Brig C. McCoy -- Macintosh PowerBook G4

My home computer died, so I borrowed a friend's PowerBook G4 to use. Here are some notes on my experiences.
If you find something I've missed, or that I've gotten wrong, please let me know,


Stupid power adapter has a short in it... A1021, 65W power adapter... mail order replacement runs about $16 plus shipping... will look to see if there's someone has one locally.

I installed Fedora 12 just after Thanksgiving, figuring I'd upgrade it to Fedora 16 when it was released. It runs fine, although obviously it's outdated.

When I got the Fedora 16 netinst ISO, I booted it and got a kernel error trying to boot. Sigh. Here's the BUGZILLA entry for it:

Pending a fix for that, I've returned the machine to Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, and upgraded it to 10.10... 10.10 is supported until April 2012, so I figure I'll stay with it until we get the Fedora 16 boot bug resolved... Staying with 10.10 lets me avoid UNITY which I'm not too impressed with.

One thing I forgot to mention is that Ubuntu 10.04 LTS has a utilty called "Additional Drivers". If I'd known it was there the other day, I could have booted with my Trendnet USB wireless adapter TEW-424UB (Realtek RTL878B) which has a driver built-in to Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and Fedora 12 and then use Additional Drivers to install the drivers for the built-in Broadcom b43 wireless -- BCM4306.


I got bored and decided to take a look at Ubuntu.
I've got two versions available on disc... 11.10 and 10.04 LTS.
When I tried 11.10, things looked okay in the install process until it tried to contact repositories to get the latest files... it doesn't recognize the wireless built in to the PowerBook, and I don't have a hard-wired option here at home.
10.04 LTS, on the other hand, installed fine. When I rebooted, I took the instructions from Yellow Dog Linux and was able to get the wireless working in no time... having saved the two files needed to a flash drive ahead of time! UPDATE: I didn't need to do this, see 2011-12-01 above.
Took the laptop to the library with me, used their wireless to download updates to the machine... including a relatively current version of Filezilla!


The Fedora 16/ppc release is scheduled for 21 Dec 2011... I think I can wait for the final, rather than trying the beta, which is due for release on 23 Nov 2011. :)
Realized over the weekend that the SATA drive reader that I own has a couple external USB ports... I can plug my external drive in to this, plug it in to electric, and then plug the SATA drive reader into the PowerBook and it "sees" the external drive fine... except that this doesn't know the ext4 filesystem. Sigh.

Kind of annoying, but it worked.


Spent some time today playing with KOHA, the library software. I tried to set it up with Fedora on a PC a couple weeks ago and quickly discovered that it was much easier to install Debian instead. I still want to try to get it to work with Fedora as I figure working through the problems in that will give me a better understanding of KOHA itself. The Yellow Dog Linux I have on this Mac PowerBook has older versions of the software that KOHA is based on, so I can't really try this here. However when Fedora 16/ppc is released, I'll take another look at it to see if the newer software versions there are okay for KOHA.


Figured out today that the problem with external USB hard drives is that the PowerBook's USB ports don't push enough electrical signal to power hard disk drives... so I can either use a powered USB hub or find a "Y" connector to pull electrical from the two USB ports at the same time.
I could also get the FireWire cabling for my Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex: Model STAE102... Retails for $24.99, Google shows it several places for $19.99... although I also think I've got a powered USB hub in the other room...
Yep, I've got a powered USB hub, but I've mis-placed the power supply for the device. Sigh.


Got to looking at other distros today... I'm running Yellow Dog Linux 6.2, which is their current version. I've been a big fan of Fedora for years, but the latest release for them is Fedora 12... however, they are working on ppc for Fedora 16!
So, I guess I'll be keeping an eye on this, mostly because it would include newer versions of Thunderbird, Firefox, and replace OpenOffice with LibreOffice.


Today was pretty uncomplicated... just a case of copying my files from my dead desktop to the laptop. Would have been easier except the PowerBook didn't like either of my USB hard disk drive lashups, so I had to move it a bit at a time via an 8GB flash drive.
Used cp -r to copy the files and sha256sum to generate checksums to make sure the files were copied properly.


The first thing I learned is that it's kinda hard to figure out exactly what model PowerBook you have. From reading Wikipedia, I think what I have is

Description: PowerBook G4, April 19, 2004 (Rev C)
DescriptionOriginalAs modified
Model #M8981LL/A --- A1046
Display15.2" TFT LCD Display, 1280x854.
Processor1 GHz PowerPC G4 with 512 KB of L2 backside cache
GraphicsATI Mobility Radeon 9600 with 64 MB of DDR SDRAM
Hard Drive60 GB Ultra ATA/100 at 5400 rpm
Memory256MB 333 MHz PC-2700 SO-DIMM DDR SDRAM 1024MB 333 MHz PC-2700 SO-DIMM DDR SDRAM
1024MB 333 MHz PC-2700 SO-DIMM DDR SDRAM
AirPort ExtremeIntegrated 802.11b/g
Internal Slot-Loading Combo Drive8x DVD read, 24x CD-R, and 10x CD-RW recording
Connections2 USB 2.0, DVI, FireWire 800, Bluetooth 1.1
Operating SystemMac OS X 10.3 "Panther"Yellow Dog Linux 6.2

The laptop came with Mac OS X 10.3... Apple supports the PowerPC architecture through Mac OS X 10.5, but given that I'm a long-time LINUX fan, I've decided to use LINUX on this machine.

Last Modified 30 Nov 2016
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