iMac G5 Install

Help with issues regarding installation of Debian
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mikecol
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Joined: 2009-05-23 01:07

iMac G5 Install

#1 Post by mikecol »

I've searched for days for a solution to get Debian or Ubuntu installed on an iMac G5 rev. 3 (iSight) without luck. When installing Debian, my iMac hangs on a white screen that instucts to "release keys to continue" even when no keys are being pressed. If I choose the powerpc64 install, I get a lengthy bit of white text over a black screen. When trying to install Ubuntu 9.04, my machine hangs on a white screen with the message prom_init.

Is it possible to get Debian, Ubuntu, or ANY distro to work on my machine?

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Soul Singin'
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Re: iMac G5 Install

#2 Post by Soul Singin' »

Debian Wiki -- iMac G5

Which installation media are you using? If I'm not mistaken, you have to use a PowerPC CD or DVD, which Ubuntu doesn't support.
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Last edited by Soul Singin' on 2009-05-23 02:07, edited 1 time in total.

mikecol
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Re: iMac G5 Install

#3 Post by mikecol »

Thanks, I read that wiki entry earlier today. I don't see anything that specifically applies to the issue I'm having. However, I'm a novice, so I could be missing something. Could you please explain what part you believe will help me solve the issue I described?

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Soul Singin'
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Re: iMac G5 Install

#4 Post by Soul Singin' »

mikecol wrote:Thanks, I read that wiki entry earlier today. I don't see anything that specifically applies to the issue I'm having. However, I'm a novice, so I could be missing something. Could you please explain what part you believe will help me solve the issue I described?
See edit above ...

... or below ...

Which installation media are you using? If I'm not mistaken, you have to use a PowerPC CD or DVD, which Ubuntu doesn't support.
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mikecol
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Re: iMac G5 Install

#5 Post by mikecol »

You're right, Ubuntu doesn't support the PowerPC release anymore, but one can download an iso from here:

http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ports/release ... y/release/

As far as the Debian, I downloaded the Debian 5.01 PowerPC netinst iso.


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Soul Singin'
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Re: iMac G5 Install

#7 Post by Soul Singin' »

mikecol wrote:As far as the Debian, I downloaded the Debian 5.01 PowerPC netinst iso.
OK, well using the right disc is a good start.

Could you provide a little more detail on how far you get in the installation process before you run into trouble?
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mikecol
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Re: iMac G5 Install

#8 Post by mikecol »

Yaboot comes up fine. I type in:

install64

kernal loads

ramdisk loads

then it goes to a white screen full of text.

first line is the date and time

stuff about the memory controller.... (lots of text)

Setup Arch.... (lots more text)

Setup Done... (the text continues)

smp_core99_probe
core99_setup_cpu 0 done
Linux ppc64

Those are the last three lines, and my machine just hangs with fans spinning.

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Soul Singin'
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Re: iMac G5 Install

#9 Post by Soul Singin' »

Here's a thread that describes a similar issue. Let's read together.


EDIT: That thread contains one possible solution:
Aníbal Monsalve Salazar wrote:I installed Debian lenny recently and had a similar problem. It turned
out to be a problem in yaboot.conf in the NewWorld bootblock partition,
/dev/sda2 in my case. I'll report here what I did to get the G5 up and
running with Debian lenny.

...
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mikecol
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Re: iMac G5 Install

#10 Post by mikecol »

I tried adding "video-atyfb", but I had the same results.

The thread you linked to seemed promising, but also outruns my understanding of Linux. Can you translate the instructions into simpler terms?

mikecol
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Re: iMac G5 Install

#11 Post by mikecol »

The post you linked to says:

"After I installed Debian lenny, I used the install CD a second time to run a shell."

It seems that the person posting has gotten further with the install than I am.

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Soul Singin'
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Re: iMac G5 Install

#12 Post by Soul Singin' »

mikecol wrote:It seems that the person posting has gotten further with the install than I am.
It might be possible to boot the installer from the hard disk. See here and here. If the problem is in the Yaboot configuration (as Salazar found), then booting the installer from the hard disk would allow you to edit the yaboot.conf file so that the installer loads.

Other than that, I'm quickly running out of suggestions because I have never installed GNU/Linux on a Mac. Apologies. The only other thing that I can think of is to refer you to the information at: PPCLinux.

Good Luck!
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oswaldkelso
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Re: iMac G5 Install

#13 Post by oswaldkelso »

When you first boot the install CD after holding down the C key you should get the yaboot (black screen prompt) normaly you jusrt hit enter if that fails enter:

Code: Select all

install video=ofonly 
There are a few people with G5's at PPCLinux so ask there and you get exact details for you graphics card. PPC are a pain on first install as Apple hide away much more data from the devs than in the case on i386, this means different models require different tweaks and it's common for X to fail on first boot.
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stream304
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Re: iMac G5 Install

#14 Post by stream304 »

I have Debian squeeze/testing on my G5 iMac (rev-a) and it is doing very well. I'm going to throw out a bunch of things to check just to save time.

Are these problems occurring right at installation, or post-installation? Just want to be sure.

Remember that with Ubuntu, they always include that totally ridiculous splash screen that has been known to lock up PPC card before you even get to X. For Rev C's, the best bet it to try and install the latest kernel, so perhaps SID is the way to go. However....

If you try to run Ubuntu Jaunty 9.04, even as just a diagnostic to help get Debian running later, remember to use the kernel parameter of "nosplash" at the second-stage yaboot boot: prompt

Code: Select all

Linux nosplash
or perhaps a combination of
Linux nosplash video=ofonly
Debian does a very nice thing by not using any dumb splashscreen, and for the most part the fans for G5's are under control even during install. Most other distros don't include thermal fan support until after the first reboot. Debian treats us nicely, but I'll bet you have a vacuum-cleaner on your hands right now if it can't finish the boot process.

You may be running into issues particular to the rev-3 (ALS and iSight) which were a big problem before - not sure if they have conquered those issues in Lenny - so it may be wise to check with SID, or perhaps see if Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty will come up with those kernel parameters. And then we can move from there...
Apple G5 iMac - Lenny

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