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Is Gentoo feasable on an iMac?
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Xamindar
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 6:08 pm    Post subject: Is Gentoo feasable on an iMac? Reply with quote

There is this old iMac at my work which has OS 9 on it.
The specs are:
350Mhz Processor (G3 I think)
7GB Hard Drive
64Mb RAM
CD Rom Drive
Video card appears to be Rage128Pro
It also has a Lexmark x83 Printer connected to it.

All it would be used for is Surfing the internet and printing to the printer.
Has anyone had any experience with linux on this type of hardware? Would it run well enough (OS 9 freezes sometimes) to be reliable for what I want to use it for? I'm not sure if it has enough RAM and the processor looks slow.

I'd like to get some ideas before I take it home and spend time on it.
Any suggestions welcome :D
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Xamindar
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So has no one tried linux on an iMac? 8O
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psyqil
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://forums.gentoo.org/viewforum.php?f=24
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tomk
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moved from Other Things Gentoo, you'll get a better response here.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

7 GB isn't much, I'd add a second drive, but the processor is certainly fast enough (don't compare those figures to x86, they've got nothing in common).

64 MB is definitely a little too tight, I'd try to get that upgraded before installing anything on that thing (not only Gentoo, even MacOS would be better off at anything above 256 MB RAM).

Other than that, just shove in a LiveCD and install Gentoo, the hardware is perfectly supported, as far as I can tell. Install MOL and use your iMac in Linux and MacOS in parallel - much better than dualbooting! :D
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Xamindar
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2005 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops :oops: Totaly forgot about this forum.

Cool, sounds like it would work. I can't really add anything to it because I'm not willing to spend any money on it. I can maybe add some more RAM though. I also didnt want to try to install gentoo and fail and then not be able to put mac OS back on there as I don't have it.

Thanks for your responses.
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bruda
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2005 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My wife's machine (used mainly for surfing the Web and word processing, and at times for playing multimedia streams) has the same specifications as yours, and it works just fine. The only problem is the memory, I had 64M in the thing when I got it but I spent some CAD 100 (or was it 150?) for another 256M (the machine uses PC-133 SDRAM, I got the stick from Future Shop or other such an establishment, nothing special) and it makes all the difference in the world. Given its age, the machine is surprisingly snappy, about the only thing it could use would be a larger screen estate. I would warmly recomment it as a Gentoo box.

7G are more than enough for the Gentoo installation, though you will end up with about 1G stable/consistent space for user data which could be on the low side (or not, depending on the intended use of the machine).
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Xamindar
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I'm at the very beginning of installation and already have a problem.

I used mac-fdisk to set up my partitions but when I try to format them (mke2fs -j /dev/hda4) it says "The device apparently does not exist". And it really doesn't exist when I check, there is only an hda and hdb. Is this a problem with udev or whatever this kernel uses? If I go into normal fdisk it says I have no partitions but if I go back into mac-fdisk everything is still there how I set it up. What have I done wrong, I have been following the installation manual as best I can.
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bruda
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not sure how udev reacts to a newly partitioned drive, but it could be the culprit. In this case a simple reboot will do. fdisk is useless in your case since it deals with PC partitions so stick with mac-fdisk.
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Xamindar
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I have rebooted a couple of times but no change. Could normal fdisk have messed up that mac partition table? Is there any way to redo the partition table of something? I tried using mac-fdisk and removing all my partitions (except for that one that you can't remove) and re-partitioning them, rebooting, and nothing. :( Maybe I can try a different kernel, I don't know (using the G3 kernel right now). I can't believe I'm the only one with this problem, and I just followed the instructions.

I'll fiddle around more with it when I get home today.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, memory is the limitation...

Note that you can always use a faster machine for building. Does not need even to be a PowerPC if you are not scared of setting up cross-compilers (cross-compilation support is currently making its way in portage).

For people with slow PowerPCs and a faster PC:
http://www.sable.mcgill.ca/~dbelan2/crossdev/crossdev-powerpc-i686.html
http://dev.gentoo.org/~vapier/CROSS-COMPILE-HOWTO


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Xamindar
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had 512Mb of PC-133 laying around in which I couldn't find any pc that would accept it. Stuck it in this iMac and works great! So everything looks good on resources for what I need.

I just need to get linux to FIND THE PARTITIONS! :D
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Xamindar
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man this is crazy! I can't even mount my usb stick so I can copy logs over to it. I plug it in and it shows in dmesg and a /dev/sda1 device appears for it but when I try to mount it the mount command complains about wrong filesystem type. And I DID modprobe the vfat module.

Is there something seriously wrong with this iMac?

I guess I can try installing another distro and see if that works and then try Gentoo again.

I'm a total n00b to Apple hardware but it shouldn't be this hard. :x
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Xamindar
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HAHA! Got it! I ran "mke2fs /dev/hda" because I was fed up and it completely wiped the drive including that first mac partition!

Then I went back into mac-fdisk and initialized the partition map and remade all my partitions. Now they show up! Sometimes just pushing random buttons fixes the problem. :D

*note: I had initialized the partition map (the i command) before and it didn't help.*
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Xamindar
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I finally finished the bootstrap and rebooted.

I have a problem though. The kernel seemed to boot up all the way but the screen seemed to get stuck on that first screen (the one with the large white text). Even though the screen is "frozen" like that, I can still log in and eject the cd and reboot and stuff. Basicly anything just without being able to see what I'm doing.

What did I configure wrong? The frame buffer? The console? Maybe it switches to another console for main output or something (I thought I disabled serial console).

Has anyone had this issue and could possible tell me what is wrong?

I'll give this another try tomorrow. It's got to be a bad kernel option. :?
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've ran gentoo on a bondi blue.... thats a 233mhz. Worked fine but you need lots of patience for compiling stuff ;-).
Later i upgraded it to 196 mb ram and a fast 30gb harddrive. Ditched it when the monitor fried, which i think is rather common for these old imacs.
When you're done installing.... be sure to try MOL (Mac On Linux). It's in portage and it's great!!
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Xamindar wrote:
What did I configure wrong? The frame buffer? The console? Maybe it switches to another console for main output or something (I thought I disabled serial console).

Has anyone had this issue and could possible tell me what is wrong?


boot off the livecd, mount your hd and check /var/logs/
hopefully there'll be a clue somewhere in your kernel logs
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Xamindar
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks a lot. It is solved now. I needed to compile that firmware framebuffer support into the kernel and now it works.
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