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Re: contemplating G3 purchase


On Wed, 24 Feb 1999, pgf@globalreach.net wrote:

>* If I were to try to install Debian Linux, what would be
>the optimum partition setup, and would it be possible
>for me to change my current partition setup without
>affecting the Mac side of the drive?

I find that the one I use is quite a balanced setup (df output):

Filesystem           1k-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda7               142677     43732     91578  32% /
/dev/sda6               400971    354212     26050  93% /public
/dev/sda9               601091    491912     96759  84% /home
/dev/sda10             1531694   1192151    307878  79% /usr
/dev/sda11              149581     31862    114629  22% /var
/dev/sda12              124005      2222    119222   2% /tmp 

although you don't need public if don't run an ftp/web server.
I put that there for experimental purposes.

>Does ppc-debian currently support the G3 machines?

ppc-debian itself would support it, if the ppc kernel supported it.
The ppc linux kernel currently does not (firewire is a major obstacle,  
although you could use ide/scsi disks at the start). I don't know about
RAGE128 support, but I suspect that at best it would work in some combatibility
mode with Geert's atyfb framebuffer driver. I hardly would expect it to work
out-of-the-box without some hacking.

Anyway, if you could get support in the kernel, it would be only a matter of
installing some base filesystem (~7-10 MBs last time I looked), and installing
the rest from the net (no cd yet).
But, if I were you, I would anyway go for debian, because you wouldn't believe
how many problems are solved with the new glibc 2.1 that is standard in
debian/ppc. I can't help laughing at all the poor souls at the linucppc-user
list that try to keep creating hacks to make a program compile, let alone run
correctly. I had all these problems, which totally went away when I moved to

>If it doesn't, how involved do you think the port would be?


>Just for the sake of argument, suppose I had it running; how
>good would the X11 support be? I think there are two or three
>different options to providing X11 support on any particular
>Mac machine: regular XFree for the graphics card, XFree going
>through the frame buffer, and XPmac. Which is best? Will
>there be significant work getting the X port working in the
>first place, or will the driver for the 64 bit version of the
>card be compatible?

IMHO, the best would be to have some Xfree server specifically for the card.
But, this is unrealistic, as evertything turns to modularization.
Still, with a well written framebuffer device driver, the performance would
be amazing on this card. Xpmac is not an option, as the author just release
its final version and said he would work with framebuffers from now on.
Alas, as for the port, unless the company (ATI) releases the specs to someone
to build a linux driver, it's left to some extremely good hardware hacker to
find its internals and produce a driver. The lucky thing is that there already
is important work been done on the old chips and I suspect that the new one
can't be THAT different. 

Final word: If you want linux on a Blue G3 NOW, get ready to hack. If not, you
could get an older beige G3 and get going right from the start.

Konstantinos Margaritis

Version: PGPfreeware 5.0i for non-commercial use
MessageID: w2mvQ002hDWDzAqNduf0uiknF5U+9Dpu


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