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Some questions, plus hfsprogs is missing

I’m very new to powerpc, having only picked up my G5 two days ago and
never having used any powerpc computer before. But it seems like I
arrived at about the right time. I saw the discussion of a 2021-04-16
installer image on this list, so I burned it to CD, booted it,
installed and booted straight into the new OS. Given the lack of
information about this port on the main Debian site, I had thought
things might be more difficult. So while I’m here, I should take the
opportunity to thank the Debian powerpc community and in particular the
maintainer Adrian Glaubitz.

Having seen firefox packages in the repository, I was a little
disappointed (although not surprised) to find they don’t run. The
‘Illegal instruction’ error I get looks similar to this: 
https://lists.debian.org/debian-powerpc/2017/02/msg00025.html so not a
new problem it seems. Maybe I’ll look at the browsers based the old
firefox codebase

james@PowerMac-G5:~$ firefox
Crash Annotation GraphicsCriticalError: |[0][GFX1-]: glxtest: No
visuals found (t=4.23128) [GFX1-]: glxtest: No visuals found Crash
Annotation GraphicsCriticalError: |[0][GFX1-]: glxtest: No visuals
found (t=4.23128) |[1][GFX1]: Unknown image format 1 (t=11.8668)
[GFX1]: Unknown image format 1 Crash Annotation GraphicsCriticalError:
|[0][GFX1-]: glxtest: No visuals found (t=4.23128) |[1][GFX1]: Unknown
image format 1 (t=11.8668) |[2][GFX1]: Unknown image format 1
(t=11.9111) [GFX1]: Unknown image format 1 Exiting due to channel
error. Illegal instruction

I’ve noticed a strange problem with the ATI Radeon 9600 (RV350) GPU. It
seems that by default the ‘radeon’ driver is used (as expected), but
the performance is very poor. Windows take time to draw, menus are slow
and there’s a noticeable delay between typing and letters appearing.
Simple programs like the terminal are almost unusable because of the
large delay using the scroll bar. Looking through the kernel messages I
noticed “[drm] Forcing AGP to PCI mode”. Maybe this is related? The
problem goes away and everything works smoothly if I instruct Xorg to
use the “fbdev” driver instead. 

Looking more closely at this list, I see this problem has been reported
before: https://lists.debian.org/debian-powerpc/2019/12/msg00027.html.
In any case it seems that AGP was disabled some time last year:
and so AGP will now always use PCI mode. In the same message it’s
mentioned that the problem is noticeable with firefox. Which implies it
was working at that time?

I had thought about installing an older kernel to see if this could be
configured to not use PCI mode. I didn’t get as far as that though
because I ran into a problem where the hfs partition for grub was not
clean. This caused it to be mounted read only and prevented a kernel
installation from working (could not update the read-only grub.cfg).
I’m unable to run fsck.hfs to fix this as the package hfsprogs does not
exist (not found here:
Did the name change? I see this package was recently fixed:
https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=919532#32 &
https://launchpad.net/debian/+source/hfsprogs/540.1.linux3-1. Hopefully
this package can easily be added.

I’ve asked quite a few questions here and I appreciate there’s probably
no easy answer for most of them. Hopefully the tip about using fbdev to
work around the slow radeon driver is of use to others at least. Could
this be made the default?

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