Due to the open source nature of the Linux kernel and the Debian operating system, it is possible to build the same software to run on the PowerPC processor found inside the Mac Mini. It's simple to swap your big, noisy old PC for the slim, svelte Mac Mini, and this page aims to show you how to do just this.
Thanks to the portability of Debian and its advanced package management tools, making her new Mac look like her old PC took only an hour or so. Hardware The hardware specification is somewhat less than stellar by standards, but still perfectly adequate. One can choose between a 1. This is markedly less powerful than contemporary Intel or AMD x86 systems, but for the overwhelming majority of tasks this is more than enough processing ability.
The G4 used dissipates around 21W at 1. The other hardware in the box is also mature and reliable or, if you're a glass-half-empty person, cheap and slow. The RV has four rendering pipelines, hardware geometry transform and lighting acceleration, and both programmable pixel and vertex shaders. It's more than adequate for people who aren't interested in playing the very latest 3D games. Much of the 3D hardware is supported by XFree86, which is excellent news. The system has a single DIMM socket which takes standard PC modules, although it is slightly tricky to gain access to it.
The largest available upgrade at present is a 1GB module, but I believe that the Mac Mini will also be certified for use with 2GB modules when they enter production. For the average Linux user, 1GB will be more than adequate. For heat and noise reasons, Apple have chosen to use a 2. The 40GB or 80GB hard drive supplied is unlikely to be large enough for everyone. Apple appears to be shipping a mix of rpm and rpm units in the 40GB size, but currently all 80GB units are rpm. The rpm drives are apparently faster, presumably due to their shorter head seek times.
The Mac Mini uses Apple's "Intrepid" north bridge. It appears to be a very compact derivative of the eMac's motherboard design. This diagram illustrates the hardware in the Mac Mini as exactly as I can. This is a cost-saving measure on Apple's part, as the Intrepid chipset has a second ATA channel that could be used for the optical drive. The Airport card and Bluetooth modules are mounted on an optional mezzanine card. If your system did not come with either of these options, the mezzanine card will not be present. I am told that the modem is not present on models sold into the educational market.
Apple's Developer Note on the Mac Mini is now online. Noise It's quiet -- very quiet. But not silent. The only noise is the barely audible hum from the hard disk. Thanks to the fluid dynamic bearings, this isn't the annoying high-pitched whine that older 2. I'm very pernickety about noise, and I find it quite acceptable. After a few months I upgraded the internal disk in my G4 to a rpm 2. The Mac Mini has a fanless external 85W switch-mode power supply, about half the size of the Mac itself picture here , moving a major source of heat out of the metal chassis. Combined with the G4 processor's relatively low clock speed, this was presumably key to Apple's thermal design.
I have some experience with PPC-linux, and it seems that the Yaboot boot parameters are some of the most important issues to get a PPC install up and running. Debian Need a bit more Setup, but also not that hard. Does the pismo have at least G4 Mhz, MB or has it lower specs?
I got Debian with i3m windowmanager very lightweight on iBook G4 1. To make things easy, just try to install old Mint ppc distro and see, if speed is ok and if is usable.
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If so, try Debian! Thanks again! Did you not have to use any boot sequences in Yaboot? Nope - Video even 3D works perfect on this Card! Sample xorg. These can sometimes save you reading the documentation, but some of them are not the best setup that's a polite way of putting it! If you still want to use them then download the file using the wget command at the bottom of the appropriate page. Reboot using "sudo reboot".
It is not hard though to setup your own xorg. Some instructions for setting up an xorg. Get to a console, for example via single user mode. Also, you can probably ignore any errors from the command, such as "number of created screens does not match number of detected devices", as it will still generate an xorg. It just means you will have to delete some sections of the xorg. At this point you may be freaking out a bit because it does look complicated when you are new to this sort of thing!
Each section has the form: Section "SectionName" SectionEntry EndSection To solve graphics problems we are mainly interested in the "Monitor", "Device" and "Screen" sections. Assuming you have a standard single monitor setup, then you probably only want 1 of each of these sections so you may have to delete some sections if it gives you two.
If you have an Apple computer then the section you want to keep will have radeon, ati, r, nouveau or nv written in the Driver entry what is written depends on your graphics card. There are no proprietary non-free drivers for ppc. Above the Driver entry will be the Identifier entry. The "Monitor" and "Screen" sections also have Identifier entries. The "Screen" section has entries to reference the "Monitor" and "Device" sections as it's purpose is to bind the monitor to a graphics card.
You want to keep the "Screen" section that references the identifier of the "Device" section that you are keeping. It will probably work out that you are keeping the sections "Card0", "Monitor0" and "Screen0". You can rename these identifiers to something meaningful if you prefer. The highest level section is the "ServerLayout" section.
When you delete sections you will have to change the "ServerLayout" section to reflect any changes. A shortened xorg. For clarity, the font, module and input device sections have been deleted which you can also safely do. Note, the lines starting are comments and don't do anything. Section "ServerLayout" Identifier "X.
Use the markers to quickly trace problems in the log: A description of some errors can be found here. There are a lot of warning messages at the start so it may be easier to start at the bottom of the log and work up. Messages about fonts can just be ignored. Please see the sections below for card specific errors. If your resolutions have been incorrectly detected out of range message in the Xorg. You must use this exactly whenever you refer to the mode in the xorg. You often see people shorten the name to "x" in which case it overrides the built-in mode.
Modeline "x" An example "Screen" section where modes have been explicitly stated is below: The modes will apply to all colour depths because a 'Depth' entry has not been specified. If you are using KMS then you may find that your preferred mode has been ignored. If this is the case, set the mode name so that it overrides the built-in mode. For more information on how to use the xrandr command see here. The GUI utility xvidtune can be used to see how to adjust the numbers in modelines.
An alternative to adding modelines is to specify VertRefresh and HorizSync values for your monitor. You can also find them out using the ddcprobe command. The monitor range is shown at the bottom of the output. The first pair in this example is your HorizSync rate and the second pair is your VertRefresh rate. The Monitor section using these values would look like this: Use the values and instead. Note, settings stored in PRAM impact geometry. Monitor sections may be tied to specific outputs of the video card. Using the name of the output defined by the video driver plus the identifier of a monitor section, one associates a monitor section with an output by adding an option to the Device section in the following format: This will also enable DRI on some low memory graphics cards.
If you have configured your own xorg. Make sure to also look at the EXA manual if your card uses this as it contains some extra options you can use. XAA options are in the xorg. Look at the xorg. Not all options are documented in the manuals: EE Screen s found, but none have a usable configuration. If you are using An alternative "fix" for the framebuffer error can be done through the xorg. Possibly this is the cause of some problems. You will likely see a message like this note the 0x mode in your dmesg log: However, without DRI, both desktop effects and applications will be software-rendered, which will be slow.
You can find the latest source code here. The compat API was designed in such a way that it's backwards compatible with old X servers so it should compile in Use the flags "--enable-exa --enable-xaa" if necessary. This bug is tracking PowerPC issues. Nvidia cards There are no proprietary drivers for PowerPC so please ignore any well meaning advice to install them using the jockey-gtk utility it will more than likely just crash when you try to open it anyway.
If you can only successfully boot using the yaboot parameter "nouveau. Ammend the xorg. From Compile instructions are in this post. You cannot use a binary package of nv from a previous version of Ubuntu. If you get the error ' EE Failed to load module "nv" module does not exist, 0 ' in your Xorg.
To continue to use it in Please try using the newer 'nouveau' driver first although you may find nv faster. If your firefox pages are not rendered correctly with nouveau, then some users e. Just adding one pixel to the vertical dimension seems to work the best: If you can't get the version of nouveau that is in the ubuntu repositories working then there is a tutorial to compile the latest nouveau driver here.
You'll have to adjust some of the instructions for PowerPC. LTS versions have updated packages available e. If you can't get the nouveau xorg driver working and compiling nv is not an option then you will have to use the fbdev driver. To overcome the limited palette of the offb framebuffer, use the nouveaufb, nvidiafb or rivafb framebuffers.
With In the device section of my xorg. If you experience choppy scrolling in firefox can occur when you turn off KMS then it is worth experimenting with the AccelMethod option. Under However, you may find that "XAA" is better. EXA uses less processor power but under I've only found two things that make a big difference. The second is to turn on HyperZ. This isn't done in xorg.
I have no idea what this actually does, only it makes the numbers go up in glxgears! You may also like to enable the ClockGating and DynamicPM settings as they reduce heat output and increase battery life. There are many many web pages which offer extra help for example, see the links on the compiz ati hardware page , but - like for all linux - you will have to assess if the information is still relevant and valid. Note, if you are still using Usperspace Modesetting radeon. See this thread to enable S-video.
If you want to experiment with KMS you should turn it on with the radeon. Note, the KMS radeon framebuffer will be listed in logs as radeondrmfb. If you are using a KMS framebuffer nouveaufb or radeondrmfb then try increasing the framebuffer depth using a yaboot parameter s instead of through an xorg. How do I restart the X server? Rebooting the command: On some installations logging out and logging in again will work.
You can also restart the X server by first switching to a tty console ctrl-alt-F1 etc. Therefore, if the framebuffer you want has been compiled as a module instead of 'built in' to the kernel it will not be automatically loaded. You can also pass parameters in this file, for example: This will make the module available early in the boot process. You'll probably have to install the mesa-utils package first: If you have a multi-user setup then you may need to add the following section to your xorg.
See this wiki for information on this, as well as, more troubleshooting tips. It has a good section on how to interpret Xorg. Install compiz config settings manager to enable more effects. Kubuntu can use Xrender or OpenGL for desktop effects. Make sure you are using the appropriate setting it will revert to Xrender if 3D hardware acceleration is disabled.
If you are using Xubuntu then turning on the Composite feature will give you effects like transparency and shadows. To enable these go to: Then run: Window Manager Tweaks - Compositor tab and Enable. You can set the opacity of the Terminal through it's Preferences menu item. I also use the gl ant spotlight screensaver to test my xorg. It almost always freezes the computer when I select the preview button so I set the activation time to its lowest setting to test the screensaver. To test your 2D acceleration try various web pages the Ubuntu wikis and forums are good tests.
It's probably more useful to you to achieve smooth scrolling in Firefox than a high number in glxgears. Note, in See bug. These cards will use the software rasterizer in See the There are packages that cannot be included into Ubuntu for legal reasons copyright, license, patent, etc.
It is easy to install these however, this is how: Open the terminal and type sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras This will download a whole load of stuff around MB including codecs, Mircrosoft fonts, gnash flash support , and openjdk java. A license aggreement screen pops up for the MS fonts which you will need to accept press the TAB key if you are having a hard time selecting the OK option.
You can nolonger add Medibuntu as a repository on PowerPC, but you can still download the files individually. Click on the link http: This is what I had to do to get my DVD drive to work. More codecs can be downloaded from Medibuntu. The file is pretty old so I'm not sure what it adds that ubuntu-restricted-extras doesn't, but you can install it by clicking http: The Medibuntu repository was discontinued in autumn and the files are no longer available there.
You can still find copies of the files floating around, such as here. You could compile libdvdcss from the source package. Or maybe use the package at debian multimedia. How do I get faster Java? These can be easily used with OpenJDK and packages are available in the repositories. See the Java community wiki for further information about these options. There are, however, two open source flash players still under development: Note, swfdec is nolonger under development. Lightspark and it's firefox plugin browser-plugin-lightspark is the latest flash player see http: Lightspark uses advanced OpenGL techniques that requires good support from video drivers.
It will work best in newer versions of Ubuntu and with Kernel Mode Setting? Lightspark also uses pulseaudio as it's default audio backend. Pulseaudio is not installed on a default Lubuntu installation, so if you want sound you will have to install it or compile a version of lightspark with alsa as the audio backend?
You can install gnash and lightspark alongside each other since lightspark likes to 'fallback' onto gnash to play old swf files, but don't enable both the gnash firefox plugin and the lightspark plugin at the same time. You may want install a browser extension that blocks flash content on websites because gnash CPU usage is high even for simple adverts. I hate my laptop fan coming on so I try to run my iBook as cool as possible at all times. Even if you haven't got gnash installed you may like the extension Ablock Plus. However, don't go over the top by installing many similar extensions as it will just slow your browser down.
If you want to experiment with gnash in Lightspark does not appear in the list because it goes under the name of "flash-mozilla. However, as far as I can tell Lightspark does not work with Midori anyway because it uses Webkit and not Gecko. Gnash works with Midori. If you want to do debugging run the browser from the terminal.
How useful is linux on an iMac G4?
See http: To test the lightspark standalone player use the commands: It is the least impressive demonstration ever! This thread offers more advice on watching YouTube, Vimeo, etc plus extra troubleshooting advice for playing videos. Gecko-mediaplayer is a plugin that allows Firefox to play videos and audio using gnome-mplayer. Totem and VLC are alternative mediaplayers with their own firefox plugins. Another way to watch YouTube etc is by using html 5 http: This works quite well for videos coded in H.
You'll need Midori, rekonq or Epiphany browsers for H. WebM can be played in Firefox 4 and beyond, Opera, Midori, rekonq and Epiphany, but for me the playback is choppy similar to gnash. Vimeo uses H. Versions of Firefox 23 and beyond can play H. To download and watch BBC Iplayer programmes there is get-iplayer. This YouTube video describes how to use wireshark to do this, but there are other ways which you can find by doing a search.
I find wireshark quite addictive and find myself trying to crack the rtmp address even if I don't have to! You can download a stream using rtmpdump, or pipe the output to a media player, but gnome-mplayer will also accept the rtmp addresss directly in the 'Open location' menu item. The uber minimalist way to watch media is using the command line program mplayer. You can downloaded the file first or pass an url to mplayer. You can even use this without a GUI!
To play music the cool people use MPD. MPC is a simple command line client for this, although you can use a web browser or mobile phone too! You can also change the user agent string of your browser so that you are delivered non-flash content. There is a firefox extension to do this. Midori works really well on some news web sites and allows you to watch video clips that would be otherwise unwatchable. Copy and paste one of the following strings in update these please!
Don't get hung up on the website that you can't use, but instead support the websites you can access. If you want GoogleEarth then try http: Realplayer RealPlayer requires a couple of packages from Ubuntu. Please do this first: For Lucid, download the package from the Debian Lenny repositories or via this link: Download the file. It will probably download to your Desktop. Open a terminal, and change your location to the Desktop: Now type the following and press enter to make the installer executable. Defaults are fine.
Type realplay in a terminal and RealPlayer will start. Drivers and Hardware Will my wireless work? Airport Classic The original Airport wireless cards are supposed to work straight out of the box, however, depending on your wifi network setup and the interference from other networks you may have to use a couple of workarounds: If you are using WEP security then try using the 8. If you've kept your Mac OS up-to-date this should be the last version of firmware flashed onto the airport card. Later versions are stored in a file and loaded onto the card by the driver when the computer starts.
To rename the file type at a terminal: Following a reboot, you can find the version of flashed firmware by typing at a terminal: If you are using WPA security then the firmware has to be v9. So to use WPA you must have the fimware file in the correct place.
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If you've renamed it as above then rename the file back: If your connection repeatedly drops out, or you can't connect at all this could be the problem. Read the other checks below, maybe try a different version of firmware , or try installing wicd. Please edit this documentation with any extra useful information. For the technically minded, you can find further information see the known issues section about airport classic here. Airport Extreme If you have an airport extreme card then you need to download the firmware note, you need to be plugged into an Ethernet cable to do this, or copy the files from a computer with internet access before you install Ubuntu: If you haven't already done so, run the command: The command will download the appropriate firmware file for you card.
Most Unplug your ethernet cable and you should now see your wireless networks or after a reboot. Further information about airport extreme can be found here. A note about routers Some cards only broadcast at This probably will cause problems when trying to connect to a router that is G-only. Often, this is a simple fix: See your router's documentation for specific info. For example, for some Linksys routers, go to " Hopefully everything will work! What to check if you don't have wifi Right click on the network applet icon right click is F12 on my machine because I only have one button on my trackpad and tick 'Enable Networking', 'Enable Wireless' and 'Enable Notifications'.
Check you have the correct user settings: This will add your user to the netdev group. You will need to reboot for this to take effect. Note, it is not always necessary to join the netdev group. Make the connection available to all users When you connect to your network you'll be asked to enter a password for the default keyring.
I always seem to get in a mess with these, but I think the recommended thing is to enter your account password for this so you don't keep having to enter it. I now make the connection available to all users to get around this. Click on the network applet icon and select 'Edit Connections Go to the Wireless tab and select your network from the list.
Click "Edit Enter your Ubuntu user account password if prompted. Make sure "Connect automatically" and "Available to all users" are ticked. Click Apply and then Close. If in the future you need to delete the keyring this is how: Double-click on. Delete the appropriate file. Install wicd If you don't have wireless still or you are losing connections repeatedly then try installing wicd. At a terminal type the following commands note, you need to be plugged into an Ethernet cable: You should reply yes to this. If you are asked to join the netdev group you should do this.
Next, open up wicd which should be in your applications area, find your network, click properties and enter the password in. Click connect.
Still no wireless? Then reboot without the Ethernet cable connected. Untick the wicd applet. Or you can create new icons for it. If the battery status is not displayed correctly then open up the terminal and type: If you have installed Lubuntu or Xubuntu after If you have installed a version of Xubuntu before This is why the basic text editor 'nano' tends to get used in commands!
See this thread. Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse See this thread for help with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse: How do I control trackpad and right-click behaviour? To change how a trackpad behaves see the Synaptics Touchpad community documentation. You can also use the program GSynaptics, edit your xorg. Another option could be to create a script which runs the commands you want at startup. Use the command xinput list to find out if you have a Synaptics or ADB mouse touchpad as this will determine your options.
With an ADB mouse touchpad you can use the command trackpad. To enable tap, run: Mouseemu is the daemon that emulates right and middle click and can also block the trackpad when typing. You must prefix the mouseemu and showkey commands with sudo. See askubuntu question. Right-click is set to F12 by default. When this occurs, it also stops me switching to a console e. To install mouseemu use the command: The touchpad may seem unresponsive or the cursor moves in "steps" 90 degree movements which make it difficult to use. A solution is to compile the appletouch driver, adjusting some settings in appletouch.
For example, the Power Book5,8 is usable when the following variables are set to these values you may need to adjust these for your own machine: There is no need to mess with samba or create users. See the community documentation on Network Printing.
installation - Can I install Ubuntu on a MacMIni G4? - Ask Ubuntu
Keyboard backlight For the light sensor and keyboard controls to work properly, the system must load the kernel module i2c-dev before starting pbbuttonsd. Since pbbuttonsd is probably already started, but unable to control the backlight without i2c-dev loaded, perform the following steps: At the time of the If you have a nvidia card and are using the nv driver then you maybe able to do something similar with the non-KMS nvidia framebuffers to get suspend and screen brightness keys working see old bug reports and Hibernate is available with radeon KMS so you can follow the instructions to enable hibernate.
You can also install powerprefs a graphical frontend to pbbuttonsd to manage suspend etc. It doesn't setup a menu item automatically, but you can start it from the terminal by just typing powerprefs for some options you might need to load it with root privileges: You may have to adjust your gnome power preferences settings so they don't clash.