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Overview of Linux on Macintosh Hardware 171

1millionmhz writes "Upside Today is running a piece on the relationship between Apple and the various groups creating Linux distributions for the PowerPC platform, including MkLinux, LinuxPPC and Yellow Dog Linux. Interviews with main figures from each company and covers how open source development model does an end-around on Apple's efforts to "keep Linux at arm's length." "
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Overview of Linux on Macintosh Hardware

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  • The Client version of MacOS X will be using Quartz. It will be based on Abobe's PDF technology and expected to be very powerful and fast.
  • by Daniel ( 1678 ) < minus threevowels> on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @02:27AM (#1667832)
    This is what I thought, too, but from Debian's PowerPC port page []:


    Debian/PowerPC is considered to be stable as of February, 1998, and is currently being consolidated for release. More than
    90% of the Debian packages are available, with the remaining packages being processed. Debian/PowerPC will be officially
    released with the next version of Debian (2.2; code-named potato).

    Now -- it's possible that the first major PowerPC release will be finicky until they get all the bugs shaken out, but it looks like they're coming along pretty well. Unless you're working on the port and know something I don't. (I just hopped over to the page so I don't know what's going on on the lists)

  • Software accounts for 5% of Apple's total revenue

    And I would guess that software counts for a majority of Apple's R&D expenses. Especially when you consider all of the holes they've poured money into over the years (Taligent, Copeland, OpenDoc, QuickDrawGX...)
  • In fact, as far as I can tell, things are going well. I'm running Debian/PowerPC on my PowerBook G3 series machine (Wallstreet) and it's quite solid.

    At the moment, the whole system is running quite well.

    Emacs appears to be working again (package dependancies were a messed up for it for a little while), along with almost all the other packages you could ever want.

    Additionally, if you happen to be on a fast (or not even) internet connection, it's always nice to be able to type:
    # apt-get update
    # apt-get upgrade

    to have apt automatically install the latest version of all your installed packages.

    Very sweet system they have going, and it's all done by people working for free all over the world -- this I think is the coolest part of it all. If you really truely believe in the linux philosophy, debian is the distro of choice! :)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The problem with your argument is the Macintosh commercials. They claim that smart people use Macs, and all historical genuises would have also; yet they stifle people from tinkering.

    Just a quick comment... If more of my comments had been printed in that article, it would have come out that Apple has a developer relations guy whose job is providing information and documentation for Linux, both LinuxPPC and MkLinux.

    That hasn't been of much help to MkLinux, mainly because the information we need most is about older hardware, and the info may not even still exist. The reason we got a partial bring-up of the b&w g3's in fairly short time was because LinuxPPC spent months working with the developer relations guy and we figured stuff out based on what they did.

    David Gatwood

  • As I see it, Apple doesn't sell just computers. It's the entire package, hardware, OS, and support. It's sold as one product, and has been since the beginning. Sure, you can run other OSes on a Mac, but that that isn't why people buy 'em. (I must say a G3 makes a rather mean Linux box, but I'd still buy x86 hardware if that were my primary concern.)

    This is why it bugs me when people complain about the Mac being closed. It's true, it is, but it's not because of greed, it's because Apple trying to sell something different from what the typical PC clone maker is. You might not like what Apple is trying to sell, and that's fine as well.

  • That isn't typical. I've got a G3/400 that crashes about once every two weeks. I don't run it 24/7 though; it's in my bedroom and the 3 hard drives I've got in make it hard to sleep while it's on .

    This kind of instability would suck for Linux or any other Unix, but from my experience it beats Win 98, which is funny, since Win 98 has protected memory and Mac OS doesn't.

    Fortunatly Mac OS X should have the stability that comes standard with Unix OSes. And it might ship as soon as January. Until then I'll continue to dual boot Linux PPC, which is very nice on this machine.

  • That's cause they don't taken into account SSE or 3DNow or the G4's AltiVec unit.

    AltiVec (what Apple is marketting as the Velocity Engine) is superior to both Intel's and AMD's fancy multimedia stuff. It's what actually gives apple the bragging rights to the G4's Supercomputer status (as defined by the US Government). Don't believe me that the G4 kills the PIII or K7? Check Thresh's review [].

    Even better, a simply recompile will give software an immediate boost (althought further hand tweeking will yield better performance still) - which isn't so with PIII or K7 i believe (which requires code to be rewritten).

    Apple's current G4 tower doesn't make the most out of the G4 chip, but in a month or two it'll be mostly there (they'll be introducing a new motherboard with 450+ MHz G4's).

    Boy, this is really off topic. Yellow Dog linux is G4 friendly. I don't see what the whole issue is.
  • This isn't true on recent machines. Some of the older machines (including my old Mac clone) didn't have a video driver in OF, so you'd have to type blind or hook up a terminal to a serial port, but the firmware in my B&W G3 doesn't have any problems with screen display.

  • I believe that it would be legal to include MacOS ROMs IF they salvage them from dead Macs. I remember a company, I think they were called Outbound systems who scavanged Mac Plus and SE ROMS for their portable "Mac" system.

    Apple has the position to bully people, just as any rich company does. It would have to be another big company to be able to fight it out in court, some little upstart company won't be able to afford the legal fees involved.

    >>How would making a PPC system vs. an X86 or Alpha system running linux hurt Apple's bottom line?

    Apple would most likely take the same position of the BSA or the SPA that every PowerPC machine on the market that they didn't make/sell is a lost sale.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Forget PPC number crunching - Checkout the AMD K7. And with the K7 you have more choices with OS type and hardware. Now back to Apple. Apple designed & developed their hardware. They have every right to do with it what they wish. If they don't want to let Linux, BeOS or whatever run on _their_ hardware thats their biz. Whether its good biz or bad biz, it doesn't matter, its still their biz. Sure its cool to run Linux on a groovy blue imac/ibook but it wouldn't be half as cool if it was _easy_ to do. js.
  • Eh... Sometimes the MacOS is too easy, though. I personally don't care for how things are dragged and dropped (file copy), the one button mouse sucks (yes, if I spent $$ I could have more than one button, but that's how it came from the factory!), and I don't have enough control over the operating system to tweak it to my personal tastes. Sadly enough, Windows98 allows me to do more with my OS than MacOS.

    For fun I brought back from the dead one of the Mac II's we had in storage at work. Man, it was fun putting around on that old computer! Then I quickly grew bored with the fact I couldn't install any decent version of Netscape or other applications, and I shut it off.

    Oh, well... I'll be running Linux/BSD/Solaris on my new laptop (please get here soon!), so this is all a moot point.
  • I've successfully run everything between 7.6 and 8.6 on a UMAX S900 w/ a Newer Tech G3 card. I had to manually update my hard disk & CD Rom drivers (no big deal), but otherwise I've had no substantive problems even though 7.6.1 is the last MacOS release that "officially" supports my hardware. According to MacOS Rumors (admittedly not a definitive source of info but I tend to trust them on things like this) the MacOS 9.0 final candidate successfully runs on Umax, Starmax, and Power Computing hardware as well.

    Realistically speaking, the Umax S9xx series (not sure about other clone brands) are so close to the Apple 8x00/9x00 boxes hardware-wise that Apple would have a tough time breaking the OS on these clones without breaking it on a _lot_ of Apple-branded hardware as well.
  • Um (donning rubber waders and gloves) you wouldn't happen to have the addresses of those dumpsters, would you? ;)
  • I'll second this. I have been running LinuxPPC for the last several releases and while it *has* improved quite a bit, it DOES NOT compare to the quality of something like Red Hat or Debian... I had several utilities installed as part of the standard distribution that didn't even run...
  • 1. There is still a boot rom which is required to even get to the point of loading the ROM file from the HD.

    2. Beige G3s still had on board ROMs, those can be readily harvested.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Apple is trying to prevent their computers from becoming open hardware. They want to keep complete control over them.
  • >>The biggest thing Apple can do is pressure IBM to stop giving out these mobo designs.

    They can also pressure IBM & motorola to not sell PPC chips for a reasonable price. Or they could filew law suits against smaller makers. Like their suing Daewoo & E-Machines because of a computer that looks too much like the iMac.

    If you don't have big money to fight it, you either fold or go out of business.

  • by jht ( 5006 ) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @01:31AM (#1667860) Homepage Journal
    On the one hand, they have a pretty solid, Mach/BSD-based server OS (MacOS X Server) that includes all the essentials for Internet operation, runs MacOS apps, and has a client version on the way. And they've released significant portions of it as pseudo-Open Source. They hope all this will sell more Macs, and give them a free development team for additional services.

    Then again, they sell a proprietary, single-tasking (Any system that stops processing when the mouse is held down is single-tasking, AFAIC) OS with loads of chrome on proprietary hardware.

    People often forget that the only way (technically) to legally buy a copy of the MacOS is to have a Mac to run it on. And every Mac includes the MacOS, like it or not. Apple doesn't lose any sales up-front when a user buys Linux for their Mac, but they do lose the upgrade revenue stream. This obviously concerns them more than a little: Apple has made quite a bit of revenue off their more frequent MacOS upgrades since they started charging for them. It's quite profitable.

    In the end, Apple has to decide whether Open Source is something to embrace fully or shy away from. They seem, in fits and starts, to be heading towards it - ultimately I think they'll open up more of the OS in an effort to wedge into as much software market share as possible. They may even plunge back into the clone market now that Apple has the ability to churn higher-performance designs quickly. One of the reasons they bailed out of cloning was that Apple took so long to design system in the old days that clone makers could easily beat them to market with the super high-performance systems that generate all the revenue. Power Computing did very nicely for a while on that model. Now Apple can ship the fastest systems as the CPUs are ready, and they make an increasing percentage of profit from software. The process is interesting to watch.

    What is saving the Linux/PowerPC vendors right now is that a Mac is far from an ideal Linux platform - it's relatively expensive and non-expandable for the MIPS compared to a cheap PIII system that'll run the same OS. For the most part, Macs lose as a Linux platform, so Apple isn't losing too much software profit to the Linux vendors (remember, the upgrades cost money now!). If they were losing more, Apple would squash them like bugs.

    - -Josh Turiel
  • It always amazes me how fanatical most Apple fans are.

    As a non-fanatical Apple fan, I'd just like to state that I'm not in the minority by any means. The fanatics just generate more noise. This is true of almost anything.

  • --
    Apple is trying to prevent their computers from becoming open hardware. They want to keep complete control over them.

    You have every right to say this, but my acceptance of that statement waits until there's enough proof to prop it up. Are there any specifics or details which haven't been mentioned yet?
  • While we will all admit that Apple may not make the the best hardware, techniacally...

    From a coolness factor... they rock... My next computer is going to be an iBook (as soon as a Linux distro supports it).

    While many of us techno-geeks buy a system for the gut's that are in it, a lot of people like those funky cases (including my girlfriend). There is a ture 'geeky-coolness' factor to having a blueberry mac running linux. Makes people do a double take.

    Chris Moyer
  • --
    People often forget that the only way (technically) to legally buy a copy of the MacOS is to have a Mac to run it on

    Are you sure about this? I have seen boxed versions of the MacOS (8.5 comes to mind) at computer stores (Microcenter locally). I'm unsure if you have to provide proof of ownership to buy it tho.
  • The reference spec is not up to par for next years
    hardware. the AGP is only 2x, its still has ISA and serial devices, no usb, and the PCI bus is only 33mhz.

  • >--
    > People often forget that the only way >(technically) to legally buy a copy of the MacOS >is to have a Mac to run it on
    > --

    > Are you sure about this? I have seen >boxed versions of the MacOS (8.5 comes to mind) >at computer stores (Microcenter locally).
    >I'm unsure if you have to
    > provide proof of ownership to buy it >tho.

    Um, you don't provide proof. Whether it is "legal" or not, anyone could buy it.
  • by Tsk ( 2863 )

    they've missed the best distribution : Debian. Debian PPC runs on Apple, PreP and CHRP hardware. The only pb is that you need to install one other distro (at least on Apple Hardware) and then install Debian.
    The debian-powerpc mailing list is very active.

  • It can get weary how often these things change but you've fallen behind. The current thread manager does support preemptive threads on the ppc. This is the case with 8.6 but not previous versions due to the inclusion of multiprocessor support. Only one of the threads can include most calls to the toolbox but this should be acceptable for many server applications.
  • Not anymore. One of the upgrade card vendors found a way around it.
    Oh, and by all previous owners, you mean owners of the Blue & White Powermacs don't you? Yes you do. My beige G3 will take a G4 just fine (not that it will ever have the chance. i WILL have a new G4 by next year dammit!).
  • My mother doesn't seem to have any problem. She's a very smart woman, but she knows very little about how the internet works. Even so, she gets around it fine. I don't understand this whole you-must-understand-how-it-works-to-use-it-attitud e. Honestly, how many of you know exactly how your car/elevator/doorknob/cat/wife/stereo system/power strip/pocket knife/key/comb/toaster/oven/light switch/dresser drawer work?

    You do? All of them?

    Now, surely some of you do know how all of them work. But most of you don't, and use them anyway.
  • Huh? You're saying an entire OS will be based on Adobe's PDF technology. Methinks you're giving Adobe a teensy bit more credit than it deserves...
  • We're running MacOS8.5/6 on a PowerPC9600 (with 96 megs of RAM) and the stability is a real downer. It's prone to lockups, memory leaks and we've reinstalled the OS a half dozen times. MacOS just doesn't seem any more stable than Windows on a day-to-day basis. I have nothing against the MacOS, and the end users really like it when it works, but it just feels so damn fragile.

    When Linux2.4 arrives (and I can use 3-button USB mice) I'd love to give Apple hardware a test drive. I just don't think MacOS can help me get my work done, no matter how easy it is to drag and drop things.

  • It does? You've got a K7 and G4 and have run compared them? Or you read a review of a comparison? Where?
    I'd love to see it.
  • by Get Behind the Mule ( 61986 ) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @03:15AM (#1667880)
    For a few months now, I've been booting into LinuxPPC or MacOS as it suits my mood, and I'm pretty happy with it. But there's no way I can format my MacOS partitions and run Linux alone. I'm going to be dual booting for a long time to come.

    I have to admit that I never used Linux much until then, but I'd been working professionally on Solaris for years (so flame me to a crisp, dear Slashdotters). I was excitedly looking forward to Linux, and have found it exhilerating. I've never had so much powerful software on a single installation working with Solaris, and some programs seem to run faster on my 300 Mhz PowerMac 6500 than on many Sun machines. Linux also seems to be making better use of the hardware than MacOS does, as well.

    But there is no way I could dispense with MacOS now, probably not ever. Although I recognize that support for peripheral hardware under Linux has gotten very good over the years, it's not even close to meeting my needs. I have a Sagem Spiga for networking, an ISDN TA that runs under the Geoport protocol. It's not supported under Linux, and may never be, so I have no networking under Linux (try to imagine that). Sooner or later I'll have to shell out some $$ for a new solution. I still haven't figured out how to get my Epson 600 color printer to work (the LinuxPPC Faq-o-matic allegedly has a solution, but it does nothing for me). And I don't have the first idea how to get my scanner and CD recorder working under Linux.

    None of this is ever a problem with MacOS. You pop in the CD, install the driver, and you're done.

    LinuxPPC is also simply lacking where some of my software needs are concerned. Just this week I formatted and printed a stack of announcements with QuarkXPress; I couldn't even consider such a project with Linux. And while word processing apps for Linux are getting better, they still can't compete with the options available for MacOS.

    I can understand Slashdotters passionately supporting Linux over MacOS. Believe me, I'm on your side (despite what I've said). Linux is the future and I'm glad I'm on board. But it's far from the point where it can supplant MacOS on my machine. I need both.
  • Linux in 3 easy steps?

    Whatever you're smoking, give me some.
  • if they dont, youll be even more tempted to use
    linux instead.
  • Obviously Suns attitude make good business sense - shunt users of old hardware onto a similar platform and get rid of the support headaches. but Sun do seem to have a more supportive attitude all round than Apple. They are far more keen to get people using their hardware, even if it means losing software revenue.
    Well, one thing to keep in mind is that SUN has a long history as a hacker-friendly company. It was founded by hackers, and much of its software was and is written by hackers.

    Apple, on the other hand, is and, at least since the introduction of the Mac, was a suit company. Woz was forced out relatively early...

    I can imagine young, dynamic silk-tie suits with expensive haircuts trying to jump onto the free software bandwaggon, but I cannot imagine them to understand the movement, or to have lot's of staying power.

    So my impression is that SUN supports Linux because of its corporate mentality, while Apple does it in spite of this.

  • Actually, I was making a reference to the way people demonize Microsoft for its predatory business practices. In other words, Apple is not the granola eating, love your neighbor, rebel OS that Apple sometimes tries to make itself out to be.

    I don't want to get into an OS war. I personally beleive each has its own advantages and disadvantages. My philosophy is: Don't believe the hype, consider the facts and think for yourself.
  • There are already two hardware vendors offering G3 to G4 upgrades. A bit of firmware code isn't exactly a major impediment.

  • Everything still seems to stop on 8.6 when I so much as pull down a menu. They should have thrown everything out and started from scratch at least four or five years ago.

    I've sworn not to touch a Macintosh for anything serious until OSX is released. Playing with cooperative-multitasking systems is not my idea of a good time.

  • The display system will be based on PDF with some other goodness from Pixar thrown in for good measure.


    Matthew Reilly
  • by John Siracusa ( 4209 ) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @03:32AM (#1667896) Homepage

    "I own an Apple and I like the OS, but I beleive Apple's business practices are designed to drain every last cent from the consumers pockets." opposed to those other publicly traded companies that are in business for the good of the common man, right? Your statement about Apple's business practices is basically a crude restatement of what the law requires of every public corporation. Welcome to America :-)

  • The hardware is excellent for the price. They just make sucky keyboards and mice ;)
  • The current thread manager only supports cooperative threads. Previously, 68k threads could be preemptively scheduled, but apparantly even that is gone. The Multiprocessing Services manager lets you create preemptive threads, even on a single processor machine, but these threads can't make system calls.

    Of course there are all kinds of tricks apps can play to work well, "even when the mouse is down". Anarchie, a popular FTP client, does a lot of stuff using asynchronous network calls, so it works well in the background. There's also a hack called the "Menutasking Enabler" that lets other apps run while menus are down. I don't know how well it works on recent systems, haven't tried it lately.

    Reference to information about threads manager [] (It also mentions this on page 9 of this PDF. [])
    Menutasking Enabler []

  • Sun sells to the Slashdot market; Apple, largely, doesn't. In the Slashdot market, the computer is the job, and the customer gets the highest benefit from the most direct possible access to the workings of the machine as a machine.

    In Apple's market, the computer is not the job. It is a tool that must support the mental model the customer has of his own job. The customer gets the highest benefit when the computer presents nothing dissonant with (or even irrelevant to) that mental model.

    Apple is a systems-integration house that turns out machines that are ruthlessly designed to get the computer out of the way of the customer's work. They do this by integrating the design of the Macintosh from motherboard through OS to GUI design. There is a large market of decent, intelligent people who need such machines. If you don't want to say Apple serves that market well, at least admit they serve it better than anyone else.

    The cost of a Macintosh, its usefulness, and its excuse for existing, come from its tight integration. Apple is uninterested in Linux because Linux boxes don't need an Apple Computer, Inc. to build them. Put Linux on a Mac, and you've thrown away most of the value Apple adds (and charges for).

    My rule of thumb is that a new Macintosh is wasted running Linux, and any Pentium is wasted running anything else. I'm writing this from a Mac running LinuxPPC, but it's an amortized Mac on a second career.

  • From what I've heard of OSX Server, it simply rocks. Not only does it come with a port of Apache, but also with a graphical shell for Apache. AFAIK, nobody else has that. And in the days before Java, more than a few CS grad students looked at NextSTEP and said, "yes, brothers and sisters, this is why we fought the revolution". And oh yeah, I think gcc and its entourage are thrown in as well with OS X Server (not sure about that tho'.)

    The new hardware combined with OS X Server would be nothing short of stunning.

    One thing that &^%$ess me off, however, is that there's no X server for OS X Server! (Did you get that?) Not without 3rd-party add-ons at least. Granted, the graphical rendering technology on NextSTEP was Display PostScript (cool), and the "Quartz" subsystem of OS X Server is supposed to use PDF (very cool).

    But.. what the #%$@ do I do with X-based source code? Hack it to use Quartz? (Yeah, right.) Or try porting XFree86 to Darwin? (Yeah, right.) Or has someone come up with a solution to this snafu of which I'm unaware? (Always possible..)

  • As the article said, Linux can help get Apple into markets it simply couldn't penetrate. Yes, OS X is UNIX-based, but there is still considerable porting that has to be done in order to make it work, and the app availability is pretty low. Linux, OTOH, has thousands of apps that require minor changes to get running on PPC.

    I think LinuxPPC will get Macintoshes into markets Apple never thought unreachable, like, dare I say it, ISPs. Think about it though, with a really good networking OS those Macs would actually make great file / print (SAMBA) / web / mail servers due to their design - small form factor, integrated components, low heat, etc. Sure it wouldn't fit every need, but it looks like a Good Thing to me, that Apple would be a fool to crush. While software sales is important to them, it's pennies compared to what they make on hardware. Crushing LinuxPPC to fend off potential loss in software sales (Forget the gains in higher-margin hardware sales!) would cut off another revenue stream and do them more harm in the long run.

    Just my .02
  • As opposed to those other publically traded companies that value the long-term goodwill of present and potential customers and employees, rather than eagerly dropping support and lying left and right.

    Really, which ones? Because you obviously aren't talking about Intel, IBM, Compaq, Gateway, Microsoft, Dell, Sun or AOL.
  • Just want to split a certain hair, here.

    It seems to me that Be's decision to move away
    from the Apple/PPC HW was just as politcal as Apple's decision not to help them out. From an engineering standpoint, Be almost certainly could have done it (other OS's have... BSD, LinuxPPC, Darwin..) From a legal standpoint, it's not clear what Apple could have done about it -- other than burn up Be's resources in a frivolous lawsuit, which isn't trivial, but it's not certain that such a lawsuit would even have enough merit to do any serious burning.

    Nope, I think that Apple was just unfriendly enough at just the time that people in the Intel world were getting friendly with Be. And part of Be's deal with the Intel world was to move out of PPC. I keep thinking this because it seems like Be would have had nothing to lose (and some customers to gain) by, if nothing else, unofficially supporting the new Apple/PPC HW (saying: "it might work, it might not, don't call us if it doesn't: this is unsupported HW, though some folks have had success"). But they chose to forgo that free benefit. And they're smart folks. They probably would have only done that for a good reason...

    Not to say that this wasn't a rational decision for Be. Just want to say I think it wasn't all Apple's fault Be isn't producing stuff for their HW anymore -- even if Be's PR department decided to make it look that way in the FAQ.
  • A few months ago Apple was advertising a job opening for a 'Linux evangalist', that is someone who would be the go-between representing Apple to the Linux community.

    I was kind of disappointed that the authors of this article seemed to make no serious attempt to contact Apple to get their reaction, and made up the story by talking only to Linux developers. I think it would very interesting to call Cupertino and ask to speak to the Linux Evangalist.

  • When Apple started the MkLinux project they cited the academic demand for the ability to run Linux as a key factor. I imagine that this demand has only gotten stronger with time, so Apple is going to continue to face this issue, and thus provide ways for Linux to work on the Mac.

    Otherwise, I can't really see why a normal Mac user would want to run Linux after the release of Mac OS X. Mac OS X generally provides far better hardware support plus the large (certainly compared to Linux) base of MacOS application software all running on a BSD kernel. Mac OS X will be bundled in with the machine, too.

  • Linux has a vast array of GUIs, and if you don't like it you can make your own.

    Nobody in their right mind can claim that any one of the Linux GUIs is as good and MacOS 8. I would like to see any individual match the quality of the Mac GUI with a homebrew system.

  • Car



    ehhh... let's say half a check for now

    Not applicable (besides, no one knows how women work anyway)

    Stereo System

    Pocket Knife





    Light Switch

    Dresser Drawer
    Wish I had one right now, but Check

    This was easy. Mostly because you didn't mention sewing machines. Sewing machines give me fits.

  • Bullshit. Look at the indexed cost for production of their machines and you will see it is not equal to 0.00.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The new vers. of Drive Setup in OS 9 has a few default partitioning schemes for MkLinux and Linux PPC - looks like they are not pushing Linux off too far as they are facilitating one of the thinngs that is a pain in the neck for new users.
  • I'd have to say that my experience with Mac OS has had it's ups and downs. Lately, 8.6 on my Beige G3 has been rock-solid. Very stable. After much tweaking and searching archives on what each "mystery extension" does, and is for. And my Beige G3 was a 223MHz, and it's been overclocked to 300 for over a year now, stock cooling setup too. Funny, it's much more stable NOW than it was when I first bought it.

    A year ago, I said Apple had to execute TWO major things before it could really be comparable in a serious fasion to the Wintel world. G4, and OS X. A lot of people blew a lot of smoke back then, but now, G4 is here, and OS X is kinda - sorta here, but will REALLY be here in say 8 months (give or take a few for stability issues, etc.).
    Unfortunately, their prices seem to be creeping up there (for the high-end machines, anyway).

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • With published specs out there for PPC CHRP (PPCP) machines out there it's only a matter of time until someone produces a PPC machine on the cheap that will run linux.

    People interested in doing this are gathering even as we speak at [].

    With an ATX style MB you'd pay a slight premium over x86 hardware

    After the 20,000th unit, maybe. Economies of scale, you know. But getting to that point will be a challenge.

    but they benefits would be great

    What he said!

    Hopefully Apple isn't able to put pressure on anyone to prevent them from doing this.

    The biggest thing Apple can do is pressure IBM to stop giving out these mobo designs. All the more reason to download them now at []


  • For the ISDN, everything depends on ISDN4Linux group (partially funded by SuSE if I remember).

    For the printer, if using a RedHat look-alike, there is a printtool that let you specify that your printer is "Epson Stylus 600" or "ESC/P2" (you may need to upgrade printtool and ghostscript).

    For the scanner and CD-R you need to enable SCSI Generic in kernel (if not done already). For the scanner there is a package called SANE. For the CD-R you should check cdrecord or cdwrite. See to find them.

    There is Sheepshaver that can run MacOS on top of Linux (if it's been released. Note, I don't have a PPC box).

  • well, I don't usually comment on macs because of lack of exposure to them, but at work we got a mac (brand new G3) for a designer, and it's been crashing about 3 times a day average. i know a bad apple doesn't mean they're all rotten, but still, I was expecting better.
  • Yer clearing talking about Mac OS X

    He may be "clearing talking about MacOS X", but he's equally clearly not talking about MacOS X in his second clause, as he speaks of MacOS X Server in his first clause, and contrasts it in his second clause with the other OS Apple is currenly selling, which is not MacOS X, unless they've started selling the non-server version while I wasn't looking.

  • a) K, you got me there. But SPEC doesn't translate to real life performance. I'm not even saying the K7 won't be faster, I just want to see a thourough comparison of the 2 somewhere. I think it would be really interesting (I also think it would be great for AMD for the K7 to become the PC industry benchmark for maximum cpu performance rather than pentium).
    B) I'm of the opinion that Altivec should be included as part of the measure of performance for the G4, as the vast majority of Mac developers will support it now or in the near future. It's too easy not too.
    I guess I'll have to wait for a bit though. If 3DNow was supported at that level, I think it should be included as well.
  • Crushing LinuxPPC to fend off potential loss in software sales (Forget the gains in higher-margin hardware sales!) would cut off another revenue stream and do them more harm in the long run.

    It didn't stop them from doing it with Be, and pushing them over to the Intel chip platform.

    Sometimes Apple is its own worst enemy. It should stop being so petty. It's what gives me the most pause about buying Apple hardwre.

  • I have a PowerTower 180e running 8.6 quite happily 24/7. I'm having to upgrade CD-ROM Toolkit, finally, but that's about it. It is unupgraded in the processor, but has more memory, a second HD, and a Voodoo II card, and as soon as I get around to it, a second Ethernet port (to secure my internal lan w/ my Powerbook 520 and my spiffy new PB G3 Bronze.

    That 3 year old machine runs Photoshop 5.5, GoLive, Office 98, and even Mozilla M9 without problems (OK, M9 is forever in starting up, but it's usable). It is also my software router, and churns through SETI@Home in its spare time.

    Now that I've learned that upgraded G3s on it run BeOS, I'll probably upgrade to a G4 and turn it into a MacOS/LinuxPPC(or Debian, don't know)/BeOS box for funsies.
  • it was happening a few years back at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis. A few friends of mine got to keep all the Quadra's they could find. Too bad their pretty much worthless now except as DNS Servers or other such low volume type servers. Until recently, I used one of these as my main Midi box for my synths, but my silver and purple Powerbook 140 looked so much cooler. The funny thing is I hear several departments are going back to using these things once again after their experiment of only having to support one OS didn't work out for some types of work...

  • Drop me an email if you know of recent (past 2 years) macs about to go to waste.
  • Pre-R1 is out which should be a newer version than DR3. I also put DR3 on an old Mac. It's harder to maintain than the Linux on an intel but is enough to maintain a house-Lan. The URL is ""

  • I look at it this way. Apples hardware is 2 year ahead of the x86 industry Apples software, however, its about 2-3 years behind (ex: MacOS). MacOS is outdated, I'm sorry. Each new version is supose to bring it up to par (first it was 7.5, then 8.0, then 8.whatever, and now 9.0).
  • I bet i could shoe-horn OSx onto POP. You allready have the code for the backend (Darwin)... port that over, or wit for the NetBSD project to do it for you, and run the frontend from OSX on top of that. You'd need to buy OSX, and it would probably be a pain in the ass, but I bet it would work.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    um, if these companies are centralizing on Windows 98/NT, why would running Linux be an advantage?
  • Well, I wonder why they implemented the lovely OF without the output routine for the screen, you have all commands available, but you have to type in the blind!
    Makes me wonder what crack some people are on.

  • Unfortunately, the last two days have not the best for getting through to Apple. I just got a call back from the main Linux community ombudsperson this morning. He said he wasn't be able to comment for the record without first running it through PR channels. All of the people I have contacted say support for Linux is strong inside Apple. For the moment, however, it's mostly on an individual or factional basis. Sort of what you'd expect within any large company, especially one trying to track two industries -- hardware and software -- at once. Sam Williams Upside Today
  • The root display system of Quartz, MacOS X's imaging system, just manages screen areas. Different of these areas can then be associated with different imaging models. Display PDF is just one of these models, along with direct screen region access, and other models are possible. (It would also be possible to create a driver based on say GhostScript to support Display PostScript.) Yes, PDF is an Adobe specification. But the reason Apple is doing this is because the spec is open, relatively clean to implement, and they don't have to pay any licensing fees to Adobe, particularly since Apple is doing the implementation in house. (It is for reasons of lack of control and exorbitant license fees to Adobe that Apple is going away from DPS.)
  • Oops. That should be Quartz.
  • Newer Macintoshes have decent openfirmware, that support a good portion of the OpenFirmware standard, and of course output to the screen.

    Only the oldest PCI-PowerMacs can't do Open Firmware display to the screen -- since that version was buggy, developmental and barely usable compared to the standard.
  • I was flabberghasted by the comment made in the article that Apple should make the hardware but let Linus and friends make the O.S.


    Through all the years of indecision and drift at Apple, when Intel machines were killing them, all that Apple had to go on was its user-friendly O.S.

    And now we're supposed to let that go...for good...for the *least* friendly O.S. in widespread current use?!? Is he fucking *insane*???

    What a crock. This person definitely has an axe to grind, and shouldn't be considered a reliable source. Colorful, sure. But not reliable.

    And here I was going to buy LinuxPPC someday.
  • I agree. The whole point of those iMac ads was that you'd don't have to know how it works to use it.

    I think this is the main reason Apple and the MacOS piss off so many techie-nerd types. The MacOS takes away alot of the need for arcane computer knowledge, and this goes against why computers are attractive to nerds in the first place.
  • Well, it depends on what you want to run on OS X. As long as you don't require X, the porting is hardly brain surgery, particularly if what you're porting already supports xBSD. There are issues, such as assumptions about directory structures, but these are pretty minor.

    X client applicationss on the other hand are a different matter. There isn't yet an X server for the Quartz imaging model of MacOS X, and probably won't be one for a while after the OS ships. I must say, however, the Quartz imaging model is pretty sexy. And I imagine a lot of the stuff that was already ported to NEXTSTEP/OpenStep will find their way to MacOS X as well.
  • I believe that Apple would rather keep linux at arms length. I don't see how it helps their cause. One of Apples key strengths is the quality of their hardware. Sure, its expensive, but its very good compared to the alternatives. If other manufacturers could build ppc machines that run linux, this would be a serious threat to Apple. And without the MAC OS, these machines would most likely be cheaper.

    I own an Apple and I like the OS, but I beleive Apple's business practices are designed to drain every last cent from the consumers pockets. They are more controlling than Microsoft only less successful.
  • People often forget that the only way (technically) to legally buy a copy of the MacOS is to have a Mac to run it on.

    Well, this isn't entirely true. You can buy a copy off the shelf and do nothing with it. =) But I digress...

    The reason that I'm a big fan of LinuxPPC is the hardware that it's running on. I'm sure part of it is that I have a lot of experience with Apple's hardware. I know that (at least for all the machines I have) that it's high-quality and standardized. But the installs and configuration of Linux on Apple hardware has been easier than doing the same on Intel hardware. It all feels a lot more stable to me. Maybe it just irritates me that (most? all?) Intel boxes don't support Open Firmware, don't have standardized ethernet, don't have standardized sound. I mean, I guess this brings back the whole default v. custom argument, but for the most part, when it comes to hardware support, I'd rather have good and easy v. great and hard.

    But yes, Apple hardware is kind of expensive. But of course, hardware is always just a small part of the cost. The greater concern would be the much better software support and size of the community for Linux/Intel.

  • You can walk into any store that sells mac stuff and pick up a copy of the OS... 8.0, 8.5, 9.0 have all shipped that way.
  • Um, I would hesitate to call Mac OS X Server (one must never lose the space between "Mac" and "OS" /nitpicker) "pretty solid". A recent review in a local magazine compared six Un*x platforms as servers, and Mac OS X finished last. It turns out that as shipped, Mac OS X can't even do filesharing with non-Macintosh machines. Sheesh. Linux, on the other hand, finished third, while costing about one tenth of the silver and gold medalists (which, btw, were SCO's Unixware 7.1 and Compaq's Tru64, respectively). On the gripping hand, one of the basis for this comparison was how the different servers performed running the Seti@Home client. Sheesh again. :) Still, I find it pretty arrogant to sell servers today that only work against Macs...
  • The best proof of ownership is if the software will only run on Apple's hardware.

    Hopefully there is still some ability of recent versions of MacOS to run on some of the clones ( e.g. UMAX, StarMax, Motorola, ...), but outside of the rather small population of "clones," there's hardly any hardware out there that MacOS will run on that isn't from Apple.

    I suspect that you've missed the flame wars surrounding contentions over whether successive editions of MacOS will continue to support pre-"G3" PPC Macs...

  • One would think that Apple would embrace Linux - it might help them sell more machines, and/or revive the old ones. I know they make The Money from hardware/software sales, but I can't see how it would be bad for them to acknowledge Linux by, say, releasing some specs for those PowerMacs that every company on the planet is literally tossing in the dumpster - yes, even the G3s. Nobody wants to support multiple environments, so Win9x/NT wins. I've seen several companies migrate out *all* Macs, regardless of cost, to move to NT. The SAs being able to run Linux on them would keep Apple's foot in the door, so to speak.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Then again, they sell a proprietary, single-tasking (Any system that stops processing when the mouse is held down is single-tasking, AFAIC) OS with loads of chrome on proprietary hardware.

    Pssst... they're fixing that.

    The DVD Player software and QuickTime 4.0 both keep on trucking when the mouse button is held down. Presumably, that will be the case for other Mac software eventually as the OS continues to get updated.

    Not meaning you in particular, but a lot of folks here seem to post about the MacOS without actually having used it in several years. How many here have never used MacOS 8.6? How many will still rag on Apple's baby as a 'toy' OS for months (years!) after the fully-buzzword-compliant MacOS X comes out?

    More than a few, I bet.
  • "Apple has made quite a bit of revenue off their more frequent MacOS upgrades since they started charging for them. It's quite profitable. "

    It's been said many times before, but I'll say it again. Software accounts for 5% of Apple's total revenue, which includes non-OS products like Web Objects and Final Cut."
    It's not the money that keeps Apple addicted to the MacOS. It's that if you use it (the OS), you keep buying Macs.
    Linux fluency would mean people could move to eMachines or some other cheap-as-expletive dreck computer. Unless you need a Mac (and there are many many reasons you would), their price would probably keep you moving down the aisle towards the PC section.
  • With published specs out there for PPC CHRP (PPCP) machines out there it's only a matter of time until someone produces a PPC machine on the cheap that will run linux. All you really need is open firmware and you're in business.

    With an ATX style MB you'd pay a slight premium over x86 hardware, but they benefits would be great. Lower power consumption and therefore less HEAT. You could put such a beast into a small enclosure with a modest fan to disperse heat.

    Imagine running down to your next local computer show and picking up a PPCP mb and ordering a CPU card from Pre-owned electronics and throwing together an SMP PPC machine for under a grand.

    The PPC is obviously not perfect, but it's raw number crunching ability makes it a good buy.

    Hopefully Apple isn't able to put pressure on anyone to prevent them from doing this.

  • Both Apple and Sun have powerfull Unix based operating systems marketed as proprietary products. Both make a considerable part of their income from hardware - high performance desktop machines, and in Suns case *really* high performance servers.

    One area in which they differ is in their attitude towards Linux. While Apple did have a Linux-like project under their wings, they have abandoned it for their own Mach based OS. Sun meanwhile seem to be on course to make Linux support part of their OS, while encouraging users of older Sun hardware to make the switch to SparcLinux.

    Obviously Suns attitude make good business sense - shunt users of old hardware onto a similar platform and get rid of the support headaches. but Sun do seem to have a more supportive attitude all round than Apple. They are far more keen to get people using their hardware, even if it means losing software revenue.

    What would be great is if Apple could recognise that they can make much more revenue from hardware than from software. Their support costs would plummet had less software to be rsponsible for. So, until such a time when Apple see the light, they are destined to keep Linux 'at arms length'.

    Chris Wareham
  • Or has someone come up with a solution to this snafu of which I'm unaware?

    It's the same solution you use if you want to run X apps on a NeXt. It's a little library that translates from X to DisplayPostscript. Apparently, it was a pretty easy port. You can find it, if you loook
  • I know this is probably better for ask slashdot,
    BUT.... I gave my old performa6110 to my 3 year old to play with, but the Monitor adaptor is definately on it's way out, and I don't feel like futzing with a soldering iron for a quasi-decent game box for my daughter. So I am about ready to turn it into a headless Linux box to help keep things running in my house-LAN.... Any suggestions to which distro to use? It's a POS PowerPC601 60Mhz with 70MB Ram, and a Limited HD space 250MB I believe....any suggestions would be helpful
    Thanks all....
  • YEah, I never feared for the eventual appearance of G4 upgrades. Hell, when they can make an upgrade chip that fits into an L2 Cache slot (one of the old Performa models IIRC), then pretty much nothing is beyond them.

    But I DID take issue with Apple's behavior - and especially their silence, and bullshit excuses.

    That, and their statement that Mac OS X will NOT run on POP (PowerPC Open Platform) (the platform formerly known as CHiRP, formerly known as PReP), really PISSED ME OFF. I mean, I like Mac hardware as much as any Mac fan, but we MUST have open hardware specs for cloning and competition, otherwise, nobody will be there to kick Apple in the pants to get them to produce quality machines in the future.

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • Oh, please. You would be buying a product bundle from one manufacturer that essentially includes two products: the machine and the OS. The manufacturer chooses to sell one of its product (the machine) only with the OS included. You don't want the OS? Either get the "bundle" and eat the cost of the OS (all of $99 anyway), or don't buy the bundle at all. In this case, there is no multi-vendor bundle being forced on you. To paraphrase another poster, if you buy a Ferrari and replace its engine with a Ford's, don't expect a refund on the V-12.

  • Actually, I bet Mac OS X will run on the POP out of the box, it will just be "unsupported" just like pre-G3 machines running MOSX server. This would make sense. The people who will use these open power pc boxes are the kinds of people who read /. These same people would never buy a mac from apple, no matter how much they like the hardware. If they buy a POP box though, apple may as well sell them an OS to run on it- the work required is minimal and it's not officially supported so there's no risk to them anyway. Most importantly though, they get mac os x into more people's hands.
  • Re: "MacOS is outdated", so what if it is outdated and not fully buzzword compliant?
    My //c is quite outdated, so what? It still does what i need it to do, which is play Choplifter.
    The point is, with the burden of the obviously, oh-so-terrible *cooperative* multitasking, i'm able to write web pages in BBEdit, compose images for them in Photoshop, preview the material in Netscape, check my mail with telnet, be logged in to icq, and not have MacAMP skip a beat of Depeche Mode. This on my 3 year old 7500/200 (604e).

    I don't care if it's outtdated, it just plain keeps working. And thus, so do i.
  • MkLinux runs on the 6100-series. []. We also put it on the LinuxPPC 1999 CD-ROMs. :)
  • OF is programmable and there are many ways to create a boot menu: I use OF to boot and at prompt just type "boot" for linux, "bye" for MacOS, I've never reprogrammed OF from my first LinuxPPC installation. A note, when in linux don't use "macos" command to restart in MacOS, simply "shutdown -r now": incredible! as on Intel machines!
  • An Apple exec (Shiller, forgot his title) has proclaimed that Mac OS X (Server, Client) will not be ported to the CHRP boxes by Apple.

    Their loss.

    Again, Apple has given up a major opportunity to expand their base, and still have time to reverse their decision. But, like that article says, if we get in there with our cheap CHRP boxes running LinuxPPC, will Apple have anywhere to grow?

    That they said "No MOSX on CHRP" does indicate that it was discussed at a high level. That's good. What will change their minds is money. If they can make money (lots) off of it, they'll do it. The casual observer will probably say that by not doing it, they're going to lose money. Lots of it.

    We'll see. Our ball!

  • I've been told that there's an old DPS wrapper library floating around that should function as a drop-in replacement for Xlib.

    Berlin-- []
  • Mac OS X Server includes Samba as part of the package. It is installed by default, as are NFS and AppleShare file services. I ran OS X Server on my powerbook for close to six months and gave it a fairly thorough testing. I was impressed by some features and depressed by others. My biggest criticism of OS X Server is that it *STILL* uses a windowing system derived from the NeXT window manager and not X. The NeXT window manager was a great ide, and it is still a solid technology, but no one else supports it. Porting X based apps will be much more difficult than porting between other unixen. This will mean that Apple will remain in the marginalized software position they are in now. By the way, I am now running LinuxPPC on my PowerBook, and I haven't booted into Mac OS in weeks. I have to give credit to the LinuxPPC people, USB works great in their distro. I will probably be installing it on my iMac at home this weekend.
  • The can stop them from including Mac ROMs and installing the MacOS on it, though.

    The newer machines don't have the ROMs. They use a "Mac OS ROM file" that is copied into RAM.
  • Don't count me in that group. I actually own a PowerBook 3400, iMac, and PowerMac 7200, all running OS 8.6 back at home (to go with my Win98 game PC, my Mandrake-based workstation, and my RedHat 6-based server - yes, I know I need a life!). The 7200 runs my home email server (Eudora's EIMS), and my wife uses the iMac. MacOS isn't bad for what it is, but there are issues that are fundamentally broken in the design that are only now getting dealt with after 15 years (and several false starts). Thread Manager is a decent implementation of preemptive multitasking on a limited basis for the platform, but I'm still from Missouri (the "Show Me" state) when it comes to fixing an issue as fundamental as the mouseclick.

    But you're right - Apple's OS has the perception of being a toy, and that probably won't change in many minds even when OS X Workstation comes out, even though it'll be drastically wrong by then.

    - -Josh Turiel
  • by Eidolon ( 29916 ) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @02:17AM (#1668000)
    Macs do lose as a Linux platform, but not for the reasons you describe.

    One of the biggest obstacles to Macs as a good Linux platform is that the kernel source is *still* not integrated into the main source tree. Every time one asks when this will happen, the answer is always Real Soon Now -- Maybe. Also, there are no good distributions that will run on a Mac. While the LinuxPPC group is to be commended for their kernel efforts, the LinuxPPC distribution can't compare to anything on Intel. Yellow Dog isn't much different; nor is Turbolinux; and Debian is still in the distant future.

    The oft-cited non-expandability argument against Mac hardware is ancient history. When was the last time you saw a Mac that didn't have several PCI slots, several DIMM slots, and easy CPU upgrades? It's been years, folks.

    I have an old 7500 chassis which has been upgraded through several generations of processors (now running a fast G3). I could put a swell G4 card in here if I cared to spend the money. Can you take a n old Pentium 75 box and put a 550 MHz Pentium III in it without a new motherboard? I hardly think so.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"