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Linux Journal: LinuxPPC on the Macintosh PowerBook

Jul 29, 2000, 18:05 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Richard C.S. Kinne)

"What some people may not realize is that Linux for the PowerPC chip, usually on a Macintosh platform, is not far behind [Intel-based Linux] and has experienced similar growth in the last few years since its first inception as MkLinux back in 1996. Today, PowerPC users can choose among the original MkLinux package, which still offers its Mach kernel version of Linux, or the PowerPC and Yellow Dog packages with their monolithic RPM-based distributions. New distributions on the PowerPC chip horizon include SuSE, a popular German-based package; TurboLinux, popular in Asia; and RockLinux, billed as a ``power user'' distribution."

"One of the highly touted features of the LinuxPPC 2000 release is its user-friendly graphical installation environment. The installation CD is meant to boot your system and load whatever it needs onto the Macintosh in order to start installing Linux. These components will vary from system to system, depending on whether or not the ``Open Firmware'' of the computer involved is well-supported, or if the system boots better using the included BootX utility that operates somewhat like LILO on Intel-based machines. Due to oddities in the Open Firmware implementation on the Wallstreet PowerBook G3, it commonly uses BootX in order to load Linux, and the installer realizes this. Once any Macintosh portion of the installation is done, the computer reboots and continues with the Linux installation process."

"If you're not an old hand at Linux installation, that is, if the concept of the user-friendly installation interface is a selling point for you, accept the fact that the initial default desktop environment for the LinuxPPC installation will be GNOME. This was a little disheartening to me, since I'm a KDE fan and I wanted to set up KDE as my desktop environment. You are able to do that, but let the installation install GNOME as the default at first. Problems have been reported and experienced in getting KDE to run right after installation, because the installer apparently doesn't install the QT1x libraries that KDE needs. It's a simple matter, upon reboot, to go into GNOME, install the libraries via the RPM program if needed, then go into KDE. Once there, you can modify and customize things easily. The good news is the installation procedure, if allowed to install the defaults, solved all the previous installation problems I'd had with Xconfig in the past."

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