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Re: On the status of support for the current generation iBooks

On 3/22/06, Rogério Brito <rbrito@ime.usp.br> wrote:
> Hi there, all.
> I'm a little bit curious to know what the support status is for current
> iBooks. I'm mostly interested in the 12" version, due to its price and
> its size.
> I also like the fact that it has a PowerPC processor in it, but I'm
> slightly worried about getting one if Linux support isn't good: as we
> all know, regarding Apple, PowerPCs are doomed (dead or almost dead, if
> you prefer), including G5 boxes.
> So, while I'd like to get myself an iBook that can actually play some
> DVDs, I'd like it to work under Open Source operating systems, since
> this would be the best "future proof" investment.
> Otherwise, I'd be looking into another family of processors.
> I'd thank in advance for any report of what work and what doesn't
> regarding the most recent iBooks.

I bought an iBook G4 1.33GHz just last week, for much the same
reasons. Although I'm a long time Debian user, this is my first
experience with laptops and/or Apples, so I'm still getting used to
the terminology. I have a few nagging problems (that I'll ask about in
a few days), but here's the executive summary of the current status:

1. Repartitioned my 40 GB into 30+10 using Mac Disk Utility

2. Reinstalled OS X on the (second) 10 GB

3. Booted up using Debian installer Etch Beta 2 (net-installer) with a
ethernet cable plugged in, and installed on the first partition. This
went pretty much flawlessly (except that I couldn't choose anything
other than testing).

4. Changed sources.list from testing to unstable, and upgraded

This gave me a working system. Issues:

(a) Sound wasn't working initially, but did after installing alsa

(b) I'm still slightly confused about power management and CPU
scaling, but the tools are clearly there, it's just a matter of
installing the right ones and setting them up.

(c) I sometimes need to bring up the ethernet interface up manually
(which may actually be a problem with my home network)

(d) The support for the wireless (Airport extreme) card is new and
unstable. Using
bcm43xx-modules-2.6.15-1-powerpc and some related stuff, I can get
connected to my unencrypted home network with a static IP (although
trying to disconnect hangs the machine). A lot of work is going on
with this, and newer kernels will likely work better (I haven't tried

(e) The trackpad was very `slow' initially. I couldn't find much about
this on the net, but eventually has the brilliant idea of looking
inside xorg.conf which led me to "man synaptics" and everything else
was a breeze (turns out the default coordinate system in xorg.conf was
wrong, which is why it was slow). I can now access and modify all the
menus in xterm solely using the trackpad, which I think is the
ultimate test of a `pointer device'.

(f) X works, but 3d acceleration doesn't. Messages on this list
suggest that this will change with xorg 7.0, so I'll wait for that. My
one experiment trying to mirror the display on an external monitor
using the VGA connector hasn't been successful, but apparently it can
be done. TV out probably doesn't work.

(g) Modem doesn't work (and apparently isn't even detected by Linux)

Overall, I'm very happy with it so far. Hope that helps,


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