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superrusso
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Joined: 02 Oct 2019
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 1:52 am    Post subject: My minimal install CD hangs upon boot Reply with quote

Hi! I'm so thankful this forum is here.

I'm trying to boot my iBook G4 to the Gentoo minimal installer CD, and it just hangs at 'Freeing unused kernel memory: 280K'. The caps lock key still toggles, but otherwise the CD-Rom stops spinning and after about 5 or 8 minutes the machine just turns off. I have tried burning media on multiple machines with the same results. And this machine does run FreeBSD and OpenBSD, so it seems unlikely to be a hardware issue.

Could anybody point me in the right direction? All of the PPC installation guides just seem to indicate it just boots up.

Thanks!
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Jaglover
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Joined: 29 May 2005
Posts: 7249
Location: Saint Amant, Acadiana

PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to Gentoo!

Here is a list of distros which boot on your hardware. You can use any of them to install Gentoo, all you need is working shell. Then I suggest firing up SSH if it is not already running and logging in over SSH, then you can copy and paste from Gentoo Handbook to the terminal window instead of typing in everything.
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superrusso
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply! I guess I had not considered installing Gentoo from another distro. I am currently giving this a try. Where would I log in to cut and paste directly from the handbook? W/ Links I assume?

Thank you for the link, however, the chip in the iBook G4 is a ppc, not ppc64, which limits the options for distros considerably. Of the ones listed on distrowatch, I can't find an ISO for a version of Ubuntu for PPC, Ubuntu server doesn't include a fully capable live environment, and Ubuntu Mate is 1.6 gigs. Although I've read you can boot this thing up via OpenFirmware from USB, I've yet to successfully do so.

I'm downloading and burning finnix for PPC right now, which curiously doesn't show up on distrowatch. I'll update my success here if anybody is interested in an iBook G4 in the future.
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Jaglover
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Joined: 29 May 2005
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Location: Saint Amant, Acadiana

PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

superrusso,

I do not want to discourage you, but now I recall I had a G4 iMac once, it was barely able to run OSX, slowly. With Gentoo there is a great deal of compiling, with a G4 it will take time, days possibly. There are ways to use faster computers as helpers, but this is not newcomer friendly.
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superrusso
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Jaglover. I do repair work professionally, thus I'm thankful for you realistically mitigating my expectations.

Luckily, this is really an educational venture. To be honest, I tried to compile Gentoo about 15 years ago and failed. I'm determined not to this time, but the additional challenge of PPC should be interesting. I'm not a total newcomer at this point, but I don't think I'd be able to cross-compile quite yet. I may try this in the future if I get this thing going and want to recompile the kernel.

And I'm prepared for this to take a few days. So far, the installation from Fennix has gone perfectly according to the PPC installation manual, with one exception, I couldn't format the Apple Bootstrap partition HFS+ because fennix doesn't include anything to make an HFS plus volume. It does, however, include mac-fdisk, so otherwise it's pretty ideal for this it turns out. The easy workaround was to skip the part of the manual that calls for mounting the bootstrap to /boot, but after chroot:

Code:
emerge --ask sys-fs/diskdev_cmds


to install hfsutils and:

Code:
newfs_hfs -h /dev/sdaX


of course replacing sdaX with whatever your apple bootstrap partition is. The manual suggests sda2. Then it will mount to /boot no problem.

As I type this, the kernel just started compiling after I have spent several hours researching this devices hardware. This machine was running MacOS 10.4, and it ran it okay. A bigger issue than speed was the fact that Safari was utterly unable to communicate with a modern internet. I think Gentoo is about this machine's last hope for any kind of future use. Maybe with XFCE or something? I guess we shall see.

If it even runs halfway decent, just for fun I may try to upgrade the ram to 1GB, and stick the optional bluetooth module in. Hell, I may even jam an SSD with an IDE adapter if I can get a desktop going just for kicks. If this ends up working I'll post some more info in case anybody else wants to try, like my kernel config. And if it ends up being a totally useless exercise from a practical standpoint I'll post that here too. Maybe I can save someone some time either way. I have already learned a ton, so no matter what my mission is accomplished. Now to enjoy the journey.
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Jaglover
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Joined: 29 May 2005
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Location: Saint Amant, Acadiana

PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

superrusso,

I do not know how much RAM PPC needs to build from source, but on PC hardware 512 MB won't get you far. And even if you get it all installed opening one single bloated webpage can eat up more RAM than you have now.
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schwarzygesetzlos
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Joined: 11 Dec 2004
Posts: 138
Location: Funeralopolis

PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

superrusso wrote:
[...] As I type this, the kernel just started compiling after I have spent several hours researching this devices hardware. This machine was running MacOS 10.4, and it ran it okay. A bigger issue than speed was the fact that Safari was utterly unable to communicate with a modern internet. I think Gentoo is about this machine's last hope for any kind of future use. [...]

Not necessarily, there are also Adelie Linux (https://www.adelielinux.org/) and Void Linux (https://voidlinux-ppc.org/). Both of them are easier to install than Gentoo as they provide binary packages and a pre-configured ppc kernel. Void Linux is even easier to install 'cause there is a text-based installer. Adelie does not have a fully working installer yet, installation is more Gentoo-like. Void-Linux is a rolling release distribution just like Gentoo.

Of course I appreciate your efforts in getting Gentoo running on your PPC Mac and a self-built kernel most probably will be leaner compared to a distribution kernel. ;) But having more choice is always a good thing.
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