After deciding that the official OS was becoming too slow for this aging hardware, and Apple PowerBook G4 FW800 (not sure about the FW800, it could be the one immediately following that model), I decided to install debian and then a WM such as LXDE, to better use the hardware. I downloaded, burned, and verified the ppc netinst disk, and it does boot to a yaboot prompt. I then type 'install' and a white screen briefly flashes onto the screen. Then I see the output of dmesg as the machine partially boots, it makes it up to locating/defining the vmalloc and ioremap memory addresses, but then it appears to halt.
I do not recieve any messages such as kernel panics, clock to NO Hz mode, or similar; if I leave the computer, it will remain in that state until I reboot it. My assumption is that this is not a console, just a dmesg readout, but I cannot figure out what the keybinding is on the mac to get to any other consoles. I should point out that the disk drive remains spun up, then spins down a few minutes later. I know how to use the text installer, if only I could get to it.
What I have tried so far:
reset the SMU
reset the nvram
reset the entire non-volatile memory
use the video flag offered in yaboot
connect an external monitor --> yields a grey screen with what looks like an open firmware readout, defining memory ranges
Any help is greatly appreciated, it was suggested that I ask this issue on one of the IRC channels, but having never used those before, I figured I'd stick with the mailing list I knew.