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Re: PowerPC 8500??

Hi, Frank.

On Sep 08 2009, Frank Rubinsky wrote:
> I have an old PowerPC 8500/132 (actually, I think it was upgraded -
> 150 maybe??). I'd like to install Debian on it (my first experience
> with Linux).

Since this will be your first experience with Linux, installing on an
OldWorld PowerPC won't be as easy, but still quite doable and, in fact,
a way to "rescue" such machines, as Apple doesn't seem to care about

> The HCL at http://kmuto.jp/debian/hcl/Apple doesn't list the 8500 -
> the oldest machines on it seem to be G3s.
> So what's the best version of Debian to install?

Others may suggest you to boot into MacOS (the classic version, not
MacOS X), use BootX and then load Linux.

It seems that a version of MacOS 7.x can be downloaded legally somewhere
from Apple's site (please, if you go that route, it would be a good
thing if you posted the link here to the list).

OTOH, I prefer to use something that doesn't require another OS to run
Linux. In that situation, I would use either a boot floppy made with a
tool called miboot or boot using quik (which is, in some ways, similar
to using LILO).

Unfortunately, the OldWorld machines have some problems with their
"bios" (actually called "Open Firmware") and they don't always show you
what is going on if you activate it (pressing the combination Command +
Option + O + F right after the chime when the machine is turned on).

Unfortunately #2, for legal purposes, it is not allowed to distribute
bootable CDs for OldWorld machines (like yours), which is, essentially,
what makes this a patience exercise. If it were not for that, then
installing Linux on your powermac would be as easy as on "PCs".

I don't know if modern versions of Debian support installation on your
machine, but you can surely install anything if you get Debian's woody
version of the boot floppies, install a minimal system from there and
just upgrade things to a newer release (having the world of Free
Software at your fingertips).

What I described in the paragraph above is not for the faint of the
heart, but it used to work (I have to get the dust off my PowerMac
9500/180MP which has a G3 upgrade card).

> Any special hints/pointers for a newbie appreciated.

Do yourself a favor and read at least a tiny bit of NetBSDs guide to
Open Firmware and the partitioning guide that Branden Robinson wrote
about installing Debian on his old iBook.

Despite the fact that the iBook has a slightly different procedure to
boot the system, once you are running the system, things are much more

> Thanks for your help.

Hope this helps, Rogério Brito.

Rogério Brito : rbrito@{mackenzie,ime.usp}.br : GPG key 1024D/7C2CAEB8
http://www.ime.usp.br/~rbrito : http://meusite.mackenzie.com.br/rbrito
Projects: algorithms.berlios.de : lame.sf.net : vrms.alioth.debian.org

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