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Thread: Trying to install Linux on a G3 B&W

  1. #1
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    Default Trying to install Linux on a G3 B&W

    Fellow Mac users,

    My brother gave me his old G3, on which I decided to experiment installing and running a PPC Linux distribution. My troubles began when I tried to boot the installation disc... the moment it starts to read the CD, the display goes blank and nothing happens... and yes, I am holding C.

    I am not, by any means, an expert on the PPC Linux subject, but I have been using PCs (Windows and Linux) and Macs (Classic and OS X) for quite a while, and successfully troubleshooting problems with some research on internet. Unfortunately I did not find any information on my specific circumstances. I hope this forum will bring some light on my situation.

    Here is my Mac:

    A 400MHz G3 Blue & White (Yosemite), 640MB RAM, 10GB Maxtor disk, DVD-ROM (from a G4 Graphite), 100MB ZIP drive, CPU type is PowerPC 750 (82.1), and boot ROM version is f4, according to System Profiler. Also a Sonata SD Macintosh PCI card, and a 15" Compaq TFT5000 LCD.

    Here is what I already did:

    I borrowed the Mac OS X 10.3 Panther installation discs to make sure my G3 was OK. It is! Panther is installed and running well. But coming back to Linux, the weird behavior remains.

    Along with an original Ubuntu 5.10 'The Breezy Badger' for Mac, I downloaded and tried YDL 4.0.1, Debian 3.1 r1, and Gentoo 2005.1, all for PPC, but with the same results. Note: on the Ubuntu CD sleeve, it is written "This Mac Edition will run on modern G3, G4 and G5 computers, including iBooks and Powerbooks".

    I also followed the instructions on the YDL website to burn ISO images onto CDs: http://www.terrasoftsolutions.com/re..._mirrors.shtml

    In addition, I tried a working 19" Sony SDM-HS95 TFT LCD monitor, however it too did not respond. It says "No input signal Go to power safe". By the way, the Compaq would say "Going to sleep".

    Next week, I will try to borrow a CRT - either a PC VGA or an Apple DB-15 - in order to do more tests and narrow the possibilities. Meanwhile, I will also wait for someone to post some suggestions. Any help will be appreciated!

    I am still not sure about the source of my difficulties, neither what is occurring when the screen turns off.

    Thanks in advance,

    Andre W.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Hello,

    what video card is installed in the B&W?

    (maybe you'll need to open the G3 to see this if you don't have a MacOS on it)



    Regards

    Nicolas
    Custom Configurations! Rad Hacks and Mods!

  3. #3
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    Default

    Hello Nicolas,

    I do have Mac OS 10.3 running perfectly, and opening the System Profile, the 'PCI/AGP Cards' option shows me "Card: VTXP jjbabacd; Type: Display; Bus: PCI; Slot: J12." I guess it is my video card... it is the only card I have installed!

    Opening the G3, I see my Sonata SD for Macintosh video card installed on the monitor card slot (slot 1). It does have a sticker where I can read "3460 99P-22 16MB 0437", and I did find some information (not much useful for my case though) on the Sonnet website: http://www.sonnettech.com/product/sonata_sd.html

    My video card has two connectors - a VGA and an Apple-RGB (DB-15) - and I am using the VGA connector. My video cable is a VGA / DVI, both male. My monitor is an old 15" Compaq TFT5000 LCD with a DVI connector.

    I was able to install and run Mac OS X on it, but not Linux. For instance, when I tried a not formatted disk, the screen displays a folder with a MacOS face and a question mark alternating, but when I put a Linux installation CD, at the very moment it starts to read, the monitor looses signal.

    I suppose my misfortune is caused by either a G3 B&W / Linux incompatibility, or a limited monitor. I was thinking it might have something to do with the text-mode linux installation.

    Thanks for your interest!

    Andre W.

  4. #4
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    Red face Sorry

    Hello Andre,

    the card is not supported by ANY Linux Distribution.
    All I know is the card is the same as the MacPicasso DD/Pro http://www.villagetronic.com/e_pr_mpddpro.html which is based on a 2D only chipset.

    Most PPC Linux versions have drivers for ATI (Rage, Radeon) and Nvidia (Geforce) cards only.

    I don't know what driver will work with this card also IF there is a driver available.


    Best regards

    Nicolas
    Custom Configurations! Rad Hacks and Mods!

  5. #5
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    Default

    Nicolas,

    Thanks again for your interest and information.

    I was really willing to install Linux on my G3, so I believe soon I will be able to replace my video card for a "Mac-Linux" compatible, and proceed with my plans.

    I assume we now have the solution for my problem.

    Best wishes,

    Andre W.

  6. #6
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    Arrow Your welcome

    Best card available for the B&W is the ATI Radeon 9200 Mac Edition (PCI), if you don't want to spend that much, try to find a Radeon Mac Edition or a Radeon 7000 Mac Edition.

    There are some PC>Mac Flashed cards out there so try to get an original Mac card.


    Best regards

    Nicolas
    Custom Configurations! Rad Hacks and Mods!

  7. #7
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    Default Default Catch!

    Well... The good news is... my video card was replaced and my monitor now works all the time! The bad news is... my monitor shows an error as a Linux Installation CD is booting!

    I was unable to try a Radeon Mac Edition video card, as I was suggested, but I tried two slightly different 16MB ATi rage 128 GL (AMC ver. 2.0 PN 109-57400-00) PCI video cards from other B&W G3's. One has an Apple expansion on it.

    So I tested both video adaptors running the Mac OS X already installed on my G3, and it works all right. But when it comes to Linux, I tried my original Ubuntu Installation CD, and my download and burnt YDL, Debian and Gentoo installation CDs, but an "error" message is shown.

    While my G3 is booting, first the screen briefly shows an icon with a Mac OS smile and a question mark alternating, and just after this, when the CD begins to spin, some texts (that I don't have enough time to read) appear on a light gray background with a repeating line (except for the SRR0 address) where it reads:

    DEFAULT CATCH!, code=300 at %SRR0: ff______ %SRR1: 0000b030

    I have absolutely no idea on what is up now, and any help will be very much appreciated.

    Andre W.

  8. #8
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    Default

    Seems like a RAM issue or there is something wrong with the card, check if it is properly seated.

    Regards

    Nicolas
    Custom Configurations! Rad Hacks and Mods!

  9. #9
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    Default

    Just curious about you trying something.
    Try downloading the 3.0 (.1) Distro of Yellow Dog and see if you can boot off that.
    IIRC, when YDL 4.0 debuted they were gearing up towards not supporting non-G4 macs.

    You might have to try an older distro such as YDL 3.0.
    I mention YDL 'cause that's the only "user-friendly" install Distro I've tried. Sure there's your Knoppix (as well as a LiveCD), Slackware, SuSE
    DebiaN and Gentoo
    The last two,
    I have installed on my old PPC9500 which was a nightmare to get happening, I did get it, but it was easier to go with YDL.

    I remember some info on triple booting a custom yaboot.conf file @ the ResExcellence site. Search around and give that a shot.

    If all else fails, you can try passing the ol' -fbdev kernel argument to see if that will boot you to a terminal
    .
    Last but not least, look up example's of kernel arguments/options on the Linux on PowerPC FAQ-O-Matic

    Hope some of that helps, it's been a while since I've tinkered with LinuxPPC.
    Bill

    "I made a conscience decision in a semi-conscious state"

  10. #10
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by billbo
    DebiaN and Gentoo
    The last two,
    I have installed on my old PPC9500 which was a nightmare to get happening, I did get it, but it was easier to go with YDL.
    Yep, have to second that!


    The Ramdac used on the original Apple ATI card (IBM) is not supported never got the X server to startup properly till I exchanged the card with a Formac Proformance III using the std. PerMedia driver.


    Regards

    Nicolas
    Custom Configurations! Rad Hacks and Mods!

  11. #11
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    Lightbulb

    YDL 4 was designed for NewWorld Macs only, includes the B&W. Doesn't work with PL G3 1GHz though. I posted some info here about various linux offerings.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    YDL 4 was designed for NewWorld Macs only, includes the B&W. Doesn't work with PL G3 1GHz though. I posted some info here about various linux offerings.
    I 2nd guessed myself on whether or not the B&W's were supported with YDL 4.0 and up, however I happened to forget to mention on of the other (I, at least consider) "user friendly install" distro's, Mandrake.

    Looks liike their main site is under renovation, but it can still be downloaded @ the LinuxISO site.

    I always wanted to try it, but I moved out of town and went down to 3Kb's (pathetic, hush?) dial-up access (satellite cost's in KS would break the bank) before trying to d/load it.

    Now I have a frankenmac that runs OSX natively and that has sort of relegated my G3/9500-MHz Pro Tools/Linux Tinker-box (and my tinkering) into in-activity

    I know on YDL 3.0, you can do MD5 checksum's. I assume most distro's would automaticly do so, or force you to.

    I know Gentoo (beta kernel 2.3) forced me to, as does Red Hat/Fedora, the option is there on YDL and Debian.

    Just some more things to consider.
    Bill

    "I made a conscience decision in a semi-conscious state"

  13. #13
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    Lightbulb

    There are places that will sell distros for a couple $$ if that helps, also. YDL 4.01 - not sure of minimum hardware, but might be worth buying if it works well.

    I can't use SUSE because it doesn't work with DVI2VGA which I have to use on my MDD. And needs more work (maybe the final on their OpenSUSE will solve some of that, let's hope so).

    Shame you can't use a university or someone who has cable/dsl. I have friends ask me to dl and burn their CD/DVDs. And I wish I had 3Mbps! 3k well, that makes even updating Tiger to be a PITA.

  14. #14
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    Thumbs down

    I got Ubantu to run on mine (B&W upped) but the video was a problem and I decided "why bother"........not worth the work
    Tom Babb

  15. #15
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    Thanks for your replies! I will be trying your ideas as soon as I can. However, I am afraid I am not familiar with some of your considerations.

    Before proceeding with more tests, I wonder whether someone could help me with some questions. What is a yaboot.conf file? How can I pass a kernel argument? What does a -fbdev (it is new for me) argument mean? And what is and how can I perform a MD5 checksum?

    Concerning the recommended web sites, I found the ResExcellence site a bit confusing (at least for me). In the other hand the Linux on PowerPC FAQ-O-Matic site is quite interesting. In the same way is the Linux on Mac FAQs and Help at MacGurus site. And I also find the LinuxISO site very useful. So, for the next few days I will be studying the material you suggested me.

    Finally, I have one more doubt... I have read about zapping (or resetting) the PRAM, so how do I do that, and what does this imply? And are PRAM and Firmware (or OpenFirmware) the same?

    Best regards,

    Andre W.
    Last edited by andre-w; 01-16-2006 at 09:24 PM.

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    Shame you can't use a university or someone who has cable/dsl. I have friends ask me to dl and burn their CD/DVDs. And I wish I had 3Mbps! 3k well, that makes even updating Tiger to be a PITA.
    Yeah, I wait 'til "Combo updates" are released and d/load @ KSU. Even that takes a 2-3 hours of my life.

    As for:
    Quote Originally Posted by andre-w
    I found the ResExcellence site a bit confusing (at least for me). In the other hand the Linux on PowerPC FAQ-O-Matic site is quite interesting
    ...I found the links I was thinking about.

    Read One Button Booting from Classic to MacOS X (there's 2 part's).

    and

    What are some examples of kernel arguments? from the FAQ-O-Matic (video specific).

    Also there's good info performing MD5 checksum's @ the YDL FAQ.

    Enjoy!!
    Bill

    "I made a conscience decision in a semi-conscious state"

  18. #18
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    Thumbs up Good news!

    My B&W G3 is running Linux ! ! !

    Thanks for all your suggestions... I really appreciated! I studied almost all the information I was given and I learned a lot about my G3 and Linux installation features.

    What I did to successfully install Linux on my G3 was a bit... odd. Instead of my B&W G3, I used another one of the exactly same model! So, my brother, who gave me the original B&W, had an additional B&W with everything original except for upgraded memory and hard drive. Knowing about my case, and since his other G3 was being used for experiments only, we agreed to exchange the G3s and give it a try. Well, we guessed right. Now I have a B&W (the new one) running Linux and my brother has one (the old one) running Mac OS 10.3.

    About my "new" B&W: So far, for testing purposes I did provisory installations of Ubuntu 5.10 and YDL 3.0.1 (version 4.0.1 didn't boot). Later I will decide for a better installation. Just for the record. I also tried my Sonata SD video card but unfortunately it didn't work under Linux (exactly like Nicolas stated), so I put the original ATi rage video card back.

    About my "old" B&W: I tried all the tips I was recommended... none worked. I tried holding [C] or [alt] keys, I tried 'boot cd:,\\:tbxi' and 'boot cd:\\yaboot' too but nothing I expected happened... I did many other tricks, but to make a long story short, I could boot from my Mac OS X Installation CDs, but not from any of my Linux Installation CDs. I wonder what was wrong... maybe my DVD-ROM... perhaps my plain picky G3.

    Final considerations: I was initially hesitant of zapping (resetting) the PRAM, but now I know it is an ordinary-almost-required procedure. And, on the YDL 3.0.1 case, I also burnt a CD as ISO (not as data as I was doing), but the ISO CD didn't work, instead I used the data CD to install the YDL.

    Thanks once more for all support and interest on helping me. I intend to visit this forum more often, not only because of future questions that I might have, but also for I believe I may contribute on other people's situations.

    Best regards,

    Andre W.
    Last edited by andre-w; 01-22-2006 at 07:52 PM.

  19. #19
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    Cool Sweet

    Some real nice work. - Randy

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