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sog
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 8:50 pm    Post subject: Powerbook G4 & Gentoo Reply with quote

longtime Thinkpad user here who's considering a 12" Powerbook for my next laptop, simply because in the ultralight category Apple's pretty much got the sweetest machine.

not being a regular Mac user, nor one that familiar with Apple hardware, i wanted to check and see if anybody had any real "gotchas" as a longtime Gentoo x86 user. anything that i should know up front won't work, like wireless?

i've gone through a ton of postings in this section of the forum as well as the packages.gentoo.org DB and application availability seems ok, and it seems as tho dual booting - while not covered well in the install manual - can be done.

for any of the folks out there that have transitioned from x86 to PPC, any advice, recommendations for or against?

the machine would principally be used for work, with a heavy emphasis on Gnome/OOo/Evolution/Firefox. i've found a few things thus far that haven't made it to PPC, like the ximian-connector 2+ and Skype, but no show stoppers thus far.

is the PPC application support ok in general? poor? slow?

just looking for any thoughts before i plunk down a few grand on a machine. thanks.
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farrioth
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are looking at getting a new laptop, don't get anything but a Toshiba.
Although I haven't had too many problems with Gentoo on PPC (I have 2 iMacs running here), Apple's hardware is poorly designed and I strongly advise to stay away from it.
I have had many hardware problems with Macs, mostly due to bad design. I have found that sortware is slightly behind on PPC, although this it not the biggest problem.
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sog
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thx for the response, farrioth, but if i do go with x86 hardware it'll probably be another Thinkpad as they've been great to me. i'm interested in the Apple from a design and cost perspective, but will certainly take your words into account.
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sog
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok, done some more digging and i get that the Airport Extreme card is not supported - at least currently - under Linux. does anyone know if you can swap out, after the fact, the Extreme for a regular Airport, which is supported? after all, i have no need currently for the 54Mbps that Extreme brings - i just need 11B.
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farrioth
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's the same as the iBooks, the PCMCIA slot is under the keyboard, so you could put any card that fits in there.
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sog
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

damn. this thread says no, you can't:

http://www.macosx.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-36466.html
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xavier10
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a powerbook G4, Alu, 15", 1.25 Ghz (one year old). I was also moving from a Thinkpad (T22, which I still own).

I have experienced major problems in the begining; even getting a safe configuration for X was a pain. I believe the support has improved quite a bit for my computer, but I have read some post recently about major problems with the latest powerbooks.

There are still some serious hardware support problems right now, including:
- modem;
- airport;
- good support of the video card (no DRI here).

I set up Gentoo on my thinkpad more recently and the installation was very smooth compared to my experience with the Alubook. Maybe because I was more experienced as a gentoo user, maybe because the support is better, maybe because of both reasons.

Overall, my experience with this computer is mixed. I love the ergonomics and the lightweight with a large screen. The resolution is a little low for a 15", but the fonts appear bigger; good for my eyes :) However, I found the cpu disappointing. I use some cpu (floating point and integer arithmetic) intensive applications and the G4 performed very poorly compared to a Pentium M.

In your situation, I would probably buy a Thinkpad X, but I am sure the PB 12 is cool too; just that I am not sure you can achieve the same level of performance under linux with it.
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sog
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah, i'm torn. the TP has far better support across the board - not so much from a software perspective, but definitely from a hardware perspective - but the PB is the far cooler. and it's cheaper.

pricing them out, a thinkpad x41 with a 1.4Ghz chip/1.25GB/40GB (max size) comes in at 2800 and change, while the powerbook at 1.5Ghz/1.25GB/100GB comes in at just over 2K.

the main thing, provided that they can get the new trackpad deal worked out, is the wireless. i can't realistically deal with some USB wireless attachment, and apparently you can't swap out the airport extreme for another card.
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xavier10
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sog wrote:
but the PB is the far cooler. and it's cheaper.

pricing them out, a thinkpad x41 with a 1.4Ghz chip/1.25GB/40GB (max size) comes in at 2800 and change, while the powerbook at 1.5Ghz/1.25GB/100GB comes in at just over 2K.

Indeed, I am not surprised with the price. Really a bummer that IBM does not provide higher capacity hard drives.
Yet, you can expect the X41 to blow away the G4 cpu-wise.
Apple hardware is very cool; too bad it is still not possible to use it as we could (this video card seems so good... but I cannot do anything interesting with it under linux...).

Quote:

the main thing, provided that they can get the new trackpad deal worked out, is the wireless. i can't realistically deal with some USB wireless attachment, and apparently you can't swap out the airport extreme for another card.

Check whether pcmcia is well supported on the latest powerbooks; maybe a pcmcia will do the trick.
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sog
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thx for the suggestion, xavier10. i thought of that, but unfortunately PCMCIA is only available on the 15 and 17 inch models, not the 12 that i'm after.

not looking good for my Gentoo on Power experiment, alas.
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zecora
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am still going to get a powerbook. The 15inch i think i will go with. The fixes will come out for the probelms that are occuring with the PPC and i will just wait for them to come.
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Donpasquale
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since this thread is rather outdated i just thought to give it a refresh:

I just got my powerbook about 3 months ago. had about 15 notebooks from different manufacturers before. Every laptop had its problems like poor acpi support, bad irq configuration, bad videocard....

I got the powerbook running completely:
dri and 3d accelerated X with the r300 drivers
ram and disk suspend
mac on linux
wireless lan with a prism54 pcmcia card
the touchpad which was the biggest problem at the beginning
the keyboard mapping
the modem

I now only have some problems with the software which i try to resolve:
ximian connector didnt work --> just compiled new evolution which includes exchange now
eclipse / myeclipse jsp hot code replace / validation doesnt work and the ibm jdk is rather slow --> ??
flash plugin is missing in firefox --> swfdec is going to be installed as a plugin here like described in the HOWTO here in the forums
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