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Is the Debian version for PowerPC current? I'd like to replace MacOSX 10.4 on an old Powerbook G4 with Debian but I've never had much luck trying to install Debian ...
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  1. #1
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    Want to install Debian on a Powerbook G4


    Is the Debian version for PowerPC current? I'd like to replace MacOSX 10.4 on an old Powerbook G4 with Debian but I've never had much luck trying to install Debian on a regular i386 PC. How does this Netinstall work? Will I be able to connect to wifi and install it that way? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Debian and WiFi is generally a challenge as often times a non-free driver is required. A netinstall basically builds a system by downloading the pieces as you go along. If you have a wired connection, it's worth a try. I have zero Mac experience so I can't help there...

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    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPCDownloads

    Only current I know of for PPC.
    sidzen likes this.

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    Linux User jkwilborn's Avatar
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    I loaded my G5 with Debian, over a year ago, had some problems. To make sure what will work properly, I loaded a 'live' disk that isn't an install, but gives you enough tools to check out the items you are interested in. Generally wifi is out of the question, but if the Ethernet port will work you should be able to boot with net install and go. How it works is by loading a basic system, configure the network, then reach out to the mirrors to download the complete system as needed by your hardware. If it supports the Ethernet chipset you have it'll usually come up. If you depend on Wifi that may be different. Mine had Broadcomm chipset that you could get a blob for.

    A blob is the firmware that runs the chipset. It's usually extracted from a suppled working driver from somewhere. If you can get that and get that module loaded it will get you up. Look these over before making the leap, especially if this is the only computer and it's wifi driven.

    Best of luck, come back and let us know how it worked out...

    Jack

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    Normally, I use a distro that includes non-free. For my old iBook, my only choices were Debian Wheezy for PPC, or Lubuntu. I'm not an Ubuntu fan, so I chose Debian. Got it installed without too much hassle.
    Now, I need to get the wifi drivers installed. I downloaded the driver (firmware) in .deb form. Problem is, I can't figure out how to get it installed.
    I opened a console, went with su, and logged in as root. Copied the name of the deb file in, but it won't allow me to run it. Permission denied every time. It's a Broadcom bcm4306 802.11g (Airport Extreme) card if that makes any sort of difference.
    Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  7. #6
    Linux User jkwilborn's Avatar
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    I'm not a wizard with this stuff, but here are a couple of suggestions, add the non-free line onto your sources.list file. I'm not sure of the actual format, but it's something like

    deb http://http.debian.net/debian wheezy-backports main contrib non-free

    These allow all backports and non free software. I think Broadcomm drivers are in this, you may also have to ap-get them. You might search for the package to see if you can find it, so you can apt-get it specifically. Use the proper name, I think it's BC or BR (lower case) when you search. Browse Google for them also, if you have a problem finding them.

    I used to log in as root, use the file browser and right click on the deb file and select the proper installation mechanism. This might be the easiest way...

    Best of luck, I don't even have those notes anymore, I don't think...

    Jack

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    Quote Originally Posted by jkwilborn View Post
    I'm not a wizard with this stuff, but here are a couple of suggestions, add the non-free line onto your sources.list file. I'm not sure of the actual format, but it's something like

    deb http://http.debian.net/debian wheezy-backports main contrib non-free

    These allow all backports and non free software. I think Broadcomm drivers are in this, you may also have to ap-get them. You might search for the package to see if you can find it, so you can apt-get it specifically. Use the proper name, I think it's BC or BR (lower case) when you search. Browse Google for them also, if you have a problem finding them.

    I used to log in as root, use the file browser and right click on the deb file and select the proper installation mechanism. This might be the easiest way...

    Best of luck, I don't even have those notes anymore, I don't think...

    Jack
    Thanks, Jack. I should have explained further. On a laptop that has working wifi, I downloaded the driver/firmware, and put it on a usb drive. I then copied it over to the iBook.
    My apartment is wifi only. There's nowhere I can plug in, so until I get the wifi working, the old iBook is a paperweight. My other laptop, while portable, is too big to carry everywhere I go, so I'm kinda stuck at the moment.
    I do appreciate the effort. If I can find a place to plug in ethernet, I know I can get the driver installed with Synaptic by adding non-free repositories. At least, that's what I've been told. I'm hopeful.

    'Flyr

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    Linux Engineer TNFrank's Avatar
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    Here's one that's based on Debian that's listed as having a PPC version.
    DistroWatch.com: Descent|OS
    Hit Distro Watch and go to the Search page. Put in your info and see what's out there. That's where I found this one at.
    No matter where ya' go, there ya' are.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNFrank View Post
    Here's one that's based on Debian that's listed as having a PPC version.
    DistroWatch.com: Descent|OS
    Hit Distro Watch and go to the Search page. Put in your info and see what's out there. That's where I found this one at.
    Thanks TNFrank. I did my homework at Distrowatch. Descent OS is one of the dead distros. If there ever was a PPC version of it, links to it have been deleted.
    Currently, there are very few choices. Lubuntu 14.04, and Debian 7.6.0 are about all that's left. I could backtrack to Ubuntu 12.04, but I'd just have to deal with a million updates. From the looks of things, those of us with old Macs are going to be abandoned before too terribly long. It's a shame too, because my old iBook G4 still outperforms nearly any new "netbook" and you can get an old iBook G4 for less than $100 on eBay.

    On a side note TNFrank, I was up your way a couple weeks ago, visiting family up in Roberson County. Good country up there.

  11. #10
    Linux User jkwilborn's Avatar
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    I was in th same boat when I tried to install my first experience with Linux (Debian). I was living at a gun range in Arizona and only had an iPhone 4 which has WiFi and a USB connection. Unfortunately, the wifi was useless and the USB connection never did work. So I know what you are fighting, very frustrating. I know, with Debian, there is some place on a dongle (/lib/firmware, I think) that will get searched by the kernel. If you mount it on /media. You may have to research this, but I did have some success with this. Best of luck, keep us in the loop...

    Jack

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