneath it. Would also be a good "safety net" in case your wall mounts failed.
    • IANAMacUser, but many XFree86 drivers allow you to rotate the display by 90 or 180. One more reason to run Linux :-)
  • It's just way too pricey man. The moment I can buy a mac with the same price/performance ratio as a PC, I will be into it. Because I love the boutique feel of a mac.

    Fuck the traditional beige PC case, and don't tell me all about the pretty neon lights you can stuff into your beige case in an effort to make it stylish. The Macs have been designed from the ground up to be elegant and appealing, and no clone add-on case comes close. It is like comparing a kitsch collection of Harry Potter dolls with an original Rodin. There's just something more appealing about he Mac.

    There's also the heritage that you're buying into with a Mac. It's somewhat like buying a MG or a Ferrari - you're not just buying the machine, but something with a tangible pedigree. You're buying the end product of the pinoeers of computing.

    The combination of style, elegance, pedigree and Linux is almost enough to sway me. But as a programmer I am always going to be pragmatic, and cough up far fewer dollars for a superior tool, even if it's like buying an old shitbox paddock basher.

    • by nullard ( 541520 )
      Ah, yes the price/performance myth.

      Macs do have a higher price-performance ratio than PCs of similar quality. The G4 processor is REALLY fast. Sit down and use one for a while. I don't care about Photoshop benchmarks. Actually use the computer you will see what I mean.

      Mac users have also been shown to have higher productivity rates than PC users. There are many factors in this including computer performance, interface consistency, uptime, etc.

      Macs also have a much lower total cost of ownership than PCs because they have a longer usable lifespan and they have less down time and require fewer repairs.

      I've had only two pieces of Apple hardware fail - ever. One was a refurbished monitor from 1994 that had a design flaw. The other was my G4's on-board ethernet after a direct lighing strike outside my house. Apple fixed it under waranty. My router died that day as well and I had to buy a new one because the warranty wouldn't cover it.

      I've had countless of PC parts failures - everything from hard drives to monitors.

      My 1999 G4 is still very useable today wheras most PCs from that time need to be replaced.

      I've spent $0 in repairs/replacemnts on my G4. My mother has gone through three whole PCs in the same time period.

      Now tell me again how cheap PCs are.
  • Unbelievable. Somebody releases an excellent system and the first thing the Slashdot crowd wants to do is run Linux on it. OS X is an outstanding operating system in and of itself, and also happens to run most every 'Linux' app the average hack needs. It even runs X quite comfortably. So, why, why WHY would somebody waste their time installing Linux on such a machine?

    I'll venture a guess: Because it isn't about practicality. It isn't about what makes sense. It's all about "Linux as Religion". And that, frankly, makes me sick. Grow up, boys. Move on. Start using computers for something useful instead of using them to stroke your fragile little egos.
    • So, why, why WHY would somebody waste their time installing Linux on such a machine?

      Maybe perhaps because they prefer Linux? Its all about choice - many people would prefer to run Linux on any given processor. You may prefer to run OS X, and that is your choice. Many people prefer to run Windows, and thats their choice. Thats something that most zelots don't understand - the whole fight is about choice.

      I'll venture a guess: Because it isn't about practicality. It isn't about what makes sense. It's all about "Linux as Religion"

      Yet, you crow on and on about OS X - If you could run OS X on a X86, would you? Would that be pratical? Would that make sense? Or would that be a religious preference?

      For me personally, it makes much more sense and it is much more pratical to run Linux than OS X. Hearing that Linux runs on one of these boxes makes me more likely to buy one. But thats my choice (you know, free, as in speech).
      • Agreed (Score:3, Insightful)

        by clump ( 60191 )
        Having choices with hardware always makes it more attractive. Some of us don't really feel that OSX is the best option for every use. For servers, I would prefer Linux over OSX due based on maturity and speed. Does anyone really want Aqua on a server?

    • So, why, why WHY would somebody waste their time installing Linux on such a machine?

      Hrm.. now THAT'S a rather condescending presumption...

      If we're going to go that route, how about I insist that you're an idiot for thinking OS X is of any use, when all the real application support out there is with the Win32 side of the industry?

      Perhaps it's possible that some people just really LIKE Linux? Maybe we GENUINELY PREFER Linux? It's not just an OS for people that can't afford commercial operating systems, y'know. For one thing, OS X is a BSD-like system, and I personally can't stand BSD. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I think "BSD sucks" or something. Rather, I just prefer the GNU way of doing things, both in method and in license. Why is it immature of me or any other Linux user to prefer Linux to any other system? To each their own!
    • OS X isn't really the same thing. Sure, it runs just about all the Linux applications you might want, but it acts very differently. According to my friend who is used to linux/solaris and MacOS, it isn't really like either of these.

      That all makes perfect sense: why did Apple bother to write OS X, when Linux already worked fine? Because they wanted something different. But if it's different, it makes sense to run Linux instead, if what you want is a Linux system.

      There's another factor, which is not about practicality: if you really want to know what this new machine is made of, there's no better way to find out for yourself than to port Linux to it. You'll quickly find out all of the quirks in the hardware with relatively little time spent working on non-platform-specific code.
    • by omega9 ( 138280 ) on Monday February 11, 2002 @07:38PM (#2990818)
      It would be very easy to agree with you, and in large part I do. In fact, knowing what I'm about to say, it would still be incredibly easy to just say "You're right" and move on.


      Consider this feat from something other than a practical use standpoint. Yes, OS X is a gorgeous, useable, practical operating system that is tailored to take the best advantage of Apple hardware. With it you can begin being extremely productive right out of the box. But at the same time you are agreeing to take the operating system they built and run it on the hardware they deem appropriate.

      What putting Linux on the new iMac does, is show that there are some of us who are willing and want to try things our own way. Many times it may turn up nowhere near as usable as the original product, but "usable" is a very subjective term. It's about pushing limits and trying new things. It also sends a small message to manufacturers saying "Hey, you might have made a nice piece of equipment, but now it's my turn, and I'm going to try some tings my way."
    • I have one of the first Blue and White G3s, 300 MHz. I ran the OSX public beta for a while, but ultimatly went back to a dual booting Linux/OS 8 (now 9) box for several reasons (some that don't really apply to the new iMacs, but I am going to list them anyway. HA!)

      • It was slower than mud. I am told that the final version is faster, but I still don't think that OSX was really made to support a low end G3.

      • I detest Aqua. Perhaps I could learn to love it, but it is far to bright, with to many primary colors, funky visual effects, etc. I like simple greys, dark blues, and green text on a black background. I don't like all of the brightly colored windows and widgets.

      • Other window managers run poorly (or not at all, ie. KDE) under OSX, thus it is difficult to make Aqua better.

      • And, most importantly, I am far more comfortable with Linux. Of course, with time I would become comfortable with OSX as well, but like most people, I am resistant to change. Read Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolution . I'm not saying that this is a good atitude to have, just that it is a common atitude.

      For me (at least) it has nothing to do with ego. It is more a matter of aesthetics.
    • by rseuhs ( 322520 ) on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:57PM (#2991349)

      Multiple Desktop support:

      KDE/Linux [x] MacOSX [ ] WinXP [~] (with tools)

      Browser windows respawn and restore everything like it was on logout:

      Konqueror [x] Mozilla [ ] IE [ ]

      MMB pastes selection:

      KDE/Linux [x] MacOSX [ ] WinXP [ ]

      You can have menubar-applets like mixer and syscontrol:

      KDE/Linux [x] MacOSX [ ] WinXP [ ]

      You can have multiple menubars:

      KDE/Linux [x] MacOSX [ ] WinXP [x]

      You can have (gasp) a real taskbar than also supports grouping:

      KDE/Linux [x] MacOSX [ ] WinXP [x]

      MMB opens link in new window:

      Konqueror[x] Mozilla [x] IE [ ]

      You can have a fast filebrowser in the menubar:

      KDE/Linux [x] MacOSX [ ] WinXP [ ]

      You can have ALL settings/controls organized in a tree-like structure:

      KControl [x] MacOSX [ ] WinXP [ ]

      What was your point again?

      • Consistent, fast, attractive desktop layer that doesn't annoy the living fuck out of me like X11 does, PLUS supports UNIX tools AND killer apps like Photoshop...

        ...PRICELESS. []

        C-X C-S []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 11, 2002 @07:19PM (#2990699)
    ROTFL.. these guys are bouncing requests they can't handle back to slashdot rather than having their servers queue and try to respond to them. this is pretty cool.. must say its a unique way to handle a slashdotting :)
  • Since Apple have a propensity to obsolete their hardware, and OSes rather quickly.

    Look at 68k macs - no longer supported by any current version of the MacOS.

    Look at the Newton - dumped

    Look at Pre-G3 Power Macs - unsupported by OS X, or any Apple Unix

    Look at A/UX - dumped by Apple

    My IIfx, PowerMac 8500, Rev. A iMac, Titanium PowerBook, Duron 750, Celeron 366, dual P-Pro 200, P-133 and Sega Dreamcast will *all* run Linux, and will likely be able to run Linux until their hardware fails.

    Apple can't support their products like the Open Source community can, they seem to be of the opinion that if a machine is more than 2 years old, it is useless and you should buy a new one.

    I, for one, am extremely glad my Macs can run Linux, because I know that when Apple forget me (and they will), the open Source community are still here to support me (and they encourage me to help support myself).

    A huge thank you to the LinuxM68k, LinuxPPC, Linux-SH4 and Linux-x86 coders, you have made such a difference to my computing life.

    • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Monday February 11, 2002 @07:40PM (#2990831)
      Good point, however the argument really only applies to open-source applications, which tend to get ported to anything with a compiler anyway. Binary applications in Linux tend to be even shorter lived than other platforms (i.e. running a libc5/kernel 1.2.x binary application on modern equipment?)
      As far as Apple goes, I would dare say they dragged on the m68k support as long as it was feasible, beyond a certain point the market has shrunk too much. Of Desktop/Workstation systems, I would say that Mac has either the longest or second longest lifespan of m68k products. (Sun ditched them way early after Sun3 hardware, and depending on how you count Amiga, Amiga might be considered longer support for m68k, since 3.9 was released in 2k, but then again, Amiga's support over the last few years has been rather tenuous at best.
      Mac hardware tends to enjoy a much longer period of being up-to-date than, say, the PC market..
    • Remember that Darwin is open-source. It's already been ported to pre-G3 Macs, and with more work could probably be ported to any PowerPC platform.
    • by artemis67 ( 93453 ) on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:52PM (#2991310)
      Since Apple have a propensity to obsolete their hardware, and OSes rather quickly.

      Look at 68k macs - no longer supported by any current version of the MacOS...

      Look at Pre-G3 Power Macs - unsupported by OS X, or any Apple Unix...

      Apple can't support their products like the Open Source community can, they seem to be of the opinion that if a machine is more than 2 years old, it is useless and you should buy a new one.

      Yes, but...

      The 68040 Macs became obsolete when Mac OS 8 came out. It was terribly, terribly slow. The 68040 Mac shipped with either System 6 or System 7. System 6, the last Mac system to fit on a floppy, was nice and lean; A full install of System 7 was ~24 MB, and added a bunch of features that slowed it down considerably, and Mac OS 8 added more still that made it virtually unusable on pre-PPC Macs.

      Same situation with the pre-G3 PowerMacs running OS X. They can run OS's 7 through 9, but running OS X is going to be unbearably slow, especially because of Aqua. I have a 400 mhz B&W G3 in my office (Apple's last G3 tower), and it's "tolerable" with OS X. OS X really needs a G4 with Altivec.

      Apple's doing the right thing; they worry about the future, and let others (like LinuxPPC) address the past.
    • Dude, 68 k macs are like 386 machines. What your asking for here is like asking Win 2k to run on a 386. Aint gonna happen.

      Newton was dumped because it was too far a head of it's time an dtoo expensive to maintain.

      My PowerMac 5400/180 ran mkLinux for a while which is an apple distribution of linux.

      It now has a G3 upgrade and can run most of the Apple linux versions

      A/UX was dumped because of OS X.

      Besides, the reason apple doesn't support any pre G3's is to get people who are still using old Mac SEs to finaly realize their comp needs to get traded in for somethign a bit newer.
    • by namespan ( 225296 ) <namespan&elitemail,org> on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:56PM (#2991337) Journal
      Since Apple have a propensity to obsolete their hardware, and OSes rather quickly.

      "Quickly" is relative -- it depends on if you're trying to compare with other proprietary systems or open source.

      If you're talking Linux, well, any OSS software beats the hell out of anything else for longevity on HW, of course. Anyone who wants to can port to any HW and maintain it

      But at the moment, I'm typing this on a five+ year old PowerMac 9500. Running Mac OS 9.2 on 48 MB ram rather smoothly. Some pages render badly in Netscape, but it's a very serviceable machine that would be MORE serviceable if I threw gobs o' ram in. Try running Windows ME or 2000 on a Pentium II 200 with 48 MB RAM.

      (The 9500 will run OS X with some tweaking if I put a G3/G4 upgrade in it, BTW).

      Look at 68k macs - no longer supported by any current version of the MacOS.

      68030 Macs (last off the line sometime around 93/94) lost OS support in OS 8 (Fall 1998). Again, that's 4-5 years of support. 68040 Macs (dropped about 1995) lost support in OS 9 (2000) -- again about 5 years. And this is only time from when they CEASE manufacturing the old models... if you go from the time they start, it's phenomenal. Take the venerable SE/30... off the line in '89, finally dropped from support in 1998. That's 9 years of support. Not too shabby.

      The other angles is that if you use the contemporary software, most Macs run quite well. I have an SE/30 that's still knockout for Word Processing, basic spreadsheet, music sequencing/notation, and checking email. You can argue the same for any hardware, but in terms of utility, beats the hell out of any 1989 intel hardware I've seen.
      • Just a few clarifications: OS 7.5.5 was the last to support 68000 series macs, OS 7.6 was the last to support 68030 series, even then you needed a 32-bit clean machine. OS 8.1 was the last to support 68040 machines, and even some 68k that were upgraded to PPC (it was possible to hack 8.5 on them though, but it ran extremely slow on my 540c w/ upgrade.) All the systems since then require at least a PPC.
      • Try running Windows ME or 2000 on a Pentium II 200 with 48 MB RAM.

        Don't discount Windows too much. I bought some old thinkpads with Pentium I MMX 233mHz processors and 96 megs of ram and threw win2k on them. They run great. With a few orinoco cards these machines are great for browsing the web and doing word processing while sitting on a couch. I don't find any OS to be too much of a hog on hardware compared to heavy applications like Photoshop 6 or games. In fact I found Win2K to be a better OS for older hardware than 95, 98, or ME, which all seem to flake out randomly.

  • Answers why: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MSG ( 12810 ) on Monday February 11, 2002 @07:38PM (#2990815)
    In responce to the many questions of 'why?', I'd submit some of the following:

    I've used Fink. I've built all of the packages in the stable tree. I've read many of the patches. Not to belittle the excellent work that the Fink developers do, it feels hackish at times. Darwin's BSD layer isn't a very good UNIX, and causes many applications to not compile, or compile with bad hackish workarounds. Darwin imposes a lot of limitations that Linux doesn't have, and is buggy or not POSIX compliant in other respects. From a UNIX developers position, Linux is far and away a better UNIX platform.

    Running Linux results in a much smoother UI, anyway. The Mac OS X interface lacks proper keyboard window switching, so users have to resort to the mouse more often. Introduce XFree86 into that picture, and you suddenly have separate keys for window switching in each environtment. Cmd+Tab will switch *applications*, including X, but you need a separate key combo for window switching inside X. I used Opt+Tab. So, if I wanted to switch from the Gimp to gnome-terminal, I can Opt+Tab. If I want to switch to Mozilla running in OS X, I Cmd+Tab to it.... Hackish.

    The performance of XFree86 on OS X is also really pretty awful. The SysV shared memory implimentation on Darwin is too limited for the MIT-SHM extention to be used, and graphics under Quartz are largely unaccelerated. Things draw *slow*. If you're interested in X apps, Linux will perform much better.

    Interested in KDE? Not available from Fink. Apparently KDE does some things assuming that work with ELF binary objects that don't work on Darwin (probalby in Kparts, but I don't know). KDE users are going to want to run Linux.

    Personally, I'm not all that interested in OS X. I don't like it much. However, I *do* really like PowerPC hardware. Resume from suspend is much betther than on x86, which is great for laptops. Power use is better, and heat output is lower. Hardware is easier to configure.
    • Q:Will KDE be available for MacOS X?

      A: As a target for development, I'd guess yes. Or at least, a KDE compatible interface of some kind will. After all, the Qt part of it is...

      Q: Will KDE be free on MacOS X?

      A: If you're not a student... I doubt it. See Trolltech... This [] only lists the enterprise/professional and academic license

      Trolltech Releases Qt/Mac, OS X ( 15. Oct 2001 ) - Oslo, Norway - With its release of Qt/Mac, Trolltech has added Apple Macintosh to the list of platforms supported by Qt, an emerging industry standard in cross-platform software development. Application developers using Qt can now target Mac OS X with the same ease, as they are currently targeting Windows, Linux, Unix, and embedded Linux systems. Qt allows developers to create a single source tree that will run on all these major platforms.

      So KDE as a desktop for Darwin? I'd go with no. KDE apps on MacOS X (and looking like Aqua apps?) That's a distinct possibility. But for free, when the developers face the license fee? With only a month to evaluate Qt free, I'm not about to tackle this one.
  • by Snowfox ( 34467 ) <snowfox AT snowfox DOT net> on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:56PM (#2991335) Homepage
    It's a shame that nvidia doesn't play nice.

    nvidia still hasn't shared which registers are used to set up a DVI display, which this iMac requires. This is also the reason you can't use the XFree86 group's nvidia driver if you have a DVI display on your PC Linux box.

    If nvidia would just share this one bit of info, nvidia users could avoid loading a nasty closed-source driver.

  • You guys just slashdotted my friend's website. Amazingly, it is still up.
  • by jeti ( 105266 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @04:01AM (#2992892) Homepage
    AFAIK MkLinix runs on a Mach32 kernel and MacOS X
    runs on a modified Mach32 kernel. One feature of
    the kernel is that it can run several OSes at the
    same time (as 'personalities').
    So theoretically it should be possible to run Linux
    and MacOS X at the same time.

    Are any efforts being made in that direction?
    • I remember reading about this is the darwin devellopement list a long time ago.

      First MkLinux and Darwin are not based on the same version of Mach. Still, while it would be possible to have linux run over Mach, it would not be very usefull.

      • This implies duplicating a lot of the functionality of the BSD layer, like for instance the drivers. Having two different drivers from different kernels address the same hardware would pose some problems.
      • The end result would only be a Linux kernel.
      • The linux kernel would be slow, because it would run as a Mach process (the BSD layer shares the address space of the Mach kernel).
      • Most people are not intersted in kernels, but more by applications.
      • Applications can be handled either by recompiling them for Darwin, or by emulating Linux system calls (I think BSD can do this).

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents