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[PowerBook G4 1.67GHz] Performance increase ~ OS X
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Johny the Ripper
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:53 pm    Post subject: [PowerBook G4 1.67GHz] Performance increase ~ OS X Reply with quote

I'm still using my ancient mac as my daily machine, but it's getting sluggish under OS X Leopard. The money coming in doesn't look like I'm going to be able to afford a new mac anywhere soon, so I was wondering if gentoo would give noticable performance increases. Is there anyone who tried this before and could answer these questions?

Browsing the web: I'm already using TenFourFox as a browser, which has optimized code for altivec. Will firefox/chrome under gentoo feel faster if they don't have these code optimizations? Or is there a USE flag for altivec that I can use to optimize firefox/chrome in a similar way?

Another thing is youtube. HD content will not run smoothly on this laptop I'm realising, but HTML5 video for example is really unusable as it is. How much better would it get under gentoo?

Then I have some compatability questions concerning:
    The keyboard's backlight
    Compiz and the R300 chip (ATI Radeon 9700 Mobile)
    The built-in Airport Extreme card - I read somewhere that broadcom's b43 module doesn't support g-speeds, but as long as smooth webbrowsing without a usb dongle is possible, I'm happy.
    Are there still troubles concerning dual boot and soft resets?
    Is DVI-output supported by now?



Any answers are greatly appreciated!
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schorsch_76
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a simmilar issue with a 10 year old win xp installation on a athlon64 with 512 megs. Before it was nearly not useable and now its running pretty well as a surf and email station.

My suggestion: Make a system backup and try it ;)

Greetz
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dobbs
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adobe Flash (for YouTube) is currently not an option under Linux/PPC.

You can set default compiler flags to match your CPU in make.conf, which I think can use AltiVec. I'm pretty sure that's what the Ten4Fox people do. I don't recall seeing anything about patching Firefox when I looked into it. It helps a little, but not as much as actually optimizing the code.

There is no PPC Chrome. Epiphany (and a few others) do use the webkit engine, though possibly not exactly the same version as Chrome or even Safari.

Airport Extreme (broadcom b43) works fine. You will have to initially pull firmware out of an installer (with b43firmwarecutter I think), but it works fine.

I never got Compiz to work. It's not used anymore in Gnome 3, but I have yet to even try tackling Gnome 3. I never tried to multihead display in Linux either. For what it's worth, my X borked after the last round of updates, including an updated xf86-video-ati driver. That's actually why I came to the forums today.

I've never heard of a multiboot reset issue. I dual-boot Leopard and Gentoo, works great once I figured it out.

Never bothered with the keyboard backlight. That thing is an annoyance 98% of the time (and OSX won't honor my preferences when I shut it off). But then I did replace the atrocious silver key caps with white-on-black keys from a previous model, so the keys have a lot better contrast. :)

Before I installed Gentoo on my HD, I installed it on an external FireWire drive, and booted it manually from OpenFirmware. That's a possible option for trying without altering your internal drive. I won't claim it's exactly easy though.

However, I suggest trying Gentoo/Prefix under OSX. You can build your own Firefox if you so desire, and it gives you access to everything in Portage. Well, most things.
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Johny the Ripper
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dobbs wrote:
However, I suggest trying Gentoo/Prefix under OSX. You can build your own Firefox if you so desire, and it gives you access to everything in Portage. Well, most things.

So if I understand correctly, this allows me to compile and run packages from portage under OS X? That would be great!

dobbs wrote:
My suggestion: Make a system backup and try it

Well, my previous experience taught me that gentoo takes forever to set up, and then still a couple of hours weekly for compiling and figuring out why that last update destroyed the X server at startup :P I don't have that kind of time and patience anymore, so I think Gentoo/Prefix would be the ideal balance between the stability and user friendlyness of OS X and the optimized performance from gentoo… Well, that's what I hope it will give me :-)

Thanks for your replies!
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dobbs
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Johny the Ripper wrote:
So if I understand correctly, this allows me to compile and run packages from portage under OS X? That would be great!


That is correct. You may run into issues with outdated GCC or X server. Not sure; it's been a while since I bootstrapped Prefix, and that was on an old G3 "Wallstreet" PowerBook. I solved these with packages from Macports, which I always install on OSX anyway. ;) They compliment each other nicely.

Johny the Ripper wrote:
Well, my previous experience taught me that gentoo takes forever to set up, and then still a couple of hours weekly for compiling and figuring out why that last update destroyed the X server at startup :P I don't have that kind of time and patience anymore, so I think Gentoo/Prefix would be the ideal balance between the stability and user friendlyness of OS X and the optimized performance from gentoo… Well, that's what I hope it will give me :-)


I stepped back a to 1-2 month update cycle. My PPC laptop is less frequent, but I use OSX mostly anyway.

Maybe I've installed Gentoo too much, but I can install it in under an hour. Not always, of course. It's a lot easier now that they basically canned the stage 1 install in favor of stage 3. Also, I follow the "quick install guide" instead of the much more verbose regular guide. PPC takes longer to figure out the boot loader, unfortunately. There are relatively few PowerBook models, it might speed the process to share kernel configs and maybe even kernel binaries. Someone probably already has...

Unfortunately, the optimizations may not be exceptionally fruitful, but I want to encourage you to try. At the very least, you gain access to a wealth of software previously unavailable. My long-term support plan for my PowerBooks relied on Linux support once OSX becomes too outdated, and we can always use more people in the PPC community. :)
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JoseJX
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For what it's worth, performance has slipped quite a bit with the switch from User Mode Setting (UMS) to Kernel Mode Setting (KMS) video. With the latest X.org server, the old UMS drivers no longer work, which means slower performance and no sleep.

To answer your questions:
1. No, TenFourFox is faster than the more vanilla Firefox available in Gentoo.
2. Youtube doesn't really work. If I need to watch a video on Youtube on my PB, I'll use youtube-dl to download it and play it with mplayer.
3. The keyboard backlight works fine, I use pbbuttonsd to control it.
4. I don't use Compiz, but DRI does work with the R300 as long as you're using KMS. It's slow, but enough for simple things like Crack Attack.
5. Airport Express is fully supported.
6. No, there should be no problem with dual boot.
7. Yes, DVI output has been supported for a long time. I use xrandr to pick the output device.

Hope that helps.
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