Debian PowerPC on a very old PowerBook G4's 60 GB HDD

Help with issues regarding installation of Debian

Debian PowerPC on a very old PowerBook G4's 60 GB HDD

Postby ant » 2017-02-26 23:08

Hello.

I have a very old Apple PowerBook G4 (15", 1 Ghz, 512 MB of RAM, ATI video card, 60 GB HDD, etc.). I downloaded and burned its debian-8.7.1-powerpc-netinst (going to use a network cable) onto an old 650 MB CD-RW. It booted up fine until something about firmware (skipped it for now) the disk management part. I could not find a way to make it small/big enough for a dual boot set up since I wanted to keep my Mac OS X v10.2.8 (also has Classic 9 in it) intact just in case. It is in the 60 GB HDD (actually 55.88 GB with about 26 GB free according to Mac OS X v10.2.8). I told it to try 20 and 10 GB sizes, but no go (too small -- huh?). What's the smallest size I can use? https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/ ... 04.html.en says I need a minimum of 10 GB, but I tried that.

If not, then what about the other distributions?

Thank you in advance. :)
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Re: Debian PowerPC on a very old PowerBook G4's 60 GB HDD

Postby bw123 » 2017-02-27 17:58

The next chapter of your link says this:

https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/ ... 05.html.en
Debian installer partition table editing tools are compatible with OS X, but not with MacOS 9



So you might be able to prepartition with a mac tool, then use the debian installer to format only?

Sounds complicated, even if you can get a partition for linux and keep the two others, with 60GB total, three OS installations is going to be really cramped up.
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Re: Debian PowerPC on a very old PowerBook G4's 60 GB HDD

Postby ant » 2017-02-27 18:35

bw123 wrote:The next chapter of your link says this:

https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/ ... 05.html.en
Debian installer partition table editing tools are compatible with OS X, but not with MacOS 9



So you might be able to prepartition with a mac tool, then use the debian installer to format only?

Sounds complicated, even if you can get a partition for linux and keep the two others, with 60GB total, three OS installations is going to be really cramped up.
I assume you meant with Mac OS X v10.2.8's Disk Utility app (haven't tried it yet). Yeah, it is complicated. :(
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Re: Debian PowerPC on a very old PowerBook G4's 60 GB HDD

Postby debiman » 2017-02-28 07:11

on a sidenote, the standard debian gnome desktop will definitely be too heavy for that machine.
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Re: Debian PowerPC on a very old PowerBook G4's 60 GB HDD

Postby ant » 2017-02-28 07:18

debiman wrote:on a sidenote, the standard debian gnome desktop will definitely be too heavy for that machine.
Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised due to it being so old from 2002, with 512 MB of RAM, 60 GB HDD, etc. I'm hoping I can run a basic GUI even if it is ugly. Even the included Mac OS X v10.2.8 is slow enough. :P I am was able to start my resize partition on the existing HFS+ drive, but it is so slow especially when starting at 0%.

Also, MacOS 9 Classic seems to be part of HFS+ according to Mac OS X v10.2.8's Disk Utility (couldn't resize partitions in there too) and runs in 10.2.8 (not outside).
Last edited by ant on 2017-02-28 10:46, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Debian PowerPC on a very old PowerBook G4's 60 GB HDD

Postby oswaldkelso » 2017-02-28 10:40

If you want to keep OSX then use the disutils tool in OSX to create a 10GB partition and note it's name. sd? I'm pretty sure it can resize but you'd better check first it a very long time since I used Apple.

Then format it during the install. I'd create a small swap equal to your ram, though most recommend double the ram. ymmv. Then a single / (root) ext4 partition.

You may need to edit yaboot.conf and add OSX to it then "rebless yaboot with holy penguin pee" I kid you not, to get all the boot options in the menu.

I'd try this iso

http://ftp.nl.debian.org/debian/dists/j ... t/mini.iso

or the sid one as since PowerPC is now not official (or soon wont be) it maybe the best way to go.

Then I'd apt-get install --no-install-recommends pbbuttonsd ntp pommed Xorg alsautils openbox mrxvt rox-filer mplayer ffmpeg etc....... until you've built your desktop Good luck

PS. Almost certainly need firmware linux nonfree. Also as it's PPC not much point adding non free to your sources list so I'd just install the deb.

As root or sudo dpkg -i firmware-linux-nonfree_0.43_all.deb from where were the file is located

http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/pool/no ... 43_all.deb

I've not used Debian versions since Wheezy so others may like to correct me if I'm talking crap :mrgreen:
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Re: Debian PowerPC on a very old PowerBook G4's 60 GB HDD

Postby ant » 2017-02-28 10:49

oswaldkelso wrote:If you want to keep OSX then use the disutils tool in OSX to create a 10GB partition and note it's name. sd? I'm pretty sure it can resize but you'd better check first it a very long time since I used Apple.

Then format it during the install. I'd create a small swap equal to your ram, though most recommend double the ram. ymmv. Then a single / (root) ext4 partition.

You may need to edit yaboot.conf and add OSX to it then "rebless yaboot with holy penguin pee" I kid you not, to get all the boot options in the menu.

I'd try this iso

http://ftp.nl.debian.org/debian/dists/j ... t/mini.iso

or the sid one as since PowerPC is now not official (or soon wont be) it maybe the best way to go.

Then I'd apt-get install --no-install-recommends pbbuttonsd ntp pommed Xorg alsautils openbox mrxvt rox-filer mplayer ffmpeg etc....... until you've built your desktop Good luck

PS. Almost certainly need firmware linux nonfree. Also as it's PPC not much point adding non free to your sources list so I'd just install the deb.

As root or sudo dpkg -i firmware-linux-nonfree_0.43_all.deb from where were the file is located

http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/pool/no ... 43_all.deb

I've not used Debian versions since Wheezy so others may like to correct me if I'm talking crap :mrgreen:
Argh. Too late. I am already resizing my HFS+ partition for half of its free disk space (36 GB to 18 GB with 28% done). I did see the bootable net installer say I should add firmwares, but I didn't have them so I skipped them. I assume I can do this later? It did find my network via the network cable earlier. I hope it doesn't jack up my HDD. :P
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Re: Debian PowerPC on a very old PowerBook G4's 60 GB HDD

Postby ant » 2017-02-28 17:03

Uh oh. It seems to be stuck at 52% for a few hours overnight at "Starting up the partitioner -- Please wait" text screen. First noticed it before 7 AM PST after waking up, and it is now 9:56 AM PST. I am scared to reboot. MBP's keyboard feels warm in its top area. I assume it is doing something? I wished Macs had HDD lights like PCs. Also, I hope my network disconnection didn't caused this. What do you guys think?

Also, this bootable Debian text installer needs to blank the screen black after idling for a while. I hope my screen doesn't get burned in!
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Re: Debian PowerPC on a very old PowerBook G4's 60 GB HDD

Postby ant » 2017-02-28 19:40

ant wrote:Uh oh. It seems to be stuck at 52% for a few hours overnight at "Starting up the partitioner -- Please wait" text screen. First noticed it before 7 AM PST after waking up, and it is now 9:56 AM PST. I am scared to reboot. MBP's keyboard feels warm in its top area. I assume it is doing something? I wished Macs had HDD lights like PCs. Also, I hope my network disconnection didn't caused this. What do you guys think?

Also, this bootable Debian text installer needs to blank the screen black after idling for a while. I hope my screen doesn't get burned in!
A friend told me to press fn+alt+f4 to see its console. I took a couple iPhone 4S pictures of it being stuck:
https://i.imgbox.com/GwEIUWjX.jpg
https://i.imgbox.com/POvMqh3M.jpg
The eth0 line was caused by my manual network cable disconnection.

It looked like a process ran out of memory (PB only has 512 MB of RAM) and restarted to get stuck? :(

Anyways, he told me just reboot. I was prepared for the worst -- a hosed HDD. In fact, it was OK! It wasn't even resized!! What the heck?

I am going to take a break since I got other things to do for now.
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Re: Debian PowerPC on a very old PowerBook G4's 60 GB HDD

Postby ant » 2017-03-02 07:07

According to https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/ ... 05.html.en and https://wiki.debian.org/PowerPC/FAQ#How ... d_drive.3F web pages, I can't resize my HDD's HFS drive into two partitions. I have to redo the HDD's partition setup to dual boot. Am I correct? If so, then I thought Debian installer could resize existing the drive like do in IBM PCs with Windows. This was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. :(
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Re: Debian PowerPC on a very old PowerBook G4's 60 GB HDD

Postby oswaldkelso » 2017-03-02 20:21

If you don't have the OSX install disks and apple disk utils cant resize then use something like "carboncopy cloner" to clone your install to an old ipod or some such. Use the Target mode and a firewire cable. Then partition your disk and clone it back on to the resized partition. Then install Debian on to free space.
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Re: Debian PowerPC on a very old PowerBook G4's 60 GB HDD

Postby ant » 2017-03-02 22:27

oswaldkelso wrote:If you don't have the OSX install disks and apple disk utils cant resize then use something like "carboncopy cloner" to clone your install to an old ipod or some such. Use the Target mode and a firewire cable. Then partition your disk and clone it back on to the resized partition. Then install Debian on to free space.
I do have the original Mac OS X v10.2.1 DVDs. I booted its installation DVD up and tried to use its Disk Utility. However, it said it would erase my volume when I split/resize the drive. :(
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