GNU Linux on the iMac G3 DV SE
When running GNU Linux on your iMac, you get a system that is responsive enough for many tasks. I am using an iMac G3 as a workstation and have no performance-problems. This is mainly because of the type of useage, I prefer text mode applications.
The iMac doesn't make a lot of noise, something which I think is an important factor for a workstation. The CRT provides a good image, although it is a bit small. The image it produces is very sharp with good colors.
Here is some info copied right from the proc-directory
processor : 0 cpu : 740/750 temperature : 43-45 C (uncalibrated) clock : 400MHz revision : 131.0 (pvr 0008 8300) bogomips : 796.67 machine : PowerMac2,1 motherboard : PowerMac2,1 MacRISC2 MacRISC Power Macintosh detected as : 66 (iMac FireWire) pmac flags : 00000005 L2 cache : 512K unified memory : 384MB pmac-generation : NewWorld
PCI devices found: Bus 0, device 11, function 0: Host bridge: Apple Computer Inc. UniNorth AGP (rev 0). Master Capable. Latency=16. Bus 0, device 16, function 0: Display controller: ATI Technologies Inc Rage 128 RL/VR AGP (rev 0). IRQ 48. Master Capable. Latency=255. Min Gnt=8. Prefetchable 32 bit memory at 0x94000000 [0x97ffffff]. I/O at 0x802400 [0x8024ff]. Non-prefetchable 32 bit memory at 0x90000000 [0x90003fff]. Bus 1, device 11, function 0: Host bridge: Apple Computer Inc. UniNorth PCI (rev 0). Master Capable. Latency=16. Bus 1, device 18, function 0: FireWire (IEEE 1394): Texas Instruments TSB12LV23 IEEE-1394 Controller (rev 0). IRQ 52. Master Capable. Latency=16. Min Gnt=2.Max Lat=4. Non-prefetchable 32 bit memory at 0x80083000 [0x800837ff]. Non-prefetchable 32 bit memory at 0x80084000 [0x80087fff]. Bus 1, device 19, function 0: Ethernet controller: Digital Equipment Corporation DECchip 21142/43 (rev 65). IRQ 53. Master Capable. Latency=96. Min Gnt=20.Max Lat=40. I/O at 0x400 [0x47f]. Non-prefetchable 32 bit memory at 0x80080000 [0x800803ff]. Bus 1, device 23, function 0: Class ff00: Apple Computer Inc. KeyLargo Mac I/O (rev 2). Master Capable. Latency=16. Non-prefetchable 32 bit memory at 0x80000000 [0x8007ffff]. Bus 1, device 24, function 0: USB Controller: Apple Computer Inc. KeyLargo USB (rev 0). IRQ 27. Master Capable. Latency=16. Min Gnt=3.Max Lat=86. Non-prefetchable 32 bit memory at 0x80082000 [0x80082fff]. Bus 1, device 25, function 0: USB Controller: Apple Computer Inc. KeyLargo USB (#2) (rev 0). IRQ 28. Master Capable. Latency=16. Min Gnt=3.Max Lat=86. Non-prefetchable 32 bit memory at 0x80081000 [0x80081fff]. Bus 2, device 11, function 0: Host bridge: Apple Computer Inc. UniNorth Internal PCI (rev 0). Master Capable. Latency=16.
For more information see the Low end Mac webpages. They provide very usefull information.
For starters I popped a Debian PPC netinstall in the CD-slot.
I didn't go for a dual boot installation, only GNU Linux.
The Debian installation is quite straightforward and didn't produce any difficulty. The networkcard is working, sound is working, X is working. For me, that is enough.
When I have a little bit more time, I will try to install Slackware on the iMac. This page will keep you informed.
A copy of my XF86Config-4 can be found here
The Debian installation did al the magic that is needed to get everything working fine :-)
This is what lsmod shows:
Module Size Used by snd_pcm_oss 68136 0 snd_mixer_oss 23264 1 snd_pcm_oss ipv6 323896 8 joydev 12000 0 usbhid 53952 0 ohci_hcd 26212 0 usbcore 139092 4 usbhid,ohci_hcd eth1394 25480 0 tulip 86912 0 ohci1394 41924 0 ieee1394 448200 2 eth1394,ohci1394 uninorth_agp 8544 1 agpgart 42412 1 uninorth_agp evdev 11968 0 tsdev 8640 0 de4x5 77472 0 crc32 4832 2 tulip,de4x5 snd_powermac 44304 0 snd_pcm 119800 2 snd_pcm_oss,snd_powermac snd_page_alloc 13480 1 snd_pcm snd_timer 29348 1 snd_pcm snd 67800 5 snd_pcm_oss,snd_mixer_oss,snd_powermac,snd_pcm,snd_timer soundcore 11812 1 snd ide_cd 49764 0 cdrom 49660 1 ide_cd ext3 130736 1 jbd 71576 1 ext3 mbcache 10116 1 ext3 ide_disk 27072 3 unix 31992 66(This is with a 2.6.8 kernel.)
The G3 comes with the Apple USB Keyboard-Graphite (M2452). This is not my favorite keyboard, but it is useable.
At first, I used an Apple mouse with it. This is quite a challenge, because that mouse only has one key (the top part of the mouse constitutes a key on its own).
This is how I did some copy-&-pasting in X:
- With the mouse-key pressed, mark the region to copy
- Paste with <Shift-Help>
In OS X, it is possible to emulate right-click with <Ctrl-Click>. This didn't work in X, probably there is some configuration needed. I didn't try very hard and ditched the Mac Mouse and replaced it with a decent one, with three buttons.
Unfortunately, this machine brook down beyond repair and is no longer in use.