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xy
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Bootable Linux CDs on Powerbook G3

I have never used Linux in my entire life; so please excuse my stupid question. I thought it might be fun to boot my Powerbook G3 Lombard 333 Mhz (Bronze Keyboard and New World Rom) from a Linux CD. However, I do not know whether such CDs exist or have ever existed.

Information on the web on this topic is quite unsatisfactory (at least for a non Linux expert like me). The only thing I found so far is Powerpup (Puppy Linux for old PPC Macs): http://powerpup.yi.org/ This is a very interesting project but only in beta stage so far. The Powerpup boot CD I burned started booting but then stopped in the middle of the booting process (for what reasons I did not understand because I do not know anything about Linux).

On the web Mandrake, Gentoo and Ubunto are mentioned as bootable on Powerbooks G3. But I was not able to check on these because those old systems do not seem to be downloadable anymore. So my question is:

Does anyone know whether there ever existed working boot Linux CDs for Powerbooks G3, and are they still available somewhere?

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Joined: 2011 Feb 21

You may try to use Ubuntu Linux for PPC. I haven't tried, but I have it seen it to work on an Imac G3. It may work on your powerbook. I would try to search Ubuntu Linux PPC as an alternative. Have a look at the fourms. The website may have some info. It may be available on thepiratebay.com You will need a torrent client for this.

Link to the fourms: http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=39715
There could be some answers to your problems. I will have a look.

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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

Hey xy, you may already know this one:
http://distrib-coffee.ipsl.jussieu.fr/pub/linux/MandrivaLinux/official/i...
I must admit, I did not try to boot my iMac with one of those, and you are lookink for a "live CD"
don´t you?

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Joined: 2011 Feb 21

Madrake linux for PPC may work.

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Joined: 2011 Feb 21

One more thing, make sure Madrake meets your requirements. Upgrade ram to the maximum. I am not a linux expert, so if you get some errors, it's because of the kernel, it self.

MCP's picture
MCP
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Joined: 2010 Mar 12

I'm pretty sure Ubuntu is still available for download somewhere on the web, in the older versions that you're looking for. Search Google by name like "Dapper Drake" or whatever their names were. There's someone who offers burned discs on eBay too:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Ubuntu-Linux-10-10-Install-Live-CD-Mac-PowerPC-G3-G4...

I've never tried any of this myself though. I'm not a glutton for punishment!

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Joined: 2011 Feb 21

This Version of Ubuntu might need at least 512 MB or higher. On the powerbook G3, i think it will run with 256MB max.

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Joined: 2011 Feb 21

I had looked at the user reviews. They say it was very good. I have found some evidence that it might work on G4 macs, not G3. Well, good luck with installing that. Wink

MCP's picture
MCP
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Here's one of the older Ubuntu download pages:
http://releases.ubuntu.com/6.06/

bertyboy's picture
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An old version of Yellow Dog Linux ? Or a few early versions of others. I'm sure I have them all on CDs in a box, in a bigger box, in a shipping container, somewhere in the eastern Med. GIYF.

Start with Wikipedia and find what was available at the time. I ran some of these on my old iMac G3 233MHz (and my PBG3 Lombard 333MHz), they seemed insanely fast.

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Joined: 2009 Oct 25

Ah, yeah... PowerPup, thats my little project. (Hence my username.)

Unfortunately my Linux dev skills weren't quite there yet for such huge task. (Plus busy with college.) Its been stagnate for about a year now. I plan to work on it this summer.

In the mean time there are a few distros I can recommend for PPC. Laughing out loud

Debian and Fugralware are my favorites. Frugralware 1.3 had a problem with the booting process of their DVD, they probably fixed that with 1.4.

The last known (to me) version of Ubuntu for PPC is available here. I haven't tried this version on my Lombard, also a 333Mhz model. Need to upgrade the HD before I do an installation.

There's also a project going on of porting Linux Mint to PPC. MintPPC. I haven't tried it yet but it looks promising. Laughing out loud

Feel free to contact me with any problems or questions you have with Linux on PPC macs. Wink I'll try to help you the best I can.

Note to self: PowerPup website needs a overhaul... Badly... Tongue

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

@xy inquired:

Does anyone know whether there ever existed working boot Linux CDs for Powerbooks G3, and are they still available somewhere?

This is an old Ubuntu from 2006, version 6.06 it is a live DVD not a CD... so if your Lombard doesnt have a DVD reader you would be out of luck with this one. A pity because it is actually an excellent Linux for PPC especially as a live bootable disk, it works very well on G3 - G5. The iso image on this page is a large 3.3 GB. - Look for: "Mac (PowerPC) install/live DVD For Apple Macintosh G3, G4, and G5 computers, including iBooks and PowerBooks".

xy
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Joined: 2009 Aug 7

Thanks for the overwhelming response. My Lombard has upgraded 384 MB RAM, 4.5 MB original IBM HD, and no DVD drive (old CD only motherboard; later Lombards have DVD), and a very sensitive cache which likes to crash (big problem with the first Lombards) so some Linux distributions won't work. Some of the downloads look quite huge (Mandrake, for instance: three 700 MB ISOs!!! - this looks like installing Mac OS X...).

I will dig myself into the topic.

PowerPup, for old machines like mine with little HD your poject looks promising. MintPPC can be downloaded by a script only but they are working on an ISO.

24bit, yes a Live CD is what I am looking for since my small HD is packed and not partitioned.

bertyboy's picture
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Joined: 2009 Jun 14

As far as I remember, the 333MHz Lombards always came with a CD drive, there was nothing missing from the hardware, there was no haedware decoder - it was all done in software - it was just deemed that a 333MHz G3 was touch-and-go for decoding DVD Video on the fly using the main processor. All the 400MHz Lombards came with DVD, the 400MHz G3 apparently cut it when decoding DVD Video, although some users disagreed.

Why would anyone buy the 333MHz ? Well I remember it being at least £2000 when I bought mine new, the 400MHz may have been £2600. (My PBG4 500MHz came in at a few pence under £3000 a few years later - those who buy a Mac now get a real bargain).

xy
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Joined: 2009 Aug 7

I bought my Lombard second hand; and the good thing was it had not been used for many years which means the LCD screen is still fresh like new. Try to get a Prismo with a good screen - almost impossible because Prismos were very popular and have been used extensively resulting in worn out LCD screens. Same with Wallstreets. Lombards were sold for 8 or 9 months only and quickly dumped (one reason being the serious cache problem (never watch a movie with a Lombard!!!) another being lack of FireWire support).

The same phenomenon with Powerbooks 170 and 180. The 180 was very popular which means it's almost impossible to get a well preserved one, quite well preserved 170s, however, are offered sometimes.

MCP, I have just tested your link: Ubuntu 6.06.2 LTS (Dapper Drake). This does boot my Lombard but is not a Live CD.

I will test now Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) (PowerPup's link).

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I never had any cache issues and it was a robust little friend who clocked up some 800,000 air miles flown in my suitcase, I seem to remember it spent most of it's life playing Myth II and Diablo II rather than Office or FileMaker.

It also had the best keyboard of any computer I've ever used, for me, the keys just offered the right amount of resistance for my speed typing. Saw one lst night as a product placement in a movie.

xy
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PowerPup, Ubuntu 10.04 Live CD works on the Lombard. Thanks a lot. It's dog slow, though, probably because it's quite recent: It comes with OpenOffice 3.2 which opens Word 2007 files. I looked at version 8, but this one seems to even need more RAM than the 10.04 release (384 MB instead of 256 MB).

24bit, I tried to download Mandrake 9.1, but download is so very slow that I gave up.

Here is some information on YellowDog for PPC; does not seem to be so good:
http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-550485.html

bertyboy, you are right, the keyboard of the Lombard is great; it's even better than that of the Prismo, although the Prismo keyboard is identical to the Lombard keyboard; however, the architecture under both keyboards differs significanty which affects the typing quality.

I already had to replace my CPU for cache problems; my cache crashed while I was watching the Apple film commmercial for the G5 processor. I made the mistake to enlarge the picture while watching the movie - that was to much for my poor machine... Information on cache problems and the Lombard here: http://www.powerbookmedic.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=664

xy
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Joined: 2009 Aug 7

I found Kubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft) which needs 192 MB RAM only:
http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/releases/kubuntu/edgy/
I will test this now.

Here are other old Kubuntu releases:
http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/releases/kubuntu/

PowerPup's picture
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Joined: 2009 Oct 25

Hey xy, I just remembered, the Debian live project made some powerpc ISOs for debian 6.0 alpha 2 (Why they didn't make stable I have no clue.)

http://live.debian.net/archive/images/6.0_alpha2/powerpc/iso/

But most are DVD ISOs, Rescue and Standard are the only ones small enough to fit on a CD. However you could follow any Debian installation guide and add a desktop environment. Laughing out loud

Finnix is also a great little live CD, but it only has a command line.

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Don't try Ubuntu, the PPC version sucks. Just wiped it off my hard disk yesterday. Try MintPPC instead, which is faster and has less bugs in the software. Also, it is based on Debian and as such has better support for PowerPC. (Ubuntu focuses on Intel now. Debian focuses on all architectures, also PPC.)

---> http://mintppc.org/

xy
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Joined: 2009 Aug 7

I have now tested Kubunto 6.10. It's faster than Ubuntu 10.04, has OpenOffice 2.0 installed which opens Word 2003. However, it's extremly ugly, and has a bug while shutting down: after the CD tray has thrown out the CD the HD does not shut down.

Bolkonkskji, I was not able to test Ubuntu 10.04 thoroughly because it's very slow on my Lombard. I liked the interface, though: much nicer than Mac OS X. But from what I experienced with the slightly faster Kubuntu you are probably right: there are issues.

Regarding MintPPC, they do not have an ISO yet just a download script which I do not like. I will wait until the ISO is ready; they are working on it.

PowerPup, thanks for the Debian and Finix hint. Debian might be too slow like Ubuntu, but I will give it a shot.

Finnix looks very interesting; I will check if the command lines are not too difficult for a stupid and lazy Mac user like me. The last time I worked with command lines was 1994/95: Email directly on the Unix level from college/university servers. That was great: They had this "talk" command which divided the screen and you could write forth and back live.

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They had this "talk" command which divided the screen and you could write forth and back live.

Yes, it still exists in Unix, and Mac OS X. It came from a similar feature in VMS - a bit like 'ed', which spawned 'vi' on Unix, came from VAX/VMS, called 'ed' there too, it spawned 'edt' and 'edtc' on VMS - edtc, the second best plain text (and code) editor ever. After Spytool for SunView (pre-cursor to Solaris).

xy
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Joined: 2009 Aug 7

Finnix does boot on the Lombard. However, commad lines are not for me.

Debian Live CDs are too big. The rescue mode, I think is only for creating installer images.

I have tested now Kubuntu 5.10:
Kubuntu 5.10 is better than Kubuntu 6.10, as it allows the user to define the system and keyboard language while booting. There are many international languages so that one does not have to install a separate language package, something that comes very convenient with a live CD. Version 5.10 also has OpenOffice 2.0 and is not faster than Version 6.10. Also version 5.10 has no shut down problems like version 6.10. There is also version 6.06 which I haven't tested yet.

Now I have found Xubuntu 6.06 which needs 128 MB RAM only which is less than Kubunto 6.06 which needs 198 MB RAM. Here is Xubuntu download: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/xubuntu/releases/dapper/release.1/
I will test this now.

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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

I had no problems, downloading the ISOs from Mandriva, I uploaded the ReadMe of disk 1, just in case:
http://www.mediafire.com/?43hqxl7xmknfq2b
If it would be of any use for you, I might move the ISO files to mediafire.
I could not try disk 1 with my iMac right now, as the optical drive refuses to load any media.
For the CLI, I always disliked it, no matter if it was for Workbench, DOS or GNU-Linux, still I have to admit that it is a "must have" sometimes.

xy
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Joined: 2009 Aug 7

Thanks for the offer to move the Mandrake ISOs to Mediafire. The official download works but is very slow. However, I am not sure if they are live CDs. If not than I do not need them. Mandrake had live CDs called Mandrake Move but possibly not for PPC. Information on the web is not clear about this.

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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

I am unsure if they are live Cds too. The 2GB free diskspace may be the killing criterium. Can you find a greater HD for you PowerBook eventually?

From the Doc file:
"System requirements:

Mandrake Linux PPC has been tested on the iMac, iBook, Powerbook, PowerMac 7600 and IBM RS6000 and should be suitable for any of the "New World" Apple machines. Support has now been added to support a number of "Old World" machines, such as t he 7600. To fully enjoy your Linux experience, at least 96MB of Ram is advised, along with 2GB of free disk space. Mandrake PPC supports the integrated, SCSI, USB, sound, network, video and modem cards found in most current Apple machines, as well as a host of third party hardware.

Preparing your system:

Mandrake Linux PPC can coexist with MacOS, and MacOSX. The yaboot bootloader will allow you to select any of the above OS's at boot, as well as setup a default OS for automatic startup. BootX is provided to initiate the install, as well as boot your final Linux installation on the OldWorld machines. You will need either a spare disk drive with an Apple partition map setup, or free up some addtitional space on your existing hard drive. For best results, keep the Apple OS(Drunk at the beginning of the drive, allocating free space at the end of the drive for Linux. If you need to free up space on your existing drive and you have access to Norton Utilities and Hard Drive Toolkit, you can optimize your drive with Norton Speed Disk for disk resizing, moving all the data to the beginning of the drive and then use Hard Disk Toolkit to split the drive. This free partition should not be formatted but left as "Apple Free". Alternately, MacOS offers Drive Setup as a tool to repartition the drive, but all of your existing data will not be preserved. As always, be sure to make backups of any important data/settings before using any tool on your hard drive."

xy
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24bit, thanks for your effort. I have been thinking about replacing my old 4 GB HD with a bigger one. However, right now, I do not have the time and nerves to hunt for a good HD. My experience with used old Apple hardware is you have to be very careful what you select.

Thanks especially very much for your 'partition devices' which make it possible to sort of repartition the HD without having to reinstall everything (reinstalling everything would be a nightmare). I did not know about this possibility. Putting the Mac OS on one side of the HD is no problem with PlusOptizimer that comes with DiskWarrior. However, I have only about 2 MB left on my HD right now and I do not know whether this is sufficient for Mandrake and Mac OS 9 and all the apps.

Now I have tested Xubuntu 6.06.1: This is very fast indeed! Even from the CD it is almost as fast as Mac OS 9 from the HD. It comes with AbiWord 2.4 instead of Open Office. The AbiWord package has all kind of foreign dictionaries installed which comes in handy. However, the live CD only boots with the English system with English keyboard. Therefore, for those who want international keyboards, Kubuntu 5.10 is better. However, the Open Offce package on Kubuntu and Ubuntu live CDs comes with English dictionaries only.

xy
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Joined: 2009 Aug 7

Found Fedora 8 PPC Live CD: http://mirrors.fedoraproject.org/publiclist/Fedora/8/ppc/
Will test this now.

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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

I never opened a Lombard, but from the specs something like this should fit:
http://www.pcspezialist.de/hardware/festplatten/pcs415931-120gb-western-...
Anyway better than looking for something used.
Do not wait too long, those drives wont be available for ever.

bertyboy's picture
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Mmm, takes a standard ATA-3/4/5/6 2.5in HDD. I swapped my stock 4GB drive for a 20GB, then an 80GB. Can't remember model numbers and names, would have been IBM TravelStar or Quantum. I still have the 20GB drive I pulled from my PBG4 500MHz (replaced with a 100GB).

MikeTomTom's picture
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Gentoo Linux live CD iso's here. One live CD from 2006 and one from 2007, I guess these may be "lighter" on your G3 powerbook's hardware.

Curiously, there is also an iso here of the game Cube for PPC (a 1st person shooter).

xy
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Joined: 2009 Aug 7

MikeTomTom, thanks very much for the Gentoo link. I have been hunting for this but was too stupid to locate it. I did not know that I had to look under "experimental" instead under "releases". Your link is very slow though, I found a very fast link near me. Whoever wants to download this too, look here: http://www.gentoo.org/main/en/mirrors2.xml and test some links close to where you are. They are differently fast. Select the fastest.

The Fedora 8 Live CD does not boot the Lombard; it starts booting but then, after verifying date and time suddenly stops. It might need too much power. Minimum requirement is 256 MB RAM but recommended are 512 MB.

24bit and bertyboy, thanks for the hints. I will dig into this. It will take me some time to compare all options. It's good no know that there still seem to be unused HDs available for the Lombard. I know that bigger HDs are almost silent and faster than the original HDs but also hotter. I do not know whether the heat will affect the life span of the old machine.

Does anyone know whether Knoppix PPC is still available for download? They do not seem to support PPC anymore, but there might be older PPC releases somewhere.

themacmeister's picture
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I ran (and I'm amazed I haven't seen it mentioned) Slackintosh on my 348MB G3 iBook (Dual-USB). All hardware and hotkeys supported perfectly -- power management supported perfectly -- everything working fine. (PS. I have gone back to MacOS9, so cannot offer any support).

bertyboy's picture
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I'm amazed I haven't seen it mentioned) Slackintosh

When I mentioned "Or a few early versions of others", Slackintosh is in there, can't remember version numbers, can't remember if I even tried it for long. I can mittot it when I and it gets to my new home.

xy
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Does the Slackintosh ISO come as a live CD?

bertyboy's picture
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Honestly, can't remember - all I do remember is that I had about 4 or 5 varieties of Linux, YDL was one, Slackintosh was another, maybe a Debian PPC, MkLinux and one other. Some came on one CD, some on 3, some booted from CD and installed, some required some tinkering.
I think I must have bought either my iMac G4 or MDD G4, saw OSX 10.2 and gave up on Linux. Linux was OK for my Unix fix (using since 1984) but there was no commercial software (at the time) that served any purpose I needed.

xy
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bertyboy, web research does not indicate that the Slackintosh ISOs are Live CDs.

Lack of Linux applications indeed still is big problem. No Adobe Acrobat (still the best PDF maker for professional printing workflow as a printer just recently told me), no InDesign (Scribus is not as good), no FrameMaker, no good word processor (OpenOffice and Abiword cannot do what Nisus Writer or Mellel can do; also, with OpenOffice I have a feeling that it is spyware infected because Google has or had money in it).

The lack of applications is another reason why I prefer Live CDs. I basicly can use Linux to quickly open up archives Stuffit Expander 7.0.2 cannot open, or to view PDF versions above version 1.4 which sometimes Acrobat 5 cannot read. Also, it's possible to read OpenOffice and AbiWord files. For this purpuse so far best are Kubuntu 5 and 6: Both have not only OpenOffice installed but also Ark and KPDF as of 2005. No further installation or emulation needed: just boot the CD and open the archives and PDFs you want.

I have tested now Gentoo 2006 and 2007 live CDs: The 2007 CD does not finish booting the Lombard because of graphic problems. The 2006 CD, however, boots very smootly. Gentoo seems to be a very well written distribution; it runs much smoother than Kubunto. However, Gentoo has no Ark or KPDF installed but only OpenOffice 2.0.

Also, I have tested Ubuntu 8.04.1: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ports/releases/8.04.1/release/
It is much faster than Ubuntu 10.04; actually version 8.04.1 runs quite well on my Lombard. Another good thing: it comes with OpenOffice 2.4 instead of version 2.0. OpenOffice 2.4 can open Word 2007 documents something which OpenOffice 2.0 is not able to do. Also OpenOffice 2.4 runs much faster and smoother than version 2.0. However, Ubuntu 8.04.1 does not come with a PDF viewer or a decompressor. But it has a very nice desktop (nicer than version 10.04.).

I have also tested Kubuntu 6.06.1 Live CD: Although older than version 6.10 it is better because it does not have the shutdown problem on the Lombard version 6.10 has (see one of my above notes). Otherwise both versions are almost identical.

xy
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I have found Knoppix Mib PPC: http://ftp.crihan.fr/mirrors/knoppix-mib.org/
and will test it.

xy
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I have tested Knppix: Boots very fast. Is the oldest Live CD tested so far. Comes with Open Office 1.0, and, what is very rare, with Scribus 0.6! Also has all kind of editors. Very nice CD for older Macs.

However, of all live CDs tested so far ubuntu 8.04 and 10.04 are the only ones that recognize my HD and USB sticks with no problems. Thus, ubuntu is the only live CD which can be used to open files from other media. This reduces all other live CDs to mere demo CDs! I do not know enough about Linux to ascertain whether all the other live CDs too are able to recognize other media with some device. Maybe someone here knows.

xy
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Here
http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-780320.html
and here
http://mac.linux.be/content/booting-open-firmware
and here
http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/LiveUSB_on_PPC
I have found instructions of how to boot PPC Linux live CDs from an USB Stick. This would make it possible to boot large live CD ISOs like Debian. I haven't tested the instructions, though.

xy
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Here
http://www.slax.org/forum.php?action=view&parentID=7881
are stil working download links to old Slackintosh live CDs.
At the end of booting you wil be asked for a "darstar login" and a password. Information on this here: http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/slackware-linux/26008-what-my-darkstar-...
and here: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/slackware-14/darkstar-login-385344/

xy
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For those who can read German here is interesting information on Linux PPCs with good links:
http://www.carrier.co.at/res/mac/

xy
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Does anyone know whether it is possible to boot one of the small Linux distributions like Slitaz, Puppy Linux or Damm Small Linux from an USB stick on an old version (i.e. up to version 5 or 6) of Virtual PC on Mac OS 9 native?

xy
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Currently, on Google Groups Mac OS 9, there is an interesting discussion going about Linux on the same HD as Mac OS 9:
http://groups.google.com/group/macos9/browse_thread/thread/7f82598932a2442b

themacmeister's picture
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Slackintosh is (IMHO) the best Linux for G3 portables. I had it on my 600MHz dual-USB G3 iBook, and EVERYTHING WORKED first go. Including all power features (sleep, hibernate, lid close, special function keys). I believe I used Slackintosh 11, there is now a 12.1 release (from memory).

xy
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I just noticed that since last year there is a PPC Live CD of Lubuntu out: Lubuntu PPC 12.10:
http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/lubuntu/releases/12.10/release/

Has anyone any experiences with this compared to MintPPC? Here:
http://ppcluddite.blogspot.de/2013/03/mintppc-11-vs-lubuntu-1304-shootou...
is a comparison.

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Joined: 2010 Oct 3

i would go with mint ppc, way outpreformed ubuntu 11 on my powermac g3

alternitivley, you may want to look at debian (what ubuntu and i think mintppc are based off) i found that preforms quite well on ppc mac's

xy
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I have tested the Lubuntu Live CD 12.10 on a Powerbook G3 Lombard 400 Mhz. The CD is not able to finish booting because, I think the horrible internal CD drive of the Lombard is too sluggish. The highest Ubuntu version I was able to boot as a Live CD on a Lombard was Ubuntu 10.04 PPC. It was very very slow though. Ubuntu 8 is faster. And of course there is Xubuntu which is quite fast too.

themacmeister's picture
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I have installed Xubuntu on an old-world Beige G3 tower. I believe it had 384MB RAM, but do not trust me on that. I needed to install a minimum MacOS system partition, to run BootX -> http://penguinppc.org/bootloaders/bootx/

I also had to tweak the kernel arguments to allow more ramdisk memory (from memory). There was support for sound and network drivers, but do your research well to discover the true names of the particular devices you have. I have thorough instructions on the Ubuntu forums...

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=980622&highlight=

Best of luck!

gorgar's picture
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I remember experimenting with Linux on G3 and G4 systems back in 2000; the best distro I can recommend is SuSE PPC (nowadays its called Open SuSe but only runs on intel hardware); very complete suite of desktop apps for Mac based systems and a super cool app called MoL, Mac on Linux, that allows u to run OS X inside an x11 window.
Second to SuSEis Fedora; very nice support for PPC hardware.
Unfortunately these 2000 distros for PPC werent any live CDs; only full installs disks, but definitely worth the time and trial and error in order to make your old Mac come to life under Linux.

themacmeister's picture
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But don't forget Slackintosh 12.1 -- it supports all buttons and power features out of the box Wink