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HowTo on booting Linux on iMac DV's 110

Shawn writes "We at iMac Linux have been working over the past few days to get the new iMacs to boot Linux. Well, make a long story short we managed to do so last night (really this morning =). There is a HowTo on how to do this, which enables mouse, keyboard, CD-ROM. We're working on getting X setup, and sound."
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HowTo on booting Linux on iMac DV's

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  • How much reverse engineering of was neccessary to
    work out how to do this? Is it fully legal to do
    so in the US? (I'm in Europe so it's fine here)
  • I'd recommend you give one of the newer Linux distros a shot. Frankly it is just as easy to install as any of the Microsoft offerings. Your grandmother probably couldn't install Windows without your help. The same with Linux.
  • If "macs are useless" then why do people use them? I guess I've been using useless computers since 1986. . . *sigh* all those wasted years. Why, I could have been using DOS! ;)

    Seriously, though, macs suck. It's just that IMO, windows sucks about 100x more. Linux sucks less but I don't have the hard drive space. Be sucks still less but it doesn't have the apps I need, nor does it run on my computer.
  • by Ethelred Unraed ( 32954 ) on Wednesday November 17, 1999 @05:52PM (#1523732) Journal
    I don't know why there is this constant harping on the iMac being "useless". The iMac DVs are great little computers, with the operative word being little. Ever used an iMac in person? Notice how little space it uses? Notice how quiet an iMac DV is (not the older iMacs)? No fan, no noise.

    Not to mention the specs. Built-in DVD (as a slot, not as a tray), decent 3D card, great monitor (awesome picture quality, at 117 Hz), built-in video mirroring, 400 MHz PowerPC G3, 100 MHz bus, 100BaseT Ethernet, Airport. When anyone thinks an iMac, especially in its latest incarnation, is therefore "useless", then they must be beyond bothering to try and convince (though I will anyway ;-) ). Especially when you consider what you get for the price.

    I also recently heard the new iMac's Harmon-Kardon speakers. They kick serious tookus for their size. The old iMac speakers sucked, but these are great. :-)

    And if I can run Linux on it, so much the better. I like having a choice of OSes, and I happen to use both MacOS and LinuxPPC. I have a lime iMac DV 400 on its way to me, so thanks to the guys at, now I can use it with Linux as well.

    Mind you, I'm not wild about the iBooks, mainly because of their lack of external video--a major minus for me. I also wish they had G4s in the iMacs and iBooks, but oh, well.

    But the main point is this: don't go slagging a computer because you don't happen to like its looks, or imply that it somehow isn't worthy of running Linux. Both are ridiculous things to assert. The iMac's hardware is as demonstrably as good as any on the PC market in its price range, and just because it happens to be bright and colorful doesn't mean that "serious" OSes shouldn't run on it. In fact, the converse is true. ;-)

    Anyway. 'Nuff venting my spleen fer t'day. :-)

    Ethelred (he of LinuxMac) []

  • by Zach Baker ( 5303 ) <> on Wednesday November 17, 1999 @05:57PM (#1523733) Homepage
    What'd world domination be without people who port Linux to anything that's Turing-complete? If you're frustrated that anyone would port to an iMac, perhaps it's better you not know that Debian's 68k distribution installs on the Mac, Amiga, and Atari platforms. And that's not even mentioning the ports that are primarily for hack value.

    More seriously, porting Linux to non-PC platforms, and the iMac in particular, is great for two reasons. One, because they're out there -- people, companies, and schools out there already have the hardware. An Atari Falcon port is not useless if you have the hardware. Two, to get new adopters to try Linux, for which the iMac platform is a good place to look.

    And let's not forget the fact that not everyone agrees with your assessment of the iMac. But what I'm trying to say is that it's useful to port Linux to platforms even if they actually are useless, deficient, poorly designed, etc. which the iMac is (in my opinion) not.

  • The obvious thing would be a nice iso image for burning as a boot cd. Much more room for rescue utils than on a stupid obsolete useless floppy.
  • I think Apple makes a fine product. My family's business gets approx. 50% of sales through a catalog, and every print company we've used ALWAYS uses mac. There is one computer in the whole joint of our current printer that isn't made by appple. It's stunning to see such market saturation - apple is the standard platform for desktop publishing (as far as I've seen at least and this is coming from experience). It does work very well for it as well

    The Mac OS isn't as arcane as Linux, pretty much always a new-bie computer, yet, powerful enough for the most demanding media professionals. I know some trade graphics artists too, and if I sat them down in front of a Linux box they'd cry at the complexity. These are people driven by the creative process, not by the wonderful efficiency and power of an Operating System (Linux for example).

    One more point, the iMac line has SAVED Apple. I've made good money on Apple in the stock market too, and I'm sure I wouldn't have been looking at Apple as a profitable investment had Steve Jobs not come back as the Interm CEO.

    If you haven't visited the iMac Linux site [], they in fact are running slash! How nice.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Didn't we decide to stop posting about apple because all the techno geeks (who are above an iMac and can't comprehend with their vast intellect that not every product on the market is designed specifically for their needs and maybe other people on the planet have other uses for said products that they don't which means that it doesn't fit their needs for said product but doesn't mean that it sucks) bitch and moan too much?

    That's gotta be a run on sentence...
  • "More seriously, porting Linux to non-PC platforms, and the iMac in particular, is great for two reasons. One, because they're out there -- people, companies, and schools out there already have the hardware. An Atari Falcon port is not useless if you have the hardware. Two, to get new adopters to try Linux, for which the iMac platform is a good place to look." You forgot a very important one. The half the technology on the iMac has very limited or non existant support in Linux. Features like USB, Firewire and DVD could then be advanced at a faster rate and be included in the kernel a bit sooner if the iMac ran Linux. If there's a demand for it, it will be made. Bart
  • Is anyone else out there sick of hearing the phrase "Well, they're good for graphics..."???

    That's such a load of bull. First of all, architecturally, there's no basis for this argument. Nothing about the Macintosh makes it better "for graphics". Even from a software perspective, the industry standard editors/composers (like Photoshop and Illustrator) are available on *multiple* platforms. And when it comes to 3D graphics, I'd just as soon have an Irix or NT system.

    Now, if one were to install Linux on a Macintosh, almost all the software issues (not that there are many) would vanish. The architechtural difference are encapsulated by the OS and the applications are mostly source-compatible between the Intel and G4 systems. It's not like you can't find a three-button mouse for a macintosh.

    So not only is a mac not useless, but it is also not any "better for graphics" than the equivalent PC running NT or 98. This is basically stereotyping in the worst way.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • I'll state many things without explanation, which opens me up for questions.

    Wait for the POP mobos.

    The ppl working to get linux running on the PPC are incredible. A relatively small cadre of ppl have done an outstanding job. And no, I won't kiss you.

    Apple zealots have many simularities to Linux zealots. They both passionately believe in their OS and platform in a sense of loyalty that is beyond the normal realm of normality. Why do they have this similar passion? Could it be the Devil?

    MicroCenter this past weekend has clearly shown the true path for Apple.

    Back on subject. USB on linux is a priority for Mac users. It was not a priority for linux before then. The floppy disk as we know is going to be gone eventually. Do you have a 5.25" disk drive on your computer? Hmmm, that was available a few years ago.

    We need universal firewire support.

  • ok i was gonna make some bland comment on how yay for macs yay for linux but then i got distracted.. i went to imaclinux []and justsomething about their layout looked so darned familiar.. now maybe its my trained eye but, i dunno im probablyt just drunk on newcastle
  • What good timing! Our LUG just had a presentation about putting Linux on "alternative" platforms. (see for a brief outline)

    This is really inspiring me to give an iMac a try. I figure the worst case scenario is that I hate the thing and turn it a colorful Linux server.
  • That's such a load of bull. First of all, architecturally, there's no basis for this argument. Nothing about the Macintosh makes it better "for graphics". Even from a software perspective, the industry standard editors/composers (like Photoshop and Illustrator) are available on *multiple* platforms.

    Sorry, but this just simply is not the case. There are two major things the Mac has that nothing else does nearly as well that keep it in the lead for graphics work. One is system-level color management through ColorSync. The other, perhaps even more important, is decent Postscript output. Windows simply does not do this as well. Many printing houses hate dealing with Windows files, because you usually don't get on the page what you see on the screen on the first try. These two things are just not an issue for most people, for for professional graphics work, they are almost essential.

    You're right about 3D though. The Mac does have some decent 3D programs (Electric Image comes to mind), but it isn't really the strongest platform there.

    'Course Mac OS X will change everything. A BSD Unix with Mac OS ease-of-use that runs both Mac OS and Unix apps is just about all you could ask for in an OS.

    And until then, I'll just dual-boot Linux :-)

  • 1. iMac people are still Apple people at heart. That should earn them some support. Apple has been Anti-Micro$oft since before any of our movement existed.
    2. iMac running Linux ? Sounds like the cheapest Un*x Risc box around.

    Let the flaming begin.

  • I've got one of the floppyless G3s, and I've been running Linux on it. I just can't say I miss the floppy drive at all, in Mac OS or Linux. Macs have been able to boot from CDs, Zip disks, whatever, since errr... Well, since the beginning. 'Course having a DSL Internet connection and an FTP server in your bedroom helps render the floppy obsolete like nothing else :-)

  • First of all, architecturally, there's no basis for this argument.

    You're right with this point

    but it is also not any "better for graphics" than the equivalent PC running NT or 98

    But you're wrong here. MacOS has ColorSync. Matching the color on your monitor to your printer to your press is much easier on a Mac. Apple has been claiming they'd come out with ColorSync for Win - but why? They can't figure out how they'd profit. This might be a small issue for most slashdot readers, but many people in publishing depend on this.

    if one were to install Linux on a Macintosh, almost all the software issues (not that there are many) would vanish

    Does Linux have system wide color matching capabilities? I'm not aware of such capabilities...

  • Mac fanatics have been dropping a BS line of a better interface for way too long. If the isolarion of a user from such concepts as the manual ejection of removable media, a heirarchial file system,

    Sorry. You're confusing OSes. It's Windows that isolates the use from the hierarchal file system with the Start menu. The Mac encourages users to directly interact with the file structure on their hard drives in a way no other OS really does.

    or even the concept of a power switch is a Good Thing©

    Soft power renders the power switch obsolete, and is very nice for server machines and the like (hint: it works just fine from Linux).

    that makes everything so easy to use, why the hell does it have stupid things like like the Chooser,

    The Chooser sucks, and Apple has been slowly replacing it for years now. It should be gone totally with the next OS release.

    why does its file table corrupt so easily,

    Um... It doesn't, especially when compared with ext2.

    and what is the deal with that LAME-ASS broadcast AppleTalk protocol?

    Again, it sucks. Apple has been phasing it out in favor of TCP/IP for many years now, and this is almost complete.

  • Actually, is using Squishdot [] which just happens to look strikingly familiar to slashdot. Same with [], both of which use a combination of Squishdot and Zope.

    From Technocrat...
    Our web content manager

    software is Zope. Zope is written in Python. The
    weblog software that displays our articles is a Zope
    component called Squishdot. It looks a lot like the
    Slashdot software, but the software is entirely
    different from Slashdot and it's expected to evolve
    its own unique look and feel over time.

    So each package offers some of the same features, but the development seems to be progressing faster with Squish. When was the last time the Slash code was publicly updated and released?
  • In addition to the other comments, there is also the issue of prior investments. Do you have any idea how much good DTP software costs? Quark alone is nearly $1000. Photoshop is ~$600. Illustrator is ~$400. Freehand is about the same. And let's not even get into various plug ins and highly specific utilities etc.

    Plus, there are FONTS. Not only would large numbers of fonts have to be repurchased, or tediously converted from the Mac to Windows (or whatever), but it is of critical importance that everyone use the same damn fonts as everyone else, or you'll wind up with type scattered all over the place.

    The massive number of entrenched Macs (who won in this market fair and square) and tendancy of graphic designers to not want to learn a new platform now that they've used the Mac for years (computers are generally thought of as handy tools, but not ends of themselves) provide more inertia than even Bill can overcome.

    Macs have a crappy OS in fact, though there's a good GUI and some nice APIs on top of it, but it's better for graphics b/c of the above reasons. If you were starting from scratch and worked in a vacuum you might use Windows. Linux doesn't have the right tools and support yet.
  • Ah, but iMacs are so amazingly uniform in design that it should be simple to make a boot CD for all iMacs, including support for USB devices like Zips and such. I think that it would sell pretty nicely.
  • The only well-accepted non-Macs I know of in DTP are turnkey RIPs. Usually in my experience they're SGI's. But it's not as though anyone has to do much with them unless there's a particularly demanding project or something unusual.

    I've seen people try to use IBMs for PageMaker. I laughed, and indeed they had a huge amount of trouble keeping it working. Inclined as I am to blame PageMaker, I did grow up on it, so I feel the IBM was at fault.
  • LinuxPPC is not too bad for installing..i'm running it on my iMac, and its making use of my system resources is a way MacOS can only dream other words..for true multi-tasking /stability..go for linuxppc. Printing is a real bitch though for non-PS printers, and Staroffice does not compile..
    imaclinux []
  • I have heard that to many times, and for to many reasons to believe that OS x is the end all and be all of Operating Systems. There doesn't seem to be much information available on OS X, except that it crashes when to many threads are spawned(the apache server test I belive).

    Yeah. That's Mac OS X Server, which has been shipping since March, is $500, and needs to run old Mac apps in a seperate virtual environment. It's a very different OS from what the general use Mac OS X and new versions of Server will be. It isn't even based on the same kernel (Mach 2.5 vs. Mach 3.0).

    Information about Mac OS X is rather hard to find, because Steve Jobs loves suprises. There's plenty about OS X Server, but it really isn't the interesting one.

    For information about Mac OS X Server, try Apple's web page on the product here. []

    You can get some information about the general version Mac OS X from the archives of Mac OS Rumors [], but be aware that these are rumors.

    Basically, what's known about it is that it's core is BSD on top of a Mach 3.0 microkernel. It has several APIs, including Carbon, which is an API mostly like the existing Mac API, but it fixes the issues that prevent current apps from working in a modern environment (so old Mac apps can be ported to OS X fast; apps like Photoshop take a week of work to convert to Carbon), Cocoa (formerly called YellowBox), which is mostly an updated version of the NeXT API (can be programed in Objective C and Java), and "Classic", which is really just a backwards compatibility environment to run old Mac apps. Old Mac apps will all run as one task in one memory space, but won't be able to hog CPU time from (or crash) Carbon apps, Cocoa apps, or the OS. Mac OS X will also have an advanced new graphics model called Quartz that's based on PDF. Unfortunately, it isn't a client/server architecture like X, but it does do some rather amazing things. And there should be full access to a complete BSD commad line.

    Apple's focus with Mac OS X is to create a kick-ass modern OS that even hard core geeks can respect, but that won't alienate Mac fanatics.

    The OS's entire core (all the Mach and BSD stuff) will be open sourced under the Apple Public Source License [].

    Current planned shipping date is "early 2000", whatever that means. Apple just seeded the second developer build of the OS last week, but everyone who has a copy in NDAed.

  • Just out of curiosity, has anyone been able to run Linux on a PC emulation program on a Mac, for instance Connectix Virtual PC? I tried it, failed, and gave up, and I'm curious to know if anyone else has had better luck. Would this even be possible?
  • This is only tangentially related, but can you swap an iBook's battery easily? That is, without pulling out the hard drive or lifting up the (admittedly very cool) lift-off keyboard?
  • I was able to boot Caldera OpenLinux 2.3 under Virtual PC 3.0 (and it booted all the way, started X and KDE) but it was painfully slow on my iBook, even with 160 MB of memory. It ran maybe at the speed of a 486/66, if that. If it means anything, I also was able to get at least part of the way through the Solaris/x86 installer on the iBook as well; I don't know if it would have booted all the way since I didn't have time to deal with it.
  • I don't understand why you'd _want_ to run Linux in emulation, when there are several flavors of Linux plus all the BSD's available native...
  • i would like to run os/2 under windows 95 emulated under softwindows thru a mac prog on a simulated linux box on my AMIGA...

    anyone got any pointers?
    • cabr1to
  • by ddpg ( 34874 ) on Wednesday November 17, 1999 @09:26PM (#1523775) Homepage
    It uses the Squishdot System [] which is desinged to look and act like slashdot. Squishdot is written in Python and uses Zope [].
  • While your intentions seem good, I kind of disagree.

    I'm a dedicated Mac user, and the OS isn't terribly stable. Don't get me wrong, it has gotten MUCH better in the last 3 or so years, but it's still not of server quality in my opinion (unless you want to babysit the server).

    For a desktop system, which is largely the role Macs play, it's not as big a problem. More stability would be nice.

    I'll agree on the speed and security, for the most part. Disk access speed could use some work.

    Support for hardware and software, in my opinion, is actually quite good. Hardware not so much, but Apple has been moving to industry standards so that helps. Software, via VirtualPC, isn't that big of a problem either. As the Mac is the 2nd major desktop platform, most software isn't that hard to find really - you just get used to mail order or online shopping.

    - Jeff A. Campbell
    - VelociNews ( [])
  • I'm not sure, but you've been able to with any other Powerbook made in the last X years. Just put the thing to sleep, pop it out, and switch. Press a key and wait a couple seconds, and you're back up.

    I imagine the iBook is the same way.

    - Jeff A. Campbell
    - VelociNews ( [])
  • ...would be getting macos to run on a PC
  • It's been done already....

    I remember having seen screenshots of the linux mac emulator (sheepshaver) running Macos running Virtual PC running Win95 running some arcade emulator (maybe MAME)

    So nothing new here...
  • the big problem i have with the imac is one single word: expandability. it's a real bitch to get inside one of these things, and the only expansion slot is a hidden port in the bottom which was later removed (wtf?) i've tried expanding my rev. a imac as much as i can, and i've done fairly well: 96 megs ram (from 32), a voodoo 2 card in that slot (from [ick!] a rage iic), a descent usb cd burner, as well as a 25 gig hd (w/ a 4gig partition for linuxppc). however, if i wanted, say, a bigger monitor, or a voodoo 3 or whatever, i'm stuck. if i had known then what i knew now, i definitely would have waited for one of those b&w g3s or g4s.
  • In the cool-non-ripoff industrial design category, I think Sony VAIOs are definitely very cool-looking.
  • Well, one reason you'd want to is because some software (*gasp!*) is not ported to PPC.

    AFS is the example that catches my attention because it's what MIT uses, and it's a pain that it's not available for PPC, so LinuxPPC could never be a true workstation in our environment the way RedHat can.
  • IMO, of course :)

    I'm taking a computing course as part of my physics degree, and it involves basic C programming. We're being taught on macs, using codewarrior.

    Compared to my programming experiences in Linux its terrible, do anything that would just cause a segfault in linux brings the mac down... all of it.

    And I cant get the debugger to work. I've resorted to loading up ncsa telnet and working on my PC running linux at home.

    Additionally the way that you need to allocate memory to an app before running it seems bizzare.

    I guess I just suffer from CLI withdrawal.
  • Probably the best info on Mac OSX Client can be found at X-Appeal [].
  • Baby, Apple has allowed Bootable CDs for YEARS now, even before it was hyped as some big thing for the Wintel crowd. Hell, my favorite method to install NetBSD on old Macs is to plop in a custom boot CD containing just enough to get the thing running plus a separate partition containing the NetBSD install. Easy as pie and works on Macs from as early as *1990*
  • In fact, that's why you don't need a damn "boot floppy". Your shiny new Mac comes with a rescue CD that works every time, regardless of how you've abused the hard disk. You really want to trust your emergency boot to a fsking floppy when you have the choice of a CD? Get real.
  • That depends on what you are used to.

    I have a dual boot Mac with MacOS/Linux at home. I have CodeWarrior for MacOS, and I definitely prefer MacOS and CodeWarrior, hardly using Linux.

    I have a dual boot Linux/NT box at work, and spend nearly all my time in Linux there. I couldn't get used to Windows no matter how much I used it.

    It's good to have Linux around (and have ports so fast), but don't write MacOS off so quickly.

    For things like the debugger problem, you have enabled the debugger in the Project menu, and turned optimisation off? Sounds like with a little bit of help getting started, your experience of CodeWarrior could be much more pleasant. And with experience, you learn not to write much code that going to cause segfaults/crashes. I _very_ seldom crash my Mac with a program I am working on. I use buggy NetScape to do that instead :(

    Roy Ward.
  • can you swap an iBook's battery easily?

    Yes. Two screws (coin-operable) on the bottom of the iBook open the battery door.

    Problem is, there is no interim power source. You have to shut the iBook down before any battery change.

    Cool OS trick: It can write an image of RAM to the hard drive. Then you can restart the iBook and be right where you left off.

    Now I'm WAY off-topic. I'm sure gonna miss that Karma.

  • If your goal is to write a simple, compiled program without the overhead of a GUI interface, it can be very hard to do on a Mac. There are good fourth generation languages that make it easy to build a UI, but their code isn't that efficient (compared to compiled C). And there are good compilers such as Code Warrior, but usually you have to build at least a simple UI to do your I/O, and that can be a hassle. The great thing about Unix is that you can simply edit a text file, compile it, and run the executable.

    Apple has a product called OS X Server (that X is pronounced "ten"). It is a result of their acquisition of NeXT. It's not Linux, but it is a Unix system, based on BSD. It has a pretty good GUI, and it comes with a GNU C/C++ compiler. There are some restrictions as to what hardware you can run it on. It might require a G3-class machine.

    OS X Server also has a MacOS 8 emulator that runs as a process you can switch to. The only problem with the emulator is that the graphics are slow, so that makes the whole system appear slow since the interface is graphics-based.

    Anyway, you get the best of both worlds. Write your programs in C for Unix and run them, then transfer the output files to the MacOS partition and use them as Mac files.

    Apple's OS X site is at [].

  • Yeah and it was all running on a really fscking souped up, modified NEWTON!!!!!! That's what they don't tell you!
  • If your goal is to write a simple, compiled program without the overhead of a GUI interface, it can be very hard to do on a Mac.

    I strongly disagree with your statements; my experience is exactly the opposite.

    Every Mac compiler I have ever used has a standard C library that will support a simple terminal style interface. I did a port of unarj to the Mac that consisted in 1). Fixing the bugs in the unarj code some broken Microsoft compiler was passing and 2). Inserting three statements consisting of ifdefs and an include.

    If you want a Mac style interface all you need to use is something like TransSkel. Well optimized without the overhead of a GUI builder and the idiotic overhead these impose. Just plug in your code to the appropriate slots and you have a nice combination of speed and visual appeal.

  • Since this topic has COMPLETELY diverged into a general discussion of Macs, I'm going to jump in here.

    I am a rabid Mac advocate, and I agree completely that the VAIO kicks ass in terms of design. Steve Jobs currently has a four lines of hardware: desktop vs portable, consumer vs pro -- iMac, iBook, PowerMac, PowerBook. He really Really REALLY ought to add two more.

    First would be a subnotebook about the size of a VAIO, with no removable media drives, just a bunch of ports. Second would be a division of the PowerMac into desktop (cheaper, smaller) and supertower (huge, with 6 PCI slots and a bunch of open bays).

    But back to the topic of iMacs & Linux -- it's a good thing that's beneficial to everyone (except M$ probably). Linux gets a wider audience, while Macs get a cheap & preemptive OS alternative. Why all the anger?
  • A couple years ago, BeDope was haivng a contest to see just how many layers one could run at once... they were shooting for 5, but they only have pictured 4. 1.html []

  • First of all, architecturally, there's no basis for this argument. Nothing about the Macintosh makes it better "for graphics". Even from a software perspective, the industry standard editors/composers (like Photoshop and Illustrator) are available on *multiple* platforms. And when it comes to 3D graphics, I'd just as soon have an Irix or NT system.

    Originally the Mac was better suited. Postscript came first on the Mac. Pagemaker and so on too.

    Architecturally Altivec IS superior to what is available on other systems for Photoshop applications.

    A big problem with these other systems now is simply software maturity. Mac postscript print drivers are far more reliable at generating .ps files that don't choke commercial RIPs. While Photoshop is available on a variety of systems, many of the plug ins and helper applications are Mac only. Colorsync is far more well integrated on the Mac than any other available color matching system. There are Mac specific networking platforms optimized for transporting large graphics files. If you go to a print shop they often charge extra or even refuse to take non-Mac generated files.

    While you may like the idea of SGI or NT for one reason or another, they are just not practical for a graphics professional.
  • Of course Apple allows for bootable CDs. Well that is except for the OS 8.0 CD. Seems the System Folder on a bunch of them is bad and you have to start up the CD without the extensions on the CD. It took a few tries to time the C and shift keys successfully, but I eventually got it. Then came the difficult part... try explaining to a newbie over the phone how to do this and why it is necessary. I'm going to try it on a 7200/120 tomorrow night. Wish me luck.

  • I got Red Hat 5.2 emulated a while back, on my G3 tower with 128 Meg of RAM. I did it under Blue Label emulator, which emulates a Pentium Class motherboard so you can install any X86 system on it. I was about the speed of a Pentium 100, on my 300 Mhz G3. I dumped it because got a dedicated linux box. I installed it 2 times. The first time when clean. I accidentally deleted some key files and had to re-install it. It took 2 tries the second time. It works really well with a bootable CDROM. That's my 2 cents.
  • Back on subject. USB on linux is a priority for Mac users. It was not a priority for linux before then. The floppy disk as we know is going to be gone eventually. Do you have a 5.25" disk drive on your computer? Hmmm, that was available a few years ago.

    So were 5 megabyte hard drives. What's your point? If your point is that things change in the computer industry and that it somehow follows that the floppy disk drive should be abandoned, I have to disagree with you.

    The floppy disk and diskette drive are very useful if and when Shit ever Happens to your machine and you need to get it up and running again. (Forgot that root password? No floppy? Oops, you're screwed.) Sure, you can boot off a CD-Rom, but what happens if and when your machine dies and you *don't* have a boot CD? You can't just download one on another machine and burn it most times. You *can* do that with a floppy, and I've *had* to do that on a few occasions. Floppy drives are (were?) ubiquitous. Everyone has one. Not many people I know have a CD-R, or a Zip drive, or some other means of booting their PCs.

    Think of the floppy drive as a glorified emergency escape hatch on your computer. (Would you feel safer on a plane with no emergency exits?)

    Food for thought.


    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • Why not just boot off the OS Install CD that came with it ? (* that is what its for after all *)
  • why does its file table corrupt so easily,

    Um... It doesn't, especially when compared with ext2.

    It would be awfully hard for ext2fs to corrupt its file tables since it doesn't have any. It uses inodes, like all real filesystems do.


    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • To say that instability isn't a problem on a desktop system is to ignore the countless hours lost and the incredible frustration that people feel when Word (or the OS) crashes "just before I was about to save"
    I'll take minimal usable functionality with stability (ie. vi+TeX :-) over Word's bells and whistles any day!
  • I have also been running LinuxPPC on a Lombard G3 Powerbook without any floppy drive and I really have never found any reason to need one. BootX (kindof a Mac LILO), allows you to use a ramdisk image in an emergency, and I've only had to do that once. I dunno if this is as clean on the Intel/AMD side, but for Apple hardware, floppies are really not necessary anymore with Ethernet, zip drives, and cdroms.


    Cheapest iMac I've seen is about $2000.

  • Debian on PPC
    Debian on Intel
    Debian on SParc
    Debian on Alpha
    Debian on ARM

    All I need now is Linux/Debian on M88K.

    Ha... Ha... hahahahh!

  • (Yes, this is different but...)
    I tried to boot Linux on my 66MHz 486 PC card, but because Linux bypasses the BIOS and tries to read from the floppy directly, the system fails. Also, all of the MS utilities for fixing floppies, Win 3.11 backup (yikes!), etc. fail for the same reason. Also, the hard drive is emulated, so not going throught the BIOS killed that to.
  • Back on subject. USB on linux is a priority for Mac users. It was not a priority for linux before then. The floppy disk as we know is going to be gone eventually. Do you have a 5.25" disk drive on your computer? Hmmm, that was available a few years ago.

    So were 5 megabyte hard drives. What's your point? If your point is that things change in the computer industry and that it somehow follows that the floppy disk drive should be abandoned, I have to disagree with you.

    Actually, 5 meg hard disks went out much sooner that 5.25" floppies; you're talking 1989 vs. 1994 or so there. And this meant something, because when OS/2 Warp came out, you had to install it from a PC that was set up to boot off of one of those new-fangled 1.44MB floppy drives. The whining that went up over that was intense, but lasted all of 3 months.

    What people really want is not a floppy drive or a zip drive, but a CD-RW drive that also plays DVDs. And I believe such units are just about to be coming out, which means that in a year to 18 months, they will be cheap enough to be built into every consumer system, at which point the whole idea of a floppy seems very quaint:

    Who will want an unreliable floppy disk that complicates the whole PC when they can have a "one slot" media experience that does everything from back-up to playing music and videos to, yes, replacing the standard uses of a floppy drive?

    Now, this is not to say that Apple may have jumped the gun a bit on this trend, but do you really not think that next year's iMac 3 won't have the one combo drive, followed by all other PC makers in the next dozens of months?

  • I have Red Hat 6.0 running under VPC 3.0 on my PowerMac 9600/350. X is painfully slow, even worse than Win98. It pretty much installed without a hitch, however.

    I've also tried installing it on my girlfriend's iMac 266, but must have screwed up my guess at how to describe the iMac's monitor. With my 9600, I just specified my actual monitor model. I plan on doing a fresh install on her machine when I get a chance.

    Despite the fact that her iMac benchmarks slightly slower than my 9600, her machine runs Win98 under VPC significantly faster. I suspect the reason is that Connectix (VPC's developers) have done some heavy optimization for the G3/G4, and my 9600 has a PPC 604.

    Despite the fact that X is slow, it's still a pretty neat setup. I have our home office connected with 10baseT and I run IPNetRouter [] under the Mac OS on my 9600. This not only lets our Macs share the same PPP connection simultaneously, but Virtual PC acts as a separate machine, gets its own IP address (via DHCP), and is therefore connected at the same time. That's the one advantage over going dual-boot with LinuxPPC -- I can work in both OSes at the same time on the same machine.

    VPC also makes it very easy to move files back and forth between the two environments.


  • Cheapest iMac I've seen is about $2000.

    What is the color of the sky in your world?

    Apple is selling the low-end 350MHz iMac for $999. The most expensive iMac (iMac DV Special Edition) is $1500. Apple hasn't come within half a grand of a $2000 iMac. If you think $500 is a rounding error (only 33% of the price of the system!), I'd be happy for you to send $500 my way...


  • Drat, I was just going to try this on my 6100 Dos Compatible this weekend. Ah well, nice to have some time freed up to play in the snow. Although there is always mkLinux...
  • You do realize that you are by far and away the rare case. The iMac isn't expandible via expansion slots, because normal people don't bother. Back in the Quadra days, Apple did a survey and found out that almost ALL NuBus slots were empty. There are a few people who actually filled them in, but the vast majority of people bought those machines without intending to buy NuBus cards.

    The iMac is a consumer toster. I don't worry if my kitchen appliances need to be upgraded. I buy new ones. This is a good thing. It makes computers cheaper.


  • I've seen much better prices on old Sparc boxes... not that that would be faster (it wouldn't), just cheaper. Not to mention old PPC macs...

    In any case, most modern intel chips are RISC at heart... they re-construct x86 CISC instructions into smaller instructions. PPro and up does this, I think.

    And RISC isn't inherently superior, just different. As it turns out, it's easier to implement a lot of things if a nice RISC-y architecture is used, but RISC itself isn't special.

  • Can your grandma install MacOS?

    Mine can't.

    Installing OS's isn't trivial. Fortunately for a lay-user, most computers come with an OS pre-installed. I think that Linux pre-installed systems will become popular over the next two years.

    If your grandma Can install MacOS onto an otherwise-dead mac, my guess is that she could install Red Hat 6.1... I was pretty impressed.

  • You missed Linux/Debian on M68K (which I have) and MIPS (which I don't). Debian for VAX anyone?
  • Linux doesn't have the right tools and support yet.

    This isn't quite true. Check out the Linux Journal story here [] about using Linux in the graphic arts industry.

    While Linux isn't a comprehensive solution in this area yet, it isn't that far off either.

  • A lot of Apple _users_ have been Anti-Microsoft. Apple itself is not antimicrosoft- however, Apple has been an ALTERNATIVE to Microsoft for a very long time. And, indeed, that's something to appreciate. Alternatives are good...
  • Oh come on, i was joking. Fine take my karma away...

  • The iMacs use a PowerPC chip which I think is a RISC architecture. The intel chips are definitely CISC.
    RISC is different from CISC in one letter: R
    Reduced Instruction Set Computer is different from Complex Instruction Set Computer because the instruction set complexity is reduced.
    What's the point? Compilers and processors can do more optimization tricks (pipelining, out-of-order execution, prediction, ...) with simpler instructions. RISC computers can be faster than CISC computers.

    And it is always good to have faster computers.

  • Well... I don't know how familiar you are with this industry, but the stuff described in the article was basically using Linux boxen for file servers and RIPs. The first of these tasks is generic, though the files will be larger than you'd see in an office. RIPs, when they're used (typically only for high-end proofs and imagesetting - important but not as a workstation or creative tool) are already typically NT or Unix systems. I see SGI RIPs a lot, but remember that the RIP software is all proprietary.

    Neither of these have to do with the designer workstations, and those are what I'm referring to as being all basically all Mac. It's not as though graphic designers insist on a Mac email server either, you know.

    But this doesn't mean that Linux 'isn't that far off' [from being a comprehensive solution] by a longshot.
  • I'd like to defend myself by saying my primary machine is an AMD K62 running Slackware. And all of my other machines are 486s and one p133. So I really don't understand how you can say I deride 486 users.
  • by craw ( 6958 )
    Your points are well taken. However, do you foresee a day when there will be no floppy disk? Support and need for legacy devices is a touchy subject. But nothing pushes forth improvement as the cutting off of old legacy devices. Apple did this and the eventual result is the appreciation/support of USB devices. Linux support for USB needs to be improved. How long will the serial port be around?

    Their was a time when 9 track tapes ruled the world. A lot of these tapes still abound. But obviously this technology is obsolete. So is the floppy.

  • Where is YDL in this discussion? This article makes it sound as if Linux on an iMac is a new thing! YDL's been doing it for some time, and without all the hassle. See
  • Off topic but what the hell... Lombard (at least in the UK) is an acronym for Lots Of Money But A Right Dickhead. Shame to see it applied to an otherwise superb laptop really. Mind you, one of my client sites has a PDC called "Sappho"... Indeed Tim
  • $2000 for an iMac? Oh behaaaaaaaave....... Tim
  • The main point about PowerPC's being RISC vs. x86 processors being CISC is that even though the CISC processors run on RISC cores, the fact that each of the x86 instructions is still CISC and so it's almost impossible to pipeline it as efficiently as a PowerPC (or MIPS, or whatever). What intel, AMD, et al should have done when moving to RISC cores is something very similar to what Apple/IBM/Motorola did when moving to PowerPC: be backwards-compatible with old programs but allow access to the RISC core. It's exactly what Intel is doing with IA-64.

    Besides, there hasn't been a major change in the Intel family of processors for 25 years. They still run the same instructions (with a few added, just like Motorola did with upgrades of the 68000 architecture), and it's an awful kluge to force people to run in CISC emulation. At least with PowerPC you can still use the RISC part of the processor.

    And AltiVec beats the pants off SSE. ;-)
  • Actually, LinuxPPC is coming pretty close to booting on NuBus machines (the 5500 is semi-worknig). I'd get a LinuxPPC CD (because it includes MkLinux anyway) and wait while you run MkLinux.
  • I installed MKLinux, and it worked great. It was a bit of a pain to initially install (uh...repartitioning my 4.3GB HD), but once it was there it worked great. I set it up to print to my Stylewriter 1200 and connect to the Internet. X did crash the entire system from time to time, but overall it worked well.

    LinuxPPC would be better because it has a monolithic kernel which is faster, plus it's more stable (supposedly), although (from previous post) it isn't quite ready for [6789]100's yet.
  • Linux is dead, and Linux users are Zombies that are not aware of it yet.

    Mac OSX is the only place to go on a Macintosh, forget BSD Unix, forget Linux, forget Machten. Trust me, OSX is the only place you want to be.

    Apple releases the hardware specs and API calls to others, so why the need to reverse engineer anything?

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain